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#166 Sneakeater

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 03:08 PM

Another voice confirming the shiteness of ingredients here. Just compare Borough Market and the Union Square Greenmarket. There is a major, enormous, fucking huge, almost infinite, neutrino faster than the speed of light disparity in the quality of fruit, vegetables, meat and manufactured goods (e.g., cheese). (And that's in Britain, for fuck's sake.)


Of course, it was a return from a trip to the U.K. that triggered this year's annual rant from me.

You will never see pork chops like those served to me at the River Cafe, just as pieces of meat, at a restaurant here. Never.
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#167 Wilfrid

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 03:11 PM

Can't beat a bit of non-inspector-approved sausage. :cool:

#168 chopjwu12

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 05:35 PM

you guys have a ton of factors going on here that make nyc restaurants shitty. But let me add one that may also be a factor. How about the talent of the chef? If your chef doesnt 1 treat the product correctly and 2 know how to run a kitchen properly that will both take its toll on the pricing and the quality.

Proper food cost for a quality driven restaurant is usually 30-33% mid level restaurant runs at about 25-30 depending the type of cuisine and something like a byob tends to run lower because they dont have money coming in from booze. This is all subject to type of restaurant as well.

As far as quality of ingredient are concerned i think that as a whole the west coast has better produce then us on the east. A comment to the chino farms thing. Remember that restaurants get a better price typically when they buy from those places then the prices advertised. Something thats advertised to the public at say $2 a pound will more often then not bet 1.50 to a west coast place. But will also be 2.25 to an east coast restaurant because of shipping costs. A lot of those prices dont take into consideration the fed ex cost of the item.

Bottom line is this. Its very difficult to get great ingredients and serve the prices that new yorkers demand. I was getting shit for serving a $14 appetizer that would have cost you 16 -20 anywhere else. I played the balance game well so that i could get good ingredients and serve them at a specific price. But thats rare because of the factors in the first line. And you know what its also hard to justify paying x amount for something from baldor and paying a lot more from mikuni when the product were a little better but not justifiably better. From a chefs perspective i agree with the folks saying that europe as a whole has better produce then us. Ive been to probably 100 markets across portugal, spain, france, and italy. I wouldnt say that they have better fresh meats as a whole. Minus game and specific breed or something like that.

#169 Wilfrid

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 05:41 PM

Entree prices have been frozen here for years too. It's well over ten years ago that I ate at Lespinasse when Gray Kunz was there. It was about the priciest a la carte menu in town, some dishes in the forties and even fifties.

Steak aside, there may be more places with those prices now, but not places with higher prices. (Okay, not counting the Nello's of this world).

Meanwhile, rising entree prices at middling places have started to close the gap, creating the mediocre, mid-week neighborhood joint chaging $80-$100 a head for a casual dinner.

#170 Orik

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 08:53 PM

Proper food cost for a quality driven restaurant is usually 30-33% mid level restaurant runs at about 25-30 depending the type of cuisine and something like a byob tends to run lower because they dont have money coming in from booze. This is all subject to type of restaurant as well.


Maybe (certainly) this all belongs on another thread, but I was sitting at my friend's place in Tel-Aviv the other week, and talking to him about stuff. The local grouper he serves (which is some of the best grouper in the world) now costs $20/lb whole, which translates to about $50/lb for steak. He sells a 1/2 lb steak for $40 with some garnishes and sauce. Another popular restaurant has on its menu a whole Branzino of about 1.5 lbs for $30 but the whole fish costs them just over $10 but there are some veggies and bread and things, so let's say $14 for the whole dish. So my friend makes $15 and they make more or less the same. You can guess where I end up eating every time and where I end up buying glasses of some nice Corton-Charlemagne while Branzino guys are trying to sell someone glasses of Dogajolo Bianco that they've marked up 3x.

The thing is that in nyc to sell the $40 fish you have to put so much money in bullshit that it ends up being a $75 fish and then you can no longer sell it.


I never said that

#171 oakapple

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 09:11 PM

Entree prices have been frozen here for years too. It's well over ten years ago that I ate at Lespinasse when Gray Kunz was there. It was about the priciest a la carte menu in town, some dishes in the forties and even fifties.

Except for one thing: All of the current four-star restaurants have adopted fixed-priced menus in their main dining rooms, and the prices of those menus have been rising. Resistance to the fifty-dollar entrée is such that any restaurant with comparable aspirations switches to prix fixe, which allows them to raise prices less transparently (because you don't see the price of any individual item).

Meanwhile, rising entree prices at middling places have started to close the gap, creating the mediocre, mid-week neighborhood joint chaging $80-$100 a head for a casual dinner.

Yes, I have very much noticed that.
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#172 Adrian

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 09:18 PM

Chop my be better at answering this question than I am, but we should remember that it's not just the quality of the ingredients as grown, it's the post farming treatment that matters. Recently I've been cooking with basil and thyme from two plants in the backyard. Nothing special, just bought from the local green grocer. The quality of the flavor is worlds better than that from even fresh basil at the farmer's market - deeper, more complex, more robust. Similarly, compare a peach that's never been refrigerated with one that's been refrigerated for a few hours, same with a tomato. I remember an episode of Avec Eric where the Manresa guy described the difference between a vegetable picked and transported from a local farm and one picked that morning from his garden. I was skeptical of his conclusion that the latter is better, I don't think I should be. It seems that European restaurants are more likely to invest in this middle step. It may be exaggeration, but I've read that Passard tgvs his vegetables in every morning and they're never refrigerated. Huge diggerence.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#173 chopjwu12

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 06:23 AM

Orik i agree with you 100%. My numbers are based on american standards and definitely nyc. There is so much other shit in this city that you dont have to deal with over seas that your food cost can definitely be 40-50% and be a successful place. costs in this city are to the point of stupid. I was looking at a corner space the other day in the downtown area and it was about the same size as griffou but on a corner. They were asking for 40 grand a month. Your friend in tel aviv i cant imagine is dealing with that sort of thing but i could be wrong. Probably less cooks and so on with all the factors that make this city annoying at times.

And answering adrians comments. Listen, think of it in these terms and you will understand why what your saying makes sense. Its as simple as i can put it. Plants are living things so what happens to most living things once you pull them out of the ground or pick them or slaughter them or pull them out of the water? They begin to die. For the most part(not everything mind you) the further you are from its minute of death the lesser quality it is. The more it loses in life(flavor texture) Now some things can be prolonged in life by the fridge but there is a sacrifice with a lot of things by doing so. So it makes sense that you herbs picked and used taste way better then what you get anywhere else.

I dont doubt passard doesnt fridge up his veg. But he doesnt have the oh so special grading system breathing down his neck. Some fucking asshole with a probe ready to fail and fine you for having your carrots above 40.

#174 Wilfrid

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 03:42 PM

Great point about the switch to prix fixe, Oakie. That's one way to disguise creeping entree prices. The other, of course, is to offer a menu of small plates and tell diners they need to order five or six of them. Two $18 "tapas" = one $36 entree, and you'll still be mumbling "Oh, that was very reasonable," as you pay $200 for two. :lol:

#175 Sneakeater

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 10:15 PM

Just to note that the beef cap about which Wilfrid rhapsodized above is now (or was last Thursday) on the menu posted outside Adour.

I for one am very very tempted.
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#176 Sneakeater

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 04:28 PM

SANDRO MICHELI IS NOW PASTRY CHEF AT DANIEL.

I view this more as a big loss for Adour than a big gain for Daniel.
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#177 rozrapp

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 05:18 PM

The tip-off that Sandro was no longer at Adour came in early November when his name disappeared from the website's pastry menu.

#178 changeup

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 06:49 PM

SANDRO MICHELI IS NOW PASTRY CHEF AT DANIEL.

I view this more as a big loss for Adour than a big gain for Daniel.



I view this as both. He's it, he's the MJ of pastry in this town as far as I am concerned.

I wish it was JG or Le Bernardin though, somewhere I like more. Adour to Daniel doesn't do much for me sadly.

#179 Sneakeater

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 06:54 PM

Stylistically, his work fits better with Daniel than the others. (He used to work there, as you probably know.) I think he's too traditional for JG or LeB.
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#180 plattetude

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 04:57 PM

Excuse me for being all Chowhoundy and stuff, but... anyone been lately? What's the take on Adour as a destination for a special dinner? Based on OpenTable, seems it's got lots of tables available at primetime on a Saturday night (2/4), which seems to be Not A Good Sign.

(Other potential options -- we want a rez because we don't get out much and would rather know what we're in for -- Lincoln and Hearth. Hearth's prime benefit being solid food and that it provides convenient access to the best of the Serious Cocktail Bars. But I'm open to other suggestions too!)

Christopher