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Nice dinner for four - Manhattan

I'm fairly confident but am particular about steaks - we usually go to a great steakhouse when craving that. Have you ever just broiled one at home? Italian for them would be Italian-American.

Feb 06, 2014
BonVivantNYC in Home Cooking

Nice dinner for four - Manhattan

Hosting a dear friend and her boyfriend (hopefully soon to be hubby!) this weekend for dinner. There will be four of us in total. They are a traditional couple who love an excellent steak or Italian food. What should I cook? I want a full meal and dessert that will not require too much effort while they're here. I already have cheese for appetizers when they arrive.

Feb 05, 2014
BonVivantNYC in Home Cooking

Ristorante Morini - Going on Sat - any reviews/comments?

Welcome recommendations...

Jan 10, 2014
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

Oblanda - Serbian waffle dessert - where to find in NYC?

Hi - we have a wonderful Serbian babysitter and she just showed me Oblanda - I must try this! Where can I find it in Manhattan?

Jan 08, 2014
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

Bice - Old school, going tonight - suggestions?

I let someone else make the reservation and we had to be in midtown. Believe me, if I could change it I would!!! (Temptation of Caviar Russe is around the corner.). Help!

Dec 07, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

Bice - Old school, going tonight - suggestions?

Last minute reservations... this was all that was available. Oddly, I've never been. Any recommendations?

Dec 07, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

Best bagel near Grand Central

Love Ess-a-bagel. I also think Zaro's in Grand Central has surprisingly delicious bagels.

Oct 17, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

Must haves at Carbone tonight?

Also... thoughts on the halibut? Not a typical Italian food, but I may be craving fish.

Oct 11, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

Boulud Sud tomorrow - best dishes?

I've read some mixed reviews. Anything particularly good? Anything to avoid?

Thanks!

Oct 03, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

Soho / Downtown Tonight

We feel like the only people in Manhattan tonight! Couldn't leave this weekend and headed downtown to Greene Street. Where should we go for dinner? Nothing too fancy, but would love to try a new place on the scene. New as in the last year...

Soho, Nolita, E. Vill. recs welcome.

Aug 31, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

Restaurant like Blue Hill NYC for Sat. night

We did the 6-course at Juni and were happy with our decision. The amuses were delicious - a carrot chip with goat cheese mousse, a mushroom dish and a corn espuma (WOW). For dinner I had the foie gras (very good), the tuscan kale soup (ok - maybe too "green" in flavor), tasted the ravioli (excellent), the black bass (excellent... black truffle sabayon was sensational), the lobster w baby leeks (this was bad - the lobster tail was very overcooked and the size of a langostine / crayfish), veal tenderloin (very good) and shared desserts. Overall, it was a nice time though there are a couple opportunities in service (ability to explain elements of dish), and again... that lobster was a disappointment that hopefully will be corrected soon.

Thanks for the recommendation!

Aug 26, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

Restaurant like Blue Hill NYC for Sat. night

We landed on Juni. I'll let the group know how it is after dinner tomorrow. Thanks again.

Aug 23, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

Restaurant like Blue Hill NYC for Sat. night

OK - you guys are the best!! So now I have dueling reservations at Mas and Juni. Which to choose?! Mas is reliable bc we've been. Juni intrigues us both. The pictures you dishes looked particularly tiny and I never, ever say that. As between the two??

Aug 21, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

Restaurant like Blue Hill NYC for Sat. night

We have not. Not sure everything grilled is appealing to us... can you provide any feedback?

(At Mas last visit, we did a tasting menu. It was elegant, romantic and excellent.)

Aug 21, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

Restaurant like Blue Hill NYC for Sat. night

We have been to Blue HIll NYC and Stone Barns and are looking for something different for my husband's birthday celebration on Sat. night. We have reservations at Mas (we've been and it was good) but are wondering if there are other high-end farm-to-table restaurants that we should consider instead. Thanks!!

Aug 21, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

Best foie gras dishes in NYC

Wow - I was just wondering why NoMad's chicken hadn't yet made the list. That was a wonderful preparation/integration of foie.

Also, some of the classic seared versions (eg La Grenouille) are fantastic.

Aug 09, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

Dining Around Anguilla

Unfortunately, it was closed for the season the day after we arrived. And, the hotel ultimately flubbed on our reservation for Veya... so we missed it :-(

We did, however, go to Hibernia. Generally, it was very good. Lobster casserole in a Thai preparation (similar to green curry, with coconut and basil) was excellent, as was the salad w chevre appetizer. (Local greens are great!) The drive was a bit longer than we can tolerate though the taxi service they offer is a great deal.

Aug 05, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Latin America & Caribbean

Dining Around Anguilla

We love Anguilla, and search out "foodie" adventures in all our travels. Before we get too busy, here's what we have experienced thus far (Veya, etc. to be posted later):

Blanchard's - Eh. The fish was overcooked, the service was not noteworthy (save the female bartender - she knew her rum and offered a fair aperitif and a kind smile)... but it's a nice location/room. We will not return.

Jacala - We will return. Jacques has a passion for his food and recognizes the importance of service. Beautiful space and we appreciate that it was not overcrowded. The bread was great (warm, fresh)... The steak tartare was good, ingredients impressive, but the beef was too "coarsely chopped." They explain the texture of the beef on the menu. There is a fine balance between the appropriate not over-mashed meat and the meat that finds that delicate ability to dissolve on the tongue; this didn't find the balance. The risotto was delicious - the elusive, appropriate texture of arborio rice was realized. We had a snapper special - pan fried, dijon cream sauce with capers and frizzled veggies. This was excellent and a paean to French sauces. By dessert we were too full.

Straw Hat - We had no desire to go but saw a grilled lobster on the menu and Veya (which also had grilled lobster on the menu) was booked for later in the week. SO GLAD we went. Started with a bottle of Laurent Perrier and transitioned to a bottle of Conundrum. This says a lot for the typical island wine list. The appetizers were only ok. Island salad with gorgonzola and salad with goat cheese in phyllo. We would only return to have our main course - Island spiny lobster. It was juicy, sweet and one of the best lobsters we've ever had. Frankly, we liked it better than the typical Maine lobster. Service was good and though not formal, every effort was made to be top notch.

Dolce Vita - We will return, over and over. We went because we had been to the former related restaurant (Luna Rosa). The former mgr., Albi (?), opened this gem. Not pretty, not a special space (though oceanfront), but some of the best gnocchi and the best lasagna we have had. We also ate the Branzino which was excellent and surprisingly well-filleted by the waitress. My grandmother is Northern Italian and I never thought I would like any lasagna better than hers. I refuse to admit anything for the record ;-) We rarely like to eat Italian while out of NY because a) I'm Italian; b) we eat Italian often; c) Italian on an island usually isn't great. Everyone was really nice, too ;-)

Picante - We're not huge Mexican fans but we like it. We had a delicious meal here and we will return. It is "light" - not over-cheesed, over-sauced, over-spiced. The burrito reminded me of one of the superior burittos I have had (in the Mission Dist., San Fran.) I also had a special (Asian pulled pork quesadilla) - it was so good I ate half and I never do that. They have something here, so don't worry about the touristy recs. It's worth going.

More to follow.

Jul 30, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Latin America & Caribbean

I need a cool restaurant in midtown south nyc

Agreed. The NoMad and Salinas. NoMad has a decent bar scene too.

May 31, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

92nd St Y - need restaurant with room for 40 - 50 people for party

Girasole was perfect for after my son's christening. However, it's on 82 & Lex. I understand that may be too far, but if not, check it out! Zoran, the owner, was great.

May 28, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

Who makes your favorite Manhattan in Manhattan?

Loved this about EMP (though it put us over the edge since we did the wine pairing, too!) Try the Brooklyn Heights. Delicious.

Also - I love a good Manhattan at Bemelman's, in the fall.

May 28, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

French Laundry Review - Memorial Day 2013 [Yountville]

Jasmine Tea with caramel crisp, dessert

May 28, 2013
BonVivantNYC in San Francisco Bay Area

French Laundry Review - Memorial Day 2013 [Yountville]

Oregon Cepe "Porridge" (one opted out of steak), Steak, brie...

May 28, 2013
BonVivantNYC in San Francisco Bay Area

French Laundry Review - Memorial Day 2013 [Yountville]

Here are a few - I've tried uploading several times...

Truffle pasta, oysters and pearls, salmon, crab, chicken. (I'm salivating again.)

May 28, 2013
BonVivantNYC in San Francisco Bay Area

Excellent casual food by Marina? Or hip bar? Fun group from Manhattan... [San Francisco]

Thanks for the suggestion! We went to Tipsy Pig and got the mac & cheese, nettle gnocchi, pretzel with beer cheese, fried chicken dishes and a couple of salads. All very good - a nice casual intro to the weekend.

(PS While I liked the mac and cheese, probably more creamy than cheesy for my preferences. Still, I could have liked the skillet ;-)

May 28, 2013
BonVivantNYC in San Francisco Bay Area
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French Laundry Review - Memorial Day 2013 [Yountville]

Getting reservations was nearly impossible. I am so grateful that we finally did - this was the best meal of my life. (For what it's worth - we have dined all over NY (incl. EMP, Daniel, Per Se, Le Bernardin, etc.) and Guy Savoy, Le Cinq in Paris...) The service was excellent and somehow perfectly relaxed for Napa Valley. The food was perfect. Every dish was a work of art both in flavor and appearance. The truffle supplement for the ravioli was well beyond "worth it". They brought out the softball-sized truffle in a red box that looked like a humidor. Between three dishes, they nearly finished the truffle! Our dishes and my brief comments are below.

What we ate -
- Amuse bouche - Atlantic fluke tartare in a black sesame seed tuile (melted in your mouth) and the classic gougeres (one in our party said that if served at a football party, he would eat a large bowl of these. This is probably not exaggerative.)

- Oysters and pearls (signature and good every time. As comforting as an excellent mac and cheese, as nuanced as the best caviar and fine champagne.)

- Black winter truffle and hen egg ravioli

- Columbia river wild king salmon (I do not know how they cooked this - it was so different it had the color of smoked salmon, melted in the mouth, complex texture and shaped like a sausage!)

- Sweet butter-poached Alaskan King Crab (I'm usually not a fan of crab. This was mind-blowing. The crab was soft as a cloud, oozed butter without being overly fatty. The accompanying gnocchi, peas and corn pudding were the pairing of a genius.)

- Four Story Hill Farm Poularde (a young chicken with a sausage stuffed under the skin. This makes "normal" chicken seem like a different animal. Juicy, salty, made to savor each bite. The cherries on the dish thrilled me - so often I see fruit with pork...)

- "Steak Frites" (grillied calotte de boeuf -a thrill for me because originally I thought there would be lamb on the spring-time menu and I prefer beef. The lesson - they truly do not announce the menu until the very same day. I loved the contrast of the pickled onion on the dish.)

- Brie Fermier - amazing! A small pool of melted brie served with a warm walnut roll. The roll cut through what otherwise would have been strong (unlike brie...) and made for a warm, closing cheese course.

- "Verjus Blanc" Jasmine Tea Ice Cream - seemed to be a palate cleanse. Like a breath of fresh air.

- "Dark Treacle" (chocolate dessert) / "Delta Blueberry Cheesecake" served with a blueberry muffin - both were not too heavy, but were the kiss of sweet.

- Sugared donut holes, choice of chocolates (I had the PB&J and salted caramel. The men said PB&J was the best chocolate they ever tasted), and chocolate covered macadamia nuts (they had an extra crunch. like a standing ovation at the end of a perfect performance.)

Drinks - we started with Champagne, followed by a Piedmont white and then a Syrah. We focused on the food and just let the sommelier lead the way on wine.

We sat in an intimate, gorgeous stone-walled room. It was an ideal spot for our group of four. Happy to answer any questions... this was ethereal.

May 28, 2013
BonVivantNYC in San Francisco Bay Area

Excellent casual food by Marina? Or hip bar? Fun group from Manhattan... [San Francisco]

Looking for some great food by the Marina district (is this possible?). We're in for one night from NYC before we head to Napa on Friday. We visited recently and enjoyed dining at the St. Regis restaurant Ame and Quince. Both good but would like not to make reservations and keep it good but casual. (Francis looked good, though...) Also interested in recommendations for good cocktail bars, special to SF.

May 21, 2013
BonVivantNYC in San Francisco Bay Area

Eleven Madison Park Tonight - Suggestions Please

Thanks! Any chance you did the wine pairing? We're considering it...

Mar 02, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

Eleven Madison Park Tonight - Suggestions Please

Finally, after months of attempting to secure a reservation, we secured a Saturday night spot. I'm sad to have missed the old "ingredients" menu that brought about the stellar reviews, and am somewhat apprehensive about the new 16-course set-up.

Any tips? Should we go with duck or beef? (We love both.) Has anyone made a substitution for the beet course and if so, what did you receive? (We really dislike beets.) Thoughts on the uni dish? Nothing seems to "wow" me from what I have heard about the new menu... and we're hoping to have a fabulous, delicious time. Thanks in advance!

Mar 02, 2013
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan

Best risotto NYC?

Reporting back on the risotto at Il Mulino. Risotto was not listed on the menu or offered via the specials - I got the porcini risotto at the waiter's recommendation. (I was not in the mood for a seafood risotto, which he also recommended.) While it was delicious, there were actually too many mushrooms for my liking! Almost more mushrooms than rice. This was probably just a poor ordering decision on my part because the risotto was otherwise perfectly cooked and seasoned. I would return again, and get a saffron risotto.

Also, I understand why some say Il Mulino is touristy, but it's warm, inviting and a great spot for lunch with a friend.

Dec 12, 2012
BonVivantNYC in Manhattan