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Sam Sifton interactive Manhattan restaurant map

1 day ago
sgordon in Manhattan

Cioppino (fish stew) to try for comparison

Six of one / half dozen re: Liguria/Tuscany. It's, what - an hour and a half along the coast from Viareggio to Genoa? That's a bit like parsing the difference in fish soups between Bay Shore and Montauk.

Jan 23, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Kokum (on Lex)

Just heard this news as well - I'm a fan of Mathur. I'm hoping his influence is to streamline the menus at the various places a bit, to something more akin size-wise to Tulsi's menu, but allowing each place to specialize in a particular area - they don't all need to have a Rogan Josh and a Lamb Vindaloo and a Chicken TM.

(As long as Malai Marke keeps their Saag Paneer as is - it's my favorite SP in town hands-down...)

Jan 22, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Cioppino (fish stew) to try for comparison

Cioppino, like any dish, can vary a bit from region to region. It started in San Francisco, basically a catch-of-the-day catch-all stew, but obviously one made on the East coast is going to vary simply because our catch is going to be different. Sam1 mentioned Upland, which I'm sure is good but I suspect it's not -exactly- a West coast fisherman's version what with the Korean chile paste in it.

That aside, also search Cacciucco, which would be its ancestor dish from Liguria, and you never know which of the hundreds of zuppa or brodetto "di pesce" out there might be close to that style, with the tomatoes and whatnot. Just have to check manus.

Jan 22, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Help with a Japanese Place

+1 Blue Ribbon Izakaya, especially if it's the weekend - though if you want the "pretty people" crowd, that's generally a weekend thing anywhere anyway.

Morimoto over Nobu for sure.

If you want something WAY beyond typical, but can do without the sceney vibe, there's Kyo Ya, and if you can book the private Tatami Room all the better - but expect to pay $120-$150/pp just for food. before tax and tip even.

Actually, all the above can get quite expensive. Would be good to know the budget you have in mind.

Jan 12, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Worth the Hype (Butter, Nobu, etc.)? And your recommendations!

Ichimura is Omakase only, and seating is very limited. You can also get "chef's choice" sashimi platters as part of the Brushstroke kaiseki or a la carte menus - I believe those are only available at dinner, though. Chef Ichimura doesn't work the lunch shift.

Jan 09, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Where to eat between Broadway shows?

Lunches are always much easier reservations (except at ultra-limited places like Ko) - most NYers are working during the day, and on the weekends tend to go for more "brunchy" fare. That's why there are so many ridiculously good lunch deals around town - Bouley is a steal, as is their sister Japanese restaurant Brushstroke. Also much has been written about the lunch deals at Lincoln, Del Posto, and Jean Georges... generally they're all easily bookable.

Jan 08, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

NoMad Confusion

Be careful, though, if you're making a rez via Opentable - there's "The NoMad" (which is, I assume, the place you're thinking of) and "Nomad" which is a Mediterranean / Moroccan place in the East Village.

Jan 08, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Worth the Hype (Butter, Nobu, etc.)? And your recommendations!

I'll second what many others have said - some of the above are a little dated, at this point. Butter never really was anything exciting, it was trendy for awhile but the food was never anything to write home about, even in the early days. And Nobu started losing its luster after Morimoto left to open his own place, which was around the same time Nobu started expanding at a ridiculous clip. He now has, what, 30 restaurants? And while they're all decent, I imagine, I also suspect they're a bit cookie-cutter. It was one thing when Chef Nobu or Morimoto was actually running the kitchen, but now... eh. They've been outshined by a number of other places. I'd even go to Morimoto before them - while they're also getting a little dated, there are still some knockout dishes on the menu.

Other choices for Japanese, if you're not going for just sushi: Brushstroke, Kyo Ya (especially the kaiseki meal, if you can book it) or Soto. I haven't been to Rosanjin in ages but they were always good back in the day - anyone been recently? They kind of fell off the radar.

For straight sushi: Ichimura, Yasuda, 15 East...

In lieu of Butter - there are all kinds of upscale New American / French-influenced places. NoMad has been mentioned, you might also want to look at Gramercy Tavern. GT is aging quite gracefully.

I still like Balthazar, even for dinner. They're not trying to reinvent the wheel, mind you, it's not going to be anything super-creative, but I think they got a new jolt of life when Shane McBride took over the kitchen. The menu hasn't really changed, but what they do they do very well for a space that large. There's also Minetta Tavern from the same owner - smaller place, smaller menu, kind of has a "private club" feel since there aren't any windows. Great joint.

For Dim Sum, I like Nom Wah, and it's not too busy on weekdays. Also lately I've found Dim Sum Go Go pretty good, even if the decor is like a 1970s cafeteria. Beyond that, I'd probably head out to Sunset Park (Brooklyn) - great stuff out there and an easier trip than the more massive Flushing (Queens) Chinatown. It's also a fun neighborhood to wander around, with the Mexican and Chinese communities right next to each other, good area for a food crawl. Grab a couple tacos for appetizers before hitting one of the dim sum halls.

As I think someone else suggested, Momofuku Ssam is the place to go among the David Chang empire. The most adventurous and fun food, aside of Momofuku Ko (which is a near-impossible reservation...) - the raw bar dishes are always spectacular. If you're here for a week and you REALLY want to hit Noodle Bar, you could do Noodle for lunch some day and Ssam for dinner another. Ssam has a great lunch, but the sparks really fly at dinner, if you're only to do one meal there.

For Italian - someone mentioned Apizz, which I like to an extent. I find their antipasti excellent but on more than one occasion I've gone and found that it seemed they put the same sauce on two different pastas or secondi. It's a place I like to hit and kick back with a few apps and a glass of wine or two.

If you can get into Babbo, they're always very solid - they're small but maybe not "cozy" unless you can snag one of the upstairs tables. The downstairs tables are fairly close together, and it's a little noisier down there. Not so noisy you can't have a conversation, but it can be festive. If you do try for a rez there, request an upstairs table.

Peasant is also pretty great, though it's been a year or two since I've been - everything cooked in a wood-burning oven, very cozy vibe.

Lincoln is great but not "cozy" - it's a bigger space, very nice room. They offer a fantastic lunch deal, actually, could be worth hitting them if you're doing any Midtown stuff - they're a short walk from the Museum of Natural History, and you can take a nice walk through Central Park to the Met from there pretty easily.

Speaking of lunch deals, aforementioned Brushstroke has a great one - $55 for five courses, as I recall? Similar to the deal at their sister (French) restaurant Bouley.

Jan 08, 2015
sgordon in Manhattan

Take Root

It's fantastic. It's hard to "review" though since the menu will be completely different when you go versus anyone recounting a recent meal. Tough reservation to get, though, very limited seating and not open every night.

Jan 07, 2015
sgordon in Outer Boroughs

Curing salt in Brooklyn?

A good spicy, pungent mustard'll cover that up.

Dec 19, 2014
sgordon in Outer Boroughs

Curing salt in Brooklyn?

Hey, if it tastes good...

Dec 19, 2014
sgordon in Outer Boroughs

Maille Mustard Boutique

It was funny. I had a little taste and immediately grimaced. The salesperson was, like, "oh, you don't like truffles?" - and I'm, "No, I love truffles. I don't like THAT."

(I wasn't about to hold court on dithiapentane in the middle of the store, though... so I just let it go...)

Dec 19, 2014
sgordon in Manhattan

Maille Mustard Boutique

That's the place! They closed? That's too bad. They were fun.

Dec 19, 2014
sgordon in Manhattan

Maille Mustard Boutique

Haha. No, this is much more important than Cuba.

I think people catching a show at LC might wander the neighborhood and window shop a bit before/after their matinee. I probably would, and given the infrequency of my ever being North of 14th St, I might as well be a tourist! Or I'd walk South down Columbus after a trip to the NHM. And isn't that weird little curiosity shop up Columbus? I can't remember the name, it's tiny but famous.

Dec 18, 2014
sgordon in Manhattan

Maille Mustard Boutique

Yeah, I found that a bit odd as well - why does one empty pot cost more than another? Hmm...

Maybe there are a couple shreds of Perigord in there, I dunno. Like how, technically, a 40-year tawny port can be made from 99.99999% year-old port with one single drop of 80-year-old port added. Point being, it's redolent with flavorant, regardless. And the ingredients list ends with "Natural And Artificial Flavor" - if they did put actual Perigords in there, even enough to warrant that price (how they would do that when they're not in season, I dunno, but let's look past that for a second...) they were sadly wasted because as soon as the flavorant is added it's so powerful it masks any real truffle flavor that might have subtly lurked in there. Might as well put toasted moth wings in it for all the difference it would make at that point.

But hey, if you like it, buy it. I ain't stopping you.

Dec 18, 2014
sgordon in Manhattan

Maille Mustard Boutique

Hah, I wish, but didn't see any like that - although their Dijons are among the more pungent on the market. And they've a really good horseradish mustard, which isn't quite wasabi, but might do in a pinch.

On those occasions I'm cooking at home and want a Chinese-style mustard, I just whip it up from scratch with some powder. I don't even know of a good store brand.

Dec 18, 2014
sgordon in Manhattan

Maille Mustard Boutique

I dunno - I'd say being two blocks from Lincoln Center counts as "touristy" - if not quite as much as Times Square. It's not exactly a suburban block.

We spent about the same, though half of that was gifts - was a little put off by the fact that the gift boxes were $11 (you'd think, especially being a new place, they'd just include one with the purchase of X number of jars) - it's the old battle of "encourage repeat customers" versus "grab a buck where we can" retail philosophies, the latter suggesting that they are in fact more tourist-focused, at least for now. But at least they were nice-ish boxes.

Dec 18, 2014
sgordon in Manhattan

Maille Mustard Boutique

I had that one before too - but I didn't see it on the shelf. There were a couple I've had from Europe that weren't there, but maybe they change the offerings every year?

There were some good ones - I liked the Apricot Curry although I felt there could have been a bit more of the curry. If you like Blue Cheese (I'm not the biggest fan, personally) that one might grab you. The Blackcurrant was really good, and the Walnut. (And if you mix the latter two together you get a strange but oddly tasty "mustard PB&J" effect...)

Dec 18, 2014
sgordon in Manhattan
1

Maille Mustard Boutique

What kind of truffles? Perigord? Burgundy? Oregon? Chinese? "Actual truffles" doesn't mean much of anything. As I noted, the mere fact that they don't use a geographic modifier is a bit telling.

There are dozens of cheap, flavorless truffles out there. Only a couple kinds are actually valuable (White Albas and Black Perigords) - and this year's Black Perigords haven't even hit the market yet, which means it's for sure not those - and those would be the only "black truffles" that would warrant a $45 price tag for that size jar. These are not the same "black truffles" you'll be paying a supplement for over your pasta at Babbo next month.

There very well may be some kind of truffles in there - Chinese or summer truffles, maybe - exactly what's in those bottles of $13 truffle oil with a truffle floating in them. That's fine - they're $13. That's what they're worth.

My assertion about a chemical additive: it's based on the fact that I know what it tastes like. If you're eating a sandwich and you tell me there's peanut butter in it, I'm assuming you know what peanut butter tastes like. In this case, the mustard doesn't taste like truffles, it tastes like 2,4-dithiapentane.

That's ("2,4-dithiapentane") not what it'll be listed as under the ingredients, of course - it's usually listed as "truffle aroma" or even "natural truffle flavoring" - doesn't mean it naturally came from a truffle, just that it meets the FDA's definition of "natural" is all. Hey, diacetyl and/or acetoin - a/k/a the "butter flavoring" they put on your popcorn at the movies and in hundreds of other products - can be made naturally. Doesn't mean there's a quark of butter in them.

Honestly, whoever is mixing it up may not even know themselves. They could be adding drops of "truffle oil" along with the summer or Chinese truffle peelings to "enhance" the flavor and they've no idea that that's what they've just added to it. What I imagine they do know, though, is their own costs - and that their raw materials aren't warranting the final price tag. Or maybe they're buying some overpriced "truffle oil" that's no different than the Roland brand and thinking it's higher quality. I dunno. But I know what's in the mustard.

Anyway, not to dwell on that one topic - it's a cute store, most of what I had was good (the other mustards "on tap" I liked) - how well they'll do, who knows? They have a number of boutiques in Europe that do well.

Dec 18, 2014
sgordon in Manhattan
1

A Faster Chowhound: Pagination for Longer Threads

HATE the pagination. Hate even more? The fact that it no longer auto-collapses replies one has already read. THAT made it easy to navigate, one could could quickly go through a long thread (like this one) and immediately see where the new responses are. Now, what, one has to re-read the entire 200+ responses looking for new ones along the way? STUPID.

It seems like along with this downgrade, you've also stopped color-coding our "followed discussions" lists. A day ago one could look at the list and quickly see where new responses were, because those thread would would appear in white while the rest were shaded in grey. No more? There's a numbnuts idea - "hey, let's take this simple useful function and completely remove it just to annoy people."

Jeezus.

Maille Mustard Boutique

Ventured uptown today to check out the new Maille flagship store - if you're into mustard, it's fun. Tasted a bunch, bought a few. There's only so many mustards one can taste in a row, though.

It's a little pricey - the special varieties (jarred) are $9 for a small, but they're mostly good - everyone's tastes will vary so I'm not gonna describe them all. Then there are the FANCY fancy mustards, on tap, where you have to buy them in refillable crocks. They ranged from $25-$45 for the small crocks.

Those were - with one exception - really good, very wine-forward, the Sauternes one borderline boozy. The one exception was the Black Truffle. Now, of course one should always assume the worst when something just says "Truffle" without any geographic modifier - what kind of black truffle? Of course, It turned out to be none (or if any only shreds) of any kind but in fact my old nemesis, 2,4-dithiapentane instead. Which gives no validity to the $45/crock price tag. Feels a little shady to charge that much for the same chemical additive that's in the $12 bottle of Roland "Truffle Oil" on the shelf at Gristede's. Heck, even the Urbani sauces (which also use 2,4-d) are about half that price for an equivalent amount. Not that I'd pay anything for any of them since I think they all taste like kerosene fumes crossed with that weird two-week-old sprouted garlic head you forgot was in the bottom drawer of the fridge, so I dunno why I even brought it up...

But the Sauternes mustard is really good.

Dec 17, 2014
sgordon in Manhattan

Curing salt in Brooklyn?

Do you remember what their prices were? At Kalustyan's I know it's $10 / 3oz, which is plenty if you're only using it now and then. And it's about half that price by weight if you buy it in bulk (14oz bags were, like, $25 as I recall)

Just curious - as from Carrol Gardens (where the OP is) it's basically the same distance / subway time to either one.

Dec 17, 2014
sgordon in Outer Boroughs

Can't find my favorite salsa! L.A girl needs help!

Update: according to the Hormel website the nearest place that carries it is a Waldbaum's in Long Beach. About 90 minutes on the LIRR, or a shorter drive if you have a car. I guess it's worth the trip if you want to buy it in bulk to stock up...

I usually make my own salsas, but for store-bought I like a couple brands: Frontera is generally solid, and a little cheaper there's the Herdez "Casera" line - it's not super-chunky but flavor-wise it's probably similar to the La Victoria.

Dec 17, 2014
sgordon in Outer Boroughs

Can't find my favorite salsa! L.A girl needs help!

It's a national brand - owned by Hormel Foods - so I'm sure it's somewhere. What part of Brooklyn are you in? Brooklyn's a big place.

Dec 17, 2014
sgordon in Outer Boroughs

New Threes Brewing Brewpub in Gowanus?

Went to the opening night party as well. Had the house IPA and it was... well, I thought a pretty typical IPA. Not my personal favorite style, but not bad for what it was. More of a summer brew, really. Nice space, though, has a lot of potential. We'll see what the other offerings are as they go along.

Dec 17, 2014
sgordon in Outer Boroughs

Curing salt in Brooklyn?

I'd check Sahadi's - would not surprise me if they had it. Not everything they've got is listed on their website, but they're always worth a trip, and not far from CG.

If not, and you find yourself in Manhattan, Kalustyan's has it for sure, and again, a place worth a trip - you'll always find other things you want/need while you're there. There's also The Meadow in the West Village, but I wouldn't go out of my way for them.

Dec 17, 2014
sgordon in Outer Boroughs

last minute help needed- a date with a vegan saturday night

Franchia is the more casual "sister" restaurant / noodle shop to HanGawi - of which much has been written on these boards.

HanGawi would be well worth checking out by the OP, as it's not just one of the best vegetarain/vegan places in town but also simply one of the best Korean restaurants in Manhattan in general. Much more romantic than Franchia, as well.

Some other places:
Kajitsu was a good call.
Scarpetta has a full vegetarian menu and a number of things on it can be made vegan if you ask.
Dirt Candy, when they reopen - Amanda Cohen is pretty much the forefront of vegetable cookery.

For a casual lunch, Il Verdure at Eataly is kind of great - I think it's the best of the stands in the place.

Having been in a couple of "mixed" relationships before, and having friends who've been in them as well, I can say that if food is something you take seriously... you might run into some stumbling blocks down the road, even if she's not the "preachy" kind of vegan. And if all goes well and you eventually move in together... just be prepared to convert.

(Not to jinx it or sound like a downer... I've just literally seen more relationships eventually lose their "click" over this specific issue than I have over even religious differences...)

Dec 17, 2014
sgordon in Manhattan
1

Which restaurant have you eaten at the most?

If you've ever eaten crayfish, shrimp, lobster, crab... you pretty much already stepped there - they're all Phylum Arthropoda. Just some are bigger and live in the water is all.

Dec 16, 2014
sgordon in Manhattan

Lincoln Ristorante - Need soothing words to calm me down!!

I'll have to report back on Lincoln another time, as it appears they're closed tomorrow (Weds) night - or at least not taking bookings, maybe they have a private event or something. Regardless, looks as though we'll be having pâté and boudin across Broadway instead...

(Or maybe we'll do Marea, though I often find them a wee bit overpriced it's been awhile since I've been... decisions, decisions...)

Dec 16, 2014
sgordon in Manhattan