gwh912's Profile

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Sushi Nakazawa (counter) vs. Ko 2.0 vs. EMP next week?

I think I would do, in this order:

ko 2.0
sushi nakazawa

I have not been as enthralled with more recent meals at Eleven Madison Park. updated Ko is operating on all cylinders and Sushi Nakazawa a solid sushi spot - although not my favorite of the high end sushi

Jul 24, 2015
gwh912 in Manhattan

Anything I should DROP?

I enjoy Keen's but think its likely not best steak in city (although, in Manhattan, maybe for the "traditional steakhouse" category. Maybe Bowery Meat Company if you order carefully....or the cote de beauf @ Minetta.....

Wouldn't do Le Bernardin, but that has been argued ad nauseum. At the high end, I loved Atera, but now under new chef change, I would consider the newest iteration of Ko....or even Juni....not as luxurious but pQr is still great (for the latter)

Wine is awesome at Pearl and Ash - especially for their wine dinners - thats about it. Food, to me, is less than memorable

I like Txikito, but wouldn't be first choice if I came from out of town. In the tapas space, probably would throw Tertulia or Casa Mono ahead quality wise...but again, not thats our strong point

Apr 28, 2015
gwh912 in Manhattan

Noreetuh - East Village New "Hawaiian" Restaurant

Will post a full review over next few days, but have to suggest everyone check out the new "Noreetuh" in East Village on 1st Avenue.

Somehow stumbled in during their soft opening and was treated to a sophisticated take on contemporary Hawaiian inspired cuisine. With some of the best hosts in the city (with veterans from Jungsik, Kaijitsu, and newcomers eager to ensure an amazing dining experience), this is the perfect example of a casual dining experience with top of the line service. While today's opening flew under the radar, the restaurant deserves to be, and will be, packed in the months to follow once the word gets out.

Wine list is well-sourced and extremely well priced - with most selections between $50 and $120, including a number of extremely well priced wines with some age. I enjoyed a nice '94 Savennieres (from cry "roche aux moines") for about $65 dollars at the bar.

Food was delicious, with highlights of crispy mushrooms with sweet miso, a spam tortellini, and a pineapple braised pork belly. I had a tuna poke that was inspired but for me, had too much of sesame oil in flavor profile for my preference but was still fresh and could be a hit. Mushrooms were delicious but the pork belly was absolutely revelatory in a city full of takes on the trendy cut.

Other notables on the menu including misubi, kahlua pork fritters, and even some vegetarian inspired dishes.

Very difficult to choose across the menu as most of the dishes look, sound and from my experience, taste, awesome- but for anyone who is nostalgic for their past trip to Hawaii - I'd argue the food at Noreetuh is better than any traditional Hawaiian restaurant I had in my past two trips to the islands. Now all they need is some Mai Tais (only beer/wine for now) to round out the experience...

Mar 17, 2015
gwh912 in Manhattan

Ramen Lab in Nolita

We went, waiting about an hour or so in the cold, and were 100% disappointed with the hype. Totally acceptable (except for the spicy miso, which was one-note and difficult to finish a full bowl of) - perhaps even good - but certainly not worth a long wait, cramped space and rushed atmosphere for.

Mar 16, 2015
gwh912 in Manhattan

What to Eat, Where to get good virgin drinks plus other questions for my visit next weekend

Franklin and Mortgage will make great virgin drinks (with their homemade ginger ale, IIRC). Not too far from Vernick. I'd go early to avoid line

Mar 02, 2015
gwh912 in Philadelphia

The Monk Room, Newark

Wasn't a fan of Monk's Room at all. Season ticket holder for the devils so I've been 5-6 times...pizza is not the same as Porta (though I'm still not a raving Porta fan) and most of the time has a soggier crust texture. I chalk it up to the small space and likely limited ovens

We live in Jersey City and used to live in Red Bank - so we went to the original iteration of Porta in AP many times - and now, the newly opened spot in JC. For some reason, Monk's room falls short

Feb 24, 2015
gwh912 in New Jersey

1 year anniversary - small, seasonal and intimate.

Gonna throw another curve ball

Thirty Acres in Jersey City. Small, intimate, not pretentious, and their new $75 menu includes five courses with canap├ęs AND has a dry aged steak as the main entree

Plus, its really a quick 10 minute PATH ride

Feb 24, 2015
gwh912 in Manhattan


chicken is my favorite dish there. Simple, but really great

Feb 19, 2015
gwh912 in Philadelphia

Lightner leaving Atera on March 28th

Honestly my last meal at Atera was the best meal I've had in NYC since Eleven Madison Park's original menu. Over the four meals I've had since Atera has opened, they've only gotten (drastically) better and I think it is currently the best top end dining spot in NY

All said, I'll be interested in seeing new menu and see changes though somewhat surprised they kept pricing identical with a new concept

Feb 17, 2015
gwh912 in Manhattan

Aquavit - Betony - Lincoln...help me choose

I would do Aquavit. Tasting menu is inspired, and last time we were there, there were more hits than misses, and a nice change of pace flavor wise from some of the other fine dining bastions

I'm not in the group of Betony lovers. Both dinners there were less than stellar, and service was beyond strange last time I went. It should be noted I'm in the minority.

Not a huge fan of Lincoln either. I would probably do Aquavit --- then Betony (just to see if I'm still missing something) and then Lincoln

Feb 12, 2015
gwh912 in Manhattan

40th birthday location

Wouldn't recommend either - although Blue Hill is definitely the preferable of the two

Feb 08, 2015
gwh912 in Manhattan

Anything new in Telluride??

We just went - nothing really new although I believe Smuggler's changed ownership (next to Bottleworks, if I recall) and seemed to be an improvement. Still bar food, but more of a fun place to check out now.

Jan 12, 2015
gwh912 in Mountain States

a. kitchen

Agreed. We had the large format steak here a month or so back and it was quite literally one of, if not, the best steak I've ever had

Jan 03, 2015
gwh912 in Philadelphia

Red Meat Alert! The Bowery Steak

Burger there is exceptional as well. We weren't as crazy about the duck lasagna or oysters (both fine but to us not rave worthy), but shared a 40 day dry aged T-bone if I recall that was delicious (although very expensive at $147 as a special)

Jan 01, 2015
gwh912 in Manhattan

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

I've been to all but three of this list (The Simone, Delaware and Hudson, and Russ & Daughters Cafe - though have been to original R&D location)

Think Batard deserves all the praise. Was one of my favorite openings this year - with each dish better than the next and a well procured wine list. While I typically gravitate towards more experimental cuisine - it is refreshing to see such a perfectly conceived and executed menu

Dirty French, Cherche Midi have their highlights and are good to great in their spaces depending on how you order.

Gato was good, considering expectations of another Bobby Flay dud - but wouldn't rush back despite the relatively good meal (and considering the hour + wait despite reservation)

Don't get Contra (or this whole natural wine phenomenon)

Dec 31, 2014
gwh912 in Manhattan

maietta in Englishtown?


Dec 11, 2014
gwh912 in New Jersey

Have New York fine dining restaurants been declining in quality?

I'm surprised re: Atera at the dishes you didn't care for. I though the trout liver dish was brilliant - and thoroughly enjoyed the pigs blood tart (if I recall, it was served with tomato jam)

My meal there last Tuesday was outstanding. I think they have gotten much better than when they first opened and continue to evolve. Though, my one complaint all three visits was the final savory course but, after ~ 25 courses, its hard to complain

Dec 06, 2014
gwh912 in Manhattan

Have New York fine dining restaurants been declining in quality?

I agree that the old guard (Daniel and specifically Jean Georges) just don't excite me anymore. That said, with spots like Ko and Atera, Operating at such a high level (I am actually en route from Saison in San Francisco which I'd out on same quality level as my most recent meal at Atera)...lots of great options at high end still if you expand from the traditional french dining scene

Dec 04, 2014
gwh912 in Manhattan

Anyone want Saison 9:00 pm Reservation Today for 1 (Thursday December 4th)

I thought my hotel was closer to the restaurant but I'm in Redwood City and may not have enough time to get there after day of meetings

If anyone is interested in the reservation, let me know (9pm, for 1)


Dec 04, 2014
gwh912 in San Francisco Bay Area

Dinner for One @ Atera Tonight - Reservation Available 9:30

Anyone interested in taking a reservation for 9:30 tonight @ Atera? I'm not sure I'm able to make it in time

Dec 02, 2014
gwh912 in Manhattan

Don't shoot me... looking for red-sauce Italian and "NY Chinese"

Try Carbone for an elevated riff on "red sauce" Italian

Long weekend Dec 12-16. Reserved.

Batard is great - we really enjoyed Piora as well. Not familiar with the other two as much.

Nov 15, 2014
gwh912 in Manhattan

Kitchen at Grove Station (Jersey City)

So after a dinner Monday @ Thirty Acres ; and a wine dinner last night at Betony - I thought I'd take it easy today and order delivery. But after hearing a new restaurant opened up nearby at Grove Station, I opted to keep the streak going. Space is quite nice - and while the waiters are obviously new and still learning - the staff has good intentions and seems extremely interested in ensuring all diners walk away having a great experience. I believe one of the owners sat at a table behind me - and just listening to their description of the dishes - I could immediately tell there was a distinct focus on quality.

The head chef worked at Daryl Wine Bar in New Brunswick, and most recently at Battello. IMHO, and having dined at the all three examples, this new restaurant (I believe after speaking with the chef, this is the first time he had primary control over food and menu) is the best of the three (and lightyears better than Batello)

Chef came by multiple times throughout the meal and was really interested in diner feedback

Sweet and Sour Lentil Salad | cauliflower|apricot|jalapeno|shallot|honey|yogurt

Not one to usually order order a salad - regardless of where I am - this came highly recommended from my waiter and for good reason. Well balanced, great acidity - great color - this was a great, well balanced (and light!) starter, with no superfluous ingredients. The jalepeno provided a subtle bit of heat on the back palate - a trend seen and well executed throughout the meal

Tuna Carpaccio|Black Sesame Puree|Daikon|Asian Pear|Pickled Radish|Cilantro|Ginger|Fresno Chile

Usually disappointed with tuna crude/carpaccio dishes outside of NYC - I ordered this to see how the kitchen could turn out a raw fish dish. Sourced from Pacific Seafood daily, the tuna was extremely fresh, and paired great with the pickled components which provided the acidity to cut through the fish - with the deep, earthy characteristics of the black sesame puree. Again, the de-seeded fresno chile provided a backdrop of heat - overall, a well balanced, well-executed dish. I found out that every night - whatever daily allocation of sashimi grade tuna that doesn't get ordered/served during service - ends up in the Nicoise salad in the breakfast/lunch hours

Garlic and Paprika Shrimp| Housemade Cucumber Kimchi|fried unripe tomato|lemon

I think I slightly struggled with this dish primarily due to the diversion from the trends of the first two plates. This dish, which seemingly combines Spanish and Korean influences, felt somewhat out of place in terms of menu design. Those totally insignificant issues aside - the dish still was very tasty - with the shrimp taking the forefront with an aggressive garlic/paprika dusting - and the slightly spicy kimchi backdrop. While the flavors here are strong and have a lot of promise - I thought the dish was missing a sauce to tie the ingredients together and while the cucumbers were fine - I think calling them "kimchi" set unfair expectations. Still, it tasted fine - and I think with a few minor tweaks, this could be a really successful dish, especially considering the restaurant is only a few days old

Hudson Valley Duck|Apple Saffron Emulsion|Braised Red Cabbage

A strong, high quality duck dish - I would have preferred a slightly crispier skin and a little more seasoning - but I'm likely splitting hairs. This is a high quality piece of duck - perfectly rendered down - for an extremely reasonable price.

They were offering 10% off for the first week so my total bill was only $57.00 (unbelievable considering portion sizes and quality) This is going to be a great addition to JC and to me - is a place I'll likely go a few times a month since I live 5 minutes away. Best of luck to the chefs and owners!

Nov 12, 2014
gwh912 in New Jersey

Cosme Dinner Reviews

Plates are definitely small considering prices. Some dishes moreso than others. The mussels tostada as an example was difficult to even split two ways (basically each of us got a bite or so)

Nov 10, 2014
gwh912 in Manhattan

Cosme Dinner Reviews

So, with work and such, I've been on a chowhound break for awhile (I know, terrible excuse) but looking forward to getting involved in the daily boards again.

Friend and I went to Cosme, and ordered almost the whole menu, and thought I'd share thoughts.

I had arrived on the early side, along with 5-6 patrons outside looking in, as the front of the house prepared for 6pm service. Sat at the bar waiting for my friend, enjoying, to my estimation, well made cocktails (not listed online, and I didn't take notes, but believe the best of the bunch I tried was the Striptease).

Will keep notes quick and easy. I will say - while some of the dishes were not revelatory (especially those with lack of seasoning or acid), I think the kitchen is coming out with some great glimpses ofhigh-end cooking, and with some time, should be a great addition to the lackluster Mexican food scene we have in NYC.

Must Orders:

Cobia al Pastor, Pineapple, Cilantro
Sliced Raw Hamachi, Fermented Serrano, Black Limes
Smoked White Ayacote Beans, radish, charred cucumber
Husk Meringue, Corn Mousse

Mussel tostada, russian salad, chipotle mayonnaise 12

While touted as one of the signature dishes (at least from our waiter and a few Yelpers that had gone prior), we found this a little bland. In theory, it should work and the flavors aren't bad - but it was missing some "pop" from the plate for our liking and didn't stand out amongst other, more flavorful dishes

Sliced raw hamachi, fermented serrano, black limes 19

This, on the other hand, was a great and simple dish. Done sashimi style, the fermented serrano made the dish, and was a refreshing starter with great depth of flavor.

Scallops, wasabi, cucumber, jicama, lime 18

Another good dish, although not as strong as the hamachi to our estimation. Still, simple, light, and extremely fresh Scallops provide a great entry to the rest of the meal.

Smoked sepia, salsa mexicana 17

The sepia is long, pasta like strands, this was an interesting dish texturally and provided nice contrast to the other raw crude preps.

Mushroom barbacoa, chilpachole 22

Served with fresh tortillas, we found the chilpachole again lacking enough punch to carry the dish. While I tend to love anything in a fresh tortilla, we both found the sauce to be kinda bleh and missing the seasoning/acid to stand out.

Smoked white ayocote beans, radish, charred cucumber 14

Both of us - believe it or not - felt this salad was the strongest dish of the night. Perfect balance, with the mixed greens at the top, and the smoked ayocote beans providing great earthiness and depth, it was a perfect "salad" with a different spin.

Burrata and weeds 22

My dining companion enjoyed this more than me - but no doubt, it was high quality burrata with "weeds" (almost like a salsa verde). Not much to it, and probably best suited as a starter with the raw crudo, it was extremely fresh and accomplished what it set out to do. I found it out of place with the rest of the food, but to each his own.

Cobia al pastor, pineapple, cilantro 22

Another favorite - this taco really succeeded where the mushroom did not. Great depth of flavor - plus I'm a sucker for the al pastor style, this is another must-order

Lobster pibil sope, chorizo, black beans 24

Yes - the lobster was fresh - and it was served with fresh tortillas, but the black beans were gut-sticking heavy. It was a very heavy-handed prep, IMHO, that did nothing to the lobster except make the dish feel heavy and dated. Not a strong entree. Least favorite dish of the night.

Duck Carnitas Tacos for 2 - 44

Served a full duck, this is a lot of food. It is, though, a rather simple prep, with some onions on top, and a sauce (can't remember) on the side. The tacos were fine, but for a large format dish - we, and the table next to us, both felt it needed a little work and wasn't anything revelatory, although perfectly "fine". Make sure to use the sauce to avoid the duck feeling too dry in the taco (we neglected to realize this until about halfway through)

Husk meringue, corn mousse 12

This dessert was delicious! My dining companion thought it needed lime zest or something in the custard, but I think it'd be splitting hairs. A great finish to a meal with ups and downs - but with lots of promise.

Nov 09, 2014
gwh912 in Manhattan

Volver - First impressions

I didn't see him either.

May 05, 2014
gwh912 in Philadelphia

Why isn't Jungsik receiving more attention?

I agree. Our second time there, the captain had a bottle of champagne waiting for us at the table by the window in the quieter, smaller room. Last time I was there, a buddy and I had some of the Armand Rousseau on the menu, and were amazed of how attentive/interested the sommelier was in how we liked it, as well as remembering what we had ordered our last few times there off the list.

Food is always stellar, but the service keeps us coming back

May 04, 2014
gwh912 in Manhattan

Volver - First impressions

Honestly, its hard to say. My wife and I tend to be quick eaters (we did 41 degrees in Barcelona in just over 2.5 hours), and we were finished in just about 1.5. I think they read us perfectly though and timed our pacing accordingly and given their efforts towards great service, I'd be surprised if they rushed you out in an unreasonable time. It should bear mention that there was plenty of room for other diners when we were there at 5:15pm and left just before 7pm.

Apr 29, 2014
gwh912 in Philadelphia

Volver - First impressions

I agree - at the pre-theater price point, I think its a definite go. Having tried the pre-theater (and as you can see above, thoroughly enjoying it....) I am still hesitant to do the full performance especially considering only 3-4 courses. I usually always go for the longest menu , but I think in this case, for the price point, the shorter is where the value is....my two cents

Apr 29, 2014
gwh912 in Philadelphia

Volver - First impressions

My wife and I went to Volver for the pre-theater menu ($75 per + 20%) since she had some finals the next day and didn't have time for the full performance menu. Space is beautiful, and food for the most part varies from very good to great - though, from a value perspective, I believe the pre-theater menu is the better bet (considering only an additional 3-4 constitute the larger menu)

Prior to our arrival, someone called to go over a few "pre-dining" questions - asking questions like mode of arrival, and if "there was anything they can do to elevate our experience". Nice touch, but lots of uncomfortable silence after we politely said....no, not really? :-)

The one strange element was that we referenced my wife has a dairy allergy, but were then asked again by the captain at service if any dietary restrictions he should be made aware of, at which point we explained the details of her allergy again. No big deal, just some new restaurant "kinks" to work out. We had the same experience with the wine pairing - even though I had the grand wine pairing, and she opted out, they paired the first course with wine, and I figured out when they were attempting to pour her second glass that they were mistaken. Again, little to fret about, and both were handled gracefully.

The service is exceptional, despite the opening kinks, and the restaurant's team has done a wonderful job to train all the staff members. It replicates a true "fine dining" environment, while still remaining somewhat casual (two of the parties when we were there were wearing button down shirts with jeans) The only issue we had was with the ridiculously small wine pours on the tasting - though with complimentary champagne in the beginning for my wife and another wine that the sommelier opted to let her try from the tasting, the best of intentions shone through. The sommelier seemed nervous (we asked which prefecture the sake came from, and she said she wasn't sure but immediately came back with the answer and some additional information which we found not only redeeming but demonstrating a desire to answer our question sincerely and quickly)

Anyway, on to the food. The initial try of small bites was interesting - with some caviar and creme fraiche (good, but nothing out of the ordinary); some cured meets including iberico ham and guanciale (good), and, believe it or not, my favorite dish of the night and one of the best bites I have had all year. Unfortunately, I didn't write down the specifics of how they did it, but it was deviled duck liver mousse, with the mousse piped to look like a yolk, and the "egg white" - well, its not an egg white (IIRC, it had strong citrus notes, but I don't remember the exact prep without having my notes handy) and Pedro Ximenez gel. It was literally the perfect bite.

Tsjiki Market Fish with Horseradish and Green Apple Snow - Very fresh fish, and very tasty, though the prep felt a little "wet" to me with the sauce and the snow, slightly "drowning" the beautiful slabs of fresh fish. Maybe a personal preference and probably splitting hairs as the dish was tasty

Cereal Dish (white asparagus milk with rice flakes, quail eggs, chicken oysters, truffle and thyme marshmallows) - supposedly a play on Lucky Charms, this is the most out there the menu gets, but for some reason, it totally worked for me and was an interesting, tasty and thought provoking take on savory cereal.

Living Garden with goat cheese dirt, pistachio puree, duck skin crumble, almond milk crisps, carrots and curried raisins, looked really dry, but upon combining perfectly worked as a tasty and well balanced salad.

Veta La Palma, with Bomba Rice, Shrimp, Fumet, Espelette, Seasonal Fish and Nasturtium - my favorite entree of the night, the seafood broth base was awesome and made the dish. A more traditional prep, for the most part, than a lot of the prior dishes, but a delicious and super flavorful expression of the type of cuisine you would expect from eating at his other establishments, yet elevated and perhaps bolder in flavor.

Wagyu - Cooked on Embers, Beet Root Puree, Salsa Criolla, Beet Root Crema and Nury Potatoes - Look, the beef was definitely high quality, but it was not the best wagyu prep I've had (personally, felt mine was slightly overdone) and the accompaniments were tasty but I didn't fully understand the whole combination. All in all, steak was still extremely tasty, but I had higher hopes considering the pedigree. I do think the dish has potential and hopefully, the temperature issues will be resolved.

Desserts in my opinion were unremarkable.

All in all, I really liked, but perhaps, did not love, the whole experience. It was quite good, but only two of the dishes (one entree, and one amuse) landed in the amazing category for me. That being said, for $75, I thought it was a great deal all things considered, and believe they will continue to get better and refine the dishes and preps even further. Since the waiter, as well as some other preliminary reviews seem to suggest the best dishes are almost all on the theater menu, I don't know that I would jump for the performance menu and associated pricing, until the restaurant was firing on all cylinders. But do go, book a pre-theater tasting, put away any preconceived notions of the place being too expensive or too "not Philadelphia", and have a great and enjoyable meal