Momofuku Ko (update), New York City, 5/4/19

open kitchen
open kitchen

We visited Ko one year ago and the entrance changed positions but not much else has changed significantly.   The seats at the counter seemed better spaced but the loud music still makes conversation difficult.  They offer 2 seatings in a night and they are staggered slightly so waiting wasn’t a problem.  They offer only the same tasting menu to all and it was surprisingly similar to what we were served a year ago.  They probably offer wine pairings but we chose to order our own wines.  They do have a couple tables for larger groups but everyone else is seated at the wood bar in acceptable but not super comfy seats.  They have purse hooks under the counter but it was so far under you’d never be able to retrieve your purse if you need anything.  Pacing was uneven and portion control was on the light side.  You do receive a menu at the end but many of the things I well recognized from our last visit.  I mentioned this to the chef who was a bit defensive that they’d made changes but they were minor to the diner.  Unfortunately this similarity made the meal less exciting to me. Continue reading

Frenchette, New York City, 5/4/19

building
building

We visited Frenchette for a Saturday lunch, where they also offer brunch foods.  They opened about a year ago.  You enter into a good sized bar area that is comfortable and friendly and you can also snag a seat there to eat without a reservation.   The large dining room held closely set tables some of which were matched to booth seating along a mid-room dividing wall.  Service was friendly and efficient.  The menu is not large but offers a number of tasty options.  Eclectic music played in the background, the yellowish lights were lowered and the place was packed.  They make their own charcuterie in house as well as pretzel rolls.   Continue reading

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (update), New York City, 5/3/19

building
building

We were at Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare in the fall of 2015, back when it was in Brooklyn.  It has since moved into the city and relaxed a few of the rules.  Chef César Ramirez now allows note taking and photos but still does not permit jeans and requires coats for men in the dining room.  I was not a fan of such policies back then and still am not but was willing to try the new location that was more under my terms.  The new place in still in the back of a grocery store but the room is beautiful, softer than the old one with a lot less stainless steel and more woods.  It is also much larger with 20 seats at the counter and 20 at tables around the perimeter.  This allows larger parties to attend and the comfortable counter seats have backs and are now spaced between parties.  Shining copper pots hang above the large open kitchen that has lots of people making preparations.  The rock music in the background was a bit jarring for the otherwise elegant setting.  It still is a surprise tasting menu only but they do give you a copy of what you had at the end of the meal.  Pairings are available.  Pacing was good but portions tend to the large size and are fairly rich. Continue reading

Marea (update), New York City, 5/3/19

entry
entry

It’s been 4 years since we ate at Marea, a 2 star Michelin restaurant that specializes in seafood with an Italian influence.  The food here is all very flavorful with out dots or smears – just plain good and fresh.  It is a huge place, elegantly appointed but with closely set tables and some noise issues when it is full.  At lunch it was packed.  There is a lot of art on the walls and windows to the street on two sides of the large dining area.  They also have a long bar area with a beautiful yellow glass wall running behind the bar.  The wood on the walls is polished to a high sheen and you’re likely to spot some bold name people dining with you or in passage from one of the private dining rooms.  (I spotted Michael Douglas as he exited).  At lunch they offer a selection of primi and secondi courses with a fixed price of $63 for the two of your choice, however some selections will have a supplemental charge and a 5 course tasting menu for $99 with optional wine pairings offered.  The tasting includes dessert and although the menu is already set they were willing to make some changes for us and we did not have to get the same things, so that is the deal to get.  We ordered our own bottle of wine and had a cocktail and still beat the cost of buying the pairings, but just barely.  Service was excellent, friendly and efficient.  Put this place on your list if you can. Continue reading

Raoul’s Restaurant, New York City, 5/5/18

exterior
exterior

Raoul’s is a medium sized place that is filled with interesting things and closely packed tables.  In the back room there are some booth seats and the walls are filled with photos and paintings.  In the front room there is a good sized bar with stools as well as some small tables that take advantage of bench seating.  The lighting is pretty dark, the ceiling is tin, jazzy music is in the background and the tables are covered in white clothes.  There are windows to the street but it doesn’t add much natural light.  It has the cozy look and feel of a place that’s been there a long time.  Service was relaxed, helpful and friendly.  They made you feel really welcome to be there.  It is a fairly small menu with some specials posted on a blackboard way in the back.   Continue reading

Nomad Restaurant, New York City, 10/16/15

entrance
entrance

Located in the Nomad Hotel is their named restaurant and a couple very popular bar areas. It has 3 dining areas with the middle atrium room being the most noisy but all have a  significant buzz going.  A couple of years ago we had lunch in the atrium and had their famous delicious roast chicken.  The hot bread at the table was much better that visit, but the flavor does change regularly.  Service is very relaxed but then so is the atmosphere and that was nice as we stuck up a fun conversation with the couple at the next table. We started with the chicken liver mousse which didn’t taste much like liver but was tasty nevertheless but some of the rye bread was over-toasted for my taste.

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Katz’s Delicatessen, New York City, 10/17/15

exterior
exterior

A NYC institution that is now contemplating a second location. We got there just after 11:00 am and got in easily but it didn’t take long before the place was packed. You have 2 options, either table service where you are waited on or order at the counter and find your own place to sit. The adverting of the latter is that you can see your meat cut and the cutter will give you samples of other meats if you want to try them.

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per se, New York City, 10/16/15

entrance
entrance

Per se is one of the finest restaurants in this country – the name meaning ‘unique’ or ‘in and of itself’- and it fully lived up to its reputation and name on this visit. We enjoyed the Chef’s Tasting Menu as opposed to the vegetarian menu that is also offered at lunch, and we took it as is and didn’t order either of the offered supplements. (That would be one objection I’d have: if you order the supplement you miss the

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Le Bernardin, New York City, 6/27/14

Exterior
Exterior

The place for seafood in NYC! Eric Ripert has led his team to a 3 star Michelin rating for several years now, and the accolades are well deserved.  The dining room is one large room with a bar/waiting area located on one side of a wall. The opposite end of the room is filled with a huge painting of a wave which perfectly sets the tone for the place.  Totally professional service is part of the what you’re paying for

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