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Eel in Asakusa - which of these restaurants?

Thanks for all your help so far. I originally posted here - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1004355 - and have since secured our Tokyo reservations, which include my top choices of Sawada and Den as well as Dons de la Nature, Fuku, and Sukiyabashi Jiro (since we couldn't get into Saito).

I am now just putting together the last few pieces of our food itinerary.

We will be Asakusa midday and would like to try one of the classic eel restaurants. My research turned up the following 3:

Irokawa
Hatsuogawa
Maekawa

Are these all good, or does one stand out? Am I missing an obvious choice? I imagine these are not reservation restaurants, right?

Thanks so much! We leave in a few weeks.

Jun 17, 2015
ManhattanLawyer in Japan

Lunch spots near Sheraton Downtown Convention Center?

Yes, nsxtasy, I am referring to Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers. Thanks to you and Gonzo both for your recs.

Apr 10, 2015
ManhattanLawyer in Chicago Area

Lunch spots near Sheraton Downtown Convention Center?

I would love recommendations for recommendations nearby that are moderately-priced. Not casual take-away, not too formal/expensive.

Thanks!

Apr 07, 2015
ManhattanLawyer in Chicago Area

Feb '15 Trip Report - Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka & Niseko (Hokkaido)

Thank you for providing such a detailed trip report - so helpful. I've noted a lot of your recs.

You recently weighed in on my thread planning my meals in Japan and because you have eaten at Kitcho and recommended Mitsuyasu (which also sounds wonderful), I was hoping you could weigh in on this question of mine:

Did you sit in a private room at both Kitcho and Mitsuyasu? Is a private room the only option or is there also a "main dining room," so to speak. If the latter, do you advise sitting in a private dining room (for privacy/serenity) or a public one (presumably for interaction with the chef)?

Thanks!

Mar 17, 2015
ManhattanLawyer in Japan

Yet another "Please help me plan my meals" thread - at least I've done some preliminary research!

Thank you so much to everyone who has weighed in so far. I am going to start reaching out to our hotel concierges soon to start discussing reservations. But before I did, I had one more general question with respect to dining in private rooms. It seems like some restaurants offer this (like Kitcho and Mitsuyasu). Does that mean that every party sits in their own private room or that there are some private rooms as well as a "general" room for multiple different parties? If there is an option for a private room, would you suggest doing that or is it preferable to sit in a "main dining room," so to speak?

Mar 17, 2015
ManhattanLawyer in Japan

Repeat foodie-visitor seeking input

Will be going to Chicago next month and would love comments on my itinerary. We do not want to return to restaurants we visited previously, which include Alinea, Lou Malnati’s, Purple Pig, Publican, Frontera Grill, Bongo Room, and Perennial Virant. We live in NYC so are trying to find things that aren’t as common for us here – for instance, we have great sushi places (and we’re going to Japan in a few months) so I’ve intentionally left those off my list.

Friday:
We land in the evening so I’m hesitant to book a tasting menu given that we’d lose a deposit if our flight was delayed (which, for instance, happened with our last trip). Also we’re having a tasting menu the next night so we didn’t want to be too repetitive (even though El Ideas looks like something we’d love so we'll have to go there on our next visit!).

I am leaning towards Bohemian House.

Saturday:
Pizza for lunch – We enjoyed Lou Malnati’s. Would Art of Pizza be good? Pequod’s? Any others?

Dinner – Grace – Do we both have to choose the same tasting menu? Reviews seem mixed on the wine pairings. What would our options be if we opted out of the pairings? Are there enough interesting half-bottles that we could create our own “pairing” system from, say one white and one red?

Sunday:
Brunch – Deciding between Jam, Lula Café, and Carriage House

I will also be staying in Chicago for the following week for a conference and have the following on my short list. I would be dining alone at all of these:

Sunday dinner:
The Girl and Goat – This has been on my list for a while. Is it still worth a visit or are there other stronger contenders? Can one eat at the bar without a reservation?

Monday
Both these sound appealing Smoque BBQ and Fat Rice – any recent reports?

In an entirely different direction, avec seems to get good reviews. Is there a bar here where I could eat alone?

Tuesday breakfast:
Xoco

Miscellaneous recs:

Donuts – NY doesn’t have many great donut places. Any you particularly love, preferably those reasonably close to the Loop/West Loop/Near North.

Bakeries – Are these worth a visit, and, if so, any particular items to order? Baker Miller, Vanille Patisserie, Lovely, Floriole

Coffee – is Bad Wolf Coffee worth the trek? Is it close to a train stop?

Thanks very much!

Mar 12, 2015
ManhattanLawyer in Chicago Area

Yet another "Please help me plan my meals" thread - at least I've done some preliminary research!

I apologize in advance for the length of this post but I tried to organize it as precisely as possible.

My husband and I will be in Japan for the first time in July for 10 days and I would love your help conceptualizing our food. I know how frustrating it can be to be asked to name the “best” restaurants in my city, New York, given that that means so many different things to different people and also there are so many different criteria, so I hope you can appreciate that I’ve spent time researching this board before writing this post.

As background, we are adventurous eaters and regularly eat at the top kappo/kaiseki and sushi omakase restaurants in NYC. My “plan” for the trip is to try to eat at great restaurants showcasing different cuisine styles even though I know we'll only be able to touch the surface of the variety/diversity. So for instance even though we could easily fill all of our Tokyo dinners with the “best” sushi places, we also want to allot some of those nights to other cuisines.

With that in mind, can you please help me create the plan? Additionally, throughout this research, I’ve come across some conflicting information on reservation policies. I’ve tried to include my findings below but please let me know if I’m incorrect and how to best make reservations.

1 night we will be at Gora Kadan so that dinner is taken care of. That leaves 6 nights in Tokyo and 3 in Kyoto.

6 dinners Tokyo

For the breakdown, I’m thinking 2 high-end sushi omakase, 1 tempura, 1 yakitori/izakaya, 1 more “modern” restaurant, 1 steak restaurant (leaning towards Dons de la Nature), and, finally, please humor me here, one restaurant from one of the original Iron Chefs (my husband has a deep sentimental attachment to that show and albeit cheesy his one request is to eat at one of these restaurants). That adds up to 7 dinners, so I will have to turn one into a lunch. Would the lunch course at the sushi omakase places be the same in terms of amount/quality/variety as dinner? I believe I read you can order the dinner “course” at lunch at Saito. We could also try to slot in the Iron Chef restaurant for lunch.

Intentional omissions:
Despite glowing reviews about kaiseki places like Matsukawa, Ishikawa, and Koju, given that I will be focusing on kaiseki in Kyoto, I’m leaning towards skipping these in favor of tempura/yakitori/etc. I also know that Tokyo has some incredible French restaurants but we love Japanese food and unless someone can convince me otherwise, I’m inclined to leave the high-end French dining for France and focus on Japanese food in Japan.

Here's what I've put together thus far. Would appreciate your guidance on which of these I should attempt to reserve (and then cross my fingers I can reserve!).

2 Sushi:
Sushi Sawada – probably my top pick based on what I’ve read. Reservation policy: Accepts reservations first day of month prior (so call June 1 for July reservations?)? Will our hotel concierge be able to make this one?

Struggling with the second one, since so many sound good (and I’m sure many are outstanding) – thoughts on Sushi Sho, Nakamura, Yoshitake, Saito, Hashiguchi, Mizutani? Is Jiro of comparable high quality or too much hype/marketing at this point?

1 Tempura
7Chome Kyobashi – reviews seem to all comment on the high cost but many posters here and elsewhere seem to say that it is delicious and worth it to try once. Would you recommend this or:
Kondo
Mikawa Zezankyo
Rakutei - although I read that the chef sadly passed away recently so not sure what this means for the restaurant
Tenmatsu
Motoyoshi

1 Yakitori
Torishiki – Reservation policy: Dinner only, Am seeing conflicting information about whether you can only reserve starting first day of month prior (so call June 1 for July reservations) or whether you can book farther out? Will our hotel concierge be able to make this one?
Yakitori Hachibei
Fuku
Shirube
Toriki
Iguchi

1 Modern
Den - Based on what I’ve read about this place, it seems like something we would love since we really appreciate whimsy in food. Reservation policy: Have hotel concierge make reservation a few months in advance?
Takazawa – Also looks wonderful so I’m torn!

1 Iron Chef restaurant - From my internet research, it seems like the following are restaurants of the original Iron Chefs
Nakamura Koumei Ariake (Nakamura-San)
Kaishoku Michiba (Michiba-San)
La Rochelle (Sakai-san) – if this one, which location? Sanno or Minami-Aoyama
Queen Alice (Ishinabi-san chain)

For lunch, we’d like to have noodles and other “fast” options. I have the following on my list. Will likely choose based on proximity to where we are around lunchtime but unless any of the below are worth specific excursions. Please let me know if any of these should be removed or whether there are any others you especially love that should be considered:

Soba
Matsugen
Tamawarai
Kyoraku-tei

Ramen/Tsukemen
Ramen Tetsuya
Rokurinsha
Fuunji
Kissou
Metekiya
Itto

Udon
Mentsu-dan

Tonkatsu
Maisen
Nakikura

3 dinners Kyoto

Kaiseki – I would like to allot at least 2 dinners to kaiseki – should I allot all 3 to kaiseki? Will our hotel concierge generally be able to make these reservations? It seems like these book several months out, as opposed to many in Tokyo that are 2 months out – is this accurate?

Mizai, Kitcho, and Nakamura are probably at the top of my list.

Others I noted are:
Kitchisen
Shoraian - this restaurant’s food looks stunning but I have to admit I don’t love tofu so I’m having a hard time committing to a full meal of it, although I can appreciate how well-executed it probably all is.
Kyo-aji – although like Mizai not sure if we could get a res
Ifuki
Ogata

If you think we should expand our horizons beyond kaiseki for the third dinner, any recommendations for restaurants noteworthy for their beef - Thoughts on Isshin or Kappo Sou?

If you’ve read this far, thank you so much!!

Feb 06, 2015
ManhattanLawyer in Japan

Trip report: Rome, Florence, Venice

Thanks to everyone who weighed in on my posts about my dining itinerary for a recent trip to Italy. Many restaurants were closed because of the holiday season but I can confidently say we did not have a single bad meal, although some were more memorable than others.

ROME
Dinners at Flavio al Velavevodetto, Cesare al Casaletto, Perilli

Flavio was the last one I finalized after Colline Emiliane was closed thus my expectations were tempered but it was delicious. The highlights were the cacio e pepe, rigatoni amatriciana, and involtino al sugo. The polpette fritto were just OK. And the zabaglione semifreddo was way too frozen. The pastas and the involtino made up for any other inconsistencies.

Cesare al Casaletto was outstanding. The rigatoni carbonara was perfect, and the veal cacciatore could not have been more tender or balanced. The gnocchi pomodoro, tripe, and sour cherry crostata were all good but the standouts were the carbonara and veal.

Perilli started out a bit iffy as our server was very gruff but he warmed up to us and we had an enjoyable meal here. The rigatoni carbonara here was also delicious although I give the edge to Cesare. The stracciatella soup was also terrific. The braised oxtail in tomato sauce was very good. The veal chops were fine. The zabaglione was good.

Lunch:
Terrific lunch at Sorpasso. The mortadella with balsamic and pine nuts and the 30-month parmigiano were outstanding.

After reading all the rave reviews, we were disappointed with Pizzarium even though we sampled many different varieties.

Gelato: Gelato is one of my favorite food groups (could eat it every day) and having tried many others previously (Giolitti, San Crispino, Old Bridge, Monteforte, etc.), I was excited to try some different ones. Favorites were Ciampini and Gelateria del Teatro. After Il Gelato di Claudio Torce was unexpectedly closed, we found ourselves at Fatamorgana, which was not good. Most flavors we tried were icy and bland.

Bars: Bar del Fico was a lovely neighborhood bar, and we enjoyed the large beer selection at Open Baladin. We also had cocktails at the Hotel Eden one night and enjoyed the hors d’oeuvres that come with drinks.

FLORENCE
Dinners at Da Ruggero, Osteria di Giovanni, and New Year’s Eve at Enoteca Pinchiorri.

Da Ruggero: Thank you so much to those who recommended this, as this was outstanding. Husband and I shared the ribollita then the fried egg with white truffles then the bistecca and some artichokes then the crema catalan. Our waiter also had us try his homemade grappa which we enjoyed very much. The ribollita and egg were both exemplary. The steak had a terrific flavor but was a bit more medium than medium rare, as we had requested.

Osteria di Giovanni: Ended up here since Sostanza was closed and we wanted more bistecca. This was our least favorite dinner even though two of the three courses were very tasty. It just felt very “touristy” even though there were locals eating there, too. That said, the bistecca was delicious and cooked perfectly, and the lemon cake dessert was also wonderful. But our starters (the tortelli with pear and pecorino and the chickpea soup with prawns) were both really lackluster.

Enoteca Pinchiorri: We wanted a splurge meal for New Year’s Eve and this did not disappoint. As you would expect at a 3-star restaurant, service was flawless. Many of the courses were wonderful. Some of the highlights were the risotto with mandarin and goose liver, a potato puree with cotechino ragout, and the crab/avocado/caviar starter. The best course was easily the venison medallions with chestnut mustard, and the weakest in my opinion were the desserts. A terrific way to ring in 2015!

Lunch:
Had a terrific lunch at Ino. Just wish the sandwiches weren’t so big since we would’ve loved to try a few different options. We had the prosciutto, pecorino fresco, tapenade panino and the gorgonzola/anchovy panino. Loved this place.

Also loved Zeb. I was reluctant to come here since I thought it would be all hipster show without substance but thank goodness I disregarded my doubts because this was an incredibly memorable meal. The mother/son team are so cute. These pastas were some of the best of the trip. We shared the tortelli with ricotta and white truffle and the tortelli with pumpkin and cheese. The eggplant parmigiana was also delicious, while the short ribs in wine was a weak dish compared to the others. Really loved this place.

At Nerbone, we tried both the lampredotto sandwich and the bolitto misto sandwich. Both were very good.

Gelato: Gelateria dei Neri was the best in this city. The gelato that translated as “chocolate with brown sugar” was really terrific. Gelateria della Passera was very cute. I tried the famous crema with 7 spices as well as the fiordilatte with mint. Both had nice flavor but I found the texture much more firm than I like. Finally, Carabe was so bad I threw it out after just a few bites which is really saying something given my love for ice cream.

Bars: Sei Divino was close to our hotel and perfect for pre-dinner drinks and nibbles. Really cozy place and very enjoyable.

VENICE
Dinners at Anice Stellato and various cicchetti stops - El Sbarlefo San Pantalon, Al Portego, Do Spade

Anice Stellato was a very good meal objectively and yet I don’t have as much nostalgia for this as I do for, say, Da Ruggero in Florence or Cesare in Rome. I don’t know why. The standouts were the sweet and sour sardines with pine nuts and the bucatini “amatriciana” where they use smoked swordfish and tuna to imitate the flavors of typical amatriciana. Very hearty and flavorful. Their specialty dessert, the bonet, was also outstanding. The turbot main was good but not spectacular and, disappointingly, the Chianina beef tartare was very bland and not good.

El Sbarlefo San Pantalon was one of the few restaurants open on New Year’s Day but we could not have been happier with this one. The atmosphere was just what we were looking for and all the cicchetti were terrific. We had a LOT of food since we had only picked at our lunch at Aciugheta (see below). Everything was good but the highlights were the cured meats, the burrata with truffle, the smoked swordfish wrapped around fresh cheese, and the sardines.

On our final night, we went to a few cicchetti bars since we were still pretty full from our Antiche Carampane lunch (see below). Al Portego was great. Has a very neighborhood vibe to it and everything we had was great, including the mantis prawns, cannellini beans, and anchovies. Do Spade was unfortunately pretty mediocre. We only sampled the meatballs and eggplant as we were quite full but it was not very good.

Lunch:
Al Gatto Nero: Had a terrific lunch here on Burano. We shared the appetizer degustation which included everything under the sun (well, water), such as anchovies, large scallops, small scallops, razor clams, clams, mussels, smoked swordfish, mantis prawns, cuttlefish, octopus, and sea bass pate. It was wonderful. The grilled branzino and grilled eel were both terrific with an edge towards the branzino. We had a cheese plate for dessert which was fine but the cheese were pretty standard (taleggio, ricotta salata, grana padano).

Antiche Carampane: We were supposed to have a late dinner here our last night but since we had such an early morning the next day we were successful in moving this to lunch so we could really enjoy it and I’m so glad we made that decision. Loved this place. We had the mixed fish platter to start, which had similar offerings to those from Al Gatto Nero. Unlike at Al Gatto Nero, this served one instead of two, so we also had the calamari with truffles and soft polenta, which was great. For mains we had the bigoli pasta with onions and anchovies and the black cuttlefish with polenta along with a salad of radicchio with hazelnuts and smoked burrata. All was wonderful. Since this was our final day in Italy we splurged and got both the cheese plate and dessert! Cheeses were fine although, as at Al Gatto Nero, fairly standard (asiago, parmigiano). The dessert special was a caramelized pear with zabaglione gelato which was spectacular.

Very little was open on New Year’s Day so we ended up at Aciugheta, which has received decent reviews here before but we were unfortunately underwhelmed. We ordered the burrata with anchovies but they forgot the anchovies and the burrata tasted like regular mozzarella, not creamy at all. We also shared the cicchetti plate, which was fine but nothing was great. Luckily the other two lunches more than compensated.

We also had a “pre-lunch” one day after walking around the Rialto fish market at this adorable, bright shop called Lino Fritto, which serves different fish preparations in small sizes which enabled us to sample several. The tuna salad with onions, chickpeas and olives as well as the brioche with robiola, dried tomatoes, and smoked swordfish were terrific. The octopus salad and the grey shrimp with polenta were good but not as wonderful. Great concept.

Gelato: Suso Gelato was very good. Perhaps slightly more firm than I would’ve liked but very pure flavors. The dark chocolate and toffee caramel were both particularly good. Crema and yogurt with frutti di Bosco also good.

Thanks again to everyone for their input!

Feb 06, 2015
ManhattanLawyer in Italy

Critique/revise my rough Italy itinerary (Rome/Florence/Venice)

Hi again everyone,

If you're keeping up with my updates, thanks so much!

I'm winding down my reservations and have one open night in each of Rome, Florence, and Venice.

Rome:
Focus in Rome is going to be on pasta. I have reservations at Perilli and Cesare and need one more dinner reservation. Unfortunately, Armando, Colline Emiliane, Checchino, and Roscioli are closed. Would you recommend any of these for pasta: Flavio al Velavevodetto (reviews suggest it had gone downhill but might be on the rebound?), Nerone, Pipero, any others?

Florence:
I have reservations at Da Ruggero and Enoteca Pinchiorri and need one more dinner option. In Florence I'd like to make sure to eat somewhere with great bistecca. Sostanza is closed. Any thoughts/recent reviews on these: Buca dell'Orafo, Casalinga, Sabatino, and alla vecchia bettola? Would any of these have bistecca?

Venice:
Have reservations at Antiche Carapane and Anice Stellato and need one more dinner option. Testiere is closed. The open night is currently New Year's Day. Do you think some of the casual places to sample cicchetti will be open on New Year's Day? If so, we could make a meal wandering to a few of those places. Any reports on CoVino (the casual offshoot of Al Covo)?

Thank you!

Dec 16, 2014
ManhattanLawyer in Italy

Critique/revise my rough Italy itinerary (Rome/Florence/Venice)

Disappointingly, just found out that Sostanza will also be closed for 2 weeks over the holidays. Back to square one. Although I did make a reservation at Antiche Carapane in Venice for our last night!

Dec 04, 2014
ManhattanLawyer in Italy

Critique/revise my rough Italy itinerary (Rome/Florence/Venice)

As an update, just found out Alle Testiere will be closed until the 21st of January so now I'll need another option in Venice.

Dec 03, 2014
ManhattanLawyer in Italy

Critique/revise my rough Italy itinerary (Rome/Florence/Venice)

Thanks, Sid. I ate at Il Convivio last time I was in Rome, so looking for something different.

Dec 03, 2014
ManhattanLawyer in Italy

Critique/revise my rough Italy itinerary (Rome/Florence/Venice)

Husband and I will be in Italy from Dec. 26-Jan. 4. I’ve been a few times previously but never during holiday season.

I’ve browsed a lot of the threads here already and obviously my list will be dependent on what’s open during this holiday season but was hoping you could critique my list and then I could go from there figuring out which ones will be open.

We have one upscale meal planned on New Year’s Eve but for our other evenings, we would prefer more casual places, as I prefer those types of restaurants when I’m in Italy.

3 nights in Rome: Hoping to maximize eating pasta here, and I especially love carbonara and cacio e pepe. Would any of these be good for pasta? My short list is Armando, Perilli, Cesare al Casaletto, Piperno, Nerone. Any others instead?

3 nights in Florence: We have reservations on New Year’s Eve at Enoteca Pinchiorri so that night’s handled. Want to order chianina one of the other nights. Any must-visits for that? Was thinking about Sostanza for dinner one night. Thoughts on that? What about Alla Vecchia Bettola, Cibreo, or OSteria di Giovanii for the other? For lunch one day, is Nerbone still good?

3 nights in Venice, including on New Year’s Day. What do you think will be open on New Year’s Day? If possible, we’d like our other 2 nights to be Antiche Carampane and Testiere, if they are open, given the raves on this board -- But if you think there’s a different place I should go instead, or if either of these are closed when we’re there, what other back-ups do you suggest?

Thanks so much in advance!

Dec 03, 2014
ManhattanLawyer in Italy

Best late night dinner between LAX and OC

Will be landing at LAX around 11pm on a Thursday and driving to hotel in south OC. I grew up in Orange County but haven't been back in years. Are the late night dining options any better in LA nowadays? Would love somewhere great, if possible, or at least good. Any recs?

Thanks!

Help me plan Budapest dinners!

Hi,

We have four nights in Budapest, one of which is reserved for Onyx.

We are debating between the following. Please let us know which 3 you recommend:

Klassz, Rosenstein, Csalogany 26, Borkonyha, Bock Bistro

We were also planning on doing lunch at Pesti Diszno.

Thanks!

Jun 06, 2013
ManhattanLawyer in Europe

Question about reservations and critique my list

Thank you so much for responding, Sturmi! I was hoping to get your input.

Apr 18, 2013
ManhattanLawyer in Europe

Question about reservations and critique my list

Thanks for the input. I can't seem to figure out how to change the title to add the word Vienna. That was such an oversight on my part!

Apr 16, 2013
ManhattanLawyer in Europe

Question about reservations and critique my list

I’ll be in Vienna for several days in July and was wondering how far in advance it’s possible to make reservations, both at upscale places (would like to go to Steirereck) as well as more casual places (i.e. Rudi’s Beisl, etc.)? In NYC, usually you can only make reservations 30 days in advance but I know in foreign cities you can sometimes book farther in advance.

Additionally, would love some feedback on my proposed dinner line-up:

Steirereck
Rudi’s Beisl
Vestibul
Gasthaus Pöschl

We have two more nights. Of the following, which would you recommend, keeping in mind the above restaurants: Gasthaus Wolf, Phonixhof, Gaumenspiel, Glacisbeisel, Zum Schwarzen Kameel, Figlmuller

Does it make sense to have dinner one night at a heuriger? We will be spending a day in the Wachau Valley so presumably we’ll be spending some time in heiringa in Durnstein so not sure it makes sense to allot a dinner at a heuriger but would appreciate input.

Thanks!

Apr 15, 2013
ManhattanLawyer in Europe

Ti Amo Gelateria, East Village

I just posted about this place yesterday in the Cremeria thread. I really like Ti Amo. Agree that the dark chocolate was good and I also enjoy the custard and strawberry cheesecake.

It's a shame you can only get one flavor in a small and I agree the prices are a little steep but I will pay through the nose for good gelato :)

Aug 02, 2012
ManhattanLawyer in Manhattan

New menu at WD-50

I can't believe I'm the first Hound to have tried the new tasting menu. Went in June when they'd only had the new menu for a few weeks. I know Wylie's food can be very polarizing - many either love it or hate it - but DH and I have always been in the love it camp and we loved the new menu. I think DH and I preferred different dishes - my favorites were the pho gras, the root beer ribs, and the smores but everything was tasty. I think this menu is less focused on molecular gastronomy "tricks" than the previous menu but just my opinion. It was great.

Aug 01, 2012
ManhattanLawyer in Manhattan

Atera review (a bit long)

Fabulous report! I ate there in April when I think it had only been open for a few weeks and was blown away by the meal. The space was fantastic and the innovation was extremely impressive. Looking forward to returning when the season changes since I'd imagine the menu would, too (and in fact many of your amuses were different than the ones I enjoyed).

Aug 01, 2012
ManhattanLawyer in Manhattan

Reservations at Blanca

This actually isn't correct. I just called 30 minutes ago (so at 4:30) and secured a res on a Friday in August. They said they had lots of availability, it was just Saturdays that were booked fully.

Comodo - new restaurant in Soho/W. Village

Went here on Saturday against my better judgment of going to such a new place and was not impressed. Best thing I had was the ceviche, which of course wasn't as good as those in Peru, but I have yet to find one in NYC that is, but on the whole had a good balance of flavors and really fresh fish. I did think the cochinita was tasty (but the plain white rice accompanying it was undercooked).

The portions were a bit small all around (and my dining companions and I are all on the small side) and the presentations were so amateurish it looked like what an inexperienced home cook would put forth. My husband only got 4 small scallops so looks like you got one more than he did!

The tres leches cake was OK as was the flourless chocolate cake but I don't know if we just got the last of the batch or what, but our chocolate cake was enough for each of the four of us to have one small bite. It was comical. We would have said something but we are generally unfussy diners plus our server was quite absent-minded and as such there was a huge gap between when starters were cleared and mains were served and between when mains were cleared and he asked if we wanted dessert (we're talking 45 minutes in between when mains were cleared and he asked if we wanted dessert). We tried making eye contact a few times but he seemed preoccupied with several credit cards. Usually I give places the benefit of the doubt when they've just opened but this menu didn't excite me enough that I am dying to return anytime soon.

Aug 01, 2012
ManhattanLawyer in Manhattan

Best Gelato ANYWHERE - La Cremeria!

I've really been loving a new place in the E. Village called Ti Amo Gelateria. They don't put a lot of add ins in their gelatos, just focus on clean flavors. Their custard is outstanding as is the strawberry cheesecake. The dark chocolate is also tasty.

Aug 01, 2012
ManhattanLawyer in Manhattan

blanca taking reservations, still seemed like a lot of room

Thank you so much for this PSA. I tried calling a few times this morning but when I didn't get through figured it was pointless to continue trying. Just called and got through after 5 calls and got a Friday in 2 weeks.

Lively downtown spot under $50 per person?

Rubirosa, Balaboosta, Vandaag, Empellon, Rouge et Tomate

-----
Balaboosta
214 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

Vandaag
103 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

Rouge et Blanc
48 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

Rubirosa
235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

Empellon Taqueria
230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

Jan 05, 2012
ManhattanLawyer in Manhattan

Question about Gallo Blanco and Barrio Cafe

Hi,

For various reasons it looks like I will be eating at both of these restaurants on the same day. Is there a preference between going to one for dinner vs. lunch? Meaning, should I have lunch at Gallo Blanco and dinner at Barrio Cafe or vice versa?

Thanks!

Jan 03, 2012
ManhattanLawyer in Phoenix

Two great meals at Yuba

Tonight was the 2nd night I had a terrific meal at Yuba, a newish Japanese restaurant on 9th St between 3rd and 4th Aves. Both times the restaurant has been close to empty which is so sad because, honestly, it was great.

First time I had their signature appetizer yuba (tofu skin) with uni, as well as a few other apps including some dumplings. Then had the sushi omakase. It was very generous in terms of the number of pieces we got and some different types of fish, too. The eel was particularly delicious, as was the shrimp sushi (they later presented the fried heads to us at the end of the meal), among other things. The bill came and we were surprised that the omakase came out to only $60 a person. I liken it to Seki and Seki would have been double that price for what we got.

Tonight had the omakase with both sushi and other hot dishes, like fried corn cake, shiso peppers. Seared toro and seared scallop sushi were both good as was monkfish liver in yuzu sauce. That was only $75.

Service is so friendly. They remembered us the second time and gave us some items on the house both times.

It's always amazing to me how some restaurants catch on so quickly and others don't and I will be really sad if this closes. I'm counting on fellow CHers to check it out!!

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Yuba
105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

Nov 30, 2011
ManhattanLawyer in Manhattan

Please help finish my Chicago eating itinerary!

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to report back on my trip since you were all so helpful with your suggestions.

Our flight to Chicago was delayed so we didn't make it in time to go to Girl and Goat so we went to the Purple Pig, which was great. Given that it was 11 PM we didn't want to order too much but this is definitely a place I could see myself returning often. Service was also quite good.

We shared some cured meats: lingua agrodolce, fuet, jamon bellota - the lingua agrodolce was outstanding. We also had roasted butternut squash with pepitas and ricotta salata (very good); razor clams with oregano, lemon, and olive oil (good flavor and I'm not even a huge razor clams fan), and wagyu sirloin tips with fingerling potatoes, red onions, olives, bone marrow vinaigrette (great acidity from the olives). For dessert we had the apple and quince crostata which was an individual serving size. Very cute and good flavor. This was a wonderful place.

Brunch at Bongo Room was great. The portions are huge!! And we only got the 2 pancake order which is considered a "half-portion!" I had the red velvet pancakes and the Thai chicken sausage with ginger. Husband had the apple tarte tatin pancakes and the canadian bacon. Both were very good - and different!

Lunch at Lou Malnati's was the Chicago classic with cheese, sauce, and sausage. Very good flavor to the sauce.

We snagged a res at the Aviary which was a lot of fun! The cider drink where they bring you the cider to watch infuse was great. Also had the chartreuse one, the ginger one, and whatever the one that resembles an old fashioned is. Really enjoyed this place.

After Aviary we walked a block to the Publican. Fantastic atmosphere. Reminded me of a beer hall in Prague. Food was terrific. We had the La Quercia Rossa ham cured ham (delicious); wild king salmon lox with figs, fromage blanc, saba, and rye; Brussels sprouts with burrata, parmesan, onions, and lemon; roasted squash; sweetbreads with celery root puree & pomegranate salsa verde; suckling pig with golden turnip puree, truffled tapenade & feta; big woods blue cheese from Champaign, Illinois; and a waffle with honey butter and strawberry jam. Loved their beer selection - we had a dry cider and a red Flemish ale. The waffle was definitely the weak spot. Dry and flavorless. The highlights were the roasted squash and suckling pig.

Brunch the next day was at Frontera Grill. We had the appetizer sampler - cheese quesadillas, chicken taquitos with crema, ceviche tostadas, jicama salad & guacamole, then we shared enchiladas with chicken mole and tacos with skirt steak. The tacos and enchiladas were both very good but I was not as impressed as I thought I would be overall.

Dinner that night was Alinea. I don't have the menu in front of me so there's no way I could remember all the courses (plus that would destroy the surprise for anyone who hasn't yet eaten there). I will say that overall I am glad that I ate there. It was one of the most inventive places where I've eaten - definitely food as art. But it was not as magical as I had expected it to be. Service was a bit stiff - and, even more disappointingly, snobby. I am rarely a fan of wine pairings because the wines used in wine pairings are usually very boring and not that good and I'd rather splurge on a really outstanding bottle or two. Our sommelier not only said that wine pairings are the only way to go but then also tried to upsell us on the reserve pairings in a pretty insulting way. We'll just leave it at that. I did hear other servers describing the wine pairings in a less obnoxious way so I think that it was just an issue with our table’s sommelier. Onto the actual food, some of the courses were absolutely delicious. I enjoyed courses where I had to disassemble and reassemble my serving piece in order to eat the course. But overall, it just didn’t blow me away the way other hyped restaurants have done. I will admit I was disappointed that every table around us had the final dessert prepared by Chef Achatz and then when it came time for our dessert, the sous chef prepared it. I know that he is probably very very busy in the kitchen and therefore can’t serve every dessert but to be the only table in the room where yours wasn’t prepared by the Chef was disappointing.

Last brunch was at Perenniel Virant. I was very disappointed with this brunch. We had the maple-bourbon breakfast sausage with sunny side up eggs, home fries, toast; apple bread with spiced apples and cherry compote; and the farm egg skillet with sweet and hot peppers, onions, smoked cheddar, cilantro, toast. The food in my opinion was not prepared that well and the flavors were all very one-note.

So that’s it. I’ll be impressed if you read this far. Thanks for all your help again!!

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Alinea
1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

Bongo Room
1152 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

Frontera Grill
445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

Purple Pig
500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Nov 14, 2011
ManhattanLawyer in Chicago Area

Decent Italian that delivers UES?

Cafe Buon Gusto or Maruzzella

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Maruzzella
1483 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10021

Nov 09, 2011
ManhattanLawyer in Manhattan