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Morandi, JG, Cru, Craftsteak & More- Musings of Winter Eating

c
Chico Mar 13, 2007 11:56 AM

Just some thoughts from the last few months.....

Craftsteak

Finally made it here. Empty on a Monday night and very uneven still. They tried to rush us to our table (we politely declined, enjoying a drink in the empty bar.) One medium-rare steak (Corn fed Rib for two) came out below rare, the other came out rare (Hawaiian Grass fed strip.) The steaks were good, but not quite as good as my favorite steakhouses such as Pietros, Lugers, Michael Jordans, etc… However, the foie appetizer I had was probably the best foie I have had in this town since a 2005 visit to Per Se. (The foie special was so torched at David Burke a few weeks back I almost sent it back.) Great mixed mushrooms too. All in all, I was happy to go and would gladly return for the roasted foie if it wasn’t so remote. Also, steaks at this place have skyrocketed through the old $40 ceiling. Most are above $50 which gets pricey with expensive sides ($22 for the shrooms,) etc…. Save your money. Or go before it closes and moves back to Vegas.

Jean Georges

Was taken here for my birthday- it was my first time and my choice of where to go. I had the seasonal tasting menu and my fiancé enjoyed the traditional. I had a light scallop ribbons starter which was a bit boring but from that point on all of the dishes were quite terrific. Balanced, tasty and properly portioned. All in all it was a solid meal. Didn’t wow me as much as a Per Se, or a high ticket Nobu Omakase, but it was very good. Cheese for dessert was a bad call. My problem with JG is I didn’t feel special at all. And I feel that at 4 stars, it should make me feel good. Per Se gets that right, and so does Le Bernadin. And so does..

Cru

I went here in December and thought it was incredible. The food was adventurous but nailed, the service was perfect, and the experience as a whole was better than JG. Our server brought out a few extra courses (a beautiful egg dish, a small suckling pg dish, etc..) for us based upon things we indicated we would have liked from the seasonal menu if it they were available a la carte. We felt special. And as noted, if you like wine, you will freak out.

Momofukus

Finally made it to these gems. I don’t know what all the mixed posts have been about, but I guess if you don’t like salty, tasty, umani-like things, this is not your place. From the chicken wings, steamers, and mackerel to the uni, sweetbreads, and baby brussel sprouts almost everything was perfect. The porchetta could have been too much, or maybe I just need to go back with more people. Service was friendlier that I would have imagined in such small and popular places. Can’t wait to go back….hopefully tomorrow.

Mai House

Made a rare trip deep into Tribeca recently. Was surprised to find it half empty on a Thursday. Despite being out of a few of the specials (thanks for telling them to us, snooty server) we found some dishes to our liking. Great salt and pepper batter on the cuttlefish nuggets (thanks bruni) and a lamb chop special which was equal parts sweet and smoky. I liked this better than Bao111 and would return but not so soon.

Morandi

I concur with what most people have been saying. Nice room, good scene, very McNally feeling. However, the food is just ok. Burratta cheese was very creamy, fried artichokes were amazing, and the green salad was very fresh and tasty. My veal special was pretty good, and the risotto was very good (blueberries were an interesting touch.) However, I felt I was lucky and chose well. With a small menu, I don’t think I will return, unless it is 4pm and I am ready to drink some wine and eat fried artichokes. This is a good place to take people who like feeling like they are part of something….but there is much better Italian food to be had….and I think Morandi feels just a bit too contrived and 2 years too late.

Thanks for reading!

Next Up:

Nobu, Big Pig Gig, Hearth, Momofuku, Bon Chon

chico

  1. k
    kobetobiko Mar 13, 2007 01:39 PM

    Hi, thanks for the nice report! May I ask why you liked the Nobu omakase so much? Did you have it recently? I have had their omakase a long time ago, and though I liked it at that time, I will say that the omakase at Morimoto (by chef morimoto himself) beat it. It might have to do with the ingredients being more interesting and hard to find. But the time I had a la carte dinner at Morimoto, the food was not impressive.

    LOVE Momofuku as well. It's nice to have a place that serves inventive delicious food without breaking your bank.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kobetobiko
      c
      Chico Mar 14, 2007 06:59 AM

      Back in 1998-2000 I really enjoyed Nobu's omakase and would push the chef's to dazzle. In those days the omakase was $60+ (lunch) or $80+ dinner. So I was accustomed to doubling that and daring the chef to send out the best. I rememebr one $150 lunch that was top notch and dinners in that same range. At that time the food was very original and blew me away. Since then I have learned the value of a dollar more :) But I still think that some of the best french dishes I have ever had were some of the hot courses of those omakases.

      I was living in Philly when Morimoto opened down there and visited 4-5 times. I tried to like it, sat at tables, the sushi bar, etc... but always felt it didn't come close to Nobu in NYC. Thus I have felt no need to break the bank in nyc at the omakase bar but I'm sure it would be great!

    2. dkstar1 Mar 13, 2007 01:34 PM

      nice report. thanks.

      1. s
        sam1 Mar 13, 2007 12:05 PM

        very nice report. i completely concur on your points about JG and Cru.

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