fooder's Profile

Title Last Reply

Help! TAKASHI (West Village) worth a visit?

My complete review should come next week or so, but I have to disagree about the amount of food necessary. We had 6 people (the cow platter is portioned per person), ordered 7 extra special/small bites, the 6oz chuck-flat steak, a 300g (bone included) single mega short rib, and a couple of us still went to hit Grom after.

Apr 14, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Delivery from Torishin

Torishin is moving. Guess a new group of people can enjoy their delivery now!

Apr 09, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

6 Day NYC Report - Eleven Madison Park, Atera, Bouley, Jean Georges, Lincoln, Marea

Yea I saw that a while ago.
I guess they've changed the menu with the season now, but the Bollito Misto in that Eater piece already reflected the shorter $75 tasting.

Apr 07, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

6 Day NYC Report - Eleven Madison Park, Atera, Bouley, Jean Georges, Lincoln, Marea

Great reviews! Appreciate getting updates on some restaurants that I haven't been to in a while.

Re: Atera
Glad to hear it keeps getting better. I went a while back and my view was innovative yes, delicious, not always.

On the other end of the spectrum, I don't think EMP tries to innovate the way they do at Atera, but I've always found everything delicious.

Re: Lincoln
Was your meal prix fixe/a la carte? I've seen the Bollito Misto in the tasting menu but it's not listed on the regular menu. How much was it? Sounds amazing.

Re: Jean Georges
That scallop cauliflower raisin dish has actually been on the menu since opening and is one of his signature dishes.

Apr 07, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

RAMEN Co. (Financial District)

Looking forward to it too. I can't really get out for lunch so I'm hoping when they're all set they'll stay open longer. Ramen burgers will probably travel better than actual ramen noodle soup.

Also, if you were right there, why wouldn't you do Tres Carnes instead of Chipotle for a burrito?

Apr 03, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Large Format Chicken and Lamb over Rice at Ma Peche

We had 11 people. There were decent leftovers, but some of us also added pork buns (I'm over them, but it's something people tend to do when they're at a Momofuku restaurant.)

Mar 25, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Large Format Chicken and Lamb over Rice at Ma Peche

As usual, full review with all the photos on the blog: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...

I know most of the recent attention for Ma Peche has been devoted to the new "dim sum"/passed plates menu, but the large format feast is just something restaurants in the Momofuku empire tend to do better than others, and the chicken and lamb over rice at Ma Peche is worth mentioning.

You can order the chicken or lamb group meals separately, but if you get them together it's cheaper while having the same amount of food. Unlike the other often-cramped Momofuku restaurants, there is a large table at Ma Peche that seats up to 14 that is perfect for this huge feast. However, I don't know if the recent passed plates rollout has affected the seating for the large format meal.

They confit, smoke and then roast the lamb shoulder, while the chicken is poached and then deep fried with spices and herbs. While the lamb was the more deeply flavorful of the two, I thought the chicken stood out to me as being more unique. There was a slickness of grease on the surface from the frying, but underneath that was very tender and flavorful chicken, highlighted by the slightly sweet sauce and spices.

Pickles are a very Momofuku thing, and they were the perfect accompaniment to help cut the fat.

Salads, especially those made with iceberg lettuce, are often just filler. That was not the case here as both salads managed to be refreshing, flavorful, and add a nice crunchy texture to the rest of the meal.

Both of these were bursting with flavor, and were our favorite side dishes. In fact, we asked for seconds of each. However, we did not know that only the pita bread came with free refills, and these extra sides were in fact $12-14 each.

The curry rice was rather disappointing as I found it very dry. The pita bread, on the other hand, was some of the best and fluffiest I've ever had.

While there were so many different tastes and textures going on, it all somehow came together, much like the food from the halal carts that inspired this meal. Even the dry curry rice was fine when mixed with all the available sauces.

Overall, this was a great large format meal and one of the cheapest of the bunch from Momofuku when you break down the cost per person. It was very representative of the type of food served at Momofuku restaurants in how it elevated and enlivened comfort food. The seating was comfortable and there was plenty of room for our large group. Service was excellent and friendly. In fact, when the check came and I told them that they never notified us of the cost of the extra sides when we ordered them, they took the extra step to take them off the final bill.

Ma Peche
Chambers Hotel (separate entrance, you go into the milk bar first
)15 W 56th St

Mar 25, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Takesushi Sunnyside: The Best Value for High Quality Seafood at a Cheap Price

Too bad about your experience. Honestly, I don't think it'll matter which sushi chef you get. I made a point to stress that I liked the seafood here, not the sushi per se. In fact, the cooked/fried fish is almost a bigger draw for me here than the raw stuff.

As pookipichu confirmed upthread, the sushi rice is nothing spectacular. I would get the sashimi omakase and just get some plain rice.

Hard to compare dinner prices with lunch prices elsewhere in general, but I'm interested in this Ronin lunch you speak of. The Ronin in midtown east? Because I'm looking at their lunch menu online and the lunch set is $14, whereas the tuna kama at Takesushi was $10. I also thought the kama I had was a huge piece and would be surprised if a place gave you two of such size for lunch.

Mar 17, 2014
fooder in Outer Boroughs

No More Dollarmania at 100 Montaditos

As usual, full review with all the photos on the blog: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot.com/2014/03/no-more-dollarmania-at-100-montaditos.html

I'd written about 100 Montaditos and their Dollarmania Wednesday promotion in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/921468 , but considering it got picked up in the chow blog http://www.chow.com/food-news/146282/... I figured this deserved its own post. The promotion is no more, and they've actually revamped the entire menu, raising prices across the board. Sandwiches which use to range from $1 to $2.50 now range from $1.50 to $3. Appetizers, platters, salads, wine, imported beer, and sangria also saw price increases. There are, however, 5 preset sandwich collections that are discounted from their a la carte price.

In addition to the changes in price, there are now more selections on the menu to choose from as well. More products representative of Spain are also featured, including anchovies, garlic pork loin, and cured pork products from Spain including salchicon and lomo. This makes sense as it appears that much of their non-discount-seeking clientele are Spanish speakers interested in watching their huge selection of soccer matches on TV.

The decision to remove the Dollarmania Wednesday promotion appears to be a corporate one, as a similar .50 Euro promotion that used to be on their Spanish/International website is also gone. That being said, they are currently running a Wednesday promotion where all the aforementioned preset sandwich collections are $5 each.

THE MEAT LOVERS COLLECTION ($7 as a set, $11.50 individually
)THE MEDITERRANEAN COLLECTION ($9 as a set, $12.50 individually)
THE BLACK LABEL COLLECTION ($12 as a set, $15 individually)
Even though sandwiches still come out to a $1+tax each as a result of the current Wednesday promotion, it's a big drop off in value given the lack of choices. The Mediterranean collection features 5 fish-based sandwiches, while the black label collection includes rather nondescript tuna, chicken, and "philly steak". In terms of taste, the newly featured ingredients such as anchovies and garlic pork loin were pretty good. Though I was a bit disappointed to find only one anchovy filet in my sandwich.

Even with the increases, prices are still cheaper or comparable to nearby places in that neighborhood. If you stick with the Spanish themed ingredients, you'll probably have a good time. And if you're a big fan of Spanish soccer, you'll probably have a great time.

176 Bleecker St
(between Sullivan St and Mac Dougal St)

Mar 17, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

tasting menu help! what haven't i thought of?

Eater also has a small collection of tasting menu videos in case any of them might interest you after seeing what's actually in them: http://ny.eater.com/tags/60-second-ta...

Mar 14, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Delivery from Torishin

As usual, full review with all the photos on the blog: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot.com/2014/03/delivery-from-torishin-food.html

While I loved my meal at Yakitori Totto http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/901965 , the only yakitori restaurant in NYC with a Michelin star is actually Torishin. Another thing Torishin has that Totto doesn't is delivery. There aren't many one Michelin star restaurants in the world that do delivery, so I just had to give it a try.

A couple of general points to note about delivery from Torishin:
1. It appears their delivery zone is about a 10-block (streets) radius from their 64th St/1st Ave location.
2. While they can take orders before the restaurant officially opens, they can't start cooking anything until the restaurant opens as the charcoal won't be ready yet.

My experience:
I got to the restaurant at about 5:45pm on a Thursday to put in my order. As the restaurant wasn't open yet, the front door was locked and I knocked on the window to get someone's attention. While they originally said that only items from the takeout/delivery menu were available for delivery, they let me order a la carte off the regular menu once they realized that I was placing a big order for 4 people. I'm not sure if it would've been different had I ordered on the phone.

They reminded me again that they wouldn't be able to start cooking until 6pm, and expected the food to get delivered at 7pm. Considering the size of our order and that we were 10 blocks away from them, this seemed reasonable. They were right on time, arriving shortly after 7pm. It's unclear to me, however, how efficient their delivery would be during peak hours.

While the food was no longer piping hot, it was still tender and flavorful. The pieces of meat were denser than what I had at Totto, and are deceptively filling. Everything was good, but our favorite of this group was the chicken wing. We wondered at first if they were ribs as there were bones, but it was definitely just some outstanding wings. The meatball also stood out as cartilage had been mixed in to give it a unique texture.

A la carte:
While I'm normally much more adventurous when it comes to yakitori, I wasn't sure obscure cuts and offal would hold up well to delivery, so we ended up getting additional a la carte skewers of mostly meat. Our absolute favorite of the entire evening was the duck with asparagus ($9), which was meaty and flavorful, with the asparagus providing a nice soft crunch and mellowing out some of the richness.

It's definitely not as good as getting the skewers hot off the charcoal, but it's a good alternative if you just want some tasty delivery or if you can't be bothered with the crowded space and wait at the restaurant. Their ever-aging sauce is terrific, and the quality of the ingredients, from meat to produce, shines through. The food is clearly prepared with love and care, which makes it a worthy splurge.

1193 1st Ave
Between 64th and 65th Streets
Manhattan, NY

Mar 13, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

tasting menu help! what haven't i thought of?

15 East - not only (one of) the best sushi in NYC, but the other seafood that comes before it makes it stand out above the other top sushi places http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/914900

Jungsik - the menu and format have changed since my last visit, chowhound.chow.com/topics/851849 but the food was excellent and unique

Juni - good mix of classical and creativity http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/923232

When was the last time you went to EMP? They change the format of their tasting menu fairly frequently for a top restaurant.

more casual but with interesting food:
Contra (haven't been, but just got a NYT ** review
)Luksus (haven't been, but good reviews), beer pairing

Mar 12, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Per Se: Wonderful, but no longer magical

I didn't actually see how much it was as an a la carte add-on. Please report back on your experience as I'm also curious to know.

I think the equivalency of throwing away a course is due to portion allotment. During my meal at EMP last year, there was a choice among entrees, but also an option to supplement and get both. However, the supplement results in smaller portions of both, as they want to make sure you have room to enjoy all the subsequent courses to come. I don't quite buy it as I eat tons, but whatever.

Mar 11, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

This Week Only: Miyazaki Beef Shabu Shabu at Hakubai

I think the Miyazaki beef promotional menu is over, but based on my meal there, I'd be happy to go back for the shabu shabu course on their regular menu.

Mar 11, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Per Se: Wonderful, but no longer magical

As usual, full review with all the photos on the blog:

The last time I ate in the main dining room at Per Se, it was magical. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/681732 Each course was a lesson in how to bring flavors and textures into perfect harmony on a plate. Fast forward 4 years, and it feels to me like the magic is gone. Per Se continues to deliver excellence in execution, but there are small signs indicating that they may have peaked.

That is not to say it wasn't an amazing meal. The food and service are still extraordinary in many ways. But there are more great restaurants in NYC now than before, and many of them continue to push boundaries constantly. Per Se just doesn't seem to distinguish itself from the other top fine dining restaurants in New York the way it used to.

Dinner started with a familar duo of Keller classics. Not only delicious, they liven up the tongue with a contrast of temperatures. While I was still more fascinated by the tuile than the salmon tartare, the refreshing chill of the tartare and the warm burst of cheese from the gougeres went together beautifully.

"OYSTERS AND PEARLS" - "Sabayon" of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar
TSAR IMPERIAL OSSETRA CAVIAR - Smoked Sturgeon, Quail Egg Yolk, Hand Cut "Anellini," Compressed Spinach and Red Radishes ($75 supplement
)Next came another well-known Per Se dish. I'm not really big on tapioca, but the texture was perfect here as well as the warm temperature contrasting with the chilled oyster. Looking back at my previous Per Se review, it turns out I made the same comments back then about the excellent use of tapioca!

"VELOUTE" OF FRENCH LAUNDRY GARDEN RUTABAGA - Grilled Onion "Pierogi," Mache and "Parmigiano Reggiano"
Warm and comforting, yet with a twinge of lightness to the dish provided by the presence of the mache. One of the things I really appreciated about Per Se's cooking from last time was how they managed to find the one ingredient that balanced each dish the right way. This was another example of that as the mache provided a refreshing touch without using something more overpowering or overtly citrusy.

"GATEAU" OF HUDSON VALLEY MOULARD DUCK FOIE GRAS - "Demi-Sec" Satsuma Mandarins, Sunchokes, Upland Cress and Preserved Black Walnut; Served with hot brioche ($40 supplement in place of the veloute, we decided to add it a la carte)
This was ethereal. This was the smoothest liver mousse I've ever had, and the enjoyment of it was enhanced manifold by the fresh hot brioche that was quickly replenished. Only the tiniest sliver was needed as the flavor multiplied when it spread so easily over the hot brioche.

The Parker House rolls were great, but the six kinds of salt didn't really do anything for me. While I've had the pretzel bread before and loved it, the real surprising standout from the bread tray was the multigrain. The grains sprinkled throughout provided a great texture that made the nuttiness come alive, as opposed to multigrain breads which I usually associate with being dense or difficult to eat.

SAUTEED FILLET OF ATLANTIC HALIBUT - Saffron Infused Fingerling Potatoes, Cocktail Artichokes, Jingle Bell Peppers, Cerignola Olives and "Salsa Verde"
Once again, the most impressive part of the dish was the balance. Very similar to the fish dish I had four years ago, it was an impressive display of balancing components that are usually pretty strong, such as saffron, artichoke, olives, and the jingle bell peppers, which were my favorite.

GRILLED NOVA SCOTIA LOBSTER - Sweet Carrots, Radicchio, Pea Tendrils and Braised Pine Nuts
This was a rather interesting dish as wrapping the lobster with radicchio introduced a pronounced bitter element. It didn't quite work here as this dish lacked the harmony that the other dishes had. While the bitterness provided contrast to the sweetness, there was probably too much of it all around the lobster, making it too bold for the sweetness to come through. I think bitter gourd would have provided the same crunch and bitterness with a sweeter finish.

HERB ROASTED POULARDE - Forest Mushroom "Porridge," Celery Branch, Piedmont Hazelnuts and Aged Madeira Jus
What seemed like a delicious, but rather simple combination was punched up by the celery. It's one of those seemingly throwaway pieces on the plate, but when you eat it together, it totally works, and you wonder how they came up with it.

ELYSIAN FIELDS FARM' "SELLE D'AGNEAU" - Glazed Chestnuts, Granny Smith Apple, Crispy Salsify, Heirloom Sorrel and "Sauce Perigourdine"
MIYAZAKI JAPANESE WAGYU - Greek Bottarga, Romain Lettuce "Paquette," Torpedo Shallot, "Pain de Campagne" and "Anchoiade" ($100 supplement)
This to me was the most disappointing dish of the night. While I raved last time about the way the calotte de boeuf was cooked to bring out the flavor, that did not happen here. There wasn't a lasting juiciness to each bite as the cooking method didn't particularly improve or expand the flavor. The beef was excellent, and would probably have been great just served simply and sliced thinly, like the wonderful shabu shabu I had at Hakubai http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/967498 a month later. This dish reminded me of the beef I had at Atera http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/879430 which I also found disappointing and lacking in flavor.

"BRIE DE MEAUX" - Applewood Smoked Bacon, Melted Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Pickled Beets and Horseradish Root
This was weird in that it was very disjointed. Even though it had the sweet and savory components, it did not bridge the savory and sweet the way cheese courses are supposed to.

"ASSORTMENT OF DESSERTS" - Fruit, Ice Cream, Chocolate and "Candies"
On the left are the desserts from the chef's tasting, while the ones on the right are from the vegetable tasting. I'd been reading for a while on Chowhound http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/922717 that Per Se's desserts had been disappointing recently, and after experiencing it myself, I can only confirm that assessment. The desserts were specifically separated into one focused on fruit, one on ice cream, and one on chocolate. But by doing this, there was no complexity to any of the desserts. There was no layering of textures, and minimal interaction of flavors. Tasty and comforting, but I just expect much more from Per Se.

A crazy selection of filled chocolates. I wonder if they specifically had one person whose only job was to memorize all 30 of them.

"COFFEE AND DOUGHNUTS" - Cappuccino Semifreddo with Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnuts
I wasn't sure if they were part of the meal, but to me this dish is as integral a part of the Per Se experience as the cornet and gougeres, so I asked to make sure we got them. The combination of cool, creamy semifreddo and the sweet, light doughnuts was just sublime.

While service was excellent and attentive, there wasn't much of an initiative to engage and discuss the produce, even though we were curious enough to ask about a few of the specific ingredients. Overall, I just didn't get the sense of a grand dining experience like the one I had four years ago, or like my tasting menus at EMP. Even though it was wonderful, the meal just had a paint-by-numbers kind of feel to it.

I did, however, notice some extremely intriguing dishes from Per Se on a couple of blogs. Perhaps the only way to experience those would be to fork up for the extended tasting. When you consider how much the supplements were, it might make more sense to just book the extended tasting right from the start. So perhaps the magic isn't gone, you just need to work harder (pay more) to find it.

10 Columbus Circle
4th Floor of Time Warner Center

Mar 11, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

This Week Only: Miyazaki Beef Shabu Shabu at Hakubai

As usual, full review with all the photos on the blog:

Even though NYC restaurant week gets much more press, we're also in the middle of Japanese restaurant week (month). http://japanweek.us/restaurantweek/rw... Participating restaurants tend to do their own thing, and Hakubai is only offering their Miyazaki beef shabu shabu course menu from now till March 9th. The $135+t/t per person menu (2 order minimum) includes an amuse, two appetizers, Miyazaki ribeye (120g each) shabu shabu, dessert, and two small bottles of sake. Everything about the meal and the restaurant was excellent, and I enjoyed the beef much more than when I had the Miyazaki beef supplement ($100 extra) at Per Se last month (review coming soon).

Atmosphere and Service:
Located in the basement of the Kitano hotel in midtown, the restaurant transported me away from NYC and into a serene environment that felt authentically Japanese. Despite it being very cold outside, the interior temperature and airflow was super comfortable and soothing. Service was well-prepared and well-rehearsed, and I only saw female servers, who all wore kimonos. I assumed it was the same for everyone, but my cell phone got no reception down there, which meant I could totally focus on the meal.

Simple but with great balance, the ikura (salmon roe) provided just a burst of saltiness to go with the mild tofu. The turnip was present in both the sauce and the tofu, resulting in an interesting texture that wasn't completely silken. As kaiseki cuisine places a good deal of importance on aesthetics as well as taste, I couldn't help but be drawn to the gorgeous dishware.

Accompanying the amuse was our first sake. It was served chilled, and came with a business card that described the sake in more detail, even including acidity and the type of rice that was used. It also had a tasting note: "The signature ingredient of this sake is the fine local water giving a smooth taste and flavor." which was spot on, as it really tasted like I was just drinking some refreshing, crisp water with a mild sake flavor. I couldn't believe this had 15.5% alcohol!

The first appetizer brought a nice assortment of tastes and textures. The watercress, with a sliver of mushroom and some very thin bonito shavings, was light and refreshing with a nice crunch. The Japanese radish was served cold, but was simmered till very tender. There was a light fresh umami to it, and it went well with the sauce which featured bits of cooked pork. The octopus was tender, but still had a good bite to it. I've had herring roe before from a top sushi restaurant that was pretty bitter, so I was glad the flavor here was pretty mild. Each individual roe had a good snap to it, resulting in an interesting mouthfeel in each bite. Once again, the presentation and dishware was beautiful.

I generally don't like fluke, so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the fluke sashimi here, especially the texture. Both the amberjack and tuna were very flavorful, while the very fatty tuna was absolutely beautiful. There was an ample amount of fresh, high quality fish, even though the serving appeared on the small side at first glance.

Served hot/warm in a uniquely-shaped carafe, this was a tasty sake that went well with the shabu shabu.

The hot pot arrived at the table already boiling, followed by the server opening the lid and removing a piece of konbu from the dashi. Communal utensils included a pair of chopsticks, a skimmer for the fat from the beef, and two somewhat shallow metal ladles, one with holes to drain the food while another without holes for the soup.

Condiments included their special ponzu and sesame dipping sauces. The sesame sauce really stood out, as it was delicious without being overpowering. Vegetables included plenty of aromatics such as carrot, onion, scallion, and leek, as well as mushrooms, lettuce, tofu, and grilled mochi.

The star of the night was the beautifully marbled beef, the meat and fat of which was melt-in-your-mouth. The beef had a delicate flavor with a mellow umami, and a light sweetness from the fat. The server offered to do the cooking for us, but we chose to do it ourselves after she put the first bunch of vegetables into the pot. While we were perfectly full by the end of the meal, additional plates of the award-winning beef were available at $60 for 120g for those who might want more.

There was a choice of udon noodles or rice, and we opted for the Inaniwa udon. The server cooked the thin noodles in the remaining broth, and put together our final savory course by adding salt and pepper to our bowls, then broth, then noodles, and topped off with scallions. The noodles were delicious and the broth at this point had a lot of flavor.

The coffee jelly was the real standout of the assortment of desserts. Hidden underneath a thin layer of (evaporated?) milk, the jelly didn't seem to have any flavor at all upon the first bite. But as the jelly melted, a rich dark coffee flavor began to diffuse in my mouth. The mochi had an interesting slippery texture that made it hard to pick up even with the wooden skewer. The cocoa sauce had a nice mellow chocolate flavor, and went well with the green tea ice cream. The scoop of ice cream was pretty sizeable, and while it was good it wasn't particularly memorable.

Overall, this was a fantastic meal highlighted by the special Miyazaki beef. I highly recommend making a reservation before the promotion ends. To me, this meal is indicative of what restaurant week should really be about. Even though the price point was not cheap, there was good value on offer when you consider the many courses and sake that came with the shabu shabu. The appetizers were also the same as those served in their kaiseki set, showcasing the kind of food that they do on a regular basis. The restaurant stayed true to itself whereas many of the high end restaurants that participate in NYCRW often end up serving dishes they otherwise wouldn't in order to fit within the price constraint.

Kitano Hotel (lower level
)66 Park Ave

Mar 03, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Takesushi Sunnyside: The Best Value for High Quality Seafood at a Cheap Price

After proclaiming Takesushi to be "the best value for quality seafood in New York with a cheap entry price," it was clear a revisit was in order to confirm that it wasn't a fluke. After last night's meal, I definitely stand by my previous claim.

As usual, full review with all the photos on the blog: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot.com/2014/02/back-to-takesushi-no-fluke-food.html

The meal began as it did last time with some simple and delicious eggplant and an order of monkfish liver. I thought the texture was better this time around, and the condiments were noticeably spicier which worked well.

Yellowtail collar was also listed on the menu, but they ran out, so we ordered two of these so that we each got one. Similar to the tuna belly last time, this was a sizeable piece of moist, fatty flesh, cooked through but still juicy and tender. The bottom had a thin layer of complete char, which may have been necessary to achieve the excellent crunch on the top. As long as you take note of it when digging in with chopsticks, it won't have an adverse effect on the rest of the deliciousness.

I ordered the set both because it was great value and because my friend had never had fugu before. While it was all delicious and done well, I much prefer the meatier tempura and will probably order only that next time instead of the set.

The set consisted of a lobster soup made with the inside of the head and legs, sashimi of the tail meat, and the claw meat cooked and made into an 8 piece sushi roll topped with scallions and tobiko. The soup was on the mild side, but still had some nice sweet umami. The sashimi, while not the sweetest lobster I've ever had, was cut very well, retaining the meatiness and the crunch of the flesh. The cooked lobster roll was simple but good.

At this point in the evening, we'd already eaten a good amount of food, so we opted to get one omakase to split between the two of us. The chef was nice enough to give us exactly duplicate plates of the diverse selection. Kumamoto oyster, hotate (scallop), aji (horse mackerel), bluefin toro (fatty tuna), hamachi (yellowtail), mirugai (geoduck giant clam), iwashi (sardine), Santa Barbara uni (sea urchin), and tai (sea bream). Everything was excellent, but the pieces that stood out to me were the scallop (very sweet), aji (fresh and not too strong), iwashi (the sardine wrapped around shiso and cucumber created an interesting and pleasant flavor), and toro (see below). The uni was nice and creamy but not as crazy sweet as some others I've had.

The toro was so buttery that we decided to order a piece of sushi each, which used up all their remaining toro (sorry to whoever ate after us). Even though it was a whole slice of fish, it melted in my mouth as if it was chopped up toro.

If we did not splurge for the extra toro sushi, the total damage for 2 would have come in under $200 including tax and tip, with 2 bowls of rice, and 2 large Kirin beers. I'm not saying that the fish here rivals that at 15 East http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/914900 , but the overall quality was still very good and tremendous value given the sheer variety and amount of food we ate.

Feb 28, 2014
fooder in Outer Boroughs

Juni, Betony or The NoMad?

I've been to all 3, although I wouldn't exactly call it recently (I posted all 3 around November)

Juni: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/923232
NoMad: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/922104
Betony: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/925654

I think all 3 places are great, and it's more about what kind of experience you're looking for.

Juni is the most expensive and will go for the most "wow" type of dishes, but it also has the most formal atmosphere, quiet, and some would even say stiff.

Betony probably has the most whimsical menu (including specialty drinks), but the menu is relatively limited even though it's only a la carte. The room has a nice buzz but probably aims more for romantic.

The NoMad is excellent and super consistent, but honestly I haven't tried any of the new dishes since James Kent took over the kitchen. As a celebratory experience, it goes up a notch if you can get into the library for after dinner drinks and dessert.

Feb 19, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Kappo. An exceptional culinary adventure.

It's a shame since I was going to try Kappo at some point but never got around to it. I'd heard so many good things.

It appears that there is now a passed plates option on the menu which Eater believes is like a version of dim sum: http://ny.eater.com/archives/2014/02/ma_peche_ends_kappo_menu_dim_sum_changeup_rumored.php

The duck fat challah, which had great reviews as part of the Kappo meal, is one of the new passed plates options: http://momofuku.com/new-york/ma-peche...

Feb 19, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Oyster Happy Hours

Here's the thread you're looking for: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/851364

Feb 09, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Dining at the bar at Eleven Madison Park

I'm pretty sure they don't do the kitchen tour for bar patrons, but EMP has been known to go above and beyond in terms of service. Perhaps for out-of-towners who ask nicely?

Even though EMP is one of the most efficient kitchens I've ever seen, I'm sure it is still very busy at times and an unplanned kitchen tour may not be so easy to handle.

Feb 09, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Atera and/or EMP ???

I think they are very different experiences. My last visit to EMP was much more recent than my visit to Atera, and it appears Atera has improved since then, but I would imagine the style/structure of the meal hasn't changed much.

EMP - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892924
Atera - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/879430

tl;dr version:
EMP is much more of a grand meal in a classic way, with a focus on NY driving the food ideas. Tastier.
Atera is much more driven by modern techniques and visual deception to heighten the senses. More creative, but some items end up more interesting than delicious.

As for suggestions, it'll help if you're more specific about what you're looking for.

Feb 09, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Per Se tonight...

It wasn't on the menu when I went as they change the menu every day. So how was the meal?

Yea there are way too many things on their written menu in quotations.

Feb 09, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Per Se tonight...

I'm just not sure this type of beef works well as a roasted steak-like chunk. It was simply roasted. I don't think it did enough to bring out the flavor on the outside, and their wasn't enough of a juiciness on the inside. I think if they sliced it thin and seared it simply it would've been better. But then I'm not sure I'd need to eat that at Per Se.

Feb 07, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Per Se tonight...

Agree foie gras for sure. I did the miyazaki beef last time and wasn't impressed. Didn't think the cooking method worked with the meat.

Feb 07, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Dining at the bar at Eleven Madison Park

Do note that the OP is from 2 years ago and my more recent reply is a better representation of the experience there now (although not much has changed)

Feb 07, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Dining at the bar at Eleven Madison Park

@pop3 - Like dyrewolf said, it is excellent with great depth, but $45/shot is quite a price. My friend who collects bourbon says there are comparable choices that aren't nearly as expensive. Perhaps it's slightly cheaper at the NoMad as well.

@dyrewolf - IIRC, prices haven't changed much since the last time (2011). Starters in the 20s, entrees in the 30s-40s. Can't really compare to back in the day though. I still fondly remember $28 2 course lunches during the early Humm-Guidara days.

Feb 06, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Supper Club / Dinner Event for 10?

Nice, I didn't know the Breslin added that many more large format options. This might be where our group goes next. Their whole pig was excellent when we went a few years back.

Feb 06, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Dining at the bar at Eleven Madison Park

I keep forgetting to add photos

Feb 06, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Dining at the bar at Eleven Madison Park

A lot has changed since I last ate at the EMP bar. They were awarded the fifth best restaurant in the world and the main dining room now only offers a $225 tasting menu. Here's an update of the EMP bar dining experience.

As usual, full review with photos at the blog: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...

When discussing the tasting menu at Eleven Madison Park, much of the focus is often on the elaborate, interactive, shared courses such as the carrot tartare or the smoked sturgeon (both of which have been replaced with new courses on the tasting menu). However, many of the individual courses throughout are still updated fairly frequently according to the season, and are available on the bar menu. In fact, even though I was there only a few weeks ago, many of the dishes I'm writing about may already be off the menu. The menu set up was pretty much the same as when I last ate at the bar, although there were only 3 starters, 4 mains, and 2 desserts to choose from. However, the smoked sturgeon course from the tasting menu was also available for 2 or more people at $75pp.

With the record cold winter, hot cocktails were the perfect way to warm up. Both were delicious takes on classics, with the CDG rich in chocolate and the toddy delicate and soothing.

EMP is also one of the few restaurants in NYC carrying Pappy, with the 20-year coming in at $45. I believe their sister restaurant, the NoMad, also carries Pappy, but I don't know the price.

The bread was still excellent, although I thought the crust was firmer this time around. The new hybrid butter, however, was extraordinary. As we had ordered the venison entree, the butter served was mixed with venison fat and chicken liver. It tasted like an amazing chicken liver pate with a rich aftertaste that was somehow even worse for my health because it was mostly butter.

Pretty much the same as when I had it two years ago, although the shape has change a bit.

While the flavors were all there, my friend thought that the octopus itself was too uniformly soft, and would have preferred a char on it for some texture contrast.

The veal dish seemed simple in concept, but the flavors and textures were well put together. The smoked bone marrow was a unique and excellent touch.

Even before I took a bite, this dish won me over with its aroma. I haven't had a lot of venison, but I'd never encountered a venison dish that had such an amazing aroma of meatiness. The meat itself was very tender without being too soft, and had a very clean taste with just a hint of gaminess/muskiness.

Both desserts were delicious and featured an array of textures. I thought the mint sorbet and the presence of actual mint was standout and a great way to highlight a classic pairing in mint and chocolate.

Feb 06, 2014
fooder in Manhattan