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challenge: one affordable, casual meal to impress bostonian

Danji - fits all your criteria.

Sep 27, 2012
tongue_to_tail in Manhattan

What to order at Sakagura?

I agree with foodwhisperer on the mentaiko - they really have an excellent version there (perhaps tell you guests this is spicy caviar?). And agree with jessbnjess on the pork belly (one piece per person is more than enough).

Last time i was there (couple weeks ago) they had a snow crab rice special that was great. Super high quality rice with snow crab imparting a subtle flavor. This dish really epitomizes my impression of the best of Japanese cooking.

Also great is the chawanmushi - a must get (one per person).

Further dishes I usually find agreeable are the eggplant trio, the tori karaage (fried chicken), the fluke carpaccio (if you ask for spoon so you can get all the goodies in one bite), and the chicken meatballs.

I found the magura natto rather unpleasant. It turns out I'm in the camp of people who find natto (fermented soy beans) to be utterly flavorless, because apparently there is a weird genetic wiring thing where either you can or cannot taste them. Either way, given you're not going with adventurous people I'd avoid this dish.

Apr 25, 2012
tongue_to_tail in Manhattan

Kin Shop Review (Thai Fried Chicken)

You know, the chicken dish has been on my been on my agenda, and the way you describe it may be right up my ally - I like salt.

My question is: how did you get it for dinner?! I was there last month and called ahead to request it, and they told me they only served it for lunch. Damn fun suckers! Granted, the meal we had there was quite good - we too had the duck larb, amongst many other dishes, and left the restaurant stuffed. Perhaps not our favorite, but definitely one of our main take-aways from the meal was the roti. We took some home and had some with eggs the next morning - really quite good.

(By the way, love reading your responses throughout the site. You're always so helpful.)

Apr 15, 2012
tongue_to_tail in Manhattan

ABC Kitchen - Food still good?

(Excuse my writing tersely - I had a whole post typed out and then lost it.)

Was there Friday night. We had six dishes and really enjoyed four of them. I had the crab toast, raw scallop with pistachio and chilies, and suckling pig with apple and bacon marmalade. Person I was with had beets with yogurt, classic ravioli, and sea bass with chilies.

We really enjoyed the crab toast, suckling pig, beets with yogurt, and the classic ravioli. We strongly disliked the scallops and sea bass.

Crab toast lived up to the hype. A lot of great briny crab on a piece of bread that added to the dish, not subtracted from it. Scallop dish was just not well conceived - each element was good, but they didn't work together as a whole. Pig was very nice - tender, and they got the skin right. Some places can screw up the skin and it comes out too hard. This was perfectly crunchy and delicious. Marmalade wasn't as good as expected, but b/c of the ingredients it was, IMO, something impossible to mess up.

Beets and Yogurt were light and refreshing. Great beets. Raviolis were perfect. These would have been acceptable in even the best pasta places in Italy - they were homemade, came with classic pomodoro sauce, and little pieces of basil tucked in each ravioli. Delicious. Sea bass was pretty bad: came with an unbalanced, weird "sauce," and the fish was extremely under-seasoned, if even seasoned at all.

I'd go back because the dishes that we liked were really good, but on the other hand, the dishes we didn't like were really bad. So be prepared for an uneven meal. There will be highlights, but also dramatic lowlights.

Mar 26, 2012
tongue_to_tail in Manhattan

Shimizu or Kanoyama - 50 to 80USD per person possible?

Hey - I'm glad you found my useful. Just one note for your thoughts: I work a block away from Sushiden and go there for lunch with a similar amount of frequency as Cheeryvisage does. I do not believe you will be nearly as satisfied with the food there as you will be at Kanoyama. I simply do not believe the quality of the fish is as high, and if both of them were a block from my office I would go to Kanoyama every time. That is not to denigrate the fish at Sushiden. I've enjoyed every meal I've had there, and will continue to patronize them for lunch. Yet, if you are to choose between these two (and I apologize for not being able to speak to Shimizu), your choice, barring that influenced by inconvenience, must be Kanoyama.

Mar 22, 2012
tongue_to_tail in Manhattan

Looking for Wed Matinee theatre district lunch recs...

Danji. Let the kids have the wings and sliders, and let yourselves have the...... wings and sliders. :-) (Plus a few of the other things) - Oh, and treat yourself to the unfiltered white Korean beer/wine, you'll enjoy the show more.

Mar 22, 2012
tongue_to_tail in Manhattan

Shimizu or Kanoyama - 50 to 80USD per person possible?

Here's what I would do: Go to Kanoyama and get the sashimi platter for two. I believe it's $62, and you get a very nice amount of quality fish. From there you get each get one piece of anago, $9 each (the anago is great, and it's an exceptionally large piece), one piece of kinmedai, $12 each, and one piece of Big Eye toro, $11 each. You're out of there for $63 a person, and your happy. You're going to have had a great amount of variety, and some really high end fish to top it off.

Mar 22, 2012
tongue_to_tail in Manhattan

Lan Sheng – First Rate Szechuan in Midtown

Had the Szechuan Smothered Pork when I went there in the fall. It is a great dish - flavorful and tender. I was, however, disappointed by lack of the Szechuan peppercorns in my dish, which is what I thought the name implied. I don't see too many (if any) in your picture either, but maybe I'm wrong - am I?

Mar 16, 2012
tongue_to_tail in Manhattan

Time for one more 'Spanish' luncheon - Casa Momo or Aldea??!!

You can't go wrong with either.

My meal at Aldea was so good I'm scared to go back and have a lesser experience.

Casa Mono is always memorable, and has some standout dishes.

For your circumstance - (1) lunch (2) possibly rushed circumstances due to travel - I'd recommend Casa Mono since you'll get to try more dishes and it strikes me as more of lunch place. If #2 isn't applicable and you're going to have a nice drawn out meal - I'd tend towards Aldea.

You'll should be happy either way.

Mar 05, 2012
tongue_to_tail in Manhattan

15 East: A truly impressive all-out meal from start to finish

I've been to both within the past two months, but take what I say for what it's worth since I only went to 15 East for omakase (super omakase I guess is the term), and at Soto I did not have nigiri.

Overall, I found the quality of the fish higher at 15 East, and enjoyed my meal there more. One exception to that was the uni, which was of comparable quality at both place, though presented in completely contrasting styles. At 15 East it's Maine uni (freshly plucked out of seawater) was served with no soy or any accompaniment (also had traditional nigiri later), while Soto served with a sweet soy reduction and wasabi. The two other (actually three, but one was anago dominant) uni dishes i had at Soto were great. The one with lobster mouse and lotus root was an extremely well paired and balanced dish, and the uni with quail egg and other accouterments was very generous portioned with a great amount of uni, and was very tasty. Very recommended.

The anago was a different story. At 15 East, based on my interactions with the sushi chef (the 2nd in command, Ken or Key - not sure) it was served lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and yuzu zest, and was revelatory. No more eel sauce! This is how to eat anago! (And I love eel sauce.) The anago at Soto was disappointing. Though a very large piece was served, with uni slathered over the top, see it sounded great, the anago was very disappointing. Kind of like mushy unagi. And believe it or not, the uni did not combine well with it.

The red snapper sashimi at Soto was very nice, and delicate, as was the seared salmon sashimi with aspic. Salmon was actually a great dish, but I didn't get to have too much of it. But the thing about Soto was that the flavoring of the dishes was the real star, not the fish.

I guess my problem with Soto was that it seemed like a progression of amuse buches. Now I love tasting menu's and don't mind the smaller portions, but at Soto, in part because I was sharing, but more because of the cutting and presentation of the dishes, it affected me. The salmon dish, for instance, which I thought had great flavor/creativity, was sliced so that each (of the four) pieces of salmon was perhaps 1/20 the size of one piece of salmon nigiri.

Re: other comments in this thread, as a person mindful of nigiri size, I was satisfied with the cuts at 15 East. They weren't very large, but were definitely large enough. Larger than what I've had at Yasuda and Seki.

Random comments: The black truffle chawan mush at 15 was superior to the seafood one at Soto. Sesame tofu at Soto was very good. Found service to be only OK at Soto. They kept our sake chilled in a refrigerator away from the table, but were rather delinquent in pouring it for us, and our second bottle (750ml) at the end of the night was almost half full by the end of our last course. That bothered me.

I'd go back to each, but 15 East I'm in a rush to do so - not so much for Soto.

357 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10014

15 East
15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

Jan 25, 2012
tongue_to_tail in Manhattan

Not To Boast Or Anything...


Or, Tulsi

211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

211 E 46th St, New York, NY 10017

Jan 08, 2012
tongue_to_tail in Manhattan

Moderate price--great food around Lex and 59th street area?????

Grand Sichuan Eastern. 2nd ave. between 55th and 56th.

Grand Sichuan
1049 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022

Dec 04, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Manhattan

Place to get scotch samples or a sampler set in NYC?

Keens doesn't sell samples to take home, but they have very nice scotch flight tasting menus (at differing price ranges).

I did the Great Scots tasting last year and really enjoyed it. If you call ahead I'm sure it could be arranged to have a credit card on file so that there's no bill at the end of the tasting.

72 West 36th St., New York, NY 10018

Dec 03, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Manhattan

Anyone Cooked an Entire Foie Gras Before?

Yeah, I am expecting lots of smoke. Thanks.

This time around, though, I really don't want to slice it. My family had an entire lobe in Paris in 90s and I'm looking to recreate that dish.

I just so happened to have found the above picture, and it's pretty much exactly what I'm hoping for, so that's what I'm going to attempt.

Who'd have thought it would be so hard to find out how to do it?

Nov 23, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Home Cooking

Anyone Cooked an Entire Foie Gras Before?

Does anyone have any experience and think they could help me produce this version (see pic below) of foie gras? I just bought an entire thing 1.8 lb.

I'm taking care of the sauce. Just looking for advice on cooking time, and method. Or any help, at all.

Is that a sear on the top layer, or under a broiler?


Nov 23, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Home Cooking

Cooking An Entire Foie Gras: Recipe Advice

Hi all,

I've just procured an entire foie gras (1.8 lbs) and would be thrilled if someone could advise me on how to cook it. I purchased it from a local (Hudson Valley, NY) producer and am interesting in loosely replicating an iteration of dish I was fortunate to eat in Paris in the mid-90's.

The recipe I am loosely hoping to replicate was a simple preparation of the entire lobe. I am attaching a picture of the foie gras at Chez L'Ami Jean in Paris that is exactly what I am going after. Just looking at the picture I can clearly tell some of the steps involved, but am hoping someone with vastly greater insight (or better internet search capabilities - I did look) can help me understand the full recipe.

And just to fill you in fully on the details, I'm planning on making a fig and port wine sauce to go with it - but clearly that doesn't effect the cooking. Yum!!


Nov 19, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Home Cooking

Sushiden – Another Good Midtown Sushi Restaurant

I was at Yasuda three weeks ago, and Mitsu started us with his bonito (non-seared). It was excellent.

Oct 03, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Manhattan

Should GREAT service be expected 15 minutes before a restaurant closes?

And let me add one more thing, Joe. On Sept 12, just three weeks ago, you stated that Modern Pizza in New Haven, CT should close down their kitchen and reject customers when the night has reached into the later hours and their oven has dropped slightly in temperature. (

How does that not entirely contradict everything you have stated here -- that people just don't understand the restaurant industry and the lack of control people such as yourself have?

It seems to me you expect other people to empathize with you, but not you with them.

Oct 01, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Not About Food

Should GREAT service be expected 15 minutes before a restaurant closes?

While I thank you for generously inviting me to try your job one day, I, more realistically, invite you to answer the simple question I posed to you.

If you do, perhaps you'll realize I'm not missing any point, but that, in fact, you are.

Though I suppose you characterizing as "crap" that "all customers [should] get the same great service until we are closed" kind of makes that evident enough.

Oct 01, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Not About Food

Should GREAT service be expected 15 minutes before a restaurant closes?

Of course that would be fine. As I was getting at in my original post, if the restaurant lays out their capabilities (of lack thereof) up front, that is perfectly acceptable, and better yet, even preferable.

Oct 01, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Not About Food

Should GREAT service be expected 15 minutes before a restaurant closes?

So you want to go home and therefore feel justified providing inferior service even though your restaurant chose to admit a customer who is going to pay full price. Brilliant!

You know, it's amazing hearing you and realizing you take zero pride in your work.

Once seated, the customer is there. Ignoring them and being passive-aggressive isn't going to make the customer magically disappear or get you home more quickly.

No one is asking you to like your job. They are saying you should do it properly.

Do you disagree that you should do your job properly?

Oct 01, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Not About Food

Should GREAT service be expected 15 minutes before a restaurant closes?

Which I suppose leaves me to ask the restaurant industry workers who have replied here one question:

If you provide a patron with inferior service do you still feel entitled to a full tip?

Oct 01, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Not About Food

Should GREAT service be expected 15 minutes before a restaurant closes?

If I am seated I expect a restaurant's normal service. If the restaurant I am going to is one that strives to provide great service, I would expect great service regardless of the time.

The restaurant does not have to seat me if they are not inclined to, and they are entitled to advise me that the menu is limited because of the hour.

They are not entitled to seat me, tell me it will be no problem, and expect me to voluntarily tip 20% if they are determined to give me rushed food and inferior service. If I am paying full price and you are OPEN, I fully expect food and service commensurate with that restaurant's norm. Otherwise you are cheating me of my money and I will refuse improperly cooked food, and tip according to your inferior service.

If you decide to provide me inferior service, I will provide you an inferior tip.

Oct 01, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Not About Food

Savory Blackberry Sauce

I'm sure all the other recipes work out great.

This is what I do when I want a tasty berry sauce.

Mix two healthy tablespoons of jam, a pinch of kosher salt, a pinch of chipotle or cayenne pepper, and a tablespoon of stock (chicken or vegetable) in a small bowl. Immediately after you've taken your loin off to rest, put your mixture into what you've cooked it in (with all the juice and oil), and stir gently until it starts to bubble and thicken. Pour over you meat and your good to go. If you want to make it even less sweet, add lemon juice to the mixture.

Sep 22, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Home Cooking

The Best Thing You Ever Ate: New Orleans

Let me add another Commander's Palace item.

They do an off-the-menu fried oyster dish that is fabulous. You'll have to forgive me that I don't remember the preparation, it was late-90s last time I was there, but I was with someone in the know who told me to order it. What I do remember is that is was not a regular fried oyster and tartar sauce dish and that it was served with some house made sauce - and that is was the best thing I ever ate in N'awlins.

Sep 22, 2011
tongue_to_tail in New Orleans

Venice, Florence, & Rome Dining Plan - Advice Appreciated

Also, Nerbone is definitely great. Go there. But know that they sell out of stuff. So don't show up for a late lunch - like we did - and think you'll have your panino bagnato al lampredetto. We missed it. The other stuff we had was great (the tripe was also sold out), but if you have your heart set on a particular something, I'd get there before 13:00.

Sep 21, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Italy

Venice, Florence, & Rome Dining Plan - Advice Appreciated

In Florence you must try Fiaschetteria Nuvoli on Piazza dell'olio, 15.

The best food I had in Italy. The owner doesn't speak English, but since the downstairs will always be full with locals just sit at the counter up top and point on the menu to want to you want. Inexpensive, and like 2 blocks from the Duomo on a quiet street. Get the trippa alla Fiorentina if you like that sort of thing.

I dream of returning to Italy just to eat here.

Sep 21, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Italy

Last minute cocktails and dinner to show NY at its best

When you mentioned the Plaza you hit something you may not have been aware of.

I'm not sure if it's the best of NYC (what really is?), but the Plaza has a very nice, upscale, food hall on its bottom level that has seated service where you are waited on. It's fun and the food is actually very above average. I definitely enjoyed it. Given the short notice I think this could be very nice. And it would give you lots of food options.
Menu -

Also, Seasonal Restaurant is right around the corner from the Plaza and is very good Austrian food. Recc'd that place as well.

132 West 58th Street, New York, NY 10019

Plaza Food Hall
1 W 59th St, New York, NY 10019

Sep 20, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Manhattan

SHO Shaun Hergatt review - a mixed bag!

We were there Wednesday the 15th of this month.

We didn't stay passed the amuses.

We arrived at 8pm to a near empty restaurant, which given the size of the darn place I immediately found off-putting. There is a rather large lounge (40 seats) at the front of the restaurant and not a person was there. No one was at the bar. Not even a bartender. The place was empty and dead silent. Led through a nice looking wine alley we came upon the actual restaurant that was running at about 25% capacity. We were then actually given a fabulous seat right in front of the glass walled kitchen, but unfortunately that was the highlight of our brief stay.

A wine list was waiting for us on the table and three of quickly picked out three cocktails that we thought we would we drink as we perused the food menu before we would order wine. Our waitress, a pleasant enough person came over, gave us our menus, and we gave her our cocktails. About ten minutes later the first amuses arrived. It was the same dish as in the OP but ours was gag-inducing. The coconut mousse was tasteless except for sweetener and the pea puree was one of the single worst things I've put in my mouth in recent memory. Extraordinarily salty and with the consistency of baby food. The coconut and salty pea flavor combination tasted exactly as it sounds, like slightly sweet coconut and salty pea mush. Yuck!

Now about a little more than 15 minutes had passed and no sight of our drinks. And this was VERY disappointing because all we wanted to do was get the disgusting taste of the first amuse out of our mouths.

Then the other amuse came out for us. Unfortunately it was brought out to us by someone who was incapable of describing the dish to us. All we understood were foie gras balls, which sounded decent enough, but it was covered in some curious black coating that we were interested in the identity of, and it had taken the serve three sentences to describe the dish - so we knew that these were much more than just foie gras balls. Given this is Michelin starred restaurant and the price, this didn't seem an unreasonable level of service to expect. Which is not even to get to the taste of this foie gras balls. I love foie gras. I adore it. I order it everywhere. So I was pretty pumped for some foie love nuggets. Instead when I popped one in my mouth all I got was gloppy chicken liver flavor and super crunchy stale pieces of the unidentified black substance that added absolutely nothing to the dish, but did mange to scrap the roof of my mouth.

At this point we were closing in on 25 minutes since our drink order and nothing had arrived. Our amuses have been disgusting, and one of us raises the point that perhaps we should just leave. We considered it - we hadn't ordered our food yet, and our drinks had not arrived.

I beckon the waitress over and asked her the status of our drinks. She assured me they were on their way, and I told her that we were thinking of leaving. She gives me this stunned deer in headlights look and jets off to find a higher up. Another five minutes go by (notice we still haven't even been asked to order food yet) and we decide we are out of there. One of us starts to get up and the maitre'd (or something) comes over and offers us some "very funky" alcoholic apple cider as a "counter-offer," and says the cocktails will be on the house. At that moment then, over her back shoulder, nearly 35 minutes after we ordered them, our drinks arrived. The three of us knowingly smile at each, jokingly wonder if she is going to withdraw the apple cider offer now that our drinks were there (what was she going to do, serve us each two drinks at the same time?), and say we think we're going to leave anyway. On the way out another gentlemen higher-up approaches me and asks if he could contact me the next day to follow up. I told him he could, but the next came and went and never phone call came.

Definitely will not be giving them another shot.

Despite being rather dressed up, to actually, you know, eat, we managed our way to Zabb Elee for some Thai food we thought would hit the spot after the disaster. It did.

Zabb Elee
75 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

Aug 25, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Manhattan

Burger Smack-Down Suggestions

Madison Restaurant at 53rd and 1st.

With English muffin bun.

I grew up in the neighborhood and swear these burgers are up there with any and every in the city.

You might say, "Ehh, I've had diner burgers before." You might be right. When it comes to the Madison's burgers though, I respectfully disagree.

If you're doing a burger comparison I think you would be well served to give this one a shot. You might be surprised at how high it comes in on your list. Plus, you won't be trying a burger at a place everyone already knows about, so it will add some diversity to your list.

Madison Restaurant
965 1st Ave, New York, NY 10022

Aug 15, 2011
tongue_to_tail in Manhattan