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Anyone want my rez for "What Happens When" @ 8:30pm tonight?

Can't make my reservation tonight and would prefer to give it to someone else rather than simply cancel. The reservation is for two and if you'd like more information about the restaurant you can find it here: http://www.whathappenswhennyc.com/ .

Please contact me at snarls27@yahoo.com if you're interested.

Feb 03, 2011
Snarls in Manhattan

Perfect evening at Tocqueville spoiled by final service

I had almost the exact same experience at Tocqueville a couple months ago. The service was a little strange throughout but the wait for the check was interminable. We did eventually get up and get the captain's attention after 20 minutes. We also witnessed the same scenario play out with a couple who finished while we were dining. The gentleman in that pair was not quite as patient and made a bit of a scene.

Jun 15, 2010
Snarls in Manhattan

Sunnyside Pizzeria

I've stopped by and ordered from Sunnyside Pizzeria several times and have been pretty impressed so far. In an area without a great (or even good) pizza joint this place is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. It's especially nice to have a place where you can grab a decent slice as you step out of the subway (though it looks like it will get competition on the south side of QB judging from a sign now hanging in the former pharmacy that occupied that space).

The only gripe I have with Sunnyside Pizzeria is that the default crust comes with sesame seeds on the outside. We simply ask that they not put the seeds on the crust when we order now but it's something to note if a sesame seed pizza crust ain't your thing.

Jan 22, 2010
Snarls in Outer Boroughs

Aldea - wow (long-ish)

The easy part is the conclusion: I have not been served a better or more enjoyable series of dishes than the ones I enjoyed at Aldea last night. Each bite featured explosions of flavors and textures so complex that I'm having as much reliving them as I did consuming them. It'd be fair to say that I was blown away.

We were seated at the 4 person Chef's table in the rear of the restaurant. The position allowed us a front row seat for what was an entertaining display of the efficient preparation and brilliant cooking of George Mendes and his crew. Many have described Aldea's space as bland or lacking in personality but I'd argue that the austerity is intentional so that the focus is on the food (though even if the walls were aflame the food would overshadow the decor). Regardless, the seating and scene were very nice for our purposes (eating) and I'd highly recommend getting yourself back to the Chef's table if possible.

Ok, the food. We started with the small bites: sea urchin toast, pork belly, Knollcrest egg and Jamon Serrano. The Sea Urchin toast was incredible. The flavor combination of lime, cauliflower and a punch of wasabi complemented the sea urchin's distinct flavor beautifully. The texture of the toast with the sea urchin was a great asset in making up the perfect 3-4 bites. The pork belly is served in three portions, each covered with a razor thin slice of apple atop. The pork was a great mix of fat and rich pork flavor, and the apple - pork combo, while an predictable flavor concept, was smartly crafted. The Serrano and egg, while very tasty, lagged behind in flavor of the urchin and pork belly. On another menu you may come back for the Serrano but here it was simply another bite.

For appetizers we opted for the Shrimp Alinho and Baby Cuttlefish. The flavor of the shrimp is intense in a good way. The first bite is a blast of smoky heat with hints of the more familiar shrimp appetizers garlicky essence. The reaction to the first bite was almost as enjoyable as the dish itself. The bite was followed by the diner sitting back, putting down the fork, smiling and then emitting a deep exhale. Like I said, the flavor is intense. The cuttlefish was also terrific and a complete 180 from the flavors in the shrimp. It's much more subtle and sweet. There was so much going on with the sauce: the squid ink and the lychee and the hint of coconut and the roe, I enjoyed each bit a little bit differently.

For entrees we went with the Arroz de Pato, the hanger steak and the lamb. Enough has been written about the Arroz de pato that I won't spend too much time waxing about the taste but I will say that the dish is worth the hype--the duck cracklings alone are worth a visit. Mr. Mendes should bag those things and sell them like pork rinds. The steak was perfectly prepared and exhibited a richness of flavor you always hope to get out of a hanger but rarely receive. The lamb dish was tender and delicious but the pear accent really made the dish unique and memorable.

The desserts were laughably delicious. The Sonhos (airy, donut-like balls of goodness) include three dipping sauces but could be eaten alone. They are "that donut dessert" that so many have tried finally executed the way you'd hoped. The chocolate passion and especially the caramel parfait are terrific desserts. Like other dishes on the menu that could be described as excellent, these dessert dishes would star on a dessert menu that did not feature such a sterling dessert like the Sonhos.

The wine list was good if not a little predictably Iberian (it just doesn't match-up to the menu's imagination). The service was solid and knowledgeable, also very patient with the more than several menu questions we had. I can understand why some people may describe the service as slow or deliberate but pace fit the meal. After finishing a dish I needed a minute to get my bearings and reflect on what just happened.

Lastly, when you make a reservation at a place with buzz you hope for good food and a memorable experience. I've had many a great meal in my ten years in NYC. I've never had a more memorable night of eating.

Jan 14, 2010
Snarls in Manhattan

Whym Review (long-ish)

I don't know if anything's changed in the kitchen but we overheard that the front of the house changed and the restaurant was being managed (at least in part) by someone new. The new management was glad-handing many of the guests.

Again, this was my first trip to Whym and as much as I enjoyed the meal (and we really did enjoy it) I wanted to convey that I thought it worthy of note that such a place exists for theater goers.

I can't speak to brunch but if you're in the area and are in the mood for meatloaf, I'd highly recommend it.

Apr 10, 2009
Snarls in Manhattan

Whym Review (long-ish)

It's always seemed to me that the pre-theater / Broadway / Lincoln Center / 9th avenue food arena was lacking something. Call it a lack of originality or authenticity or what have you but in that area of town I always struggle to find a place to eat that features interesting food with a non-stuffy atmosphere and non back-breaking prices. Well, I think I've found it in Whym and I can't wait to go back.

To start, if you've been to Whym previously, the place is completely renovated. They expanded into the neighboring store to create a fairly sizable dining area. The new setup features a nice and well lit bar area with several booths and a couple high tops. The decor would be best characterized as fairly modern / hip (take that for what it's worth from someone who is decidedly unhip) filled with browns, yellows and oranges. The atmosphere was energetic but not frenetic. The view from outside the restaurant gives the feeling that the inside is uncomfortably bright (the restaurant beams like a beacon on the fairly unassuming block) but once seated the light and ambience is decidedly more pleasant.

Our service was terrific. We sat after the theater rush (around 7:45), so my take will probably not be quite as helpful to those looking for pre-theater take, but hopefully it gives some helpful insight. Our server was prompt with drink orders and food orders and was very helpuful in navigating the eclectic menu options. No complaints whatsoever about service.

The food: fantastic. The menu being so diverse and in some places unique I was a little wary of the quality of food. I mean when one sees a "Chipotle Meatloaf" on the menu you have to be a little concerned that menu is meant to shock more than deliver. But deliver it did. We started with the Calamari with sweet chili sauce. The sauce had a little more heat than a sweet and sour sauce and a little more tang. The calamari was much meatier than your run of the mill appetizer calamari. I might have suggested less sauce or that the sauce be on the side but that it wasn't overdone more than I personally prefer a light dusting of sauce on my calamari. We also order the crab ravioli with brie, asparagus, sweet corn and basil butter sauce. The ravioli was perfectly cooked, the sauce was a great compliment and overall it was a very good appetizer.

The main courses at our table included the aforementioned Chipotle Meatloaf with sauteed spinach, vermont cheddar, mashed potatoes and double smoked bacon-mushroom gravy (2 orders, in fact), Grilled Marinated Shrimp with bosc pear and brie quesadilla and avocado ginger salsa, and the Pan-Seared Mahi Mahi with pineapple-vegetable stir fry. I ordered the meatloaf in what was my first foray into restaurant meatloafing (for lack of a better phrase). I'm not sure I even liked meatloaf before I ordered this but after eating the Chipotle Meatloaf I could eat meatloaf for the rest of my life and be happy. The dish is not heavy but it is not light either. The cheddar-potato mash and bacon gravy made the dish. The chipotle flavor gives the loaf a distinct spiciness that is offset well by the mild flavors in the gravy and mash. I loved this dish so much that I wanted to sit and wait to become hungry again so I could order seconds. The marinated shrimp quesadillas got rave reviews from our party though I did not personally try them. The Mahi Mahi was perfectly cooked and a very light dish in contrast to the loaf that I devoured. I usually prefer a creamier sauce with my fish but the light acid of the pineapple was a great compliment to the Mahi's flavor. Overall our table was more than satisfied with our orders.

After a delicious meal we begrudgingly ordered a couple desserts to share for the table. And as good as the entrees were, the desserts were better. The desserts at Whym were so good that it's worth going just to sit at the bar, order a drink and order dessert. We ordered the Cranberry Cheesecake with nilla wafer-mint crust and cranberry compote. We also ordered the "S'Mores-Wich". I loved the cheesecake but the S'Mores-Wich almost brought me to tears it was so good. It was a perfectly comprised mass of gooey chocolate covered soft graham crackery shell with a melted marshmellowy middle. I realize that this description doesn't necessarily use words recognized by Oxford's English but I'm not sure I have the vocabulary to properly describe how much I enjoyed it. The desserts were quite simply well done.

In terms of pre-theater dining options, most places fall within a range of helplessly contrived to the overdone (and overpriced) with a few terrific options mixed in for those in-the-know. I gladly add Whym to the mix and invite anyone with the guts to try it to enjoy the wide variety of options they have to offer. Lastly, don't miss the S'More. I can't emphasize that enough.

Apr 10, 2009
Snarls in Manhattan

Halal Carts in NYC

I need to throw the guys who run the Pakiza Halal cart on Park Place & Broadway (near City Hall) into this discussion.

The cart has only been in the area for a couple months but it has developed a very loyal following and rightly so. The chicken on a pita is outstanding. I'd rank it the best in the city, but given that I have only tasted a dozen or so carts you can take my ranking for what it's worth. Regardless, the Pakiza cart is a welcome addition to our hood and I'd recommend it to anyone stuck down here for jury duty or whatever other reason you may be in the area.

Feb 06, 2009
Snarls in Manhattan

Sunnyside - The Fruitless Search For A Decent Slice of Pizza

Though I'm not 100% sold yet, my search for a decent slice may be fruitless no longer. The pizza served at Mediterraneo on 46th St. and Queens Blvd is BY FAR the best I've had in the area. I've tried them now half a dozen times and they have yet to disappoint. Great crust, decent sauce and consistent performance with what appears to be REAL mozzarella cheese! The pizza is still not quite as good as some of the better places near where I lived in Manhattan, but compared to its competitors it is terrific. I've also begun experimenting with their pasta menu and while I prefer Donato's, Mediterraneo is not bad and features pretty much any italian option you could imagine.

I'll keep on looking and hoping that a very good pizza place sets up shop in our hood, but for now I am very comfortable suggesting that those still looking give Mediterraneo a try.

Mediterraneo
4621 Queens Blvd
(718) 433-1100‎

Oct 21, 2008
Snarls in Outer Boroughs

Sunnyside Salads

My wife-to-be just moved in and was wondering where she could pick up a "make your own salad" in our neighborhood. Off the top of my head I couldn't think of any place. Does anyone have a suggestion? Thanks.

Aug 25, 2008
Snarls in Outer Boroughs

Sunnyside - The Fruitless Search For A Decent Slice of Pizza

22 months into my stay here in Sunnyside and I have relatively few complaints. The variety of solid food choices in the area is amongst the best in the city. The Mexican food in particular is excellent from De Mole to Los Vagabundos (aka the 41st Taco truck). And it is because of these great choices that one could overlook the fact that the neighborhood is wont of perhaps the most basic staple of the food delivery circuit. Unfortunately I have reached my breaking point and I can hold my tongue no longer: I want a good slice of pizza in Sunnyside and I want it now.

The pizza options in Sunnyside are as plentiful as they are horrible, and I've tried them all: Marabella, Donatos, Skillman's famous (infamous), Rosario's, Gabriella's, La bella, Lentini and even the sloopy mess that the cafeteria formerly known as the Cheesesteak Factory produced. What's amazing about all of these options is that they all share the same deficiency, namely the sauce. The sauce, in almost every instance, is "sweet," and not in a good way. It is as if eveyr pizza place in Sunnyside buys its sauce from the same wholesaler (there is no way they make this stuff themselves). This wholesaler must be blackmailing all of them (or is run by the mob) because the sauce is horrible and the complaints are many (just do a search for Sunnyside and pizza and you'll see what I mean). The pizzas also generally lack any rigidity and are sometimes undercooked, but the consistent flaw in every pie is the sauce. It's very troubling and something must be done.

So in finishing this rant I have come up with two optionss for anyone who chooses to read this: 1. Suggest a pizza place in the greater Sunnyside area that offers pizza that can even be considered palatable (traditional pizza only as opposed to "Mexican Pizzas" or "Turkish Pizza," though I do love both). I am willing to try anything within delivery range (as far east as 55th, north to 37th, west to 33rd and south to 50th). I will only try the place based on positive personal experiences; and 2. Open your own pizza place in Sunnyside. You will make a killing. I have honestly considered speaking with the proprietors of a couple of my old favorites from Manhattan and funding or franchising one of them in Sunnyside (the former Cheesesteak Factory or the old Korean place between the church and CVS being my two locations of choice). Unfortunately I have no experience in making pizza or managing a pizza place so the idea flamed out rather quickly. From what I understand this problem has gone on far too long. It is time for change and the benefits to all are almost limitless.

Please help. Sunnyside needs you.

Apr 30, 2008
Snarls in Outer Boroughs

Avalon, NJ Rehearsal Dinner

I'm getting married in the greater Avalon area and was wondering if anyone had any ideas about where I could have a rehearsal dinner. We'd prefer to stay in Avalon if possible (people are staying in and around the Golden and Windthrift Inns) and will have about 30ish people for the dinner. We've got a few ideas but nothing stands out as of yet.

Sep 09, 2007
Snarls in Mid-Atlantic

Sunnyside Fresh Fruit (or any produce)

4 months into my time in Sunnyside and I've yet to find any spot that offers good fresh fruit or produce. Do you folks have any suggestions on where I can find some?

Dec 28, 2006
Snarls in Outer Boroughs

New to Sunnyside. Need info about EVERYTHING.

One month down and here's what I have...

De Mole (formerly El Jarro) is probably the best Mexican food I've had in the city. Unbelievable takeout and they are more than willing to mix some ingredients up upon request. Great Guacamole and the best quesadillas I've had. Everything comes with pico de gallo (as the lord intended) and I just don't have a bad thing to say. I'm looking forward to heating up a Burrito when i get home tonight in fact.

Butcher's Block is great. Their "pre-prepared" food is perfect for my schedule and I've enjoyed cooking and eating everything from the gaelic chicken to the stuffed pork chops. Freshest food I've seen in the city.

Haven't really found a great pizza place yet, though if I had to pick one I'd say that Skillman's Famous is probably the best I've had. Still, there were 4 places within spitting distance of my manhattan apt that were better.

Bagels have been a disappointment but Alpha Donuts has a decent breakfast sandwich and the Rose Restaurant and the Diner on the 40th and QB have delicious breakfast food.

Baruir is a nice change of pace from the deli and DD coffee I'd become used to.

Not real impressed with NY Style Eats but the convenience of having that menu available is great.

Haven't ventured out to Quaint, Bliss or Sapori D'Ischia but I do plan on it. I've actually had decent success with Chinese though I must admit that I'm not all that picky and could live on Sweet & Sour Chicken alone.

That's all I have for now but i'll report back soon. I'm heading to PJ Horgan's for a burger this weekend. Hope it lives up to the hype!

Oct 10, 2006
Snarls in Outer Boroughs

New to Sunnyside. Need info about EVERYTHING.

Thanks again everyone. I have my first free non-unpacking weekend coming up and I look forward to trying everything out.

Sep 20, 2006
Snarls in Outer Boroughs

New to Sunnyside. Need info about EVERYTHING.

Thanks. This will be a huge help. I'm definitely looking forward to checking out the Turkish places near me. The one thing I haven't seen in this post (or others) is a decent place for Italian food. I know of Sapori D'Ischia, but I'm looking for some decent Pasta to order in as the weather turns south. Has anyone been to Dazie's? And do they deliver?

Sep 18, 2006
Snarls in Outer Boroughs

New to Sunnyside. Need info about EVERYTHING.

So I just moved to Sunnyside and haven't had a chance to explore all that much but was wondering if people have advice on where I can get some good food. Importantly I'm looking for good pizza, good Italian (both delivery and dining), bagels (bacon, egg & cheese), mexican delivery... and just about anything else you can think of. Thanks!

P.S. To pass along some info of my own, don't eat at the Cheesesteak Factory unless your idea of a good time is spending an afternoon on the toilet.

Sep 17, 2006
Snarls in Outer Boroughs