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Mattydale's Profile

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Hanoi--special occasion restaurant suggestions?

Hello all, my girlfriend and I will be heading to Vietnam for the first time in November, with our first stop in Hanoi. We intend to eat tons of street food during our trip--but on the first night that we arrive, it happens to be one of our birthdays (ok, it's mine). Thought it might be nice to ease our way through jetlag, and for me to ease into my really really late 30s (ok, I'll be 40) with something a bit higher-end. Hoping to avoid tourist traps of course, and looking for some measure of authenticity. High-end Vietnamese food, perhaps with a western crossover if need be, would be ideal. Thanks for any suggestions!!

Best delivery sushi around 58th and Lex?

Late night at the office tonight. Looking for high-quality that delivers. Thanks for any suggestions.

Oct 10, 2006
Mattydale in Manhattan

Best bets at Aureole?

Heading there for a business dinner, all expenses paid. Never been before. Any signature can't-miss dishes? Thanks.

Sep 28, 2006
Mattydale in Manhattan

Cookshop dinner report

Here's my (somewhat) brief Cookshop dinner report. Overall the meal was very good, though shy of being great for two reasons that I'll mention shortly.

I should mention that the place was an absolute zoo when I got there at 9pm on Friday night. This is not necessarily a flaw, but a testament to its popularity. The bar area was packed, and it was a bit disorienting as I waited for my dinner companion. But once he arrived, we were seated promptly. If you're looking for a quiet, sedate dinner environment on a weekend night, this is not it.

Once seated, we received a plate of bread and olive oil-slicked breadsticks with some sort of delicious spread. I didn't get the opportunity to ask what it was--similar to tahini.

The wine selection is a bit pricey--the least expensive red is $40, and they go up from there. But we ordered one of those $40 reds, and it was a great selection. So no complaints there.

We started the meal with an order of spiced hominy grits, as recommended by people on this forum. They were essentially like popcorn for grownups, and I'd eat a bucket of them at the movies any day.

Then, my friend had an appetizer of Montauk octopus, while I had the Gulf shrimp. The octopus was quite good, but the shrimp had an unfortunate (and very strong) iodine flavor. I was quite surprised, and while I don't know how much control the kitchen has over that sort of thing, it was disappointing. That was flaw #1.

For entrees, my friend had the pork chop and sausage combo, which I tasted and thought was quite good. The sausage had an odd sweetness to it, which my friend described as similar to breakfast cereal like Apple Jacks. That didn't make it bad, just peculiar.

I had the Catskill duck breast with flageolet beans, which I ordered medium rare (as the Chef recommends). The dish would have been great, but unfortunately the duck was practically raw in the middle. And because of the lighting, I didn't realize this until I had eaten the first few outer pieces--which were great. So I didn't send it back, though I probably should have. Flaw #2.

We didn't have dessert, so I can't comment. All in all I would certainly go back to give it another shot. But sadly I wasn't quite as bowled over as I had hoped to be on my first visit, for the reasons above.

And there you have it.

Sep 11, 2006
Mattydale in Manhattan

Best items at Cookshop?

I will post after I go. I checked out the menu on their website, and I thought it looked incredible.

Sep 08, 2006
Mattydale in Manhattan

Best items at Cookshop?

Going tonight, finally. Really excited, the menu looks great. Any favorites? Thanks.

Sep 08, 2006
Mattydale in Manhattan

Focaccia just like in Liguria?

Those are both good suggestions. I'll check 'em out, thanks!

Jul 25, 2006
Mattydale in Manhattan

Focaccia just like in Liguria?

Is there an Italian bakery in Manhattan that serves up focaccia as good as the kind I had in Liguria last summer? I've been craving it lately.

When I had it in Italy, it was warm from the oven and covered in a sheen of high-quality olive oil and sea salt--nothing more. I never really thought much about focaccia until I had it then... and I just about melted from the experience. If there's a place in Manhattan which comes close, I'd love to find it.


Jul 24, 2006
Mattydale in Manhattan

Searching for a specific coffee shop... around 49th and 3rd, can't remember name.

A few years ago the Times did an article on espresso and the difficulty of finding a true Italian-style cup in this City. I know, though, that they mentioned a place in midtown, somewhere around 49th and 3rd, as having the best. And I remember they serve Illy beans.

But for the life of me I can't remember the name (or the exact location). Can anyone help?



Jul 19, 2006
Mattydale in Manhattan

Fantastic coffee

Is Java Boy related to Java Girl, the excellent "Friends"-style coffee shop that has been operating for several years on 66th between 1st and 2nd?

Jul 14, 2006
Mattydale in Manhattan