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A +/- Look at NYC Food

Telepan: Summer Menu

I’m not a huge brunch person. But half way through the Coddled Eggs dish at Telepan on Sunday night- I thought… if brunch eggs were like this- I could be converted. Had a really delicious dinner at Telepan the other night, Bill (JUdson Grille) Telepan’s greenmarket restaurant on the Upper West Side. And you might say the secret ingredient was eggs. 2 of the five dishes we ordered had some type of egg topping it. If you like eggs for dinner, or on your salad, this is the place to go. Not just good for eggs, it’s also got one of the best prix fix menu deals for a restaurant of this calibur in the city. For $55 you can choose one item off each of the four sections of the menu (Appetizers, Mid Courses, Entrees, and Dessert). For $65 you can add a cheese course to that. I remember reading when they first opened, you could just choose four items off any section… I’m sure leading to the four entree fat man meal. They’ve since changed the menu to address that problem, but allow you to supplement a different course for an extra charge.

I have to say, usually when I look at a menu, a few things jump out at me, and ordering is not too difficult (especially since my wife and I share everything). But this was the closest we came to a fight… There was not a single thing on the menu that didn’t look good- and it was difficult to decide what to get, and how much of it. In the end we choose 5 dishes (3 as a part of the prix fix, and an extra mid course and extra entree). A lot of food, but I can’t think of one dish I would have been willing to give up.

The meal began with an amuse bouche of three items. A pastry puff filled with cheese (how could that be bad???), a crostini topped with mushrooms and beans (also good), and a chilled carrot soup topped with olive oil, which was really delicious- and reminded you that the meal you were about to eat is one made with really fresh ingredients. The menu at Telepan changes based on the seasons and what the best available ingredients are- so don’t expect the menu to be exactly the same when you go.

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

July 5, 2006 Posted by | Food: American (New), Food: Greenmarket, Location: Upper West Side, Price: Expensive, Price: Very Expensive | Leave a comment

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

Babbo

It's Sarah the Wife's Birthday, and much to my surprise her choice for the special meal was Babbo.  Not surprising because of the type of food, she loves Italian food, but more because it's a Mario Batali restaurant.  See, Sarah the wife is not so much a Mario Batali fan.  I'd like to think it's because she's jealous of how much I love him (the cookbooks, the show, the desire to go to every one of his restaurants) but I know the real truth.  She doesn't trust an Italian with red hair.  Actually, come to think of it, she hates red hair on all men (Bobby Flay take notice)- so when she said Babbo, I was surprised, but excited that I wasn't going to have to wait until April to go to Babbo for my birthday dinner. 

We love Italian food, and I love Mario Batali, so I was pretty excited for this meal.  Too excited I think… and after only 3 months of eating out a nice NYC restaurants came face to face with my first disappointment.  Now I'm not going to blame it on Babbo… how could I?  It's the almighty Babbo!  4 Stars from Adam Platt, #6 on NY Magazine's 101 Best Restaurants in NYC, 1 star from Michelin, loved by everyone… well not exactly everyone.  There is a Mario Batali backlash that exists in this city- but those criticisms come from somewhere other then the food.  Too many people feel too strongly about this place being great for it to be bad.  You could have a bad experience, but it can't be a bad restaurant.  Can it?

And here's where it dawned in me.  Expectations and experience can end up being much more important then any dish you eat.  I can see why so many people in this city love Babbo.  See, Babbo is not an everyone kind of place.  Most places aren't.   It's a breath of fresh air.  After years and years of eating at the same boring Italian restaurants with the same dishes, Babbo must have been a windfall for this city.  I wasn't here for it… but it must have been super exciting.  Lamb's tongue in a salad?  Beef cheeks and squab liver is no chocolate and peanut butter (two great tastes that taste great together… anyone?).  Goose liver, lamb's brains, oxtails, sweetbreads… the list goes on and on.  I'm far from a chicken parm kind of guy, but Babbo is an offal bonanza like non I've ever seen.

Now for many, this list would be enough to keep you from going… but therein lies the genius of Babbo.  With every dish he makes you forget what it is you're eating.  I have to admit, we were not blown away by the dishes we ordered but it was a meal that made me change the way I think about eating.  And for that, I will go back, again and again.

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

January 1, 2006 Posted by | Food: Italian, Location: Village, Price: Expensive, Price: Very Expensive | Leave a comment