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#16 Wilfrid1

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 05:29 PM

In my opinion, the level of satisfaction Hearth offers to many diners may in part be a function of the extent to which more overtly ambitious restaurants in New York are anti-climactic disappointments. I would love to see a trend of mid-priced restaurants executing mainstream cuisine well, rather than the yearly waves of novelty. But that's just me. On the other hand, when experiments succeed, as at WD-50, one can only be delighted.
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#17 ngatti

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 05:30 PM

Leaving out the egg yolk will make them lighter, but much harder to work with. Sounds like this guy is pushing the technical envelope in pursuit of a vision of perfection.

Thanks for all the insights folks. I'd like to go.
yer 'avin' a larf, mate

#18 omnivorette

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 05:33 PM

In my opinion, the level of satisfaction Hearth offers to many diners may in part be a function of the extent to which more overtly ambitious restaurants in New York are anti-climactic disappointments.  I would love to see a trend of mid-priced restaurants executing mainstream cuisine well, rather than the yearly waves of novelty.  But that's just me.  On the other hand, when experiments succeed, as at WD-50, one can only be delighted.

Exactly.

And if I had to choose the other restaurant I want to return to again and again in Manhattan these days, it's WD-50.

Interestingly enough, they're both nominated for this year's (well, openings in 2003) Beard award for best new restaurant.

As Paul Grieco said last night - "if we have to lose to anyone, I hope it's WD-50."
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#19 Orik

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 05:40 PM

:)

Interestingly, I've covered the entire WD-50 menu at least twice in the past couple of month, but did not return to Hearth. How can you even compare the two in terms of interest, compelxity of concept, range of technique employed? Sure, Hearth serves some nice, homey dishes that are well executed and not too expensive, but that's all it is.

sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns


#20 omnivorette

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 05:47 PM

I'm not comparing them to each other. That's my point. They each succeed, beautifully, in their own categories. And I love them both.

I would say, however, that I prefer the experience of an evening at Hearth, saying nothing about the cuisines (which are incomparable).

For me, the overall experience of a restaurant is just as important as the food. Of course, if the food isn't good, it's a moot point. But if two places offer good food, and one is a substantially more pleasant experience, I'll take the more pleasant experience.

That being said, WD-50 is a perfectly pleasant experience, and I will go again and again.

I'll give you an example - I think the fish at Yasuda is superlative. I really don't enjoy the experience. I don't like going there, so I don't.

But if a very pleasant evening, comfortable, good service, good food, reasonably priced - well if that's not appealing to you, or not appealing *enough* , then perhaps it's not your kind of place, which is fine, of course.

For me, I'm not *always* on a quest to find the most innovative, interesting, new thing on the cuisine scene. I am delighted to find places that feel warm, welcoming, fun, comfortable - as long as the food is good, I will return again and again.
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#21 g.johnson

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 06:21 PM

Leaving out the egg yolk will make them lighter, but much harder to work with. Sounds like this guy is pushing the technical envelope in pursuit of a vision of perfection.

Elizabeth David is very critical of those who would add eggs to gnocci.

So that's you told.
The Obnoxious Glyn Johnson

#22 yvonne johnson

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 06:26 PM

Sure, Hearth serves some nice, homey dishes that are well executed and not too expensive, but that's all it is.

I'm not sure all of them are homey, but I get your drift. That said, Hearth is my favourite restaurant at the moment and after 3 visits I can't wait to go back.

I think there's a tendency to undervalue food that simply tastes good. Maybe we forget the skill in execution it needs to prepare a good bit of fish that stands on its own without many detractors--puree of this, glazes with x,y,z. After all the fusion, American nouvelle etc, it's great to see Hearth that seems to be consistently offering honest, non-fussy dishes. As I've said elsewhere, I think Hearth is better than Craft (I can see H doesn't have the same range as C, but it makes up for that in other ways). And as I've also said, I can see how H got 2 stars, but it so much better than the run of the mill places that make up the bulk of the 2-star category.
It was not a new dish, as I recognised my tooth marks. Wilfrid

#23 Wilfrid1

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 06:43 PM

I agree with omnivorette (I have to think of something to call her for short) - Hearth and WD-50 reflect two different philosophies. Another interesting question is why Hearth is better - or at least more reliable - than Craft. More restrained in what it tries to do? Fairer price point? Fewer covers?
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#24 Robert Schonfeld

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 06:44 PM

real gnocchi mavens don't use egg yolks

The real gnocchi mavens I know don't use eggs at all. Potato and flour.
They're really rockin' on Bandstand.



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#25 Robert Schonfeld

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 06:53 PM

And they shape 'em right - ridges on one side, which is slightly convex, and a little indentation on the other side, which is conformingly slightly concave. Thus, each side takes the sauce in a different manner and so provides a more interesting mouthful, almost without the eater noticing.

The lightness is a function of getting the potatoes as dry as possible.

If you think they're easy to make, ask yourself how often you've had perfect ones.
They're really rockin' on Bandstand.



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#26 yvonne johnson

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 07:06 PM

Another interesting question is why Hearth is better - or at least more reliable - than Craft. More restrained in what it tries to do? Fairer price point? Fewer covers?

H is larger than you think. 80 covers per sitting, I think.

Why better? I have a few ideas.

1. The dishes are thought out--none of that mix and match at C.

2. Shorter menu of tried and tested dishes.

3. Canora is a better chef than Colicchio?
It was not a new dish, as I recognised my tooth marks. Wilfrid

#27 Wilfrid1

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 07:15 PM

Yeah, but I assume Canora was in effect the chef at Craft. Maybe he has a better team at Hearth.
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#28 omnivorette

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 07:43 PM

His team is really tight now. It's quite something to watch. Like synchronized swimming. Or something.
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#29 Abbylovi

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 07:44 PM

Better stop it, you're making Ali jealous. :P
It is better to have beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear.

#30 Orik

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 07:52 PM

If you think they're easy to make, ask yourself how often you've had perfect ones.

And if you think they're hard to make from potatoes, try making them from sweet potatoes...a real challange if you enjoy that kind of thing.

sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns