c

cubicles's Profile

Title Last Reply

PDX to NYC Late May - Research done, but would appreciate some help

its not really a place to go for a straight scotch. yes, im sure they have a well cultivated list, but if you're not ordering punch or cocktails there, you're really missing the point. it would be like going to a dessert place, only ordering a few appetizers without trying any sweets, and then saying the place was no good.

Apr 18, 2014
cubicles in Manhattan

Upscale Non-touristy Advice Needed

+1; if you order carefully, you can definitely get out of louro and not exceed your budget. the food is also outstanding.

Apr 14, 2014
cubicles in Manhattan

Upscale Non-touristy Advice Needed

while these are all amazing restaurants, they dont seem particualry responsive to the OP's request, as they are nowhere near the price point.

Apr 14, 2014
cubicles in Manhattan

Tasting Menu/Splurge Dinner?

I'd stick with Rogue. been twice and it was amazing both times. the cocktails are great too if you're into that.

Apr 09, 2014
cubicles in Washington DC & Baltimore

Mezcal: Which Manhattan liquor store has the best selection?

check astor wines and spirits

Mar 19, 2014
cubicles in Manhattan

comfortable and delicious birthday dinner

have you been to annisa? what about jungsik?

Jan 08, 2014
cubicles in Manhattan

seeking nice and quiet village restaurant rec

cafe cluny

Jan 05, 2014
cubicles in Manhattan

Help us plan our First Anniversary Saturday!

I love the Modern as well, and its still a good suggestion, but recognize that the current chef is leaving at the end of the year. The new chef is also amazing, but it may take a bit for the place to find its groove again after the transition. just something to consider.

Dec 30, 2013
cubicles in Manhattan

L'Artusi vs. Dell'Anima vs. I sodi

both l'artusi and dell'anima are great, although I prefer l'artusi just a bit. haven't been to i sodi.

you could also take a look at rosemary's or lupa.

Dec 28, 2013
cubicles in Manhattan

Help us plan our First Anniversary Saturday!

what about Blue Hill? You can request a table in the back room which is much quieter and romantic.

Nov 26, 2013
cubicles in Manhattan

Where to buy squid ink in NY?

Kalustayans often has it in the back in the refrigeratored section

Oct 04, 2013
cubicles in Manhattan

Great place for a 21st birthday in SF

AQ

Sep 24, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Cocktail Packed 4 Day Itinerary for SF

when did you go to smuggler's cove? I think timing can definitely be everything, as I was lucky (from what I hear) to go at a time when the bar was only about 1/2 full and not only did my drink receive ample attention, the bartender was more than willing to discuss the different drinks and rums on offer as well as the sf cocktail scene in general and the differences between ny and sf at length. from what i hear that may have been the exception that proves the rule, but it was certainly nice. from what i gather SC does get extremely crowded/busy and that could def make for a subpar experience.

Sep 05, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area

Cocktail Packed 4 Day Itinerary for SF

+1. was in SF a couple weeks ago and hit up the Alembic, Bourbon and Branch (and Wilson and Wilson), and Smugglers Cove, as well as having drinks at AQ. While all the places made great drinks, coming from NY, SMugglers Cove was unique and the clear stand out.

Sep 02, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area

Commis 2013 [Oakland]

went to commis on my trip to the bay area a few weeks ago. it was good, but didn't wow or merit a trip as a destination restaurant, imho. since its clearly shooting for a two star experience, id say it overall fell a bit short.

two absolute stand-outs were an oyster with oyster broth gelee and the egg dish, which was quite similar to the one described by robert above. id agree it was a seriously kick-ass dish. the oyster was also delicous, one of the few oyster preps where i felt the oyster was actually improved by its accoutrements. the west-coast oyster was smooth and sweet and held its own against the flood of deliciously briny gelee. simple; elegant; a perfect bite.

some less successful dishes were a lightly cooked scallop dish where everything was prepared excellently but the ingredients just didnt "sing" and the fish course (I honestly forget what type), where again the execution was perfect, but the dish seemed boring, almost soulless.

Overall everything was good, and it wasn't a bad experience, just not one that I'd go out of my way to experience again, especially the great wealth of other options in the bay area, and the difficulty in getting to commis from san francisco. as far as how it compared to our other meals, it didn't hold a candle to atelier crenn (one of the best and most exciting meals i've ever had) and was about on par, although much different, from our meal at AQ. imo, one michelin star is right about where commis currently belongs.

Aug 15, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area

SF/Napa Trip Feedback - Labor Day weekend

+1 by far the longest lines of anything at the farmers market, roli roti included. honestly, we went last weekend and didnt find the lines at roli roti, craftsmen or wolves or really any food place to be that bad. waited about 5-10 minutes and then got our food.

Aug 09, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area

New Yorkers come to Napa! Need Food Recs

bouchon isnt trying to be per se; it never was. if anything, the comparison has to be between french laundry and per se. for nyers, i'd compare bouchon to what balthazar was a few years back, and perhaps to what lafayette is now: really good, mostly traditional french bistro food, prepared excellently.

Aug 09, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area

bouchon v. bistro jeanty v. bistro don geovanni (and other trip itinerary dilemmas) [Napa Valley]

Ok, back from the trip and time for a recap. I'll try to keep it somewhat brief, while still providing useful information/feedback. For now, I'll just post the results of our Napa dining, SF eats will gets its own (longer) post. As for Yosemite, as expected food was hardly the highlight: had adequate pizza one night in Yosemite Valley and a perfectly acceptable if nothing more meal at our hotel, the Wawona, the other night.

We ended up going to Mustards, Brix (Zuzu was pretty full and could not seat our party of 8 at any reasonable hour) and Bouchon. For lunch we again hit up Solbar and were not disappointed. While I could not convince everyone to order the Lucky Pig, those that did were not disappointed. While not super creative or "fine-diningy" the dish is just absolutley mouth-wateringly good. Earthy sesame crepes, rich, unctuous pig, acidic lime, fresh herbs/lettuces, crunchy peanuts, and tangy sauce really make every bite explode in your mouth. I once again highly recommend visitors take a jaunt up to Calistoga to check it out.

Mustards was what it is. Generally large proteins with tasty sauces and some fresh vegetables. Overall everything was pretty tasty, if not particularly creative. Everyone else really enjoyed there meal, although I will note my duck was fairly overcooked and dry and I did not feel the plum sauce went well with it at all. The caramel/chocolate tarte dessert was rich and delicious, if not quite so as I fondly remembered. Overall a pretty good meal, but would search out some of the new suggested options next time I returned sans family.

Brix was very dissapointing. From the service (disinterested, slow and just plain weird/bad) to the food, nothing at all remarkable. Yes the vegetables are fresh, but that's true (almost) everywhere in the valley. Nothing was exciting or even that tasty. Definitely a place I will not be returning with such a wealth of other options.

Bouchon was, similarly to our last visit, outstanding. With a few dishes ordered by others I got a hint of what some have described as inconsistency/variable quality, but I maintain if you order right, you can have a tremendous meal - not a mind-blowing creative one, but simply a well-conceived, well-executed and delicious one. The french onion soup was very good, but was outshined by the soup of the day, I believe some kind of cold summer squash. The truffle risotto special was creamy, earthy and just overall perfectly exectued and delicious. The mussels as usual were very good, as was the [duck? I think] ordered by someone else, but the scallops I felt were only ok. the chocolate mousse for dessert was exemplary.

Aug 07, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area

Visiting this week, looking for good solid Italian food not best or most expensive

of those on your list, I'd say l'artusi is far and away the best. i also like morandi, although in a similar price range prefer perla and il buco alminteri

Jul 16, 2013
cubicles in Manhattan

eliminate 3 out of 5; final itinerary decisions for 3 night stay

After more fully looking at it, you're right, time-wise its only adding about 15-20 minutes to the trip. However, the question is are we really going to want to drive from commis to sfo and then get back to our hotel at 11/12 or whenever we get out of or 9:00 reservation at Commis. Eating somewhere nearer in the city would allow us to drop off the car first, and just have to worry about getting back to the hotel after dinner.
I guess the take-away is commis is doable, but then I come back to is it worth it? the SO and I love food and plan our vacations around it, so if, as mariacarmen seems to think, it is orders of magnitude better than the other options, I will certainly sacrifice a long day of driving/late night to experience something unique and special. On the other hand, while I rarely find myself blown away by italian food, i do feel our itinerary is slightly lacking without a single cal-italian experience during our 3 dinners in napa and 3 in sf, so maybe adding incanto wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

Jul 15, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area

eliminate 3 out of 5; final itinerary decisions for 3 night stay

so we'll be coming from yosemite and returning the car to sfo. to do commis, we'd have to drive to oakland, then drive to sfo to drop off the car, and finally have to get back to our hotel late that night. we're staying on sutter near hyde, so if we ate somewhere in the city (baker and banker is a <10 min walk for example), we'd just drop the car off at sfo on our way in, and then head to the hotel before heading out to dinner.

Jul 15, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area

eliminate 3 out of 5; final itinerary decisions for 3 night stay

**UPDATE**

So I just found out we will have to return our rental car to the san fran airport on thursday night, making a trip to Commis quite impractical (we are coming from yosemit). The question: is it special enough to justify driving pretty far out of the way/returning the car super late and then having to come back into san fran? If we have to nix it the other options i was considering are flour + water, incanto, baker and banker, aziza or gitane. Of those, is one the clear winner?

Jul 15, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area

eliminate 3 out of 5; final itinerary decisions for 3 night stay

thanks, sounds like a nice mini-food tour. we'll definitely try to fit it in one afternoon

Jun 23, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area

Best New Restaurants in SF?

ok, hate may have been a strong word, and re-reading your blog post it seems I did misremeber/exaggerate your feelings about the meal, but you did mention it was a "disappointment" and overall seemed to suggest that it was not a worthy destination restaurant or a place to choose as one of very few meals in the bay area.

i'll have to take a look at flour and water. saison is just out of the price range of this trip and without reservations at state bird (they're already booked up) don't want to spend forever waiting.

Jun 19, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area

Best New Restaurants in SF?

So after your recent trip, if you had to choose, AQ or Sons and Daughters? As some background I'll also be going to Commis (I know you hated it but I've heard really great things lately) and Atelier Crenn. Love the blog and find your reviews incredibly usefull. Looking forward to a full SF report, hopefully before I get out there in late July.

Jun 18, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area

eliminate 3 out of 5; final itinerary decisions for 3 night stay

Thanks for all your help and lively discussion. I think I've decided on crenn and AQ. However, I have a couple of other questions.

1. For Crenn, thoughts on the larger versus smaller tastings? I generally would go for the larger one as a first time visitor, but coming right on the heels of Commis and packed into a day/trip with a lot of other eating, I think I'd lean towards the shorter menu, if its as good. Any opinions from people who have had both?

2. cheap/ancillary eats: Looking for recs, in particular with regards to ice cream, coffe, pastries and other snacks. As of now have Humphrey Slocombe and Bi-Rite as must-dos for ice cream, with a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous if we find ourselves in the area/have time. Is it on the same level?
For coffee, so far I'd earmarked Four Barrel and Ritual. Are these good bets? Any others that stand out/are must trys? I generally prefer espresso while my SO prefers french press/aeorpress/pour overs. for pastries, I have Knead, Tartine Bakery, and Arizmendi Bakery as definites. Any others I should check out? We plan to hit up the farmer's market on Saturday and try to get to Roli Roti at the same time. Also, hoping/planning to get to Una Pizza as a late snack/early dinner #1 on Saturday.

Again, thanks for all the input/suggestions and keep em coming!

Jun 18, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area

eliminate 3 out of 5; final itinerary decisions for 3 night stay

So it looks like you'd say Rich Table and Benu. Coi I just haven't heard many people say its a "wow" meal. Benu I've heard good things, but the atmosphere of the place (or at least what I perceive the atmosphere to be) doesn't particularly appeal, and the overall experience just looks more fun/memorable at crenn. I love amazing food withe great technique at a fancy white-table cloth place, but we have tons of that in NYC (Per Se, EMP, Jean-Georges, etc). What do you feel sets Benu apart or makes it SF-specific? From reading reviews and blogs, right now Crenn seems to be producing food that is totally different from what one can get anywhere else, including at the more cutting-edge/molecular places in NYC, such as Corton, atera, or wd-50. also, from reading recent reviews from people I trust, she currently seems to be hitting her stride with many more stunning hits than mediocre dishes or misses.

Jun 16, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area

eliminate 3 out of 5; final itinerary decisions for 3 night stay

thanks tjlnsf! I think AQ is now a definite. I had looked at state bird provisions, but unfortunately they are already booked up for when we will be there (August 1-4) and I'm not big on waiting in long lines or eating dinner at weird times when there are other excellent options.

Jun 16, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area

eliminate 3 out of 5; final itinerary decisions for 3 night stay

thanks Scott. I think that's what I was leaning towards anyway. If we weren't going to Commis as well, would your recommendations change?

Jun 16, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area

eliminate 3 out of 5; final itinerary decisions for 3 night stay

Hey all, after a ton of research on these boards, I've narrowed down my dinner options in your beautiful city to 5 choices. as background, my SO and I come from NYC and will eat anything, and enjoy both white tablecloth as well as hole-in-the wall places. on this trip we plan to do our ethinic/neighborhoody eating during the day, and focus more on mid-tier/fine dining for dinners. I prefer experimental cooking (not necessarily only technique-wise but the combining of odd/surprising flavors and textures as well). The SO enjoys good food, period. She'll enjoy creative cuisine if its well done, but doesn't search it out as I do. For some final background some of our favorite places in NYC are EMP, Momofuku Ko and Blue Hill on the high end, and Louro and annisa as more mid-tier. we also really enjoyed red medicine in LA and zaytinya in DC.

We will also be eating at Commis on the way into the city from Yosemite. That is the only meal set in stone. The other 2 dinners are up for grabs.

In no particular order, here are our 5 options:

Rich Table: hadn't really considered it before, but read a bunch of good things recently and the menu intrigues. is on the same level as some of the other best mid-tier restaurants in SF?

Atelier Crenn: if we are going to do one true fine-dining place, I've decided this is it. It is much more appealing than Benu or Coi and while Saison looked amazing as well, I just can't justify that price. Along those lines, is Crenn worth it? Since we have almost no end of fine-dining options in NYC, is Crenn good and/or different enough to merit a visit, or are we better off sticking with more mid-tier places?

AQ: Seems to be right up my alley, and people seem to think its excellent as well as cutting edge.

Slanted Door: I know it touristy, I know it may be past its prime, but is it still worth a visit as an "only in SF" place? As long as the food is truly excellent, if its a little more $ than it should be I dont really care. that's what vacations are for.

Commonwealth: the menu and idea seem interesting, but it seems to get hit or miss reviews. seems to invite a direct comparison with AQ, in terms of mission/purpose. which is better?

While I have done a ton of research and think these are the best places for us, if anyone truly thinks theres a can't miss place that I've leftt off, please let me know. As always, thanks so much for your helpful input!

Jun 13, 2013
cubicles in San Francisco Bay Area