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  1. We had brunch earlier today to make up for a disastrous dinner last night at a local Vietnamese place in the Castro (Jasmine Garden, (708 14th Street (Church Street)). The waitstaff didn't hear that I had ordered chicken pho even though I repeated my order a few times. As a result, I never received my entree. The steamed bass that B ordered was somehow mixed in with glass noodles and a thick cloying sauce. Strike another local place off our list which we won't be returning to anytime soon. Brunch was much better, in spades. Monsieur Benjamin 451 Gough Street (Ivy Street) http://www.monsieurbenjamin.com/ It's a beautiful glass enclosed space with an open kitchen, a marble counter, one communal table, several two- and four-tops and an outdoor seating area. The room can get loud. At the time we were there, it was half-full and eventually became three quarters-full. Lots of wooden surfaces, glass surfaces, hard edges and square corners mean that there's no sound absorption. You can hear your partner if he or she is sitting next to you but you might have to speak louder than normal in order to make yourself heard by the staff. That is a valid criticism that we have, so take it for what it's worth. Butter lettuce salad with fines herbes and radishes. Very lightly dressed. B loved it, even with the minute amounts of tarragon that were present in the vinaigrette. Fried frogs' legs en aigre doux, with garlic and lemon. Expertly fried, and greaseless. Great attention to detail. It made me sit up and take notice - this is a place we should return to, for dinner. Oeufs en meurette (eggs poached in red wine), with duck confit, spinach, mushrooms, potatoes and sauce au poivre. Well-made, although the sauce was a tad oversalted. Tarte au chocolat, mint sherbet, shortbread cookie. Was perfect. Can't say much more than that. Total bill came out to $114 ($57 per person). The restaurant adds a 20% surcharge which replaces the need to add a tip.
  2. "All Aboard the Nordic Express, at Agern" by Pete Wells on nytimes.com Note: Agern (pronounced "AY-gurn' - and meaning "Acorn" in Danish) is operated by Meyers USA. Nominally, and I stress nominally, the "Executive Chef" is Gunnar Gíslason, the chef at Dill in Reykjavík. The Chef de Cuisine - the person running the kitchen - is Joseph Yardley, who comes from Acme in New York. The primary investor is the Dane, Claus Meyer, one of the founders of Noma in Copenhagen. Agern has plans to begin serving breakfast, then lunch; right now it's dinner-only, so assuming a future absence from Mr. Meyer and Chef Gíslason (probably a safe assumption), you should go *now* while they're trying their hardest to break into the New York market. Despite the hype, I see no reason to believe Agern will be anything more than an attempt to capitalize on the New York populace with the romance and mystique of Modern Scandanavian cooking - it would be one thing if Meyer and Gíslason moved to New York and set up permanent shop, but I don't see that implied at all - from my experience, what you can expect is greatness in the beginning - while they're trying to prove themselves - and then that greatness fading away over time. So go *now*.
  3. "David Chang Opens His Momofuku Tonight with Italian Food and No Tipping" by Sierra Tishgart on grubstreet.com (I would read the above article instead of just relying on the title, which is not entirely correct.) "David Chang Opens Korean-Italian Momofuku Nishi Tonight in Chelsea" by Nell Casey on gothamist.com "What To Expect from Momofuku Nishi, David Chang's Korean-Italian Fusion Spot" on metro.us
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