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Superb meal at Juni

A marvelous meal at Juni. A dazzling variety of flavors and textures. Between the two of us, we tasted 8 dishes, and the consistent technical excellence was remarkable - not an under or overlooked element anywhere. A chocolate - whiskey dessert was the best chocolate dessert I've had in a few years, smoky and dark and delicious.

The space is awkward, and the wine list sucks, but good lord, this is some good food. There was a lot of fine dining experience at the table, and we were both pretty amazed. I'd say a better meal than Daniel, and about on par with Bouley.

Feb 02, 2014
dzop in Manhattan

(this) Sunday Night in Montreal

My second night, we were winded from our several mile walk, and stuffed with bagel and choux and terrines, so we chickend out and decided to eat in our hotel at maison boulud, expecting to order a couple of apps and split a dessert.

The food was so good we couldn't stop ordering. Three courses later, I was extremely impressed. The meal was significantly better than one I had at the Daniel mothership in NYC just a couple of weeks ago. FWIW, the ingredients were extraordinary - the hamachi like butter, the white truffle better than the one I bought from a good Italian-foods store in NYC last week, so I think there must be great ingredients out there somewhere in Montreal. Particularly of note were the beef dish, which was rich, mushroomy but also simultaneously very refined, and a set of wonderful deserts that used apple, pear, etc., including a wonderful maple ice cream that used real maple syrup so was unapologetically mild, lacking the artificial punch of most so-called "maple".

I'd normally hate myself for eating at a hotel joint, but man was this good - and only marginally more expensive than Le Filet! Kudos to whichever Boulud assembly-line guy is manning that kitchen.

Dec 02, 2013
dzop in Quebec (inc. Montreal)
1

(this) Sunday Night in Montreal

Your post is well-taken. I'd distinguish between food that is unrefined because it is unrefined - peasant food, as it were - and food that is just not good but is gimmicked / scores "easy points", or where the theater is the point of the experience. Many of my favorite restaurants are out in Queens or Brooklyn, they're not serving refined food, but it's just the best expression of what it is. Terrific chicken soup is terrific chicken soup, even if it's just chicken, carrot, celery, parsnip, etc...

What drives me nuts is the Warner LeRoy-ification of dining; the theory that stick people in a buzzy room, spread good PR around, and most folks don't eat out enough or cook enough to know the difference anyways. David Chang is the textbook example of this; make the dining experience as profitable for him as possible, market / PR it to convince people that what makes him money is what is desirable in a restaurant, then watch the dollars flow in. It's not a fait accompli that dining always gets better; if McDonalds can convince folks that a Big Mac is an improvement over the fresh patty their local diner gridded up for 40 years...

Anyways, a roundabout way of saying that I think a big old plate of maple syrup soaked bread sounds delightful.

Dec 01, 2013
dzop in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

A Fantastic Meal at Simone

Apples and oranges. Both are excellent, IMO. Neither is cheap. FWIW, I had my first mediocre meal, ever, at west-side-Rosi the other week. Not sure how relevant that is, given that they're serving $15 lasagna squares...

Dec 01, 2013
dzop in Manhattan

(this) Sunday Night in Montreal

For NYC restaurants that I like, think: Dovetail, (the late) Corton, lunch at Bouley, mutton chop at Keens, and Il Colosseo out in Bensonhurst.

Restaurants I vigorously dislike include Le Bernardin, the David Chang chain, Nomad, Craft, Frannys.

Dec 01, 2013
dzop in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

(this) Sunday Night in Montreal

I hear you. But I just got back from Le Filet, and while I wasn't disappointed, I wasn't blown away, either. The food seemed a bit crude - lots of use of butter and salt which, IMO, was like putting a lot of makeup on some less-than-fabulous ingredients; a red snapper that wasn't fresh, a raw hamachi that wasn't as high a grade as it should be. It was a little bit cheap and easy - throw tempura something-or-rather on top of the raw fish to keep them happy, if you get my meaning. That's not to say everything was that way; sea urchin pasta with rock shrimp and shiso was wildly creative and the rock shrimp were super sweet and almost crunchy - I've had them straight off the boat in Maine and they don't get much better. Desserts were also excellent - not super sweet, lots of textures. Lastly, I can never complain about a restaurant that has Overnoy Poulsard, a wine that folks in the US sell their first-born for, on the wine list for a very reasonable $87.

But the sum experience was a tiny bit corporate, which is what I'd like to avoid tomorrow night if possible.

Nov 30, 2013
dzop in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

(this) Sunday Night in Montreal

To me "owned by the same chef" is a giant red flag; I understand the business rationale of leveraging your brand by opening a more casual, higher volume place (and that the practice of the sister brasserie is straight out of Paris), but all too often it's a money grab. The only reason I chose Le Filet - a "sister" restaurant, if I'm not mistaken - was because the menu was sufficiently interesting that it seems like something is going on in the kitchen that's worth attention.

As for middle eastern, my pop was raised in the Middle East. While we don't have haut middle eastern in NYC, there's a lot of solid food out in the boroughs if you know where to look. Put differently, Damas would be high on my list if I were here for 5 nights, but not for 2...

Nov 30, 2013
dzop in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

(this) Sunday Night in Montreal

OK, so brasserie T! would be pretty much the diametric opposite of what I am looking for in a restaurant. I can - and do - prepare all of those dishes at home. To me, a brasserie is a Wednesday restaurant I go to when I don't feel like cooking. I'm not looking for a fun restaurant, I'm looking for an excellent one, which is not quite the same...

Damas looks interesting, but I didn't come to Montreal to eat (admittedly marvelous looking) Syrian food.

Someone dung La Chronique but said it had excellent food - is the food not really that excellent?

Nov 30, 2013
dzop in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

(this) Sunday Night in Montreal

Visiting montreal for a mini-honeymoon in a few hours. We just had our wedding feast last night, so we chose a lighter meal for tonight (Le Filet). Sunday night seems like a dead night, though. Right now, have reservations at La Chronique, but worried about how wide-open it is on Opentable.

Would love any recs for Sunday eating. Doesn't need to be super fancy, though it can be - on honeymoon, price no concern. Want something delicious and bonus points if special to Montreal. I have a really lovely bottle of wine with me (a 1991 Ridge Monte Bello) so additional bonus points if I could pay corkage, though I understand some of the obvious options have killer winelists and corkage would kind of miss half the fun)

Thanks in advance!

Nov 30, 2013
dzop in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

A Fantastic Meal at Simone

I couldnt believe these guys were on Yelp or Menupages yet - I wanted to leave them a postive review. They're delightfully old school. Thankfully, I suspect they're in the one neighborhood that can nuture a place that isn't using shiny objects to attract its clientele.

Nov 25, 2013
dzop in Manhattan

A Fantastic Meal at Simone

Have you ever seen a really perfectly preserved photograph of the past, one so vivid and clear that it makes it feel real and immediate; and for a second, the chasm of time between you and that era falls away, and it is there for you to touch?

That is what dinner at Simone, newly opened on the UES, is like. The food is American, the kind you remember from the heyday of the Hudson River Club or An American place. Except now, with everyone else zigging into whateverthehell Nordic, this food is once again exciting and vibrant - and it always was delicious. Perfectly fried sweetbreads with carrots, still firm and textural, and onions. A tuna tartare served with - is that Apple-parsnip purée?

The restaurant is small. There are tablecloths. There is an impeccable wine list; mainly Neal Rosenthal imports, but well chosen.

There are none of the contemporary shortcuts. The duck main comes with three different preparations and 4 different root vegetable purees. The scallop portion is enormous, the leeks and fennel braised till they meld. The salmon is served with the startling juxtaposition of burnt Brussels (not all the food is a flashback) and sweet beets. It sounds like it would clash with the dill speztle. It works, fantastically.

It is, in a nutshell, exactly what you remember a really good NYC dining experience being before it was driven by PR. There was more soul on one plate than I had in my entire tasting menu at Battersby, or in dinner at Nomad.

It was not cheap. It was totally worth it. To hell with the jerkoffs who ruined NYC fine dining.

Nov 23, 2013
dzop in Manhattan
1

Where to find dry Sichuan fried chicken cubes with peppers?

Wa Jeal, on 82nd and 2nd, has an EXCELLENT rendition of this dish. And it is exactly as you describe - dry as a bone, great heat, each cube of chicken crispy and scented with sichuan pepper.

Jun 13, 2012
dzop in Manhattan

late dinner near the 92nd St Y

To be specific - I've had sublime manti from there, both vegetarian and meat, multiple times, but I find the pides greasy and meh.

Apr 21, 2011
dzop in Manhattan

Best Pizza Near Cooper-Hewitt?

I have nothing but respect for your taste in food in general, GoS. But (a) Luzzo's potato-gorganzola slice is a thing of beauty and (b) Anna Maria's was not awful in its heyday, for what it was, which was a deeply NY style pizza. There was nothing Italian or authentic about it, but there's room for good food in that space too.

Apr 21, 2011
dzop in Manhattan

late dinner near the 92nd St Y

Too late, but Marmara is a Turkish place that's a block or two away on 3rd, is open till 11, and serves food that can be surprisingly great, if sometime uneven. Well priced, too.

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Marmara
1660 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10128

Apr 17, 2011
dzop in Manhattan

Best Pizza Near Cooper-Hewitt?

I'm a little late to the party, but as a lifelong Carnegie hiller, the correct answer to this question was almost certainly Little Luzzo's, which is better than it's EV sibling IMO, way better than Arturos or Mimis and serves by the slice. Makes more sense than hauling to 2nd Ave. But I should also note that Nicks is definitely a pizza joint, no matter how much red sauce placeholders they have on their menu, and it still sucks that Anna Maria closed, years later, because it would've been a perfect answer to your question.

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Anna Maria
1592 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

Little Luzzo's
119 E 96th St, New York, NY 10029

Apr 17, 2011
dzop in Manhattan

looking for THICK soup noodles in Chinatown

Guh, I love Xian as much as the next guy, but that's as different as apples and oranges.

Anyone else? I mean a thick, almost udon-like noodle, but one that is made by hand.

Apr 02, 2011
dzop in Manhattan

looking for THICK soup noodles in Chinatown

My favorite northern chinese place (in another city) used to serve noodles in its noodle soup that were much thicker than I've seen in Lanzhou places in Chinatown. Similar style noodles were an option at one of the noodle places I went to when I was visiting Beijing.

Any place serve the thicker noodles? I suspect they're not hand-pulled, but rather, cut from rolled out dough. They have the thickness (and consistency) of the knife-shaved noodles, but they're long like the hand-pulled ones.

Mar 15, 2011
dzop in Manhattan

Recs for non-Mandarin speakers in Beijing

Now, that's just not true. I've had very good luck in countries where I didn't speak a word of the language, but I learned the word for "chicken" and "beef" or how to say, "specialty". And you can get buy really well doing that, as long as you're open to trying whatever they put in front of you. But its facilitated by the restaurant culture in most of the western world being more-or-less constant in each country. When I was in, say, small-town Austria, there were plenty of places I went to where there was a total language barrier, but, like, main dishes are skill a meat and a side. It's sort of hard to screw up.

My concern in China is that the restaurant culture is sufficiently different from the US that you cant "fake it". My idea was that, maybe upscale places were more likely to follow recognizable norms such that I could get by ordering, though perhaps without a complete knowledge of what's coming.

Aug 16, 2010
dzop in China & Southeast Asia

Recs for non-Mandarin speakers in Beijing

Thank you for your recs...it has been an enormous help. I'll be sure to update this thread or post a new thread with my results once I get back in early Sept.

Aug 15, 2010
dzop in China & Southeast Asia

Recs for non-Mandarin speakers in Beijing

See, I don't necessarily want a place with a picture menu- I want a place where I won't feel like I'm on Mars. If I can fake it with a typed up list of what I want, or if they just understand the word "chicken", that's fine. What I want is somewhere b/w expat and hole in the wall- say, " upscale local". No matter what I try, I get recs that are basically "exapt/tourist trap" or "it will be impossible for you". Surely there must be a middle ground?

Aug 14, 2010
dzop in China & Southeast Asia

Recs for non-Mandarin speakers in Beijing

You think Da Dong over Made in China?

Other than that, those recs seem to be similar to what I'm coming up with looking on beijinger and timeout, which makes me feel better about the quality of their reviews.

Aug 12, 2010
dzop in China & Southeast Asia

Recs for non-Mandarin speakers in Beijing

I worry that hotel restaurants are too far on the other end- i.e. not challenging enough.

what I'm shooting for something that's neither hole-in-the-wall authentic, nor wholly international. Is there no such thing?

Aug 11, 2010
dzop in China & Southeast Asia

Recs for non-Mandarin speakers in Beijing

My girlfriend and I will be traveling to Beijing later this month.

Neither of us knows a whit of Mandarin. We've never been to China.

We are, however, reasonably knowledgeable w/r/t food from China by USA standards. Have tasted/understand the different cuisines that come from different provinces, etc.

We're going to be continuing on to Hong Kong later in the trip, so we'd like to save our Cantonese food for that part of the trip.

What I'd love are recs for places with:
(a) enough English that I can order food- doesn't need to be an english menu, but a waiter who speaks English or pictures I can point to would be sufficient
(b) on the nicer side. Doesn't need to be super-pricey, not looking for expense account, but also not looking for hole-in-the-wall. I recognize this might sacrifice some authenticity.
(c) anything interesting. This can be stuff I can't get back in the states: eg, food from Yunnan or Guizhou. Or, something westernized, but creative: For example, "Bei" interests me. I know its in a hotel, I know it has a western chef...but the menu just looks interesting to me. I'm thinking that might be my pricey meal.

Basically, what I'm looking for are mid-priced to maybe slightly more expensive restaurants, that I'll be able to at least have some idea of what I'm ordering, and I'd love to try stuff I can't get outside of Beijing.

FWIW, we're staying at the Fairmont Beijing in Chaoyang- we're willing to travel for good food, but obviously if we're trekking across town it has to be worth it.

Aug 10, 2010
dzop in China & Southeast Asia

Trip Report: Utah---excellent meal at the Forage

I looked at the link, and you're right- that's what they were.
They also had the Chocolate Twists in another box, which were just slightly smaller than an NFL football but didn't look as tasty and unusual as the chocolate cake donuts.
My family was out eating dessert tonight and those donuts came up in conversation...they were a darned good sweet!

May 14, 2010
dzop in Mountain States

Trip Report: Utah---excellent meal at the Forage

Quick 4 day trip to Moab. Flew in and out of SLC

Random Doughnuts in a Gas Station in Spanish Fork- We had these when we stopped for car munchies before going up into the Wasatch. These were obviously brought in from a local bakery, were in a brown cardboard doughnut box and by the register. They were delicious and quite unlike New England doughnuts: chocolate cake donuts with a thick cocoa glaze. Vaguely similar to Krispy Kreme chocolate devils food doughnuts, but much better.

In SLC:
The Forage: Awesome, awesome meal. The style of cooking is extremely close to that of Paul Liebrandt at Corton, in NYC, but these food was tastier and frankly more refined. A ton of food, even with the 3 course option; yes, it's 3 courses with smallish portions, but you also get 3 amuse bouches and a palate cleanser. Memorable dishes included the best soft-boiled egg dish that I've ever had and a absolutely jaw dropping cous-cous with chorizo and szechuan pepper. Desserts were absolutely AMAZING, literally, the best I've had in a restaurant in a few years. Mint frozen yogurt was so intensely mint flavored that I nearly fell off my chair.
Service was beyond impeccable. Wine list was excellent by NY standards; great BTG options (2 burgundies, both under $12!) and well chosen and exceptionally well priced bottles.
I eat out a lot in NYC- in the past six months, I've been to Bouley, J-G, Annisa, SHO Shaun Hergatt, Aldea, among others. My mom, who I was eating with, recently came back from a trip to Paris where she ate at a couple of multi-starred restaurants. We both agreed it was the best meal we'd had all year.
And the 3 course prix fixe is $45! For a 2 hour experience? I cannot recommend The Forage more highly.

In Moab:
Moab Brewery- Fine, functional, brewpub cuisine, actually better than I expected. Had a decent smoked half chicken ($13). Beer was mediocre.

Center Cafe- CLOSED (disappointingly!)

Desert Bistro- We planned to eat here, but we went in and the menu was so bad, and the food so nasty looking, that we left. Higher than Manhattan prices(I'm from NYC); $26 for the chicken.

River Grill (at Sorrel River Ranch Resort)- Good. Expensive, but a smidge less than Desert Bistro, and we enjoyed our meal. Pork chop was thick, cooked as ordered, and tasty. Appetizer (steak with maytag blue on toast) was overpriced and only OK. Wine list mediocre, but better than Desert Bistro. View was tremendous.

Restaurant at Red Cliffs Lodge- OK. High priced for what it was. Prime rib was rare and juicy, but bland. Crockpot Barbecue ribs were fall-off-the-bone, but BBQ sauce wasn't house made. $18 for the rib and $22ish for the prime rib. Also with tremendous view.

May 09, 2010
dzop in Mountain States

Need recs: Citrus store/stand and other food recs near Vero Beach

We are going to a Nats game, so thanks for the rec!

Mar 14, 2010
dzop in Florida

Need recs: Citrus store/stand and other food recs near Vero Beach

One place I have my eye on is Marsh Landing in Fellsmere. Is that a decent pick?

Mar 12, 2010
dzop in Florida

Need recs: Citrus store/stand and other food recs near Vero Beach

My biggest request is a request for the best citus store near within ~1hrs drive or so. May be going up to the Space Coast for a Nats ST game, so around there could work too.

This doesn't have to be the prettiest, and it doesn't have to be a farm. I'm thinking of the New England cider/apple type place, where sometimes the best unpasteurized cider comes from some guy who sells a bajillion varieties of amazing apples out of a dusty store in the middle of nowhere. There are also some big flashy farms that sell amazing cider.

I don't care which I go to here, I just want jaw-dropping juice and oranges. (And since I'm going next week, Valencias should juuuuuust be in season, right?)

Also, any restaurant recs around Vero, within 30-45 min drive. Prefer something I can't get up north-- Florida style food, such as it is. Seafood is good, but I'm picky about quality. High end is fine, but consider that I'm coming from NY, so I'd rather have slightly-cheaper but unique than a standard issue middle-to-nice restaurant.

Thanks for any tips

Mar 12, 2010
dzop in Florida

Delete double post

Deleted double post.

Mar 12, 2010
dzop in Florida