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rifbat's Profile

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NYC--Restaurant with Toddler

Definitely OK

Jul 18, 2011
rifbat in Kosher

Touched by a Waitress

Absolutely unprofessional for waitstaff to touch diners.
Recently, a waiter at the Yale Club in NYC approached our table from behind and placed his hand on my back, where he left it it for several seconds. Later in the meal he repeated the gesture. Everyone at our table was stunned by his bizarre behavior

Apr 16, 2011
rifbat in Not About Food

Graduation Dinner near Lincoln Center -weeknight

Compass on West 70 St. off Amsterdam has a moderately priced menu with a wide selection, charming service and two lovely glassed-in private rooms for large parties. Very festive!

Apr 20, 2010
rifbat in Manhattan

Special evening - please help plan

David Burke Townhouse was worse than gimmicky. Four of us went there last night for our first and only time.
1)They called the day before our reservation to change the time from 8 to 8:30 because they were hosting a cocktail party and the restaurant wouldn't be ready by 8.
2} The service was lackluster and inattentive. We were there over 3 hours for a three course meal. It took an hour from the time we ordered dessert until we received the check. The staff was clustered by the bar, joking with each other and didn't notice when the four of us left.
Exhaustion shouldn't be the primary emotion upon departing a restaurant (To clarify, a 3 hour meal at Per Se or Jean Georges is reasonable and delightful, the Townhouse isn't in the same ballpark)
3) fifteen minutes after ordering the wine, the sommelier returned to say they were out of our choice
4) Most important, the food was mediocre. The amuse bouche served in an eggshell was delicious and then it was all downhill. The dover sole was cooked until it was rigid and rubbery as were the accompanying gnocchi (all 2 of them). The caramel cube tasted like sugar overload, no hint of caramel and it had clearly come straight from the refrigerator; the apple tart was tough and tired around the edges.
Life is too short for bad meals

May 13, 2009
rifbat in Manhattan

Leaving in 2 wks for Honeymoon in Australia - need restaurant advice!

We're just back from two weeks in Australia and must say that Tetsuya's was fantastic- as good as Per Se and Guy Savoy. The food was memorable and the waitstaff was charming, welcoming and knowledgeable. The 10 course set menu was perfect and the chef was very creative in accomodating Mr. Vegetarian.
Aria, with a direct view of the Sydney Opera House was quite good also.
In Port Douglas, we had an excellent dinner at Nautilus, a beautiful, elegant outdoor restaurant in a jungle-like setting. The seafood is impressively fresh, mostly with Asian influences and the setting is very romantic.
The food market in Adelaide has EVERYTHING. From spectacular fruits and vegetables, to bread, artisanal cheese, honey, seafood and exotic meat. They give out samples and the kangaroo was beyond delicious; imagine the best beef you have ever eaten.
Finally, the Observatory Hotel in Sydney was a perfect place to stay. The breakfast buffet was amazing, with freshly squeezed orange, grapefruit and watermelon juices and fruit that included kiwi and passion fruit as well as the more expected choices. They also serve a traditional tea in the afternoon which is as good as any in London, plus they have the nicest and most talented concierges we have ever met; they got us great tickets for the opera and reservations at all the restaurants mentioned above.

Sep 08, 2008
rifbat in Australia/New Zealand

Constant - Le Violon or Fables?

We ate at Fables a few weeks ago and it was delightful. The tables are very close together and it is caual, in a good way. Le Violin is more upscale and also wonderful, more formal, also in a good way. For romantic and memorable, I'd go to Le Violin; but they are both lovely

Apr 25, 2008
rifbat in France

Guy Savoy Paris Prices

You will have a wonderful time; the food is great, the service delightful, BUT, it is whoppingly expensive. Don't skimp on food. You can order "reasonbly" priced wine. One tip, which may sound silly but can save a lot, is to be careful with your water consumption there. Guy Savoy is very service-oriented and they will keep bringing bottles of mineral water without asking as long as you keep drinking them, and that can really add up. You can always ask for a carafe of water (free) too.
Other than that, just enjoy an experience that is close to perfection.

Apr 24, 2008
rifbat in France

Great food, REALLY pricey wine list

Unfortunately, we are not exaggerating the wine list prices; in fact , the waiter himself confirmed that there were virtually no choices under "three digits" and while they used to have a special "basket" of specially priced wines, they no longer have this nor are the wines priced differently on Monday nights. We are all aware that restaurants need alcohol sales to survive. We wish that Fleur de Sel, which we love and want to thrive and which was nearly empty last Thursday evening, would have a wider range of wine prices so that we would drop in much more frequently.

Apr 12, 2008
rifbat in Manhattan

Great food, REALLY pricey wine list

We LOVE the food at Fleur de Sel. The poussin in foie gras sauce is divine, parsnip soup with chestnut ravioli is spectacular, and the apple crepe should be served in the afterlife; in fact, everything on the menu is outstanding. The room is very simple, but pleasant; not a haute dining experience.
The food is expensive but definitely a good value for the quality. We'd dine there with much greater frequency if it weren't for the VERY expensive wine list. They have huge mark-ups and even the waiter said, "There's basically nothing under $100". There are, however, bottles for $10,000. We understand that restaurants need a healthy mark up on drinks and wine. It would be nice to see a wider price range on the wine list. As it is, the wine list is a deterrent to dining.
Other restaurants with this issue? More interestingly, can Chowhounders recommend restaurants with great food and welcoming wine lists?

Apr 11, 2008
rifbat in Manhattan

Dinner near City Center

The options are good, not great. Molyvos, Trattoria dell' Arte, Nobu 57, Beacon, Town. Depending on how casual you want to go: Sushiya, Joe's Shanghai. Excellent and very expensive sushi at Sugiyama or Nobu 57

Apr 05, 2008
rifbat in Manhattan

Nello's - comments please

I am mortified that a friend and I dropped in for lunch today to escape the driving rain and STAYED. The menu prices must have been dreamed up in the Twilight Zone. We quickly realized our error but forged ahead, each ordering the cheapest salad on the menu (shaved artichoke,frisee,parmesan and a drenching of truffle oil= $29 each),cappucino ($10 each) and one creme brulee ($18). The food was just okay, the service was bizarrely obsequious. We could have had a wonderful lunch at Jean Georges instead. Nello is an excellent way to feel ripped off and unsatisfied at the same time

Feb 13, 2008
rifbat in Manhattan

What's good at Balthazar for lunch?

The burger's great, esp. ordered rare.

Jan 25, 2008
rifbat in Manhattan

Am I crazy for thinking that Magnolia cupcakes suck?

Agree with the general consensus: Magnolia's cupcakes are vile. Make your own or try Mitchel London's yellow cupcake with chocolate frosting.

Jan 21, 2008
rifbat in Manhattan

Bizen in Great Barrington

Bizen's food can be delicious. But the service is so frequently bizarre and brusque that we have sworn off going back. For example, on one occasion, miso soup (normally very flavorful there) arrived tepid. We requested that it be heated. It came back just as tepid. We sent it back. It came back just as tepid. The server explained, "That's as hot as the machine makes it". As another reviewer noted, dishes come out in random, unsynchronized order so diners frequently eat at different times from their companions. Bottom line, the service is so indifferent and unwelcoming, that even though the food is good, Bizen is just not an enjoyable dining experience.

Quiet dinner on a Sunday night

Fleur de Sel is wonderful; the food is terrific.
Compass is more comfortable for four people to have a delicious meal in relaxed, spacious and quiet surroundings. Bonus: Wines are 1/2 price Sunday nights

Dec 18, 2007
rifbat in Manhattan

What happened to Pearl's Restaurant -Great Barrington?

Thank you all for reminding us about John Andrews. We haven't been there for years but we'll go there again this weekend. The Old Mill is OK too, food is good, not great, but the atmosphere and service are very welcoming.
It's a shame about Pearl's; so convenient to the movies!
Can you recommend specific dishes at John Andrews?
Thanks!!!!!!

What happened to Pearl's Restaurant -Great Barrington?

We've enjoyed Pearl's Restaurant in Great Barrington for years. It has been dependable and consistent. The buttermilk fried chicken with biscuit, fried okra, mashed potatoes and gravy was masterful. It's been a mainstay for years, like a comforting old friend. Imagine our shock when we went for dinner last night and discovered that it had been replaced with an Indian version served with naan.
While I'm sure this is a perfectly fine dish, it is no substitute for the comforting deliciousness of the original. Getting past this trauma, further inspection of the menu revealed many other changes to the menu, all in the direction of overly fussy, "creative" dishes, reminiscent of a certain type of "trendy" Manhattan dining, circa 1997. Mango sorbet with basil. Really, do we need that? In addition, prices have risen approximately 25% across the board.
When we asked our server about the changes, expressing our fondness for the old menu, he was extremely defensive. It gradually dawned on us that there must be a new chef in the kitchen, which the server confirmed. After an extremely unsatisfying meal (nothing was flat-out bad, but it wasn't good either), we'd like ask, does anyone know what is going with Pearl's?

BURRATA [Moved from What's My Craving? board]

Gennaro's has a lovely starter of burrata w/ vegetables. The rest of the menu is fantastic too.
It is worth standing on line for their wonderful menu.

Dec 04, 2007
rifbat in Manhattan

Fleur de Sel or Annisa

Fleur de Sel has amazing food and the appearance of the restaurant has improved over the years. We've always found the service to be exceptionally gracious. Our only criticism is the wine list, which, while outstanding, has a very high mark-up and is weighted toward the high end.
The parsnip bisque with chestnut ravioli, the poussin with foie gras and the apple crepe are worthy of a last meal!

Dec 04, 2007
rifbat in Manhattan

the best food in Israel?

There are a number of excellent restaurants in Israel. Bruno in Tel Aviv is fantastic. It is located in the Azrieli Center, an archiecturally stunning office/ shopping complex. Orna and Ella on Rehov Sheinkin is a young, happening cafe serving light meals all day and more substantial dinners. Orca in Tel Aviv is sensational and Lilith, near Rehov Sheinkin is dairy/vegetarian and also outstanding. Enjoy!

Dec 01, 2007
rifbat in Middle East & Africa

Anyone been to Compass recently?

I agree with slewlew. Four of us had dinner there Wed. evening and the food and service were very good, excellent value for the money. It also felt more professionally run than most restaurants on the UWS. The duck and foie gras entree was delicious. The extras such as the amuses bouches, petits fours and muffins to take home for next dsy breakfast were lovely touches. Added bonus: Sitting one table away from Alan Alda!

Oct 26, 2007
rifbat in Manhattan

going to Le Bernardin this week for a special birthday

Make sure you make plans for AFTER dinner, because they rush you through dinner quickly.

Oct 24, 2007
rifbat in Manhattan

Zomick's Challah

The ownership of Zomick's is irrelevant; the taste and texture is important and it fails on both counts. Zomick's challah tastes oddly sweet and the texture is spongy, more like Wonderbread than challah.

Oct 03, 2007
rifbat in Kosher

Le Bernardin tonight- what to order?

make sure you indicate to the server that you don't want to be rushed through the meal.

Sep 29, 2007
rifbat in Manhattan

Le Bernadin: Why so many negative posts about it on this board?

Over the years, we have eaten at Le Bernardin numerous times. Whereas in numerous NYC restaurants we are warmly welcomed,( such as Daniel, La Grenouille and Jean-Georges as well as neighborhood places such as Pearls Oyster Bar and Gennaro's) we always had a stiff, almost corporate greeting at Le Bernardin. But the food was excellent and we never felt that we needed to be treated like old friends in order to enjoy dining there. But the latest (and LAST) time we dined there (in the company of our two adult children (who have dined in fine restaurants all over the world and have impeccable manners), we were rushed through dinner in one hour flat. Not only that, the waiter rolled his eyes and sighed impatiently while taking our order. It was by far the worst experience we have ever had in a fine restaurant. NOTHING would induce us to return.

Sep 23, 2007
rifbat in Manhattan

Best Falafel in NYC?

Azuri is fantastc. The food is sparkling fresh and the felafel balls are fried in fresh oil. The hummus is wonderful, as is the chicken shashlik. The tabbouleh is very refreshing with its high parsley to bulgar ratio. You can't go wrong with a big salad plate so you can try all the different preparations. If you still have room, Ezra's baklava, both the walnut and pistachio are divine

Jul 25, 2007
rifbat in Manhattan

Can I survive a move form Manhattan to Pittsburgh?

Thank you, Oliver! I'm looking forward to trying your suggestions and thank you for your enthusiasm. And, one of us likes football---he's originally from Nebraska!

Jun 13, 2007
rifbat in Pennsylvania

Can I survive a move form Manhattan to Pittsburgh?

Help! I would appreciate any suggestions for restaurants that will convince me to move with my husband of 30 years from Manhattan to Pittsburgh. Can a person who lives across the street from Per Se and down the street from Fairway, Citarella and Zabar's find happiness west of the Hudson? Can anyone tell me about the restaurant/ food scene in Pittsburgh?

Jun 13, 2007
rifbat in Pennsylvania

Midtown Manhattan (I think) Restaurant Recommendations?

For excellent and very reasonable kosher Israeli food , no one beats Azuri Cafe on 51 St bet. 9th-10th Ave. The decor is non-existent but the food is fantastic

May 17, 2007
rifbat in Kosher

Check your check [Moved from Site Talk]

We had a lovely dinner at Picholine in NYC last night, where we dine frequently. By the time we finished, it was late, and after a long meal and drinks and wine it would have been easy to sign the check without looking at it closely. Fortunately, my husband scrutinized the check and discovered that we had been charged for two prix fixe dinners PLUS two additional entrees and an appetizer. This error added nearly $100 to the total. The waiter corrected the amount as soon as it was brought to his attention but our experience reminded us to ALWAYS check the check.

Apr 25, 2007
rifbat in Not About Food