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Dave Feldman's Profile

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Dim Sum/Seafood

The Gold Coast runs a shuttle (that also goes to its sister property, The Orleans) that connects to the Strip (last I checked, it picks up passengers at Bally's -- definitely confirm this), so that's one way of getting to Ping Pang Pong without a car or a taxi. PPP might be a decent option if you are a pescetarian. Not that many of the dim sum options aren't pork-based, but PPP has a decent number of fish and vegetable options (many of which are not on the carts, but can be special ordered -- definitely ask what is available -- I almost always order pea leaves).

Feb 26, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas

Lotus of Siam. What to order?

Will do, but I think I'm going to try the quail first.

Feb 25, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas

Desyree leaving Art of Flavors

It is sad, but I hope Desyree finds a venue where she can work unfettered. But it's a business, too. I would think that Desyree's work would tend to be more appreciated in a more upscale location, but of course the rent there would be higher.

Feb 25, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas

Lotus of Siam. What to order?

Wow, crispy duck in khao soi seems like an awful lot of fat. Was that a problem or were the flavors balanced? I go back and forth on what kind of protein to order in khao soi. I usually alternate between the cheapest option, the chicken (which I admit is relatively boring chicken breast) and the short ribs, which are tasty but almost too rich.

Feb 25, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas

Chada Thai

I think it's definitely worth going to Chada. It's got a totally different atmosphere -- it's quiet, dark, and hip, with an eclectic mix of music playing softly. Conducive to quiet conversation and sipping wine. The people who work there are lovely, too.

LOS is my favorite place to eat in Las Vegas. Chada is my second favorite. I had to contact Bank about another matter and asked him if he has any particular favorites among the new dishes. I'll let you know when he responds.

Feb 25, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas

Chada Thai

First of all, the menu online (http://chadavegas.com/menu.html) is misleading. If you click on the upper right, you'll see a dinner menu and a gluten-free menu. You'd assume the latter would consist of the dishes on the first menu that are gluten-free, but there are some dishes on the latter menu that aren't included on the "dinner" menu.

For example, my favorite dish at Chada is the Century Egg Basil, that online is listed only on the GF menu. Another favorite is the fresh oyster with chili, lime, and garlic (the fried oysters are terrific, too, but not that different from an American version).

I haven't had many of the dishes on the latest menu, but I'd propose this strategy, which has always put me in good stead: Order dishes that you've never seen on a Thai menu before. That has always put me in good stead at Chada.

Feb 24, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas

Who's up for LoS dinner May 1st or 3rd? (or both!)

If I'm in town, of course!

Feb 22, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas

Grubhub.com

I use it for exactly the same reasons as small h. I don't find GrubHub's website well-designed. I must prefer Seamless's, but there isn't a total overlap of restaurants.

Dim Sum/Seafood

One suggestion re: dim sum at Ping Pang Pong (which I prefer to KJ's). PPP offers limited dim sum service during the week, but there are many more options on Saturday and Sunday, and this is one case where the food quality improves the busier it is, so I try to go in prime time (early afternoon, usually). If there are some dim sum items you'd like, it doesn't hurt to ask. Such requests have yielded some of the best dishes I've had (I particularly remember a bucket of steamed clams in black bean sauce).

Feb 21, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas

Lotus of Siam: Still wonderful but...

In general, the best time to call is when the restaurant is serving, and lunchtime is usually easier than dinner. There is no voicemail or way to leave a message, unfortunately.

Feb 17, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas

Amazing Veggie Chinese

Did you happen to notice if there was a glass case (like at a deli) of cold appetizers in the front? These are often my favorite dishes at Sichuan restaurants, and perfect for takeout, especially if I've got a refrigerator in my room.

Feb 17, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas

What's a good place for coffee and a snack with a guest on UWS?

I'm in this situation a lot. I think that Irving Farm has the best combination of coffee and food quality. And no one will care or chase you out if you are there for an hour (or longer). It is virtually always busy during daylight hours. You can almost always find a seat but it is often a two-top right next to other two-tops. And the noise level is often relatively high (despite that many folks are working on their laptops). It's not the place for proposing marriage or unburdening your deepest secrets, but I've conducted business meetings, college interviews, and reconnected with old friends.

The Birdbath that Trockwood mentions probably has better food (the salads and bakery items made famous at City Bakery) but the seating is very limited and often uncomfortable (upstairs).

FIka is the most variable. I've seen it packed and I've seen it empty. One other possibility, besides the Starbucks on 81st and Broadway and the one on 88th and Broadway, is Edgar's at 92nd and Amsterdam. There's nothing extraordinary about it, but in my experience, you have a better shot at privacy here than most coffeehouses in Manhattan.

Feb 17, 2015
Dave Feldman in Manhattan
1

The lies chefs tell

Is it fair to described vegetables as "steamed" when it is clearly finished with butter?

Feb 16, 2015
Dave Feldman in General Topics

Amazing Veggie Chinese

Thanks so much for this. 5115 used to be the home of many good Chinese restaurants, as well as Malaysian and Vietnamese, so it's great to hear there is an an uptick (unless Veggie House has been around longer than I thought).

Did you by any chance have any of the cold appetizers (which aren't described in the menu)? I'm hoping that these are typical cold Sichuan appetizers.

Feb 16, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas

Pete Wells and the Uselessness of Star Ratings

Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

But I think there is a weird conflation between "fine dining" and high quality. Just as an example, I've eaten at Daniel three times and the only thing I can remember was an excellent squash soup. So there are many takeout places I would rate higher.

I do not understand why it is necessary for a restaurant to have a wine program, for example, to garner the NY Times's top rating. I agree with all you say in the second paragraph -- I guess what annoys me is that your first sentence is true and will probably be ever thus: "I suspect that most critics disregard category -- so a takeout place could never get as high a rating as a fine dining establishment."

Pete Wells and the Uselessness of Star Ratings

Very good questions, and that's what my original post was meant to provoke. At least the issues that Wells articulated in the review hardly seem sufficient to bring his overall rating of what you refer to as "the restaurant itself." To answer your last question, based on the photos that Chowhounds have supplied, I'd answer, it is very good: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9933...

Pete Wells and the Uselessness of Star Ratings

I haven't been there. Sorry my phrasing was so ambiguous. You've probably seen this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9933...

Pete Wells and the Uselessness of Star Ratings

Jim,

I know how I feel about this subject. A restaurant that puts out one great dish is a great restaurant, at least if you are in the mood for that dish that day.

That's one reason why my favorite food guide book of all time was Robert & Rima's original New Orleans Restaurant Guide that gave a rating to EACH DISH it mentioned (although they had published another book in 1970, I think this one was first released in the mid-70s. There's no way that this level of detail would be possible in a big city. At that time, there was remarkably little turnover in restaurants in the Crescent City, and I used the book for more than a decade, not so much to determine where to eat, but what to eat. Like you, they were "horizontal" critics. They treated a Po' Boy place with the same attention and respect as shmancy places.

I understand why it would be difficult to assign stars, but I would be highly oriented towards emphasizing how good the good stuff is rather than how bad the bad stuff is. Any rating system that doesn't take into account for the greatness of the Arepa Lady's main product seems worthless to me.

Likewise, notions of service and ambience vary from person to person. Service, to me, hinges more on the enthusiasm, knowledge, and sensitivity of the servers rather than whether my water glass is constantly replenished. Noise and the comfort of seating is more important to me than the quality of the flatware or the number of chandeliers. I realize that other people would have different priorities.

Pete Wells and the Uselessness of Star Ratings

Bob, you must have misinterpreted the last sentence. I didn't mean to indicate that Kao Soy IS the best Thai restaurant in NYC (you are correct that I've never been here), just that any system in which the quality of the food is that unimportant in the final rating betrays a parochialism that I associate with Michelin. It's a closed system where, say an Asian restaurant has to mimic Western fine-dining establishments in order to achieve a high rating.

I've always hated this, and to be honest, I'm not sure why this particular review set me off so much. It might be because Wells's excitement reminds me of when I was first exposed to Northern Thai food at Lotus of Siam in 1999/2000.

(Late) Meal Report – Spago – “Dining Room” – Saturday, August 23, 2014

Thanks for this. It has been a while since we've had a full report from the dining room at Spago. Eric Klein must have set a record for longest reign as executive chef at a Strip fine dining restaurant. It's great to see that he isn't coasting.

Feb 10, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas

Looking for good Japanese Tonkatsu Ramen in Las Vegas this weekend

Glad you had a good experience. The explosion of Japanese options in Las Vegas might be the culinary story of the 2000's in Las Vegas.

Feb 10, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas

Birthday Weekend Suggestions

The pub room at Collichio & Sons is another option, literally across the street from the west entrance to the Chelsea Market. Less pricey/formal than Del Posto.

Feb 10, 2015
Dave Feldman in Manhattan
1

Pete Wells and the Uselessness of Star Ratings

I don't think you can find many restaurant reviews in the NY Times that would make you want to leave your apartment in sub-freezing weather and hop in a subway as this: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/11/din...

And then Wells assigns it one star. Out of four. I've read three-star reviews of his that are less enthusiastic.

My position on this is consistent. I put little stock in Zagat ratings, Michelin ratings (especially), or critics' star ratings. And I realize that critics take into account service and ambiance (although it sure sounds like Wells received good service).

What are our values if a lack of a tablecloth or crowded table tops trumps (if this critic's own words are to be believed) the excitement of the food? Is the best Thai food in the city worth fewer stars than a middle-level French or Italian midtown expense-account place?

Dumpling King - Muslim and Buddhist Chinese Cuisine on Spring Mountain, an experience worth seeking out

I'm guessing that the chef or owners might be from Dongbei.

Feb 09, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas

Birthday Weekend Suggestions

Right near Grand Central is Aburiya Kinnosuke (213 E. 45th) is wonderful. The robata grill works wonders on poultry and fish. The sashimi is fine but expensive relative to the grilled food and clay pots. There is an extensive list of daily specials, and I always look for what fish collars are available, and what custards (I especially like the eel custard). Nice selection of sakes and shoyu drinks. I believe it is now only open for dinner. I'll link to the website, but I'm receiving error messages from it: http://aburiyakinnosuke.com/

Feb 09, 2015
Dave Feldman in Manhattan
1

Birthday Dinner

It's not French, but I just had a birthday dinner for 11 people at Louro, at the long table at the back of the house, which gives you some privacy. My choice was to serve a selection of the "bites" and "small plates" from the regular menu, and then have guests choose their entrees. And then we shared desserts from the regular menu (I didn't want birthday cake, but he made a special caramel bread pudding for me). Even with liquor (maybe 5 bottles of relatively inexpensive wine, and a few beers and cocktails, we came under the low end of your budget. Chef/co-owner Dave Santos is happy to work with you and whatever your budget is. I'm sure everybody could order all the dishes from the menu, but this approach made it feel more like a family celebration.

I love the informality and friendliness of the service at Louro, and there was no time pressure (we were there for hours). Dave always tries to please (I did have one request -- for his mackerel escabeche -- and he was kind enough to oblige). My friends, a diverse group, loved the dinner.

http://www.louronyc.com/

Feb 09, 2015
Dave Feldman in Manhattan

The Good...The B&Bad...and the Very Good.....My Reviews

Good to have you back, LIC.

Just have to second your dis of the fried chicken in the chicken and waffles at Bouchon. I've had it twice and although only once was it overcooked, both times the chicken was drastically underseasoned.

Feb 08, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas

Chada Street

Yep, 'tis true. It's scheduled to open in early Spring but there have already been delays, so who knows?

Feb 07, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas

Lunch tomorrow after 6hr flight

Fat Choy is a great idea. I only wish they had a little more vegetable options. Two recs: the pork bao and in particular the sesame noodles. I had pretty much given up eating sesame noodles in Las Vegas, which are usually a gloppy mess. Fat Choy's rendition is tangy and light, with a nice texture from the al dente vegetables.

Feb 06, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas

Looking for good Japanese Tonkatsu Ramen in Las Vegas this weekend

Monta is still my favorite, although there is often a wait involved. I particularly like their tonkatsu, and always order nitamigo, which is beautifully seasoned.

Feb 04, 2015
Dave Feldman in Las Vegas