A +/- Look at NYC Food


When Nobu 57 opened it seemed from some reviews that the Nobu backlash was on. Adam Platt from New York Magazine called it “formulaic” and I thought maybe the dream was over. Now granted, it was a review of the new restaurant Nobu 57, (not the original Tribeca restaurant which we just ate at). But I couldn’t help but think, that after all these years, maybe people were getting tired of the same old Nobu dishes, and that even worse, because of the new restaurants, the quality at the original might start to suffer. I can still remember the birthday meal I had years ago at Next Door Nobu. Each dish better then the next… At the time I hadn’t been to too many “fancy” restaurants, but even a novice to expensive cuisine, I could tell this place was in anothe league.

It was with this memory, and open to the possibility of being disappointed we returned to Nobu, not sure what to expect. Now, while many people would call Nobu a Sushi Restaurant, it is anything but. If you are looking for sushi, there are tons of amazing restaurants in Manhattan that serve the freshest, most delicious sushi you’ve ever had… but Nobu is not one of those places. The genius is in their appetizers and hot foods. While many people have written this over and over again, you still see people telling their friends or posting reviews on chowhound- “Nobu is overrated”, “the sushi is so much better at _____________”. If you want to enjoy Nobu in the same way that people who rave about it do, you have to stick with the signature dishes.

What we ate, and the +/- after jump…. Continue reading


February 19, 2006 Posted by | Food: Asian (New), Food: Japanese, Food: Japanese (Sushi), Location: Meatpacking, Price: Very Expensive, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

5 Ninth

As you may know from an earlier post, Zac Pelacio's Fatty Crab is my *FAVORITE* restaurant in New York, so it goes with out saying I was super excited to be going to dinner at 5 Ninth, his flagship restaurant.  Situated in the Meatpacking District, the restaurant is located in a 3 story unmarked brownstone, with no sign- it's name taken from the address of the restaurant.  If you weren't looking for this place, you'd never know it was there- which makes it cool right?  You've gotta be in the know- and that makes you feel special!  Already off to a good start… unless you can't find the place, get lost and miss your reservation.  Then you feel lame, and pissed, and wonder why these stupid Brooklyn transplants couldn't have just put a fucking sign on the door like everyone else.

Compared to most of the "hip" Meatpacking Restaurants, this place is pretty casual but in a calculated, I'm better then you kind of way.  The bartender is one of those "cocktail chefs", or whatever they call them, so there is a menu of interesting mixed drinks which are one or two bucks more expensive then they would be if it was from a normal bartender (I mean he is a chef for god sake!).  The friends we were meeting had ordered one of the cocktails, which they did not like- and I gladly took off their hands, and enjoyed.  The cocktails are all pretty interesting, and at 12-14 bucks a pop are still on par for the neighborhood.

As far as attitude when we entered, it's in the Meatpacking district!  It comes with the territory.  If you don't want to be condescended to by a host, or kept waiting 20 minutes after your reservation time while somone more important gets seated ahead of you without reservations- DON'T EAT IN THE MEATPACKING DISTRICT ON A SATURDAY NIGHT.  I've heard alot of complaints like "Would they have treated me like that if I was Robert DeNiro?"… well you're not Robert DeNiro- and if you were, you would definetely not want to kept waiting just so that some shmuck from the Upper West Side who heard that this place was "hip" could be seated at his correct reservation time. 

Now, don't get me wrong… I'm not condoning this behavior, and I will be the first one up at the front complaining that this is bullshit and we need to be seated.  But, when I do eat at one of these restaurants, I tend to give them a little more leeway then a restaurant that clearly prides itself on service.  Half the reason you go to restaurants like this is because they are considered "cool", right?  Well, there's a price to pay for cool.  You've been warned… no one's forcing you to eat there- and if it this type of thing really bothers you, I would definetely steer clear of this place- at least on a Friday or Saturday night.

Now on to the food… the most important part!  Right?  We were seated about 20 minutes after our reservation time (but before another party who had been there longer and were clearly very angry about being kept waiting- so that made us feel a little better)… and my excitement had not waned.  And therein lied the biggest problem for me.  My excitement… or as I have come to call it- the Babbo Curse.  I have come to realize that expectations play one of the largest parts in whether or not you enjoy a restaurant.  And my expectations for this place were big.  Fried pork with watermelon BIG Crab with Chili Sauce BIG .  And in that regard I was let down.  5 Ninth is refined new american with a Southeast Asian twist… Fatty Crab is twist-less.  It's more like a southest asian hammer to the skull.  That's not to say the food was not good…

What we ate, and the +/- after the jump… Continue reading

February 18, 2006 Posted by | Food: American (New), Food: Asian (New), Location: Meatpacking, Price: Expensive | Leave a comment