Vong & DB Bistro
It's been a long time (5+ years) since I've been to Vong, but I ate at db about two months ago for my birthday. I started with something fairly abstemious, a beet/goat cheese salad which was a superlative example of it's type. But the burger - OH! the burger -was something else. In case you haven't heard, it's sirloin enveloping braised short ribs, foie gras and truffles - all on a parmesan roll with lettuce and tomato (concasse I believe). You also get a neat little tray of house made mayo, mustard and ketchup, sparing you the confusion of whether or not it's cool to ask for these things in an upscale French restaurant. It's all paired with pommes souffles which I found it hard to get worked up about. To me the fries were essentially hollow potato chips - good hollow potato chips to be sure - but hollow chips all the same with none of the contrast of soft & crunchy that makes for good fries.
Nevertheless, I give a true thumbs up to db.
I went there for lunch today. I thought decor and service was excellent. Food was good too. I had salad and slow cook of the day which was a bean dish with lamb, duck, topped with bread crumbs. It was tasty and different. The DB burger looked really interesting. I would go back again to try different dishes.
Vong used to be one of the most unique culinary institutions in Manhattan, but that was years ago.
Now with the birth of authentic, bolder and more creative places like Sriphaphai (for authenticity), Indochine, Rain, Le Colonial (bolder), or AZ, Tanda and Anissa (more creative), Vong is no longer the talk of town it used to be.
New Yorkers are more educated and used to eating more and more ethnic cuisines these days, that's why when you dine at Vong, you will not feel the same vibration and the same tongue-tingling sensation like when it first opened
I've only been to Vong, and I won't go back. "Terrible" overstates what the food is like, but so does "good," and the service was fairly obnoxious. While the dishes are well presented, they all taste fairly similar, and, IMHO, don't deliver on the Thai part of the "Thai fusion." Not worth the $$$.
Having eaten at JG 3x , Vong 2x and Jojos 1x in the last 9 months, I must confess that I have yet to have a very good meal at any of Jean Georges establishments. The combinations of ingrediants are stunning (he has talent in spades), but the ingrediants always seem somewhat second rate. I hope I am wrong, as I have heard that he is a good, supportive person to work with from insiders. He has his virtues. Jojo has the best Foie Gras I have had in NYC, and JG, the namesake, works wonders with lobster, even if its not always fresh (except in summer). It just strikes me that with 4 joints in NYC, one in Paris and I believe one in Vegas his talent has been thinned.
If you want to choose a high exposure personality chef, I would steer you to one of Mario Batali's places--Babbo, Lupa or Esca. He may be all over TV, but he keeps his house in order and knows from whence he speaks. I have yet to have less than an absolutely stunning meal at any of his restuarants.