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Restaurant suggestions - Help!

Thank you all so much for your thoughtful replies. I checked out all the suggestions and Globe seems perfect. Plus the Canadian slant is a good way to introduce them to the food of their new home. Much obliged.

Restaurant suggestions - Help!

I'd like to give my two dear friends a memorable evening and meal for their wedding present. They've just moved to Toronto and I've never been, so I don't even know where to start.

I'm giving them $200 (Canadian), and would like it to cover, or almost cover, their meal for two plus a decent bottle of wine. So no $100-per-person-tasting places. Also, they are both sophisticated and cool and young (almost 30) but I wouldn't consider them to be particularly adventuresome eaters. So I'd prefer somewhere that will deliver a guaranteed delicious meal and special evening over someplace shockingly inventive and cool.

Thanks Ontario! This American is in your debt.

Rachael Ray Parties Like a Rock Star

awesome write up. can you get me some of that alcoholic crystal light?

Mar 21, 2008
bluestone in Features

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl

My pregnant wife Grega is craving clam chowder in a bread bowl. Nothing else will do for the pampered duchess. Any ideas? I'm stumped.

Oct 29, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

Rayuela?

i actually ended up going even though i hadn't heard much from anyone. first off, it was incredible looking. kind of like stanton social - the olive tree is amazing, the walls were metal grates holding smooth stones. really impressive space. i had a couple cocktails before dinner which were great. we were sat promptly, service was very friendly if a bit scattered. the food was pretty hit or miss, but i forgive a lot when it's within the first month of opening. ceviche was great, guac with crab was fine, pork was overcooked, fish was great. sorry i can't be more specific, but it was awhile ago. overall i just remember there being, like, 2 too many ingredients in each dish. worth trying for yourself, i think.

Sep 27, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

WD-50 is disgusting. Right? Anyone?

Spoke too soon... Sam Mason, WD50 alum, is soft-opening his new restaurant Tailor tonight. Check out the menu on eater.com; looks pretty interesting. I'll give it a shot with my fingers crossed...

Aug 30, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

Miller High Life in Manhattan?

hmm. i've never noticed a problem, but maybe that's because my bodega sells it. it's on 9th ave between 18th and 19th, right in the middle of the block. bottles though, no cans.

Aug 26, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

WD-50 is disgusting. Right? Anyone?

ghsu, i think he was talking to me. and was offended by my comments on the original post, not your response.

and to answer your flipped question... nowhere, right? unless i am mistaken i don't think anyone else in the city has a restaurant dedicated solely to molecular gastronomy.

Aug 24, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

WD-50 is disgusting. Right? Anyone?

they didn't do it in sandwich form, but mas on downing street has (had?) guinness ice cream and it was unbelieveable.

Aug 23, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

WD-50 is disgusting. Right? Anyone?

well, up until this post that was exclusively the response i would get from wd50 fans when i talked about my experience. like, five of them. this board did give me a different, more measured response from people who dug it. that being said, however, i would not think twice about "taking such provocative swipes" again. it's just a food blog, and i just offered my opinion. no one died.

Aug 23, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

WD-50 is disgusting. Right? Anyone?

it's interesting reading everyone's experiences at the restaurant; the fans seem really thoughtful and pointed about what they liked about it (and the enemies equally as indignant as i was). i agree 100% with ghsu above about the search for exciting new dishes and textures; that's why i was so excited to try wd-50. and why i got this pissed when it was so gross. thank God for alinea or i might have been put off this genre of food forever.

i'm glad some people like it; more power to you. i'll just be saving my money for another plane ticket to chicago.

Aug 23, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

WD-50 is disgusting. Right? Anyone?

yeah, i heard he used to work there. i went to alinea after he'd already left, so i'm not sure if i just picked wrong (3 wrongs among us) at wd-50 or if i just prefer the new guy at alinea.

i definitely wanted to like the pine-apple-pineapple thing, as it sounded really intriguing, but the consistency was really off-putting and the pine taste was overpowering. it was like chewing on a mushy air freshener.

Aug 22, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

WD-50 is disgusting. Right? Anyone?

oops. without curse words this time.

i wrote the below note to eater a few months ago but they didn't publish it. i want to post it here in hopes that at least one person will be saved from this tragedy of a restaurant.

wd-50 fans dismiss detractors by assuming they don't get molecular gastronomy, or are tourists with unsophisticated palates. in my case, i've eaten at aliana in chicago and loved every minute of it... the unique flavor combinations and presentation were outstanding. i'm also not a tourist, and like to think i know at least a bit about good food and good restaurants.

and no, i'm not an angry waiter who got fired.

so bring it on chowhound, agree or disagree?

hi eater.

i have a great idea for a new feature. it will be called “WD-50: are you f*cking kidding me?” and it will be a weekly column from now until the end of time.

some colleagues and i needed to schedule a work dinner this week. since i am the one who reads the blogs and gets all emotional about good restaurants, they let me pick. i settled on WD-50, making sure to share the menu with them upfront as it is fairly unusual food. everyone was into it.

we decided against the tasting menu [thank you, jesus] and ordered a range of appetizers. my squid noodles were okay, not much flavor, but the foie gras was poorly cooked and flecked with “dehydrated basil seeds reconstituted in ginger water” or some such horseshit. completely tasteless. the tartare was fine; the accompanying béarnaise ice cream was not even remotely fine.

as the waiter cleared our appetizer plates, everyone tried to remain positive: “at least the salmon threads were well seasoned.” “my mayonnaise was perfectly fried.” alright, i thought. not a great start, but maybe the entrees are where dufresne really comes through.

the entrees were an abortion. in fact, they were probably less appetizing than an actual abortion. my scallops were paired with some sort of grain (quinoa, i think) that may have been cooked with a handful of tropical starburst fruit chews. the lamb tasted like it was boiled in a bag, and the red pepper tart just tasted like someone made a mistake. if i were being fair i would say that the mediterranean bass with cocoa and brittle peanut was actually pretty good, but i am not being fair so f that.

desserts were no reprieve – the saffron cream, paired with shortbread, tasted EXACTLY like windex (i have tasted windex). the yogurt parfait was served with pine, apple, and pineapple. get it? isn’t that fun? no, actually, it is not fun. it is gross.

i have certainly had my share of disappointing meals; i have even had many outright bad meals. but i have never been to a restaurant where nearly everything i ate tasted like a dare.

you guys don’t usually publish unsolicited reviews, but i didn’t know where else to turn. WD-50 must be stopped. the emperor has no clothes, my friends, because wylie dufresne has stolen his clothes and put them in an immersion circulator with powdered elderflower and shrimp sheets.

kindest regards.

jason k.

Aug 22, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

So how awful is Peter Luger's these days?

Here's the thing. I like steak. A lot. I'm not as well versed as BrookBoy, but I know good steak when I see one and I have my preferences. But the question is, "So how awful is Peter Luger's these days?" The answer is simple: it's not even remotely awful. It is, in fact, delicious. As always. The poster was hoping there would be a resounding "it's gross now, don't go" so he could tell his friends Luger's is over and stay in Manhattan. Which is fine; I'm a Manhattan snob too and Brooklyn is a pain in the ass. But if the LA friends insist, it's always worth the car service. That is some good ass steak and it's a great experience for out of town folks who want some old New York in their mouths.

Aug 02, 2007
bluestone in Outer Boroughs

Best milkshakes in NYC?

Off topic a little, but I was really psyched for Ronnybrook ice cream and went in just last week. I got a taste of the ginger creme brulee flavor and didn't like it, so I got the strawberry. And it was, honestly, kind of gross. It tasted like strawberry-flavored Nestle Quik syrup. Which is completely baffling, because I know (assume) they use fresh ingredients and all that jazz. But ugh. I actually threw it away. I will go back, probably, but man I hope their other flavors are better...

Jul 30, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

Good wine bar needed...

Hmm. It seems like they have changed quite a bit since I've been there. They don't actually seem to be a wine bar anymore, and have a new emphasis on live music every single night.

http://www.louis649.com/live/

Still seems like a good place, but probably not what you were looking for...

Jul 05, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

Secret Eating and Drinking Places

Some lady in the Post wasn't that into PDT...
http://www.nypost.com/seven/07032007/...

Jul 03, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

Good wine bar needed...

Louis in the East Village. Live jazz, never too crowded, lots of good wines to try by the glass. Unpretentious.

Jul 02, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

Rayuela?

Anyone been yet? The place looks awesome, and I like restaurants that have trees growing in the middle of them, but am suspicious at how little I've heard so far.

Jul 02, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

Ceviche and Wine

FOLLOW UP. We ended up at Pampano and had an incredible dinner. The townhouse was pretty ugly, in my opinion, and the service was kind of bumbling and charming -- fine by me, it's not a formal place and they were very attentive and nice. The food, however, was outstanding. Ceviches were great, goat cheese and red snapper quesidilla was great, and the fish entrees were outstanding, especially the swordfish with a potato-caper fondue. Oysters rolled in blue cornmeal with black bean and mango pico de gallo was probably the highlight of the evening. Wine list was full of good choices. We also got a spot on the terrace, which was ideal for summer. Good times had by all. Thanks again to everyone for the recommendations.

Jun 18, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

Secret Eating and Drinking Places

This is a perfect list. Thanks guys, much appreciated.

Jun 06, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

Never been to NYC...would love recs (inc. places w/no reservations needed, favorite casual dining that locals frequent, cheap eats, a few places to splurge)

I think a great place in midtown is the Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien for lunch... it's a hidden restaurant behind a curtain there, and it's consistently voted one of the best burgers in the city. It's also fun to head there and figure out where the secret entrance is (and is a good story for going home). Despite the fancy hotel vibe on the outside, the burger place is casual.

Don't bother with Mexican here. We still haven't really figured that one out yet.

Good pizza is a must. I will get yelled at for suggesting the "best" pizza in the city, so some good options are Grimaldi's (brooklyn), Lombardi's (Little Italy, big line sometimes), John's (on Bleecker) and, for something different, Otto (Batali's casual pizza place, really fun).

Not sure if you guys are drinkers, but Zum Schneider in the East Village is a lot of fun. It's a German beer house with really good traditional food and giant beers. I also love Cafe Rakka in the East Village for really, really cheap falafel.

Cheap sushi is plentiful but I can't think of anywhere special. Expensive sushi is a very different story.

That's what I got for now. I will keep thinking, though. Enjoy!

Jun 04, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

Secret Eating and Drinking Places

I love hidden restaurants and bars... places like the burger joint behind the curtain at Le Parker Meridien, the basement restaurant at La Esquina, Angel's Share, even Double Happiness (the bar with no sign in Chinatown). Any suggestions for hidden places?

Jun 04, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

Never been to NYC...would love recs (inc. places w/no reservations needed, favorite casual dining that locals frequent, cheap eats, a few places to splurge)

RGR is right, the food is gross and it's obscenely overpriced (like, $9 for an orange juice). But I might still have to say go... maybe just a light breakfast or lunch? The place is just really cool. I went years ago, with a visiting relative, and while I will probably never go back I'm glad I got to see it.

Jun 04, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

Never been to NYC...would love recs (inc. places w/no reservations needed, favorite casual dining that locals frequent, cheap eats, a few places to splurge)

Since people seem to be covering a lot of the splurge places, I have a recommendation for a reasonable one that doesn't need a reservation. It's Lima's Taste in the West Village. Peruvian joint. First off, the decor is attrocious (Led Zeppelin poster in the bathroom?!) so don't expect anything in that department. However, the food is off the charts, and since your mom seems to be a fan of different styles of food this would be perfect. Amazing ceviche selection, shrimp wrapped in bacon, pounded chicken in a sweet vingegar bbq sauce over fried yucca, chunks of filet with tomatoes, onions and french fries. I talk about this place awkwardly too often, but I love it and bring everyone I know as often as I can.

Hope you enjoy your time in the city!

Jun 04, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

Cuban Sandwich

GREAT cuban. i always forget about that place. complete dump but in a good way. i still prefer clinton restaurant, but calidad latina is really solid.

May 31, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

Ceviche and Wine

Rock. Thanks for all the suggestions, everybody.

May 30, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

Ceviche and Wine

i've heard good things but never been. it looks awesome, and the ceviche tasting might be ideal. it's not too stuffy is it? it looks like a beige townhouse.

May 30, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

Ceviche and Wine

Thank you guys for these great suggestions. Elizabeth, how is Bar Americain overall? It's not too douchey-midtown, is it?

May 29, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan

Narrowing choice for Birthday Dinner - Please chime in :)

I'd go for Bouley. I've had so many top notch meals there, and now's your chance to go before they leave the old space.

May 29, 2007
bluestone in Manhattan