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Favorite Restaurants

Brian Paulsen Sep 20, 1999 03:37 PM

Sorry if some have posted this before, but I just found
this message board today - it's terrific!

The way I rate goes like this:
Favorites are restaurants that are somewhat expensive
and that I would return to (or have returned to)
despite the high price.

Recommendations are restaurants that I would recommend
to friends to try out, but that I won't return to.
Typically, my feeling is that the food is a bit too
expensive for what the restaurant is serving.

Disappointments usually have the following problems:
not serving great quality food and particularly bad
service. Each of the restaurants in my disappointment
list have a story that accompanies them which would
describe why I would never return there and would try
to avoid having friends go there.

Favorites (in no particular order)
Lespinasse (Christian Delouvrier is incredible)
Daniel (I went before their big changes)
Sparks (my favorite tasting steaks in Manhattan)
Posthouse (my favorite steakhouse in Manhattan - less
pretentious than Sparks)
Restaurant 222 (went there about a year ago with wife
and friends and we thought it was incredible)
Bouley (I went there before it closed and reopened)
Gotham Bar and Grill

Would recommend to friends
Oceana (used to be a favorite but went downhill - now,
it's consistently good, but not great)
Hudson River Club
Union Square Cafe

Disappointments (again in no particular order)
The Palm
Le Bernardin (it's good, but not great. However it
charges as if it were great)
La Grenouille (extremely disappointing)
Cafe Des Artistes
Seryna (sp?)


  1. j
    Jim Leff Sep 20, 1999 06:03 PM

    "Sorry if some have posted this before, but I just
    found this message board today - it's terrific!"

    thanks! One question though...you talk about "this
    message board", and it's one of our design concerns
    that people might enter our site via a search engine
    and find themselves amidst these message boards without
    ever realizing there's an entire site accessible via
    our homepage. Was that the case with you? Or anyone
    else? (email replies, please...this is kinda off-


    1 Reply
    1. re: Jim Leff
      Peter Binkow Sep 21, 1999 01:20 PM

      I found you through a search engine and had no
      difficulty finding the main page. I think anyone with
      a little curiosity and knowledge of the web would not
      have any problem. As to complete web neophytes, ???

      Great site, btw.


    2. b
      Brian Paulsen Sep 20, 1999 05:26 PM

      One quick change, put Le Bernardin in the recommend to
      friends category instead of the disappointment

      The restaurants in the "disappoint" category have had
      horrifying service difficulties (which I would be happy
      to elaborate upon) and Le Bernardin, in contrast, had
      wonderful service.


      3 Replies
      1. re: Brian Paulsen
        algumby Sep 22, 1999 04:04 PM

        Why would you differentiate between favorites and
        recommendations. You state your recommendations
        consist of places you've been to but wouldn't return
        to. That's not exactly a great endorsement. Why not
        just turn your friends onto your favorites? Interesting
        that you enjoy the post Gray Kunz Lespinasse so much.
        Are you a Delouvrier fan from Les Celebrities or are
        you a Lespinasse convert?

        1. re: algumby
          Brian Paulsen Sep 22, 1999 05:08 PM

          A favorite is one that I would tell a friend to go to
          if he is footing the bill. If someone else is footing
          it, I would add the other restaurants. The only
          difference to me was that the hype on the recommended
          restaurants exceeded what I actually got.

          As far as Lespinasse goes...
          I went there once at the very end of Gray Kunz's run
          there, and I wasn't all that impressed. From my
          reading of the New York Times, it seems that Kunz was
          focussed on other activities at the time. And yes, I'm
          a Delouvrier fan from Les Celebrites, and this is why I
          returned to Lespinasse.


          1. re: Brian Paulsen
            algumby Oct 14, 1999 01:13 PM

            I heard the same about the Kunz reign at Lespinasse. Amazing up until it was close to his departure, then things got a bit shaky. I think he is a fusion master, but this requires much effort and precision to get right. Having a multitude of ingredients can just as easily result in a disaster as it can a masterpiece so I think his mind was occupied with other things near the end and this was reflected in what was coming out of the kitchen. I don't think the persons who were unfortunate enough to have a bad experience during Kunz' last days at Lespinasse have a proper reference point.
            Gray is opening his own place in NYC sometime next year. Once his focus is back, I think it will be a winner. Never sampled Christian Delouvrier's cooking, but will sometime soon. How do you compare Delouvrier's food to that of Daniel Boulud?

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