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Hemlock


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#1 joethefoodie

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 05:22 PM

Figured it deserved its own thread, as it may actually be reviewed by a notable or two (other than the infatuation and me), perhaps due to its lineage (Diego Moya, former sous at Casa Mono, with experience under Passard) as well as its relatively short, interesting wine list. 

 

On our first visit, I was less than fully impressed, posting this here in the Micromanage thread:

 

We went to Hemlock last Thursday night - enjoyable enough, with some things rising to a quite good level.  Funnily enough, docsconz ate there Friday night and loved it, with Shola chiming in that he feels the chef will be a Food & Wine Top 10 Best new chef of 2018.

 

 

So, worthy of another visit, Significant Eater and I walked in last night around 7. First, I have to say that I am most happy with the bar seats - they have backs on them! They're right atop the kitchen, so in the summer it might get a bit hot in these seats, but last night was very pleasant. There are 3 cook/chefs, a somm/drinks guy, a hostess, a dishwasher - and 38 or so seats in the place. Diego was not in the house last night. Everyone pitches in serving food, so if it's not busy, a cook might come out and serve your food, even when at a table.

 

You know how the menu works, right?  Keeping to mostly small plates, we started with, and loved these 2 dishes...

 

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The menu says grilled, but they're actually cooked a la plancha - Harukei turnips, with preserved lemon and lemon verbena - nice and smoky and tart, and

 

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Heirloom shelling beans, with sage and aioli, that was just a great dish; we mixed it all up, eating it with spoons so as not to miss a drop, and chef gave us thumbs up for that; this while the 2 scarily skinny lovelies next to us at the bar ate their beans around the aioli, with perfect symmetry. Lesson to be learned, for when I want to cut calories.

 

As happened on our first visit, we enjoyed 2 nice slices of Spanish mackerel (I have a hard time avoiding mackerel when it's on a menu), tasting vaguely like the unagi at your favorite sushi bar, perhaps from the "burned bay leaf" and plums listed on the menu, the bay leaf not necessarily seen on the plate.

 

A dish with excellent components followed...

 

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Clams in escabeche, grilled butterkin squash, and pumpkinseed oil, turned out to be less than the sum of its parts. The escabeche was great. The squash was great. But I didn't get the feeling that either helped the other, if that makes sense.

 

Our one shared "main" was also the lone underwhelming dish. Bavette steak, with grilled cabbage and white kimchi, was served too rare for us (ordered medium, it came rare, and in my opinion this is a cut that benefits from a little more fire - ymmv), and a little too salty as well. (FWIW, I think the salt needs to be closer to the stove - and if you dine here and eat at the counter, you'll see what I mean).

 

Dessert was a lovely concord grape sorbet, the perfect antidote to its salty predecessor.

 

Drinking a reasonably priced, delicious split of Domaine Moreau-Naudet chablis to start, and a few glasses of red to follow, pushed us to $176 before t & t. And there we are at the $100 pp level for a nice enough meal.

 

We'll return, sticking mostly to the small plate stuff - though one of the chefs was working on a potential main-course tart or two that looked good, and may be on the menu this weekend.



#2 Orik

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 03:06 AM

There were way too many technical and conceptual faults. The bread was the best course. Followed by the bbq lamb ribs. Watching the chef cut fish was just painful, and getting the skate after the lamb wasn't great (and dude, if you don't like serving nyc quality skate don't serve it, hiding it under too much raw horseradish doesn't work)
sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns

#3 Daniel

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 01:10 PM

You may be depressed to hear the last great meal i had in nyc was the tasting menu at Torishin. Maybe you should alternate between that and wild air for the rest of your trip.
Ason, I keep planets in orbit.

#4 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 02:26 PM

Ammonia and horseradish are a classic pairing.

"This is a battle of who blinks first, and we've cut off our eyelids"


#5 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 02:27 PM

I ate here and liked it well enough. Struck me as a "multiplicity" version of wildair.

"This is a battle of who blinks first, and we've cut off our eyelids"


#6 Orik

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 05:37 PM

Yeah, you can get more or less lucky I'm sure. I think the ingredients are actually better than at wildair (based on just one meal there) but they just need to be a little better at cooking and wine service and stuff. 
 
eta: like, it's a fine opinion to serve your beans a bit al dente, but when each one is cooked anywhere on the scale from crunchy to soft (sometimes intra-bean) it gives the impression that you just didn't cook them right. 
sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns

#7 Wilfrid

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 12:14 AM

Ech.

#8 taion

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 06:05 AM

They are serving their normal menu on Valentine's Day, though, so that's nice.


I didn't tip at Per Se either.

#9 Sneakeater

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 07:51 AM

That's not nothing.


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#10 small h

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 09:40 PM

I had an enjoyable, slightly weird meal at Hemlock last night. I started with leeks roasted in a banana leaf with "smoked tea." I didn't detect any tea, but that might be because the leeks were covered in some bright green stuff - I'm not sure what it was.

 

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Then I had polenta with carrot puree and uni, which was very orange.

 

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I liked both dishes, but I had the feeling that their composition was less about pleasing the diner than surprising her: You know what would be cool? if we mixed carrot juice with polenta and then squeezed a lime over it. No one would see that coming!

 

I was the only customer for the duration of my stay, so I got a lot of attention. That, and the fact that the staff is very good-looking, made me a little nervous (this is my problem, of course, not theirs). I tried to calm myself with two martinis, which worked pretty well, and ended up having a nice chat with one of the cooks about Greenmarket vendors and the best way to de-sand mussels and other food-related things. Nice place.



#11 joethefoodie

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 01:41 PM

Closing at end of month.