Spiritchaser's Profile

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Top New Places in Last 6 Months

+1 for The Gander, was very happy with our meal there

Apr 15, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Keens Steak House, NYC

You'll find lots of reviews/comments regarding Keens on this site. Personally I think the place is fantastic.

Apr 15, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

The Gander

Tried out Chef Schenker’s new restaurant, The Gander, a couple nights ago and bottom line, it was good, very good actually.

The space is nice, starts off with a long-ish narrow bar area that looks really comfortable (I think this will be a very popular after work bar), this opens up into a large, square, dining room with a high ceiling. The room is ringed with banquets around the perimeter on 3 sides and some hybrid booth/banquets on the 4th, there are several 4 tops that can expand to handle 6 (?) in the center of the room. The dining room is understated in a very good way. Even when the room was full, the sound, IMO, was never offensive; it was nicely energetic.

We were promptly seated and someone was to our table almost immediately with drink and food menus, asked our water preference and by the time they got back with water we had decided on cocktails to start. I had a cocktail with mezcal, manzanilla sherry, and apple pie bitter and my GF had a Rhubarb Gin mule. Both drinks were a nice start to a meal, not too boozy or sweet.

Initially we were going to each order a snack, an appetizer, and a main, but decided to just order snacks and mains once the snacks arrived and we realized it would be too much food. I had the Buffalo sweetbreads and my GF had the Fava bean and ricotta crostini. The Sweetbreads were really good, a lot of the time anything that's get's "buffalo-ed" winds up getting lost but these managed to retain all their sweetbread signature taste and texture, paired with a nice beer this was a great choice . The fava bean and ricotta had a lovely creaminess that ended with a nice earthiness from the beans. For the main dishes, I ordered the Roasted Branzino with lentils and celery root. Branzino is one of my favorite fish and this turned out to be exactly what I was hoping for, nice skin, perfect flesh, lentils with just the right amount of bite to them, yum, very successful dish . GF had the Beet Tortellini with goat yogurt, coconut, and almonds. The pasta was interesting and tasty, and even though the goat yogurt cut the sweetness of the coconut, it ultimately was a sweeter dish than what my GF normally prefers. If you enjoy a sweeter savory course, this may be right up your alley. We also ordered the baby carrots as a side and they were wonderful, nice caramelization and deep carrot-y flavor.

We finished with a cheese plate and some wine, very impressed with their generous portions and variety of the four cheeses.

Chef happened to be standing near by, asked how we liked everything, I mentioned GF was a vegetarian and he said he couldn't wait until more seasonal vegetables are available so he can really get some interesting veg focused stuff on the menu.

Service was good, still some (very) minor start up hiccups but it was friendly, attentive, plates were removed quickly (a couple times almost too quickly) but overall the staff knows their stuff.

We will definitely be returning.

Oh, and they will start serving lunch on (I think) 21 April.

Apr 11, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Trip next week - what's new, interesting, and delicious right now?

As mentioned by kathryn if you loved EMP (as do I) a great alternative would be The NoMad since it's DNA is so closely related, a slightly less obvious choice would be Betony because it is helmed by several EMP alums and it is FANTASTIC.

Also, for new spots, just had a wonderful dinner (which I am in the process of writing up) at The Gander, was very happy with it.

Apr 10, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Sales tax on food consumed at the bar

I cannot think of a single time when dining in NYC that the transfer of the tab started at the bar to the table HAS NOT been offered. There have been times when we have asked to settle the bar tab before moving to the table.

Apr 09, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Suggestions for lunching solo in popular restaurant ?

You'll do better with responses if you give us a little more detail.

What is your price range?
What kind of food(s) do you like?
What neighborhood(s)?
Is this for a specific date or are you looking for multiple recommendations?

Apr 08, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Vegetarian?

Price point? When is your show (time, day of week)?

Apr 08, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

New Opening- The Gander

We are headed there next week; I'll make sure to report back.

Apr 04, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Best cozy Italian for 1st anniversary?

Absolutely love Keens but just so you know it is very old school and it may just be the times I've gone but it is very male focused; since this is a 1 yr anni maybe you want something a little more "modern"?

Mar 27, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Talk for 3 hours at lunch?

East side - Cafe Boulud

West side - (although not within 70's -80's) Lincoln

Mar 27, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Best desserts in NYC

M & H at The NoMad is one of my favorites. The most recent desserts I've had (not including the desserts at dinner at EMP) that I would call incredible were the dark chocolate/bergamot and the jasmine rice desserts at Betony, they are so good they are worth seeking out.

Mar 25, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Calibrating Yelp reviews for Manhattan/NYC

Personally I never rely on/trust yelp for pretty much the same reasons I don't rely on/trust zagat's. Go to almost any of the legitimate reviews kathryn pointed out for your info (or ask here because we all know what we're talking about ; ) ).

Mar 25, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan
1

Graduation/Birthday dinner

Although we really like the food and atmosphere of ABC Cocina (more so than ABC Kitchen) still do not think they are special enough for a double header celebratory meal. How about one of these:

Gramercy Tavern DIning Room

The NoMad (ask to be seated in the Parlour room)

A Voce (Madison Ave location)

Betony

Perla

Mar 22, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

40th Birthday Pre-theater for 4

I don't have your details on time and day but take a look at Aureole (Dining Room not Bar Room). I really enjoy their food and the dining room is quite nice. Close to theaters as well.

Mar 20, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

50th Birthday for out-of-town friend (couples coming) Steakhouse maybe?

Keens is a New York institution. Not only incredible steaks but they are famous (deservedly so) for their mutton (although not mutton by definition) chops.

Mar 20, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Hey Chowhounders, give me what you got.... :)

Spotted Pig, ABC Cocina, The Marrow, Joseph Leonard

Mar 20, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Terakawa ramen on Lex - any good?

Need a ramen fix and this is the only place I can get to with my other constraints. Wondering if anyone has an opinion on it.

Mar 19, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Love the "new" menu at EMP

I found your post and what you wrote is almost identical to the changes I referred to. I really enjoyed the Waldorf salad (which I assumed replaced the carrot tartare).

Mar 18, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Love the "new" menu at EMP

I'm not sure if there were any changes because I stopped reading your post when you got into details (I wanted to be surprised). I guess now I can go to your post and check. I'll let you know.

Mar 18, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Love the "new" menu at EMP

Dined at EMP last week; this was our first time in since they made some changes to the menu so this may be old news for some. All I can say is "wow", loved the changes, not because they needed it but some times change is fun. I don't want to say a lot in case people have upcoming reservations and want to go in not knowing the menu. I will say this and I hope it wasn't just us reading too much into it but they are doing this really cool "set up" where you will get the tastes of a course in one version and then those same tastes are presented in the next course (or part II of the course). EX: small presentation of razor clam, lobster salad, and uni followed shortly after by a beaautiful little lobster tail, uni foam, and razor clam. This dish, (presentation, execution, and taste) was BRILLIANT! Possibly favorite part of the meal (and in a meal full of awesome that's saying something) and it wasn't even the main protein.

We felt the food and the interaction was as playful as ever.

Service was as perfect as usual and there was a fantastic energy in the dining room from both the staff and other diners.

The amount of food, for us, was spot on (and we aren't "dainty" portion people).

Mar 18, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

San Fran - girls weekend

As others have stated; The NoMad, you pretty much described it in your request. Maybe you want to have dinner in their restaurant (the Atrium for max energy) and ask to be put on the list for the Library bar for after dinner cocktails.

Mar 18, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Upstairs at The NoMad - So much fun

If anyone is looking for something fun to do on a Thursday night I encourage you to check out Jazz - Upstairs at The NoMad. GF and I went last Thursday and it was a good time. I think the hours are 6:30 to 11:30 and only on Thursday. I think it may have started as a limited time event but judging on how well received it seemed to be I wouldn't be surprised if it gets extended. We got to see and hear Chris Norton, totally cool performer. A limited drinks menu and some bar snacks are available. The cocktails we had were very very well made and we ordered off the menu but it looks like the bar could handle just about any request (but I cannot say for certain). We ate dinner downstairs so we did not order anything while we were there but many people did, wait staff was excellent. The whole thing has a really cool vibe and it really felt like you stepped back in time.

Mar 17, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

How is Colicchio's Tap Room in terms of noise level?

Subdued when we have been there. Ask for a seat near the windows and you should be fine.

Mar 17, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Butterfish sushi restaurant

No, you think it should be on our radar?

Mar 16, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Casual French Bistro that allows kids in midtown?

Marseille

Mar 13, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Trendy After Work Place Near Midtown?

+1 for Betony; the bar area is very nice, the drinks are very well made but if you are looking for more of a "loungey" vibe I don't think this will work but if you are looking for a place where they'll be some energy, nice people, and the ability to converse then this would be a great choice. You could also check out the bar at The Modern. If you are looking for more of a lounge you could check out 48 Lounge but it's been around for several years so not sure if it's really relevent any longer.

Mar 13, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Lunch at Betony

It was so tough for me to NOT order the lobster because I always get the lobster dish and I've had it done several ways there and it has always been fantastic, this time I thought I should go give somethign else a try. And I agree, I would never be able to judge a contest between NoMad and Betony's CLM because they are just too good.

Mar 13, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Butterfish sushi restaurant

I just heard about it and that it had an interesting concept but didn't check it out until you provided the link. Very interested now. I like the preset for the vegetarian (GF is vegetarian).

Mar 13, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Lunch at Betony

Meant to post this sooner while details were still crisp in my head but I did not so...suffice it to say Betony just keeps getting better and better (no small feat since they have been pretty awesome from the get go).

A recent lunch there was nothing short of fantastic. It was GF's birthday and it was a nice relaxed longgggg lunch. She had the grain salad while I FINALLY got to try their version of chicken liver mousse, not only delicious but beatifully presented, looking almost like a green shelled egg, it truly was spectacular. GF follwed with the ricotta gnudi (which I stole I taste of) and it was beautiful, big pillowy gnudi. I had the skate wing with, if memory serves me, cauliflower and prunes (Chef said it was a variation on grenobloise; I'm no Chef but all I know is it was sublime. Normally we don't do dessert but this was a birthday so we did, we shared both the dark chocolate which had a cake component to it that almost literally melted in your mouth; the second dessert was jasmine rice and it was an absolutely fun and unexpected delight, we assumed it would be like a rice pudding but it was actually a puffed rice, the textures going on in that dish were crazy.

Service was spot on as were the wine recommendations.

We honestly love this place and will recommend to anyone looking for a recommendation.

Mar 13, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan

Late Dinner Suggestions after a Broadway Show

If you want to get a little adventourous you could try Totto Ramen on 52nd.

Mar 13, 2014
Spiritchaser in Manhattan