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The newly opened Gabriel Kreuther

I went there a couple weeks ago with my husband. It exceeded expectations in some ways and simply met them in others. Topline: I'm excited to watch the restaurant work out the kinks, mature and become one of the best in its class in New York.

Ambiance
We had a later reservation and were greeted warmly (and by name, which was surprising. Were we the last reservation of the night? It was before 9:30!) and quickly whisked to our table. The dining room is cavernous. I don't think I've ever had that much space between two-tops in NYC. That in and of itself was luxurious. (Banquette and chairs were comfy, which was nice for a long meal.

Alcohol
Cocktails were fine, nothing to write home about.
Wine list was great, but I went in knowing we were getting an Alsatian white. Went with the Gewurtzraminer — exceptional.
Spirits list was a bit weak.

Service
Warm and welcoming, but spotty. The server was personable without being overbearing or too chatty. Drink glasses were never empty, but I worry what the service would be like with twice the crowd inside.

The Somm's shift clearly ended around 10 which is fine, but it's a good thing I didn't want a dessert wine. (I'm really terrible at picking them).

The pacing was incredibly slow. Too much time elapsed between courses. Hopefully this was simply the kitchen that hasn't found its flow. We'll see what happens in the future.

Tableware
I mention this because it is probably my biggest complaint of the night. The wine glasses were strangely shaped and uncomfortable to hold.

The dishes were a little too cute — plates slotted into pedestals at the table, earthenware was shaped so it didn't sit flush with the table. Beautiful to look at — but not always practical to eat.

Even worse was the flatware. Every knife, fork and spoon at every course looked like surgical tools. I kid you not. Comically long skinny stem, strangely shaped prongs. It was just bizarre. Even a set of chopsticks were tipped with very sharp metal ends. Hopefully this is not a trend.

And now for the food.

Beautifully cooked proteins. Sauces were light — but perhaps just a touch too subtle. Flavors overall were just right for summer ... supple and succulent without being too dense or too fatty. Plating, details (edible flowers ... I'm such a sucker for those) was all very good. Most of the dishes certainly had one 'perfect bite' in there somewhere. I imagine this will become more consistent int time.

There were a few dishes that didn't quite come off. Beef tenderloin (raw) was more like one very good dish paired with one mediocre dish on a plate.

Standouts include a tart with sauerkraut, frog's legs and the squab for 2.

Dessert was satisfying and the post-dinner chocolates were very good. Who is the pastry chef there?

Although, at times there was too much on the plate for a four course meal. We each added a raw course to start, and I would have been okay with everything being just a few bites smaller. There is a tasting menu option but it has something like 9 savory courses ... which is extreme. Given the pacing and the portion sizing, I might give it a shot in a few months once all the kinks are worked out.

Overall, a high quality, relaxing quiet meal. If all NYC restaurants were on a specturm, I could easily see this place slotting in somewhere between Jean Georges and Juni.

Jul 07, 2015
frafflesass in Manhattan

Need Rec's...Lower East Side/East Village/Nolita

Narcissa

May 13, 2014
frafflesass in Manhattan

Narrowing down a few dinner choices...

Pasta at All'onda is quite good. Everything else is sort of meh.

Betony, however, is the Bees' Knees.

Apr 30, 2014
frafflesass in Manhattan

Restaurant Pet Peeves

It was especially busy that night. But it's been just as busy on other nights I've been there and no issues.

And I think it is the restaurant's fault — a place in that high demand that holds the experience of dining in such high esteem should know how to manage its tables while still delivering on experience.

15+minutes past reservation time (10pm) for a two top is pushing well past "lingering over coffee."

And yes, no chairs, barely room to stand. And it was more the flippancy of being invited to the bar — with no recognition that perhaps the situation could be uncomfortable or unpleasant.

These are things that irritate me. I'm not bothered by dim restaurants or not being told the price of specials. I own that this is my pet peeve.

Restaurant Pet Peeves

Actually I'm quite mindful not to linger. It's one of the reasons I prefer later reservations — so I don't feel guilty about taking the table from waiting parties.

But yes, I do expect to have a table very close to the time of the reservation. I book early, arrive on time, drop cash and repeat visits. Perhaps I'm a little entitled to my own experience, but I wouldn't want to impose on someone else's.

Apr 24, 2014
frafflesass in Not About Food

Restaurant Pet Peeves

What's the thing that restaurants can do that really get under your skin? We're not talking inedible food or an experience so bad you'll never darken their door again, but those small things that mar what could have been an impeccable experience?

Recently, celebrating a special occasion at Gramercy Tavern, we were seated more than 15 minutes past our reservation time. Adding to that irritation was being "invited" to wait with a drink at the elbow-to-elbow, almost three people deep bar. Somehow, one of my favorite restaurants hit both my pet peeves in rapid succession.

Apr 21, 2014
frafflesass in Not About Food

Crawfish!

Had some delicious crawdads as a course at Le Restaurant this past weekend. BUT given the way their menu works and the, um, glitches experienced during the meal ... it might be risky.

Apr 01, 2014
frafflesass in Manhattan

Best Farm to Table in DC?

Visiting DC for a long weekend in May and coming from NYC. We're looking for a farm to table dinner one night, I'm curious what restaurants are doing it the best (i.e., chefs balancing local sourcing w/ great cooking) in DC.

On a different note, what are the most interesting things happening food wise. Please leave off anything close to "molecular gastronomy.

Budget isn't an issue, but would like it to be accessible by the metro.

comfortable and delicious birthday dinner

I've booked Juni. I have a soft spot for menus structured like that. It's not til mid-Feb, but I'll report back.

Jan 09, 2014
frafflesass in Manhattan

comfortable and delicious birthday dinner

Hadn't considered Annisa. I'll look into it, thanks.
Jungsik has been on our list for a while, perhaps this is the time.

We actually went to Picholine last year and it was a disaster. They forgot one of our courses and then got a couple more out of order — don't remember the food because the service was so bad.

Went to Mas recently. It wasn't bad, but I did think it was overpriced for the quality of ingredients they used.

Jan 08, 2014
frafflesass in Manhattan

comfortable and delicious birthday dinner

As my Husband's birthday approaches, I'm looking for a fantastic dinner spot. We love Gramercy Tavern, Blue Hill and Betony, but eat at those places regularly enough as it is. I'd love to try a new spot that is "white tablecloth" at heart, but still warm, friendly and — of course — the food is top notch.

Non-ridiculous tasting menus are in play, EMP and The Modern are out for reasons and I've got more than 28 days to make a reservation. And just for an added idea of our taste, Prune, The Nomad and pre-drug bust Gwynnett St. are some other favorites.

Okay, hive mind, what do you have for me?

Jan 08, 2014
frafflesass in Manhattan

Brunch cocktails beyond mimosas and bloody marys?

What are the best brunch spots with cocktail lists that go beyond the standard? Bellinis, Mimosas, and Bloody Marys are fine, but where can I find a Corpse Reviver? (Incredible brunch fare would be nice, too.)

Aug 24, 2012
frafflesass in Manhattan

Any feed back on Calliope - newish French bistro in E. Village?

Honestly, I was not impressed. The beef tongue was oversauced, the tomato tart was good — but it reminded me of something I'd want for lunch from a small cafe, and the mains were bland (Lamb, Rabbit) and not at all right for the season. We didn't stay for dessert, which was sad because the baba au rhum actually looked edible. This place is getting a LOT of hype right now, and I think it's just that.

Aug 14, 2012
frafflesass in Manhattan

Best date night restaurants downtown?

Recently moved to NYC and having a pretty good (yet sometimes frustrating) time finding interesting "date night" restaurants. We go out once a week, and tend to lean more towards Farm-to-table, New American, French, rustic Italian, and seafood spots. Clearly all the top-tier places are obvious (EMP, Per Se), but what are some other key spots. Really enjoyed Gramercy Tavern, L'Artusi, and Prima, Saxon+Parole was okay. Totally underwhelmed by Locanda Verde and Balthazar.

Bonus points for places will exceptionally executed cocktail menus.

Aug 06, 2012
frafflesass in Manhattan