Jump to content


Member Since 05 Apr 2004
Offline Last Active May 15 2011 04:45 PM

#661661 Game birds

Posted by cabrales on 19 January 2006 - 12:56 PM

I have wanted to buy a duck press for a while. I learned from Lucas Carton that they sold the duck press they used to have in their dining room to another customer, and I was too late. This one looks kind of "squat", but the price is not bad currently.

I was intrigued by the duck press displays on the ground floor of La Tour d'Argent, and I plan to go back in the next few years to get my second duck number.

#641049 Paris Bistros, Restos

Posted by cabrales on 30 October 2005 - 07:03 PM

I assume you are talking 700 euros at L'Ambroisie for two. Given that L'Ambroisie serves the same menu at lunch (or used to) as it does at dinner, that's not at all surprising. Especially if you drank as described, and also had truffled items. ;) You should be happy you weren't charged more.

#547060 Congee Village

Posted by cabrales on 16 January 2005 - 01:44 PM

If members go to Congee Village, one item to consider sampling is the cooking of rice with various ingredients (e.g., preserved duck, which is different from roast duck; alternatively, chicken with salted fish) in a bamboo box. There are at least 5-6 varieties of this dish, and the bamboo does imbue the rice with a certain rich, smoky-almost flavor that is interesting.

#544230 Alinea

Posted by cabrales on 06 January 2005 - 01:45 AM

Check out the graphics


#536621 What is Seepage?

Posted by cabrales on 24 November 2004 - 05:37 PM

When auctioned wines are described as having some seepage, what exactly does that refer to and is that likely to affect the ability of the wine to continue to be cellared?

#529249 White Truffle Possibilities

Posted by cabrales on 18 October 2004 - 09:20 PM

Like every year, I continue in my pursuit of reasonably priced (relatively) and delicious all-white-truffle menus. I've sent an e-mail to ADNY asking about this, and will visit the $50/person place in Queens mentioned in last week's NY Metro Buzz section shortly.

Fiammia sent me this reply: "They are $75 for 6 grams. We recommend them on the scallops appetizer, the garganelli, agniolini and gnocchi pastas, halibut and veal entrees. We will do a truffle tasting on request, the price is $225 per person, 5 courses." The $225/person price seems not too bad, esp since Fiamma wine prices would be much more reasonable than ADNY ones.

Of course there's San Domenico, as Wilfrid will not doubt remind me if I do not include that here.

So where does that leave us? :D

PS -- I had my first white truffles of the season at Per Se. They're $80/person for a dish as an additional dish to the a la carte (5-course) menu, and presumably something similar (if not the same) for a supp to the tasting menu. Tagliatelle -- too buttery and too soft -- or risotto (too soft). But the truffles were quite generously shaved on, albeit in thinnish, petal-like slices. The truffles are presented to the diner in a light-wood-colored, humidor-like box, and of course shaved at the table. One is allowed to sniff the contents, in a polite way, from the box.

#519326 Ramen -- Discussion

Posted by cabrales on 20 August 2004 - 04:48 PM

As I was visiting Shabu Tatsu on the LES recently (poor beef for the shabu shabu and worse than its former, now-defunct sibling on the UES), I noticed a very small Ramen shop. Then, when I was viewing Chef Benno's recommended places in a New York magazine article on what chefs could buy for the price of their own prix fixes, I saw the same restaurant being referred to -- Rai Rai Ken.


Have any members visited Rai Rai Ken?

I've been on the lookout for a good, authentic ramen venue. Menchanko tends to be at best average, although the Hakata ramen is probably better than the others. Sapporo, a hole-in-the-wall on W 49th St., lacks air conditioning and is not appealing (although it does add minced meat as well as sliced meat to certain ramen).

What good venues are there for rame in Manhattan?

#517900 Death Pool

Posted by cabrales on 11 August 2004 - 08:30 PM

ADNY is not a loss leader for the whole Ducasse organization. I doubt that that many people would go to Ducasse's French/Italian establishments because they experienced a good meal at ADNY. If they are likely customers for his French/Italian (leave aside Asian Spoons, etc.) establishments, they will likely already know Plaza Athenee and Louis XV and therefore not need to acquaint themselves with Ducasse cuisine through ADNY. :D

#447239 Sunday Alsatian Dinners at db bistro moderne

Posted by cabrales on 11 July 2004 - 07:57 PM

From the Boulud website:

"Travel to Strasbourg without leaving Midtown, as DB Bistro celebrates the flavors of Alsace. Join us on Sunday evenings throughout the summer for a sumptuous three course menu of traditional Alsatian fare from our chef’s native region. Feast on dishes such as Tarte Flambé, Crab Fleischnecke, Suckling Pig à la Bière, Cassolette de Grenouilles and Baekehofe d'Escargots. Enjoy them with our favorite Rieslings and Gewürztraminers, of course.
$39 Three Course Prix Fixe Menu"

#409446 New York City Ballet

Posted by cabrales on 27 June 2004 - 11:10 AM

After lunch at Cafe Boulud and before dinner at Danube, I took in a matinee at the New York State Theater yesterday. We are nearing the end of programs constituting "The Centennial Celebration -- Balanchine's Vision". Ballet is an area I'd like to learn much more about, although I cannot allocate much time to it.

The program yesterday consisted of the following:

-- Circus Polka (Choreography Jerome Robbins; Music Igor Stravinsky): A ring master (yes, connotes handling of animals, and has a whip-like item) and probably three or four dozen very young ballerinas perform this. The program notes that this piece was originally choreographed by Balanchine for circus elephants, based on a comission from Ringling Brothers. <_< I did not like this piece, especially given my perception of the imbalance of power (based on age, role as teacher, having the whip, etc.) relative to the students.

-- Romeo and Juliet (Choreography Sean Lavery, Music Sergei Prokofiev; Dancers Yvonne Borree and Nikolaj Hubbe): The balcony scene. I found the scene (not the performances) too sentimentality-ridden. I've never liked Romeo and Juliet, relative to other Shakespearen works such as Othello and Macbeth. <_<

-- Valse-Fantaisie (Choreography George Balanchine; Music Mikhail Glinka; Dancers Megan Fairchild, Joaquin De Luz): Passable.

-- Opus 19/The Dreamer (Choreography Jerome Robbins; Music Sergi Prokofiev; Dancers Wendy Whelan, Peter Boal): I liked this piece very much. In a mixed program of the nature of this one, I generally don't find pieces that I like as much. The piece is set to Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major :P Materials available from the NYC ballet describe this as: "Prokofiev's first violin concerto was written in 1917.... It has been described as 'classical in its form, romantic in its passion, and 20th century in its harmonies.'" :lol:

Peter Boal, who is the male principal at the NYC whom I have most enjoyed watching thus far (I'm not sure I've seen all the principals perform -- probably not), was excellent.

The backdrop was an expanse of purplish blue hues, with connotations of darkness. All of the dancers other than Boal wore versions of this purplish/blue color. Boal were an all-white costume.

The music was modern to me, as were certain aspects of the choreography. Very good. :lol: If I see this piece become available for viewing agian, I would try to attend.

-- I left before Cortege Hongrois.

#360406 Per Se

Posted by cabrales on 09 June 2004 - 01:58 PM

scamhi -- The second time I dined at PS, our dining party arrived at 5:30 pm and didn't leave until shortly before 11:00 pm. It was wonderful. I wouldn't mind dining for more than 4 hours (and might affirmatively prefer), at PS or otherwise, and have probably gone 6 hours+ at other venues (not in the US).

#355532 Silky Chicken Breed

Posted by cabrales on 07 June 2004 - 05:43 PM

My dining companions received silkie meat from Radius Restaurant, as part of the Market Tasting recently. This chicken breed is not on the restaurant's current a la carte. The animals seemed to have very short and stubby thighs.

It was hard to discern the intrinsic taste of the silky flesh from the dish, given how manipulated the composition was.


I wonder if other members have sampled silkies?

#267039 Union Pacific

Posted by cabrales on 09 May 2004 - 07:06 PM

I had an average lunch at Union Pacific today. It was a special menu in response to Mother's Day, for $48.

Very generously, the restaurant gave my female dining companion and I one of our meals free, even though the advertised promotion only featured a mother's meal being free. We advised our dining room team member neither of us was the mother of the other, nor was either of us a mother. The team member very nicely said that every table was essentially benefiting from the promotion.

I do not like the decor changes. Very cheesey pastel-colored pillows now adorn the entryway's sitting area. The entire look of the restaurant is cheapened, as if it were attempting to cater to a younger and less gastronomically sophisticated clientele. Everything looked a bit cheesey, especially the use of a weird red color on the ceiling of the main dining room's arches and a glitzy red/pink sparkly piece of "art" on the ground floor. A nasty redecoration that takes away from UP as a serious gastronomic restaurant.

Mother's Day brought two alternative menus, a 3-course with significant choice for each course at $48 (our table's choice) or a Moma's menu that included certain Italian dishes and featured Moma's meatballs (even at UP :o )

Amuse was a blended puree-like item of bacalau (sp) and potato, on a piece of crunchy toast. Flavored green oil accompanied the toast. Passable.

I chose Fluke Carpaccio with Yellow Chives and Cashews. Visually, on first presentation, a beautiful dish, with medium-thick pieces of fluke (thicker than most Japanese presentations for fluke arranged in a concentric, flower-like pattern). However, the taste of the dish was average-minus. The cashews had been manipulated into a thickish sauce, and did not taste nutty or otherwise good. Just strange. The yellow chives were quite strong, and were on top of the dish. A single slender pink flower petal adorned the dish. Overall, a visually gorgeous dish that lacked any aspect of deliciousness. The quality of the fluke was fine; it was a question of dish composition.

The pairing of wine for this dish showed the lack of attention paid by the sommelier and others at the restaurant. As members know, the wine list at UP contains a section where individual dishes are paired with wines. For the fluke dish, the indicated wine was Chenin Blanc Montlouis Demi-Sec, Les Batisses Domanie Delelang 2001. However, when another Chenin Blanc was presented, the Hogue 2002, the dining room team member didn't even pay attention and advise me that the paired wine had changed. I also disliked the way this was handled when I inquired about the difference; the dining room team member seemed dismissive of my question about the difference between the two Chenin Blancs.

A small cup of fennel soup arrived, adorned by apple syrup. I found the fennel to not be attractive at all. It left a lingering, acidic aftertaste that I did not like.

I chose Lacquered Duck with Apricots and Coriander Seeds for my main course. The duck was nicely prepared, medium rare, in thin slices with a nice bit of pink. Also, appropriate cooking and a nice thin layer of fat between the skin and the flesh. Unfortunately, the accompaniments to the duck were rather misguided. The apricot mash formed a bed for the slices of duck. Integrated into the apricot mash were bits of duck confit. The whole taste idea was misguided -- the intended sweetness against the harshness of the coriander seeds. I found the apricot portion of this dish to be poor, and did not take in any amount of it. The jus-based saucing was too ridden was anise sensations and was also poor.

The wine paired with the duck was Trey Marie "Trutina" 2000 from Columbia Valley, Washington ($13/glass). When I asked the dining room team whether this was also the recommended wine for the apricot/coriander seed accompaniment, given that the wine list had recommended this wine with the lacquered duck with quince puree and Chinese okra, the dining room team member again seemed somewhat dismissive, saying that the key was the pairing of the wine with the principal ingredient of the duck. <_< A misguided dish.

Meyer Lemon three-ways was average. Sorbet was way too tart for my tastes. <_< Total after tax and before tip was under $110 for two.

#244737 Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Posted by cabrales on 01 May 2004 - 10:33 AM

Today's the day -- the official opening of BH at SB. :lol: :lol: :lol:

#225739 Aquagrill

Posted by cabrales on 24 April 2004 - 02:50 PM

I have an average meal at Aquagrill about two months ago. I'd visited several times previously over time for the restaurant's oysters, but had rarely sampled the
other items on its menu.

-- Billi Bi French Mussel Soup, with saffron, cream and potatoes -- Our dining
party of four shared two orders of this, resulting in a substantial portion for
each diner nonetheless. I liked this soup. The mussels had noticeable
sand/external grains inside them, and that detracted from their otherwise
appropriate-tasting flesh a bit. However, the soup texture was nice, conveying
cream and white wine, but not being too heavy. The small diced potatoes were
nice and not soft.

-- Fresh Maine Sea Urchin, with shaved scallions and citrus soy (special;
$10.50) -- Two urchins with their uncooked flesh were included in this dish. The
Maine variety is a bit gentler and less urchin-taste-imbued than the Santa
Barbara variety. Perhaps slightly creamier in texture as well. I added a bit of
fresh lemon jus, and avoided the served-on-the-side soy, which was too severe
for the urchins and a pairing mistake on the part of the kitchen. I enjoyed this
dish though, in part because I have an interest in sampling fresh sea urchins
from different parts of the world.

-- Oysters -- I'm not sure this is specifically mentioned on the Aquagrill
menu, but a request for an oyster sampler brings one of each oyster available at
the restaurant for the meal in question. That meant more than 20 oysters, shared
among our dining party. The oysters were generally good -- perhaps not as good
as I've sampled them at Aquagrill previously. Also, relative to the time when
Aquagrill had just opened, there are no longer the XXL or XL sizes of oysters,
in general.

-- Bouillabaisse, with poached cod, shrimp, mussels, clams, scallop and
lobster, in a garlic saffran tomato broth ($25). I was very full by the time
this dish arrived, having eaten more than 1/2 dozen oysters. The dish comes with
two pieces of long-shaped bread, with a lot of aioli on them. The broth was too
salty and (I rarely have this complaint with bouillabaisse) significantly too
concentrated. The lobster included was 1/2 of a very small lobster, the way I
like North American lobsters, and was cooked to an appropriate level. However,
the other items in the broth and the broth itself did not particularly appeal to
me. I was too full to meaningfully sample some of the items in this dish.