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Dinner list for our upcoming NY trip

That's a lot of places to try and hit just for breakfast/brunch/lunch in five days, especially if you're doing proper sit-downs for at least two of them.

I would do Jean Georges instead of Nougatine for lunch. Marginally more expensive, but much better service and a more interesting menu.

Katz's/Russ/Clinton are all next to each other so maybe do them in one go.

Prime Meats (which I like) is in Brooklyn...so maybe pair it with Chef's Table? I'd go do some rock climbing at BKB in between, haha.

I've never been to Grimaldi's but I believe CHers will tell you there are dozens of places better around the city.

Crif Dogs is interesting...and if you're going to the St. Marks location there are many other "small bites" places you can explore. It's livelier at night, though.

Oct 09, 2013
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Lin's Garden memories

I'm pretty sure I saw a "Lin's Garden" when I went climbing at BKB. Next to Zuzu Ramen? Not sure if there's any affiliation there (yes I realize that's in Brooklyn :P).

Oct 03, 2013
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Betony Review

I made a reservation for 2 at 7:00PM on Columbus Day just now (20 minutes ago). They *are* open on Columbus Day, right? And not serving some special overpriced menu I hope...

Being in Hong Kong seems to make these kinds of "get up in the morning and go to Opentable" reservations a bit easier to accomplish, heh.

Sep 15, 2013
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Toughest Tickets in Town?

Is Momofuku Ko still hard to get into for lunch?

Aug 29, 2013
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Anniversary Trip to NYC - Please comment on itinerary

I thought you would get too full only if you went to Momofuku Ko. I don't see why you shouldn't be able to do a full dinner after having lunch at Ssam Bar.

Aug 01, 2013
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Times Square help :)

Did you get to have live octopus once you got let out, though?

Aug 01, 2013
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Best Burgers in NYC.................

I managed to hit up the Lobby Bar at the Ace Hotel today for the Breslin beef burger. Well-seasoned patty, sharp cheese, smoky bacon shreds. A very solid burger overall. My only complaints are that the patty could be a bit juicier, and that the bun was a bit too dense. I'm always in favour of a hefty bun that holds up under the burger juice (which this one does), but it's a bit "doughy", and so as I chew through the burger it feels slightly pasty in my mouth.

Also liked the scrumpet a lot. Gamy lamb, deep fried, served with a mint vinaigrette that pairs quite well.

Dec 14, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Best burger in the East Village?

I like Korzo Haus, but it's not the conventional burger:

http://www.korzorestaurant.com/menu/D...

178 E 7th St (between A and B)

Dec 14, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Little Wisco "Crawl"

Report:

The plan came to fruition on Friday night as my SO and I braved the unrelenting rain and traversed the dark streets of West Village for our Little Wisco "crawl". There were ups and downs but the evening ended with a bang so overall it was a nice, memorable experience.

We thought we had hit a snag initially when we arrived at Perla and was quoted by the very friendly lady hostess a two-hour wait. Undeterred, we put our name down and shot straight for our second destination, the newly opened Chez Sardine, where Danielle with her iPad told us we were staring at a 60-minute stall. A bit flustered but nonetheless still game, I put down my phone number and turned the corner to pay Fedora a visit. It was there where we first got to sit down and have a taste of Gabriel Stulman's empire.

Fedora, about six steps below ground level, gives the impression that it's first and foremost a bar, and with a ceiling of about 8 feet and patrons sipping on their signature cocktails, it's a deafeningly loud one. No more than five minutes after we sat down my SO started complaining about getting a headache and losing a voice, and we resorted to whatsapping each other across the table. It was comedic. Equally comedic was that before we even placed our order Danielle called us back to inform us a table had opened up at Chez Sardine. Great, I said, but we just sat down next door. She thanked us for being loyal supporters and agreed to keep my name on the list.

We ordered two small plates: crispy sweetbreads with blue cheese and pickled celery and oyster and shiitake mushrooms with poached egg and brown butter. The sweetbreads tasted like a buffalo chicken sandwich, but without the chicken or the bun or the heat of buffalo sauce or the promised crispiness. Far from terrible, but not a particularly creative taste. The mushrooms compared favourably with an intense sauce carrying just the right amount of acidity, but at $14 I found the dish even more overpriced than the sweetbreads which were $16.

As we were flagging down our waitress for the check, Perla rang back about the table opening up. At this point we decided that, despite the proximity of Chez Sardine, it would be smarter to head back to Perla first, and so we did. The same gracious hostess was just finishing up setting our table when we arrived, and when told we had just come from Fedora, she mused that "I hear things aren't as crazy over there". Hah.

The environment was markedly more comfortable at Perla, and it didn't hurt we got a corner booth with leather seats to ourselves. Sticking with ordering light we went with the veal tongue antipasti and the garganelli with tripe, prosciutto, tomato, and chili. I expected the tongue to have more chew, but it rather had the texture of thinly sliced spam. The tonnato sauce was creamy and went quite well in combination of the turnips. The crispy capers did add to the dish so long as you didn't put more than two in your mouth at the same time. The garganelli was well cooked, but we had trouble spotting all the ingredients in the tomato sauce / ragu. There was definitely cured meat, but I would not have known tripe was in there (although I did taste a hint of offal...). SO and I concluded that both dishes were decent; I found the salting to be a little bit heavy-handed.

Walking out of Perla the rain had picked up substantially, but we were halfway there (or so we thought) and there was no stopping us. We made our way back to Chez Sardine, arriving at midnight, and by then Stulman, who was manning the bar when we came in the first time, along with most of the customers, had long gone. We quickly decided to bypass the curious foie gras grilled cheese (deemed too heavy) and opted for some sushi. I suggested the salmon head as well but neither of us were fans of bones, so we thought better of it.

Our order was for the pork and unagi hand roll, and two pieces of sushi: chopped scallops with quail egg and tobiko, and chopped raw beef with uni. The hand roll came first. For $9 I was hoping a full-size temaki, but instead got some two-inch bastardized version, not even wrapped into a cone. I realize tradition is not the name of the game here, but...anyway, I also don't see how some shredded pork belly and eel could warrant the price tag. Oh and I also received a massive stabbing from eel bones. Brilliant.

The two pieces of sushi were similarly overpriced, and after my SO "accidentally" took all the fun parts out of the chopped scallops piece with her first bite, she insisted that I ordered a second one just to try it. I did, begrudgingly so, and wolfed it down in one bite. I thought I could feel the tobiko burst...but I really couldn't taste anything. We got some complimentary custard soft-serve that tasted pretty much like sugar and went on our way. I think I should've gotten the damn foie gras grilled cheese instead.

Our last stop, at least, according to the original plan, was Jeffrey's Grocery. A very laid back joint with some retro decor. We sat down and promptly agreed on three Littlenecks, two mini crab claws, and four oysters (two each of two varieties whose names I have forgotten). One clam was double the size of another and one was served in a broken shell. The mini claws were $3.50 a bite. The oysters were okay; they tasted as advertised - one with some complexity and one salty and briny as all hell (which I quite liked, actually).

At this point the planned tour had completed, but we had a problem: I was still hungry. Three hours of eating and walking and eating and walking had not satiated my appetite. We had initially written off Jospeh Leonard because we had already been there for brunch, and although we loved the food we didn't feel the need to go back. I still had room in my stomach, though, and the place is conveniently right across the street from Jeffrey's (and still open). Oh why the hell not (it would've been a big mistake not to have gone, it turned out).

At 1:30 in the morning Joseph Leonard was only barely slowing down. The patrons were still having lively discussions, the bartender still charismatic, and the hostess/waitress still running the place by herself valiantly (although she would later drop her lip balm at our feet and then give us the wrong check twice - chalk it up to the hour and the dark). I knew I wanted to try the country fried chicken sandwich, but what else? I wondered aloud about the burger but was quickly shot down, and the pork hock doesn't seem like a good idea. Finally we settled on a side of brussels sprouts.

We waited for about 20 minutes before both plates arrived. The mere sight of the fried chicken had me salivating. I cut into it for a taste test, and the crispy skin gave way easily to the knife. A good sign in my book. And my first bite confirmed it - this could damn well be the best fried chicken I've ever had (disclaimer: I don't eat a lot of fried chicken). The meat was moist, the skin crunchy and melted into a well seasoned sweetness. I think I might have teared. Everything that came with the chicken was very good, but all I could remember was telling my SO telepathically to "stop eating my chicken" (just kidding). The brussels sprouts had some serious kick from the sriracha, so I kind of worked my fork around the sauce so as to avoid numbing my tongue which would prevent me from fully appreciating the chicken that she wouldn't stop eating. We asked for the dessert menu but what I really wanted was just some more of that bird.

At 2:30 we stepped out of Joseph Leonard, saved from an otherwise mediocre dining excursion. As we made our way home we did a loose ranking of the Little Wisco restaurants: Joseph Leonard was by far the best, Perla was solid, and we had little interest in returning to the other three. In fairness, we sampled very little at each establishment, and had I gone for the foie gras grilled cheese I might have formed a different opinion of Chez Sardine, but a crawl is a crawl.

Get that fried chicken! (Available at brunch, lunch, late night, but not on the dinner menu).

Dec 10, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Anyone been to Tulsi lately?

I went about a month ago. If it were up to me I would've gotten the tasting menu as there were a lot of things not on the regular a la carte menu. Alas, we were a group of 8, some of whom are vegetarians and some of whom had no interest in spending more than $25, so my SO and I settled on the much talked about lamb chops and some stuffed chicken dish, preceded by something they called masala ceviche.

The ceviche was tasty, but packed a lot of heat (the acidic kind) so after a while it became a bit of a chore to finish. We also had a taste of the samosas somebody else ordered, and those were quite good. As for the mains, the lamb chops were tandoori-cooked, so the bones were understandably charred, but parts of the meat were slightly burnt as well and that bitterness detracted from the otherwise tender, flavourful lamb. Not very gamy (which is too bad since I love gamy lamb). The chicken was well executed - moist with a well balanced if unremarkable stuffing.

With naan and rice I think I spent $90-110 for the two of us - the tasting menu which is about 7-8 courses costs $65pp, so you can see why I was a little dismayed we weren't able to jump on that instead.

Overall a decent meal. Was it Michelin star worthy? I don't know. I think Tamarind (which has its own hits and misses) was a bit more refined, but I haven't been to enough "upscale" Indian places to judge accordingly. I have not been to Junoon.

Dec 07, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Jaded Manhattanite Looking for "new" fine dining restaurant

Speaking from my own recent experience:

Jungsik - one may or may not consider it "dead", depending on how filled the restaurant is on that particular night. Service is competent to warm, but not stiff. The decor might be on the "cold" side.

Bouley - fantastic looking dining room with fantastic food (disclaimer - only went for lunch, but dinner is supposed to be even better). I wouldn't describe the service as "stiff" here either but I've never been to Daniel so I can't compare.

Tocqueville - we had lunch in an effectively empty dining room (and possibly because of that got the best service ever), but it's supposed to fill up at night. Miguel was our server.

Per Se - everything is immaculate and impeccable - it's a matter of shelling out the dough and securing a reservation. Not stiff, but very formal.

Dec 07, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Jaded Manhattanite Looking for "new" fine dining restaurant

Hmm I think Gilt is about to close (maybe as soon as in one week's time). For actual suggestions I'll leave it to kathryn :)

Dec 07, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Group of ten looking for Japanese Food 56th Street Area

Depending on the kind of Japanese you're looking for (sushi vs. ramen vs. teppanyaki, etc.) and how much time you have, Gyu-Kaku might be interesting option. There are two around the Hilton but not that close: one on 44th St. between 8th and 9th, one on 3rd Ave between 49th and 50th.

I believe they have both a lunch menu and a happy-hour menu (pretty good deal imo) during Sunday lunch. If I were to eat til I explode I'd say I'd spend $60-70 on food there, but most people will be happy with a $20-25pp portion. Their green tea mille-feuille is from Lady M which I quite like as well.

Dec 07, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

quick great dessert in soho

I don't have much to add - but if you do end up at Aqua Grill for lunch then Dominique Ansel is literally steps away. Have the made-to-order madeleine there and then take some DKAs and cannele home.

Dec 07, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

One Lunch, One Brunch, One Dinner

I don't think JG is open on Sunday...?

NoMad would be a solid choice for brunch, though. I can't speak for dinner but I'm sure you've heard of their chicken for two - not as easy to get a reservation for dinner, though.

Dec 06, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Looking for a Nice Seafood Resturant in Manhattan

Reservations for Le B might be tricky with a week's notice, especially for a sane hour. Same goes for Marea.

Oceana has plenty of spots left, on the other hand.

Dec 06, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

One Lunch, One Brunch, One Dinner

I realize you have a matinee on Sunday and so location/time might be an issue, but if you can manage, I have the following recommendations:

Brunch: The best brunch I had recently was at Prune. Just very tasty things (save the nasty licorice they gave us with the check at the end...I was not warned). After that I went over to Prima next door for a cappuccino (they serve La Colombe), also brilliant. Lower East Side. No reservations.

Lunch: Bouley is open for lunch on Sunday in December, and I think their $55 5-course prix fixe is a bargain. Jacket required, though. Expect to spend around two hours there. TriBeCa. Reservations a plenty on opentable.

Dec 06, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Kouign Amann?

I can eat stale DKAs all day. I don't think they even go stale.

Dec 06, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Little Wisco "Crawl"

I don't drink so we're hoping to get something small at each place...I think we'll try what you suggested. Thanks!

Dec 06, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Little Wisco "Crawl"

Still wondering about the feasibility of it, given it's a Friday night...

Dec 06, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Little Wisco "Crawl"

I was thinking about hitting all the Little Wisco joints this Friday night. Is it doable without reservations? I don't mind starting late (10pm onwards). Is there a "strategy"? Maybe certain places are more accessible at certain hours, and so on.

I've been to Joseph Leonard so I don't necessarily have to go there. Also, if Chez Sardine open yet?

Thanks.

Dec 05, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Bouley (review)

I was going to write a review of the lunch I had at Bouley this past weekend, but no longer feel the need :P

I would say, though, that at $55 I found the lunch prix fixe to be superior even to the 2-course, $38 affair offered at Jean George (which I also enjoyed and considered great value). We wanted to see whether we could replace a first-course selection with a second-course choice (we wanted to try the famed flan, the forager's treasure, and the black cod) and the only question directed back at us was "which one do you want to pair with the carpaccio"? No fuss whatsoever.

I don't know which dish or dishes I would label as my favourite (we ordered the carpaccio, the flan, the seven mushrooms, the black cod, the salmon, the beef cheeks, the soufflé, and the pear, and were given the tomato coulis and kudzu crisp as amuses). I guess I'm most in awe of the fish preparation - I remember exclaiming that I've "never had cod like this".

IMHO Bouley is a cut above most 1-star restaurants (the only 2-star in NY I've been is Marea, and I find it hard to compare those two), so either we give it another, or we need to drop a few from the current list...

P.S. I find the gentleman serving us the large selection of house-baked bread to be quite interesting. He reminds me of the movie stereotype who cares deeply about his creations and who seems a little detached from other things around him. Not that he wasn't pleasant or conversant, but both my SO and I saw him looking a bit..."disengaged" at times as he maneuvers his cart around the dining room.

Dec 05, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Pop-Pan crackers?

This unfortunately doesn't help you, but I was just commenting to my coworker the other day that the guy sitting in the row in front of us has a box of Garden Pop-Pan crackers and that I haven't seen them in years. Just found that to be amusing.

Dec 04, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Best Burgers in NYC.................

Nice, another supporter for Korzo Haus.

Although, I actually like their Original the most. I've tried the Slav and two of the Steve's (monthly specials or the like) and I found the Original to be the most balanced and interesting. Of course, you never know what the guy might come with next...

Also I hear they have a killer veggie burger, but I'm in no hurry to try.

Dec 04, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Lincoln Ristorante - hits and misses

SO and I went to the Benno joint last night after Nutcracker. We were 20 minutes early for our 8:45 reservation, but they had no problem seating us - the dining room was about half full.

We were seated out of view of the kitchen, and so unfortunately were unable to observe the chefs at work. No more than 30 seconds after we were handed the menus, the decisions were made:

Rigati con granseola: by far the most outstanding dish of the night (SO agrees). Rigati cooked al dente, served in a robust sauce with a healthy dosage of peekytoe crab and sea urchin. Full-flavoured but not overpowering.

Reginette verdi al ragu bolognese: in comparison to the other primi this came across as a bit more pedestrian. The pasta was, granted, cooked to the same high quality as the rigati, but the meat (veal, pork, and beef) ragu was, while tasty, one-note. Maybe I have myself to blame for ordering something al ragu bolognese and expecting something revolutionary, though.

Anatra arrosto: the duck breast was the highlight - cooked to tender medium rare with a smoky, slightly crisp skin. The leg was de-boned and compacted into something resembling a terrine (but not ground by any means...there must be a proper term for this), and not as interesting. The sauce was, imho, overpowering and didn't allow the flavour of the meat to come through. SO hated the farro (said it had a Chinese herbal taste to it, haha). I just found the dish too heavy 3/4 through it.

Piccione e fegato grasso: on the online menu this was priced at $45 and carries a $8 supplement to the prix fixe. At the restaurant last night this was $40 with no supplement (they offered a $48 steak with $8 supp. instead). We decided to go for it. The foie gras sauce wasn't as intense as I'd like it, but the squab's own..."gaminess?"...I quite enjoyed. A bit skimpy on the meat here, though, at least compared to the duck preparation.

Mille Foglie: a dry, less fluffy and puff version of the mille feuille I'm used to (difference between Italian and French? Don't know). Roasted pear was moist and sweet. Mostly pleasant.

Dolce alla gorgonzola: I flat out did not like this. Both the cheesecake and the pistachio genovese were, dare I say, savoury. I had to pair them with the concord grape sorbetto to balance out the taste in my mouth. Too many things were going on in this one and I just think they don't meld well together.

Bread (focaccia, multi-grain, white, breadstick) was adequate with a yummy eggplant-chick pea dip and EVOO. Petit fours were nougats with candied orange, coffee truffles (with grappa, apparently), and four-spice caramel. We were stuffed and couldn't finish all of them so we asked to bring them home.

Service was mostly faultless. One time the gentleman refilling my water splash some in my eye as I was turning to say thanks. I don't think he noticed. Another time the lady putting down our desserts almost allowed the sorbetto (sitting on a bed of clumped up granola) fly off the plate (it ended up on the edge). I doubt she could've missed that, but she didn't make note of it, and neither did we. Our main server, Jennifer, was competent and pleasant throughout the evening.

Overall a positive experience and for $130 ($60 prix fixe x 2 + tax) I would say it was fair value. Will try to get some pictures up at some point (again, on my SO's camera...).

Nov 30, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Former chowhounder Kobetobiko back to Manhattan for X'mas. Looking for recommendations!

The DKA is pretty awesome. We also got the madeleines which are made to order (about 10-15 minutes?). I would endorse the cannele as well, but if I had to choose I'd get the DKA. If you know what "wu dip so" is - it's kinda like that.

Nov 30, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

+1 for Tocqueville

Here are some photos (taken by my more talented half).

Nov 25, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Former chowhounder Kobetobiko back to Manhattan for X'mas. Looking for recommendations!

+1 on Tocqueville. I was there for lunch a few days ago and was thoroughly impressed. Uni carbonara. Scallops and Foie.

Nov 25, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Former chowhounder Kobetobiko back to Manhattan for X'mas. Looking for recommendations!

I also found the pickles they give to be very memorable, for some reason.

Nov 25, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan

Former chowhounder Kobetobiko back to Manhattan for X'mas. Looking for recommendations!

I was just at Momofuku Ssam yesterday for lunch - nothing I ate I would remotely associate with traditionally Asian food. I also almost make a point to not order their famous pork buns (blasphemy!); I just feel like that's probably the least creative thing on the menu and I don't wanna spend $10 on two bites of something I can get in Asia for a toonie. What we did get (prix fixe with Spanish Mackerel, Charred Octopus, and Corn Ice Cream Pie, along with the Duck Sandwich and the Duck over rice) were pretty tasty though.

For burgers, I'm going to plug Korzo Haus again. I think it's pretty unique in Manhattan. I much prefer the Feta lamb burger at Breslin to The Spotted Pig's Roquefort burger. Too much blue cheese and salt in the latter, not enough beefiness.

Interestingly, I also have a Hong Kong -> Canada -> USA -> Hong Kong trajectory. I'll be relocating to Hong Kong in January.

Nov 25, 2012
kyph0515 in Manhattan