eGustibus

A +/- Look at NYC Food

Bouchon Bakery (To Go)

Sunday in the Park w. the PoopsterSUNDAY IN THE PARK w/ Thomas K.

Living in a city like this, there isn't a more relaxing thing to do then having a picnic in Central Park (with the Poopster- seen left).  So when the Bouchon Bakery opened in the Time Warner Center I knew my first food purchased there would be taken to go, and eaten just across Columbus Circle in the Southwest corner of Central Park. 

It's actually a no-brainer, if you think about it- if for no other reason then you don't have to stare at the much ridiculed Samsung sign that hangs over the dining area of Thomas Keller's (Per Se, French Laundry) new french style boulangerie.  The food here is not exactly cheap eats… but then again with Per Se costing over $200 per person (and that's just for the food), and just one floor above, you don't mind paying the extra couple bucks per sandwich… especially if it's good (which thankfully it was!)

Bouchon Bakery To GoI've actually been to the Time Warner Center 4 or 5 times since the Bouchon Bakery has opened… staring through the glass cases at the sandwiches, pre made salads and soups, declicious pastries, french style macaroons, and cakes… but never actually ordered anything.  The situation just didn't seem right- until this weekend.  With the sun out, and picnic blanket in hand, we walked over to Columbus Circle from our Hell's Kitchen apartment ready to see if the acclaim Thomas Keller's has gotten for his expensive french food, could be transferred to a $9 sandwich. 

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

June 20, 2006 Posted by | Food: Bakery, Food: Cafe, Food: French, Food: Sandwiches, Location: Midtown West, Location: Upper West Side, Price: Moderate | 2 Comments

El Centro

elcentroI read a review of El Centro by Nosher this week that echoed exactly how I felt when I ate there in February.  The expectiations, the disappointment, and most of all, the optimism for the place's potential- if just a few little changes were made.  Here's the gist of what was written:

When Chopper, HungryMan, and I visited recently, we found lots of passably decent dishes–and we ordered quite a bit of food–with nary a standout in the bunch. Nothing we ate was bad, by any means, but none of it made us want to rush back to El Centro.

While I did think the frozen margarita I drank during dinner was great, I hope that El Centro isn’t going to settle for mere adequacy in its food, especially when its problems seem to be simple ones, problems that might be eliminated with a few hours of watchful kitchen supervision on the part of the management. After all, it would be a shame to fill Vynl’s old digs with a restaurant that amounts to little more than a margarita bar that just happens to serve food [NYCNOSH]

When we went, El Centro had only been open for a week- and being a really big Hell's Kitchen (the restaurant) fan, I was pretty excited.  El Centro is the authentic mexican "street food" offshoot to Hell's Kitchen, a more upscale restaurant with Mexican flavors.  I like to think of it as what Fatty Crab is to 5 Ninth.  Same chef, right around the corner, stripped down- more authentic food.  I didn't necessarily think the food was going to be as good as Hell's Kitchen (after all it was billed as straight up Mexican street food), but I felt like it was going to be a great addition to the neighborhood.

In the end, while it was a really fun place to drink and eat with friends- the food that we got did not live up to how good it sounded on the menu.

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

June 10, 2006 Posted by | Food: Mexican, Location: Hell's Kitchen, Price: Inexpensive | 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

Nook

Nook, Hell's Kitchen NYCNook is definetely an appropriate name for this tiny Hell's Kitchen restaurant. You could easily miss it walking down Ninth Avenue… and it's that kind of carelessness that has you missing out on some of the hidden treasures of the city!  Loser.  This one might not necessarily be worth the trip out of your way, but if you live in Hell's Kitchen, or are going to be in the area- it's definetely worth a visit. Features Chef Rachelle Rodwell formerly of Bouley.

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

April 8, 2006 Posted by | Food: American (New), Location: Hell's Kitchen, Price: Moderate | 1 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