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Reviews of weekend, thanks for advice!

I posted this in reply to my original question, but figured no one would see it so reposting separately.

Returned from NYC on Sunday...wanted to thank everyone for their opinions and recommendations. Here's what we did.

SushiSamba 7 on Friday night. Had a 9 pm reservation, had to wait until about 9:30 to get a table. My stepdaughter was totally fine in there. They even let her stand in the bar area while waiting for a table. We were seated upstairs, which has a great fun atmosphere and decor. The weather was nice enough so that they had all the upstairs walls removed and the fresh air and scenary of the street was great. We had the yellowtail taquitos, which were outstanding. Light, crisp shell, delicious fresh yellowtail mixed with a creamy avocado. Wonderful. We also had the pork belly skewers in butterscotch miso sauce, which I was concerned about for the sweetness factor but it was not overwhelming. The sauce was a bit syrupy and a little sweet for my taste but still delicious, and the pork belly was cooked perfectly. We ordered sushi rolls and they were nothing out of the ordinary, but especially with sushi I do appreciate just getting what I expect to when I order. The quality of the fish was very very good. It was fresh and not fishy in the least. overall, very good experience.

We did head to Stanton Social after that for an 11:15 reservation. The weather didn't cooperate and it rained, we couldn't get a cab, i couldn't figure out the subway, and it was too far to walk in our heels. We finally managed to get a cab over there but it was close to midnight at that point. The SS bouncer initially didn't want to let us sit upstairs in the lounge because my stepdaughter being underage, but the hostess told him we had a reservation and they let us up. We got up there but unfortunately didn't eat anything. My stepdaughter had had it with her long day of school, then traveling, then the whole cab in the rain experience. We were soaked and tired, so we just left. Too bad, because the atmosphere and menu looked great. i will definately try it next time.

Lunch on Saturday: Ippudo ramen, which is my favorite. We both got pork buns and the Modern, nothing fancy. I did Kae-Dama but that was a mistake this time because I was overly stuffed. I personally love the depth of flavor in the broth of the Modern, and the noodles are spot on, so this is my personal favorite. I will note this small irregularity in seating: We got there around 12:15, so of course the place was already packed. The hostess told us at least an hour for a table. We put our name in and started walking around the union square area to kill time. For some reason (a hunch I guess) we went back about fifteen minutes later: and we were the next table called. Had we walked around for 45 minutes or so and then returned, which was my plan, we would have been SOL. I know hosts exaggerate wait times to give a worst case scenario, but it was a bit much.

Dinner: Osteria del Circo. I know its nothing special, but it was close to the hotel and I've always wanted to try the one in Vegas and never have, so thought I would give it a try. Adequate at best. Our waiter was very unhelpful when I asked him to explain different dishes or give a recommendation, he basically just read the description of the dish off the menu. No insight about what to order. Bread given initially was run of the mill focaccia mix, and they provided only a very little olive oil for dipping. Really, like just a tablespoon or two in a small dish. So it had to be refilled, which is a little odd. I started with the grilled octopus and stepdaughter had caprese salad. Hers was a caprese salad, enough said, but she is not very adventurous. I did taste the homemade mozz and liked that it had a slightly sour flavor. My octopus was just OK. I think I was comparing it to the first time I had octopus at Badolato in Las Vegas, which was flipping outstanding. This octopus was several whole tentacles that had been heavily grilled. It was very encrusted with grill crust and seasoning, which overpowered any taste the octopus itself might have had. It was a little chewy, but not horrible. Came with a lemony creme fraiche to dip which I also thought was an odd choice. I am used to my octopus lightly grilled, with a light lemon herb dressing, maybe potatoes/capers, etc. creme fraiche a little heavy for me. For main courses, stepdaughter had tomato basil gnocchi which was....tomato basil gnocchi. Gnocchi were homemade, good but not outstanding, and in my opinion a little small. Also, the sauce was very close to a decent sauce out of the jar. I had expected something a little fresher. It tasted good, but was nothing special. I had the mozz/spinach ravioli. It was advertised as being cooked in browned butter, but I saw no evidence of that. The ravioli pasta itself was very good, thin and well cooked. The filling was a bit on the light side and too heavy on the spinach, but was acceptable. The dish was solid but again not outstanding. It did sit very heavily in my stomach. For the price we paid, meal wasn't worth it, but stepdaughter did like the interior decorations and had a good time. And there was nothing wrong with the meal, it just was average.

Brunch at David Burke Townhouse on Sunday: I basically went here because I knew stepdaughter would love the cheesecake lollipop tree, and it did not disappoint. By this morning we were both very full from eating all weekend, however, and couldn't do much justice to a three course brunch. But we tried! She started with berries/yogurt/granola, which again was a good rendition of what it was. Berries looked very fresh. i had the tomato soup, which was outstanding. Well seasoned, with a little creme fraiche and basil oil on top. Smooth but still with good texture. And served quite hot, which is how i like it. Very good. Main courses were a bit more problematic only because of a menu issue. I had looked at the menu online before coming and had decided I wanted the "smoked salmon reuben" which is advertised as a salmon reuben sandwich with gruyere and zucchini "sauerkraut". It was not on the menu at all when we were there on Sunday. Also not on the menu was the pancakes with chocolate chip ice cream and whipped cream, which stepdaughter had wanted to order. So we were a little disappointed. i asked the waiter if the kitchen could still make me the smoked salmon reuben and he checked and then said that they could. So I was excited. What I got for a meal, however, was a smoked salmon eggs benedict with a side of shoestring potato fries, which I never would have ordered. stepdaughter had gotten the chorizo eggs benedict, so we basically had the same thing with different meats. I was not very happy about this; but it was my fault for ordering something that wasn't on the menu, I guess. I didn't say anything to the waiter or staff at DB Townhouse about the fact that I didn't feel I got what I ordered. Felt it was my fault for ordering off the menu, not theirs. obviously a misunderstanding, so not meant as too much of a criticism.

The eggs benedict was good, hollandaise well executed and seasoned, eggs cooked perfectly, etc. Didn't eat the shoestring potatoes, not my thing. For dessert stepdaughter got the cheesecake lollipop tree, which really is visually stunning. It's about eight walnut sized cheesecake balls on sticks that have been dipped in various coatings like chocolate, nuts, etc. and put on sticks to fashion a "tree". She thought they were great. I literally couldn't even eat one because I was so stuffed. I had berries and cream only for dessert, as I was so full.

So that was the weekend! Thanks so much for everyone's input! Sorry this is so long!

Oct 07, 2009
thebets in Manhattan

One teen, one 30 year old...can it equal fun?

Sorry, just wanted to add that I didn't say anything to the waiter or staff at DB Townhouse about the fact that I didn't feel I got what I ordered. Felt it was my fault for ordering off the menu, not theirs. obviously a misunderstanding, so not meant as too much of a criticism. CH wouldn't let me edit previous post, so sorry about the repeat.

Oct 06, 2009
thebets in Manhattan

One teen, one 30 year old...can it equal fun?

Returned from NYC on Sunday...wanted to thank everyone for their opinions and recommendations. Here's what we did.

SushiSamba 7 on Friday night. Had a 9 pm reservation, had to wait until about 9:30 to get a table. My stepdaughter was totally fine in there. They even let her stand in the bar area while waiting for a table. We were seated upstairs, which has a great fun atmosphere and decor. The weather was nice enough so that they had all the upstairs walls removed and the fresh air and scenary of the street was great. We had the yellowtail taquitos, which were outstanding. Light, crisp shell, delicious fresh yellowtail mixed with a creamy avocado. Wonderful. We also had the pork belly skewers in butterscotch miso sauce, which I was concerned about for the sweetness factor but it was not overwhelming. The sauce was a bit syrupy and a little sweet for my taste but still delicious, and the pork belly was cooked perfectly. We ordered sushi rolls and they were nothing out of the ordinary, but especially with sushi I do appreciate just getting what I expect to when I order. The quality of the fish was very very good. It was fresh and not fishy in the least. overall, very good experience.

We did head to Stanton Social after that for an 11:15 reservation. The weather didn't cooperate and it rained, we couldn't get a cab, i couldn't figure out the subway, and it was too far to walk in our heels. We finally managed to get a cab over there but it was close to midnight at that point. The SS bouncer initially didn't want to let us sit upstairs in the lounge because my stepdaughter being underage, but the hostess told him we had a reservation and they let us up. We got up there but unfortunately didn't eat anything. My stepdaughter had had it with her long day of school, then traveling, then the whole cab in the rain experience. We were soaked and tired, so we just left. Too bad, because the atmosphere and menu looked great. i will definately try it next time.

Lunch on Saturday: Ippudo ramen, which is my favorite. We both got pork buns and the Modern, nothing fancy. I did Kae-Dama but that was a mistake this time because I was overly stuffed. I personally love the depth of flavor in the broth of the Modern, and the noodles are spot on, so this is my personal favorite. I will note this small irregularity in seating: We got there around 12:15, so of course the place was already packed. The hostess told us at least an hour for a table. We put our name in and started walking around the union square area to kill time. For some reason (a hunch I guess) we went back about fifteen minutes later: and we were the next table called. Had we walked around for 45 minutes or so and then returned, which was my plan, we would have been SOL. I know hosts exaggerate wait times to give a worst case scenario, but it was a bit much.

Dinner: Osteria del Circo. I know its nothing special, but it was close to the hotel and I've always wanted to try the one in Vegas and never have, so thought I would give it a try. Adequate at best. Our waiter was very unhelpful when I asked him to explain different dishes or give a recommendation, he basically just read the description of the dish off the menu. No insight about what to order. Bread given initially was run of the mill focaccia mix, and they provided only a very little olive oil for dipping. Really, like just a tablespoon or two in a small dish. So it had to be refilled, which is a little odd. I started with the grilled octopus and stepdaughter had caprese salad. Hers was a caprese salad, enough said, but she is not very adventurous. I did taste the homemade mozz and liked that it had a slightly sour flavor. My octopus was just OK. I think I was comparing it to the first time I had octopus at Badolato in Las Vegas, which was flipping outstanding. This octopus was several whole tentacles that had been heavily grilled. It was very encrusted with grill crust and seasoning, which overpowered any taste the octopus itself might have had. It was a little chewy, but not horrible. Came with a lemony creme fraiche to dip which I also thought was an odd choice. I am used to my octopus lightly grilled, with a light lemon herb dressing, maybe potatoes/capers, etc. creme fraiche a little heavy for me. For main courses, stepdaughter had tomato basil gnocchi which was....tomato basil gnocchi. Gnocchi were homemade, good but not outstanding, and in my opinion a little small. Also, the sauce was very close to a decent sauce out of the jar. I had expected something a little fresher. It tasted good, but was nothing special. I had the mozz/spinach ravioli. It was advertised as being cooked in browned butter, but I saw no evidence of that. The ravioli pasta itself was very good, thin and well cooked. The filling was a bit on the light side and too heavy on the spinach, but was acceptable. The dish was solid but again not outstanding. It did sit very heavily in my stomach. For the price we paid, meal wasn't worth it, but stepdaughter did like the interior decorations and had a good time. And there was nothing wrong with the meal, it just was average.

Brunch at David Burke Townhouse on Sunday: I basically went here because I knew stepdaughter would love the cheesecake lollipop tree, and it did not disappoint. By this morning we were both very full from eating all weekend, however, and couldn't do much justice to a three course brunch. But we tried! She started with berries/yogurt/granola, which again was a good rendition of what it was. Berries looked very fresh. i had the tomato soup, which was outstanding. Well seasoned, with a little creme fraiche and basil oil on top. Smooth but still with good texture. And served quite hot, which is how i like it. Very good. Main courses were a bit more problematic only because of a menu issue. I had looked at the menu online before coming and had decided I wanted the "smoked salmon reuben" which is advertised as a salmon reuben sandwich with gruyere and zucchini "sauerkraut". It was not on the menu at all when we were there on Sunday. Also not on the menu was the pancakes with chocolate chip ice cream and whipped cream, which stepdaughter had wanted to order. So we were a little disappointed. i asked the waiter if the kitchen could still make me the smoked salmon reuben and he checked and then said that they could. So I was excited. What I got for a meal, however, was a smoked salmon eggs benedict with a side of shoestring potato fries, which I never would have ordered. stepdaughter had gotten the chorizo eggs benedict, so we basically had the same thing with different meats. I was not very happy about this; but it was my fault for ordering something that wasn't on the menu, I guess. The eggs benedict was good, hollandaise well executed and seasoned, eggs cooked perfectly, etc. Didn't eat the shoestring potatoes, not my thing. For dessert stepdaughter got the cheesecake lollipop tree, which really is visually stunning. It's about eight walnut sized cheesecake balls on sticks that have been dipped in various coatings like chocolate, nuts, etc. and put on sticks to fashion a "tree". She thought they were great. I literally couldn't even eat one because I was so stuffed. I had berries and cream only for dessert, as I was so full.

So that was the weekend! Thanks so much for everyone's input! Sorry this is so long!

Oct 06, 2009
thebets in Manhattan

Best restaurants in Hartford, West Hartford?

For Chinese I recommend Green Tea in Famington/Simsbury.

IMO, best restaurant in WH is Flemings. Very expensive, but VERY good.

Oct 01, 2009
thebets in Southern New England

Sicilian pizza in Hartford area?

Lena's is probably my favorite pizza but I would not call it sicilian, the crust is on the thick side. But I love it.

Oct 01, 2009
thebets in Southern New England

Sauce in Glastonbury Ct

I ate there maybe 8 months or a year ago. I can't specifically remember what I had enough to review it, but it is no shame that the place closed. it was an unimpressive meal. I do specifically remember that the sauce (ironically) was extremely underseasoned and not flavorful.

One teen, one 30 year old...can it equal fun?

Ha Ha no!! she is beautiful and wonderful. I'm "worked" about it because this is a special stepmother stepdaughter bonding thing and I want it to be great for her. And c oliver, I'm not having angst about it; I just don't want to get attitude from the crowd for bringing a teenager to a place she really shouldn't be.

Sep 25, 2009
thebets in Manhattan

One teen, one 30 year old...can it equal fun?

Everyone, I know I posted a similar question before, but I'm just having a lot of trouble with this. I did read a lot of prior posts on teens, but they were more geared toward "family vacations with teens to entertain". I'm taking my 14 year old stepdaughter into the city next Friday and Saturday nights. I want this to be like a fun girls trip, not family vacation. I want to take her "out"; but I obviously can't take her to a club or bar. I saw all the recommendations for Butter, Stanton Social, etc., but I am afraid she is going to stick out like a sore thumb. She doesn't look like a little kid, but is obviously a young teen.

I want to take her someplace really fun, with a bar/lounge atmosphere, maybe a DJ or mustic, but that we won't catch a lot of attitude from others there. We are planning to be out late, like post theater. I just don't want to be inappropriate/out of place.

We are staying midtown, but different parts of the City are also ok. all types of food are good, she does especially like Thai, sushi, italian.

I just don't want to end up at a place where she is totally sticking out and uncomfortable. If the place I'm looking for doesn't exist, tell me that too. Re: Butter and Stanton Social; I'm afraid she is going to be totally overwhelmed, but maybe I'm wrong. I've never been there. Any help is appreciated.

Sep 25, 2009
thebets in Manhattan

Chances of getting into Babbo just walking in?

LeahBaila: I'm not sure about that...I went recently at 10:30 pm on a Weds and there was a half hour wait to sit at the bar. Steak, I think a bar seat is more realistic. Try it! either way, will be a great meal.

Aug 13, 2009
thebets in Manhattan

Good Seafood Restaurant in Central CT

Hi Chow: I used to live in Canton and loved Joe Pizza, but never had a burger there. Their pizza and entrees were good. I actually tried Joey Garlic with the family a couple of months ago and we HATED it, sorry. I don't think anyone had a burger, but we had calzones, sandwiches, etc., and I found the quality of all the food generally to be very lacking. None of us liked it, not even the kids who had meatball grinders. Which was weird, because I think they were owned by the same person...

Aug 12, 2009
thebets in Southern New England

Cheshire/New Haven CT area: transplant needs recommendations!

Hey everyone, I recently moved to Cheshire from West Hartford. I had my favs in the WH area (see my recent posts) but now need to explore my new digs. I know it's not that far, but I haven't eaten much down here at all. I work in Bridgeport and my husband is in New Haven, so really anything in the area is doable.

I've done the New Haven pizzas (fan of Sally's) and Blackie's hot dogs. Have started to sample the Cheshire pizzas (Rossini's) but haven't found one that I'm a big fan of yet. I'll eat all kinds of food, as long as its good.

Let's get a discussion going!

Aug 12, 2009
thebets in Southern New England

Good Seafood Restaurant in Central CT

I agree there is little good Asian in the area. If I need Chinese, I try Green Tea in Farmington. For sushi, I have had good luck with Ginza in Bloomfield, although I know others have not. And chrism I know you aren't thrilled with Hot Basil, but I've had good meals there.

I really don't like Plan B for burgers, the quality is not that good. Max Burger is OK but I think still working out the kinks. I have yet to find a place where I get really good burgers in the area, and would welcome suggestions.

Steaks, I really like Fleming's in West Hartford. I have had two excellent meals there, expensive but worth the price.

Italian, I always hit up the old stand by First and Last. It's the only place for old school Italian where I don't feel like I could have made better myself at home. For more upscale, I do like Bricco, but agree with the aforesaid issues mentioned.

Pizza, I'm a Lena's devotee. It was hit and miss for awhile a few years back, but seems to have re-emerged.

chrism, I totally agree about the Quaker diner. It is so hyped. Their stuff is adequate but their omelets are always completely overcooked. It is not worth the frequently long wait.

Let's keep it going...

Aug 12, 2009
thebets in Southern New England

Good Seafood Restaurant in Central CT

FoodieJim: well said. I agree. Thank you for the well reasoned and in depth insight.

Aug 11, 2009
thebets in Southern New England

Challenge! Late night lounge for me and 14 year old stepdaughter

Stanton Social sounds good but cafeteria also looks fun...I haven't been to either. Is she going to be overwhelmed by SS? Is cafeteria not "cool" enough? Is she going to be able to sit in the lounge at either? Thanks for so much great input, I am still checking out all your suggestions so keep them coming!

Aug 10, 2009
thebets in Manhattan

Challenge! Late night lounge for me and 14 year old stepdaughter

Exactly: want to make her feel like she's having a "grown-up" experience. Even though that would typically be me on the couch at 9 pm sleeping!! :)

Aug 10, 2009
thebets in Manhattan

Challenge! Late night lounge for me and 14 year old stepdaughter

Hi Everyone,

I'm bringing my 14 y/o stepdaughter into the city to see a show and spend the night. She wants to "go out" after the show with her cool stepmom :)

I'm looking for a place that is kind of loungey and fun, but that obviously isn't a bar because she can't go there. Maybe someplace with couches and chairs instead of tables, where we could hang out and get some small plates and I could get a cocktail. We're in the LES, but since we're going to be up midtown for the show anywhere that is in the general path between there would be fine.

Help me so I can make my girl feel like hot sh** with a night on the town. :)

Aug 10, 2009
thebets in Manhattan

Good Seafood Restaurant in Central CT

kattyeyes: no offense meant by my comment. Certainly, the regular posters on this board don't have low expectations of food, or they wouldn't be here. What I meant was to agree with chrism23's comment that "central connecticut...is a foodie wasteland". Having lived here for 30 years, I have eaten at most of the "good" restaurants; and know the reputation of those "good" restaurants; and have eaten with and discussed what the people of central CT think is a "good" restaurant. My experience has been that most people around here don't know good cooking or good restaurants. They are content with restaurants that meet their relatively low expectations, and ecstatic about those that exceed them. For example, I really like some of the Max restaurants; but they certainly aren't the be all and end all of food. But to most people around here, they are; because they exceed their relatively low expectations about what a good restaurant is.This is probably true, however, for most non-metropolitan areas.

Anyway, my comment wasn't meant for you or other foodies in central CT. I thought that was pretty obvious.

Aug 10, 2009
thebets in Southern New England

Good Seafood Restaurant in Central CT

I agree with those posters who hated on Chowderpot. The food quality, especially sides, is awful. It is your basic fried fish and soggy pale coleslaw. Really nothing special at all. I actually find the Maine Fish Market in E. Windsor to be the same way. To me they are almost identical.

For seafood that is less typically crappy, with nice pasta options, fresh fish, and good desserts, try Calamari's in South Windsor. I always have a fabulous meal there.

And chrism23, keep at it. Greater Hartford has terribly low expectations in food. If it isn't a Max restaurant, no one bothers with it.

Jul 28, 2009
thebets in Southern New England

Foodie traveling alone, want best possible experience...

Hello...I don't get to the city as much as I would like, but am coming in this Thursday and want a place to eat dinner. I will be alone and don't mind eating alone, but prefer a place accepting of that and probably with a comfortable bar with a full menu.

I want your opinions about simply the most quality experience you think I can have. Budget is not an issue, nor is location. I like tasting menus but it's not a requirement. I trend more toward Italian/Mediterranean tastes, not so much French (which I know takes many out of the running); but I am interested in hearing French recommendations. Last time I did Babbo, which was great, so you don't need to recommend that. :)

Thanks so much!!!

Jun 22, 2009
thebets in Manhattan