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Staten island Outside?

How about Marina Cafe? The food isn't fantastic, but the setting is nice, and definitely transports you a bit from SI.

Similar feeling about South Fin Grill. Mediocre but serviceable food, good drinks, nice view.

Jul 10, 2013
vatl619 in Outer Boroughs

TRAIF - Terrific unique Saturday Night in Williamsburg

was going to write my own review but saw this threat from a mere week ago and thought i would piggyback.

It almost seems redundant to give Traif a great review, since the internet appears to be pretty full of them. That said, it was too fantastic of a surprise to let fade away without some online recognition.

We toyed with a few ideas for dinner in the area... Sweetwater, Rabbit Hole, Lokal? We were on our way to Rabbit Hole when we had a sudden change of heart and thank goodness we did. At 6:15 we showed up at Traif without a reservation, the host glanced around to see if he could accomodate... though there were many open tables at 6:15, they quickly filled up after we sat.

The menu at Traif is full of things we were excited to try. The waitress explained the order of the menu from lighter to heavier dishes, though they are all fairly small and meant for sharing. We went for 6 dishes, though I am sure we would have been satisfied with 4 or 5, there were just too many enticing pairings to pass up.

While perusing the menu, we were brought an amuse bouche of small shot glasses of bacon broth. Yes, bacon broth. It tastes exactly what it is, but is better than I would have ever imagined - salty, smoky warmth.

First: the tricolore salad with fennel, pomegranate seeds, blood orange, and more... perfectly dressed, sweet, sour and crunchy - off to the right start.
Second: the blue cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon. Every bit as delicious as it sounds, with near-charred bacon and blue cheese strong enough to give interest and subtle enough not to distract.
Third: Joe's chopped chicken livers - in a little pot - smooth creamy moussey liver scented with rosemary, with crunchy balsamic toast to spread it upon. Decadent, as chicken liver mousse must be, but the hints of rosemary made it a bit unusual.
Fourth: Burrata with avocado creme mousse. Burrata was exquisite. Avocado mousse refreshing and lovely.... not sure I would pair them together again, but still managed to clean the plate.
Fifth: Pork cheeks with Israeli couscous, pomegranate, apple and other fantastic compliments. Meat was tender and impeccably cooked and the bed of accompaniments did not fade into the background.
Sixth: Dayboat scallops over a cauliflower puree with hazelnuts and blood orange. Again, cooked to perfection, complimented perfectly.
This praise getting annoying yet?

Although completely stuffed and happy, we took just a peek at the dessert menu and couldn't help ourselves. I am a nutella girl and fiance is a bacon man... so we had to order, not one, but two desserts to share.
Dessert One: Nutella mousse with banana ice cream and pistachio crumble on top.
Dessert Two: Bacon topped dulce de leche doughnuts with a scoop of coffee ice cream on the side.

The service was delightful. Fiance commented that our waitress seemed stoned, but she was charming and attentive. Our food came quickly, with very little lag time (if any) between courses and we were checked on as to the goodness of our meal numerous times.

The restaurant isn't much to look at, but the high level of every single bite of food we tasted makes up for the minimal ambiance tenfold. We will definitely be back, and will be talking about the fantastic meal we had at Traif until then.

Feb 18, 2013
vatl619 in Outer Boroughs

Brooklyn restaurant for a wedding ceremony and a reception

ici's private room is really lovely.
take a look at soigne in park slope.
also frankie's 457 has the wonderful garden and barn for a group of your size and the food is fantastic.
maybe take a peek at rebar in dumbo?

Feb 01, 2013
vatl619 in Outer Boroughs

Anyone ever hear of an Italian restaurant with rotating Italian mamas as the Chefs?

The place is Enoteca Maria, and it is really one of the few spots on Staten Island that is worth the trip. I have been twice and had excellent, decadent, inventive meals both times. The service was spotty on our second go-around, but the quality of the food more than compensated.

It is not your typical red-sauce Italian that is so ubiquitous on Staten Island. There is nary a chicken parm dish in sight, and the diner is that much better for it. The options range from the well-executed simple dishes (without being considered 'staples') think perfectly prepared homemade meatballs, to the downright adventurous - think lamb testicles marinated in balsamic (surprisingly tasty!)

Their winelist is a lovely well-edited showcase of Italian gems as well.

The place is small, so a reservation behooves you, and it is cash only, so be aware.
Also, it is a short doable (five minute) walk from the ferry, so is genuinely feasible for Manhattanites looking for something different.

Oct 22, 2012
vatl619 in Outer Boroughs

Where are the Staten Islanders?

i am a fairly recent bklyn to SI transplant myself. i have found myself less inspired to post on much of what i have seen here, but that said, there are certainly some gems, and if there is an interested community, i would happily become a part of it.

i did try blue shortly after they opened in mid june.

they are owned by the same owners as beso and bayou, which are also two of the north shore of staten island's worthy culinary establishments.

i was with a group of friends my first time there, but we waited over an hour for a table, which was a tad unwelcome...though the bar area was pleasant and they make some decent cocktails. the food was good, if a bit inconsistent, and below the standard of food i have experienced at both beso and bayou. the tuna i had for dinner was good - it was so inspired, or particularly noteworthy. but it was good. many of my critiques i would attribute to it being so recently opened. i would absolutely give it another try. the setting is lovely, the decor well-done, the menu interesting, the drinks creative and strong.

beware, the neighborhood is odd and remote and the parking is somewhat scarce, but not impossible.

as a side note - the srilankan restaurants are walkable (though not through the best couple blocks) from the ferry... i have tried san rasa and dosa garden, and both were very good, with san rasa actually veering closer to excellent. i would definitely like to try a couple of the others soon. totally worth the trip!

Sep 21, 2012
vatl619 in Outer Boroughs

Inexpensive Engagement Party

brunch at pera looks like a nice idea! their prix fixe looks fun, a little different, and comprehensive. maybe i will pop in to take a look at their space.

Jun 21, 2012
vatl619 in Manhattan

Need a private room for a surprise party on staten island

I know this post is a little old, but I just happened upon it. I had a surprise brunch at the Elm Park Inn. They were very accommodating, and had a nice little private room for our group of 25, which could have easily fit more. An excellent brunch buffet was set up and unlimited mimosas and bloody mary pitchers. Price was super reasonable at $25pp, dinner prix fixe options would be naturally a bit more.

Also check out Da Noi - they have private spaces and do nice prix fixe menus.

Jun 20, 2012
vatl619 in Outer Boroughs

Inexpensive Engagement Party

Hello hounders,

My fiance and I are thinking about throwing a little soiree for our families and close friends to have an opportunity to meet and mingle. We are thinking we will have around 40 people. Would love to keep the price at 60pp or less (that's including tax and service) and while we don't need a full bar, we would like to at least have some wine and beer. We would consider a prix fixe dinner with wine, an apps and cocktail setting, or a brunch party (which would ideally include at least a couple mimosas or bloodys). Open to any area. Would prefer either a private room or just private-ish space. Any help or ideas would be much appreciated!

Jun 20, 2012
vatl619 in Outer Boroughs

Inexpensive Engagement Party

Hello hounders,

My fiance and I are thinking about throwing a little soiree for our families and close friends to have an opportunity to meet and mingle. We are thinking we will have around 40 people. Would love to keep the price at 60pp or less (that's including tax and service) and while we don't need a full bar, we would like to at least have some wine and beer. We would consider a prix fixe dinner with wine, an apps and cocktail setting, or a brunch party (which would ideally include at least a couple mimosas or bloodys). Open to any area, including outer boroughs as long as they are not too too outer-borough. Would prefer either a private room or just private-ish space. Any help or ideas would be much appreciated!

Jun 20, 2012
vatl619 in Manhattan

Watty and Meg

thought it only fair to chime in as well. stopped in this past friday for a bite and was really pleasantly surprised with quite an excellent meal. very fresh tuna crudo with a thick grainy interestingly complimentary mustard seed garnish. fantastic salmon dish, perfectly cooked and surprisingly dressed. nice bottle of red and a pleasant dimly lit but warm atmosphere made for a very enjoyable evening in all. would absolutely recommend giving it a shot.

Nov 18, 2009
vatl619 in Outer Boroughs

Dinner with an old family friend...

A tricky dinner date next week with a close friend of my parents/my childhood boyfriend's mother. I havent seen her in a couple years, and she told me to pick a spot for a dinner next Weds.

She is a native NYer, but has been living in FL for years and only makes occasional trips back up here. She is older, but has always been sharp and savvy, so I don't want to pick anything too dowdy - she doesnt require something that would cater to a very non-New Yorky parent visitor. She can handle something with a small amount of edge, but she is still a woman in her early 60s. Additionally, since we have not seen in each other in a while, I dont want somewhere so loud that precludes talking, but that still has some sense of ambiance. As for food: I eat everything, she eats everythng except Japanese.

I will be coming from work way downtown and live in BK Heights, so would rather not go to the UES or UWS. She will be driving in from her familys house in NJ.

As far as price goes, I don't want to make this a top tier expensive meal, but still am happy to spend enough to find somewhere classy, delicious and relatively memorable.

Suggestions will be so appreciated!

Aug 21, 2009
vatl619 in Manhattan

Birthday dinner with Mom & SO

Next Friday looking for a biirthday dinner spot to celebrate with my mother and boyfriend. Originally it was just going to be the boy and myself, but mom is joining now as well. Don't want anything that exudes romance and coupleness, want something still upscale and celebratory, but would prefer to keep the tab not entirely exorbitant (no per se, no daniel).

We just went recently on my mom's last visit to EMP to celebrate my admission to the bar...something on this level or perhaps a small step down in terms of price and formality would be ideal. Also somewhere I can get a reservation for 6/19 (a Friday night) less than 10 days in advance. Location wise, anywhere in Manhattan is fine, and food-wise - as long as it is fairly flawless and delicious, we are game.

Thanks for your thoughts, as always...

Jun 10, 2009
vatl619 in Manhattan

Babbo - Need Menu Recommendations (TMW Night)

i was just there last week and went with a perfect combo of lamb's tongue vinaigrette, pigs foot milanese followed by themint love letters and goose liver ravioli, followed by the sweetbreads with a side dish of sweet peas and greens. we studied chowhound in advance and selected these known highlights very carefully. and everything really lived up to the hype, but the goose liver ravioli went above and beyond living up to its hype... it is the one thing i could not possibly imagine not having the next time i go back. it is decadent and perfect in every sense of the word.

Jun 09, 2009
vatl619 in Manhattan

a WD-50 review, in all its peculiar glory

i have had some excellent meals recently, certainly review-worthy, but have been fairly busy and have neglected posting. my meal at wd-50 last night was so curious that i felt i'd be doing a chowhound disservice not to share and discuss.

we arrived at 830 promptly for our 830 reservation. our table was not ready, we were seated at the bar to have a drink. boyfriend ordered a glass of red, i had a dirty hendricks martini which the bartender whipped up flawlessly. 845 rolled around, i could see boyfriend glancing at his watch, beginning to become impatient (this was a sunday night, mind you.) 855 rolls around, the maitre'd stops by to apologize for the wait and tell us our drinks are on him. table should be ready soon. after one additional apology about ten minutes later, we are finally, at around 915, a tad disgruntled but very hungry and appeased by our recent apologies, seated.

waiter promptly brings over an additional apology for our wait: some tasty sparkling rose. this too is certainly appreciated. we elect against doing the tasting menu, and i dont know if the extras we received were due to the waitstaff making amends for our 45 minute wait or if the extras were with everyone, but there were certainly plenty included a la carte that i cant imagine having gone for the tasting.

first they brought out the everything bagel ice cream with strange yet tasty slightly aerated, chopped looking, smoked salmon. the ice cream bagel is strange indeed, but the saltiness of the poppy seed and sesame seed on the icecream bagel manages to balance out somehow. it was not extraordinary, but it was certainly thought provoking.... what you will see turned out to be the theme of the meal really.

next came our two appetizers: the lamb belly and the eggs benedict. the deconstructed eggs benedict, known to be one of WD's signatures, was really a winner of the evening. the yolk doesnt cloy, and the hollaindaise that surprisingly oozes out of the croquette type concoction is seamless. the textures and flavors meld perfectly. the lamb belly didnt meld together nearly the same required a lot more focus...what are the flavors here? somethings not coming together and i can't put my finger on it. i didnt know whether to focus more on the odd flavor combinations or texture combinations. i never reconciled the two.

next we had an order of the aerated foie...we had planned to share just one before moving on, but they brought a plate out for each of us to have our own. i am a foie lover at all times, and rarely pass it up on menus. while i enjoyed this incarnation, i found the focus on smoothing the texture of the foie to compromise the meaty richness that makes foie so delightful and decadent. i felt it had been so whipped (aerated apparently) that the texture had been reduced to something a bit too much like temptee cream cheese and the bold flavours slightly dulled down as well.

our next bonus was the cold fried chicken from the tasting menu with ricotta, hot sauce and caviar. i was intitially put off by the very conspicuously raw appearance of the chicken, but was pleasantly surprised by my first bite and enjoyed the contrast of the salty caviar with the pungent tabasco.

for his main, boyfriend ordered the halibut with chinese mushrooms and some sort of white brothy consomme i believe was said to have sausage in it, but i dont recall a sausage flavor jumping out at me upon trying it. this was a visually simple, yet very aesthetically pleasing dish and one with just enough flavor to make you savor your bite, without making you overthink it like much of the menu. this was certainly one of the stand outs of the night. for my main, i got the appetizer portion of the shrimp noodles with zucchini, mushroom, and chammomile yogurt. this was good, and interesting because the noodles were actually made out of shrimp, but it was not terribly nuanced. perhaps this was my fault for ordering something that may not have been one of the more ambitious options on the menu. that being said, it was enjoyable, but not extraordinary.

a pre-dessert of vanilla icecream with some sort of slightly cloying jelly pocket inside was brought around next... there was a crumble around the icecream ball, however, which redeemed the unnecessarily syrupy insides. it was something i didnt feel compelled to finish.

for our desserts: bf chose the cornbread pudding, which he was happy with, but i did not try, and i went with the hazelnut tart with coconut, chocolate and chicory. this was a rich, good, satisfying nutty and well-thought out end to my meal.

because we certainly received a number of free bonuses throughout, we wound up getting an impressive amount of food for the total amount of our check. if we had elected to do the tasting menu and had spent 350-400 ourselves, i don't think i would have left as happy as i did last night. i enjoy thinking about my food, but i don't want to just enjoy thinking about it...i want to savor exquisite flavors as well. wd-50 managed to strike the balance on some of the dishes we had, but certainly not on all of them.

i'd be very curious to hear what other peoples recent experiences at wd-50 have been as well...

Jun 08, 2009
vatl619 in Manhattan

Enoteca on Court St

what block on court is enoteca on?

Jun 02, 2009
vatl619 in Outer Boroughs

Daniel Dish Recs?

Will be there on Friday for my first excursion and want to plan accordingly...
what are the dishes that really should not be missed?

Thanks all for your thoughts...

May 25, 2009
vatl619 in Manhattan

Fun place, really good food and service, downtown, for my daughter's 23rd birthday. We'll be a party of about 8...

lure has been a good choice for me to bring both my parents and friends out together for dinner. the crowd is very mixed age-wise, chic enough for the kids, classic enough for the adults.

buddakan and mercer kitchen would be other good please-all suggestions.

Apr 02, 2009
vatl619 in Manhattan

Babbo or USC or ??? for 10 year anniversary

i would definitly nix the OIBL TIBS suggestion. ambiance is cute, but classic ambiance does not a good meal make. for a compromise between USC and babbo, i would consider gramercy tavern.

Apr 02, 2009
vatl619 in Manhattan

River Cafe Lunch?

Have been before for lunch and dinner...enjoyed both but not sure I was blown away.

Has anyone been recently for lunch? Deciding if I should consider it for an upcoming celebratory lunch or should just go into Manhattan instead...

Also, what is the price of lunch there - is it only prix fixe or is there a la carte as well?

Apr 02, 2009
vatl619 in Outer Boroughs

Celebratory Weekday Lunch Suggestions?

I'm getting admitted to the NY Bar in 2 weeks, and will be looking to go out for a little celebration lunch with my mother and boyfriend afterwards. Admission ceremony is in Brooklyn Heights, but don't feel compelled to stay local.

Would consider River Cafe, but hesitate because I'm sure more than a few of my brethren of other new lawyers will descend there as well.

Delicious, serious food, with a less serious unsuity atmosphere somewhere below midtown would be preferable. EMP? Perry Street? Other thoughts?

Thanks, as always, CHers.

Apr 02, 2009
vatl619 in Manhattan

Dinner in/near Red Hook/Carroll Gardens?

the good fork on van brundt in red hook

Mar 31, 2009
vatl619 in Outer Boroughs

Daniel, Aureole, Craft, or L'Atelier de JR for a bday date

the toms tuesday dinner suggestion was a great one, i cant believe i hadnt thought of it myself. a great way to make the craft experience more luxe and special occasionish. however, i called on sat and they were already booked for the 4/28 dinner. i booked aureole for the saturday before his birthday instead, but might possibly still try for the 5/12 tuesday dinner.

at aureole - would you recommend the 3 course or the 5 course tasting?

Mar 30, 2009
vatl619 in Manhattan

Bachelorette Party Dinner in Gramercy Park Area

was just at a nice girls birthday dinner at ilili on 5th ave and 27th or so.
they did a variation of the restaurant week menu for our group, the wine flowed, and it also came to around $70pp. we had a table for 10, but the place is big, i would be surprised if they couldnt accommodate a larger party too.

Mar 30, 2009
vatl619 in Manhattan

Daniel, Aureole, Craft, or L'Atelier de JR for a bday date

Boyfriend's birthday is fast approaching...he narrowed down to these above selections for this year. Aureole and Daniel stick out as the two I've been most interested in. Aureole appears comparable to Picholine - a real favorite of mine- traditional, romantic, cozy, decadent.
I've been to Craftbar numerous times (though admittedly never Craft) and have been underwhelmed each time, but birthday boy enjoys CB and, more importantly, loves Tom C unconditionally. L'Atelier seems to have had more hit or miss reviews in my reading, so I hesitate....

What would you brilliant CHers say would be the pros and cons of each choice, and if you were narrowed down to these four, which would you pick?
Thanks as always!

Mar 25, 2009
vatl619 in Manhattan

Fragole, any good?

i actually do think fragole is really delicious. for classic hearty italian flavors, it is one of my faves not just in the neighborhood but in general. i dont think its worth a trip across the country, but across town - sure.

Mar 21, 2009
vatl619 in Outer Boroughs

Kevin's of Red Hook

so delicious, so reasonably priced, so worth the trip!

Feb 22, 2009
vatl619 in Outer Boroughs

Vegan lunch in BH?

siggy's is wonderful! i am a non-vegan and i really enjoy their food. i absolutely recommend it. if you go for dinner - their acorn squash dinner is fantastic.

Feb 05, 2009
vatl619 in Outer Boroughs

An old friend coming to town

for something nearby with some elegance and charm, i'd do cafe sabarsky at the neue gallery.

also, sticking to the neighborhood - etats unis came to mind, but i have heard more and more mixed reviews about it recently.

Feb 03, 2009
vatl619 in Manhattan

Illili vs. Olana

went with friends to olana a couple weeks ago and had a very pleasant experience. of the 4 of us - 2 did the prix fixe, 1 did the pasta tasting and the 4th diner did a la carte from the regular menu. i can't remember everyone else's exact preferences so i will stick with my own. Started with the mint tacconi - which was a hearty wintery, much appreciated, pasta with rustic flavors that were just nuanced enough, then i went for the trout with artichokes and shrimp dumplings. the fish was very good, as were the accoutrements, but the dish itself wasn't quite as cohesive as it hinted at. most disappointingly, i cant remember the dessert title, but i do remember enjoying it immensely...must have been the also enjoyable champagne cocktails i was imbibing.

the atmosphere was warm and red, but not cloyingly so as it could have been, probably by virtue of the large space and high ceilings.

main qualm with the evening was spotty service. but not so spotty that i wouldnt give them a pass for a less than stellar showing at 9pm on friday night during restaurant week. i would definitely make a return trip. plus the $35 prix fixe is certainly one of the more impressive ones i've encountered anywhere around doesnt feel in any way sub-par to the rest of the menu.

i havent been to ilili, so i cant make a comparison for you... but at least you have some thoughts to go off of.

Feb 03, 2009
vatl619 in Manhattan

Anyone been to Gino on Lex (with the dancing zebra wallpaper)?

ahhh gino!

i grew up just a few blocks away from gino and even as a child felt the charm of this really old-school establishment. i mean come on - those zebras! as stated, the crowd is, and always has been, a bit older...but it was always a fantastically fun people watching scene from mafioso italian speaking gesticulating men, to recognizable celeb faces of the eldere variety, to couples who look like they've eaten there 3 nights a week for the past forty years, to more establishment types.

the food is nothing innovative, inventive or worth writing home about. stick with classics. linguine with white clam sauce was always my personal fave there. i'm sure its technically over-priced. i don't, nor do i particularly want to eat here very often, but my heart would break a bit if i knew it wasn't there anymore. so oh just go and enjoy, close your eyes and pretend you're in a 1950s movie set and enjoy those magical zebras.

Feb 03, 2009
vatl619 in Manhattan