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Aug 15, 2007 08:06 AM

Trip Report -- Gusto, Balthazar & Remi

I was in town for the Gift Show at the Javitz over the weekend. I know there's not a whole lot to my liking near there or in midtown where we were staying.

On Saturday night a friend and I headed to Gusto in the WV to meet another friend. We had a great table in the front area near the window. This place has really nice ambiance and is chic without being pretentious. We started with the prosecco and pomegranate cocktails, which were lovely.

For apps we shared the fried artichokes and a full order of the lobster risotto (the risotto of the day). The artichokes weren't greasy at all and were nice and tender. With a little squeeze of lemon and some sea salt, they were perfect. The lobster risotto was good, but not great. Could have been creamier.

For entrees, we shared the fish special of branzino with olives and wilted greens. Tasty and well cooked. We also had an order of the malfattim, which may be my very favorite dish I've ever had! Oh my goodness, these little dumplings of spinach and cheese with brown butter and sage were so rich and delicious, I'm in love!

Dessert was the ricotta cornmeal cheesecake with figs and the chocolate pignoli tarts. The cheesecake was very nice, I loved the texture, it was full of orange zest and not too sweet at all. The tarte was a lovely mix of salty and sweet and creamy and crunchy.

Bill was $300 for 2 bottles of wine, 3 glasses of prosecco, 2 apps and 2 entrees and 2 desserts -- including tax and tip.

I really like Gusto and will definitely add it to my rotation when I'm in the city.

This was my third trip to Balthazar in as many months. This trip seemed to underwhelm compared to the past. I had the beet salad to start and the lamb with merquez fr my entree. Everything was very tasty, just not "knock my socks off" like in the past. Also at the table were a couple of Balthazar salads, the steak au poivre, pan roasted chicken and the brook trout. I'll be back, but I think I'd like to try brunch this time.

Bill was $260 for 1 cocktail, 1 glass of wine, 1 carafe of house wine, 3 salads, 4 entrees and 1 dessert -- inlcuding tax and tip.

Monday night we actually had reservations at Stanton Social, but the group dwindled to two people and we were so unbelievably exhausted, that I cancelled them and I'll go back when I'm back in the city. Our reservations were for 8:30 and I was in bed by then!

We headed across the street at Remi on 53rd. Street. We walked right in for an outside table at 6:15 with no reservation for a party of two.

We ordered our wine and the bread arrived with goat cheese in tomato sauce, it was pretty tasty.

We ordered the beet salad and th artichoke app to start. The artichoke dish was good -- 6 artichoke heart halves topped with parm and a parsley sauce. Very tasty and tender. A good balance of salty and creamy. The beet salad with goat cheese was very good. The salad and the app were the winners for the night at Remi.

For dinner I had the bucatini amatriciana (a dish I've been trying to duplicate from my trip to Rome -- but to know avail) and my friend ordered papperadelle with mushrooms in a butter sauce.

It was ok, that's it. Nothing more, nothing less. I wasn't expecting much and got exactly what I expected. It was overpriced I thought. Our pasta dishes were $21.50 each. The bill was $125 with 2 glasses of wine, 1 salad, 1 app and 2 pasta entrees. I'll pass on Remi next time.

I did hit the halal cart at 53rd and 6th and it was wonderful!!! And cheap! The chicken was tender and full of flavor.

Overall a great trip, too bad work got in the way!

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  1. Thanks for the thorough review. I too love those pom & prosecco drinks!

    1. I just hosted a business dinner at Remi this past Monday (8/20) and was extremely disappointed. I can't comment on the meals of my companions, but I also had the beet and goat cheese salad and found it mushy and void of nearly all taste - the goat cheese lacked tartness and the beets honestly tasted like they came from a can. My tuna ravioli was delivered cold and its light tomato sauce also lacked discernable flavor. I did not complain or send it back only because at this point it was nearly 11pm and I assume it was cold in the first place because the kitchen staff made it as soon as the order was put in so that they could begin shutting down for the evening.

      The waiter refused to allow me to order just one cheese from the cheese plate for dessert, assuring me that the plate was very small - wrong! It was easily large enough to share with the other three at the table.

      I could never recommend this place to anyone.

      1. Looks like you ordered either Beet Salad or Artichokes at almost every meal. Great for comparing restaurants but not much for diversity. Just learn to make these 2 dishes at home and you will never have to eat out again.