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Jan 30, 1998 07:19 PM


  • j

Taking Mrs.K to Daniel friday night (2/6) for
Valentine's Day. Need some advice on what to/not to
order from my fellow hounds.
Hey Alpha-Dog, didn't you just go there for the first
time? Please advise as I'd hate to drop a couple of
hard earned beaners and be pissed off at not ordering
right. Regards, JK

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  1. "Hey Alpha-Dog, didn't you just go there for the first


    sorry for the delay in answering, John (btw, am shocked and pleased to see that you've revealed your entire name). Been in a galaxy far, far away (called Silver City, NM).

    No, I blew it off last time, a combination of scheduling conflict and annoyance at the extreme snottiness of the reservations person (more than a little bit attributable to the fact that I made the reservation under a name of someone with a 516 area code).

    I eat SO well for $15 and under, if I'm gonna spend $$$, I expect every aspect of my experience to be sheer pleasure. So far so bad.

    But I'll get there eventually. Perhaps once one passes the ring of fire things cool out a little bit.


    14 Replies
    1. re: Jim Leff
      John Knoesel

      Welcome Home Hungry One !
      I am supposed to go this Friday so I'll let you know.
      You can be sure this one's on the expense report, or
      else I hit lotto or something.
      Regards, JK

      1. re: John Knoesel


        Don't forget to post your Daniel report.

        I've surfed here 3 times looking for it!


        1. re: Janet Traub
          John Knoesel

          Unfortunately, Mrs. K came down with that nasty flu
          that has been going around and we weren't able to go to
          Daniel on Friday.
          We did, however, get to go out Saturday and we had a
          really great meal at Il Cantinori ( 32 east 10th )
          As appetizers we had smoked salmon in a light cream
          sauce over penne and penne served with a red meat sauce
          made with perfectly roasted lamb. Both were excellent.
          For entrees we shared a whole roasted stripped bass
          which was one of the juiciest pieces of fish I've ever
          eaten, and herb crusted rack of lamb.
          Il Cantinori is elegant, but relaxed, urbane, yet not
          at all pretentious. We can't wait to get back there.
          Regards, JK

          1. re: John Knoesel

            Sorry to hear Mrs K...

            [I have visions of a smiling, plump, white-haired
            woman--a la Mrs Santa Klaus--every time you refer to
            your wife that way!]

            ...was down with the flu.

            Thanks for the substitute review. I trust Mrs K was
            feeling MUCH better after that hearty meal!


            1. re: Janet Traub

              Marisa,(who is half greek/half siicilian)is in my eyes,
              a chowgoddess. I'd say she's a cross between Victoria
              Principal and Jaclyn Smith. I hope that gives you a
              clearer picture.
              Regards, JK

              1. re: John Knoesel

                two things - while WE have not eaten at daniel, we do
                have friends who have (twice!) and who have firmly
                stated that for the money they would rather eat at
                Lespinasse. second - holy cow - did you guys SEE the
                review RR gave Il Cantinori in the Times yesterday?

                1. re: patricia@phila

                  Read the review and here are my thoughts. While Ruth
                  gets to eat out considerably more often than I do I
                  guess I have to respect her ability to rate a wait
                  staff. However, on both my visits to Il Cantinori I
                  found the service friendly and fairly efficient. As for
                  all this talk about 17 bucks for pasta, It doesn't make
                  much sense to me that when I go to a restaurant like Il
                  Cantinori for a meal that I'm looking for satisfaction
                  from a bowl of spaghetti! Make it better at home.
                  I'll be back to Il Cantinori for sure.
                  Regards, JK

                  1. re: John Knoesel

                    With respect to the original Daniel issue, I had a terrible experience there a few years ago. Our meal was summarily terminated because the restaurant had so many reservations stacked up at such short intervals. We actually got kicked out of the place.

                    If you want to read about my terrible Daniel adventure, I go into it in excruciating detail on my web site.

                    1. re: Steven Shaw

                      Oops! The web site in question is

                      Sorry about that. I submitted it on the form but it does not show up in the message text. Glad I could be so annoying in my first post here.

                      1. re: Steven Shaw
                        Lisa Antinore

                        Just checked out your site and bookmarked it, Steven. It's great!

                        I'm supposed to be going to Daniel later on this month for my b-day but so many people have said awful things in the last few months that I may go to Lespinasse or Aureole (two sheeshy faves of mine..) again.....

                        1. re: Lisa Antinore

                          Thanks for the kind words about my site,

                          With respect to Daniel, I guess it is possible to have a fantastic experience or a terrible experience at any restaurant on any given night. Once in a while, I even hear a complaint about Lespinasse. Still, if you cannot afford to gamble then I guess you should stick with the places that have favorable quality-to-complaint ratios. In my experience, the award for best treatment of normal (i.e., unknown to the restaurant) customers has to go to Gramercy Tavern. Danny Meyer is very serious about good service and consistency in the kitchen. Have you heard an unkind word about Gramercy in recent times?

                          1. re: Steven Shaw


                            Just wanted you to know that I stopped by and read most of the reviews on your site. And I enjoyed them very much.

                            Oddly, though, I disagreed with you more than I agreed with you about the appraisals of individual restaurants (although I liked your "ehh" rating of Vong). I've eaten at Lespinasse twice, and both times had indifferent meals (out of the total of 8 people who went, only one was enthusiastic about the food, but the room and table settings were gorgeous. And I *am* a partisan of Aureole, although it's been a year or so since I've been there. If I could eat in one fancy restaurant in NYC, it would be Aureole. If you go to Aureole, Lisa, be sure and get the scallop sandwich appetizer, and think of calling in advance and getting a tasting menu...especially if you aren't paying!

                            I agree totally though about the friendliness of Danny Meyer's operations. I prefer GT's food, but the attitude of the staff hits just the right notes at both places.


                            1. re: Dave Feldman

                              Thanks for visiting my web site, and for your positive comments. If you disagree with many of my reviews then at least that means I said something that can be disagreed with. My big problem with a lot of reviews is that they are mealy-mouthed and non-controversial. I am glad to have triggered a debate.

                              My reviews, of course, are only one man's opinion. I am that one person in eight at your table who was enthusiastic about the food at Lespinasse. I would be the first to acknowledge that it is not a universally loved cuisine. Some people love it immediately, some people grow to love it, and some people never enjoy it. Fine. Do you remember the specific dishes that you tried? If you ever go back, drop me a line and perhaps I can guide you through the menu towards some things that would be more to your liking.

                              Choosing Aureole as your favorite is a totally respectable position (although I think that Gramercy Tavern, Gotham Bar & Grill, and Park Avenue Cafe all serve better food in that genre), and you certainly zero in on the right dish when you recommend the sea scallop sandwiches. I chose the same item as my favorite, along with the duck tasting plate, in my review. Are you a fan of the steak? I was not impressed by it at all.

                              Maybe this should stop being the Daniel thread.

                              Steven A. Shaw

                              1. re: Steven Shaw
                                Robert Buxbaum

                                This is an old thread and maybe no one's reading it
                                anymore, but I have to say Daniel rates tops in my
                                book. Certainly it's tops for the food. I'd also give
                                them very high marks for the way we were treated when
                                we were unknown. Our first visits were lunches and
                                most restaurants are more relaxed at lunch. Our
                                relationship with the restaurant changed, hopefully
                                forever, when we got into a discussion with Daniel at
                                the end of our second or third lunch, we are no longer
                                compeltely unknown. Lespinasse and Le Bernardin
                                compete in my mind for a close second place among the
                                restaurants we've tried. It's hard to believe anyone
                                has ever had a less than very good meal in any of those
                                places even on a bad day, and everyone has bad days.
                                Oddly enough, Aurelole wouldn't even place on my list
                                of ten or twenty best. We were there for dinner. Had
                                an annoying waiter and ate food we all thought was
                                beautiful, but with little taste. Interesting, as all
                                four of us pretty much ordered different dishes.
                                Desserts were the most spectacular and most
                                disappointing. The ice cream was seemed commercial and
                                not like the stuff that comes out of the kitchen at
                                either Lespinasse or Daniel. In spite of all it's
                                praise from others, we're unenthused about returning.
                                Chacun a son gout, I guess.