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Willamette suggestions please

We are going to be in Willamette on a Sunday and Monday night and it looks like Nicks Italian and Thistle are both close those days. I'd be extremely appreciative if anyone has any recommendations on good places that are open on Sundays and Mondays. We are staying in Newberg, but happy to make the trip down to McMinnvile.

Many thanks!

Jun 25, 2012
john in Pacific Northwest

2 Dinners in Paris

My fiancee and I will be in Paris for the last two nights of our honeymoon and are looking for two memorable meals. We have been to Le Voltaire before and loved it and could potentially go back, but also open to other suggestions. After two weeks of eating our way around Provence and Burgundy I don't think we want a huge Guy Savoy type meal. Maybe one place like Le Volataire and one place a bit more modern - though not L'Atelier (we were there last time) modern.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Aug 17, 2010
john in France

treating 6- help!

Kefi might do the trick.

505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

Jul 06, 2010
john in Manhattan

Is there a real French restaurant in NY?

YOu should check out bar boulud - it might work for you

May 25, 2010
john in Manhattan

Which burger- Spotted Pig or Black Label at Minetta?

I'm a little late here, but I've had both burgers over the last month or two and the Black Label burger is hands down better. I found the Spotted Pig Burger to be way over salted - and I love salt. For me, I also don't like blue cheese on burgers. The meat on the black label burger is absolutely amazing - tastes like an aged steak and the onions are perfect. Just get it as advertised and you will not be disappointed.

Aug 14, 2009
john in Manhattan

Keen's Steakhouse - Don't Go!!!!

With three years of hindsight, I would agree both the title and the wording of the original post were a bit strong; however, I standby my overall account of the evening. While I understand people love Keen's, we had a bad evening. Not all steaks are created equal and I have had some fantastic ones at Peter Luger and some pretty sad looking ones there as well. On the night in question, we had a pretty bad one at Keen's at it was my only data point. I don't really remember the sides - but, they were probably pretty good. The apps, though, were disgusting. How hard is it to get some big juicy tomatoes and decent sized shrimp? Just got to Chelsea Market...

I thought I should at least defend myself a bit!

Aug 03, 2009
john in Manhattan

Minetta Tavern - Black Label Burger

So, I should have posted about this much earlier, but a few weeks ago I went to Minetta Tavern with my so late on a Sunday night. Within 10 minutes we were comfortably seated at the bar - the place was still packed. We decided to get one of each burger to try them head-to-head. None of the other appetizers seemed that appealing and we figured we'd be pretty full after the burgers.

I definitely did not thing the black label burger would live up to the hype and was really just trying it to confirm my preconceived notion. Man was I wrong. The burger is perfect. The bun is soft and firm and soaks up the juicy goodness while still keeping it shape to protect my hands while eating. The meat is amazing. The depth of beefy flavor rivals most steakhouses. It is cooked perfectly with a nice crispy char on the outside and my medium rare burger was just still warm in the middle. The caramelized onions add a nice complement, but the burger needs nothing else. Ketchup or cheese would just distract from the meat. The fries are the same as Balthazar and Pastis and taste like high end McDonald's fries -- I mean that as the ultimate compliment.

The regular burger was very good, but not in the same league as the black label burger. Just very well executed tasty bistro style burger. The decor is great and the service was fine - not great not terrible. When I am in the mood for an upscale burger I know where I'm going in the future.

Jul 11, 2009
john in Manhattan

Top 10 dishes in Manhattan?

- Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern
- Lobster Roll at Pearl
- Pasta Bolognese at Babbo
- Chicken and Rice -Shendy's Halal Cart (52nd and 6th)
- Schwarma pita - Azuri Cafe
- Steak for x - Wolfgang's
- Margherita pizza - Una Pizza Napoletana
- Omakase - Sushi Yasuda
- Lox and Whitefish Combo - Barney Greengrass
- Fried oysters - Pearl

Jul 10, 2009
john in Manhattan

Cheap ethnic in the 50s and 8th?

Azuri Cafe - 51st and 10th - best falafel around
Hallo Berlin - 9th and about 50th for german sausages

you could also check out for some other recommendations.

Feb 15, 2009
john in Manhattan

Lure - question for tonight

Has anyone been to Lure recently and have any recommendations for dishes to try or avoid?


Aug 05, 2008
john in Manhattan

Moksha: out of business?

It's been closed for a while - there is a sign on the door promising to reopen, but I am pretty suspect.

Jul 31, 2008
john in Manhattan

Restaurant near Little Italy

I think you could convince them that peasant is little italy and the food is fantastic.

Jul 30, 2008
john in Manhattan

Ginger Man

The cheese plate is a pretty satisfying starter that goes well with beer.

Jul 14, 2008
john in Manhattan

Day Boat Lobsters

I bought 2 lobsters from Bouley Market yesterday that were incredible. I have never had a fresher tasting lobster - even in Maine. He is getting them from a day-boat in Mass and selling them live for $12/lb.

Pretty awesome.

Jun 13, 2008
john in Manhattan

Need Sushi recs. in Murry Hill area...

Yasuda is not that far...

Jun 13, 2008
john in Manhattan

Sorellina review

I am a NY Hound spending a lot of time in Boston recently. We had a special occasion to celebrate and after some careful research on this board, I decided on Sorellina - and was not disappointed.

When we arrived for our 9.30 reservation the restaurant was surprisingly still full. The host said it would be 5 minutes for our table despite a bunch of two-tops visibly available. I didn't feel like arguing over 5 minutes, but before we could even get to the bar he came and told us the table was ready. Slightly annoying and amateurish, but not a big deal.

Our server was very nice and had a good attitude, but was definitely green. When we asked him how best to navigate the menu (split between appetizers, pasta, mains, and sides) he basically said just get some of each. We decided to go with a strategy similar to the one we use at Babbo in NY where we split one app, 2 pastas, and one main.

We started with the tuna tartar, which was actually quite remarkable given how common that dish has become. It was served cold (but not to the point where you could not taste the fish) with a great spice mustard and a seasoned chip that had the perfect amount of salt to compliment the fish. They split all the dishes for us and the half portion was bigger than you may get at most places in NY.

We moved on to the Kobe meatball and the ravioli. Normally I am skeptical of anything that is chopped Kobe because it seems like a gimmick given the marbling becomes irrelevant. The meatball was fine - it was overly dense and I dont think the Kobiness added much. It was a very flavorful dish, but probably the least interesting think we tried. The ravioli on the other hand was fantastic. You could taste the freshness of the pea filling and the pasta had good flavor. The sauce was not as buttery as the one on the kobe and was overall better balanced.

We split the monkfish main which was cooked well and had a very traditional mediteranean preparation with roasted tomatoes. We also heard the truffle fries were not to be missed and when hot, they were completely addictive. The only problem was that they literally serve you a mountain of them and charge $12. Not sure I would order them again, but they are worth trying especially if you have a larger table - it could easily feed 4-6 people. We also had the eggplant side which was a pretty traditional baked eggplant with mozzarella and tomato sauce. It went well with the fish.

I feel like I just got fatter writing this - it seems like so much more food now when I write it down. Oh, we also had a key lime and meyer lemon desert that was a refreshing way to finish a great meal.

May 13, 2008
john in Greater Boston Area

Good Chinese in Upper Alphabet City?

Grand Sichuan on St Marks between 2nd and 3rd has excellent chinese food. The Dan Dan noodles are great.

I know it is slightly outside your zone, but worth the extra half block

Apr 04, 2008
john in Manhattan

Sushi Yasuda - non-omasake recs

He also has the best uni I have ever tasted. He basically made me try it one time and I was an instant convert. Do not miss it even if you don't think you like urchin.

Mar 24, 2008
john in Manhattan

Gramercy Tavern - Tavern Room

I went here this weekend with moderately high expectations. I figured it was a very well regarded restaurant that was probably resting a bit because it has been so popular for so long.

Boy was I wrong! The food was outstanding. The place was bustling at 7.30 with a mix of mostly younger couples, but definitely a wide range. We started with the heirloom couliflouer, which was probably the best dish of the night. It was slow poached and then they take a cross section of the entire head and grill it with olive oil and capers. Outstanding smokey flavor. I also had the calamari and carrot salad which was served with some wasabi roe that was quite tasty. I had the stuffed meatball, which was also very good - stuffed with fontina cheese and served with some great marmalade onions (read: sweet). For dessert we had a brownie sundae - how can you go wrong with that. Great fresh vanilla ice cream and huge chunks of fudgy brownies.

I would go back tonight given the opportunity.

Mar 24, 2008
john in Manhattan

If Cookshop served breakfast...

Five points is owned by the same people and has a similar feel. Perhaps a bit more cramped, but not too bad. Very crowded for weekend brunches. Not your ideal location, but not too far. It is Great Jones and Lafayette.

Mar 20, 2008
john in Manhattan

Where to take a sushi snob?

Second Yasuda. It is AWESOME.

Mar 18, 2008
john in Manhattan

Theme Restaurants

I would go to Buddakhan over ninja any day. I have never eaten there, but I think they would have to pay me to eat there after Bruni's review a couple years ago. The food at Buddkhan is not the best thing I have ever eaten, but it is definitely good.

Mar 15, 2008
john in Manhattan

Can concierge get reservations?

I would figure out where you want to go and try and make the reservantions yourself. If a place is booked, the hotel might be able to get you in. If you are trying to go places like Babbo or Little Owl where there are not extra tables, you are probably out of luck. If you are trying to go to a bigger Midtown restuarant like Sparks or Anthos you will probably have better luck.

Mar 07, 2008
john in Manhattan

Ginger Ales You have Loved

G.U.S - Grown up soda Ginger ale. I think it uses really sugar cane and real ginger. Quite tasty without being sticky sweet.

Mar 04, 2008
john in General Topics

Friedman's Deli in the Chelsea Market

I had a pastrami sandwich there this week for lunch. It was thin machine cut and I prefer the thicker handcut pastrami from Katz's. The meat itself was fine. I would have like to see more more intramuscular fat instead of fat around the outside of the cut, which I pulled off. Also, the meat was not as spicy as I would have liked. It comes with a side of pretty good cole slaw and 2 slices of mediocre pickle. Overall, I would go back if I was there and really craving a sandwich, but if I am having a real pastrami craving would got to Katz's. Even if I was hungry and in the Chelsea market I would probably not go back unless I was really just jonseing for pastrami and didn't have time to make it to the LES.

Feb 29, 2008
john in Manhattan

Do I really want to spend $693 on a bottle of wine?

I'm actually from Manhattan and I can tell you that has never happened to me at home. As I recall he did point out that it was "a little pricey."

Utterly ridiculous.

ClaireWalter - it was Larkspur.

Feb 28, 2008
john in Not About Food

Lombardi's- big disappointment...

You have to try Una Pizza Napoletana - it is right in your hood. Pretend it does not cost over $20 per pizza, but it is flat out the best pizza I have ever had (disclaimer: I have not yet made it out to DiFara's). Thin crust, awesome tomato, and great cheese. Throw in a little extra virgin and some basil and I am in pizza heaven.

Feb 28, 2008
john in Manhattan

Do I really want to spend $693 on a bottle of wine?

I think it was more the second half of a. He was probably about 30, but apparently just stupid.

Feb 27, 2008
john in Not About Food

Where can I buy the best and freshest salmon?

Completely agree with MMRuth - the fish at WF has gone waaaaaaay down hill over the last couple of years to the point where at times it appear indistinguishable from the orange rubber they sell at Food Emporium. I live downtown so I almost always buy my fish at the Lobster Place (there is a location on Bleecker and W 4th and one in Chelsea Market). They usually have at least 2 or 3 types of salmon of which at least one looks really fresh.

Feb 27, 2008
john in Manhattan

Do I really want to spend $693 on a bottle of wine?

So I went to a very pleasant dinner in Vail over the weekend with fantastic food from appetizers through dessert - the issue, however, was the service. First of all they completely switched one of our appetizers - gave us an entirely different pasta without asking. The waiter came over 3 times to ask if it was ok - clearly trying to gauge whether he should leave it on the bill. We said it was fine, but not exactly what we were looking for. The pasta was on the bill until we asked for it to be removed - which it was. He claimed he "forgot" to take it off the bill, but I think I would believe a 5 year old with chocolate all over his face claiming he was not the one who took the last cookie more than this joker.

The real kicker came to the wine selection. We had already started with a very reasonable $50 bottle of champagne when I started asking about a bottle of red to go with dinner. I specifically asked about a couple of $65 bottles of Oregon Pinot Noir. He tried to steer me towards a $100 bottle and I was clearly not interested in spending that much and asked for other suggestions. Then, this waiter had the audacity to tell me how wonderful a $693 dollar of wine was and how much we would enjoy it with our food. I wasn't quite sure what to say to him so I sent him away to get the sommelier (who was ver helpful in picking out a $58 bottle of red burgundy).

What would you all have done in this situation - I feel like I probably should have told the manager how inappropriate the waiter was across mulitple dimmensions. I have never been recommended a bottle anywhere close to that price (probably $120 at most). IMHO, if you are looking for an expensive bottle you should ask for it proactively, not try and be sold. I can understand moderate upselling, restaurants are businesses, but could you imagine walking into a Honda dealer and being told you should really be looking at Porsches?

Feb 19, 2008
john in Not About Food