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Robert Brown

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Posts posted by Robert Brown

  1. For accuracy's sake, it's La Pineta and Uliassi. And Uliassi is in Senigallia with two Ls not one L as is Madonnina del Pescatore* which isn't very good at all. And as much as I like La Pineta, Bobby, it is a very different sort of beast than Le B and the two shouldn't be compared at all. I mean La Pineta is effectively a semi-dilapidated shack on an isolated beach found at the end of dead-end road. And they don't have anywhere near the broad selection of whole fish that you seem to be imagining. But I repeat, I really like the place. And yes I have been to these places relatively recently ie last year. And although I've "been" to Uliassi and looked into their empty room, I didn't eat there because it was closed and on vacation. Bastards ! Hence, my Madonnina massacre. And among all these Italian places, I'd much prefer to eat at Dal Pescatore which one might think is a fish place but it absolutely is not. That was a surprise. In fact, when I was there, the only dishes from the sea were eel and lobster, unless you consider frog's legs from the sea. And for a bunch of Italians, their lepre alla royal was okay.




    Line 1: Quotation marks around "L"followed by a comma; comma after "Pescatore".

    Line 2: Comma after "Le B"

    Line 4: semi-colon after "recently" and period between "i" and "e".

    Line 5: "Hence my....." is an incomplete sentence, but I'll grant you a stylistic free pass on that one; comma after "Pescatpre".

    Line 6: Comma after"fish place".


    Generally you have too many sentences beginning with "And."

    Dal Pescatore's name is mostly likely derived from its being on a river.


    And I love you, too.





  2. Lex, the piece was only big enough for two bites: One to detect that it was bad, and the next to confirm it really was so.


    Chambo, Le Bernardin is a short. They should pay you for going there. I need a spellchecker like you have that's programmed for eating. I can't remember which Jean-Luc I mentioned. It certainly wasn't Godard or Ponty. You're right--La Pineta is where they hold the Antibes-Juan-les-Pins Jazz Festival. I though Madonnia sucked also. One of the worst dinners of recent memory except for Can Roca. Le Bernardin would merit its hyper-inflated ratings if it were like La Pineta. I recall quite a bit of whole fish, but I think you had to ask.

  3. As I explained at the outset, I was eating with a friend who reveres chefs. In fact, his son is a restaurant chef, about to be a restaurant owner as well. My companion is also a judge in various competitions and he likes to talk with chefs. He doesn't like to rock the boat during meals, although we have post-mortems together. In other circumstances I can be quite militant. At times, however, less-experienced dining companions can become uneasy and can think I am being picky, if not obnoxious. If I gave a shit about Le Bernardin, I would have sent them an e-mail. I never go there on my own volition, but if a friend or out-of-towner wants to go there, I bite the bullet.


    I have a theory about this restaurant and why it gets the marks and comments it does. I'll deal with this later, perhaps.

  4. For accuracy's sake, I should point out that there are two seafood restaurants in Italy that come to mind that don't offer whole fish--Uliasse and Antica Osteria Cera. However Le Bernardin doesn't come close to these two (and many others) in terms of freshness and conception. At Uliasse, however, you can order a "brodetto" that is out of this world. I have nothing against effete or dainty fish dishes especailly if they are crudo, sashimi-based. But I find the that the ones at Bernardin almost always leave me cold.

  5. Citing all those rating and reviews is what one calls "appealing to authority" for making an argument. Very good reviews tend to be self-perpetuating. I thought it was very telling to receive a rank piece of fish, something that never happened to me at La Pineda, Maximin, Uliasse, Elkano, and so many other truly great seafood restaurants. Le Bernardin is not a restaurant for sophisticated fish lovers; otherwise you would see an array of whole, wild fish on the menu and available in short order.

  6. I'm waiting for the French Michelin to not give a third star to a new address, as what happened often in the past. I imagine it will be a long wait.

  7. The menu didn't state which one. The main point is that the fish they gave me was fit for the trash. Also, there are no whole fish unless you want red snapper, which you have to order a day in advance. Red snapper is about the only whole wild fish you always find in a seafood store or section here in NYC.


    It gets three stars because the Michelin Guide no longer has rigorous standards.

  8. I don't know where one lost the Bernadin part of this thread, but I had a meal with friends there not that long ago who generally hold the chef-ly profession in higher esteem than I do, thereby putting a damper on people like me who indulge in justifiable criticism. Not everyone will agree with me that the food is too fussy and pretentious, but one event transpired at the restaurant that I had to keep quiet about when it occurred: I asked our waiter where a serving of raw white tuna came from. His answer was the "Pacific Ocean". Given our dining mates, I didn't press him on where in the Pacific (California coast?, Japan coast? Australia?-- after all the Pacific Ocean is mighty big). Then the piece he brought me was rank. I'm guessing the fish came from Trade World and the Tokyo fish market. But for some reason its provenance was a secret. To me, those two factors relegate the restaurant to the lack-of-integrity department. Restaurants that behave this way view you as fodder for their bank deposits.

  9. At the risk of being a moldy fig, I went to YouTube after getting an urge to listen to the Four Freshmen, particularly "It's a Blue World Without You" and "Poinciana". My wife Had no reaction. Just remember, though, that they and possibly the Hi-Los, Modernaires, and the Dave Lambert Singers were Beach Boys prototypes

  10. Just as it's none of my (or anyone's) business what people do in their bedroom, the same holds true in the kitchen. In restaurants, however, I find plenty of reasons to rail against sous-vide cooking. Since no one here and elsewhere can't or won't write about aspects that go beyond the taste and texture comparisons, here are some other reasons why sous-vide cooking is not my friend.


    Sous-vide, as it promotes the convergence between institutional and creative or personal cooking, is a crutch that makes life easier for people who hire incompetent or poorly-trained cooks-some of whom want to be about the only person in the kitchen- and otherwise maximize their revenue. As such it limits the way people make food and relegates technically-challenging, time-tested, complicated and, to a large extent, better-tasting food that is being put out of existence by its ever-growing use in restaurants.


    Because sous-vide allows for stockpiling food, it goes hand in glove with degustation, no-choice restaurants.


    Sous-vide is inexorably killing Romanticism. The phenomenon of a chef going to a greenmarket or a food hall and coming up with dishes “on the spot” is on the way out. So is that of a chef lording over a dish that he is cooking, looking, tweaking and tasting as it develops over a flame. (When Andrew Carmellini launched Lafayette, he said he wouldn’t use sous-vide there because it takes the love out of cooking.)


    What may be the most distressing aspect of sous-vide to those to whom restaurant-going is meaningful is what it does for the sense of smell. Just as wine has a nose or bouquet, so does food where it plays a critical role in enjoying it. Some of my vivid culinary memories come from walking past the kitchen of a fine restaurant taking in the delightful, overwhelming appeal to my nose or the odor from a whole duck or chicken wafting across the dining room. The Internet has pages of complaints about foul smells from sous-vide users, but since I’m talking about restaurant kitchens, what I remember most about Can Roca (the #1 restaurant in the San Pellegrino Top Fifty), other than the thoroughly terrible meal was being allowed to visit their odorless kitchen.

  11. Since you're near my old stomping at the Savoy grounds, I want to put in a good word for Franchin on one of the pedestrian streets in Nice. Where else these days can you find crepes Suzette? The interior is vintage, authentic style Art Deco. The food is the way it used to be. Antoine the chef is young and a native of Nice. I found it last winter just when I had given up all hope for the Nice restaurant situation. Mark my words and mark it down.

  12. It's easier these days to envision a dish, not ironically because of menu descriptions, but that in nearly every so-called creative-chef restaurants, they are presenting the assembling of the plate in the same way. Chefs don't want you to think, as seen by every contemporary photograph, they are slaving over a hot stove or otherwise do what one considers cooking, but rather being "artistes" with their leaning over a counter top doing slicey-dicey, dribby-drabby with their squeeze bottles, tweezers, and paint brushes. Form, structure and integrity of the fish, fowl, meat and whatever starts out on the bone is doing a slow fade to oblivion in these kind of restaurants, all facilitated by you know what.

  13. Just to point out another way of how chefs and restaurateurs indulge in seemingly-endless ways to screw us over, I have recently been both noticing and looking at menus that are more opaque and less-forthcoming about ingredients and how chefs cook them for the dishes they offer us. As Founder and President of the recently-formed League of Anti-Sousvideians, I think that reluctance or failure to state that a dish is grilled, roasted, broiled, etc. can sometimes, but not always, be a result of wanting to camouflage the use of this shortcut. To cite one example of this lack of disclosure, there currently are a couple of on-line menus of a factory-outlet big-name-chef group of restaurants with a section called “Simply Cooked” that comprises no more than “cod”, “halibut”, “salmon”, “organic chicken”, sometimes meat with a “Nieman Ranch” thrown in, without any indication of what “simply cooked” entails. (In all fairness, this is an extreme example, and the menus of these two restaurants also list dishes that state how they cook most, but not all, of the other relevant dishes.) Nonetheless, I can’t help noticing that this lack of general disclosure is an unfair-to-the-diner practice that appears to be growing. It’s not always an all-or-nothing phenomenon since many restaurant menus state how the restaurant cooks some dishes, but not others. But regardless, the opaqueness is an added stumbling block to trying to get the most out of a restaurant. This puts a premium on having enough dining experience to have the presence of mind to try to leave no stone unturned. Grilling is the operative word here since this is what you have to do to your order-taker to navigate the unfriendly mine fields restaurants have laid for their clients. Just hope that your waiter is telling you the truth.


  14. I forgot about Grace's. Thank you. I paid more attention at Fairway UES yesterday, and it is certainly more depleted. I've also noticed that the mushrooms are not refreshed like they used to be. One of these days I will speak with a manager, although I wouldn't expect him to be forthcoming about the medium-term prospects for the store.

  15. I go to the E. 86 St. Fairway two or three times a week. When the Whole Foods at 87&3 a year and a half(?) ago, the traffic thinned out at Fairway. Now it appears to me to be back at or near pre-WF levels and no reduction in cashiers. However, there are some noticeable diminution in certain areas such as more meats and cheese moved from butchers and cheese cutters to serve-yourself shelves where you have to buy more than you need. I no longer see my man Steve who knew where to find any product name you threw at him. Now you have to ask the shelf-stockers who don't always know the answer. I would be somewhat surprised if they closed the store, and somewhat upset. The near-by Whole Foods is a major disappointment--badly supplied, rather dear, and often out of products. Food shopping on the UES is pretty bad. We find ourselves bringing back increasing amounts of food from the Hudson Valley to have in NYC.

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