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Well it doesn’t matter because I made my reservation on the wrong day and had to cancel. My fault again.

Tables are scarce so trying old school French, Les Nomades.

Tonight I see an upscale Chinese, Dolo, with a full license, but I will need to actually call (remember that?) for a table. 

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This will be an adventure. Dolo turns out to be almost empty. It looks lux online, but no: ripped up banquettes and cardboard boxes piled behind the tables.

Uniquely in Chinatown it has a full license. It is also two minutes walk from my hotel.

But despite the visible array of liquor…



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The evening began with very good Botanist martinis in Best Bar, on the Chinatown main strip, but clearly not Chinese owned.

Old school soundtrack and the bartender caught me, quite unwittingly, bopping to The Backstreet Boys.

This is what I am wearing this evening. I will tone it down for Les Nomades.



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In real time, the crispy intestines were impeccable (they usually are), the fish maw was chewier than other versions I’ve had. Problem was cold plates, exactly my issue with Colicchio’s Craft when it first opened; you can’t linger over the food (I am not making that up).



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Oh how nice, I didn’t expect a chat, but a server came over to tell me they don’t see American customers order that food.

I could have told him about my mother’s passion for jellied eels, but I gave him the short version.

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Les Nomades in a neighborhood packed with restaurants and bars (East Ontario), a labor of love by the owner, Mary Beth Licconi. Whatever is going on next door or down the street, she is going to offer traditional, relatively formal French dining.

I love the idea, but there are risks. Pot-at-Feu in Providence has the same proffer, but the food isn’t great.

With a reservation in my pocket I got a phone call from Mary Beth asking me to wear a jacket. Of course. In fact, I wished I had packed a tie; I saw another patron wearing one and I haven’t seen that in New York (except me) forever.

The dining room has comforting Miro reproductions on the walls, thick white table cloths, the servers are in suits (with ties). It’s a trip back to a place I like.

But the food is good. Three or four course prix fixe. Warm cauliflower soup with crunchy shallots as an amuse, then an excellent foie dish, the liver seared to a crunchy crust, the sauce a wonderful banana (yes) reduction with a texture that teetered on the brink of savory jelly.

Then poached lobster over salad. I did, at last, express my anxiety about duck breast to the captain, explaining that in New York it is a bloody but rubbery thing. They cook it more medium here, he said, and he was right. It had flavor and was digestible.

Cheeses were okay. A nice champagne at the start, Calvados at the end. The check was under $300 for once. Highly recommended for the handful of people who like this kind of thing. @rozrapp







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