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Seth Gordon

Member Since 30 Jun 2010
Offline Last Active Today, 04:46 AM

#1451783 Cafe Altro Paradiso

Posted by Seth Gordon on 05 March 2020 - 11:31 PM

I don't have a lack of interest in French/European food. I just have enough of it, and I don't feel any particular need to go to Paris to eat more of it even if it's slightly better, any more than I feel a need to fly to Bonn to hear Beethoven.

The point here isn't that French food in France is "slightly" better than French food in New York. It's that French food in France is MASSIVELY better than ANY food in New York.

Also, when the Berlin Philharmonic plays in New York, they sound just like they do in Berlin -- except that our concert hall has WAY better acoustics than theirs does.

Than ANY? French food in France is better than Atomix? Than Aska? (Well, better than my visit there a year ago I’m sure... but on a good night)

This is all making me think it’d be a nice place to visit, but not necessarily live. I don’t want to eat French food every single night, even if it’s massively great. What happens when I want xiaolongbao or ddukboki or Singapore chow fun? Or an Italian hero? Or Leche de Tigre?

#1451494 Henry's End

Posted by Seth Gordon on 01 March 2020 - 03:18 PM

Popped in last night to get a plate of elk chops before they disappear for the season. It had actually been a couple years since I'd last dined there - on that visit things were a bit off an uninspired, but hey, it happens. Having dined there happily some forty to fifty times before that, we chalked it up to an off night. 

First time at the new location. It's a little brighter, with the corner windows. There's bar seating. And a few tables in the wine cellar a la Convivium Osteria, which is where we sat. 

Glad to say it was back on track. Are they reinventing the wheel? No, but that's never been their jam. It's a place to get more-interesting-than-typical comfort food and a hell of a nice bottle of wine (and oh, that wine list...)

For someone like me, who gets a kick out of older vintages that may be past their "peak" but still good drinking, it's a delight. On a lark I asked the SO, "Want a drink a wine older than you?" and she was game, so after a little discussion with Mark we went with an '85 Mondavi Napa Cab. Not an Opus One or even a Reserve, just the regular ol' one, and man, was it drinking lovely. Lighter bodied but still lots of lively fruit up front for the first twenty minutes or so, thinned out a little for the next twenty, but then came sneaking back with some toffee notes at the end that paired great with the entrees. And the prices! Where else are you going to find such a selection of thirty, forty, fifty year old wines, the vast majority of them under $150 - some even under $100. It's always a crap shoot with an old bottle, but Mark keeps good notes whenever someone opens one, dumps them if it turns out to be a complete dud and lets you order something else. (Or at least he lets us do that - maybe that's the been-fifty-times advantage, even if it's been a couple years since your last visit.)

There are some bottles that aren't just low markup but below retail - there's a selection of 2008 Schraders in the mid-200s that I saw listed for 300+ in stores. Amazing.


Kept the food simple: a big honking portion of pheasant liver mousse, and (keeping with the '80s theme) a beet & goat cheese salad. Retro, but the fried cheese balls were pretty tasty. Duck (lingonberry) and beautifully rare elk chops to follow, As usual, no "composed" dishes - it's meat and sauce on a plate, it's comforting, and it goes well with a good wine. Finished off with a basic tiramisu, a glass of Vintage Port for her and an Armangac for myself. (Comp disclosure: the after-dinner drinks)

Anyway, I should be going more often. Already planning to go back with 4-6 people and do a vertical or horizontal tasting of some of those old vintages. Way more interesting bottles than one would get for the same prices at arguably any other restaurant in the city. 

#1451036 Places we're curious about

Posted by Seth Gordon on 11 February 2020 - 04:51 PM

Not really warranting its own thread at the moment, but a place I was curious about, curiosity satisfied:

El Rey Del Pescado is a new place that just opened in Sunset Park. Their website has zero information aside from proclaiming themselves to be "The King of Fish" - or maybe the chef is the King? Or one of the fish is? I dunno.

Anyway, as we found out it was opened by a couple of lawyers - one Mexican, one Venezuelan - who live in and wanted something different / more upscale in the neighborhood, though upscale for Sunset Park is obviously different than upscale up the street in Park Slope. This isn't a place designed to attract the neighbors North of Greenwood, though it is in the vicinity of the first couple pops of gentrification along that part of 5th Ave (Judy's and L'Wren) - it seem to be for the local, younger Mexican crowd.

Nearly the entire menu is under $15. It's all, as the name implies, seafood.

And what we had was mostly very good. First, the tortillas - hand-made to order from fresh masa, and supposedly they're grinding it themselves? I'm gonna guess the latter won't continue, that's a lot of work for no benefit. Either way, they're great quality.

Some of the dish names are... less than PC. "El Chirri" - which is basically "the pussy" - was a tuna-stuffed relleno taco. Suspiro. Tasty if tasteless... Niños siempre serán niños, supongo. The mixed seafood coctele, "El Rompe Colchon" - "The Mattress Breaker" we didn't try. Anyway, "Mete Mano" has no sexual allusions, as far as I know. Just kind of means "give it a shot" - which we did, an octopus taco with a schmear of queso fundido. I dug it, though I'm sure the knee-jerk anti-dairy-and-seafood denizens will not be convinced.

Aguachile was nice and tart with good heat. The seafood soup we had, "La Cruda" - despite the name making no sense as there was nothing raw in it - was really tasty. The actual seafood in there - mussels, clams, shrimp, some baby scallops - was as overcooked by fancy person standards as one would expect. But the broth was delicious, really hit the spot on a chilly rainy night.

House-made hot sauces were uniformly excellent.

There was some confusion regarding the "Catch of The Day" ($14) and what exactly made it different than "The King of Fish" ($20) - no one seemed to know. Or even if the Catch of The Day was normally available on weeknights, or if like the KOF it was weekends-only. Either way, they didn't have it last night, so we couldn't try, and the COD over the weekend was (as expected) tilapia so it might never get tried. That said, a great sauce can occasionally turn tilapia into a serviceable delivery vehicle, as was the case down the street at the late, lamented El Tesoro Ecuatoriano. So we'll probably give it a shot at some point, and hold out hope that some marginally better fish get "caught" every now and then.

Cocktails (as opposed to cocteles) leaned to the sweet side. But easy enough to ask for them to leave out the near-ubiquitous agave syrup when there's already a liqueur in there. Mostly mezcal-focused. Small but decent selection of bottles - Los Amantes, Illegal, a couple others, something cheaper for the cocktails.

It ain't Le Bernardin, but it's outside the nabe's typical food box, great tortillas... $60 each all in (with two cocktails apiece) - not a bad addition. Not a destination restaurant, but worth checking out if you live/work in the area or happen to be down at Industry City and want something different than their offerings. I'll be back to check out the Michelada menu.

They're open nights from 4PM-?AM depending on the evening, but the kitchen will probably only be open until 11 most nights. Appears they're doing Sunday brunch, too, but for now it's the same as the nighttime menu. I suggested seafood chilaquiles should be a thing, but I don't know that the bartender passed on my brilliant expert advice to anyone.

Afterwards, because if we're drinking on a Monday night, might as well go all in, popped into L'Wren. Best cocktail bar in that part of Sunset, for sure - chill vibe, great drinks. The owner, Travis, who is usually tending bar is super-friendly, you can bring in your take-out. Don't know why I don't pop in there more often.


#1451003 Death Pool

Posted by Seth Gordon on 10 February 2020 - 06:05 PM

And Morimoto goes down... no surprise there. His heyday has long since passed, no way his name could keep filling a space that size. Last time I popped in (three years ago?) it was half-empty. 

#1450480 Tacos Bronco

Posted by Seth Gordon on 22 January 2020 - 05:10 PM




For chilaquiles, Rosie's in the East Village is my current reigning, defending champion. By a mile. Probably there once a month for them. 


I am willing to trust you but, i don't think alicia can take the disappointment. i may have to wait a month. 




(Caveat: not my picture, just yanked it from yelp)

But look at these:





Not swimming in sauce, but perfectly soggy-yet-still-crispy. They don't do chicken, but the runny eggs (and optional cecina) make up for it. And the pickled onions are like the cherry on top. My perfect hangover dish (plus their brunch servings will feed an army) 

Good pozole too, though it comes and goes from the brunch menu seemingly randomly. 

#1449716 Veronika

Posted by Seth Gordon on 06 January 2020 - 04:30 PM

And...that building!


Did having dinner there entitle you to visit the "museum" floors with the photography? 


There's something called "A Night At The Museum" on the dessert menu for $21, with no explanation. Best guess is it's a discounted (normally $28) ticket. 

#1449674 The Fulton, Jean-Georges at Pier 17

Posted by Seth Gordon on 05 January 2020 - 10:05 PM

Good help must be really hard to find!  I had the same issue with some of the new people at Cafe Katja recently; difference being that one of the owners and I got a good laugh out of it.



Must be something going around. We had some downright awful service at Beatrice last night (well beyond their usual awkward attempts at upselling) -  it would have been worth a laugh if it wasn't for The Bea's prices sucking any potential comedy out of it.

#1448815 Essex Crossing, Essex St. Market, and More

Posted by Seth Gordon on 13 December 2019 - 11:45 PM

The butter, Beurre de Baratte?

That’s the stuff! The “Le Meunière” brand, I think. (Until La Mercerie will sell me tubs of Bordier to-go.)

#1448804 Essex Crossing, Essex St. Market, and More

Posted by Seth Gordon on 13 December 2019 - 06:52 PM


It all looks that way - coppa, lardo, pancetta - they've got that covered for sure.


Upstairs, my favorite is most probably Formaggio...really nice people, good product, interesting cheeses with lots of turnover. They've got a Basque saucisson that's just great, and the cheeses from the Pyrenees are fine too. Yesterday, I wanted some of the British stuff that I've purchased and really liked, but they were sold out.


second fave has to be Pain d'Avignon. They definitely make one of my favorite ryes in town.


Oh yeah. Big fan of Formaggio. Good people, good stuff. There's a butter there that I like - I can't remember the name, it comes in rounds in gold foil. It's not, like, the Bordier butter at Mercerie, but it'll do for the home game edition. 


Ends will be great for the house-made goods, been going to the one in Sunset Park for awhile, now I've got it in both my regular stomping grounds. Luis for everyday meat and Ends for those fancy nights. (I'm having trouble bringing myself to try the Guys With Hats butcher upstairs. They may be great, but there's some mental block stopping me. Maybe it's the hats.)

Now if only Muncan Foods would expand to the 'hood... 

#1448478 What's the Most Obscure Cuisine You've Eaten in New York?

Posted by Seth Gordon on 03 December 2019 - 01:14 AM

I feel I’ve eaten obscure dishes more than obscure cuisines.

I totally think this.  And it brings back an old question I might've asked before - just because something is obscure, does that mean it's good?  Or to put it another way, is it necessary to eat rare and or "challenging" food for culinary delight?

No and no. But it’s fun and interesting, regardless.

#1448276 Micromanage My Life

Posted by Seth Gordon on 28 November 2019 - 02:55 PM

Llama San? Although I can't believe it'll be easy even this weekend.

I think the next available dinner table at Llama San is 10:30 on a Wednesday in mid-January. And it might be gone before I finish typing this sentence.

Noticed they’re starting brunch soon. If their website actually had menus it might pique my interest.

#1447776 Death Pool

Posted by Seth Gordon on 11 November 2019 - 06:55 PM

Grom on Bleecker Street has closed after 10 years at that location. There was always a line outside the door. Obviously a big rent hike is the reason. Ruth Messinger ran for Mayor years ago on a platform that included commercial rent control. She was prescient. The short-sightedness of greedy landlords and real estate "developers" will be the complete ruination of New York, which is well under way.Greedy landlords and


Ten years? It feels like only yesterday that I was shaking an imaginary fist at them for the temerity of stepping on Cones' turf, and worried this global chain would skim off enough business to put the neighborhood indie joint under.

Would not have guessed a decade later it'd be Cones still standing. 

(I suppose Grom is still standing too, with two other locations in the city and 8,000 or so in Italy) 

#1447769 Lupa

Posted by Seth Gordon on 11 November 2019 - 05:54 PM

At least it tasted good, but yeah, that plating... https://www.yelp.com...p340mSEOECH3QlA


Jesus, I think my blood pressure went up just from looking at that photo. 

#1447424 Foie gras ban

Posted by Seth Gordon on 02 November 2019 - 12:14 AM

D’Artagnan will ship it to you. (They’re located in NJ.)

Sometimes I need same-day foie, though. And the PATH is probably cheaper than shipping anyway.

#1447005 Szechuan Mountain House

Posted by Seth Gordon on 21 October 2019 - 08:57 PM

I wonder if the couple of places I've truly liked (i.e. Little Pepper and Legend of Taste) start out not having to be so ambitious as they do in Manhattan/Sunset Park/Flushing. And then whoever is cooking doesn't leave and they actually get better? 


Probably so. While I haven't been to LOT yet, the two of them - and I'd add in Alley 41 as another example of similar - are either chef-owned, or have very involved owners who had specific visions of what they were aiming for, and it wasn't the moon. I don't know anything about the owner(s?) of Guan Fu - do they run twenty other restaurants, and this is just one among many investments? Same for Mountain House.