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The Elm, Chef Paul Liebrandt's Modern French at the King and Grove Hotel - 160 N. 12th Street, Williamsburg


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The Elm has been open a few months, and the reviews have been mostly ecstatic.  Brilliant, modern French food, at incomparable prices.

Liebrandt, NYC's enfant terrible, certainly knows his way around a kitchen.  He owns Michelin and NY Times' stars, and was the chef at Corton for 5 years and prior to that was at Gilt, also earning accolades.

I liked my first visit, where I was sharing and passing plates with 3 other diners.  But I really like my second visit, with just my wife; I got to eat more of the things I really wanted to.

Go - ASAP - who knows how long he'll be in the kitchen here?

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I'm having dinner there Friday night.  Should be interesting, mostly because I've never been to Williamsburg in the 25+ years I've been here in NYC.

:blink:

It's very good for that style of dining, if a tad overpriced.

For instance -- $14 cocktails, $22 for a mille-feuille made with candy-coated popcorn and $15 for approx. 2-3 tablespoons of intensely flavored steak tartare.  If you're going to have the audacity to charge that amount of money, you may want to create value perceived for money spent particularly if your customers are discerning or knowledgeable.

On the other hand, everything is prepared carefully and presented well, and there is an abundance of attention to detail from the artistry in the kitchen and on the plate, and in the execution of the staff.

It's a great experience (and if you're a fan of Liebrandt, well worth your time), but I won't be back.

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It's very good for that style of dining, if a tad overpriced.

For instance -- $14 cocktails, $22 for a mille-feuille made with candy-coated popcorn and $15 for approx. 2-3 tablespoons of intensely flavored steak tartare.  If you're going to have the audacity to charge that amount of money, you may want to create value perceived for money spent particularly if your customers are discerning or knowledgeable.

What's interesting about this post is that all of the knowledgable food people I know perceive it (or perceived it) as a great value for the money spent.

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should I?  oh, what the hell, that never stopped me from eating shoe leather.

steak tartare is basically ground beef with spices and a raw egg mixed in.  charging $15 for less than a mouthful of food ... essentially 10 minutes of labor and less than $10 food cost takes balls.  all of the foregoing is grossly oversimplified, and I realize that the hefty check is mostly paying for overhead, expenses and so forth.  when judging against expectations and coming face-to-face with execution, while everything is dazzling, brilliant, etc. -- and perhaps you missed the part where I said that it's very good for what it is -- it's not impressive [to me].  for that amount of money, I want to be touched in the right places; I want to be made to squeal.  this boy loves to squeal.

also, as I recall, I immediately wanted a pizza a couple of hours afterwards.  on the other hand, the "garden" (a pot of perfectly cooked, carefully curated (no doubt) vegetables) was a dream and I still think about it from time to time.

but what do I know?  clearly I am a philistine masquerading as a hobbit.

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should I?  oh, what the hell, that never stopped me from eating shoe leather.

steak tartare is basically ground beef with spices and a raw egg mixed in.  charging $15 for less than a mouthful of food ... essentially 10 minutes of labor and less than $10 food cost takes balls.  all of the foregoing is grossly oversimplified, and I realize that the hefty check is mostly paying for overhead, expenses and so forth.  when judging against expectations and coming face-to-face with execution, while everything is dazzling, brilliant, etc. -- and perhaps you missed the part where I said that it's very good for what it is -- it's not impressive [to me].  for that amount of money, I want to be touched in the right places; I want to be made to squeal.  this boy loves to squeal.

also, as I recall, I immediately wanted a pizza a couple of hours afterwards.  on the other hand, the "garden" (a pot of perfectly cooked, carefully curated (no doubt) vegetables) was a dream and I still think about it from time to time.

but what do I know?  clearly I am a philistine masquerading as a hobbit.

I suspect the food cost is substantially less than $10 if they're charging $15; more like $3-4.

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