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Best inventive sushi: Gari, Sasabune, Seki?

I have actually been to all three, but can't quite remember enough to compare.
For inventive / fusion omakase, which do you prefer? Gari? Sasabune? Seki? Or another place?

I have read all the previous posts, but I think I am asking a narrower question.

Thanks!

Jun 09, 2009
zen123 in Manhattan

Le Bernardin Ultimately a Disappointment

I have been to Le Bernardin twice in the past eight months (didn't go for a long time before that, so I am not a "VIP"), once on a Thursday night at 8:30pm and once on a Saturday night at 5:45pm. Both times we had the tasting menus.

I was told, when I was making the 5:45pm Saturday reservation (not when they called to confirm), that they would need the table back at 8, 8:15pm. We did the Chef tasting menu and did not feel rushed at all.

I did a search on chowhound, and could only find two instances in which people complained about being told of the two-hour limit when Le Bernardin calls to confirm (as opposed to when the reservation is made). If there are more, please provide the links.

I have also only found one instance in which a patron was actually disallowed to have the tasting menu during the two hour limit.

So I am here to provide a counterexample: I ate at Le Bernardin on a Saturday night, was told of the two-hour limit at the time of making the reservation, was not disallowed to have the tasting menu (in fact, we added a dessert course so we had an extra course), and did not feel rushed when we left at 8:15pm.

My guess is the negative experiences (the two of them) could be due to particular receptionists who were not familiar with the rules, or were isolated incidents. Is it excusable? Maybe not. But it need not be generalized, in my opinion. I had a terrible experience at Eleven Madison Park in terms of service and food, but I don't jump at every post about EMP to bash the restaurant.

I am not going to start a debate about whether the food was good, whether it was worth it, whether the atmosphere was stuffy... etc. Those are a matter of taste. But I wanted to provide objective information about my experience regarding the reservation and time limit policy.

May 03, 2009
zen123 in Manhattan

Brunch, UWS (106th - 110th St.?)

Community Food and Juice has closed indefinitely due to a fire.
http://www.communityrestaurant.com/

May 03, 2009
zen123 in Manhattan

Saturday night wait time for inoteca / Boqueria? Alternatives?

Saturday night, 7:30 - 8pm, table for 4. What is the wait time at inoteca? What about Boqueria?

Are there any other great tapas / wine bar with great charcuterie and cheese AND 1) either takes reservations or 2) has a smaller wait time on a Saturday night?

Thanks a lot!

Apr 12, 2009
zen123 in Manhattan

Brunch date options

Any recommendations for a brunch date place? I want good atmosphere (quiet, easy to talk, romantic) more than anything. And of course, great food.

No preference as to cuisine or price. Anywhere in Manhattan is fine.

Dovetail? Eleven Madison Park? What else?
How is Wallse for a date?

Thanks!

Mar 24, 2009
zen123 in Manhattan

Toronto Life's Best Restaurants 2009 list - Thoughts?

Does anyone know if the list insideman posted is the actual list?
And is that the exact order? I find it surprising that Canoe is first and Eigensinn Farm only second.

Mar 15, 2009
zen123 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Toronto Life's Best Restaurants 2009 list - Thoughts?

It doesn't publish the "Best Restaurants" list every year. As JohnnyBooy points out, the last "Best Restaurants" list was in 2006. It does, however, publish a "Best NEW Restaurants" list every year.

But ranking, new or old, the best restaurants in Toronto is something Toronto Life hasn't done in three years.

Mar 15, 2009
zen123 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Toronto Life's Best Restaurants 2009 list - Thoughts?

Is this list in order, does anyone know?

Mar 15, 2009
zen123 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Quick question: how is the noise level at these 5 restaurants?

Decided to make my question a little more specific: how is the noise level at these 5 restaurants at night?

1. Cafe Boulud
2. David Burke Townhouse
3. Adour
4. Aquavit
5. Gilt

Thank you so much!

Mar 10, 2009
zen123 in Manhattan

Quiet restaurant with great food

Thanks for the response!

Is that the best food I can get, though? I'm not particularly fond of the food at Tre Dici, Bellavitae, BG, Bistro Chat Noir...

August was a bit nosiy when I went there (only once). I will definitely consider Bouley

Mar 10, 2009
zen123 in Manhattan

Quiet restaurant with great food

Haha! For some reason I thought you were recommending a place called "The Lunch Belle"

Anyway, absolutely no preferences. Basically, the BEST food I can get for $100 per person at a place that is unequivocally quiet. I think that's enough restrictions!

Mar 10, 2009
zen123 in Manhattan

Quiet restaurant with great food

Looking for a restaurant for future in-laws to meet!

Criteria:
1. Quiet, quiet, quiet. One person has hearing problems
2. Around $100 per person including tax and tips (but excluding wine or other beverages)
3. Great food!

Location does not matter at all as long as it's within Manhattan.

Anyone?
Thanks!

Mar 10, 2009
zen123 in Manhattan

Cute cafe for reading?

Thanks for all the replies!

Any other thoughts?
Also, among all the choices, which one has the best crowd / patrons, or is best for people watching? I plan to spend a lot of time in the next few weeks in the cafe, so may as well make that a criterion too!

Thanks!

Mar 09, 2009
zen123 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Cute cafe for reading?

Hi all!

Just wondering, any recommendations for a cute, cozy cafe for reading and a little people watching (weekday afternoons)?

Location: As central as possible, but I don't mind venturing anywhere within the GTA.

Atmosphere: I'm trying to avoid one with lots of students doing hardcore studying, laptops everywhere, etc. I would like one where people are either reading (non-textbooks, preferably), chatting, or doing other leisurely or artsy things (writing, for example).

Price is not an issue, Wifi not necessary (in fact, as I mentioned, I'd prefer a cafe where there are little to no laptops).

Do cafes like this exist?

Thank you so much!

Mar 08, 2009
zen123 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Great Chinese in Markham / Richmond Hill

Hi all!

I know there are lots of threads on this already and I spent the past 1-2 hours looking over them, but just want to get some updated consensus on a more specific question:

1. Your favorite soup dumpling place north of Steeles?
2. Your favorite Cantonese restaurant north of Steeles?
3. Your favorite Hong Kong Cafe style food north of Steeles?

Thanks!

Mar 06, 2009
zen123 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Coffee / dessert date, West 65 - 75?

Hey all!

Any suggestions for where we can go for coffee / dessert date from W. 65 - 75?

Thanks a lot

Sep 21, 2008
zen123 in Manhattan

Best late-night dessert

Sep 15, 2008
zen123 in Manhattan

Best late-night dessert

Where can I get the best dessert with a date on a Thursday night after 11:30pm?

We'll go anywhere within Manhattan, but we won't get there until 11:30pm earliest.
Price is no issue. Romantic ambiance is a plus, good cocktail is a plus, but we are most concerned with the desserts haha.

Thanks so much!

Sep 14, 2008
zen123 in Manhattan

Your thoughts on EMP and others, please

I returned to Eleven Madison Park recently and again was underwhelmed.

I would suggest Daniel, Picholine and Bouley over EMP.

Dec 19, 2007
zen123 in Manhattan

Relaxing, non-crowded / rushed dinner on UWS

Looking for a relaxing, non-crowded / non-rushed dinner on UWS (Wednesday night).

Cuisine: doesn't matter at all
Price: Let's say less than $30 entrees
Area: anywhere between west 60s and west 110s.

Any suggestions?

Dec 19, 2007
zen123 in Manhattan

Eleven Madison Park revisit - still mediocre

I tried my best to enjoy the meal, but the food just isn't that good.

The lobster lasagna was not special at all. The foie gras was rich, but nothing else. Definitely does not stand up as an interpretation on foie gras.

The suckling pig was better than last time I had it, but it was still on the dry side. It is also rather boring, especially if you have had experience with any ordinary suckling pig at Chinese restaurants - indeed, I could hardly taste the difference.

For some reason, I did not like the duck at all. I found it incredibly ordinary. It tasted like a plate of duck meat (well, two plates, to be exact), but I could not taste the lavender honey or find anything that impress me as a duck dish.

The chocolate with sea salt was fine, but it didn't taste as impressive as the idea.

Overall, less disappointing as my experience last time (perhaps because of lowered expectations), but as a French restaurant the food just isn't comparable to Per Se, Jean Georges, Le Bernardin or even Daniel. In fact, I would put it below Picholine, and maybe at the Fleur de Sel level.

Dec 18, 2007
zen123 in Manhattan

Dad is Coming to Town - Need a few Swanky Spots

Second Picholine.

Dec 08, 2007
zen123 in Manhattan

Dad is Coming to Town - Need a few Swanky Spots

Have to disagree here.

While Degustation has good food, it has no "pomp", "circumstance", "extreme service" or "amazing decor" that the OP is looking for. It is not at all grand of "spetacular". I do not recommend taking your father there at all. Maybe a date.

EMP has all four elements above, but I did not enjoy the food at all. Frankly for the money I'd rather go to Jean Georges or Daniel (or spend more and go to Per Se).

Dec 08, 2007
zen123 in Manhattan

What is the BEST sushi in Morningside Heights?

I know, I know. I'm just asking for the relative best.

Thanks!!!

Dec 08, 2007
zen123 in Manhattan

Is Jean Georges currently worth it?

"far more memorable than either EMP or Daniel"

Agree 100%. I love Jean Georges. It's not Per Se, IMO, but it is a wonderful experience.

Dec 07, 2007
zen123 in Manhattan

$100 to burn!

Agree. Asian food is more realistic given the budget. I want to add Mai House. I think it's a decent choice. And if you order wisely, you can get two appes and entrees for $60, plus the cheapest bottle of wine $30, and everything including tax and tips would be about $110.

Dec 02, 2007
zen123 in Manhattan

$100 to burn!

No no no, my post was solely in response to Foodboy's suggestion of Brasserie. I calculated the average prices from Brasserie's menu

Dec 02, 2007
zen123 in Manhattan

$100 to burn!

I agree with the sentiments above that $100 (or something around that number) for two appes, two entrees, a bottle of wine, plus tax and tips severely limits your options. The only one I can think of is Lupa. Last time I went with somebody else, and we ordered two of the cheapest appes, two of the cheapest entrees, had a cheap bottle of wine, and the bill including tips was still around $110. Of course, you said italian is out.

Dec 02, 2007
zen123 in Manhattan

$100 to burn!

Appes are on average $13, Entrees are on average $28, that is JUST short of $100 with tips and tax, and we haven't even counted the bottle.

Dec 02, 2007
zen123 in Manhattan

Best Sushi mid/up town?

Hi everyone!

Just wondering, what is the best sushi (under $60) I can get between 52nd to 62nd, between 3rd and 9th Ave?

Thanks!!

Dec 01, 2007
zen123 in Manhattan