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How do I order beef medium-rare in Buenos Aires?

I was in BA for two weeks and like my steak medium rare, leaning towards rare. I always said "con sangre" and that seemed to do the trick. It means "with blood" and basically means rare, but my steaks always came out perfectly medium rare when I said that -- except when they came out overdone, which happens no matter what you say, and that seems to be the case in every city.

Dec 23, 2009
toovernator in Latin America & Caribbean

Has anyone eaten at Prespa on Lex?

I really wanted to like this place because it's quiet, relatively cute, and staffed by very friendly, attentive people. But the food was mediocre. Maybe it was an off night, because I've heard good things about it. Some examples of why I didn't like Prespa--- the Mediterranean spread trio of hummus, romesco, and tzatziki was a mess. The hummus tasted like nothing but tahini, and was runny. The tzatziki was also runny. The romesco was pretty good, but that was about it. A tuna tartare appetizer was a big mushy mess. It came with guacamole and chickpeas, and some greasy mushy plantain chips. There was no texture contrast, no acid, no crunch, nothing. Just mushy, underseasoned raw fish with mushy, underseasoned other things. The main dishes weren't much better. The papardelle with ragu had the tinny, metallic taste of Chef Boyardee. The ragu itself tasted old. The meat in it was very chewy and dry. The pasta was overcooked. A grilled salmon dish was dry and looked ridiculous, with giant scoops of basil pesto and some kind of tomato relish on top. In general, the food was presented in this overwrought, pseudo '90-s way, with lots of unnecessary flourishes that just accentuated how blah the food was. Did I mention that everything was underseasoned? I was practically pouring salt on everything. Short ribs were tasty but a little on the grisly side. I'm bummed I didn't like the food. Again, I wanted to like this place. But it just didn't deliver.

Jul 05, 2009
toovernator in Manhattan

BARCELONA

Pretty much any place in Raval will fit the bill -- it was pretty hard to find bad food or a touristy place in that neighborhood, even on streets close to La Rambla. A lttlle touristy but still worth going to is Tapas 24 in Eixample -- the food was great, the crowd was friendly and a good mix of tourists and locals, and the staff was both warm and professional (except for one flustered waitress). Also, a local foodie recommended Quimet in Montjuic. I didn't make it, but he promised it was great and he knows what he's talking about.

Jun 22, 2009
toovernator in Spain/Portugal

JG lunch tomorrow - ordering recs?

I second the foie gras brulee recommendation. It's phenomenal. I also love the short ribs, although I'm not sure if it's on the menu right now. I usually get two courses plus dessert. I don't think two alone would be enough food.

Jun 22, 2009
toovernator in Manhattan

Single guy, first time in NYC, but going solo...

Gramercy Tavern's on 20th off Park, which is not too far from you. It's one of my favorite NY places. It's upscale and expensive, but also comfy and relaxed. There's a great bar, where I've often seen people eating entire meals alone, as well as a laid-back "tavern" section in the front. The bartenders are pros, and know how to make you feel comfortable without talking you to death (unless you want them to). The food is amazing, there are lots of great wines and interesting cocktails. People-watching probably isn't big there--it's not a "scene" at all, although I've seen some actors and other celebrities there once in a while. Very close to you is Son Cubano, on 14th -- solid food, active bar, good music, lively crowd, people-watching, friendly staff. I'd skip it Friday-Sunday, though, when it's overrun by tourists (no offense). And if you like hot dogs, you have to go to Gray's Papaya on the Upper West Side. It's just a stand-up-and-eat, bare-bones place, but the dogs are phenomenal and it is a beloved NY institution. Have fun!

Jun 22, 2009
toovernator in Manhattan

My boyfriend loves steak

Ditto on BLT Prime. The sides there are amazing. The steak is great, too, although it had a little too much of that charred crust thing going on (which I realize some people love). I guess I would add Dylan Prime, which is not a personal favorite but other people seem to like it a lot. Also, the space there is very "young," especially compared to spots like Luger's and S&W. Also, it's not a steak place, but Del Posto has a rib eye for two that is ridiculously good.

Apr 26, 2008
toovernator in Manhattan

What to order at Insieme

The lasagna. It's ridiculously good. Be warned, though, that it's not your standard tomato-heavy lasagna with toothsome meat. This lasagna is brown, with almost no acid component, and the meat is like gravy it's so smooth and slow-cooked. I also loved a salad I had with the most beautiful little roasted beets, toasted hazelnuts, fennel, and ricotta salata.

Apr 26, 2008
toovernator in Manhattan

Ultimate Food Destinations in Da Big Apple

If you're going to be at Russ & Daughters, you might as well stroll down the block to Katz's and Yonah Shimmel Knish, both Lower East Side institutions. I agree that Chelsea Market is not worth the time. It's a decent market but not really mindblowing or unique. I'm on the fence about Arthur Avenue. It's kind of a trek, and a lot of the food is not good. But if you're looking just to absorb the old Italian-American culture and the people, it's worth it. I just don't think the food itself merits a trip.

Apr 26, 2008
toovernator in Manhattan

Is there a place that is similar to Legal Seafood?

Whatever you do, don't go to City Crab. It's terrible and overpriced. I agree that Blue Water Grill and Docks are most like Legal, although Blue Water is more elegant (if only because the space is so beautiful.)

Apr 26, 2008
toovernator in Manhattan

Birthday lunch with Mom on UWS, UES or Midtown?

Felidia is amazing and I think it has a reasonably priced prix fixe lunch (or at least used to). Otherwise, midtown has a million amazing "special occasion" restaurants --- some of my favorites are Le Bernardin, the Modern, and Jean Georges. They're elegant and certainly upscale, but not too stiff or corporate/power lunch-y. Of the three, I find I can relax more easily at Le Bernardin and Jean Georges-- not sure if it's the color scheme or the service, but there it is.

Apr 26, 2008
toovernator in Manhattan

legit Italian - not crazy $

Enoteca Barbone on Avenue B -- amazing fried asparagus, carbonara, chicken liver ravioli. And a nice outdoor garden as well. Very reasonably priced, nice wine list. All in all a nice neighborhood place with solid, affordable food and nice atmosphere but not trendy or mobbed.

Apr 26, 2008
toovernator in Manhattan

Best NYC seafood lunch besides Le Bernardin?

MARKT is not great. It's passable mussels, and it certainly doesn't belong on the same list as the three other restaurants you've listed. BLT Fish is pretty good, and Milos (which has already been suggested) is excellent for very simple preparations---usually just oil, salt, pepper. Jean Georges and Hearth also have great fish and seafood dishes, although neither is a "seafood restaurant." Hearth, for example, has AMAZING pea soup with peekytoe crab, a number of roasted fish dishes (including a sturgeon that is awesome), and a tasting menu that features two amazing lobster and scallop dishes. A slightly more casual option is Mary's Fish Camp, which has good steamers and lobster, as well as fish dishes. Good for lunch bc dinner is usually mobbed.

Apr 26, 2008
toovernator in Manhattan

Eating Solo In Florence ...

Sure--I'll be staying at a hotel just north of Ponte Vecchio, and I have general plans to visit most of the major museums. I plan to walk around a lot, though, so feel free to recommend any locations....Thanks.

Apr 16, 2008
toovernator in Italy

Eating Solo In Florence ...

Eating solo in Florence - I'm going to be in Florence for one week on my own, and would appreciate any recommendations for restaurants/street food/markets where you would feel comfortable being on your own (as a woman, if that makes a difference). Somewhere you can can just sort of chill out and relax and eat as you read a paper or something -- e.g. nothing too romantic, hyper-fashionable, super fancy, or three-hour-twelve-course-y. Probably more lunch places than dinner places given the "read a paper" part, but any suggestions would be great.

Apr 15, 2008
toovernator in Italy