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Robert Brown

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Everything posted by Robert Brown

  1. I thank Steven for co-creating eGullet. It was a consuming passion of mine from a few months after it began until I lost my posting privileges. He deserves entry into the Culinary Hall of Fame, mythical as it may be. In his way, he was a legend.
  2. Some dishes were better than mediocre, others were less than. It's a bad restaurant as restaurants go. It takes advantage of naive and inexperienced customers, which probably accounts for 95% of their clients. More later.
  3. I'm hoping against hope that my dinner tonight at the new Morini is better than mediocre since I live about 100 yards from the place, and like Nancy said, there is not a very good restaurant within normal walking distance from me. I don't recall my ever thinking of a duck as buttery. I only remember the whole ducks I've eaten prepared by extraordinary chefs. "Meaty" is the word that immediately comes to mind. And as for sous-vide in general, it does a lot of damage that no one has put his or her finger on, so far as I know. I'll try to chime in soon about my dinner tonight. aving been once to
  4. I can almost bet that the duck was cooked sous-vide. Buttery is not a word I would use to describe a perfectly-roasted duck. No bones about it.
  5. Robert Brown


    Authentic hipsterism is loving Charlie Parker.
  6. Because the grammarians are all on vacation, their troubles are all issuematic.
  7. This morning the following story was on the Bloomberg Dweebsite: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-29/how-haute-vegetables-are-conquering-500-tasting-menus.html I wrote this e-mail to Ryan Sutton: Dear Ryan Sutton, I admit to not having been to any of the restaurants you mention, at least some of them recently. Without your quantifying the produce costs of such meals (beeswax may be expensive, but how many plates do you get from a pound) how do you know that the phenomenon you describe is not the latest manifestation in the on-going process of maximizing profits and getting
  8. My Distance Early Warning System that is somewhat reliable is picking up signs that the aggressive expansion of Fairway from their initial public offering this April is creating a deterioration in product availability. When I bought a bag of Macadamia nuts this past weekend, upon eating one at home, I tasted that the oil was rancid despite the "use by" date in November. Being a sticker for integrity, I wrote customer service to bring the nuts to their attention. The same day, yesterday, I tried to buy some cremini mushrooms and encountered essentially an empty bin. In a response to Vanessa in
  9. Thanks for the nice reception. Even though the discussion has veered off somewhat, it is interesting for me to read. For purposes of the discussion, I am agnostic about sous-vide. I have a lot to learn at the moment. As of now, I appreciate the indispensability of it in avant-garde cooking as I have had memorable meals from Adria, Blumenthal, and Achatz (but a really bad one from the Roca Bros.) Also, if I cooked at home, using sous-vide equipment sounds like fun. In "traditional" restaurants I make it a point to ask and then avoid ordering if possible any dishes prepared with it. I worry
  10. My on-going inquiry began when all I wanted to do was to ask a restaurant (Clos des Sens in the Savoie town of Annecy) near the house I found to rent on the Bay of Talloires, if their chef uses sous-vide. Since then, I have written to L’Atelier de Jean-Luc Rabenel in Arles, Per Se and Le Bernadin mostly to ask about their use, if any, of sous-vide and peripheral questions about their tasting menus, which in many restaurants sous-vide aids and abets. So far none of the restaurants, in spite of all the people who hail the method as almost a gift from the Gods, have come clean and said straight o
  11. Too bad the roots of Italian-American food barely encompassed fish since we really get the short end of it here. But having spent months and months in Italy and going to so many refined and earthy restaurants, nothing is better (especially in the fall) than eating fish on either coast. For this Lorenzo and La Pineta on the Tuscan coast and Uliasse on the Adriatic are my favorites. Along with truffles in Piemonte (the later the date, the better), you have two situations going that are so far superior to the internationalization trend that you'll want go live there!!! For contemporary dining, on
  12. I haven't read this thread, but using In Private on IE 8 does the trick. Why they haven't ixed this is beyond me.
  13. I would like to take this opportunity to say that this disurbing trend toward vegetarian menus and even vegetarian a la carte dishes is another step in the progression to milk restaurant-goers and enrich chefs and restaurant owners even more, In the same vein that pastas are being increasingly priced to close in on the cost of meat and fish dishes, so are vegetable dishes. Such plates are a Godsend to chefs in their unstoppable march to cutting food costs and getting richer without a commenserate break for you and me. The worst, of course, is using them as filler dishes in these elongated tast
  14. It's way too early to chose my worst meal of the year, but I can guarantee you that 50 weeks from now Misson Chinese will still hold the honor. I feel tonight that I have cheated and brutalized. There is nothing even medicore here. The ingredients are cheap, the conceptions heavy-handed and lost in space, and the choice of '70s disco music to blast the clientele is as tasteless as the food. The room is depressing and the waiters jam up your table with dishes they deposit in no sequential order.. If this is the best new restaurant of 2011, where does that leave New York as "the restaurant capit
  15. Don’t be fooled into believing Willow Road is a pub with American comfort food. True it is a gastropub, but you will nonetheless be served delicious, sophisticated food masterfully created by Bouley and Cru alumnus Todd Macdonald, which is honest and unpretentious; a rare combination these days and one well-worth seeking out. There are no foams, no sous-vide preparations and no prissy plating. The dishes are just delicious, innovative and memorable. The pickled baby vegetables in a Mason jar are a far cry from Grandma’s bread and butter pickles. The roasted sugar pumpkin stuffed with swiss ch
  16. Here's the link from the October 28, 2012 New York Times. I agree. Cooking isn't spiritual (as the author says) and other than some decomposed food used by artists like Dieter Rot and Daniel Spoerri, food isn't the material stuff of art. though it can be the subject of art. As the writer says. "Proust on the madeleine is art; the madeleine itself is not art." (Who among you will say Ferran Adria is a true artist?) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/opinion/sunday/how-food-replaced-art-as-high-culture.html
  17. Why, then, that whenever I ask my fish provider here in New York what's whole and wild, the answer is always "red snapper and striped bass"? Okay, so she gets Dover sole from a French guy who is an importer. However, Luciano Zazzeri at La Pineta really liked the red mullet he got from someone in Brooklyn (mob guy, it sounded like) when he was here last year to cook a meal at the Metropolitan Museum. I think, though, that it's from Florida.
  18. Here's what I think is a good question: How much does the quality of produce matter when someone cooks it sous-vide? I need an answer to bolster one of my culinary dictums, among which are "Restaurants only get worse". So it was nice to see Tyler Cowen elaborate on it, most recently in a recent New Yorker story by Malcolm Gladwell.
  19. Okay Adrian, I be back!!! Thank you very much for the kind words. What do you think of Toronto dim sum? I found it to be great out by the airport at the Doubletree-Hilton. This is a very nice thread. Anyone here remember the early eGullet days before management i.e. Fat Slug got rid of, scalp by scalp, the elite international diners? That was great fun while it lasted. People like Bux, Cabrales, Plotnicki and others would all be on-line at the same time, such that it was like watching and being in a tennis match at the same time. I like to think that by virtue of my spending a few mont
  20. A useful start would be to compare “destination” restaurants between the late 1960s until ca. 1995 (most of which I knew extremely well) and those of today. The former group, with the exception of some ersatz French restaurants in the US (New York, Los Angeles and a couple in the Mid-West) were in French-speaking countries, particularly in Paris and in between Paris and the South of France. What characterized these restaurants were: ---Rigorously gathering impeccable produce, especially whole fish and fowl. ---Large kitchen brigades numbering between 12 and 35 people including apprenti
  21. Kayser, just like Eataly, is another reminder that food is more often than not a poor traveler. Today my wife and I brought home a croissant, baguette, apricot tart and a pistachio financier from the brand-new Kayser. Only the financier measured up to what one would find at a decent local bread-pastry shop in France. The croissant was acceptable, but was short-cutted in that there wasn't a good quantity of buttered layers to give the touch of resistance that I find in my favorite croissants. The apricot tart had a lackluster soft crust and the apricots were without much flavor. The baguette wa
  22. Anyone interested in the 20th-century glories of French restaurant cuisine or had the good fortune to visit the village of Mionnay on the outskirts of Lyon at a certain moment will be upset by the end of Restaurant Alain Chapel. A good part of the restaurant died when Chapel did at age 53 in the summer of 1990, and the restaurnt declined immediately thereafter. Still, as one who spent a part of 25 years criss-crossing France visiting the great and interesting restaurants of France, I can easily say that not a single one of them quite affected me and my wife the way this restaurant did. Each ti
  23. I'm waiting for a restaurant serving charcuterie to bring out a basketful of several varieties of entire salamis,cooked sausages, etc. and a knife to cut off your own pieces. Like raw milk cheese less then 60 days old, that too is probably illegal here.
  24. Robert Brown


    How you make out in the produce section is now hit or miss. When Cheataly first opened, the produce was generally quite okay. Now you are likely to encounter either the quite okay and actually excellent produce or, as in two of my last three visits, herbs, mushrooms and vegetables that are wilted and discolored. Either these Baldor people service Cheataly on a less-than-regular basis or the materials sit in the basement longer than they should because no one wants to throw anything out.
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