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1 year anniversary - small, seasonal and intimate.

i liked that beef with tallegio dish but if i recall, its two slices of beef for $30-35.

estella can also be very loud and cramped unless they seat you in the back.

im gonna throw commerce in...though that could be loud on the weekends at prime time.

Feb 24, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Empellon Al Pastor

totally agree with you here. at this price point, empellon works.

went here the night before the big snowstorm that wasnt a few weeks back. ordered 5 tacos each and that amazing kale with chorizo. for a cheap meal, i was super happy.

Feb 22, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

First date - with restrictions

well, first things first, you shouldnt sign up for a full dinner on a first date. what if you cant stand the person?

that being said, my suggestion is small plates. if you watch what you order and stick to tastes and not full glasses, you could probably get by at fifty paces, the former terroir on 12th off 1st ave. thats close enough to the 4,5,6. or they have the terroir in murray hill on 3rd ave and 30th if i recall.

otherwise, check out da andrea...just a favorite inexpensive italian spot near union square.

Feb 16, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

If you could eat at only one restaurant in NYC, what would it be?

how's the french toast at per se?

Feb 12, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Any place like Raoul's?

interested to see what happens with le philosophe since the chef that gave them their name left a few months ago. looks like the place is much emptier.

Feb 11, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Need Help! 40th Birthday Party Venues for my Husband!

if you liked bagatelle so much, perhaps pranna?


Feb 09, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Sea Grill - 30 Rock

i havent been since a work dinner in 2005. it was perfectly good then but that was eons ago in the food world so who knows. i think ed cotton or some chef sort of made a name for himself from sea grill. i figure you can do better in 2015 personally...though i cant really think of many options in that part of town for cooked fish besides like, le bernardin.

Feb 06, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Landmark Movie Theater - 1st Ave and Houston

aside for the myriad other great options listed...

boilermaker for burgers and wings
lil frankie's
mission cantina

Jan 30, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Best not-"third wave" espresso/coffee?

i really cant speak about third wave but i dont dig science coffee. and i dont like places that take coffee way too seriously. and i really dont care about politics or single origin or anything when i want a cortado.

i go to la colombe often but the lines throw me off. i much prefer their tribeca location than the one on lafayette. jack's on 10th street also has become a bit ridiculous over the last few years but theyre still solid for espresso drinks.

Jan 23, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Cioppino (fish stew) to try for comparison

i havent had it but upland makes a version of it.

Jan 22, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan


maialino for brunch is a good option.

i like your list a lot. id just swap marta for estela. marta is really a bit overrated. decent for a pizza and a glass of wine...not much else.

batard is delicious. i havent been to dirty french but the menu interests me. id also consider mission chinese for another fun option.

Jan 21, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Quick dinner (<1h) near Walter Kerr Theater

don antonio for pizza? not sure if there would be a wait though.

Jan 21, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan


prime time on a sat? 45 min to 90 min.

i dont understand the appeal of brunch there. its not a comfortable place and the food isnt so great for brunch.

Jan 20, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan


its a great spot...the food is almost secondary actually. its just a nice night out. i usually get a bottle of syrah or something from languedoc, some cheese, 3-4 small plates and their chocolate mousse for dessert. their tarte tatin is also excellent.

its cramped and i prefer the bar to the tables but im a fan.

Jan 20, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Marta tonight

agreed...the rabbit meatballs were ok but a small portion. the spicy octopus was the same thing.

the chicken entree was nothing special.

the only thing i was craving after was the mushroom pizza. id go again if i was in the area for a pizza and their great wine list but not much else.

Jan 17, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Best biryani in London?

one of trishna's 'signature dishes' is a seafood biryani but i found it lackluster.

that being said, i loved trishna...particularly their aloo chaat and duck kebabs. they say that seafood is their specialty but i liked the meat dishes better personally.

Jan 13, 2015
sam1 in U.K./Ireland

LA Hound coming for birthday

$40-50 pp would not cover the restaurants you listed.

if you're down in the financial district, my best suggestion is terroir in tribeca. great small plates, amazing wine, big space that can handle your group and its well priced.

Jan 05, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Critique My Itinerary

i live around the block and never cared to look at amelie. i checked the menu after the original post here and the wines by the glass are pretty damn overrated.

if you want a wine bar close to there, 8th street wine bar is just 4-5 stores down on 8th street. its perfectly decent.

if you want the best wine bar in that area, try terroir on 12th street...just make sure they havent closed yet.

Jan 02, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Pete Wells's Top 10 New Restaurants -- thoughts?

we can disagree now and then. i still find your writing entertaining.

Dec 31, 2014
sam1 in Manhattan

Pete Wells's Top 10 New Restaurants -- thoughts?

batard is fantastic...especially in the colder weather. its just a very well executed menu that's approachable. that veal tenderloin and the monkfish with pasta dish still haunts me.

bar bolonat...ive posted about it. very small portions, nothing seemed remotely creative. its also very overpriced. its not bad but i wont be returning any time soon.

ivan ramen is awesome. id only get the non-ramen dishes and the mazemen. their traditional ramen didnt do much for me. ivan is actually a pretty nice guy from my interactions with him.

Dec 31, 2014
sam1 in Manhattan

Pescatore & Pete's Tavern

pete's is one of the oldest bars that did a poor job with its legacy...it's just a glorified TGIFridays really.

I'd suggest Keens' pub room if its open on new years day.

Dec 30, 2014
sam1 in Manhattan

Italian Chelsea or below

da andrea on 13th street. perfect for your needs.

Dec 29, 2014
sam1 in Manhattan

2014 Omakase Odyssey

ushiwakamaru closes the houston street location any day now...they are reopening on 23rd street in february or march according to the staff. its great but decidedly 'mid-tier' overall.

what about tanoshi?

Dec 15, 2014
sam1 in Manhattan

please review my upcoming london trip itinerary...

figured id share some comments on my recent trip. just came back from 4 quick days visiting friends. i visit often and was generally pleased with my meals this time around.

-great queen street...been here before in 2010 and have been an anchor and hope fan for nearly 10 years. great queen street continues to be a solid option in the area. not a destination but a great meal nonetheless. lentils, bacon and snails were a favorite as well as the duck cassoulet for two (which fed 3 people). only gripe was the lack of decent wine on the low/middle end but otherwise, a good meal.

-babur (brockley)...stayed with a friend and stopped by for lunch based on some strong recommendations. very solid mid-upscale indian. had a lamb shoulder dish that was quite delicious...marinated for something like 100 hours in spices. place was empty at 1pm on a sat though. friendly service and a good option if you're in that part of london.

-clove club...had dinner at the bar area. overall, a good experience though a bit pricey considering the portion sizes. service was solid but took themselves a bit too seriously. had a decent german pinot noir there. fried chicken and beef shoulder with jerusalem artichoke puree were standouts. the bar area was a bit too casual for the price. id return but i felt it was a bit more of a scene than a solid eating experience.

koya...had dinner here back in 2010 and didnt think much of it. a cold sunday evening in soho made me try it again and i had a better meal this time around. stewed pork belly was delicious and plentiful, soy marinated squid was salty but excellent...as was the mushroom appetizer with dashi. my udon with pork and miso was good but the broth couldve been served hotter. the chefs are great there. our server...less so.

rocksalt...folkestone...figured we'd drive to the coast and have a seafood lunch. rocksalt was a very enjoyable meal. had sea whelks, crab on toast and the dover sole with garlic and lemon. service was perfect, place was rather full for a monday in december...pricey but recommended.

trishna...really really liked this place. cute spot, great service and the food was fantastic. you cant find this upscale indian in nyc at all. i had their aloo papdi chaat and the duck kebab to start (both were absolutely delicious) and the seafood biryani for my entree (good but wish i had a meat dish instead). id like to come back every time im in town. very solid.

rochelle canteen...my final lunch and a usual stop in london these days. had the beef shin with horseradish dumplings and the rabbit rillettes. dessert was a lemon custard with a biscuit. everything was perfect. great, well cooked british food in a cute spot.

great meals this time around!

Dec 11, 2014
sam1 in U.K./Ireland

Weekend In Barcelona - What Not To Miss

pubilla is in gracia so its a bit on the other side of town from the picasso museum. bar pla is in el born with the picasso museum. el Xampanyet is right by picasso and serves decent tapas in a pretty old school location. i wouldnt go there for dinner though.

id only go to pubilla for lunch and only canete for dinner...just my 2 cents.

Dec 04, 2014
sam1 in Spain/Portugal

Weekend In Barcelona - What Not To Miss

go to la pubilla for lunch and then bar canete for dinner on friday. try to make reservations for both...otherwise expect a 60 min wait at bar canete. go to libertad market before or after pubilla.

Dec 03, 2014
sam1 in Spain/Portugal

Last Minute – City Hall / Shotgun Wedding – Dinner Suggestions?

um, congratulations!

di you mean $125 per person or together?

perhaps commerce would be a nice option for this.

Dec 01, 2014
sam1 in Manhattan

easiest night for Minetta?

minetta is crazy cramped. i dont even think they have the capability for a party of 10. ive been a party of 5 and its pretty cramped in their back booths.

minetta isnt like the usual sprawling steakhouses.

Nov 30, 2014
sam1 in Manhattan

please review my upcoming london trip itinerary...

i come to london often and will be in town for 4 nights in december. i prefer to eat food i cant readily get in nyc so im focusing on british, indian and spanish. please let me know your thoughts on the following:

-great queen street...ive been here before and like it. its also central and i have friends meeting up from all over. i havent been since 2010 but is it still relevant or good? any other options in covent garden or soho for this sort of food?

-clove club...at the bar area. didnt feel like a set menu and the bar menu looks good. my questions would be, do they have tables at the bar area or is it just bar seating? how's the food generally?

-donostia...was looking for spanish and open on a sunday and donostia seems well received. i was pretty unimpressed by moro and brindisa on previous visits. any other suggestions for tapas?

-trishna...wanted upscale indian and pretty interested in trishna since gymkhana is booked up.

lastly, ill be going to rochelle canteen for lunch which i always love. is dishoom in shoreditch worth my time? any suggestions for interesting ethnic food? ive had great sichuan in earl's court, sim sum in westbourne grove, lebanese in westbourne...would like to eat more but would appreciate some recent favorites that you all enjoy.

thanks in advance.

Nov 24, 2014
sam1 in U.K./Ireland

Help with the London trip that never happened...

rochelle canteen is such a pleasant place for a lunch. prices are great...i recall 6-8 for appetizers and 12-16 for entrees? something along those lines.

Nov 17, 2014
sam1 in U.K./Ireland