Steve R's Profile

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Keen's Steakhouse - Don't Go!!!!

I think they've improved the dip since '06. I think they're now raising free range crabs in one of their upstairs rooms. I know their Prime Rib & chops are good though.

Dec 21, 2014
Steve R in Manhattan

Fairway Cheese Departments, c. 2014

The Red Hook Bklyn store has a good space with helpful staff.

Dec 21, 2014
Steve R in Manhattan

Intimidation of Restaurant Reviewers

Thank you for posting this. In general, I think you have elegantly captured the situation & I very much appreciate your thoughts on the topic. But, I do have a quibble with your last paragraph. You state: "..just like criticizing a film is pointless if you do not know what went in the making of the film, criticizing a restaurant must always be done with the humility of someone that may have eaten all his life, but is not working all his sweat out in a kitchen making dishes for a crowd of spoiled brats". As a consumer, I don't think that I can agree with the notion that criticism of the product is "pointless" if not based on knowledge and experience with the manufacturing process. If I don't like the way a watch looks or if it doesn't keep time while on my arm, I can criticize it's usefulness without having a clue as to how to make a watch. Similarly, when I critique a film, its about how enjoyable it was for me to watch. With a restaurant, it's from the perspective of how much I liked how the place felt to me, how good the food tasted to me, how well I was serviced, whether I felt I was charged what I consider an appropriate amount for what I received, etc… the eating experience, not the technical aspects of the food's creation. On the other hand, I totally agree with you that this should all be done with the "humility" you describe, as much of the time even food I don't appreciate is part of the life's work of another and should be respected as such. Again, thanks… great post.

Dec 19, 2014
Steve R in France
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Grand Central Oyster Bar- Park Slope

Every time I go past your block(s), I miss Tempo. I even miss Terroir, although I only went to this outpost once (& wasn't impressed… I'll stick to the E.Village). I can't see myself going to GCOB there when I've only been to the one in Grand Central Station maybe 4 times in 25 years (& that was only to bring out of town friends to where they insisted on going).

Dec 18, 2014
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

A Faster Chowhound: Pagination for Longer Threads

patsully:

just my 2 cents as one of the original CH posters. I discovered the change (that all posts now appeared as unread & with pagination) when I went on the boards yesterday. I figured it was some interim glitch & left. Went back on today, it was still the same, so I signed out, removed the cookies and came back in to the site fresh. Still the same. I figured it was a change that was going to make my life on the board very difficult and probably decrease (or end) my participation & left for an hour. While doing other things (don't ask), I realized that I should check the Site Talk board & did so. So… here I am. I followed another user's advice on another thread and successfully changed my settings. All is well again.

My point: you almost lost a 20 year user & frequent poster on quite a few boards because, as others have said, I too am not particularly interested in, or used to using, the Site Talk board. Wouldn't have hurt to put a heading on every board on the site for awhile, explaining that our view will change and linking to instructions on how to maneuver from there.

Okay, so that's more like my 3 cents. Best wishes for the days ahead.

CH has changed - WHY?

Thank you from me as well… it worked exactly as you described.

Dec 18, 2014
Steve R in Site Talk

Intimidation of Restaurant Reviewers

"..but now that oodles of people who can't tell a croque-monsieur from a hot dog or a vin de pays from a cru classé are flooding the market, it becomes a potential, large-scale calamity".

Truthfully, as much as I agree with your overall sentiment, I don't think it will. As absurd as it may seem, the adage "all publicity is good publicity" seems to override the immediate effect of a bad review. People remember the name of the place but fail to remember how they heard of it. And, now that there are so many "reviews" everywhere, the impact of one or two is felt much less than when one of the 3-4 published reviewers panned a place.

That being said, I really do like to see owners/chefs fighting back, even if its against me. I remember in the earlier days of CH, I wrote about a place I wound up loving later on, saying that some of the dishes were excellent but that the chef's forte was not found in his fish dishes. Several months later, when sitting at the place with my wife, the waiter asked me what we wanted to eat & a voice came from the back of the room for all to hear "well, he won't be having the fish". I'm still friends with this chef, long after his place closed.

Dec 17, 2014
Steve R in France

Great Italian in Dyker Heights

I'm gonna agree with AubWah on this but want to make sure you know what you'll be getting there. New Corners is an old line Italian red sauce place where eggplant rollatini is a $10 appetizer but enough for 2-3 people (don't miss it). It's a place that probably "sources" its ingredients from the local Key Food and industrial suppliers. It's "home cooking" in the sense of an average home where dinner recipes were handed down but skill in the kitchen was self taught and uneven. It has booths where you can look up to the tv screens and play Keno. Their "rush hour" is 5:30pm. All that being said, it's one of my favorite old style places in NYC and it matches perfectly with the Dyker Hts. Xmas Lights. Go there.

Your other choice, more upscale with a great wine cellar is Tommaso's on 86th St. Unfortunately, although the menu is more interesting (i.e.: wild boar over linguini, cacio e pepe), the food is very mediocre and much more expensive. We went back just last week and wished we were at New Corners (except for the incredible wine bargains).

Dec 15, 2014
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

Does anyone know of a bar that serves Eggnog?

Waterfront Ale House on Atlantic usually has "Sam's Serious Egg Nog" behind the bar but, since they're closing at the end of the month, I'm not sure if its still available. Call and ask.

Dec 08, 2014
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

Last Minute – City Hall / Shotgun Wedding – Dinner Suggestions?

Well, there is City Hall (the restaurant) not too far from you. Sorta the right name for the event, no? I think that the food's good enough (don't expect Gramercy, but its better than Arturo's), the drinks and atmosphere perfect and the prices close enough. Congrats.

Dec 01, 2014
Steve R in Manhattan

La Bouillabaisse on Atlantic Ave: What Happened??!?

Truthfully, I'm not sure if Neil's using it as a restaurant or a bar these days. I've only been there for drinks & almost for music when Neil (& Amanda's) son performed. For those who don't know, in typical Neil humor, the name comes from the time a customer sent back a lobster a couple of times & Neil threw a fit (& the lobster). I think it shares the kitchen with Petit Crevette, probably still a good place showing off Neil's skill. I haven't been in a year or so.

I wasn't sure if the original post was yours -- didn't you use "Peter in the Heights" back then?

Nov 28, 2014
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

La Bouillabaisse on Atlantic Ave: What Happened??!?

Yep. We showed up at the then new Boullabaisse when it opened, immediately loved Neil's cooking & found that I already knew Amanda from playing squash at the old Park Place Squash club in Manhattan. Her wine bar emergence represented her remission & seeming new found good health after several tough years. How sad that it lasted such a short time. We miss her &, whenever we go to the Wine Bar (now owned by Mark of Henry's End), we think of her.

Nov 28, 2014
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

La Bouillabaisse on Atlantic Ave: What Happened??!?

tishtash: I'm an old customer from then as well. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but the post you responded to is 11 years old and, unfortunately, Amanda passed away several years ago. Neil now owns Petit Crevette on Hicks St., around the corner from Union St on the Columbia Waterfront side of the BQE (where he did own Bouillabaisse for awhile with another partner) and can probably be contacted for further info. He also has "The Flying Lobster" on the corner of Hicks and Union, a couple of doors away.

Nov 27, 2014
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

Hi From Marssy, Chowhound CM

Not me... I was hoping for some jaded, cynical, sarcastic s.o.b. to take the job. Too bad I'm already happy in my retirement. And, by the way Marssy... I'm allergic to cats.

welcome

Nov 20, 2014
Steve R in Site Talk

A report: 10 days in Paris

A belated thanks from me as well. Great report, helping me begin a list for the next trip. And I fully agree about the "style over substance" difference… too many places back here in trendy Brooklyn think that creating the stage set is more important than the screenplay.

Nov 18, 2014
Steve R in France

Dumpling Galaxy - Dumplings and more

A rainy Monday night at 6pm… great variables to get 7 of us in without any wait. The place was 1/2 full (1/2 empty for those of you who look at things that way). At any rate, we sampled a lot. The Pork w/bitter melon and the lamb w/cilantro dumplings were both very good. Some at the table preferred the pork w/chives potstickers, others (including me) the pork w/dill ones. The slippery noodles (can't remember what they call them here) w/veggies was a very nice version. The home style tofu dish was excellent -- highly recommended. The pork w/preserved vegetables was done perfectly and served in a very large portion. Spinach w/mushrooms was nice enough. Lamb w/cumin was prepared as small pieces of fried lamb (not on the bone or in large chunks) and was good, but not my favorite version. And the sweet and sour pork (someone at the table loves this and always gets it) was admittedly one of the better versions, served as small cutlets of breaded pork with a decent sauce based on honey (I think). Even I liked it. Lots more to try and I'll probably volunteer to do so. One thing… her dumplings here are much more refined, with thinner dough, than at her stall at the Golden Mall. I don't mind the Golden Mall versions, especially since they're so inexpensive, but these are better (and worth the double cost).

Nov 17, 2014
Steve R in Outer Boroughs
1

Dumpling Galaxy - Dumplings and more

Hoping things won't be as crazy when a group of us go there tonite. Will report back… if we get in.

Nov 17, 2014
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

Tampa - Greg Baker's Fodder & Shine

Thanks for this. We'll be in the area most of Jan and Feb (betw. Clearwater and St Pete's, on Gulf Dr.) but will be heading into Tampa several times. Fodder & Shine looks very interesting and, having now googled some articles about it, so does the entire Seminole Hts. area, including The Refinery. Cant only eat (& drink, of course) at Berns.

Nov 15, 2014
Steve R in Florida

Kao Soy--new Thai in Red Hook

We were probably eating there when you got your take-out. After drinks across the street at Bait & Tackle, we walked in to Kao Soy around 6:45 with 2 CH friends who'd been there a couple of times before, thinking we'd be seated easily, and basically got the last 4 top there. It stayed completely full for the next hour and a half, with folks getting turned away or being told to leave their #, go get a drink and they'll be called in 45 minutes to an hour. Obviously, it's great to see them getting the business and I hope it's not just a Sat night thing. The kitchen was working full speed but everything came out correctly and everything tasted great, although one dish (luckily not mine) came out incredibly spicy. This was the first time there for me and my wife and I gotta say that, although I am not very knowledgable about Thai food, this was very good. We didn't like Pok Pok when we went and it's nice to have a place like this a 5 minute drive away from us & not to have to go to Queens for Sri or Ayada… not to mention that the food was significantly different from either & provides another choice. Highly recommend the pork belly dish, the Kao Soy, the pork strips and even the anchovy salad (although I wouldn't have known that it was anchovy if they didn't confirm it… very nice salad but not really an anchovy lover's dream). It'll be nice when they get an alcohol license… the food really calls out for a beer (or two).

Nov 09, 2014
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

Ridiculously Downhill Alert: Damascus Bakery

Just for information's sake, they have 2 types of pita for sale there these days. The packaged pita is from their commercial plant (and has been for many years now) but they've more recently started to sell "freshly hand made" pita bread (at a higher price of course) as well.

Nov 05, 2014
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

Ridiculously Downhill Alert: Damascus Bakery

Okay, except you're not reviewing a cookie company or even a business where cookies are one of their major products. Your analogy doesn't work &, instead, it serves to basically generalize that all dating is too dangerous due to the one deranged knife wielding psychotic (the overall business is bad because one type of cookie was?!). Not that I disagree with that take on dating, but my dating experience is probably not the issue at hand (especially since I haven't dated for 30 years… gotta make that perfectly clear in case my wife (or her friends) are reading this).

By the way, if you're willing to assume that a contractor is making the ok baba, why not assume that the cookies are contracted out? Not that I think they are, but why dismiss the positive product you ate?

I live 2-3 blocks from Damascus and have shopped there reasonably regularly for the past 30 years. It's true that I may not have noticed a decline, especially since there's not much to compare it to in the immediate neighborhood any longer but I really don't think the place's overall quality has changed much over the years. Some stuff is great, some not so great… some has improved, some declined, some remain unchanged.

Sorry about your cookie.

Nov 04, 2014
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

Live from Emilia Romagna

Great reports (as always). Looking forward to hearing more.

Nov 03, 2014
Steve R in Italy

D'Amico gone?

I was listing places that are still there. I don't know much about College Bakery but I do know that Carmine closed down the family's produce store this past year and its now a bar.

Oct 31, 2014
Steve R in Outer Boroughs

Tampa or St. Petes - Unique spots likely to be open on Thanksgiving

Thanks… much appreciated.

By the way, last year when we were in Longboat Key, we drove over to Sarasota and really liked Louie's Modern. A little much like back here in NYC, but nicely done.

Oct 30, 2014
Steve R in Florida

D'Amico gone?

It is a great renovation and I wish them well. Very nice people always serving an excellent product. At the danger of sounding like my long gone parents, themselves born in Bklyn over 100 years ago, I miss the old roaster at work in the front of the store, making the area smell of fresh coffee while I waited on my overstuffed hero for lunch. Of course that was 30 years ago, but I find myself getting nostalgic every time I see one of the brand spanking new places that replace my memories. But, I guess the fact that Queen, Sahadi's, D'Amico, Caputo's Bakery, Red Rose & Marco Polo are still around at all is comforting.

Tampa or St. Petes - Unique spots likely to be open on Thanksgiving

If you're going to be there for more than just the one day and find anything else well worth going to, please let me know. It seems that we're going to be in the St.Pete area (Indian Shores) for 5-6 weeks starting mid-Jan & will need to eat pretty much every day (unless one of us breaks down and tries cooking). We already have Berns reserved with friends for 2 nights (for our annual steak and old wine pilgrimage) but I'm guessing that we won't be eating there every night. And, if you come back to visit your grandmother during the time we're there, let us know. I'll find you a slice of pizza.

Of course, anyone else with ideas for us is welcome to share them by hijacking this thread or starting another. Or using my e-mail address (on my CH home page). Thanks.

Oct 30, 2014
Steve R in Florida

"Tip and Tax not included." A new trick on visitors unfamiliar with Paris restaurants?

Okay, okay… it's not like I was too dense to get the overall point. Drive in the middle & compromise. :-)

Oct 25, 2014
Steve R in France
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"Tip and Tax not included." A new trick on visitors unfamiliar with Paris restaurants?

You're correct of course, that I can't foretell the future and certainly don't personally know the staff that we encountered. And that I have a very small sample size from a very brief visit. But, being very outgoing, I did start the same types of conversations I have with those in NYC with some of them and got much the same responses… several who wanted to be chefs, some that were in school and weren't sure, some that were casting around to see what worked for them. Fewer "aspiring actor" answers than in NYC but just about no "I'm starting my career and plan to do this". It's absolutely true that they (or I, for that matter) weren't seeing their current job as "less", only that they didn't seem to have decided that this was their future. My overall point wasn't that there aren't many places where the "waitstaff as career" tradition still holds, only that the newer, younger places seemed to have already broken loose from that notion (as well as the tipping notion &, probably more interestingly, the server/patron boundary notion… they all spoke to me (as many do here in NYC in similar places) informally and freely & seemed to like the personal interaction). You're correct… things are changing and folks coming to NYC are dealing with a changing restaurant atmosphere. My point is that this is true in Paris as well and that its too easy to see things as static and not fluid.

Oct 24, 2014
Steve R in France

"Tip and Tax not included." A new trick on visitors unfamiliar with Paris restaurants?

We'll just have to agree to disagree here. That's not "the point", only your inclination and maybe some wishful thinking. Again, you're making things into a black/white situation. I generally adjust and adapt fine. I understand your basic point and tend to lean toward practicing that approach, but I also recognize that "adapting our behavior to local standards" is not an absolute either. If things have gotten to the point where many waiters in many restaurants expect Americans to tip (and they have), then a certain amount of navigation into this grey area is necessary all around. Telling me that "this is not the way its done here" seems a bit static and I think romanticizes the situation unrealistically.

And, by the way, my guess is that the young wait staff that I had at Le Ze Kitchen, Chateaubriand and Le Bat are not mostly career servers and don't fit your paradigm. Tipping seemed far from a foreign concept to them and I'd bet they'd be shocked if an American tourist didn't leave one.

Oct 24, 2014
Steve R in France

"Tip and Tax not included." A new trick on visitors unfamiliar with Paris restaurants?

Without getting too argumentative about this, there's more grey area in this (isn't there always) than you're presenting. First of all, I primarily go to restaurants for MY satisfaction, not THEIRS. I do a lot of things that make me feel comfortable and may make them cringe. I'll bet you and everyone else does as well. Mostly, what I do is compromise between my total comfort and their acceptance of me as a customer. Secondly, "norms" are fluid and change over time. Tell me that the dress code is the same now as even 2-3 years ago. You think many wouldn't want a return to the more "proper" attire of tradition? I wear a jacket and slacks at places where others are coming in with t-shirts and maybe even shorts. Do those folks have an effect on my dining experience -- well, yes, they do. As for tipping -- like I said, I clearly see a different level of expectation these days for me to tip in both Italy and France -- this reinforces my comfort level with doing so and then increases the expectation. I get it. Your point (and allende's) is well taken however. I'll work on it.

Oct 24, 2014
Steve R in France
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