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stuartlafonda's Profile

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Inexpensive ethnic CLEAN newish restaurant in Queens?

Hi Janie. What about Southern Spice just over the Queens line?. Excellent authentic food, simple and clean interior.

Sybarite Pig boca raton

Erica, have you gotten back to the Pig? If so, what was your experience?

Bamboo Fire Discount

I was there last Thursday. I don't visit family in Boca without a meal at Bamboo Fire. Start with the special lemonade. Move on to tostones, as good as any tostone I have ever had. Baigan choka (eggplant dip) is wonderful. Conch fritters didn't taste very "conchy" to me, but I love fritters so we always get them. If you love jerk go for the meatballs. The chicken curry is superb. Beverly makes her own roti, something very rare. Both are delicious and authentic. In fact you can put her curry on anything, vegetables or whatever protein she has that night and it will be delicious. The fish, usually whatever was fresh in the market that day, steamed, is also terrific. I would suggest you go on a weekend when she has more specials. You can even call in and ask her to get some lobsters or crab and let her put her spin on a dish.
Not sure what you mean by price/value, I am all about taste. I don't care if the cost is high or low, just tell me it tastes great. I think BF has great food at a more then fair price. Include the fact that you are supporting a family business and not a corporate entity and that adds "value" to me. I hate paying anything for mediocre food, let alone lot's of it.
Give them another shot.

Having breakfast on Long Island

Salt Air Café. I know it is the dead of winter and this place is perfect for a summer morning, out door breakfast, but I wanted to mention it before I forget. I spend the better part of my summer at Lido Beach and have given up on Jo Jo Apples for this place, practically next door. Excellent egg dishes and pastries, all with a farm to table, healthy eating ethos. They do have seats inside and as Gastronomous wrote that he lives nearby I thought he should check this one out.

https://www.facebook.com/saltaircafe/...

Oolite Restaurant - New from Kris Wessel - SoBe near Lincoln Road

Yeah I agree with what you wrote but it was the Monday before the start of the festival. The day before I had another great brunch at Michael's Genuine and Mr. Schwartz was seated at a nearby table with a group, which no doubt ensured the kitchen staff performed at their best. There are so many restaurants built on a chef's reputation, when the chef no longer cooks that actually eating food by Chef Wessel was part of the draw. The Bazaar the next night was also,again,spectacular and who knows when Chef Andres was last there.

Oolite Restaurant - New from Kris Wessel - SoBe near Lincoln Road

With the understanding that some of this boards most respected and valued members like this place, my experience was pretty poor. It was only one visit and ten plates,so I think of this as just a report of my visit. The classic line,your mileage may vary,certainly applies.In addition to food that was merely decent at best,service was terrible and sitting outside to dine was a huge mistake. Here goes....
Do not sit outside. We had a view of a four story parking garage and the sound of car alarms every few minutes. There was a non stop procession of valets running by our table and the all too frequent car rounding the corner and having its lights in my eyes. Stay inside. Our waiter was horrendous. Promptly took a drink order,returned ages later to take our dinner order, without our drinks. Forgot one of our sides, which had to be reordered by the busser because our waiter never checked how we were doing. Water glasses were only refilled when we flagged down an employee. The place was pretty empty. On to the food.
Had the bbq shrimp and even my young son asked why the shrimp seemed different then the ones he had the day before at Michaels Genuine. I told him because the shrimp at Oolite were badly overcooked to the point of being rubbery.The bbq sauce was excellent and following the sage advise of tpigeon, I saved some for the ribs. The "best house salad ever" was not nearly so. My wife flagged down the waiter to point out there were no visible hearts of palm, A few scattered tomatoes and some brussels sprouts leaves. That's it. Mains were equally disappointing. My ribs had barely a whiff of smoke,nothing guanabana tasting,and no rosy pink or smoke ring.The bbq shrimp sauce saved it from complete disappointment. I know Chef Wessel has been widely praised for the shrimp and rib dishes but these were not his best effort. He was not in the kitchen so that may have been the problem. The duck dish was fine. Not to be too picky, but the citrus sauce was an excellent idea but the execution was lacking. Not bold or bright or particularly interesting. My wife's fish dish,the halibut,was boring and in a murky oily broth. GOD ( greens of the day) were a few hunks of zucchini, and green beans oiled and grilled just long enough to mark and then scattered on a plate. The two biscuits were dry as dust. Desert was underwhelming. Cobbler was a hot fruit soup served in a mini Lodge skillet with some unsweetened granola type mix on top. The Angel Food cake, sort of deconstructed, was good when we took a spoon and put it back together. The cheese plate was a few strawberry's and three cheeses. A Fontina, pretty run of the mill nothing interesting and a few small shards of parmesan cheese. Really? On a cheese plate, parmesan? There are like 20 billion cheeses they could order and serve and this is the cheese plate?
My experience was pretty poor and there are many dishes on the menu that others have enjoyed. So all I can finish with is, forewarned is forearmed. Fire away!

"Fine Dining Fatigue" on LI

Please explain what you mean

What are the hot restaurants in Ann Arbor these days?

This past weekend, Mani was packed and as always,excellent. Zingermans on Saturday at 7 was actually on the quiet side so with my daughter and her friend we had a nice time with lots of good sandwiches. Of course that would mean you are good with sandwiches for dinner. We did have an excellent pot pie and my wife put together an excellent salad with all kinds of vegetables, they were very accommodating. A swing through the bakery was a nice finish. I also enjoyed a meal at the Grange a few months ago and highly recommend the place.

Feb 09, 2015
stuartlafonda in Great Lakes

Visiting hound reports on Boca and environs

So sorry Erica, I hate it when I suggest a place and it is not a great experience. No excuse for bad lechon and arroz con pollo in a Cuban restaurant, those dishes should be among the star attractions. I hope this is not a downhill alert. I though Jack's was ok, nothing great. I was last there ages ago and unless I happen to be in that area looking for a burger I'd skip it as there are many better burgers in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Are they still putting the lettuce and tomato in a ziplock bag on top of the burger? I will be down there in two weeks and have already booked Bamboo Fire. Trust me, and Chowhound and everyone on this one.

Unique Dishes in Ann Arbor

Frita Batida. In planning an upcoming trip to Miami I could not find a frita outside the immediate area of Miami. Even nearby Broward and Palm Beach counties,nothing. Nothing in New York. The ones I had in AA were delicious and how has nobody else thought to make a nacho platter with maduros instead of tortilla chips. I was stunned at having never seen that, and how good it was.

Feb 05, 2015
stuartlafonda in Great Lakes

Family Restaurant - Nassau County

Hi Robin, I always enjoy your opinions and contributions here on the board. I will disagree with you, with all due respect on this one issue, Trattoria Diane for a family. I think TD is good for families. I was there Sunday with my son and nearby was another table of four with younger children and a round central table with three very young children. I think the place has a family friendly attitude/vibe from the host to the waiters and bus people. Now maybe that was in part due to the "Sunday Supper" time we were there, and would be less comfortable on a Saturday at eight.

Now, totally family friendly with a great family environment and kid friendly menu, Hildebrandt's in Williston Park. Real entrees for adults to mozz sticks, burgers and sandwiches for kids. And of course, the soda fountain up front.

Black Seed Bagels

I was there a few weeks ago for their version of the BEC, one of my favorite sandwiches. With coffee, it was $9.Yes $9.And you pick it up at the counter and find yourself a table. I like their bagels.The cheese was sharp,the egg cooked just barely runny but the bacon was limp and fatty. I don't know that there is a $9 BEC and coffee that is worth the money,but this ain't it.

Jan 30, 2015
stuartlafonda in Manhattan

Family Restaurant - Nassau County

Gastro! I suggest Trattoria Diane in Roslyn. I have gone with my family and with other families and it would be perfect for this occasion. It is the closest thing to a Roman Trattoria in these parts. Not your usual parmigian joint, not that I don't love that stuff as well. Family style dishes, broad range of food, comfortable setting and superior desserts. Excellent place that flies under the radar.
If Q is on the table, I suggest Harbor Q. in Port Washington. Despite an ownership change they do delicious authentic Q and again, for a Q restaurant they have a broad menu, of course it is meat centric but check out the choices. Nice people,good service, delicious food and a family atmosphere.

Visiting hound needs Boca / Delray help

Hi Erica.I have been visiting older relatives in Boca-Delray for over 25 years. DelBoca Vista Phase 2 is my favorite development. Anyway, much has changed but most of the places serve mediocre food at high prices, particularly on Atlantic. From Doc's to the beach, it is bad news. However, one of my favorite restaurants anywhere is Bamboo Fire. Fantastic Caribbean cuisine served by a wonderfully friendly family and outside off the avenue quiet seating. You have to go with your dad. Nick's clam pie is excellent. Certainly worth a visit or two. The best burger is Shake Shack near FAU, but I am a huge SS fan so I may be a little biased. Burger Fi by the beach is plenty good enough after a day on the beach. I enjoy Rebel House. Cuban Café on Boca Blvd over east by Federal is excellent. Cute little joint with some Cuban décor and good food. Cuban cuisine is hardly exciting so this place gets little attention. Henry's over west on Jog has been solidly reliable over the years. Straight forward "American" food, nice setting good service. Pick up appetizing from Way Beyond Bagels,though I don't love their bagels they get all their stuff from Acme so it is again,reliably good for brunch at home. Also do yourself a favor and take your dad to an event at the Kravtz Center and dinner at a classic roadside joint named Bay Bay's, a great Chowhound find.

Help in Selecting a Queens Venue for my Alma Mater's 30th Anniversary

The place in the hotel? I have passed that place a million times and never checked it out, bad "hounding on my part. What can you tell us about it?

Jan 13, 2015
stuartlafonda in Outer Boroughs

Casual Family (and baby) friendly places near Botanical Gardens

If I were you I would follow this thread with includes suggestions from two reliable 'hounds..........

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/998785

Dec 18, 2014
stuartlafonda in Outer Boroughs

Casual Family (and baby) friendly places near Botanical Gardens

The Train Exhibit is wonderful. My family has gone a few times and each time we go, as well as after our zoo excursions, we head over to Arthur ave for a meal. A search of the site will reveal plenty of suggestions for specific restaurants. Zero Otto Nove is on Arthur ave and has been a good choice for my family.

Dec 18, 2014
stuartlafonda in Outer Boroughs

New Thai in Great Neck !!!

The owners are very nice people as well. I called Monday for takeout and was told that while they would do take out for me they were having a Grand Opening and was invited to come over for free food. I did, and enjoyed some good noodles,apps and conversation with the husband, wife and chef.
The last all Thai restaurant in Great Neck was the one next to the movie theatre and it was very good. And always empty. And soon out of business. All while the numerous other Asian restaurants hum along making money and serving mediocre food. I will go regularly and pass on the good news and hope for the best for them.

New Thai in Great Neck !!!

Yes,looks very promising.I was there last Friday and had an excellent meal. They are trying to be an authentic joint no fusion or other Asian cuisines. Green curry, and pad kee mao were perfect, and hot. Crispy fish was delicious but oddly prepared. They cut the meat into chunks, fried them and arranged them back on to the fish. Then laid the whole thing on top of a mango,not papaya salad. Again, delicious, but different. The curry puffs were good but the pork ribs were boring and flabby. I talked with the female owner who told me she was Thai but not a chef so she partnered with a female chef from AM Thai in Brooklyn. I will continue to eat Thai in Elmhurst but I think this will be an excellent alternative and a legitimate rival to Sripraphai for area 'hounds.

Poutine on Long Island

Check with Lola in Great Neck. Last winter it was a regular item on the menu. It was delicious. It will probably be a special this winter.

Chowhound lunch at Zabb Elee in Queens

I enjoy Kabab King and Tawa, have you tried Kababish, the little spot around the corner from Tawa? Love the super hot gola kabab. A simple chicken tika wrapped in a fresh hot naan is another favorite of mine from Kababish.

Nov 18, 2014
stuartlafonda in Manhattan

Other Good Pizza In New Haven

Will, what about the pie was "kind of like Jersey pizza", the hair?

Cracker Barrel on Long Island

Is Biscuits and Barbeque the Cajun diner? If so, how was the fried steak? I really like the food there. Or, is it Mara's? Another excellent place that just opened a second branch on Merrick right at the exit off the Wantagh.

Who makes the best CROQUE MONSIEUR?

Really? I don't remember that. I came on board in 'O2.I was a Manhattan and Queens hound and don't remember the split of the City. My apologies!

Oct 31, 2014
stuartlafonda in Manhattan

Who makes the best CROQUE MONSIEUR?

Uh no, there was always a stand alone Manhattan Board. This would have gone on the "Best" board, I can't even remember the official name, that covered the entire region :)

On the subject at hand, Dominique Ansell has a nice one as does Cannelle in Queens.

Oct 31, 2014
stuartlafonda in Manhattan

Indian in/near Kew Gardens

...........and there is yet another incarnation of the Jackson Diner on Hillside ave just west of K.K.
Enjoy

Oct 29, 2014
stuartlafonda in Outer Boroughs

bagel recs

For the record:I was at Utopia Bagels last week when Anthony the owner, he says 30 years, and some-time baker was present. I asked him about the Boca connection and he said it is his ex partner and when they split 18 years ago they agreed he could use the name.

Oct 28, 2014
stuartlafonda in Outer Boroughs

Indian in/near Kew Gardens

uh oh, what pressure! Was Five Star the place on Jericho Turnpike that had a "crepe station" at brunch?

Oct 24, 2014
stuartlafonda in Outer Boroughs

Indian in/near Kew Gardens

I have not noticed any change.I am not nearly familiar enough with Keralan cuisine to vouch for its authenticity,and would probably not be able to notice subtle changes. I know this though. It still is a tasty meal.If you find yourself nearby, check it out again. The food,at least most of the dishes, are still delicious and so different from what is usually offered in restaurants I would encourage people to try it.

Oct 23, 2014
stuartlafonda in Outer Boroughs

Is Russ & Daughters Cafe everything l hoped it would be? Yes.

I love the place, as I love the old spot on Houston. That being said, they are not perfect. On my last visit I went with cooked items as I regularly bring home and enjoy the smoked fish and refrigerated items. The eggs benedict were good but the smoked salmon was overwhelmed by the spinach and Hollandaise,the great quality of the salmon was wasted. The whitefish chowder has to be reworked. It was a standard white chowder base with no discernible whitefish flavor. Buried like a needle in a haystack of potatoes were a few slivers of smoked whitefish. Finally, the babka French Toast. Great babka,I buy it at the store by the loaf but here it gains nothing but sogginess from the egg wash. I will stick with a bagel,shmear and lox. and herring plate. and sturgeon. Platters of fish are the way to go, a great way to go.

Oct 22, 2014
stuartlafonda in Manhattan