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Robert Brown

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Everything posted by Robert Brown

  1. I never care if people in a restaurant in Japan don't speak English. In fact, it appears I endear myself in such circumstances when I try getting the names. Chefs or staff members usually know the English words for various products. Key words that go a long way are "Matsui Hideki", "Suzuki Icharo" and, especially now, "Tanaka Masahiro".
  2. Matsukawa sounds like the place I went to behind the Okura and across the road from my embassy. Speaking of Kanazawa, there is an 86 year old sushi chef you should check out. This was two years ago, so perhaps he retired or went to the big knife in the sky. Here's the question. Could I do as well going to a restaurant in, say, Saga instead of Ryokan Akune? Are you suggesting using it as a restaurant only? It reminds me of da Maria in Fano--an eldery woman giving you a seminar in the local fish. In any case, I don't like sleeping on the floor these days. Thank you very much, Orik. A
  3. While I'm at it, a Japanese friend of mine from Tokyo who works with the Michel Bras line of knives tells me that Mibu is "far overrated", but if he could get me a reservation, I would go there.
  4. Orik, did you visit there? How far from Fukuoka did you wander? What did you like wherever? I would go to wherever is interesting by train or bus, but not real far.
  5. Thanks Orik. I'm missing the link to the ryokan you refer to.
  6. I've read the entire thread today. It's great for Tokyo, but I'm a provincial fellow at heart who loves bopping around Japan. I'm getting ready to go to Fukuoka and other places on Kyushu Island. Food information is hard to come by. I like being in le Japon profond, but has anyone noticed the ryokan food is qualitatively like Relais & Chateaux food?
  7. I assume you're talking about the Russian Daughters at the Jewish Museum?
  8. Dear Margaret, All I can tell you is that when I visit a restaurant on short notice, I'll ask there which dishes are "cooked" sous-vide. So far I usually get an honest answer. But for me not to write ahead and ask wouldn't be prudent, besides which I like to see how forthcoming the restaurant is. If a restaurant doesn't answer or gives a vague or evasive answer, I will think twice about going there. Other times I have to grin and bear it such as when a friend wants to try a certain restaurant that may or may not be a sous-vide place and turns out to be one. Where you really have to careful
  9. Holy smokes. Did I write "sided" instead of "sighted"? And are you SF Margaret? I don't pretend to know how Ferran Adria, Massimo Buttura, Grant Achatz, etc. use sous-vide in avant-garde cooking or the tricks that the practitioners of avant-garde, Modernist, whatever you want to call it. I would say that about half the meals at the hands of such chefs I greatly enjoyed. But that's neither here nor there. It's when restaurants use sous-vide to make dishes that they could make better by time-tested means that raise my hackles. (You can see a Per Se menu from 2006 by going on-line to the New
  10. Thanks Daniel and Orik. I can say this about the both of you: That you give thought to the long-term implications of this short-cut and maybe even what it does to stifle creativity, the use of the best products available, and the forthrightness of chef-restaurateurs. For the rest of you short-sided folks, ask yourself how long it will take before you see glorified airline food served on the ground because that's the way we're headed. Complaining or holding people's feet to the fire is a form of public service for people yet unknown, and if more people did it, it would lay waste to the dictum "
  11. For those of you who didn’t believe me when I expressed my belief that restaurant chefs were defensive about their use of sous-vide “cooking”, this one’s for you. As a couple of my new neighbors asked me if I had visited a certain up-scale restaurant, I decided, since I hadn’t, to write the restaurant and ask why their dish descriptions on its on-line menu didn’t state how the kitchen cooked each dish and if they used immersion circulators in their preparations. Because the chef was kind enough to answer me in short-order and at length (though as we will see, not forthrightly) I won’t stat
  12. Just for the record, the Frank Pepe's pizza in Danbury is much inferior to the one in New Haven. I imagine the ame holds true for the six other branches.
  13. Maybe the town should just blow up their former town hall. First Freddy Girardet got cancer (not fatal, but he retired early.) Then Philippe Rochat, Giirardet's second, lost his wife in an avalanche and he died on his bicycle in July. Now this. For me it is sad because I spent many of my best eating hours there.
  14. I wrote a complaint to headquarters which I will try to post soon. The fellow at the restaurant group headquarters gave me a call and said he would go up there several times and help straighten things out. Another example of my crusading for the Fellowship. Good luck, Mitch.
  15. The restaurant phenomenon I’m about to describe is nothing new, even if my way of categorizing it is. The comparison I’m about to make was the result of a disastrous Christmas night dinner I had at the Inn at Pound Ridge, a restaurant whose kitchen Jean-Georges Vongrichten took over last year. The meal fell into the disaster category by dint of the service staff letting us sit for 45 minutes without even a bread crumb to put in our mouths; bringing the preliminary assuaging-hunger “for the table” dish after the appetizers; running out of the dish my wife and I wanted the most; waiting an inord
  16. I posted a long time ago that Keller was living off oysters and pearls and the salmon cones and the dessert coffee and donuts. Making tiny dishes and being a proponent and champion of sous-vide "cooking" perhaps has cut him down to size. A few people I know who are dining maniacs have given up on the French Laundry.
  17. Tipping extra is often aposteriori. I often do it in a place (town or city or restaurant) I will never return to. A bribe is conditioned on someone doing something in the future. I admit, though, that doing it in the neighborhood to establish on-going extras down the road could be construed as a bribe.
  18. Chambro, please post your list of approved spots. As best I can, I will let you know if it is spotty.
  19. I beg to differ about Ciau dei Tornavento. I go there almost every year in the fall. I have a cute waitress (Evelyn?) who treats me right; let's me smell a bunch of truffles and helps me choose a great bottle of wine. There are several dishes I order that are meant for truffles. Yes, the carne cruda, the egg and cheese dish "Trufalao" served in the wood box, and the gnocchi come to mind, not to mention the vanilla ice cream covered with truffles Last year we had a partridge that was not only rare to come across, but sublime. They take their cheese seriously, too, as you say. I like the Fascist
  20. I went to Daniel's a couple of weeks ago with my Brooklyn pal. At dinner the other night, we tried to describe to my wife what Daniel's enterprise was like. We landed on "idiosyncratic", "highly-personal", that Daniel was likely an auto-didact, which explained the seeming lack of influences of other cooks on his creations. In a food universe where new restaurants offer food that tries to hew to a certain line (plurality being ersatz Italian), Meckelburg's is a highly-welcome restaurant in a city that otherwise lacks this restaurant's qualities. When you sit at the bar, you immediately feel lik
  21. Sneakeater, at Untitled they are charging a la carte prices for dishes they tell you are somewhat-smaller main courses. Offered a la carte, of course. And the beat goes on. The one trick I haven't seen in the US is the French one of offering a few tasting menus, any one of which has to be for the all the convives while at the same time offering a token number of a la carte dishes at inflated prices; i.e. two appetizers and two main courses, designed to dissuade you from ordering them. There's a la carte and there's a la carte. I'm happy to pay a lot for dish that I can choose, is well-made and
  22. Here's Mr. X's reply: Dear Robert, Thank you for your note! First, we aim to compensate our people competitively – by this we mean not only inside our restaurants, but inside the hospitality industry in general and other fine dining establishments in particular. We believe strongly that by taking care of our people and each other we can create better experiences for our guests. Hospitality Included also creates an opportunity for us to professionalize the industry we love. That means promotions, advancement, and financial rewards based on merit. We already have a strong group of ma
  23. To get started, here's the first of my back and forth with Meyer's outfit Dear Friends, I am writing to share some important news about Union Square Hospitality Group that we want you to understand before your next visit to one of our restaurants. Recently, our entire company has been engaged in a robust conversation about how we can provide even more meaningful career opportunities and advancement for our 1,800 employees. It has become increasingly clear to us that a major obstacle in this endeavor is the practice of tipping. There are countless laws and regulations that determin
  24. And good for him when he invariable tightens the noose even more around his customers' necks. As I implied above, he'll have either to become less of a Maiaolino about the bottom line unless he knows a way not to degrade the outcomes in going to his restaurants. On the other hand, he'a real smart cookie and maybe he can operate in ways that people like me who are outside the business can't fathom in order to prevent that. But I believe that something's gotta give in the return on dining-out investment unless he really hikes the prices, which he says he won't.
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