My end of the year restaurant awards!
My end of the year restaurant awards. These include some of my favorite dishes that I've eaten this year.
And now, the envelopes please...
**The "For 250 dollars per person one dish had better be fantastically memorable" award goes to...
...Per Se's delicious Oysters and Pearls.
**The "Sorry PETA, but it tastes too good!" award goes to...
Jean Georges Foie Gras Brulee and Aquavit's Foie Gras Ganache! (runner up award to Eleven Madison Park's Foie Gras Brulee).
**The "Welcome back you heavenly Ambrosia award" goes to...
...2nd Ave Deli's matzah ball soup. Even better than I remembered!
**The "Who needs the second half of this dish?" goes to...
...Le Bernardin's surf and turf dish. The surf is so incredible that you don't need that Wagyu turf.
**The "I can't believe I don't need surf or turf "award goes to...
...The avocado tartar at Gobo.
**The "Omakase can be fun" award goes to...
...The charming Chef Seki of Sushi Seki and his wonderful cooked eel and avocado sushi from the omakase dinner.
**The "Forget the TV show, this is really amazing food" award goes to...
...Harold Dieterle of Perilla's guinea hen with spaetzle dish (and also the brussel sprout leaves sidedish).
**The "Forget the TV show and concentrate more on your food" award goes to...
...Gordon Ramsey's signature foie gras burger at his Boxwood Cafe in London. (I'm sneaking this onto the NYC board). This tasteless dish and the restaurant were both quite the disappointment.
**The "You can't get this treat from Mister Softee" award goes to...
...Restaurant Daniel's smoked cinnamon ice cream.
**The "I can have decent french fries and stay on a diet" award goes to...
...Better Burger's air fries. (250 calories!)
**The "Most original post-meal petits fours" goes to...
...Sammy's Roumanian Steak House for providing much needed alka seltzers at the end of a fun and decadent meal.
---And for service---
**The "At least some things on the lower East side haven't changed" award goes to...
...The rude uncaring members of the waitstaff at Katz's.
**The "At least some things French haven't changed" award goes to...
...The snooty waitstaff at Bouley.
Congratulations to all this year's winners!
Foie gras brulee is like creme brulee but made with foie gras. I've not had it at Jean Georges, but at Eleven Madison Park, Chef Humm serves a small dish of foie brulee alongside his layered foie gras torchon. Not that his torchons are too shabby, but that brulee is a mind-blower!! :-))
Without question, this year's recipient of the "It's the Great Pumpkin Goes To China, Charlie Brown" award is Amazing 66 (Chinatown), for serving up a delicious version of pumpkin with short ribs. (Danny Ng would have provided some competition here. Alas, they closed).
I called Danube 4 times over 5 business days to enquire about a private dining date. When the PDR manager never called me back, I asked the reservationist if there was someone else I could talk to. In an incredibly obnoxious tone of voice, she said that I had to understand that they were very very busy, and NO, there was no one else who could talk to me. So, I booked Grayz, and the PDR person there couldn't have been nicer.
Fair enough. It's just my experience..
At Katz's I don't mind the attitude. It's old school deli.
At Bouley (and other Bouley owned restaurants) I really really do. And it's the only one of the top French restaurants that I've eaten at which I've found that to be an issue. We've had lovely, friendly and fun servers at all the other ones I've mentioned above.
Loved your very entertainingly written awards. :-)
I haven't been to Bouley, but I've been to many other upscale French restaurants, including Daniel and Jean Georges, as well as more moderately-priced ones, and have not encountered snooty service in any of them. And from what you say now, with the exception of Bouley, that's been your experience as well. Too bad the window for editing your o.p. has closed because, in all fairness, the wording of your award in that category should be changed so that it does not appear to be about *all* French restaurants, which is how it reads now.
You are so right. I was just playing off the hackneyed stereotype of snooty French people to make it fit what I was writing.
So my sincere apologies to all* people of France, French descent and their restaurants.
(*With the exception of a handful of people in the Bouley corporation, who have made more than one of my meals much less pleasant than they should have been.)
sam1 - I agree with your disagreement regarding Bouley. Just had a most pleasant 4 hour meal with my GF at Bouley. We found the entire staff to be completely enjoyable from the moment we were met at the door. Every dish was served with a gracious explanation of the components as was the wine. The wine steward was more then generous with the pours and on several wines offered more when a particular wine was seen to be enjoyed. I've found more attitude at neighborhood Italian restaurants...
Although not nearly creative as BW212 here are my standouts from 2007
Best New Restaurant - Perilla
Biggest Disappointment when the check came **TIE** - EN Japanese Brasserie, Dylan Prime
Weirdest Desert that was excellent - Chocolate Cayenne Pepper Ice Cream at Kuma Inn
Best New Burger - Royale
Didn't Live Up To The Hype - Hearth
Biggest Positive Surprise - Beef Ribs at Hill Country
Biggest Negative Surprise - Spotted Pig