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Michelin New York Predictions 2016

Is it that time of year again already?

Agree on some of the things already said. Soto - which I like quite a bit - might be getting a bit stale. The menu doesn't really change up much. He still does his extraordinary uni-magic, but I'm feeling it's more of a one-starrer at this point.

On the other hand, if Kyo Ya doesn't deserve two, I don't know what does. Closing in on their tenth anniversary,. it would be nice to see Sono-san move up a notch.

Brushstroke I could see being there as well, but they use gross-ass truffle oil sometimes and I feel like any chef who uses that crap should be docked a star.

Bouley certainly deserves to go up to two already. Sheesh. I'm not even that big on Haute French but he's clearly in that league.

I could imagine them giving Bâtard the deuce.

I imagine at least one of Major Food's will grab a star - Dirty French or Santina - if not both.

The more ambitious Mission Chinese 2.0 perhaps as well. Maybe, finally, Ssam Bar will make the main list instead of inexplicably being relegated to Bib Gourmand. But I'm guessing not. Michelin tends to double down on their opinions for awhile before adjusting them. (See: GR@TL)

about 10 hours ago
sgordon in Manhattan

Convivium Osteria OR Locanda Vini e Olii??

It's "nice neighborhood place" level, sound-wise, when that neighborhood is Park Slope. So, call it "adult" lively-ish - neither hushed reverence nor screaming bachelorette parties from Jersey. No loud music, can talk a perfectly normal volume.

They do have an outdoor garden, but it's not guaranteed in case it rains. I think when you make the rez you can request it if it's available, though. If not, I like the main room upstairs, it's very cute and homey. The wine cellar is pretty cool, too, though maybe more of a "romantic dinner for two" room, a little quieter down there.

about 13 hours ago
sgordon in Outer Boroughs

Help with final dinner decision: Babbo, Locanda Verde, Osteria Morini or...?

I do wish they had dessert wine options in the Coravin. They need to throw that '88 Quintarelli Recioto on there. How many people are gonna buy a 750ml vini dolci, anyway?

1 day ago
sgordon in Manhattan
1

Ko's: the Fight Club of Taiwanese food?

Yelp lists them as closed now. Suspect it was just some friends having fun by opening a "secret" place, then probably shut it down before they got into any legal trouble.

1 day ago
sgordon in Manhattan

Carbone... the prices... but the food...

I actually have no issue with the prices, on account of many dishes are more "family sized" and could easily serve two - as long as you know that going in, it's not so bad. It also makes it much better for dining with a group.

Agree on the pastas, though - they're a little bigger than you'd get at a classic Italian place, where they're more often sized as mid-courses. But I don't find them as good as other places in that $ range. The pomodoro is fine, but not as luscious as, say, Scarpetta's - and I find Scarpetta's a little high priced, TBH. (But then, I can make an equivalent pomodoro at home... for someone who couldn't cook it themselves, maybe $24-$25 is fine...)

Once you hit the high $20s for a pasta dish, it better be something more than a rigatoni vodka. You need to get some protein in there at that point. I mean, for a buck more you can get the spaghetti with a one-pound lobster at Babbo.

1 day ago
sgordon in Manhattan

Best dim sum in Chinatown?

In Manhattan, DSGG or Nom Wah. Agree with Fida on questioning in what way NW is non-traditional? The dishes are all pretty straightforward classics. Unless by "non-traditional" Swannee meant "they have a clean dining room" or something.

Jing Fong is fun, if only to check out the largest dining room in NYC. The passed cart stuff is okay if you catch it fresh (the fried stuff, as soon as it starts cooling, gets kind of nasty) and there are usually a few decent things at the steam tables.

I wouldn't say dim sum in not NY's forte. It's not -Manhattan's- forte much anymore, sure - most seem to agree that Sunset Park is currently the center of NYC's dim sum universe. But the above are solid enough, enjoyable places.

1 day ago
sgordon in Manhattan

Help with final dinner decision: Babbo, Locanda Verde, Osteria Morini or...?

+1 on passing on the pasta (or other) tasting menus. A quick search of the boards will come up with a near-universal list of their "classics" (does anyone NOT agree on the octopus?) from which you can put together your own tour of greatest hits, with maybe a seasonal special or two thrown in for good measure.

Also, don't fill up on bread, or save it for sauce-soppin'. It's their one weak area, always has been. A couple of dishes come with giant hunks of it, too (the burrata, which is nice but whatever - the calamari, which is skippable - and the tripe, which is delicious but I'd just eat it "senza pane")

1 day ago
sgordon in Manhattan

Dinner for 7 - looking for a special-occasion, non-stuffy winner

Chinese is always good for groups, since many places tend to serve family-style. Fuleen for classic Cantonese (Or one of the better Sunset Park places - East Harbor or Bamboo Garden) or Mission Chinese for something more adventurous, just avoid the really spicy dishes.

For modern Chinese with more Western-style service (i.e. individual apps and entrees) Tuome or Fung Tu.

Italian - Lincoln could be good, relaxed vibe, though it's generally best to go with the prix fixe so you'd want to see if theirs fits into your overall budget. They do offer a la carte, it's just a better deal to go PF. On the cheaper end, Lupa is always fun, more traditional. In Brooklyn, Convivium Osteria is a lovely little place in Park Slope, only a couple blocks from the big Atlantic train station. Equal parts Southern Italian / Iberian. A neighborhood classic. Couple of big group tables up front, also seating in the wine cellar or the back garden if the weather's nice.

Maybe check out Estela. NoMad was a good recommendation.

I'm up and down with Boulud's places, but ones that fall into your range that I like are Boulud Sud, Bar Boulud, and Bistro Moderne.

1 day ago
sgordon in Manhattan

Help with final dinner decision: Babbo, Locanda Verde, Osteria Morini or...?

Agree with everything Kathryn said, except I'd do two apps, share one pasta and two mains. Might even do three apps and then just one dessert at the end (the crostata) - but I'm more of a savory guy.

Octopus is a must, lamb tongue is fantastic but VERY lamby, some find the dish a little too intense. Sweetbreads entrée is a classic, as are the lamb chops.

Morini I like well enough, but I've found more than once when dining with friends that multiple pasta dishes will taste like they have the same sauce on them. And they're VERY rich and heavy - I can feel the lard coming out of my pores afterwards sometimes. Better cold-weather grub, IMHO.

Aug 26, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

List of places serving the best burgers in NYC

It -should- be. But nowhere does it say that it is.

It's probably a combo of "all of these got at least one vote" and "these are the places that agreed to show up."

Aug 17, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan
2

Need an EV or LES spot with great booze and decent food

Haha. They actually haven't changed the prices since they were 5 oz, really. It's hard to say since, as I recall, they now include fries where at first they didn't. It's a little weird since they increased different amounts - the Yankee is $4 more than it used to be but the Frenchie went up $7 (which is the price of an order of fries). I'm not sure there's any rhyme or reason aside from "Let's just charge _____ for this and see what happens."

Aug 08, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Need an EV or LES spot with great booze and decent food

Is it all available at the bar now? Good to know. It's been some time since I've been. At first it was only the burgers & sausages & a couple sides.

I've been disappointed with the burgers there, found them very skimpy - although it's been some time since I've had one, and I notice looking at the current menu they've increased the patty size to 7 oz (they used to be 5 oz) so perhaps that would make a slight difference. I don't know why they keep going with these odd numbers - 8 oz is pretty standard for a "nice restaurant" burger. What are they doing, shaving an ounce to cut costs? Meh.

Aug 06, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Need an EV or LES spot with great booze and decent food

Jimmy's 43 - Great beers, and he recently got a full liquor license and added a well-curated if small spirits selection. Haven't eaten there since King Phojanakong took over the kitchen a couple months ago, but his other places (Kuma Inn and Umi Nom) are both good.

DBA - great beers & spirits, you can order delivery from any place in the EV.

Spitzer's Corner - decent enough food, good beer selection.

DBGB - good menu of suds & spirits, though I find them a little overpriced compared to similar venues nearby. Not bonkers about the food in the bar area - the burgers & sausages - though I like the regular dinner menu in the main dining room, and find those dishes quite reasonably priced.

Aug 05, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Applewood - chef change?

I wasn't bonkers for al di la back in the day, and didn't go for years after the first couple times (just didn't seem worth the ridiculous waits they had back then) - but since moving back to the Slope a couple years ago, and a great meal at Bar Corvo, I gave them another whirl and really enjoyed it. (Also, with the growth of the restaurant scene giving locals more options and the addition of ADV Vino there's never a wait anymore.)

Convivium Osteria is my other long-lasting mainstay in the hood. The menu never really changes, but it's always very solid. Rosewater used to be on the regular "nice night out" list, but they've been up and down over the years. Been some time since I've been, though.

Aug 03, 2015
sgordon in Outer Boroughs

Applewood - chef change?

It was a few years ago the owner-chef left the kitchen. 2012, maybe?

Was decent last time I went, maybe a year or so ago. Not sure I'd call it destination-worthy but for those who live in the Slope or nearby it's a solid, dependable "nice night out" place still. They're not re-inventing the wheel or anything, but for that kind of locavore New American they always deliver.

I think years ago they were more notable since there were only a few places in the neighborhood that were particularly good doing that kind of refined, upper-mid-range price point cuisine. The food scene in the area has gotten much more varied since they first opened.

Jul 31, 2015
sgordon in Outer Boroughs

Applewood - chef change?

The original chef was the owner, and he's simply decided to turn the reins over to his sous and run the produce end at their farm upstate.

Jul 31, 2015
sgordon in Outer Boroughs

Name a dish that you cannot find anywhere in town that you have to make yourself???

Well, you should probably ask that on the Florida or New Mexico boards. Unless you want it shipped to you from Manhattan, NYC.

Jul 30, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Name a dish that you cannot find anywhere in town that you have to make yourself???

- although that said, you don't really see them under either name much in NYC for some reason. That's what the LIRR is for, I guess...

Jul 28, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Name a dish that you cannot find anywhere in town that you have to make yourself???

Growing up in CT all along the coast "fritter" & "cake" were interchangeable, just regional preference for one name or the other. In fact, in all the Northeastern fried seafood I've eaten, from Bar Harbor to Asbury Park, I've never seen the two names mean anything different from each other. Even at Aunt Carrie's in RI (supposedly the originators) the "Clam Cakes" on the menu are described as "clam fritters"

Jul 28, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Name a dish that you cannot find anywhere in town that you have to make yourself???

I -believe- Gulluoglu (sp?) Cafe on 2nd and 52nd has sugar-free baklava and other pastries, though they might be special-order items. There's also a location in Astoria.

Jul 28, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Name a dish that you cannot find anywhere in town that you have to make yourself???

Hmm. Somehow I'd never seen either of those. Probably because they're not in Chinatown I never took notice. North of Delancey is the last area I'd expect to find it on the island.

Jul 27, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Name a dish that you cannot find anywhere in town that you have to make yourself???

Last time I had it at Red Chopstick in Flushing it reeked like a barefoot homeless person on a subway car in August. Maybe that was just a particularly stinky batch, as I'd had it before and it wasn't so extreme. That night it was too stinky for me, actually, and I'm all about anything funky and fermented.

I've heard tell that some of the places out there have multiple batches - one for the Chinese customers and one for the gweilo.

Linda's Mini Kitchen - a cart in Sunset Park, on 8th in the 50s - I found more pleasantly funky, although the aroma gets pretty strong as she cooks it. Strong enough that the business she was parked in front of asked her to move down the block aways.

Jul 27, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Name a dish that you cannot find anywhere in town that you have to make yourself???

What are those handful in Manhattan? I've never seen ST in Manhattan Chinatown, not even in the non-tourist Two Bridges section. Only ever in Queens (Elmhurst, Flushing) and Sunset Park. I'm honestly curious if there is a place or two in Manhattan that makes it, I'd like to know.

Jul 27, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Name a dish that you cannot find anywhere in town that you have to make yourself???

Heck, $24 for just an entree, let alone a whole meal, isn't "high end" anymore.

Jul 27, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan
1

Which would you choose to host a group dinner?

It's a straw... that looks like a penis. Pretty straightforward. Popular at bachelorette parties, for drinking "penis coladas" and such.

I wish I didn't know that, but live on the LES long enough and you're bound to run into a few on a Saturday night.

Jul 24, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan
1

Which would you choose to host a group dinner?

Of the "clubsteraunts" mentioned I'd certainly say B&E has the best food, certainly ahead of Tao and Buddakhan, although it's far from great. Tao & Budda are also - while still drawing crowds - getting kind of dated. Stanton Social might be a good call, a little more relaxed than B&E (same owner/chef) but it's not really a "designy" place.

Acme still draws a sceney crowd, especially on the weekends, and the food is light years ahead of the other clubby places. It's a place that really works on both levels, so it could be a good call for something that pleases all types. The room itself is not much to look at, but the people are. It's a more "mature" clubby place - I don't mean old by that, just more of a glitterati crowd than a Jersey bachelorette party one. Penis-straw free environment.

Also in that neighborhood, Gato might not be a bad choice. It's got the celebrity-chef connection for the out-of-towners, and even many in-town foodinistas were pleasantly surprised, food-wise. It's also a good room - not ostentatious, but nice, and a decent amount of space between tables so you don't feel you're packed on top of the group next to you. It's not as bustling as Acme, though.

Agree generally with what's been said about S&P - I vastly prefer Public.

I really like ABC Kitchen, but I like ABC Cocina even more.

For something more of-the-moment cool, Mission Chinese could be a lot of fun. There's a great private room downstairs if you want that (though a private room would probably increase the price dramatically, you can ask...) - it's really annoying there are no menus on the website, but they have package deals for larger parties at a couple different price points.

Jul 24, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan
1

Name a dish that you cannot find anywhere in town that you have to make yourself???

Stinky tofu is -not- easy to find in Manhattan. And if you have a secret source, give it up.

Jul 23, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Name a dish that you cannot find anywhere in town that you have to make yourself???

Did not know Falanghina had closed... But it's been awhile since I've been, didn't really keep up on them, not sure how I remembered. Fitz is a newer place, very solid neighborhood joint - a little out of the way from the main part of Williamsburg, but worth checking out for dinner if you're in the area.

Almost forgot - haven't tried them - but if you're ever in Park Slope, L'Albero Dei Gelati has them as well. I noticed once they offered it as a gluten-free option to the bread they usually serve with some dishes.

As I think more, it goes by different names from different regions. Down the road in Tuscany it would be "cecina" - although searching that on menupages will get a million hits for Mexican cecina, which is a totally different thing. I feel like there used to be one on the menu at Babbo by that name, but I'm not seeing it now.

Across the border in France it'd be called "socca" as I recall. Search any of those, it's all the same thing aside from the toppings.

There's probably something similar everywhere there's chickpeas. There's something at that new Uruguayan place on the LES (Charrua) that looked similar - and there's a fairly large Italian expat community in many parts of South America (they do a lot of pastas there) so it might even be a direct descendant of the farinata. whatever it is. Maybe I'll try one tonight...

Jul 23, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan
1

Name a dish that you cannot find anywhere in town that you have to make yourself???

Using duck eggs, I assume?

You'd think David Chang would have fit that into the duck-lunch-brunch menu at Ssam by now.

Jul 23, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Name a dish that you cannot find anywhere in town that you have to make yourself???

Not sure how your Veal Valdostano search went, but spell it Valdostana and you get a lot more hits -

http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

Jul 23, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan