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A +/- Look at NYC Food

Craftsteak

Tom Collichio… you have answered my prayers.  Thank you for bringing Craftsteak to New York.  I love Craftsteak.  I ate at the one in Vegas.  I liked it so much, I ate there a second time… something I wouldn't normally do in a town with so many buffets (so many buffets, so little time).  Eating there is the reason Craft was at the top of my list of places to eat when I moved to New York.  See, before eating at Craftsteak, I had never heard of Craft, or Grammercy Tavern, or Top Chef, or the name Tom Collichio.  Oh, but how one grass fed Ribeye and one corn fed New York strip steak can change all that (the beet salad and mushrooms don't hurt either).

Which brings me to the first point about this place.  If you don't like Craft, you're probably not going to like Craftsteak.  It's pretty much the same restaurant, with alot more meat (hence the name).  Same concept, same sides… same deal.  If you went to Craft and thought "I didn't like ordering everything ala carte" or "This is too expensive", save yourself the trip and skip this restaurant.  If you love Craft, and you love steak, then I'm guessing you'll like this place.

Now if you've been to the Craftsteak in Vegas, there are a few differences between the two places.  First, the menu is much larger.  In Vegas you have a choice of about 8 different steaks cooked two different ways (fed corn or grass).  Well New York is no Vegas my friend, and Tom C. proved it with a whopping 14-17 different steaks, from 3 different providers, including an assortment of house dry aged New York strip steaks which you choose the length of time they were aged.  It's pretty mind boggling.

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

May 6, 2006 Posted by | Food: American (New), Location: Meatpacking, Price: Very Expensive | Leave a comment

Nobu

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

Fatty Crab

LogoI think I'm in love.  This is my favorite restaurant in NYC.  Small and cramped, Fatty Crab is the casual joint that Zac Pelaccio has opened up around the corner from his popular, more upscale Meatpacking restaurant 5 Ninth.  Unlike some universal New York favorites (like Grammercy Tavern) I wouldn't recommend this place to everyone… but for me it is perfect.  From the type of food, the price, atmosphere… everything.

First the food.  It's described as Malaysian street food, but this wasn't like any street food I've ever had (and the prices are certainly a little higher then what you might pay a vendor in Kuala Lampur!).  That's not to say it's toned down…

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

December 3, 2005 Posted by | Food: Malaysian, Location: Meatpacking, Price: Moderate | Leave a comment