Eleven Madison Park, New York City, 9/ 20/14

Entrance
Entrance

It’s been a couple years since we were last here and the ratings of EMP continue to rise. Its chef also manages the NoMad Restaurant so you will see some similarities of preparation. Stellar credentials but somehow it misses the mark with me. The food is beautifully presented, the room is gorgeous and the staff totally spoil you, but the flavor impact is just not there. It is one of those restaurants that is lost in the presentation and show of the food.

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Ko, New York City, 5/7/15

Exterior of Ko
Exterior of Ko

Quite a change since a couple years ago when we visited. A new larger location and you can now take pictures! At least twice as many people can partake and the timing is thus more staggered. I missed the intimacy of the former location but still the staff are all extremely friendly and it is a long meal of a variety of tastes with an Asian overtone. Everyone gets the tasting but you have the options of wine pairings which we opted not to do. One other change is the addition of music, which I thought to be a tad loud with all the commotion already there. David Chang, founder and owner of Momofuku was in the house, which is unusual probably because Anthony Bourdain and friend were there (or did he just know we were coming?) Continue reading

Blanca, New York City, 5/9/15

Entrace to Roberta's, inside is Blanca
Entrace to Roberta’s, inside is Blanca

This is a hidden restaurant for 12 people hidden in the back of Roberta’s, a very popular pizza restaurant in Brooklyn. We’ve heard lots of good things about it but being small and only open Wed – Sat. it’s a hard reservation to come by. The kitchen is an open format with the guests sitting in a “U” shape on one side of the square room. You actually enter thru the pizza spot and after you get to the front of their line the staff will come and take you back to a spartan room whose main decoration is a fish head. Continue reading

Marea, New York City, 5/8/15

Marea exterior
Marea exterior

This is a large and elegant dining space. They have had a couple Michelin stars for years and it shows in the seamless service. At lunch they offer a 2 or 5 course fixed price menu, with the latter including some of the upcharge items and dessert. With the 5 course tasting they do scale down the portion sizes. They were willing to substitute the pasta course offered for another on the menu but do not offer any items on their dinner menu that are not on the lunch one. Continue reading

Contra, New York City, 5/8/15

Exterior
Exterior

A real hole in the wall place that serves a tasting menu to all, which changes daily. The kitchen is at the far end of the long room and it is a constant source of movement as the tables are turned over as soon as vacated. We started with a jicama sandwich that was light, sweet and tart. The salad was next with lots of really fresh tastes in a variety of greens not usually seen. Continue reading

Estela, New York City, 5/9/15

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What a little gem is this place! Fairly small with a limited menu at Sat. brunch it is worth the trip. Most plates are easy to share and the service people are most helpful in making selections. They seem to love hiding ingredients underneath the top items that enhance the already intense tastes of the dishes. We started with the endive salad and the walnuts were so nicely toasted they were almost sweet and added to the already wonderful crunch of the endive. I wasn’t sure about the dish but when you taste it the ‘wow’ factor is there. Continue reading