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Last week, I went to the Rye Street Tavern, NoHo Hospitality Group's latest foray into Baltimore. It was on a Sunday evening, so we naturally gravitated towards their "Southern Fried Sundays" - a fried chicken dinner, served family style. Keep reading, because I'm going to tell you a little secret about ordering this meal that wouldn't be at all obvious to a first-time diner. and it will make the difference between you "liking it," and "loving it." The cocktails were somewhat expensive, but were well-made and delicious: And a little loaf of cornbread comes out just before everything else arrives: Then, the family-style dinner: Everything about this meal screamed "Repeat!" - everything, that is, except the price: We paid $70 for those two little assemblages of food that you see just above (plus the cornbread). "Geez," I said, "$70, and we got *four* pieces of chicken!" I mean, it was great and everything, but as you can see, there are three starch-heavy items: the cornbread, the biscuits, and the potatoes, and we both paced our dinners so that we finished everything at the same time. We were mildly full, and yes, the richness of the cooking made everything satisfying, but come on! I wanted more chicken, darn it! So, just as we were winding down, our server came up to us, and said, "Would you all care for some more chicken, or side dishes?" "Wat?" Okay, so ... spending my money so you don't have to ... we asked for some more chicken, potatoes, and collards (made with delicious bacon, btw), and got a healthy second portion; the rub is that we had *no idea* it was coming, so we filled up on starch, when we would have really preferred a better balance with another piece of chicken. Remember: Those second portions are coming your way, but not a word was said about them until we had almost finished the meal - if you take *that* into consideration, and use it to your advantage, then $35 is a very fair price for this meal. Also, the restaurant gave us two spice muffins "to have with breakfast the next morning," which is always a nice touch. To Rye Street's full credit, they offered to box up the second helping which we couldn't finish - we felt sheepish about this, since boxing up all-you-can-eat meals is something of a shady practice, but they would hear nothing of it. Keep in mind: I don't know if this is all-you-can-eat; I suspect you get two helpings, and *maybe* a third helping if you really do a number on everything, but I wouldn't count on that. Still, in no way did they seem like they were trying to skimp on things, so this was merely a lack of knowledge on our part - learn from our mistake! Go here on a Sunday night, get this exact same thing, and *remember* that it's essentially all-you-can-eat - I can't guarantee we'd have gotten a third helping, but who knows? There's no need to stuff yourself with carbs, merely so you don't leave hungry. Furthermore, the restaurant, and the grounds it's on (it shares acreage with a distillery) is beautiful - there's even a battleship in the background! And that is damned good fried chicken!
In NYC over the weekend for a birthday getaway. Was able to spend several hours getting acquainted with The Dutch, the new-ish spot from Andrew Carmellini in SoHo. Unfortunately didn't ever make it over to a proper table as I was using the place as a meetup for folks. But got to try several of their items via the bar. Definitely get the fried oyster mini sandwiches (order several), the hot fried chicken (semi-famous in his cookbook), and anything they're recommending from the raw bar. The real standout, though, is the service. Top notch at every station -- the killer bartenders somehow made dealing with the Friday evening post-HH rush seem effortless and kudos to the beverage director Brynn who took care of us with a little extra. I'd recommend going for lunch or early in the evening during nice weather when the sun is still out and occupying the counter seating alongside the open windows.
I haven't been down to the Lafayette-Houston area in forever. I think Tower Records may still have been open. A group of 5 of us went for dinner at Lafayette following a memorial service in midtown. It was super loud and reminded me quite a bit of Balthazar in terms of lay out and sound. Our server was excellent and never let anyone run out of drinks (both alcoholic and non). We skipped appetizers and went straight to the entrees. I had a roasted pork chop that was great. Others at the table had the duck, the bass, a goat cheese ravioli and I think a roasted chicken dish. Everyone was very pleased. The brussels sprouts and pomme frites for the table were a hit as well. The dessert options were a bit exotic--the pineapple pavlova wasn't going to work for any of us, nor the chilled rhubarb consommé. It wouldn't be my first choice---my list of places I want to go in NY is quite long--but it was another case of everything being just right on a day where that was just what was needed.
Bar Primi is Andrew Carmellini and friends' new "hot spot" (per eater, it's a hot spot, but how it can be a hot spot before it even opened I'll never know) on Bowery. Bowery is the place to open new restaurants, evidently. Walk-ins - they'll take ressies for 6 - how refreshing! Anyway, snark aside, a friend and I walked in the other night and grabbed 2 seats at the bar. Nicely made Negronis and Martinis were had. 2 apps - baked clams (4 for $12!) were just okay, but the stuffed meatballs were delicious. 2 pastas - it's a pasta place after all - were great. AC has always been good at pasta. Should be a major shitshow. Or, as eater likes to call it, a hot spot.