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Falai for people who LIKE it...

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lalala May 9, 2006 05:50 PM

Going to Falai tonight, despite warnings from below. Please, someone who likes the place, tell me what you enjoy eating there? Thanks.

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    falai_is_good RE: lalala May 9, 2006 06:31 PM

    I have been to falai many times. The scene is sometimes annoying, but the food is consistently delicious.

    Go for the short ribs and the gnudi.
    Enjoy!

    1. d
      dbs88 RE: lalala May 9, 2006 07:13 PM

      I enjoyed it. Portions were somewhat small, but everything was good - we had the gnudi, branzino, and arctic char. babba for dessert was good too.

      1. n
        Nosher RE: lalala May 9, 2006 07:35 PM

        The baba for dessert is fantastic (and much better than the chocolatey desserts). I also like the squid pasta quite a bit, but there's a full piece with photos on our site if you're interested in seeing the food.

        Nosher

        Link: http://nycnosh.com

        1. t
          theresa RE: lalala May 10, 2006 12:06 AM

          Went to Falai on Sunday for the first time. Tuna carpaccio & zuppetta were very good. Had taglierini with rock shrimp & ramps (a special) and gnudi which were also very good. Cod mantecato also good. Desserts - baba was fantastic. Millefoglie with orange flower pastry cream was a bit too perfumy for me. Panna cotta was also good. All in all, an enjoyable meal, waitstaff was very attentive. Food, however, is very fru fru. If you prefer a heartier, more rustic Italian meal - this is not the place for you.

          1 Reply
          1. re: theresa
            TBird RE: theresa Jul 31, 2008 10:01 AM

            enough has been said about the portion sizes, but has anything new popped up lately, either good or bad? i'm going for the first time this evening. thanks in advance.

          2. n
            Nehna RE: lalala Aug 6, 2008 07:01 AM

            When we went, I loved the gnudi (made with spinach). Actually generally all of the dishes were very good. And the breads they bring around are particularly tasty too.

            1. financialdistrictresident RE: lalala Aug 10, 2008 06:44 AM

              We went to Falai for dessert last night after dinner at Rayuela. We were lucky to grab to counter seats. The patio was full and there were a few empty tables inside so our timing on a Saturday night was perfect. We had espresso and the passion fruit souffle. I have had their souffle before and it remains one of the best souffles I have ever had. Even the chocolate and cheese souffles we had recently at Pikayo couldn't compare to Falai's. We also had the chocolate dessert (I forget the name). It is a small piece of bittersweet choclate cake accompanied by crumbled/powdered chocolate (two types dark and milk I think). There was also chocolate ice cream/gelato. As always, the presentation was fabulous. The flavor and texture of the food was amazing. We also had the added bonus of watching the chefs cook with a level of passion and intensity that was a pleasure to observe. We received complimentary dessert wines and some sweets. Double the Dessert Truck prices but worth every bite! We will be returning for dinner again soon (spinach gnudi melt in your mouth and the foie gras app is surprising and exceptional).

              1. j
                jeffffposc RE: lalala Aug 14, 2008 10:25 PM

                I lived directly above Felai for some time.
                I think the desert's are real good, the rest of the stuff never struck me as that impressive. The squid ink seemed like more of a novelty item to me, not especially well done.

                1. financialdistrictresident RE: lalala Aug 24, 2008 12:01 PM

                  We went to Falai again on Friday night. We were very early for our 8:15 pm reservation so they asked us to sit at the bar. They said they would seat us as soon as possible. The manager served us some complimentary champagne to sip on as we waited. We were seated promptly.

                  They seated us on the patio (we usually sit in the main dining room). Lovely (and more white, like all the decor). Only downside to the patio was the air conditioner noise when it kicked on. Now on to the food. They had a wine special. Once my SO decided between the wine special and one of the wines on the wine list, we had the following:

                  The amuse was mushroom soup poured over a rosemary leaf (fried or sugared - can't remember). The bread is some of the best I've had. My favorite is the cabbage roll.

                  ANTIPASTI

                  Polenta blanca - chicken liver, dried dates, wild mushroom "Vellutata" - I have been wanting to try this but usually order the foie gras three ways (on winter menu). This app did not disappoint. The combination of liver on a slice of polenta was so good.

                  Baccala Montecato - cod fish mousse, crispy potato cake, red pepper coulisse, capers, dried shallots - Falai's food melts in your mouth. In addition to the gorgeous presentation, the flavors are surpring and exciting. The red pepper coulisse was so sweet and delicious.

                  We also considered ordering the Polipo app (which we have had before and enjoy) or the oysters. Maybe next time.

                  PASTA

                  Since we have had the gnudi before, we thought we should try something new.
                  We had a hard time deciding whether to share the Tortellacci (buffalo ricotta-filled pasta, gorgonzola and beets sauce, sugar-snap peas) or the Thyme Pappardelle (crimini mushroom ragu, ricotta and fig puree). We went back and forth with our server and thought we had ordered the Tortellacci. Our server brought the Thyme Pappardelle instead. It was fabulous. We have eaten at Falai before and our server sensed we were pappardelle lovers from our conversation. We always appreciate intuitive, anticipatory service because it is so rare. We were not disappointed! The flavors were amazing. The fig and ricotta smeared across the plate tasted with a bite of the pappardelle . . . .mmmm!

                  PESCE/CARNE

                  Merluzzo - chatham cod fish, blue potato puree, red pepper, cod foam, kalamta black olive sauce. Fish was cooked perfectly.

                  Anatra - muscovy duck breast, potato fondant, apple puree, amarenth leaf, mustard orange cardamom infused sauce. It was the best duck I've had since The Modern- Dining Room. Sauces were delicious, subtle and surprising on the palate.

                  This is also the first time I've eaten out in a long time where I didn't need to season my food or ask for salt (which never seems to be on the table).

                  DESSERT

                  We decided to have our dessert and espresso at the counter inside and our server kindly accomodated our request (that air conditoner sound . . .). The manager graciously served us two different dessert wines to sip with our dessert. A sweet red for the Tiramisu and a sweet white for the passion fruit souffle.

                  *The passion fruit souffle - see my post below for details. Perfection. Like eating a cloud. Memorable.

                  *Tiramisu - this was actually a tiramisu deconstruction. Espresso was poured into the bowl. Delicious. If you are a Tiramisu purist, this dish is not for you.

                  We finished with miniature chocolate and marshmallow candies.

                  Can't wait to return. Only wish more meals were as memorable as Falai.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: financialdistrictresident
                    TBird RE: financialdistrictresident Aug 25, 2008 07:35 PM

                    -repost with offensive material removed-

                    this place takes a beating for it's rather small portions. personally, i'm ok with it.

                    the food was INCREDIBLE. i started with the lingua(beef cheek, tomato jam), my wife had the ricotta flan. both were EXCELLENT. moved into pasta, me with thyme pappardelle(mushroom "heavy", yet still retaining a very light weight characteristic) and my wife with the broccoli rabe pici. again, EXCELLENT. my wife being a vegetarian(yeah yeah, i married her anyway!) left NOTHING for her to eat as a 3rd course, but i ordered the eggplant/lamb dish. for some reason, they split the plate and delivered 1/2 to her (she was sickened). they really REALLY should have asked about that one. we split some piave at the end, which is a no brainer. a cheapie bottle of dolcetto($50), a glass of vermintino and a glass of rose got us our of there at $200 before tip. all in all one of the BETTER meals i've had in NYC. seriously.

                    we arrived at 6 to an empty house and left at 8 to a very hectic noisy room. that's not a complaint, just an observation.

                    i only have one word for those who complain they leave hungry. JENNY and CRAIG!

                    1. re: financialdistrictresident
                      financialdistrictresident RE: financialdistrictresident Mar 31, 2009 05:43 PM

                      We've been a few times this year and went again last night. Missing the fois gras trilogy . . .also looking forward to their new menu . . .food, presentation, service remains excellent. Amuse bouche marsmallow with caper and anchovy melted in my mouth . . .passion fruit souffle is still perfection. . .can't wait to go back . . .

                      1. re: financialdistrictresident
                        guttergourmet RE: financialdistrictresident Apr 17, 2009 05:39 PM

                        Going tomorrow. More details please.

                        1. re: guttergourmet
                          guttergourmet RE: guttergourmet Apr 20, 2009 10:16 AM

                          Well Mrs. GG and I went for her birthday. I had previously had a lunch at the Beard House prepared by Mr. Falai and have been a fan of his pastry shop across the street on Clinton but hadn't gone to the mothership. The amuse bouch was a little weird-melon with anchovy and a parmesan crisp and the breads were surprisingly disappointing (black cabbage or onion rolls). However, the pastas-my papparadelle with crimini mushroom ragout was as good as any with meat (and I ain't no vegetarian) and Mrs. GG's pice with sausage and cinnamon-were both winners. Her escarole wrapped branzino in garlic bread soup was heavenly and my rabbit "composition" -which I'll dub "Rabbit 5 Ways" as it had loin, ribs, kidneys, leg meat wrapped in cabbage and fried rabbit belly (which may replace pork belly) with carrots and blueberries was one of the best rabbit preparations I've ever had. The palate cleanser was memorable- some type of orange citrus in a cold tea sauce. Desserts were amazing-chocolate brioche with assorted chocolate goodies and my passion fruit souffle was unbelievably good. Nice wine, European service, cool place. ighly recommended.

                          1. re: guttergourmet
                            financialdistrictresident RE: guttergourmet Apr 20, 2009 04:00 PM

                            guttergourmet, apologies I read your post too late to be helpful . . .funny but last time we went I thought their bread was a little off (it's usually amazing) and you seem to have had a similar experience. Glad to see you had a good experience. Falai remains one of our favorite restaurants in the city. Can't wait for their Spring menu :)

                    2. financialdistrictresident RE: lalala Jun 7, 2009 03:31 PM

                      We went to Falai again Friday night to check out the Spring menu. Except for the passion fruit souffle, we ordered all new Spring dishes. The service was excellent. Now on to the food:

                      We nibbled on bread (cabbage roll, etc.) and selected a bottle of wine.

                      AMUSE

                      *Yogurt, coriander and caviar finished with a cold cucumber soup. Liked the combination of cold cucumber and coriander.

                      ANTIPASTI

                      *Polipo baby octopus, granny smith apples, piemonte black rice, curry emulsion, squid ink sauce. Falai does polipo well. Cooked perfectly. Delicious. The cmbination of curry and granny smith was fresh and interesting. I could have licked my plate, but restrained myself.

                      PASTA

                      *Caramelle mussel-stuffed whole wheat pasta, cranberry bean cream, dry tomato, rosemary garlic oil Very good.

                      *Basil tortelli ricotta and seafood filled pasta, creme fraiche, English peas, caviar, seafood consomme. Delicious.

                      PESCE

                      *Branzino zucchini wrapped seabass, lemon zest, spring garlic, zucchini cream.

                      PRE-DESSERT

                      *Some type of sorbet - totally forgot
                      *Celery sorbet and a carrot sorbet - fresh and surprising. Really enjoyed.

                      DESSERT & ESPRESSO

                      *Passion fruit souffle - we have had this many times. Like a cloud, fabulous and addictive.

                      *Chocolate brioche, chocolate and passion fruit pate a choux, creme brulee - gorgeous presentation.

                      *Chocolates

                      We left with a small box of chocolate covered almonds. Falai remains one of our favorite restaurants in the city (maybe thread should read "Falai for people who LOVE it . . ."). I can't wait to return (hopefully they will bring back the foie gras trilogy in the fall - craving foie gras mousse in a dark chocolate shell with blueberries and the other two ways).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: financialdistrictresident
                        financialdistrictresident RE: financialdistrictresident Oct 21, 2009 04:25 AM

                        The foie gras trilogy has not returned to the fall menu . . .

                      2. financialdistrictresident RE: lalala Oct 20, 2009 03:31 PM

                        Went to Falai last week and had another great experience. We had all new fall additions to the menu or specials. We enjoyed a complimentary glass of Proseco while SO ordered the wine. Now on to the food (my apologies because I've already forgotten alot):

                        The amuse bouche was a seasonal soup.

                        Bread was very good. Last time the bread wasn't quite up to par. Not this time.

                        We had a pasta dish (maybe SO will remember details) and the risotto with shaved white truffle special. Delicious. As always, the kitchen was very gracious and split most of the dishes for us (they know we like to share our food). This is extra work, given the delicate presentations and we appreciate it. Once again, the presentation was spectacular.

                        For entrees we had the Peking duck breast, pear and mustard puree, broccoli rabe, romanesco, Valrhona glazed foie gras. Duck was cooked perfectly. SO has a fish dish.

                        I think we had a "pre-dessert."

                        We appreciated the complimentary dessert wine as we decided what to do for dessert. We ended up passing on our beloved passion fruit souffle and headed to Aureole for espresso, a cheese plate and port. Luckily we had a little bag of Falai treats to take along.

                        Falai remains one of our favorite restaurants in the city.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: financialdistrictresident
                          r
                          rrems RE: financialdistrictresident Dec 19, 2009 02:08 PM

                          Well, we finally tried Falai the other night. It has been on my list for a long time, and I was excited and expecting something really great. The result was rather disappointing. Nothing was exactly bad, but nothing knocked our socks off either. I should point out that my partner and I both love unusual flavors and interesting combinations, and the menu seemed to promise that, but we felt that none of it worked as it should have. We started with a shared appetizer of baccala, which was beautifully presented on separate plates (perhaps that explains why it took more than half an hour to arrive), but it was bland. Next we shared the gnudi. This had the potential to be great, but it was rather heavy, and the flavors did not excite. Our main courses were duck and rabbit. I am a huge fan of rabbit and have had it prepared countless ways. This one was acceptable but no match for the one I had recently at SHO or several that I had in Italy recently. The duck would have been wonderful (the meat was incredibly succulent and flavorful and nicely spiced) but the various purees did not combine well with the duck or with each other. Broccoli rabe is good on its own, but it has a very strong flavor that when combined with the other components ended up imparting a medicinal taste to the whole thing. The wine list had some interesting finds, and we had an excellent bottle for $45, which was from Apulia though I can't remember the name. One thing that really surprised me was the bread. We were initially given only focaccia, which was dry and tasteless. Later they brought out two different rolls, cabbage and onion, which were not bad but nothing special. It made us think of the wonderful breads at Scarpetta and how these didn't come close. Service was very nice, despite the initial lapse which I assume was the fault of the kitchen. We skipped dessert, as it was quite late. we'd had enough to eat, and we just did not want to risk another disappointment. Obviously we are in the minority, with all the rave reviews I've read, but I just don't get it.

                          1. re: rrems
                            financialdistrictresident RE: rrems Jan 28, 2010 02:38 PM

                            rrems, thanks for the report. I've read reports on this Board about inconsistent experiences. I guess we've been lucky because the only inconsistency we've ever had is with the bread. Too bad you skipped dessert because Falai's desserts are some of the best I've ever had.

                            1. re: rrems
                              a
                              alanah RE: rrems Sep 18, 2010 08:55 PM

                              Just returned from dinner at Falai and I must agree. I've had a number of fantastic experiences at Falai which is why my husband and I went again tonight for our 11th anniversary -- what a disappointment. I hear the chef is new. The service, presentation, and execution are nothing like we've experienced in the past. We skipped dessert too and had an amazing experience at WD-50 instead. Should have gone there for dinner too.

                              -----
                              WD-50
                              50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

                              Falai
                              68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                          2. p
                            paulnyc RE: lalala Apr 23, 2010 05:47 AM

                            I am very disappointed with last night's meal at Falai as I heard such great things about the restaurant. It started off well with an amuse-bouche of goat cheese and cauliflower soup and an OUTSTANDING appetizer of baccala montecato (cod mousse), but the special pasta (buckwheat, cabbage, speck ravioli) was greasy and gummy and my scallops had a horrible texture (almost stringy). even dessert was lackluster. i left my profiteroles for my friend's passionfruit souffle which was much tastier. The service was good and so was the wine-pairing (4 glasses for $25 last night!) sort of saved the meal. overall

                            -----
                            Falai
                            68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: paulnyc
                              financialdistrictresident RE: paulnyc Apr 26, 2010 07:48 AM

                              Thanks for the report paulnyc. We went recently and will be going back this week. I'm not a fan of the profiteroles. The passion fruit souffle remains my favorite dessert. I've eaten just about all the pasta, poultry and fish dishes on the menu so I'm looking forward to some new addititions.

                              1. re: financialdistrictresident
                                rebus03 RE: financialdistrictresident Sep 29, 2010 07:16 PM

                                When I went there I ate a deconstructed ravioli with the tomato water on the side. I thought it was quite interesting.

                                1. re: financialdistrictresident
                                  financialdistrictresident RE: financialdistrictresident Oct 4, 2011 09:31 AM

                                  Sadly, Falai is now closed.

                                  For anyone following the former chef, Mauro Buffo, he is now the executive chef at Restaurant 1500, vigilius mountain resort in Italy:

                                  http://www.luxurytravelmagazine.com/news-articles/italys-vigilius-mountain-resort-offers-culinary-journey-16378.php

                                  http://www.luxurytravelmagazine.com/n...

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