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mjgauer's Profile

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Yorkshire Dales

Visited the drum and monkey a couple years ago and it was awful- very very clumsy poor cooking and trapped in a different age. Having said that I think it has recently taken on new owners so worth trying to find some recent reports ..

May 29, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Comments/Thoughts on proposed London itinerary?

Good choices overall - as per other comments, I'd add some Indian. It looks like you are veering towards the higher end of things so maybe Gymkhana?

Ametsa has had pretty universally bad write ups though cant say I have been there myself. Any reason you went for it?

I would also add that my favourite spot at the moment is Clove Club in Shoreditch for quite a unique take on British cuisine

Apr 16, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Easter Weekend - comments appreciated

Wow thanks so much- lots of great sounding places there- will check out as many as my liver will allow!

Apr 12, 2014
mjgauer in France

Easter Weekend - comments appreciated

Thanks all for your help on this.

I think for the Saturday night we will opt for Paul Bert as seems like the most appropriate substitute for L'ami Jean.

Does anyone have any recommendations for any good wine/cocktail bars near our dinner spots I.e. Bones / Paul Bert / Clamato?

Many thanks again

Apr 10, 2014
mjgauer in France

Easter Weekend - comments appreciated

Haha, thanks, will check it out. Lips are sealed

Apr 08, 2014
mjgauer in France

Easter Weekend - comments appreciated

Thanks Parigi - that was a typo - should have read Buzzy.

Thanks for the tips on the market. Will check out the 14 day forecast though if its anything like London I won't put too much faith in it...

Apr 08, 2014
mjgauer in France

Easter Weekend - comments appreciated

Hi all

I have been scoping out people's recommendations for a good couple months running up to our trip to your city over the Easter Weekend (Friday to Monday).

We are two 30 years olds living in East London - after casual, fun places with good food and importantly, buzzy non-stuffy atmosphere. We are staying in an apartment in the 11th(or maybe 10th?) just off Rue Oberkampf but used to travelling on metro etc so distance not such a problem.

After getting over the disappointment of Chez L'ami Jean being shut (seriously, the main reason we booked this trip was to go - gutted...) our plans are looking something like:

Friday Dinner - Bones (booked)

Saturday Brunch/Lunch - Buvette (Rue Henry Monnier)

Saturday Dinner - the main dilema. I am weighing up Paul Bert / Richer / le BAT / Piere Sang Boyer / Terroir Parisien (Palais Brongiart) - a lot of options! Any to definitely go for/rule out?

Sunday Lunch - If warm, a picnic in Jardin de Lux with food from Marche Raspail or Mouffetard - any suggestions for which is better?

if not warm than Danes Les Landes

Sunday Dinner - Clamato

I then have a monday lunch spot free - any thing crying out to be tried?

Thanks in advance for all your help - Chowhound is always invaluable and I hope I can help some of you with advice in London at some point

Apr 08, 2014
mjgauer in France

Marble Arch questions (also Cambridge and Salisbury)

Think you may have got the wrong end of the stick gnosh- Gareth was being helpful, not insulting. Check out Donostia and Lockhart as suggested.

Apr 03, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Critique my itinterary - Visit late March

I would definitely opt for Clove Club - they are actually linked to some degree with the owners having worked together at the Ten Bells previously so the general ethos and approach is similar but the Clove Club is a little more ambitious and unusual.

I've eaten at the bar a few times and tend to get out, with modest wine, for around £40-45 a head inc service for plenty of food. I like the bar menu rather than tasting just for the flexibility and more casual atmosphere.

Mar 07, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Hedone [London]

Similar experience whereby we paid for the carte blanche. We were a couple courses behind our neighbour at the bar so could, like you, see what was coming. And like you, we seemed to be dealt duff hands whenever they were low on ingredients so our duck was replaced with sweetbreads and our scallops with something inferior which I cant quite recall.

Together with quite snooty service, poor service from the sommelier and being ignored by Mikael we were let down badly. This was in contrast to my first meal there which i absolutely loved and was all the more disappointing for it..

Mar 06, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Critique my itinterary - Visit late March

I would highly recommend Clove Club - and the bar area is a good option.

Ten Bells is relatively similar to Clove Club so not sure I would do both in a short trip. Have you looked into Brawn? If in the East then it's very good.

Texture is good but a little corporate/sterile for me

Mar 06, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Bloomsbury St. Pancras Resto Recs?

Newman St is good. - more like a restaurant than a pub and not cheap but it enjoyed it

I really liked Shrimpys but you probably hit the nail on the head that it's as much about the drink and scene as the food.

Have you looked into caravan? Very close and potentially a nice balance between ambitious menu and fun atmosphere.

Feb 19, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Back to London after 10 years away. Where must I eat?

Very different places in most respects...for quality of food and service and pretty much every measure Medlar is the better choice. It's a very different beast though- white tablecloths and sommeliers rather than bare wood and barristas.

Not sure why kopapa is so up in your list so maybe there is something I am missing..and I would still rate any of the spots in my last email above it ;-)

Feb 15, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Birthday in Covent Garden

Seconded for the Blind Pig

Feb 12, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Islington reco - dinner after 69 Colebrook Row [London]

Technically a pub but the Smokehouse is excellent - takes meat very seriously and elevates it above the current burger/bbq trends.

Trullo also worth a look near Highbury & Islington station for Italian.

Have heard bad things about House of Wolf.

Prawn on the Lawn sounds good but have heard about long waits for seats.

Feb 12, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

One fancy dinner in London

I'd check out the Ledbury in Notting Hill - I prefer the atmosphere to Hibiscus (slightly less stuffy) and more central than Hedone

Feb 12, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Back to London after 10 years away. Where must I eat?

Bocca di Lupo - Italian in Soho - some interesting menu items on the menu and nice atmosphere

Berners Tavern - Central - food is good (jason atherton, one of Ramsays proteges) but main attraction is the room which is stunning

Social Eating House - Soho - Also Atherton owned, fun bistro. Good cocktails

Gymkhana - High end Indian in Mayfair, getting a lot of attention for its game items

Brawn - Shoreditch Really nice relaxed bistro - good charcuterie

Clove Club - British, Shoreditch - some of the scando foraging influences going on. Exciting food but also just very tasty.

The Ten Bells - Shoreditch Same kind of idea as Clove Club but more of a pub setting

Smokehouse - Islington- converted pub - emphasis on smoked/cured meats - very good

Quality Chophouse - Farringdon - St John influenced pub

Harwood Arms - Fulham - posh gastro pub, ambitious game led menu. Love this place

Blanchette- Buzzy small French bistro in Soho - small plates

Ba Shan - Soho - Schezuan focussed chinese - the most consistent place i've been to

Koya - Soho Udon specialist - good for lunch. Some interest specials as well using seasonal ingredients

There are also a host of new US style burger places / comfort food but I imagine thats probably not your focus for the trip...

Feb 12, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Birthday in Covent Garden

I actually quite enjoyed Jackson and Rye, more for the atmosphere than the food admittedly. Kopapa is good but I see it as more of a brunch place for some reason.

My standard 'go-to' for pre matinee theatre is J Sheekey Oyster Bar - nice relaxed atmosphere, good food and feels a little special for a birthday type occasion.

Other good options for a fun buzzy lunch could be barrafina, bocca di lupo, quo vadis. In soho you're pretty spoilt really...if you let us know what kind of food you'd prefer I could be more specific.

Dinner - I really like Opera Tavern, probably more than Arbutus. Again - so many options around there - I would repeat my rec for Barrafina - one of my favourites for a fun up beat start to an evening

Feb 11, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

London help

Covent Garden isn't the best for pubs. Ape & Bird is pretty good but I would recommend Great Queen Street over it - really good food and nice cosy atmosphere. They lack any kind of website but I think a few people have written it up on here. Same owners as Anchor and Hope which gets a bit more attention for some reason.

Balthazar is ok but I would personally seek out something a bit more interesting unless you particularly want french bistro food. Have you thought about adding in some chinese/indian/south american perhaps?

Dehesa is really good and the owner has just opened up Ember Yard in Soho which is getting good reviews. If you wanted to try something a little different I rate Bocca di Lupo and Barrafina very highly (both in Soho)

Feb 07, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

London help

I'd third this - love Pitt Cue Co, but yeah, get there 20mins before opening unless you want a long(er) wait

Feb 07, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Single Diner East London: Questions

Good call on clove club.

Some good wine merchants in hackney are-

Noble fine liquors- Broadway market
Borough wines - Wilton way
Bottle apostle - Lauriston road

They may not be that close to you though . Larger supermarkets normally have an ok selection - waitrose probably your best bet.

A&H could be tough in an hour though maybe ok if you get there early and let them know of your timing.

Viajante definitely shutting down- check out the chefs twitter feed

Feb 05, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Single Diner East London: Questions

Some good places in there

Sager and Wilde is good - i'm not sure I'd say its mellow but its not packed and it would be a fine place to be solo. You could also easily combine with Brawn which I also love.

Beagle is pretty good, Clove Club is very very good. If I were you I would make a reservation in the bar area of the Clove Club where you can sit at the bar stools and order of the a la carte. You get the full breadth of the food there rather than a typical limited bar menu and its definitely suitable for a solo diner.

As mentioned, Viajante/Corner Room are closing at the end of Feb. Not sure if the standards will be on the wind down up until then or not...

Other good options in the area:

Mayfields - small neighbourhood place getting a lot of attention for ambitious cooking
Ten Bells - linked to Clove Club - well worth a look
Ritas Dining (now on Mare Street) - comfort junk food but with some ambition and asian slants. Well worth a look.
Lardo - good straight forward Italian/pizza - good for solo dining

Away from the East, I love the Anchor & Hope, try to get there if you can

Feb 05, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Hottest London restaus with actual good food/scene

If you haven't done so already I would put your name on the waiting list for those restaurants - that worked out for with Gymkhana last month.

In respect of valentines - I wouldn't necessarily settle for a place you don't particularly want to go to just because you cant find a reservation. There are plenty of excellent places which will still have tables or which dont take reservations so, with a slightly early start, you would be able to end up somewhere decent. Have a search for on the boards for no-reservation places. Many are in Soho within walking distance so you can always skip between a few if one doesnt work out.

Jan 30, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Itinerary recommendations - London

I like it - lot for a quick meal with friends but not sure it's a 'destination' restaurant when you have limited time. Gymkhana would certainly tick your boxes for very good food and being a 'hot' new place- cant think of many other openings that have got such universal praise. Expensive though..

Jan 26, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Itinerary recommendations - London

Good list but I think you are missing a gastropub on there - I love the harwood arms (1 Michelin star and hardly a casual pub but still very nice atmosphere and consistently excellent food). Bull and last / anchor and hope / drapers arms are other favourites

HKK is too corporate for me. Dabbous is good but not worth the booking hassle. I love the Clove Club - my favourite recent opening. sit in the bar area so you can order a la carte rather than fixed tasting menu

St. John is legendary but for me sometimes off the boil. If still keen I would go to St. John Bread and Wine which I find a little more fun

Jan 26, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Kedgeree in London

I like the one at the Delauney which I imagine will be much the same as that of the Wolseley.

I also enjoyed an interpretation of it at Koya Bar in soho which involved rice porridge with, smoked haddock a slow-poached egg and some crispy fish skin/bonito flakes

Jan 20, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

December trip report

No problem at all- glad to feed back

I feel bad about the pearl and ash report as I imagine it could have been a one off night on their part..I wouldn't necessarily let it put you off entirely..Balthazar though..happy for people to take heed of my experience on that one!

Interested to hear of any one else's thoughts on the veal at Jean George if they have tried it too..

Dec 30, 2013
mjgauer in Manhattan

December trip report

All

Thank you for all your advice and help In my two threads pre trip

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9102...
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9221...

We had a great trip with some good food and, (perhaps more importantly) some good snow!

I'll give a run down of our meals:

Minetta tavern- brunch having had a very quick turn around at and from Newark airport. I found the room itself just ok- buzzy enough those quite obviously a lot of out of towners though I guess that's to be expected. We ordered the black label burger and French dip to share. French dip was good though I would have liked the gravy to be thicker. The burger though was amazing- as described many times, a lovely thick crust and incredible almost gamey beef flavour. Very good service also- Bloody Mary's comped for being slightly late- stark contrast to service at Balthazar as described later..

Charlie Bird- pre drink at the Jane, nice and cosy for a snowy evening. Dinner at Charlie Bird probably our highlight of the trip. Loved the atmosphere at the bar- fun music and very friendly staff serving drinks. Very different to what I'd heard of it being sceney - maybe as a result of the weather it wasn't completely rammed. Highlights were the razor clams with Calabrian chili, rigatoni with ragu and the chicken which was very tender and flavoursome. Only dud was the raw scallop with brown butter- not sure if the fresh shellfish went with the heavy butter..-also not cheap at $15 for one scallop

Balthazar- biggest let down of the trip. Food was average (scrambled egg in puff pastry that was dry and almost stale in places and eggs Norwegian which were fine but nothing special). The whole place felt like a conveyer belt of tourists which I guess it was but with the prices charged I would expect better service. The table staff were fine but we found the maitre d and fromt of house non attentive and, when we did have heir attention, snooty and arrogant. An experience with the cloak room staff left an extremely bad taste in the mouth- I mentioned our thoughts to the staff but was greeted with a condescending arrogant glance rather than any interest or apology - a real shame.

Chez sardine- a few snacks here, some of the sushi, the Unagi/pork roll and the pancakes. Highlights were the beef and uni sushi and the pancakes. Service at the bar was warm and attentive and the atmosphere cosy- we really enjoyed this spot though the costs added up very quickly..

Pearl and Ash- another disappointment unfortunately. We ordered a wide range including the beef tartar, lamb belly and octopus - the common theme was gross over seasoning. I am not at all adverse to some robust levels of salt but this was simply too much. We would have sent the food back but jet lag was setting in and we just wanted to get out if there. A shame as some of the dishes would have been good otherwise. Some exploration of the winelist may have improved our experience but wasn't what we were after that might.

Buvette- slightly overdone scrambled eggs with the prosciutto but the charm of the place outweighed that- lovely experience overall

Burger joint- mis timing of lunch meant we missed out on ma peche and settled for a burger- good though perhaps not worth the 40min wait

Allswell/marlow and sons - loved the atmosphere at both. Had a few $1 oysters and clams in allswell then some chicken liver pate and homemade pancetta in marlow and sons. Pancetta was mostly fat and more akin to lardo than what I am used to as pancetta but silky smooth and absolutely delicious. Then mis advisedly moved to dram/extra fancy which were average- wish we had gone to The Diner next door but wasn't to be

Locanda verde- delicious honey butter scone and eggs modenese with contechino hash and tomato hollandaise- the best breakfast of the trip- loved it all. My wife had the ricotta and truffle honey which was tasty but too big - would be better at half the serving and half the price

Mission cantina - after the lower east side tenement museum(highly recommended) headed here. We were still pretty full so weren't quite ready for some of the more interesting dishes like the beef heart/scallops but had a few tacos which beat anything we get in london. Best probably the carnitas and the lamb belly. Nice service- staff interested in our thoughts

spotted pig- coffee in the snow at cluny and then a few afternoon drinks and oysters at spotted pig- perfect for a cosy few hours down at the bar-nice service, good beers (, tasty oysters-perfect for what we wanted

Perla - cocktails at wallflower (not a massive fan of the venue but good drinks). Mixed feelings on Perla. Loved the atmosphere at the bar as we walked in...loved the atmosphere as we walked through the main strip of tables...didn't love the atmosphere at the 'chefs counter' where we were sat...to be clear- this is not the kitchen, it's the back waters of the kitchen where a ham slicer and unused grill sat. We saw a chef there once, otherwise it was empty and devoid of any charm. I am mystified as to why they have put a bar here with zero energy or appeal. Anyway- on to the food. We ordered badly from the antipasti, sharing a pear/Gorgonzola/speck salad which was overdressed and not exciting in any way. Pastas were the highlight - linguine with mussels and uni / agnolotti with beef cheek. Both very good and generous servings. Secondi of lamb shoulder and belly with Calabrian chili and yogurt was overly sweet and not balanced - disappointing. Service was sweet and competent. Overall think I was hoping for a repeat of l'artusi which we loved and it just didn't quite hit the mark in terms of atmosphere or food.

Jean George's- lunch here. Slightly disorganised front of house (stranded at bar in nougatine for too long) gave way to warm, attentive and well informed staff in The restaurant itself. We ordered from the amazing value lunch menu- highlights were the tuna ribbons, hamachi with avocado, shrimp and salmon with black truffle crust- all were incredibly tasty with delicate flavours and perfect seasoning. Also worth mentioning the excellent value wine list where I think we saw the cheapest price by the glass of any bar and restaurant we went to on our trip ($9) which was a nice surprise. Only dud was my 'main' dish- the veal scallopine with ham and mushrooms. This jarred incredibly badly with the rest of our meal - whereas everything else was delicate and fresh, this lacked any subtlety and was overpowered by the strongly salted ham. This looked and tasted like an average bistro course, not a 3* main. I really did not understand this at all and it brought the meal away from being potentially the best food we have had. On reflection I think EMP last time was overall a better experience and felt more like a 'New York' meal than JJ which felt slightly anonymous.

Anyway- hate to end on a downer as overall we loved the meal and our trip as a whole- I still think NYC beats london convincingly on relaxed but warm service and offers more ambitious and polished neighbourhood restaurants then most of what we get. I'm already planning out next trip for next summer where we will use Williamsburg as our base- can't wait!

Thanks again for everyone's help

Dec 28, 2013
mjgauer in Manhattan

December trip itinerary

Hey all

Thanks for all your help so far in putting together our itinerary for our trip next week. I just have a couple more bits of advice to ask for... our plan is looking like this:

Sat Late Lunch (if we make it in time from airport) – Minetta Tavern for burger/French dip (booked) if not then probably head to Pastis or Spotted Pig as nearby. Any other good suggestions for leisurely late lunch somewhere cosy?
Sat late dinner – Charlie Bird (booked)

Sun Brunch – Balthazar (booked)
Sun lunch (if needed) – Burger Joint
Sun dinner – Momofuku Ko (booked). I am having a slight crisis on this one. Do people think it would be a ‘fun’ experience/worth the money? I am totally fine with no tablecloths/stools etc but would be worried that it might be a bit stale in atmosphere? Alternatives could be something buzzier like Louro or Lafayette – what do people think?

Mon Brunch – Locanda Verde (booked)
Mon Lunch (if needed) – Red Farm near American History Museum
Mon Dinner – Brooklyn brewery / Diner

Tuesday breakfast – Buvette
Tues Lunch – Mission Cantina
Tues dinner – Perla (booked)

Wed lunch – Jean Georges

Dec 12, 2013
mjgauer in Manhattan

Can you critique my London list please?

Sat - Personally I have never been to Brockley Mkt so can't comment but is there any reason in particular why you have chosen to go there rather than one of the more central markets?

Casse Croute is good for low key traditional French - you could maybe combine with a snack at Jose across the road for some tapas and a drink which is really good fun.

Sunday - Depending on your plans for the day maybe you could do a Sunday Lunch at the B&L rather than dinner? It's definitely worth a visit and you could combine with a walk across Hampstead Heath from Hampstead Village. I love A&H but if youve been there plenty then good to branch out. In a similar vein, the Harwood Arms in Fulham is my favourite posh-pub. Slightly more refined than B&L.

Monday - So many choices in Soho/CG - is there a particular food type you wanted to try? Koya do very good Udon noodles or Bone Daddies is my favourite for Ramen though maybe not a priority for you being from NYC.

Thurs - I haven't been to Honey & Co so will leave someone else to comment

Friday - Market on Parkway is pretty good or Made in Camden in the Roundhouse also a good option. I'm not sure if they will be open that late though and I'd say most gigs around there finish more like 10 30/11 than 10. Perhaps food before the gig and then drinks after would be easier?

Nov 26, 2013
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland