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S R's Profile

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E.A.T. - Never Again

About 30 years ago, I walked into a new "deli" at the southeast corner of 72nd and Madison in the opulent chateau that currently houses Ralph Lauren. On offer were skinny string beans for $10 a pound while fat string beans, for maybe 29 cents a pound in those days, were on offer at the Gristede's up the block. I didn't buy those "haricots verts" but I've never forgotten their price nor the name of the establishment: E.A.T. Eli (and Theresa) Zabar had introduced foodie requisites at New York prices.
For probably 20 years, I never felt the need to return, but then I was served some of the seafood salad from the place, which was delicious enough to cause me to revisit the question of how much I could possibly spend on a sandwich or a salad or four ounces of Parmesan Crisps. The answer is still plenty, but on occasion I am willing to do it, because the seafood salad (maybe $50 a pint), the chicken salad (less expensive, but not cheap), brioche loaf, Tuscan bread salad, and vanilla-perfumed bread pudding -- my personal picks -- are impeccable and, to my knowledge, unequalled elsewhere in this city. The cloth napkins are nice touch, too, when having a $25 turkey sandwich.
So I offer so far the only defense of the place in this string, as well as a few provisos: the place is ugly, the seating is uncomfortable, the service is often crappy, and the surroundings are unhealthy to those prone to sticker-shock. Viand does a cheaper turkey club ($13.95, I think) two block south, and countless other places are nicer to look at (try take-out). Still, credit where due: criticism of E.A.T. was loud and clear when it opened, yet some three decades on it survives.

Feb 20, 2008
S R in Manhattan

Seeking top spots in Long Beach, Newport Beach

For a wedding and other family gatherings, we'll be out to Long Beach and Newport Beach for a week or so in September and are eager to know the top picks in both towns these days (haven't been in 15 years). Criteria are minimal: one of us is a vegetarian who eats some fish (specifically salmon, trout, and tuna); we like fine dining, particularly at lunch, and generally smaller, lighter meals at dinner. Price is not a consideration, and all cuisines are welcome, with a particular yen for the kind of California cooking not available in NY. Any ideas? Thanks.

Feb 06, 2008
S R in Los Angeles Area

Turkish Kitchen on 27th and 3rd

I was a long-time partisan of Turkish Kitchen and would still go there except that I've found Ali Baba nearby, which I now find to be the best Turkish restaurant I've ever been to. The menu is more varied than Turkish Kitchen's, the staff is more pleasant, and the food is far better. Even though TK's food is very good, the Baba's is superlative.
Tarabia, a newcomer on the west side of First Avenue between 58th and 59th, I now rank second to Ali Baba and above all others, including its nearby competitors, Taksim and Sip Sak. Furthermore, the welcome is delightful. Give it a try as they are just starting up. Manhattan has never had so many worthy Turks.

Jan 26, 2008
S R in Manhattan

Best Cheesesteak in Manhattan?

I thought Carl's was very disappointing. I tried 99 Miles to Philly in the EV about a week ago and thought the cheesesteak was very good. Still, the best sandwich in town in my opinion is the Roast Pork Italian (with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone) at Shorty's (the erstwhile Tony Luke's). It is as good as Tony Luke's ever was, and the environs, including the Ninth Avenue boozers, are considerably more congenial.

Jan 26, 2008
S R in Manhattan

Thick Malted Milkshakes

I think it's on the southwest corner of 83rd and Lex.

Jul 19, 2007
S R in Manhattan

Mille Crepe

Bar Masa in the Time Warner Center also has the green tea mille crepes by the slice -- superb.

Jun 28, 2007
S R in Manhattan

Your personal 20 most visited restaurants (share them!)

On any given week, I'll probably visit 3 or 4 of these:

Ali Baba (E 34th St)
Aquavit Cafe
Bar Masa
Cacio e Pepe
Cafe Gray
Cafe Mingala
Cafe Sabarsky
Candle 79

Runners-up: Barney Greengrass, Maroons, Tulcingo del Valle

Jun 23, 2007
S R in Manhattan

Inexpensive French?

Le Tableau, 511 E 5th, betw Aves A and B. Main courses ~$18-$25. Absolutely delicious, with genuine French saveur, and Moroccan accents to boot.

Jun 18, 2007
S R in Manhattan

Cold Summetime Ramen

This is Men Kui Tei, 60 W 56. My preference for ramen, but I haven't had the hiyashi.

Jun 18, 2007
S R in Manhattan

good meat/butcher in midtown east?

The name of the butcher is L. Simchick, at 944 First Avenue. The meat is fantastic, and the service is even better. Worth crossing the entire city to get to.

May 16, 2007
S R in Manhattan

Vegetarian Options in N.O.

I'll be traveling from New York to New Orleans in early February with -- I'm serious here -- a vegetarian chowhound, who has a great palate and does eat a FEW fish (namely salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, and trout). I'd appreciate any suggestions for outstanding restaurants, particularly Creole and Cajun ones, that handle vegetarian requests well.

As for my tastes, my two favorite restaurants are Galatoire's and Upperline, but I've also had wonderful meals at Artesia, Brennan's, Brigtsen's, The Grill Room (Kevin Graham era), K-Paul's, and Victor's (Frank Brunacci era); wonderful bites at Casamento's, Domilise's, Cafe du Monde, Morning Call, Mother's, and Napoleon House; and wonderful memories of Camellia Grill, Lafitte's Landing, Mandina's, and Uglesich's.

Carry on, New Orleans! We all need you.

Jan 15, 2007
S R in New Orleans