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  1. +1. Based on my meals this weekend, Tori Shin blows Yakitori Totto out of the water. My only gripe: you can only get the "special skewers" (kidney, heart, knee gristle, neck, oyster, etc.) if you order the $50 meal.
  2. I have been to this Boulud outpost maybe 4 or 5 times dating back to I think 2003 or so. It was quite nice back then. Then, I went there for lunch a couple of times with a vendor for the overly wrought burger for fun. It was all good. Then, last fall, went again pre-theater of all things and WOW. They'd updated the dining room a bit it seemed, and the menu was great. Really great. Good wine list if a bit overpriced. GREAT service/staff. My only regret was not taking proper tme to give the place a lingering meal for justice. Next time. I've been luck enough to go to db, Cafe Boulud, Bar Boulud, Danie; and I think another instance, this db experience was near the top of the heap. Honestly, Daniel was kind of a let down (aside from the over the top service, which was a hoot). My wife and I were walking quite a few blocks after the meal as we are wont to do, and we both came to the realization 'Palena is better.' (sad in retrospect now, but true!). And Daniel itself was no slouch by any means whatsoever. It was quite fine.
  3. The kids were going to see Aladdin so I made early dinner reservation at Masseria Dei Vini. I’ve never heard of the place but the location works and the menu looks authentic if not on the expensive side. The best starter is the fried zucchini sticks - thin, crispy and the batter did not fall off. Their baked calamari is almost as good as fried calamari. The rice in the GUAZZETTO ALLA PUGLIESE (Shrimp and Clams in a light Tomato Sauce, served with Apulian Grain) apparently is very delicious according to my daughter. The two pastas we ordered were very good - pappardelle with rabbit ragu, squid ink pasta in whey clam sauce. If anything the pasta could’ve been firmer. We also ordered a thinly sliced steak that’s very good as well. I would recommend the restaurant as a solid Italian joint.
  4. I remember the Tysons Carnegie fondly and was so upset when it closed. Having grown up on (and even briefly working in a) New York deli, it was without question the only place around here that ever came close. While it was horrible for my cholesterol, boy was it good. We wouldn't split a sandwich because I always wanted to take half home to enjoy the next day. The only downside was that it looked and felt like an Embassy Suites lobby/restaurant (which it was), rather than like a real deli.
  5. I'm gonna jam some culture, shopping and food down the kids throat. We'll be staying at Chambers (they have rooms with two queen beds) near MoMa for 2 nights after Thanksgiving. Looking for restaurants south of Central Park and north of Chinatown. Thinking about Le Coucou, The Grill, Mimi and Beatrice Inn. What's the best Italian (Marea is already booked)?
  6. Just a brief lunch at Má Pèche, so no major conclusions to draw. It's essentially a big, white, shoebox sunk into the midtown topsoil, cement walls softened by white canvas hanging like massive Elsworth Kelly works on three sides with a bar on the fourth. Cool music -- some old, some new -- hip servers in t-shirts and stubble, wooden tables. Very minimalist. I just had two dishes. The raw striped bass with soy, angelica, seaweed was strangely compelling, as though the angelica-spiked soy sauce favored the impeccable fish with some umami-laden sorcery. More minimalism, but with an aftertaste of extraordinary half-life. The Nieman Ranch hangar steak with rice and egg was pretty OK. I sent the first version back when it turned grey and the second stayed appropriately pink. By this time, the waiter -- who was initially gruff and maybe hungover, as it was a Monday lunch shift -- had warmed up and acted as my carnivorous advocate in this matter, in addition to pointing out some decent red by the glass in a proper Queens accent. For dessert, I grabbed tasty a slice of Candy Bar Pie -- toffee, nougat, a chocolate cookie crust and mini-pretzels -- at the Milk Bar in the hotel lobby. Hardly enough to make judgments, but it I had a bunch of rowdy friends who appreciated good food and Modest Mouse, I might be tempted to head back to the basement, knock back a few bottles and work my way back and forth through the menu. It might be a pretty good time.
  7. http://www.le-bernardin.com As a birthday present Hubby made us reservations to come to NYC and eat at Le Bernadin. Something I have really wanted to do because I really love seafood. Hubby isn't as big of a seafood person, but appreciates it from time to time. I am not sure what wine Hubby ordered, but it was light and fresh and complimented the food perfectly. The bread service was good with a choice of brioche, pretzel, sourdough, foccacio or a few other selections. Although Hubby commented that the sourdough just wasn't like what you could get in San Francisco. We had the following tasting menu: STRIPED BASS Wild Striped Bass Tartare; Baby Fennel, Zucchini Crispy Artichoke, Parmesan Sauce Vierge (This was really good, fresh, nice balance of acid.) CRAB Chilled Peekytoe Crab Salad; Baby Radish and Avocado Green Apple-Lemongrass Nage (The sauce really made this fresh and good, it made the flavors really pop.) SCALLOP Warm Scallop “Carpaccio”; Snowpeas and Shiitake Lime-Shiso Broth (My least favorite dish, although the broth was really well composed.) HALIBUT Poached Halibut; Glazed Baby Bok Choy,Bergamot-Basil Emulsion (Very nicely cooked, dense and perfectly flavored, really simple, and had a basil foam that was actually good and appropriately used to thicken the other basil sauce in a nice way.) MONKFISH Roasted Monkfish; Wilted Mustard Greens-Daikon “Sandwich” Adobo Sauce (Also perfectly cooked, the sauce on this dish was so good you could eat it as a broth.) STRAWBERRY Strawberry Sorbet, Mascarpone Cream, Basil (Fresh and a nice pop of flavor.) BLACK FOREST Dark Chocolate Cremeux, Kirsch Bavaroise, Belgian Kriek Beer Sorbet (Didn't prefer this dish at all, just didn't do it for me chocolate wise or otherwise.) Overall I thought the dishes were executed perfectly, although dessert was kind of a let down. The petit fours with the check were ok, but again would have expected better flavors, with the flavors overall being so well thought out. The sauces were absolute perfection. There wasn't any real wow, so don't necessarily expect that, and it certainly wasn't as playful as some more nouveau fine dining places, but everything was executed with a lot of precision and you didn't leave stuffed, but had eaten enough, which was a nice feeling. If the a la carte dishes are the same size, I might have left hungry with only four courses, but maybe the portions are bigger? I really liked the decor and the space between tables, it was more relaxing and peaceful than many restaurant experiences. I am glad I did it, would I go back- I am not sure. It was good, the sauces were just stellar and something you rarely see, the fish was cooked perfectly. There was just nothing I hold in my head except those perfect sauces that really caught me.
  8. Rather than get into details about Carnegie Hall, I thought I'd show this interesting little video:
  9. Looking for good lunch dishes rather than trite breakfast dishes. Doesn't matter the cuisine, as long as it's not spicy. Anything within a mile of the MoMA would work - cost not an issue. This is for Labor Day weekend.
  10. Just a note of appreciation to Bar Americain for accommodating my family at the bar for lunch on Saturday as we staggered in at different times and for their patience with us for over one and a half hours as we seemed incapable of placing two orders at the same time. The raw bar was a big hit for oysters and multiple orders of the chilled lobster. Particularly interesting was the New England clam and sweet potato chowder. The name is somewhat misleading as it is really less of a traditional chowder and more of a sweet potato soup, and not a particularly thick one. It is wonderfully seasoned, slightly spicy, with a hint of creaminess, and accented with small bits of bacon and some clams in the shell. This was one of the best soups I have had in a while. If you have any kids in tow they will sure to be impressed by the plate for their hamburger with three holes along the side into which are inserted three small bowls containing ketchup, mustard, and Russian dressing. Oh yeah, the hamburgers were not so bad either, at least the pieces I could grab off their plates. Of the five or six times I have been to this place, I think only once did I make a reservation and sit at a table. I usually arrive without reservations and find a spot at the bar where I have found the bartenders to be efficient, friendly, and engaging, whether I am dining alone or with a group. They make it seem easy, which is really a testament to how good they are.
  11. Haven't used these "Help Needed" threads much in the past but thought to give it a try today. I'm going to be in NYC later this week and will have about two hours free after a meeting to get to Penn Station and a train back to DC. Will be in Midtown (either central Midtown or Midtown East). Where would people recommend stopping to get some great takeaway to have for dinner on the train later since, well, can't stomach the fare that Amtrak sells? Can be most any cuisine but something that will stay for a few hours that can be boxed/packaged up. Hoping for something especially good, interesting (doesn't have to be a restaurant; maybe a great food market of some kind?). Would need it to be east of 8th between 50th and 30th. Here's hoping. And, Thank you!
  12. I have an unexpected trip to NYC next Monday and don't follow the dining scene there. I would love a recommendation for a solo meal (preferably at the bar- and even better if I can make a reservation) in midtown-ish, but I can cab to someplace that fits the bill. I'm looking for something not too loud. Had a great solo meal last month in Boston at Craigie on Main (thanks to Silentbob for the recommendation). Thanks.
  13. I will always credit Shimizu with helping me get my head straight when I was preparing to take the bar exam. No better way to calm nerves than a beautiful lunch chirashi presentation. And I try to stop by everytime I'm in the city. I didn't (and don't) know NY dining that well, and pretty much stumbled upon Shimizu by accident, but it's great sushi, 100% japanese staff, cozy and civilized.
  14. Location and Rates for Tonight - Website with Best-Rate Guarantee Early March is a very slow time in Manhattan, and hotels in Midtown West can often be found for relatively good prices. I just spent three nights at the Park Central Hotel, catty corner to Carnegie Hall (where I got to watch Matt play the other night!), and almost right next door to Carnegie Deli - which was so close to my room that I walked over there for a snack last night, and was back in ten minutes. I notice that tonight, the price has fallen to an absurdly low $105 a night (not including fees). This is a strong 3-star hotel, despite there being a couple of problems: the southern elevator banks were wonky, and this morning, for example, I walked down 16 flights of stairs rather than wait any longer. They have a non-negotiable $30 nightly "resort fee" (are you *kidding* me?) which covers nothing more than the fitness center, WiFi, free long distance calls, etc. - in other words, add $30 onto whatever price you can find, and then add tax on top of that. Even with these issues, Park Central is on the high side of 3 stars - call it 3 1/2, but I'm rating it 3 since I'd rather you be pleasantly surprised than somewhat disappointed. Still, this 1920's hotel has a *huge*, gorgeous bar, a good little snack area with quality coffee, and most importantly, quiet, comfortable, borderline-luxurious rooms that are surprisingly large. My king-sized bed was so big (I believe it was a California King) that I had to walk sideways to walk between the foot of the bed and the dresser. I could see Carnegie Hall right out my window as well. This was doubly fun for me, as Matt's band from Indiana University stayed here as well, and one night we walked over to Yakitori Totto and had dinner. I paid an average of about $133 a night to stay here, not including the $30 fee (which is clearly advertised, so there are no surprises), so it worked out to about $163 a night plus incidentals and taxes. Housekeeping is unobtrusive and does a good job, and the front desk staff is friendly and a pleasure to deal with. I would absolutely stay here again at the same rate, and recommend Park Central very highly to anyone wanting to stay just three blocks south of Central Park.
  15. Sometimes after a long day one just wants quiet. Quiet, and a good meal. After leaving drinks with a friend I had every intention of walking around the corner to The Modern for a quick meal. I took a spin through, but the bar was PACKED. Fortunately I decided to walk across the street to Chevalier. Shea Gallante is the chef at Chevalier - you may remember him from Cru. Chevalier is a high-ceilinged, rectangular restaurant. Booths are well spaced and the whole operation seems luxurious, but understated. Looking at marketing materials after the fact, Chevalier seems to be marketed as a "Brasserie Luxe", whatever that means. I don't find anything brasserie-ish about the menu, but I guess YMMV. Started off the meal with an amuse of a gougere stuffed with black truffle. Very good. A second amuse followed, this time cured salmon topped with salmon roe, sitting on a blini, which was resting on some creme fraiche. Also very good. I ordered a sancerre to start off - didn't catch the producer, but it was solid, if unspectacular. On the waiter's recommendation I started with scallops, which were paired with roasted beets and soubise (some horseradish added to the usual onion). The scallops were cooked perfectly and were well seasoned. I didn't think that the beets added much to the dish, but the soubise had a pleasant kick from the horseradish. At this point I was ready for my main course, but the waiter instead brought over a portion of fusilli pasta with an octopus bolognese. The dish was topped with some breadcrumbs which added a nice textural component - the octopus wasn't too assertive in the sauce, and although the dish was mild I enjoyed it. The sommelier suggested a Rully for the main course, and it was again solid, if unspectacular. Main course was the butter poached lobster, served with ricotta gnudi and a lobster emulsion. The main course had a generous portion of lobster, and some artichokes were included along with the gnudi. The gnudi were a good match for the lobster and this was the best dish of the night. No dessert for me, but a pair of macaroons were dropped along with the check. There has been some talk on the site lately about what constitutes good service. For me, the service at Chevalier was excellent. The servers were professional, knew the menu, made suggestions when asked and offered to answer any questions. They worked as a team to bring and clear dishes, kept water refilled and were very unobtrusive. A manager came by and asked how everything was when she picked up the bill, but that was about it. I didn't feel fawned over at all, just that I had come to a professional establishment and that the staff to care and pride in their jobs. All in all Chevalier was a good meal in a serene setting. Shea Gallante is a fantastic chef, and I admit I expected more from the meal - this was a very solid ** or ** 1/2 star meal, but given the meals I had at Cru previously I was expecting to find a bit of a diamond in the rough (well, not exactly rough, but you know). If in the neighborhood again I would stop in, but wouldn't base a trip around it.
  16. Heading up to NYC this weekend to see some friends. I know we have reservations at the Strip House (more along the line of the Palm rather than Good Guys) on Friday night. Has anyone been there and could comment on the restaurant. I have read some favorable reviews about the food (interesting sides like goose fat potatoes) but have heard that the wait even with reservations can be long. --- Robert's Steakhouse (crackers) Dining in New York City (jparrott)
  17. Another bombshell in that piece is that Gabriel Kreuther is leaving The Modern around the end of the year - he was the opening chef, and has been there since 2004.
  18. Thanks mainly to this post, managed to find and snag a last minute reservation at Al Fiori on a Saturday night a few weeks ago (most places were completely booked until 10, but they had openings at pretty much any time). The prix fixe menu is up to $97 for four courses, but still a decent price for the quality of meal. I had the Insalata di Alstice (nova scotia lobster, sunchokes, pine nuts, golden raisins, truffle vinaigrette), Corzetti pasta (fennel sausage, ricotta, pomodoro, basil), Capriolo (pan roasted venison chop, sweet potato, chestnut, parsnip, golden oak mushrooms), and Semifreddo (white chocolate, pomegranate, citrus, meringue). The lobster salad and dessert in particular were incredible. I think you might get a smaller pasta portion with the prix fixe menu to avoid getting full, because the people ordering just pasta next to us appeared to get a larger portion, but I didn't look closely enough to be sure. I thought the portion sizes ended up being just right for a filling meal, with some leftovers. Some other dining companions had the butternut squash soup, octopus, pasta with crustacean ragu, ricotta & marscapone ravioli, veal chop, caramelized brioche, and chocolate mille fuille. From what I tried, everything was great, especially the fatty, perfectly cooked veal chop. For vegetarians doing the prix fixe, they'll let you do a second pasta (and presumably appetizer if you ask) in place of the protein course, or a vegetable plate comprised of all of their side dishes (finger potatoes, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, hen of the woods mushrooms, and a creamy polenta), which we went with and ended up being a ton of food. Highlights in pictures below:
  19. We are taking the little guy to the Empire State Building next Saturday. After that we have to be at a concert at W 21st and 5th Ave by 6:30. So we are looking for a kid-friendly, not budget busting, dinner that we can have around 4:30 or 5 pm. He has pretty wide-ranging tastes but taking him to Craft is kind of out of my budget. At six, he is eating more than I am and I don't want to discuss how tall he is. And I suspect that he will be a little (a lot) wired post-ESB so someplace where the volume is already a little on the exuberant side, would be a good thing. Thanks!
  20. Hip, elegant, ethnic, hallucinogenic, whatever... Eating alone, will spend money but not a zillion dollars, hotel is in midtown but a location convenient to fine menswear or a decent museum considered. Grazie.
  21. When Mom and I went to New York for my wedding dress fitting at Atelier Aimee, we rolled into town and did the fitting, which took no time whatsoever, I was starving. Hubby and I had been to Angelo's a couple times before so Mom and I hopped, skipped and jumped and were there. I really like the pizza here, it isn't Neapolitan style, but I also don't know that it is really NY Style either. Moderate crust, good topping, very crispy with some char. I also have had pasta here that I liked too, as Hubby normally orders a pizza and I can steal a slice or so of his. I like the pasta with sausage and veggies in a white wine and garlic sauce, I replicate it at home a lot. Mom and I went in and she cracked up at the amount of pizza I could put away, she probably knew somewhat the hours I put in at the gym and how healthy I normally ate, but I don't think she quite knew. I was so excited to have that pizza, especially then when Arlington didn't have great pizza options like we do now. Anyway this is a fairly casual place, but it is good, honest food made with care. http://www.angelospi...y.com/index.htm
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