Steve R's Profile

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Malai Marke - a new Indian on (gasp!) 6th St.

Not sure if the prices have gone up at M.Marke, but I just put up both menus side by side and it is about $1-3 more/dish than Indus Valley. I've never been to Indus Valley, as its not anywhere near where I generally eat, so I have no basis for any other comparison. I do like M.Marke (& Hemant Mathur's cooking in general), but I have to say that I've also become a fan of Pippali off Lex, by the Chennai Garden/Tiffin Wallah folks.

Jul 28, 2015
Steve R in Manhattan

Italian couple doing AirBNB in Brooklyn (Bed Stuy) what are some great suggestions?

Instead of the Bklyn Fleas in Fort G. or elsewhere, I'd recommend sending them to the one in the new waterfront park at the foot of Joralemon St in Bklyn. (only on Sundays) http://brooklynflea.com/markets/smorg...

It's only food, no antiques, but it's in a beautiful park that they'd enjoy and adjacent to several Bklyn neighborhoods (Bklyn Hts, DUMBO, etc) that they can walk thru. Also easy to get to from where they are and has access to the Water Taxi to get around. Or walk the Bklyn Bridge, also close by.

Jul 26, 2015
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

Italian couple doing AirBNB in Brooklyn (Bed Stuy) what are some great suggestions?

Tell them to go to Mekelburgs, on Grand between Clifton & Lafayette (2 block walk). It's a new place, owned by a CH poster & serving great tap beers, sandwiches, cheese plates, etc. it's vey nice & they'll get a feel for things by talking to the owners & other patrons.

Jul 25, 2015
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

Italian couple doing AirBNB in Brooklyn (Bed Stuy) what are some great suggestions?

Any idea where in Bklyn they will be staying & what days? It would be easier to find them places to go easily from where they're staying or where they'll be sightseeing (in Bklyn).

Jul 25, 2015
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

Aquavit vastly exceeded expectations!

Figured that this is as good a place as any to mention that our dinner at Aquavit this week was excellent. We had the Summer Tasting Menu & I highly recommend it.

Jul 16, 2015
Steve R in Manhattan
1

Aquavit - Betony - Lincoln...help me choose

Probably only 5 months late with this, but our Summer Tasting Menu dinner at Aquavit last night was one of the best overall meals we've had in the last year or so. From the on site infused aquavits (some incredible fresh flavor combos that really work) to the many amuse bouches to the listed dishes to the breads to the cheese to the many desserts, to the friendly, professional, knowledgable service, they were firing on all cylinders. Maybe this is a recent uptick... I wouldn't know having never been there previously. But I highly recommend going now & choosing this menu option. This is a chef and a place well worth experiencing.

Jul 14, 2015
Steve R in Manhattan
1

HELP! ideas for restaurant for gift certificate

Battersby, Dover or Delaware & Hudson for the food.

Jul 02, 2015
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

Kao Soy--new Thai in Red Hook

Really sorry to hear this. We've been bringing folks to lunch here pretty regularly & recently noticed some menu changes but not any lessening of the quality (but, to be frank, we're far from knowledgable on Thai food).

Btw Jared: just discovered your blog (thanks for the link). Great coverage & we loved Alexandrina as well.

Jun 30, 2015
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

Lyon - for late Friday dinner

Located in tourist central, nevertheless we had a very nice friendly dinner here last year: http://chabertrestaurant.fr/aux-trois... And it seems to be open till 11:30 on weekends. Worth a try, since most everything else has a closed kitchen by then.

Jun 02, 2015
Steve R in France

Schnitzel Haus

Looking forward to reading it. Glad someone from CH has found it.

May 29, 2015
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

West Village casual fare yet excellent food options for a new resident

Louro
The bar at Otto
Barbuto
Trestle on Tenth

May 28, 2015
Steve R in Manhattan

Schnitzel Haus

Before eating dinner at a nearby new Egyptian place owned by a friend of a friend (Alexandrina - a fresh fish place that I can't review since the owner insisted on comp'ing the entire excellent meal), we had drinks at Schnitzel Haus, a German place that's been there forever but that I'd never heard of. The menu looked great & the food we saw coming out of the kitchen looked good. Anyone know this place? Any good? Hoping it is & that we'll have reason to go. Not many of these places still around, especially in Bklyn.

May 28, 2015
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

Bourdain Market - What do YOU Want to See

When Xi'an had only one stall downstairs in the Golden Mall, Bourdain publicized it on his show. Then the owner (the father) put Bourdain's picture on his stall (in several places) and, when folks like me walked by thinking about what to eat, he said "Bourdain, Bourdain here" & pointed to the pictures. Sold a lot of lamb burgers that way & months later he opened a stall in the now defunct Flushing Mall (his wife ran it - pictures of Bourdain there as well). Then, a year or so later, his son decided to help with the family business and expanded it bit by bit to the current empire, including Biang. That's the relationship as I remember it. I'd have no doubt that Bourdain would make sure they're included in any project like this one and even less doubt that they'd want to be.

May 08, 2015
Steve R in Manhattan

Will Chowhound ever be a major player in food reviews and discussion

I agree &, at 62, I'm more attached to my iPhone than I'd ever have thought possible. But, although I have CH & a couple of other food board sites set up for easy access, I hardly ever go on these sites until/unless I'm home and on my iMac or somewhere where I'm hanging out using my iPad. I just find that I have no interest or need for these boards when on the go… for me, they're meant for times when I can sit down and think thru things. Similar to how I listen to music: iPhone has enough to listen to as "easy background", but home system for when I really want to listen. Hopefully, the young 'uns can/will decide to do some things more comprehensively.

May 01, 2015
Steve R in Site Talk
1

Will Chowhound ever be a major player in food reviews and discussion

This may all be true but, if CH chooses to go that route and woo younger, more mobile device using posters with shorter info sharing needs, my guess is that a lot of us who use this site when we are around our iPads or larger display monitors would post less or leave. I know that I would. I would venture a guess that the site's loss of folks like myself might, in the short term, be offset by a gain of these others but might also, in the longer term, no longer be very different from other sites like Yelp & might actually therefore lose "duplicate" folks & be worse off. There's still a pretty large long time core community around here that likes the site… I'm not sure CH's owners should jump at things that might change that.

May 01, 2015
Steve R in Site Talk
2

Rosalina, PVD

Generally true, but we just happen to be there on a Monday night & we gotta eat somewhere. Enoteca Umberto sounds like a place we might have to stop in Providence for on the way back from the Cape. Thanks.

Apr 26, 2015
Steve R in Southern New England

Rosalina, PVD

Thank you for writing the kind of review I wish we'd get more of these days, especially on my home board(s) in NYC. It really gives me the overall "taste" of the place so that we can make an informed decision. We're coming in to Providence for only one night (on the way to the Cape) on Mon, May 4th & are looking for a nice place to eat not far from the Hilton on Atwells (we have a car). This looks like an easy possibility, as we've checked and its open on Mondays and is on OpenTable. However, we're open to suggestions for something that might hit the spot even more if anyone has any ideas. Doesn't have to be Italian but, if it is, we agree with you about the context. We've spent considerable time in Northern Italy (especially Florence) and are from Brooklyn, where poor to mediocre red sauce Italian-American can be found around every corner, but good places are less abundant. And, although we're always on the look out for out of the way hole in the wall chowhound discoveries, on this night we're just looking for a nice, friendly place with good to great food. Anyone wanna weigh in? I'm searching older posts & have probably gone on long enough. Thanks.

Apr 26, 2015
Steve R in Southern New England

Pippali in the East 20s

Six of us got to Pippali last night (6 of the 8 of us who've been to Malai Marke and Haldi together in the past two months) & we all were very impressed. As folks have already said, the (now "consulting") chef is from Tamarind (which was never one of my personal favorites, but I only got to the one in Tribecca) & the owners are the Chennai Garden/Tiffin Wallah folks (they combined those 2 in the TW space and Pippali is in the old CG space). To keep it a "its a small world" situation, the Manager/Host & I recognized each other from Devi, where he'd worked front of house with/for Hemant & Suvir. The chefs all know each other well and are friends. I think they see it as friendly competition in an area they're all hoping becomes more of a destination for excellent Indian food.

Our host spent time explaining to us that the menu was a melange of dishes from various regions of India and that they've decided to present this overview of Indian cooking instead of focusing on any region. He said that this includes some "street food" culture as well as "high dining". It was evident from what we ate that he was telling the truth.

At any rate, I'm not sure exactly what we were comp'ed. Two dishes (a large bowl of Daal & a Cauliflower side dish) were presented as gifts to the table, but I get the impression that other dishes (especially the apps.) were re-sized at no charge so that all 6 of us would get enough of each. And we weren't charged for rice. The total bill was $100/couple + tip and we ate waaay too much & ordered 3 bottles of wine and several beers. I'd estimate the average cost as 2/3rds of this max. Now on to the food.

Everything we ate was very good to excellent. Really. Very distinctive flavors and saucing on each w/clear skill in preparation and execution. I fully agree with Bob M's better half about the Samosa Chat (I always do and we split Chat dishes together when we eat with them) - it was excellent. We also had beet patties stuffed with figs that were great ("Anjeeri Tikki"), mixed veggie fritters that were cleanly done with flavors of the veggies intact ("Seedai Pakodi") and a dish of green chile chicken pieces that brought heat and flavor together with large tender white meat chicken pieces ("Hari Mirch"). I like chicken and I really liked this chicken.

For mains, we shared one of the best homemade cheese dishes I've ever had ("Bikaneri Paneer"), a side dish of excellent mushrooms ("Mushroom Tak Tak"), the eggplant ("Baingan Ka Salan" - which had smallish thick pieces of excellent eggplant in a very rich sauce that needed finishing over rice after the eggplant was gone), a nice, hot chicken dish ("Kombdi Kolhapuri") & one of the lamb dishes recommended by Bob M ("Deg Gohst" - really good; with a lot of non-fatty fresh lamb). We also had an excellent crab balls dish ("Andhra Peetalu Iagaru") which is described well on the menu but is way better than even the description. Again, the saucing was rich and stood out. Our final entree was Chilean Sea Bass ("Melagu Chemeen"), which was a large thick fillet of fresh fish prepared expertly by the kitchen and sitting in a sauce that added flavor without overpowering the fish. Really good. An order of naan and one of garlic naan helped sop up the remaining sauces (as did 3 dishes of rice). No way were we gonna eat dessert.

All in all, one of the best and most satisfying Indian meals I've had. Another great place on what seems to be an ever improving Lex. Ave Indian food scene. Go.

Apr 24, 2015
Steve R in Manhattan

Clueless moderation?

excuse me, but that would seem to support your f***ing point!

Apr 20, 2015
Steve R in Site Talk
1

Will Chowhound ever be a major player in food reviews and discussion

I'm not going to try to tell anyone what's most useful to them, but I will remind folks that there's no extra cost to be a member of both eG and CH (as well as other sites) and use each as needed. As someone who's been on this site, well…. almost since the beginning, I'm a long time member/poster on Mouthfulsfood, eGullet, DonRockwell.com & TripAdvisor as well. If I think something is of common interest to all, it really doesn't take me more than a couple of minutes to block copy and post my review/comments. As is more often the case, I use each site differently (and more/less frequently) depending on my own needs (or desire to share in snarky back & forth on those sites permitting "conversations"). I'm far from the only one doing this, even though some folks use different "names" on each site. Lots of overlap.

By the way, that eG "pretentiousness" was definitely real (actually, I'd call some of the previous leaderships' attitude and style worse than that), but it's a different board these days. And, as for that essay required to join, I wrote something like "Let me in… I have things to say that I'd like to say here as well as on CH, Mouthfuls and other sites". I was in the next day.

Apr 19, 2015
Steve R in Site Talk

Excellent lunch today at Haldi in Curry Hill -- Hemant Mathur's new Kolkata-themed restaurant

Warning: long post ahead. So, 8 of us had a very nice dinner at Haldi last night. I have to admit, it was a little strange for me to eat so many Indian dishes that I have never had before. My experience is totally confined to NYC Indian restaurants (well, except for a London trip where Tayyab was a dinner highlight) & my unfamiliarity with so much of what we had leaves me unable to do any real comparison. However, on a taste basis, I'd definitely recommend it. Note: we ordered things medium spicy & I think the kitchen kept it to the low end of the medium scale… that definitely made a difference, I'm sure, on several of the dishes.
Since there were so many of us & since we all can put away food, we did get a pretty good sampling. From the "bengali bites" section, the Lamb Egg Rolls were great, the Jhal Muri got mixed reviews (I liked it) & the Begun Bhaja was, in my opinion, mediocre (& I always like eggplant). From the "jewish bites" section, the Beet & Potato Cutlets were excellent and the Cheese Samosas good. From the "marwari bites" section, we only had the Grilled Pumpkin (8 small squares of pumpkin lined up on a long dish) &, while small, the dish was done well & I enjoyed my one piece. Although listed in the "sides" section, the Saag Paneer was a good version of the dish & always something I enjoy. Nice having something familiar. The only other "sides" we ordered were breads & they were all good. From the "bengali entrees" section, the Begun Bhorta was no more than okay (too puree'd -- not much heft; maybe it suffered from holding back on the spicing?) & the Aloo Posto (potatoes w/poppy seeds) was very good. The Fish Paturi (flounder w/coconut, mustard and chili) was a highlight. From the "jewish entrees", we only had the Bamai Kuhta (lamb w/okra, etc) & I thought this was excellent as well. From the "marwari entrees", we ordered the Haldi Paneer (cheese), which I really liked but saw as more of a side dish than an entree. From the "kebab & biryani" section, the kitchen comp'ed us the Mustard Chicken Kebabs and they were very good, the mustard and mango working nicely with the meat. We ordered the Fish Kebabs (cod) and I thought this was excellent. The Baby Lamb Chops met with everyone's approval, but I'm not a lamb chop person and I also couldn't help missing the Tandoori Lamb Chops that Hemant did at Devi. To end the meal, we were comp'ed all three desserts… as usual, the dessert chef (Surbhi Sahni, Hemant's wife) came through.
Speaking of Hemant, he was running the show from the front of house all night, with some trips down to the kitchen (to check up on things, I'd guess). As always, he was smiling and friendly &, again, he said that this was the only one of the places that he's taken on to date (kitchen wise) and that he's still intending to make each place a regional specialty restaurant & change each of their menus (although he sounded unsure about how much/how little he'll mess with dhaba's menu… sounded like he was basically happy with it as is). He added that the place next door, now vacant, will also be theirs and that he intended it to be a vegetarian place down the road. So… 7 places. Nice.

Apr 03, 2015
Steve R in Manhattan
1

Excellent lunch today at Haldi in Curry Hill -- Hemant Mathur's new Kolkata-themed restaurant

Well, as sgordon stated down thread, the objective is to regionalize all 6 of the places & confine the menus to dishes from the restaurant specific region. Although the menu at the first place he's re-done has, indeed, been made smaller, I wouldn't bet on this not being a reflection of his opinion of the current ability of the kitchen and/or just the first step of the plan. Of course, you may be correct that it's about cost cutting too. I just hope that what they each wind up serving is good and that it winds up giving us a better variety of Indian food to eat.

Apr 02, 2015
Steve R in Manhattan
1

Excellent lunch today at Haldi in Curry Hill -- Hemant Mathur's new Kolkata-themed restaurant

Nope. Frankly, I hope it's last. I like it as is & I'll miss it when it's been changed (although I'm sure the new edition will be very good, albeit different).

Apr 02, 2015
Steve R in Manhattan

Excellent lunch today at Haldi in Curry Hill -- Hemant Mathur's new Kolkata-themed restaurant

Thanks. Great report & photos. We're having dinner there tonight with a group of friends & will report back. We were at Malai Marke a couple of weeks ago & had a very good dinner as usual. Hemant hasn't changed the menu there yet but showed up unannounced to talk to the kitchen & "observe". Since we all know him for many years, he noticed our group when he arrived & came over & spoke with us about his plans for the 6 places. Since Haldi is the only one he's fully put his mark on so far, here we come. Looking forward to it.

Apr 02, 2015
Steve R in Manhattan
1

Anniversary dinner Florence

Here's another thread that might give you some ideas: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/977873

Even after spending a month in Florence & having previously visited several times, I'm scratching my head trying to figure out what might fit your bill. I think allende is correct that the best Florence places are more simple and that the more celebratory upscale (not pretentious) places are not known for great food (above average yes). That being said, let us know what you decide and how it goes. I'd certainly like to hear back on this. Happy anniversary (btw, our 30th is May 21st).

Mar 18, 2015
Steve R in Italy

Avoiding much of NYC's winter: 6+ weeks in Indian Shores

Of course. It was halfway between where we stayed and the tennis club we went to most days. Doughnuts were pretty good, although you had to catch them early for a selection. There was another coffee place just south of Salt Rock Grill that made good muffins and coffee, had some laid back seating in several small rooms & played good music. Indian Shores Coffee Company I think.

Mar 16, 2015
Steve R in Florida

Avoiding much of NYC's winter: 6+ weeks in Indian Shores

Here are some notes from the 6 weeks we wound up spending in the area. Next year, we're probably going for 9 weeks, as we came back to NY too early and caught 2 snowstorms in one week back.

1- we still love Bern's. Two dinners there with above average steaks, all the other stuff they give you (I like dinner salads, onion soup, loaded baked potatoes, etc) &, most importantly very good inexpensive wines. A couple of whites, a couple of reds… details upon request. We've gone every year for about 5 years now, with friends who are obsessed and have gone every year for over 20 years (& have a copy of the original wine list book that'd fetch good money on e-Bay), and can't help but love it. Getting displaced from our table last year so that Derek Jeter could bring in his entourage was fun, but so was eating in the old room at The Grand Dame's table (no, she wasn't there).
2- E & E Stakeout Grill (yes, it's spelled that way) on Indian Rocks Rd. in Belleair Bluffs is described in one Tampa tourist mag. as "a seafood oriented steakhouse". That alone almost kept us from going, but as it is highly regarded by just about everyone, we went. And went two more times. Its a very reasonably priced place, serving better steaks than most (including a very good prime rib) in very nice rooms with very friendly service. And a limited wine list that includes some very good bottles with low mark up. Like a Jordan Cab. Sauv. for $60 (retail is usually in the $40s). Highly recommended - reservations needed.
3- Eating at the bar at Salt Rock Grill became a habit for us. Nice social place with a wide variety of choices that'll allow you to spend as little or as much as you wish & eat well prepared fresh food. I don't think it deserves a reputation as a "destination" restaurant, as they tend to add too many ingredients to their mains (sauces, spicings, conflicting sides, etc). But, it'd be as crowded in Nassau County, Long Island as it is in Indian Shores & for much the same reason. If you keep it simple you eat well. We must've been there a dozen times over the six plus weeks.
4- Fish places that we liked (because they fried things cleanly, had fresh food & were friendly… not because they were anything more than local fish shacks) included PJ's, Lola's, Crabby Bill's & The Pub. There were many more that we didn't try, but these met our need for both social lunches, informal dinners and even live music (PJ's & C.Bill's). I discovered that I love what they all call "Chicago Oysters": large gulf oysters baked with parm. cheese and butter. Usually under $12/dozen. I learned to love grouper served many ways as well.
5- We'd been to Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City and its better than the one in Sand Key, which we went to this time. The food's close to the same - in my opinion, "good" - but not quite. But the room isn't the warren of decorated rooms in Ybor City (even though its a nice view of the water, with some nice outdoor seating). The salad's great, the apps. decent and the mains fresh, if overwrought. Keeping it simple works here as well.
6- Guppy's in Indian Rocks Beach is owned by the same folks as E&E and is a good choice for a nice medium priced dinner. We went two or three times and had good salads & fish. We preferred sitting at the bar for dinner.
7-Slyce, a pizza place on Gulf in Indian Rocks Beach, has (yes, this Brooklyn guy is going to say this) good pizza. A very friendly bar area to eat at (hey, we're consistent), very good salads, good wines by the glass and bottle and pizza I can live with. And, if needed, they deliver.

If you're in Sarasota, we highly recommend the Ringling Museum, especially the circus memorabilia building. And, although I don't much like Dali, the museum in St. Pete is good & worth a visit. And, if you're a tennis player, I can recommend where to play, since we play pretty much every day and even joined Shipwatch Tennis Club while there.

Mar 15, 2015
Steve R in Florida
1

Kao Soy--new Thai in Red Hook

We were there for lunch yesterday with some friends from out of town and everyone loved it. Two of us had Kao Soy & one of us had the Sai Oua, so its not like we were straying away from what I knew would be good. The 4th dish was the pork belly/beef dish, which is pretty close to Chinese beef tendon soups (with more meat) in my opinion, in that I think they use either 5 spice mix or something similar (star anise is prevalent). At any rate… all good. The apps. were pretty good as well, with the anchovy salad being fresh and crisp with the dried shrimp supplemented by 5 or so medium sized dry anchovies on top of the salad. Definitely an improved version from what they started with. The "dip" and the eggplant/shrimp and the banana blossom dishes weren't too shabby either. I think that they're actually improving & I appreciate the effort to do so, even though I'm pretty satisfied with what I get whenever I'm there.

Mar 11, 2015
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

Visiting Brooklyn for a day in May

Like walking? If so, here's a completely different idea thru neighborhoods closer to Manhattan & full of 30-something's: walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, then 3 blocks into the new waterfront park or onto the Promenade. Both overlook the Manhattan skyline. Walk to Atlantic Ave either way & then up Atlantic Ave, stopping at any of the bars or restaurants & then into Sahadi's on Atlantic (near Court St.). Walk Court St. 10 or so blocks to Union St, then one block left to Smith St, then walk back toward Atlantic. The F train runs along Smith & you can take it back to Manhattan (15 minutes ride) or, if you're still energetic, you can take it in the other direction into Park Slope.

Feb 14, 2015
Steve R in Outer Boroughs
1

Inferior chicken breasts

On Hicks, on the block just before Alma (coming from Atlantic Ave).

Feb 11, 2015
Steve R in Outer Boroughs