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Marea or Juni

Very glad that we did Blanca. The experience was awesome. The food was amazing, the service was top notch, and have to love the ability to play Master of Puppets during dinner.

Some amazing plates were glass shrimp with grapefruit and poppy seeds, the andouille sausage ravioli, the duck, the fluke with lime and edible flowers, the wagyu, the king crab legs...

The dish that took the night for us was a japanese sweet potato. They cooked it to perfection and served it with a sauce that was to die for. Overall it was amazing. When they were preparing it, I thought it was beef of some sort, but was happily surprised. The tasting consisted heavily of veggies when we went and you could tell that they were at their freshest.

Jun 22, 2014
tada in Manhattan

Marea or Juni

I read your review and it seemed to stand out as one of the exceptions, not the rule. That being said, I am sure that it will still be a blast and I'm looking forward to the kitchen table experience.

Jun 06, 2014
tada in Manhattan

Marea or Juni

Well, just canceled Juni as well. With the 7 day out cancellation policy, I was able to get a reservation at Blanca in Bushwick. Have heard great things and have always wanted to try one of these "what you get is what you get and you don't get upset" sort of places.

Jun 06, 2014
tada in Manhattan

Marea or Juni

I understand the concern, and if both were impossible to get into (e.g. Having EMP and Brooklyn fare) at the same time, I would have done it well ahead of time.

That being said, both showed tons of availability on opentable so I held on to them for an extra day. There just now happens to be one more opening at Marea

May 15, 2014
tada in Manhattan

Marea or Juni

Well, I'm a BMW guy :).

It's sounding like the food will be good at both. Which is a more comfortable atmosphere to just talk and have a few good laughs about the memories?

May 15, 2014
tada in Manhattan

Marea or Juni

I have my 10 year anniversary coming up and am looking for recommendations.

I have reservations at Juni and Marea and not sure which to choose. We tried Le Bernardin, but I thought they were 30 days and they were already booked when I called on the 9th since they start taking reservations on first of month the month before.

We've done Daniel, EMP, Per Se, etc. One of our faves recently was Aquavit.

I've read mixed reviews about Marea from cold staff to salty food. Haven't read much about Juni except that Hergatt has kicked it up a notch.

Greatful for all opinions.

May 14, 2014
tada in Manhattan

Aquavit vastly exceeded expectations!

In no way am I saying that the restaurants are bad, just a comment about the star system.

With a 1 being "good", 2 being "great" and 3 being "travel to NYC just for this", I simply don't agree with the rankings.

I went to EMP before they made it the really long tasting menu. I would have classified EMP as a great place but haven't been in the last year. (Their granola is so good that it's worth another star, so you can leave them at three)

Daniel didn't impress me at all. I thought the food was very bland and unimaginative. Still "good" though

Per Se was fantastic on a few of the dishes, but I am just not wired to sit through a 4 hour dinner (probably same reason I'm nervous to go back to EMP). The dinner became so long that I ended up just power eating whatever they brought at the end to finish it up. If you're into the marathon dinner, then I can understand the 3 stars. It's an experience, and while some dishes are just good, there are others that wow you.

Now, back to Aquavit. I would fly back to nyc just to go back if I had to. The food was so fresh, the technique and execution so perfect, that I just want to try it again. I can see how if you don't like the taste of smoke, dill or vinegar, that you wouldn't like aquavit. Those ingredients are all part of the Nordic cuisine, but you have to give them credit for taking simple ingredients and making them sing. As I told my waitress when she asked after the salad. I said "I've had asparagus and eggs before. Never in my life have I had THIS". The this was the experience. Perfect combinations of texture, taste and ingredients.

May 02, 2014
tada in Manhattan
1

Aquavit vastly exceeded expectations!

To bring a 2014 perspective, I have no idea how Aquavit only has 1 Michelin star. Took my wife there last evening and it was one of the best meals we've ever had. Wife and I agree that it was better than Eleven Mad., Per Se and Daniel (all three stars)

The amuse were great, but the stars were the dishes. Wife had a root vegetable salad and I had heirloom egg over asparagus. Both were to die for. The texture, the freshness, perfect execution. They were just great.

Wife then really wanted the lobster with English peas which was on the chefs menu, but we were order a la carte. Kitchen happily obliged and brought out two orders. I personally don't love seafood, but the dish was amazing. Warm lobster over a cold pea broth. Just amazing.

Then the best. For entree she had the Icelandic cod with sweetbreads and favs beans. I had the Wagyu short rib with barley and morels. These were the entrees of the Gods. Since the lobster was so good, I tasted the cod. It just melted in my mouth with a beautiful slight dill aftertaste. The beef was charred and tender and the barley was cooked perfectly to give the entire bite a great mouth feel.

Overall, cannot recommend Aquavit highly enough.

May 01, 2014
tada in Manhattan
1

Atera or EMP

Two completely different experiences. Both have great food

Atera is like eating at someone's kitchen counter and tasting their great creations. EMP is a traditional experience with ambiance, service, etc.

Decide what you want to experience. As to EMP always being around, I always go for today. Who knows what will happen tomorrow. They could sell it, decide to go a different way with their food, etc.

Places like Atera have been around for a while in NYC, just that places like momofuku made the high end tapas style very hot as of late

Jun 11, 2012
tada in Manhattan

anthony's in harrison

I have been to Anthony's in Harrison 3 times.

Good food for families and the prices are very fair. Their wings are very good but they do not offer a huge variety of sauces. Their buffalo is their hottest, and are not really hot at all (I am a fan of Duff's Suicidals, so you may actually have some heat receptors left and think that they're hot though :) ).

Their burgers are great. Juicy and done just right. About my only complaint about them is that they serve them with a slice of tomato and loose arugula lettuce, which tends to not be the best lettuce choice for a burger. I would prefer a nice leaf of iceberg or something, but that's my only complaint about them.

The decor is awesome. A ton of sports paraphernalia with most of it signed.

Overall, I really like the place and hope that it sticks around. Great place to catch weekend Football because of how many TVs that they have.

Oct 17, 2009
tada in General Tristate Archive

November '08 - Crabtree's Kittle House - Long writeup

A couple restaurants where I've done the tasting menu and they have accommodated my seafood allergies with a tasting menu, not impacting others in my party:

The Modern - Dining Room
Jean Georges
Aureole
Tabla

But like I said, there are many that have the same policy of not splitting up a tasting menu and/or not allowing a single person to partake.

As for the wine, I'm not necessarily complaining, I just found it odd that they wouldn't at least tell me before doing so. There are good reasons why certain wines should not be aired out, one of them being that decanting brings a wine to room temperature a lot faster in a decanter than it does in a chilled bottle.

Nov 15, 2008
tada in General Tristate Archive

November '08 - Crabtree's Kittle House - Long writeup

There really is nothing to believe or not believe. I can understand them running out of wine, especially with their selection. That being said, 20 minutes is a very long time to be looking for the bottle, especially considering that they must keep a very organized cellar for that amount of wine. And in that time, they could have offered an amuse bouche or something to tide us over during the wait.

There is also nothing to believe or not believe about the service. It was what it was. They were going by typical protocol of not taking our order before the wine had arrived. They just could have done it in a much more professional manner. I am sure that had I sent my steak back that they would have fired me a new one, but I just didn't want to turn the evening into a 3 hour ordeal as we wanted to get back home to the kids.

I'm pretty sure that Mr. Vogt was the sommelier that took over when the first one took such a long time to get the bottle. (white longish hair, early 50s or so), and he was quite pleasant. I guess one thing that tweaked me a little about him was his decanting the wine without my asking for it. Wasn't really a big deal, just weird to me.

Oh, and if you've never had the chance to try the Martinelli Jackass Zin, I highly recommend it.

Nov 15, 2008
tada in General Tristate Archive

November '08 - Crabtree's Kittle House - Long writeup

It was the wife's birthday, so we decided to try the Kittle House.

Overall, the experience was fair, but not good and definitely not great.

Wine List - As amazing as everyone says that it is. A great read. That's when the fun stopped around the wine. I ordered a bottle of wine from Cain. 20 minutes later of being fed bread, the sommelier comes over and says "I cannot find the bottle anywhere. I will go back downstairs and keep looking." We told him to not bother, because until we had our bottle of wine, the waiter was obviously not going to take our order and my wife was starving. So instead, I had to spend double on a bottle of Jackass. Most places that I have been will offer you another couple bottles that are in the same price range. They didn't bother, they just wanted to bring me the binder again. I just went with the Jackass so that we could move on.

Now the wife is starving. She was sold on the tasting menu as she had been staring at it for nearly a half hour by now. Waiter comes over and I inform him that we will both do the tasting menu, but that I am allergic to seafood, so to substitute my seafood with the chef's choice. Waiter goes to the back and they refuse. He says, "Both of you must substitute those dishes". Now, I have been to many a restaurant where the tasting menu states underneath "Minimum of 2 people must participate in the tasting menu". As there was nothing on their menu that stated this, I said "Forget it, she will get the tasting menu and I will just order the sirloin". "Sir, you cannot do that, the tasting menu is for a party of 2" So I ask him where on the menu it says this, as my wife now has her heart set on it, and he informs me "It's implied". Really? Since when are tasting menus implied to be for two? I have been to many other restaurants where we've had the tasting menu and the kitchen has replaced the seafood for something that I can eat.

So now my wife is seriously disappointed. We just both order a la carte. She has the Spicy tuna tartare and I had the pasta w/ foie gras apps. Very good. Then she ordered the Chilean Sea Bass and I had the Organic Sirloin. Hers was prepared perfectly. I cut into my sirloin and there is no red and hardly any pink. Usually such a thick piece of sirloin will be cooked quite rare in the middle for a "Medium Rare" order. So I bring over the waiter and inform him that my steak is cooked Medium Well, not Medium Rare. He says "That's how you ordered it" So now I just look at him and say "Why would I possibly order it medium well when I ALWAYS order Medium Rare?". It was really just the fact that he's arguing this with me instead of offering me a new steak. Now we've been here for 2 hours, and I really didn't feel like forcing the issue and having them fire me another steak that would take another half hour, so I just let it go.

Desserts were decent. I ordered the cheesecake and it tasted like a pile of whipped cream and butter. My wife's hazelnut torte was awesome.

Overall I will say that I will never go back. The service alone has chilled me to the bone. Food is decent, but you can get much better at somewhere like X2O. The novelty of the wine list wears off quickly.

Nov 15, 2008
tada in General Tristate Archive

BLT Steak in WP?

I've been to one of the BLTs in the city. The seating was a little cramped, but the food was very good. They put that perfect char on the steak, they dry age their own beef, etc. This is as close as you're going to get to a New York City steakhouse in Westchester.

Mar 01, 2008
tada in General Tristate Archive

What's Your Ohmygodiloveitloveitloveitsomuch Favorite Restaurant?

I would have to go with X20 in Yonkers and Provencal in Mamaroneck

Feb 05, 2008
tada in General Tristate Archive

Birthday Steak Dinner - Westchester or NYC?

Completely agreed. It's better than most steaks that I've ever had.

Jan 18, 2008
tada in General Tristate Archive

Best Croissants I've found

Just felt the need to share this little gem. Ever since I came back from Paris, I've always been on the hunt for good Croissants. I have now found some that rival those over there. Believe it or not, the best Croissants that I've found here are at a small supermarket down the street from me, Food City in Harrison. They are delicious. Not quite healthy, as they're probably packed with butter, but simply amazing.

Jan 14, 2008
tada in General Tristate Archive

X20 - Taking wife for birthday

He came out into the dining room a couple times, but there were some huge tables and they chewed up lots of his time, so he never really made it to the 2 seaters. Since I'll be going back, I plan on saying something to him or his brother when I get a chance. I didn't really want to complain around my wife since it was her special day and I didn't want to change the perfect mood.

Nov 14, 2007
tada in General Tristate Archive

X20 - Taking wife for birthday

And since some of you asked for an update, here you go:

Couple observations before we ever got there, the staff that mans their phones is horrible. I got hung up on twice, put on hold more times than I could count, etc. When I called to ask them to put a note into my reservation about a table preference, the lady starts saying "We don't guarantee seating, blah blah. I just asked her to put a note in, she said okay, where would you like to sit, so I say left hand side against the window, she says okay " and hangs up. At no point in time did she know who I was since I hadn't given her my name yet, so these little things need to get addressed.

So now to the dinner. Driving to the restaurant makes you fear your life a little. I know they're trying to re-build Yonkers, but they still have a ways to go. Then as soon as you pull under the bridge, it's like you're in an Oasis. The restaurant itself is beautiful. The view is amazing. The decor is awesome. So we check in, and immediately they tell my wife "Happy Birthday". Nice touch. Luckily, when I called to confirm my reservation, I was able to ask for the table preference again, and got a great table against the left window. Ordered a bottle of Bryant Family Cab (Yes, I went a little overboard for the wife), and then we put in order. I had the ravioli and the wife ordered the Salmon roll with mango, etc. Both of our apps were absolutely amazing. The one thing that got a little old was how often I heard the staff mention that the Cowboy Steak was the dish that Kelly beat Flay with on Iron Chef. That being said, we went ahead and ordered the Cowboy Steak :). Only complaint on the steak was that between when they bring it out to "show" it to you, and when they take it back to carve it up, a good 10 minutes passed. So the steak was a little too cool, but still absolutely amazing. The steak, potatoes au gratin, creamed spinich and the wine were one of my favorite combos that I have ever had. The menu mentions that the steak is a steak for 2, but realistically, it's a steak for 3. That is a ton o' food. So we took some of the steak home for the dog, and left room for dessert. Wife ordered the brulee chocolate cake and I had Coconut Parfait. Both were very very good. The presentation on the chocolate cake is beautiful and the parfait was rather plain. But as everyone knows from Shrek, everyone loves parfait. They also brought the wife a mini dessert with happy birthday drawn out in chocolate on the plate with a simple candle. Nice little touch that I hadn't asked for. Very nice end to the evening.

Wow, this is a little long, let me summarize :)

Phone Service - C/D
Restaurant Service - B+
Food - A
Decor/View - A
Overall Experience - A

This definitely competes with most NYC restaurants that I've been to. I was very happy to see that the restaurant was packed on a Tuesday evening. We will definitely be going back. One thing that I was extremely surprised about is how affordable X20 is. $72 for that steak with all of the sides is EXTREMELY reasonable for the experience you get.

Nov 14, 2007
tada in General Tristate Archive

X20 - Taking wife for birthday

Thanks for the feedback thus far. Looks like they got through their growing pains from the opening. Any advice on where to ask for a table?

Nov 06, 2007
tada in General Tristate Archive

X20 - Taking wife for birthday

Since I haven't seen anything recent on it, anyone have any recent good or bad experiences there? It will be on a weekday, and from what I've read, food is good, view is amazing, service is so-so. Still accurate?

Nov 05, 2007
tada in General Tristate Archive

Can you recommend a bakery that does fabulous cake designs?

LuLu's in Scarsdale. They're amazing.

Oct 27, 2007
tada in General Tristate Archive

Old Stone Mill tonight on Kitchen Nightmares

I was going to ask the board if they knew where the butcher shop from the show was. Where in Bronxville?

Oct 18, 2007
tada in New York State (exc. NYC)

Old Stone Mill tonight on Kitchen Nightmares

I'll be curious to see what BillyP has to say about this place. After watching that episode, I still don't see how they can be successful with 2 people manning the line, but that's just me.

Oct 17, 2007
tada in New York State (exc. NYC)

Westchester Ice Cream Spots???

FYI, Sal's just opened their gelato store next door to the pizza parlor on Mamaroneck Ave. in Mamaroneck. They are giving out free samples if you're close enough to pop in for a slice and some gelato. Wife got strawberry and I picked up a pistachio. Both were very good. They say that they make it in house, so worth a try.

Aug 09, 2007
tada in New York State (exc. NYC)

Newly Renovated Morton Williams

Mercurio's was sold to A&W a while ago. The Mercurio's pasta shop across the street is still there, but the deli is now an A&Ws. I still stop in there for a few things like olives and italian sausage, but the quality did take a little bit of a hit. I wouldn't quite go as far as dolores and say that it sucks, but it's not the same store that it once was. Whatever I pick up there, i'm still usually very impressed with.

Jul 05, 2007
tada in General Tristate Archive

Daniel Review (2007)

After all of the negative reviews that I read here, I must admit that I was a tad nervous going for the first time to Daniel for dinner last evening. We have been to most of the high-end restaurants in NYC (Aureole, Jean-Georges, USC, etc.), and I must say that our meal last evening has given me a new favorite in NYC.

For the wine list, it's a book. I was actually very surprised that they had many affordable selections to offset those eye poppers at 10,000 a bottle.

As mentioned, they start you off with a 3-tier serving tray of amuses-bouche. Ours included duck, asparagus on puff pastry and creme-fraiche with pine nuts in a pancake.

My wife ordered the Tai Snapper and I had ordered a special of Baby Vermont Lamb. While waiting on the entrees, they brought us a different complimentary soup. Mine was a broccoli soup and my wifes was a pea. Both were chilled and very refreshing. Brought out in full soup bowls and quite a healthy serving of each.

Then, a small problem hit. My wife completely disliked her entree. She had imagined from the description of the Tai Snapper that it would have some spice and variety to it. It was really a snapper fillet with foam. My wife tastes my lamb and gives me that look of "what are we going to do?". Now normally, I would have traded entrees with her to make her happy, but there was no way I was giving up this lamb. So I summoned over the waiter and said "We feel really bad, but my wife really doesn't like her entree". The response was pretty impressive "Please do not feel bad. I would rather you tell me you dislike your entree than you have it and ruin your meal and evening. Do not give it a second thought. Let me bring you our menu and we will find you something you will love". Now granted, from a high-end restaurant, this shouldn't be surprising, but their very warm message about it really made my wife feel better. So she explained that she was expecting something more spicy. The waiter responds with "Well, in French cuisine, you will never get anywhere near a Thai hotness, but I think I have the perfect dish for you. Our Tuna with a special diablo sauce. It's spicy, but only mildly so. It will not be overpowering, but it should be much closer to what you were craving."

So off he goes to put in her order. Another waiter comes back with a warming tray for my food, and the waiter comes back, and tells me "Sir. We will also be bringing you a fresh entree. If I were to put this on the warming tray, the heat would cause it to continue to cook and you would not enjoy it as much". This one had me a tad surprised. I thought it was a REALLY nice touch for them to have done this for me. The two entrees came out 10 minutes later and were both amazing. My wife loved her Tuna and my lamb was spot on.

I've never been one floored by decor. I go to restaurants for the food, but the decor is beautiful and the service was amazing. As mentioned about our understanding waiters, but also, other things were just seemless. I have read others on here that the staff can make Daniel feel stuffy. I couldn't imagine anything further from the truth. One thing that my wife and I were floored by was how much staff actually works there. We had 2 waiters for our table of 2. Every request was completely satisfied.

Overall, I would have to give this meal a 10 out of 10. The meal came out to about $200.00 per person including wine and tip. It was well worth every single cent.

Jun 14, 2007
tada in Manhattan

B'DAY CELEBRATION NEED PRIVATE ROOM IN A RESTAURANT

I'd recommend Plates in Larchmont. You'll have the whole restaurant to yourselves.

Jun 12, 2007
tada in General Tristate Archive

Best Pizza in Lower Westchester???

Sal's is very kid friendly. The place is so busy that there's a constant noise, so no worries about your kids causing a ruckus. They are a counter in the front half where you walk up to order, with a couple 2 seater booths and then in the back are the tables and booths where you can sit a decent size party.

Sal's is right in the heart of downtown Mamaroneck at 316 Mamaroneck Ave. If you were coming up Mamaroneck Ave, you'd go under the train tracks, drive through 2 crosswalks, and Sal's will be on your right hand side right before the third cross walk. Sal's is next door to Cafe Mozart.

Jun 06, 2007
tada in General Tristate Archive

Best Pizza in Lower Westchester???

I lived in Carroll Gardens for a few years, so I know what you mean. Sal's in Mamaroneck is right up there as one of the best pies around

Jun 05, 2007
tada in General Tristate Archive