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Help finding waterfront restaurant, 60 people, great food?

Does anyone have opinions on Raven and the Peach?

Or David Burke Fromagerie?

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David Burke Fromagerie
26 Ridge Road, Rumson, NJ 07760

Jun 17, 2010
FazaMonster in New Jersey

Help finding waterfront restaurant, 60 people, great food?

Alright, great, will put it on the list. Thank you.

Jun 17, 2010
FazaMonster in New Jersey

Help finding waterfront restaurant, 60 people, great food?

I would book Whispers but the owner/manager is an asshole. I'm now looking for replacements.

Jun 17, 2010
FazaMonster in New Jersey

Help finding waterfront restaurant, 60 people, great food?

The food's good? When were you there last, and what did you get?

How was the service?

Jun 17, 2010
FazaMonster in New Jersey

Help finding waterfront restaurant, 60 people, great food?

What I'm actually looking for is an alternative to Whispers - the owner won't call me back so I won't be able to book there. It's a top-rated (for the area) food spot that happens to be on a very pretty lake.

I'm a little desperate and looking for alternatives. There's lots of ocean that would work, and a few more lakes, and hopefully some of the places have good food? Worth-driving-2-hours for good. Any traditional western cuisine - french, american, italian.

We're very open on location. Our date (in august) is set. I'll call to check availability, but could any of you make recommendations, please?

The ideal place is not tacky, near (if not on) the ocean or a lake, maybe it has light colors and high ceilings in the room that's meant to fit 60-ish people, and the food is unobjectionable if not to-die-for good.

All recommendations appreciated.

Jun 17, 2010
FazaMonster in New Jersey

ISO Feedback on Spina

I used to live on 11th, back when spina was panificio.

I'm definitely a fan of the change. They replaced the fresh pastry and baked goods display (SADLY) with a pasta nook where they hand-make some real treats. Everything i've had has been good.

It's also very affordable - the markup is on the wine.

While you're in alphabet city, I'd also like to recommend Fu Sushi. It's my favorite. You won't find anything better for the price.

Sep 02, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

RW chanterelle?

nevermind, opentable was wrong - chanterelle isn't doing RW

Jul 27, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

RW chanterelle?

my 5 friends and were discussing a strategy for RW ... try someplace grand and be happy for a tiny taste (and plan to eat later) OR try someplace where your $35 would otherwise almost cover your meal, so that you're less teased and less treated like a "tourist"

I have only done RW once (last week, actually), and it was somewhat embarrassing for the restaurant (they clearly had the B-string [putting it generously] serving and hosting), the food was almost insulting (not bad, but almost laughable) and we couldn't even get our preferred reservation time ... not to mention we dressed for the place and found everyone around us wearing jeans

if anything, that experience spurred me on to try RW again...

so....

i was thinking of chanterelle ... we've never been there, we would be content with a taste rather than a gorging, and i presume the service must be of the highest standards

other options are appreciated, but i'm really curious about whether chanterelle could turn this whole thing around for me/us

i suppose what would resolve all this is: what can you really get for a $35 promo at a place that's normally 4x that much?

we also considered:
four seasons
delmonico's
expanding french vs steak to french vs steak vs japanese

thanks, all

Jul 27, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

EMP Gourmand Menu vs. Per Se -- which do you prefer?

I hope you have a wonderful time!

I have recently tried both menus you mention and prefer EMP over Per Se. I thought the service and the experience were better at Per Se, but for food, EMP was the winner.

The heirloom tomato course at EMP had several stages: the globes were wonderful, the foam was not. It strikes me as most memorable because I still can't understand how I had a ball of tomato soup. It's boggling.

EMP also had the only mistake of the two meals: the strawberry champagne pre-desert was too acidic. I was not pleased.

The fois gras at EMP was not as good as that of Per Se. The lobster course at each place was, of course, divine, but it was also strangely equal in my mind. Per se might have the edge, but if I had to choose right now I would take EMP's. The lamp at EMP was significantly better than the veal at Per Se (the centerpieces of the tasting menus if you're a carnivore as I am).

And for the smaller courses, Per Se offered a bit of sashimi while EMP offered that wonderful sea urchin cappuccino, the frogs legs, and while they both offered caviar, in my mind it cancels out and on balance, EMP won.

I wish you the best!

Jul 24, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

Aquavit - oops...

Tried the 3course RW menu. Party of 4 on a rainy Thursday night. We had reservations.

The Herring sampler was fine. Easily the best thing of the night, but not worth a trip back.

The salmon was the same as any other salmon. I suppose that by choosing RW to visit Aquavit Cafe, i became a beggar and not a chooser.

The meatballs were plain, as though a fifth-grader had pounded some meat together and forgotten seasonings.

The arctic circle was quite good, but again, it was just goat cheese made into cheesecake with a touch of sweet.

The worst and most disappointing piece of the affair was that the staff let down the magic curtain, the 4th wall - I was not dining in a place that tried to welcome me, I was sitting in a diner with a waitress who was happy to bring me any of the dishes she didn't understand either.

We were surrounded by people in jeans.

We were the last to leave. We received coupons for $24 off our next visit, if it should fall within August. We left them on the table.

Jul 24, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

question popped, Per Se enjoyed, etc...

Hi all!

Thanks for all the love over on my old thread from 3 weeks ago (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6281...). Wanted to tell you all it went down very well and I was hoping to share my food experience at Per Se.

To start, the service was truly world-class. I showed up in pants spoiled by mud on one knee, my now-fiance came in still red-in-the-face and trembling slightly (this was about an hour after the moment, but still, it really lingers...) and we were greeted like royalty - my heads' up really paid off. They doted on us with champagne and all sorts of offerings as we sat in the salon (we arrived a little early). They won us over quickly, to say the least. We were escorted to a corner table at the top left of the steps, looking down on the park and rubbing against each other on the sofa.

I kept my camera on the pillow next to me and snapped photos of most of the courses. You can see them at http://fazamonster.wordpress.com/2009... . I have to warn you that these photos are closer to food pornography than a truly artful depiction of the night's courses: exploitative angles, unromantic proximity, and shoddy production (look at how the ambient light ranges from white to yellow - thanks, Picnik!).

So onto the meal itself...

The gruyere balls got the ball rolling - wonderful tastes.

The salmon cornettes were reminiscent of a party dip. A nice treat, but a bit of a one-liner. It's great we only got 1 each. We appreciated the slow start.

The sashimi was delightful. I admit it caught me off guard to have chopsticks and sake (which had the best story! The sake was collected in a vat in the igloo of an eskimo, droplet by droplet as it seeped from a sack of individually-polished grains of rice ... wow, how j-peterman!). It's a french/american place, right? What if we weren't huge sushi people? Oh well...

The foie gras was as rich and delicate as one would hope, and paired with figs it's hard to say anything bad - so i won't - but I enjoyed Daniel a bit more in the foie gras department, but Per Se beat EMP in turn so ... to each, his own.

Lobster mitts were next, and just the word "mitts" elicits the fact that this is the meatiest bit of the best part (da craw, da craw!) - and it did not disappoint. I noticed that despite being "butter poached" there was no butter in the dish (other than what the lobster had absorbed) - it was all creamed corn! Fascinating! I LOVE corn! This course was my personal standout, and left me wishing for more.

Next was the duck with peach/turnip/watercress trimmings, and again, so hard to fault I can't think of a thing except the turnips were slightly flat in taste for me. That's an observation and not at all a criticism - i wouldn't necessarily wish them otherwise.

The veal was fine, but somehow failed to raise up to the level of the other courses. Can't put my finger on it, but it simply failed to burst off the plate in the four or five bites it had the chance.

The cheese course was the only actual complaint i might have. Melba's fine by me, but there was something out of place with a block of cheese sitting on a plate like that. And it wasn't just presentation, it seemed like a throwaway course. Don't get me wrong, it was high quality and it fit with the rest of the meal and I enjoyed it, but at the same time i felt as though the dish had come from another restaurant. There wasn't even a fun little story from the staff, they just gave us some cheese. I don't know, maybe the lesson is you can't have it all (especially if you don't know what you're looking for or what you're missing).

The sorbet was a little too sweet for us at first blush, but we paced it more slowly and let it thrill us. The cherry praline treat was far better than the blueberry sorbet.

Then came the legendary/infamous doughnut. I can see what's meant by others who've said it would be gimmicky to return too often to be greeted by the same doughnut after a meal. It was also just simply a fresh doughnut, no different from one at the famer's markets except it was warmed. Again, not a complaint - it was more like a 'garnish' to the real deserts. And the mud pie was a very straightforward dance of chocolates. Some something might have helped - i couldn't keep myself from wishing for a hint of orange in there, but maybe that's the plight of the spoiled child.

Bottomline: an amazing experience, but for a touch over the four-figure mark, i don't feel it will quite make my go-to list of restaurants. Maybe all foodies should go once, perhaps not.

I hope my words and pictures help others feel out the experience. (Again, sorry about how poor some of the pics are - was too anxious to start eating!)

Jul 08, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

popping the question, just need a setting

WELL!

It sure rained a hell of a lot on thursday. After the last shower (6:40-7:10 ish), we hopped a cab up to the gardens in the park (around 105th & 5th) and walked around. Had the place to ourselves. Found a fun little spot (my secret) and told her that since it was her birthday, she deserved a cupcake and a wish. Made her close her eyes (and turn around..she peeks) while i fiddled with the ... candle ... and I let her make her wish. When she opened her eyes, I was down in the mud with a ring, and she stood there dumbfounded and shaking and smiling and crying and that was our moment, in a nutshell.

Had a little cooling off time, made some calls, and popped in a cab for the ride down to columbus circle. We went in and up, the whole time without her knowing quite where we were going. Through the sliding glass doors and she froze! What a moment...

We were greeted with champagne and taken to our table up on top of the steps, overlooking the park. I feel this thread became more about the above than the food, but I *am* compelled to share my experience, so i'll make another thread with that review. In short, the night was just what we'd hoped.

Thanks for all the tips and pointers and well-wishes, folks!

Jul 06, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

Really good lemon bars?

Black Hound on 2nd ave across from the church (think that's E10th) - nextdoor-ish to Liquiteria.

Wonderful lemon bars, but as I'm only a casual indulger I can't say if they're the best or what.

Fresh? Definitely. Try the apple pie there, take it home and warm it up. It's superlative. Serves two or three.

Jul 02, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

popping the question, just need a setting

Going to skip the picnic meal with the ground guaranteed to be all wet ... it was raining in midtown a bit ago, and as I write, the sun's peaking through, but I'm going to count on a light stroll through the gardens instead.

In answer to your question: YES! She'll share it with me and we'll both have spicy-meat breath. Not today, I'm speaking of past experiences. Hey look, I don't judge what quirks you and your sweetie have, you leave us this! ;P

And thank you for your well-wishes, i'll post back next week with my reports!

Jul 02, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

popping the question, just need a setting

Is it typical to celebrate the engagement AND the wedding anniversary? I thought only the latter.

Maybe that shake shack idea's got something to it ... ;)

Jul 02, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

popping the question, just need a setting

That's the only thing I won't need to second-guess.

Jul 02, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

popping the question, just need a setting

I read your critique, and then the many counterpoints praising it. Per Se was the choice because, of all reasons, her now-ex-boyfriend mentioned it was the best place to go in NY. He'd always wanted to take her there but never could. She told me she wanted to go, but not in that "so let's go!" way, but in that "is it even possible?" kind of tone. Since hearing her desire to go there, i've taken her to lots of other places instead, purposely circumnavigating the fact that Per Se would be a double-edged sword.

If it's awful, I win. Because she loved Daniel (and I did too) the most of all the places she's ever been (we went there on valentine's day of this year) and it's like saying my taste is better than his. EXTREMELY PETTY, i know, but what else could be the underbelly of a twenty-something in these 20-somethings?

And if it's great, I still win, because she's been happier with me in these last two years than she ever thought she could be (and vice versa) - it's like saying I was the only one who could follow through with her happiness. EXTREMELY SAPPY, i know, but what else could you expect from the children of divorced baby-boomers?

I'm trying to pick out a place for lunch for sunday, preferably something exquisite *and* outdoors, if such a thing is possible - or at least in a bright, sunny space. EMP i ended up pushing to Monday night (long story), so that's out.

C'mon, GG, tell me what works! =)

Jul 02, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

popping the question, just need a setting

it's TONIGHT!

more like ... meeting in 5 hrs, going to stroll the park in the rain ...

dinner is at 9

at this point i have *NO* idea how it will all go down, what with the fact that it's going to be thunder-storming this whole afternoon/evening

just gonna go with my gut!

Jul 02, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

Top 5 Most Overrated in Manhattan

I'm going to EMP in a few days. If it isn't mediocre, I'll be sure to let you know =P

Jul 02, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

Best Thai in the East Village

I strongly second Holy Basil. Fantastic food and quality service. Any botches during my visits were remedied professionally. Decor is fun too.

Zabb City is forgettable, but they may have the best Tom Ka Gai (and the worst Tom Yum Koong). A good bet if you want to be in and out in 20 minutes, but not as good as Thai on Two...

Thai on Two is a personal favorite of mine. However, it has an inconsistent menu - ex., the Drunken Noodles are always delightful, but the Pad See Ew leaves something to be desired. Service here is always great, but that might be because I stop in regularly.

Holy Basil is king of curry for the East Village. Go, enjoy yourself. Sit in the 'sun room' (it's got dark wood, but it's over the street) if you can.

Jul 01, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

popping the question, just need a setting

Her mom pointed out to me that saving it for the next day might leave her gently disappointed - she might be expecting it. I've actually teased her for over a year that it's silly to 'expect' that she'll be a taken women for every day of her life after turning 27 (maybe 27 and single is too scary?), but she probably knew I was joking and I would have done it sooner except that we have this running gag.

As of now, I'm planning on throwing a tiny picnic (wine, cheeses, maybe we'll split a sandwich - hot sopressata with oil and red pepper is our 'go-to' - and a cupcake) in the afternoon, and I'll propose then. We'd have maybe 4 hours to jump around, make calls, etc etc, and get dressed to head to our dinner reservation.

That's if it's not raining.

If it is, the question will pop as desert concludes. I spoke with Anthony of Per Se and he advised that there's (my words ->) a 3-stage desert which generally ends the meal service and would be very accommodating of our private moment. He said they would be proud to offer us their best table for our engagement dinner, whether or not it starts out as an engagement (whether I propose earlier in the afternoon or there in their restaurant).

I'm really thrilled!

Jun 29, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

New Soft Serve Flavors at Momofuku Milk Bar

i'm going to really miss the twizzlers and fireball flavors ...

Jun 29, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

popping the question, just need a setting

Welp! We're 1 week from the date. Here's an update:

I phoned Per Se after getting a gut feeling that it was just the right spot to go for her birthday. They gave me a reservation for that night, and I can't be happier! I know this is just what she wants, she's mentioned it and I'm glad it's working out.

Moved my EMP reservation to later on in the 'engagement weekend' - figuring the 11-course will be about 3 hours, maybe 4? Can't let a good booking go to waste.

I had a talk with an uncle of mine who mentioned the same thing I've heard before - if you propose at the start of the meal, you might not get to eat ... so i'm thinking what i'll do is i'll just save the actual proposal for the next day. Will pack a picnic and go to the park, and tease her about how her birthday came and went and she doesn't have that ring ... and then throw it at her and say "you win!" and run away. NO! It'll be the same traditional, fairy-tale thing, but in the park. If it's raining, under a gazebo. Then we have dinner plans with her friends and family.

Lots of little events planned for entertainment over the weekend. 3 Great dinners in a row, to boot. Really looking forward to Per Se.

Jun 25, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

popping the question, just need a setting

hahahhahhaa!!!

Jun 22, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

popping the question, just need a setting

Anyone not into the relationship bits, let me simply ask this: EMP vs Jean-Georges, which would you prefer for a romantic dinner? I have been to neither. EMP has an 11-course tasting menu, which sounds like the greatest thing in the world. I take it as a given that Jean-Georges would also be fantastic. This is for 2 weeks from now, but during the week.

Now, for the rest of you - i plan on dropping to one knee before my girlfriend of 2 years on her 27th birthday. I'll ignore the ring-in-champagne-glass stuff; it'll be simple and based on words rather than pranks. I'm looking for a great culinary experience, with just a little bit of help from the ambiance. And hopefully the staff can wrangle a corner table or something. I'll mention my plan when i book.

I DONT want a place where the tables are packed together, where there's a great hum of white noise from all the people stuffed together in the feeding room, or where I can't slip out of my chair without bumping into someone. Typically that's not the case as most high-end spots, but I've been fooled before (see Toqueville, where the only thing high-end is the bill) and am going in blind.

That said, I'm looking at EMP and Jean-Georges. I wanted Per Se but I don't believe they've got a table on our evening. The places we've been in the last 6 months are out because it doesn't feel right to be going "right back" - Bouley, Daniel (lounge would have been perfect), and Four Seasons.

Jun 15, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

Tocqueville - nope! no good!

Went with a date on saturday - valentine's - night. $95pp for the 3-course; I chose the veal appetizer (horrid, flavorless strips with vinegarette-soaked veggies) and the scallops with truffle (tiny portion of boringly pan-seared scallops garnished admittedly well). My desert was a forgettable brownie something-or-other where all the ice cream scoops had melted. No one cares about serving dessert properly here (not a surprise, based on the service otherwise).

My date had the ginger soup to start. It was truly fantastic. Then she had the sirloin, and it was fine. It really isn't hard to do beef. It was a duo with pulled short ribs. Again, not hard to pull short ribs and make a cute little cube. She enjoyed it, and for that I was thankful. Her dessert i've already forgotten.

The cocktail menu was limited. We had 4 between us and we would order none a second time.

The food I would give a C+ overall. Service a C-. Taking price into account, this place earns an F overall.

I am truly, truly frustrated that I "fell for it" with regard to this place. Can I blame the internet? Just myself?

HOW did this place slip into the "top shelf" of nyc eateries, according to most reviews? Why is it in or near the category of places that offer magic for the same prices? Where is the distinguishing mark that helps a potential customer see that this is merely overpriced mediocre dining, rather than a place that offers what they charge? For $95pp, there ought to be SERVICE. We were pointed to a table, pulled it out ourselves, had menus thrust at us, had all plates handed to the wrong person or simply slapped down on the table, and did I mention the food? It was done with smiles and cheer, I confess, but this is NOT mcdonald's! I eat out for quality, not for cold efficiency or to break any time trials!

For the same money, I could have gone to Bouley. Which I mention only because that's where I went on Sunday, and it was a perfect delight.

Feb 17, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

Tocqueville, V-Day '09: no tasting menu?

WHAT A JOKE this place is!

I could not believe I fell for it! I'll write up a proper review shortly.

Feb 16, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

Tocqueville, V-Day '09: no tasting menu?

How true this is. I've learned the hard way. I ended up trying a few other places that were offering dinner and they're doing prix fixes as well.

I'm trying to make up for this with quantity. Doing two other "hotspots" this weekend. We'll survive, I suppose.

Look out next week...

Feb 12, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan

Tocqueville, V-Day '09: no tasting menu?

Hi all, 1st post. Love the site.

I snagged a res for Tocqueville, but have never been there and it seems to be respected if not oft-reported on these boards. When I was telephoned to confirm, I was told there'd be a $95 prix fixes 3-course for dinner. I thanked them and hung up and then got buyer's remorse in advance.

I want a tasting menu! I want to hang out for a while, have the wine paired up, and taste as many things as possible.

Have I made a mistake?

Should I attempt to find a new place, or just sit back and assume they're still offering a solid experience? Honestly, just by the $95pp figure I'm not getting the sense of a feast, which is what I was hoping for; even with a wine pairing this is about 1/2 what I expected to spend. Too good to be true if they're not going to offer me less food than I want, right?

I'm stuck, aren't I?

Feb 12, 2009
FazaMonster in Manhattan