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ericd74's Profile

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Experiences with new menu at Carrie Nation?

Has anyone tried Carrie Nation since the recent menu revamp? I haven't seen anything on CH and the few reviews elsewhere are mixed.

Aug 02, 2013
ericd74 in Greater Boston Area

Yoki - Worth trying?

It is fine in a pinch, but not at all worth a trip, and really not worth trying unless you have a serious craving and no time to head out of the neighborhood. The fish is fresh enough, but the selection is rather limited. The sushi is a bit cheaper than at Thelonious Monkfish, the quality and variety is a bit better at TM, but neither is all that special. I'm sadly underwhelmed by the Cambridge sushi options in general, particularly around Central Sq.

Jan 11, 2013
ericd74 in Greater Boston Area

Wedding Venue w/ great food Where Guests Can Stay Over?

Congrats on the upcoming wedding. My wife and I got married this past spring, and were looking for something very similar - +/- 2 hrs from Boston, good food, room for 150-200 guests so most people could make a weekend of it. One of the biggest challenges was finding a venue that could accommodate a party of that size - many of the charming NE inns max out well-below that level.

We decided on Hawk Inn in Plymouth, VT, and overall were very happy with our choice. The food was very good by wedding buffet standards, and we held a welcome BBQ on Friday with a roast pig from an outside vendor (Squeals on Wheels), which was exceptional. There is plenty for guests to do on site during the day (hiking, pool, lake, biking, etc), but it is also close enough to Boston so that people who really don't want to stay can make it home. The on-site staff was very accommodating, but you do have to recognize that you're in VT, so plans may seem a bit less organized than Type-A city-folk might expect. Still, the staff pulled everything together very well in the end, and we had a great weekend.

Nov 14, 2012
ericd74 in Greater Boston Area

Addis or Asmara?

Neither is great compared to the better Ethiopian restaurants of DC and, to a lesser degree, NYC, but of the two, Addis is better. Asmara treads too timidly on the spice and flavor - ate their recently and found it to be among the more disappointing Ethiopian meals I've had. Addis at least has a bit of flavor, better quality meat too in my opinion.

Oct 29, 2012
ericd74 in Greater Boston Area

Central Square Indian

Thanks for the responses everyone - too bad the Indian options appear middling at best. How about the Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurant on Mass Ave, any thoughts on how this compares to Addis up the road near Porter?

Sep 05, 2012
ericd74 in Greater Boston Area

Central Square Indian

There's no shortage of Indian restaurants in Central Square, but I'm at a loss about which to try. It seems they all offer the same $8.95 lunch buffet and hang the same faded c. 1985 Boston Phoenix review in their windows. Are there any standouts in the crowd?

Sep 05, 2012
ericd74 in Greater Boston Area

Where to buy a Cutting Board in NYC

I recently bought a walnut Brooklyn Butcher Block cutting board and cheese board straight from the maker's workshop Brooklyn. The workshop itself is quite spartan, but Nils, the craftsman, is passionate about his work and produces top-quality boards. I'm pretty sure you can find his boards at Murray's Cheese on Bleeker too. I searched online and at the local chain shops (e.g. Willams-Sonoma), and am very happy with my decision to buy locally in the end.

http://www.brooklynbutcherblocks.com/...

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Murray's Cheese
254 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

Nov 15, 2011
ericd74 in Manhattan

Sushi Delivery - Columbus Circle

Can anyone recommend a good sushi delivery restaurant near Columbus Circle? I'm not looking for a transcendent Masa-level experience, just a decent joint that will satisfy my craving for a few fresh, moderately priced pieces of nigiri on a lazy weekday night - something akin to Tenzan in the West 70s or Haru in the 80s.

Thanks....

Jun 07, 2010
ericd74 in Manhattan

I Think I'm Done With Katz's For A While...

I agree that Katz's has slipped (quite dramatically, actually), and also think that Lansky's is among the more welcome additions to the UWS dining scene in recent years, but Lansky's still isn't in the same league as Katz's.

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Lansky's Old World Deli
235 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10023

Apr 13, 2010
ericd74 in Manhattan

Xi'an Famous Foods Opens Up Chinatown Branch A Week From Saturday

I really want to like Xi'an and very much appreciate that they don't appear to have altered their food for a Gringo audience, but after two visits where I sampled 6 different dishes, I fail to understand the tremendous praise. The noodles themselves are well above average, with a pleasantly chewy texture absent at too many other places, but the sauces on both the Liang Pi noodles and Mount Qi pork noodles were forgettable, lacking in both the heat and complexity that others have noted. The lamb burger was fine, but it really didn't taste of anything other than cumin - I happen to like cumin, but perhaps more so as a complementary flavor than as the predominant one. The lamb face salad was unique and - perhaps my favorite dish, though not at all for the squeamish. Conversely, even as an adventurous eater, I was unable to stomach the lamb offal soup, which was overly gamey and which tasted, for lack of a better word, off (it was packed with offal though, so if you can stomach it, you'll find it filling).

Despite my moderately negative mini-review, Xi'an is unlike most other Chinatown restaurants, which alone makes it worth a try. Just be sure to arrive by 5pm to avoid the crowds.

Mar 12, 2010
ericd74 in Manhattan

SHO - Disappointing....(Long)

My girlfriend and I traveled to the hinterlands of late-night Wall St. for a belated birthday / early Valentines Day celebration at SHO. After reading all the reviews on CH, we were excited for a meal that, if not in the league of EMP and other pinnacle restaurants, was still deemed by many to be among the better executed in Manhattan. We left disappointed, in part by the food, which was fine, if lacking "soul" as others have written, but more so by the service, which was comically inept.

We arrived for our 8:45 reservation and saddled up to the bar after the host informed us that it would be "just a few minutes." No problem, we didn't have anywhere else to be, but after 30 minutes without further notification (and with seeing several other diners-to-be waiting in similar circumstances), we grew puzzled. Was this arrogance, an attempt to create "buzz" by making people wait? Was this an effort to boost bar sales? We gave them the benefit of the doubt and chalked it up to inefficiency on a busy dining night. Still, when we were finally shown our table 45 minutes after our reservation, and with not even a contrived apology for the wait, we couldn't help but think that this was SHO's standard procedure - at the very least, not an uncommon occurrence.

We arrived in the well-appointed dining room through an impressive wine storage walkway, and the service errors began almost immediately, if not yet egregiously. One waiter asked if we wanted still, tap, or sparkling and filled us with the requested tap. Another came by shortly thereafter and inquired again about our water selection, blind to the full water glasses already on the table. We told him we were fine with water, but that we could use some menus (it now being 5-10 minutes after having sat). This waiter brought the wine list, though, curiously, no food menu. We had already decided to order red, but I would expect most people would appreciate the opportunity to view the wine and food menus together in order to pair appropriately.

We still had no menus, but the sommelier arrived to help us with the wine list. She was excellent, a positive note in an otherwise discordant serving ensemble. She spoke with knowledge and without snobbery about several different options, and in the end guided us towards a moderately (for here, at least) priced California Cabernet. She decanted the wine and kept our glasses filled throughout; professional service from start to finish.

We again requested a food menu and it finally arrived (courtesy of a different waiter). We opted for the 3-course prix fixe. i ordered (from yet another waiter) the red chili and coconut quail followed by the squab, and my girlfriend ordered the rock shrimp followed by the short rib. The quail was fine, if not memorable, with a sauce reminiscent of a grown-up red curry sauce at the corner thai joint. I can't tell you much about the rock shrimp, because by this time, my girlfriend was so hungry and the portion so small, that it was gone before I had a chance to look up from my quail. She seemed happy enough with it, though also thankful that the bread server was nearby and at the ready to satiate our hunger (good bread, by the way, olive baguette, ciabatta, and multi-grain, all warm and served with a decent French butter and a far-better-than-decent truffle butter...a nice touch).

Keeping with the theme of the evening, we waited a while for the main dishes to arrive, assuaging our hunger with bread and truffle butter. They finally arrived and were...fine....my girlfriend enjoyed the short rib more than I enjoyed the squab, though neither alone was worth the trip downtown. Our sommelier was the one to deliver the dishes and sauce them at the table, an unusual twist, but since she was our lone competent server so far, we weren't disappointed.

Then it was time for dessert...and here it got interesting. I asked if it would be possible to order the chocolate souffle from the 6-course tasting menu (cliche, I know, but I'm a sucker for warm chocolate insides...). The waiter told me it shouldn't be a problem, but that it would take "10-12 minutes". This was fine, as we ordered the cheese course in the interim. As soon as this waiter left, another one came by to deliver our petite fours. They looked good, but we informed him that we hadn't yet received our dessert, so perhaps he was a touch premature. The cheese course was very good - a large portion, with some interesting options and with what appeared to be an artisanal honey on the side. Tasty.

The wait for the souffle continued well after the cheese course. The table next to us was having similar dessert issues, as they brought their dessert without the coffee they ordered and still hadn't brought the coffee after repeated requests. The coffee finally comes out...and gets delivered to our table. We laugh it off...and then they bring the rest of our dessert, only it isn't our dessert, but a dessert intended for another table. At this point, we just start laughing. The manager sees that something is wrong and comes over to inquire. To his credit, he seemed genuinely concerned and was sincerely apologetic about the initial wait and ongoing miscues. He implied that it had been this way all night, leading me to believe (hope?) that this was a one-time glitch. He poured us an interesting dessert sake on the house that had a nice hint of banana, and which complemented the souffle, and also comped our pre-dinner drinks waiting drinks at the bar - both gracious touches. He asked that we return for another visit so that he can make it up to us, though I probably won't take him up on his offer - there are too many other excellent restaurants in the city with more memorable food and better service, without the inconvenience of a trip to Wall St.

Perhaps SHO does a strong lunch business. I can see it being a popular business lunch destination for the financial district crowd. However, I can't see it being worth an evening trip downtown, past all the better options along the way.

Feb 14, 2010
ericd74 in Manhattan

Beef Tendon in Manhattan?

I've been on a big beef tendon kick ever since the weather turned cold. Sripraphai in Queens set the bar high on a recent visit, with many large, chewy tendon pieces immersed in a simple sweet-savory dark broth. A few Chinatown pho joints have satisfied my cravings since, but I've often found the tendon to broth (or tendon to tripe) ratio lacking and the broth itself bland. Does anyone have any recommendations in Manhattan (I like the outer boroughs, but traveling there isn't feasible during the week for me) for must-try beef tendon dishes? I prefer Asian preparations (doesn't necessarily have to be pho/soup), but will certainly branch out for a superior dish. Thanks.

Jan 12, 2010
ericd74 in Manhattan

Momo Ko vs. Eleven Madison Park for B-day Dinner

Thanks everyone for the helpful comments. We ended up at Ko and had a fantastic meal paired with interesting wines. The food was innovative and flawlessly executed and the service, though more relaxed than EMP, was friendly and attentive. Dining at Ko is a very different experience than dining at EMP - as one poster noted, the vibe is much younger - but the meal was equally enjoyable. Consider yourself very fortunate if you are able to swing a reservation at Ko.

Oct 26, 2009
ericd74 in Manhattan

Momo Ko vs. Eleven Madison Park for B-day Dinner

I have reservations this Friday at both Ko and EMP to treat my girlfriend for her birthday. Much as I'd like to use both, my wallet and stomach can tackle only one. Whichever restaurant we choose, we'll be ordering the tasting menu (gourmand at EMP), not that this is an option at Ko.
I know EMP is the more "special" place with superior service, but we've already eaten the gourmand menu once there (a while back, though still after Humm took over the kitchen) and a Ko reservation is much harder to come by (at least it sure was for me), so I'd hate to miss my opportunity here.

We're leaning towards Ko, simply to try something new (we like Ssam a lot; split verdict on Milk Bar), but I'd be interested in hearing the opinions of other members who have eaten at both. My girlfriend and I both appreciate good service, but weight the food itself higher when choosing a restaurant - do the innovative flavors and techniques at Ko make it a worthy alternative to EMP's all-around excellence or will we leave Ko wishing we had stuck with the tried and true?

Oct 19, 2009
ericd74 in Manhattan

Katz gets stingy

Ate at Katz tonight and the pastrami on rye did seem noticeably smaller than in the past, despite my upfront tip to the server behind the counter. Meat quality was as good as ever, but I left hungry and had to make an emergency knish stop down the street. I'll still return - when the urge for good pastrami hits, nothing else satisfies - but It is a slender man who can make three meals out of one of these sandwiches...

Aug 11, 2009
ericd74 in Manhattan

Cinque Terre - Dinner Reservations Needed?

I will be traveling to Cinque Terre (staying in Monterosso) in mid-July. Are dinner reservations necessary (or even possible) in the area or will my companion and I be able to walk-in to local restaurants on weekend nights?

I'd also appreciate any restaurant recommendations for Monterosso and the surrounding towns...the less touristy the better.

Thanks.

Jun 12, 2009
ericd74 in Italy

Nutella

I'm by no means a pronunciation expert - in fact I pronounce just about everything with a slight boston accent - but I, and just about everybody I know, pronounce it Nu-tella. Tasty stuff however you choose to say it.

Feb 14, 2008
ericd74 in General Topics

Chinese cuisine meetup group in NYC?

I'm not sure if such a group exists, but if you pull one together, count me in!

Jan 07, 2008
ericd74 in Manhattan

Dim Sum, again.

One note on Jing Fong, although they officially stop serving dim sum at 3:30 (i believe), the selection and frequency of cart service diminishes tremendously after 2:30 or so. I've been there twice around this time in recent months and had to cut my meal short due to lack of selection (not the worst thing in the world, since i mosied over to new big wong and gorged on roast duck and whole fish in ginger and scallion...)

Dec 03, 2007
ericd74 in Manhattan

Prix Fix at EMP?

Thanks for the quick replies everyone! I couldn't be a bigger fan of duck, but my dining partner is lukewarm on it and, since it's for her birthday, we'll probably have to abstain. Any other can't miss items? Other threads tout the suckling pig, and i will say that looks fantastic, though i have a hard time passing up good lamb.

Oct 11, 2007
ericd74 in Manhattan

Prix Fix at EMP?

I'm going to EMP for the first time next weekend and also had a question about the price fixed menu. The menu itself appears to be divided into 4 parts: Appetizer, Fish, Meat,and Dessert. If I get the 4 course, does that mean I can choose one appetizer, one fish, one meat, and one dessert? Or do you get an extra appetizer? Basically, what are the "rules" governing that extra course?

Also, somewhat off subject, does anyone have any wine recommendations at EMP in the $100+/- range? I am leaning towards a Pinot Noir, but the wine list is extensive and I'm always happy to try something new. I'll certainly ask the sommelier, but wouldn't mind a little direction prior.

Thanks

Oct 11, 2007
ericd74 in Manhattan

I NEED a true lobster experience.. Around boston

Since you're coming from LA, I assume you want to eat-in as opposed to picking up Lobsters at the wharf and cooking them yourself. A decent option would be Summer Shack (locations in Cambridge and Back Bay). Though the place is not a "shack," as the name would imply, it is not fancy either.

Oct 03, 2007
ericd74 in Greater Boston Area

Need fav's for 4 day Vermont trip this weekend

If at all possible, seek out Mary's at Baldwin Creek (in Bristol, I believe) about 20 minutes north of Middlebury. Mary's is a charming VT inn that emphasizes locally sourced ingredients. It is often lauded as one of VT's finest restaurants. I was up there a few weeks back and had a wonderful meal. It's on the pricier side for VT, but well worth it and certainly below NYC prices.

http://www.innatbaldwincreek.com/

In Middlebury itself (hometown of my alma mater - Go Panthers!), Swift House Inn has excellent food, from what I recall. On the cheap end for lunch, you can grab a sandwich at Noonies in the Marble Works (a very short walk from downtown over a bridge spanning Otter Creek and a waterfall) and eat at one of the tables overlooking said Creek. I'm not sure if it is still around, but Rosies restaurant, a 5 minute drive south on Rt. 7 from Middlebury used to have a good diner-style breakfast if that's your thing. I recall the Fosters 4x4 (pancakes, eggs, and bacon) revived me after many a late night.

Enjoy - it's a beautiful part of New England.

Oct 02, 2007
ericd74 in All New England Archive

Good, authentic Mexican in Manhattan?

A quick note of thanks to youngjung for suggesting tehuitzingo in hell's kitchen. I went on saturday and was tremendously impressed with the depth of flavors, quality of ingredients, and overall authenticity of the tacos. It's recommendations like this - the "bourdain-ian" recommendation to the "rachel ray-ian" recommendation of dos caminos or rosa mexicana, if you will - that make chowhound such a valuable site. Thanks again - fantastic!

Sep 24, 2007
ericd74 in Manhattan

Any Chinatown Restaurants do Roast Goose?

Looks like it's roast duck or bust then, at least if I want to stay on this side of the East River...

Any recommendations? My recent go-to has been New Big Wong on Mott (I believe), but I'm always open to new recommendations...

Sep 21, 2007
ericd74 in Manhattan

Any Chinatown Restaurants do Roast Goose?

Interesting. Thanks kobetobiko. I'm surprised roast goose is so rare in NYC's Chinatown. Any idea why this is? There certainly seem to be myriad restaurants specializing in roasted meats. It really is an underappreciated meat in my opinion.

Sep 21, 2007
ericd74 in Manhattan

Any Chinatown Restaurants do Roast Goose?

I'm recently back from a trip to Hong Kong, where I single-handedly thinned the city's goose population. Now that I'm back stateside, I'm craving it again. I see plenty of ducks and chickens hanging in Chinatown windows, but not many geese. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Thanks....

Sep 21, 2007
ericd74 in Manhattan

Saigon Restaurant in Greensboro - did I miss the secret password?

Thanks for the tip Quazi. Are there other local vietnamese restaurants you'd recommend over Saigon? Authenticity and flavor are far more important to me than atmosphere.

Sep 04, 2007
ericd74 in General South Archive

Saigon Restaurant in Greensboro - did I miss the secret password?

I gave Saigon a try this past weekend, and while it shows some potential, I found the food somewhat bland and lacking in flavor and spice overall. Ordered the whole flounder with chili basil sauce (best of the bunch, though still far too mild for my tastes), a mixed seafood dish in a white sauce (bland, but fresh ingredients), and mixed BBQ over vermicelli in "chef's special sauce" (bland brown sauce and disappointing BBQ taste). The latter two dishes were the result of recommendations from the waiter.

I know this restaurant usually gets high reviews on this site and I would like to try it again, so I ask, where did I go wrong? Should I have stuck more to the traditional lemongrass dishes? Did the waiter mistake my solicitation of his opinion as ignorance (i.e. i was genuinely interested in what he thought were the top dishes, but did my question make me look like a novice and cause him to direct me to "safe americanized" dishes)?

So, are there any dishes you recommend? Is there a secret password I should speak in order to let the waiter know that I appreciate my food authentic?

As always, appreciate your advice and guidance...

Sep 03, 2007
ericd74 in General South Archive

Pizza Delivery on the UWS

they don't deliver, but Patsy's on 74th and columbus does takeout and the pizza is excellent.

Aug 21, 2007
ericd74 in Manhattan