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What Recent Meal "Blew You Away"?

MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 11:25 AM

Another poster just mentioned that he/she was not "blown away" by the food at Aquavit (and I agreed), and it made me stop and think, when were you/where were you, in a Manhattan restaurant, recently blown away by the food? I can't think of a place (other than Di Fara, which is not in Manhattan, so please don't respond to that) in Manhattan lately where I've been blown away by the food, but, to be fair, I've not tried too many new places lately.

Look forward to the discussion.

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  1. thew RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 11:28 AM

    degustation, public, and tailor within the last year

    kanoyama too

    1. il Trifulau RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 12:20 PM

      Blue Hill NYC

      1 Reply
      1. re: il Trifulau
        d
        dwaves RE: il Trifulau May 6, 2008 06:08 PM

        I second Blue Hill - on WOW par with Grammercy Tavern.

      2. LeahBaila RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 12:41 PM

        Dovetail, Market Table, A Voce, Pylos

        www.thelunchbelle.com

        9 Replies
        1. re: LeahBaila
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          sam1 RE: LeahBaila Apr 17, 2008 12:56 PM

          really? ive gone to market table 3x and always leave rather disappointed.

          and dovetail was decent but none of the food wowed me either.

          1. re: sam1
            LeahBaila RE: sam1 Apr 17, 2008 12:58 PM

            I loved the scallops entree at Dovetail and the pork belly app; Market Table's scallop app, cheeseburger, gnocchi & fennel salad were delish. What did you eat at those restaurants?

            www.thelunchbelle.com

            1. re: LeahBaila
              s
              sam1 RE: LeahBaila Apr 17, 2008 01:07 PM

              ive had the gnocchi with short rib at market table which just felt filled with butter and cheese and little else (in a bad way), the scallops which are usually a bit boring to me...and for entree, the lamb shank and crab cake which are both fine but nothing amazing in my opinion.

              at dovetail, i had the veal ragu gnocchi which tasted big and heavy but nothing too amazing. and i had the duck entree which was good but ive had better...particularly at perilla.

              i like both restaurants well enough...but i dont think id go back unless someone invites me (as was the case with market table).

              1. re: sam1
                k
                kobetobiko RE: sam1 Apr 17, 2008 03:11 PM

                I was quite underwhelmed by market place at well. It is decent and I found it hard to stand out among the same caliber of restaurants in NYC

                1. re: kobetobiko
                  r
                  RCC RE: kobetobiko Apr 17, 2008 04:31 PM

                  Our 2 dinners at Market Table has not wowed us.

                  1. re: RCC
                    r
                    rrems RE: RCC Apr 17, 2008 06:47 PM

                    Exactly how we felt about Market Table. The food was certainly good, but not as good as Little Owl, and no comparison to Perilla, for the same price. And Perilla is more comfortable. If MT were cheaper, it would be good value, but at these prices it is just another overpriced, overhyped restaurant.

                2. re: sam1
                  l
                  Lucia RE: sam1 Apr 17, 2008 04:55 PM

                  Piling on, while I liked Market Table (and really loved the scallop and grits app), I wasn't wowed by it. In fact, I prefer Little Owl.

                  1. re: Lucia
                    r
                    RCC RE: Lucia Apr 17, 2008 05:01 PM

                    Little Owl, imho, is so much better.

                    1. re: RCC
                      m
                      marye RE: RCC May 6, 2008 08:51 AM

                      We found little owl to be very average, what is all the fuss about?

          2. MMRuth RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 12:43 PM

            Any specifics about particular dishes would be welcome as well.

            1. k
              kikilucho RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 12:47 PM

              Dovetail
              And I loved the sweet breads at Craft

              1. s
                sam1 RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 12:55 PM

                last time i was 'blown away' was at hatfield's in los angeles last weekend.

                in nyc, on the low end, artichoke's square slice was the last time i stopped in my tracks and laughed at how good it was. and probably allen and delancey's cabbage beef and onion...its a really inventive yet really delicious entree.

                in retrospect, i was pretty blown away at the quality of food at bar blanc. and whenever im at yasuda, im blown away.

                5 Replies
                1. re: sam1
                  MMRuth RE: sam1 Apr 17, 2008 12:56 PM

                  Yes - I was thinking that everytime I go to Yasuda I feel that way - but it's been awhile. I have to check out this Artichoke place. Thanks!

                  1. re: MMRuth
                    vvvindaloo RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 01:45 PM

                    Be warned re: Artichoke's hours. They are spotty at best, and often nonexistent before mid-afternoon. There is a recent thread on this topic.
                    FYI, I edited my response to include several individual dishes that were memorable from the past year.

                  2. re: sam1
                    r
                    rrems RE: sam1 Apr 17, 2008 01:35 PM

                    Interesting. My first thought was Bar Blanc too, even more than Dovetail, though some of the dishes at Dovetail would qualify, such as sweetbreads, monkfish with lobster and foie gras, duck (which I thought was better than the one at Perilla, or at least different), and bread pudding. The game tasting menu at Picholine also qualifies. The lunch I had at Perry St. was also pretty amazing. And the gnocchi at Pepolino.

                    1. re: rrems
                      s
                      sam1 RE: rrems Apr 17, 2008 02:21 PM

                      i left bar blanc pleased but not blown away but a few weeks later, i look back fondly on my meal...which was the sweetbreads and rabbit salad and the lasagna as an entree...quite impressed.

                      dovetail just didnt wow me...at least, not enough to take a cab up to 77th street.

                    2. re: sam1
                      k
                      kayonyc RE: sam1 May 8, 2008 04:46 PM

                      I know i 'm not supposed to be commenting on LA stuff here, but agreed, Hatfield's is terrific and inexpensive to boot.

                      Just so my comment won't be booted, I'll add that L'atelier de Joel Robuchon, (esp the quail + foie + truffled mash and the Anguille app) as well as Allen and Delancey (apps only) and Spicy and Tasty (the cold fish appetizer) were pretty mindblowing.

                    3. vvvindaloo RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 12:59 PM

                      My profile lists the two places in Manhattan that blew my hair back (as I am fond of saying) in the past year. Incidentally, both were lavish meals at fine dining establishments:
                      Per Se
                      there wasn't one morsel of the chef's tasting menu that didn't sing to me. i wouldn't know where to begin on the food. however, i will say that the creativity of the menu, the artistry of the presentation, and the pure glee i felt with each bite are what stay with me.
                      Eleven Madison Park
                      the experience here, from start to finish, is bliss. the dining room and bar are elegant and stylish without feeling stiff or overdone. the service is professional and graceful, and the food is sublime. if i could only have one dish again (perish the thought), i would have to choose the confit of suckling pig.

                      EDIT:
                      Ok, some individual food items:
                      I can't say enough about the pork buns at Momofuku Noodle Bar. They were a relevation for me. I know that many prefer Ssam bar, but for pork buns, my money is on the original.

                      Homemade ricotta from DiPalo. It was fabulous, especially with the preserves he (Luigi) gave me to go with it.

                      Original green falafel pita with traditional condiments (hummus, salad, tahini) and harissa sauce on a wheat pita with a fresh lemonade at Taim in the west village. the best. falafel. ever.

                      Ribs and pulled pork at Mo Gridder's BBQ truck (it's in the Bronx, but I must mention it)

                      Gnocchi with wild braised short rib at Apizz

                      French onion soup dumplings at Stanton Social

                      Anago and slow-poached octopus at 15 East

                      Bomboloni dessert at A Voce

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: vvvindaloo
                        MMRuth RE: vvvindaloo Apr 17, 2008 01:00 PM

                        Feel free to add individual food items in Manhattan!

                        1. re: MMRuth
                          s
                          slep RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 01:10 PM

                          Momofuku Ssam last week: the pork buns and mushroom salad really blew me away.

                          1. re: slep
                            MMRuth RE: slep Apr 17, 2008 01:11 PM

                            Thanks - that is a place that has been on my list - keep having to convince my husband that they have great pork!

                            1. re: MMRuth
                              LeahBaila RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 01:15 PM

                              The pork is absolutely outstanding...I salute the place with really opening my eyes to how amazing pork can be (never really ate it before I was 22 yrs old).

                              www.thelunchbelle.com

                            2. re: slep
                              m
                              Maddash RE: slep May 7, 2008 05:46 AM

                              I second Ssam. Had an absolutely incredible meal there. Only thing I would have skipped was the sweetbread dish. May even be off for Spring. And that is just my taste, I think...

                            3. re: MMRuth
                              chompchomp RE: MMRuth Apr 20, 2008 06:44 PM

                              The chicken oyster at Yakitori Totto.

                            4. re: vvvindaloo
                              m
                              Missmarnnyc RE: vvvindaloo Apr 22, 2008 09:21 AM

                              highly agree with the suggestion for Stanton Social's french onion soup dumplings. Also their duck empanadas

                              1. re: Missmarnnyc
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                                ginsbera RE: Missmarnnyc Apr 22, 2008 12:24 PM

                                Short Rib Tacos at Stanton are fantastic

                              2. re: vvvindaloo
                                a_and_w RE: vvvindaloo May 8, 2008 07:42 AM

                                I too was blown away by my gnocchi with short ribs at Apizz. But the clear winner of the meals we ordered was the ravioli with roasted squash...just incredible!

                              3. g
                                ginsbera RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 02:01 PM

                                Degustation
                                Tia Pol
                                Blue Hill NYC
                                X2O Yonkers
                                Meritage Scarsdale
                                Perilla (surprisingly)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ginsbera
                                  g
                                  ginsbera RE: ginsbera May 6, 2008 08:42 AM

                                  Just ate at Ko last week, that is now the most recent meal that blew me away hands down.

                                  http://always-eating.blogspot.com/

                                2. p
                                  peachtart RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 02:22 PM

                                  Husband and I wandered into Shortys .32 the other day for lunch. Had 2 burgers and a bottle of Chinon. Great afternoon.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: peachtart
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                                    peachtart RE: peachtart Apr 18, 2008 07:48 AM

                                    On the other end of the spectrum. The omakase at 15 east. Amazing.

                                    1. re: peachtart
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                                      peachtart RE: peachtart Apr 18, 2008 07:51 AM

                                      and a rainy afternoon at Franny's. The pizza was perfect!

                                  2. k
                                    kobetobiko RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 03:09 PM

                                    Interesting question. I rarely got blown away by a whole dining experience. It is usually a dish or two that can trigger that "wow" factor. The only meal that I got blown away in NYC was at Masa. It was the food and each individual detail that made the whole experience.

                                    As for individual food items:
                                    - At Per Se: The foie gras and poached lobster; the oyster and pearls (only the first visit, not mind-blowing in subsequent visits)

                                    - At L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon:
                                    1) The L'oursin - Sea Urchin in Lobster Gelée, Topped with a Cauliflower Cream
                                    2) The Le Sucre dessert

                                    - At Le Bernardin: The egg dessert - milk chocolate pot de creme with caramel foam and maple syrup maldon sea salt

                                    - At Jean Georges: The egg with caviar appetizer, and the summer strawberry dessert (seasonal)

                                    1. r
                                      robinsilver RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 03:31 PM

                                      This just shows you the different tastes of people, and what they consider to be "blown away by". I had a great meal at Aquavit a few weeks ago, and have actually been thinking since then about how much I enjoyed it. So, I guess it's to each his own. I would never say that I was "blown away" by a piece of pizza, but obviously other people think that way. I would say that it is more what are memorable dining experiences. I rarely focus on one particular dish, but rather my over-all enjoyment of the meal. I would put dinners at Per Se, Gordon Ramsay's at the London, and Aquavit in that category. Also Tru in Chicago was pretty amazing. I include the wine parings with the overall enjoyment of the dinner.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: robinsilver
                                        MMRuth RE: robinsilver Apr 18, 2008 05:54 AM

                                        It was many slices of pizza - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/500583 - and that kind of complete food joy that I guess I was trying to get at in my original post, though I didn't say that.

                                      2. m
                                        MrNubbins RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 04:34 PM

                                        I have had a culinary crush on David Chang as of late ...

                                        Pork buns and both Noodle and Ssam Bar
                                        Sweetbreads and Bread and Butter at Ssam Bar
                                        Momofuku Ramen and Pistachio Soft Serve at Noodle Bar

                                        in others ...

                                        Olive Oil Gelato at Otto
                                        Soup Dumplings at Joes Shanghai (flushing)

                                        1. r
                                          RCC RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 04:34 PM

                                          Brunch at Clinton Street Baking Company 2 Sundays ago. Those pancakes wowed us again!

                                          1. j
                                            jens RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 06:41 PM

                                            Great question!

                                            My husband and I have spent way too much money at restaurants that did NOT blow us away.

                                            HOWEVER-- a few exceptions: 1) Soto-- I love his food. The salmon citrus and steamed minute tai come to mind as dishes that we really really enjoyed...eyes back in head, etc. 2) Perilla-- I've really enjoyed everything I've eaten at Perilla, and love the laid back but sophisticated styling of the restaurant and the wait staff has been excellent. 3) Toloache-- the drinks, guacamole and entree offerings combine to make a great meal. Very very fresh and thoughtfully conceived.

                                            1. p
                                              Pan RE: MMRuth Apr 17, 2008 08:32 PM

                                              I think the two places I've come closest to being "blown away by" in Manhattan in the last several months are Madangsui (Korean barbecue place with great banchan on 35 St.) and Kamui Den (great little full-service Japanese restaurant on Av. A near 11 St.). Honorable mention for Szechuan Gourmet, which is always at least very good but not always revelatory.

                                              1. jfood RE: MMRuth Apr 18, 2008 06:01 AM

                                                Jfood went to Babbo last night for a greeeeeeaaaaat meal. Goose Liver Ravioli, sweetbreads and gelati. Full review in process.

                                                Major good dinner.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: jfood
                                                  MMRuth RE: jfood Apr 18, 2008 06:02 AM

                                                  Thanks - it's on our list to try and walk in one day. Looking forward to your review!

                                                  1. re: MMRuth
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                                                    taboo RE: MMRuth Apr 18, 2008 06:09 AM

                                                    Blue Hill Stone Barns and Daniel (no matter how many times I go there.....always amazing).

                                                    1. re: taboo
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                                                      sam1 RE: taboo Apr 18, 2008 06:56 AM

                                                      i was more impressed with the whole experience than the actual food at stone barns.

                                                      1. re: sam1
                                                        t
                                                        taboo RE: sam1 Apr 18, 2008 07:29 AM

                                                        Well...even down to the details of cutting herbs into the tea at the end of the night.....

                                                    2. re: MMRuth
                                                      vvvindaloo RE: MMRuth Apr 18, 2008 07:42 AM

                                                      MM, Babbo is one of those few places that is worth the hype. Drop everything else and go :)

                                                  2. ellenost RE: MMRuth Apr 18, 2008 10:14 AM

                                                    No surprise to anyone who knows me, but I adore all of the foie gras and lobster preparations at Aureole. They "blow me away".

                                                    1. floretbroccoli RE: MMRuth Apr 18, 2008 10:24 AM

                                                      The grated, frozen torchon of foie gras over reisling gelée, lychee, and pine nut brittle at Momofuku Ko kind of took the top of my head off.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: floretbroccoli
                                                        k
                                                        kobetobiko RE: floretbroccoli Apr 18, 2008 11:00 AM

                                                        I was hoping to be blown away by Ko, but I wasn't. In fact I was a bit disappointed...

                                                        1. re: floretbroccoli
                                                          k
                                                          kathryn RE: floretbroccoli Apr 18, 2008 11:00 AM

                                                          Me too! I kind of wished I'd brought a spatula.

                                                          1. re: kathryn
                                                            s
                                                            sam1 RE: kathryn Apr 18, 2008 04:17 PM

                                                            i havent been to ko but ive called bs on momofuku ssam and noodle bar for nearly 2 years now...i think they are the most overrated restaurants in the last 5 years of nyc dining.

                                                            1. re: sam1
                                                              biondanonima RE: sam1 Apr 20, 2008 09:21 AM

                                                              Just went to Ssam and I'd have to agree - I enjoyed our meal but it certainly wasn't mind-blowing. I would like to try Ko, though, just to see.

                                                        2. prdct RE: MMRuth Apr 18, 2008 10:40 AM

                                                          Babbo at the bar (lambs tongue vinegrette and beef cheeck ravoli), Ssam bar, Blue Hill at Stone Barns

                                                          1. k
                                                            kathryn RE: MMRuth Apr 18, 2008 11:19 AM

                                                            EMP (which I posted about), Ko, Babbo...

                                                            But the one that really and truly blew me away was the $300pp omakase meal at the omakase bar at Morimoto. (Thanks to fiance's family for a nicely sized gift card that paid for a good chunk of it). Morimoto wasn't in, so we were served by the head chef. Uni with fresh tofu skins. Fugu, served three ways. Kobe beef, served rare, from Japan. A whole fresh Washington Dungness crab. Monkfish liver. A giant miso hot pot with monkfish liver and monkfish chunks (so big we took it home). Half a Maine lobster, each.

                                                            1. c
                                                              chocokitty RE: MMRuth Apr 18, 2008 06:11 PM

                                                              Babbo (lamb's tongue, pig's foot "Milanese," octopus app.)
                                                              Momofuku Ko (the shaved foie gras dish and the coddled egg dish with soubise onions), Degustation
                                                              Taim (it was a relatively recent discovery for me several months ago; LOVE their sabich!)
                                                              Jean Georges (foie gras brulee)

                                                              Tina
                                                              http://thewanderingeater.wordpress.com

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: chocokitty
                                                                d
                                                                Desidero RE: chocokitty Apr 22, 2008 11:51 AM

                                                                Couldn't agree more about Taim's sabich! It has to be at or near the top of any best sandwich list in NYC.

                                                              2. l
                                                                Lucia RE: MMRuth Apr 18, 2008 07:31 PM

                                                                Unfortunately, I find the "blown away" meals few and far between. Di Fara is the best overall experience I've had in years. Before that, it was Blue Hill Stone Barns, but like sam1, I was more impressed with the overall experience than the food itself. And, before that it would have been lunch at Jean Georges in August. I've had a few delicious dishes since--the pig's ass sandwich at Casellula, the bread pudding at the Dessert Truck, gnudi at Mia Dona, poppy seed strudel at Andre's Cafe--but I haven't had an amazing overall meal. My college graduation tasting menu dinner at Aureole in its prime was the highlight of my NYC dining experience, and I haven't recaptured that since.

                                                                1. financialdistrictresident RE: MMRuth Apr 20, 2008 06:51 AM

                                                                  Great question. I have had many satisfying, delicious meals but very few dishes that have "blown me away" and remain memorable.

                                                                  Falai:

                                                                  Passion fruit souffle. One of the best souffles I have ever had. Went back to have it again. Still thinking about it.

                                                                  Fois gras trilogy - can't get the bitersweet chocolate shell around fois gras mousse accompanied by blueberries out of my head.

                                                                  L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon:

                                                                  Eel with foie gras (and just about everything else we had.)

                                                                  The Modern Dining Room:

                                                                  Foie gras with roasted peaches in a wine reduction

                                                                  Duck - the best duck I have ever had. Like butter. Amazing.

                                                                  Lupa:

                                                                  The trout with roasted pears and radicchio. Unusual combination. Very simple but memorable. Still on my mind.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: financialdistrictresident
                                                                    steve h. RE: financialdistrictresident Apr 22, 2008 02:18 PM

                                                                    love the lupa. i still remember the first time i had bucatini all'amatriciana there. the place just opened. great dish. blew me away.

                                                                  2. biondanonima RE: MMRuth Apr 20, 2008 09:23 AM

                                                                    Degustation. Holy Sh*t. We tried 13 dishes and at least 7 of them were mind-blowingly good, with the foie gras in sherry-date consomme being absolutely orgasmic. Those that weren't mind-blowing were still better than anything I've had in NYC in the past year. Here's a link to my review: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/511075

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: biondanonima
                                                                      MMRuth RE: biondanonima Apr 20, 2008 09:28 AM

                                                                      Thanks - I read that earlier and I HAVE to go soon. Sounded amazing.

                                                                      1. re: MMRuth
                                                                        biondanonima RE: MMRuth Apr 20, 2008 09:32 AM

                                                                        OMG. It was spectacular. Get 2 orders of the foie - you won't be sorry! When we were talking to the chef, he was saying that they're still experimenting with it and he wasn't sure about the sweet date broth with the foie - both LB and I were like "NO! Don't change a thing and put it on the menu NOW!" He described another foie preparation they do with hefeweizen and strawberries that sounded pretty awesome too. Anyway, I really can't say enough about this place - freaking amazing.

                                                                        1. re: biondanonima
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                                                                          wanderluster RE: biondanonima Apr 20, 2008 09:58 AM

                                                                          I love degustation! I am surprised it continues to fly under the radar. When I went a few months ago, they had an awesome version of cheesteak.
                                                                          Yesterday, at eleven madison park I had an AMAZING loup de mer with cauliflower. Unreal, and the service was incredible.

                                                                          1. re: wanderluster
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                                                                            chocokitty RE: wanderluster Apr 21, 2008 01:00 PM

                                                                            OMG...with this much praise, I should go there sooner than my birthday (which is in November)! Hahaha...

                                                                          2. re: biondanonima
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                                                                            Adelia RE: biondanonima Apr 21, 2008 04:02 PM

                                                                            Degustation has been on my "must go" list, but now I REALLY have to go! I have been looking for a website for it, but can't find one. Do you have a link for it?

                                                                            1. re: Adelia
                                                                              biondanonima RE: Adelia Apr 21, 2008 06:34 PM

                                                                              To my knowledge, there isn't one - they have a version of the menu posted on menupages.com, but it's pretty outdated. I think the menu probably changes day to day, honestly. Don't let the lack of a website keep you away. Go! You'll LOVE it!

                                                                      2. c
                                                                        cimui RE: MMRuth Apr 21, 2008 06:32 PM

                                                                        Interesting subject, MMRuth. I think for me, a lot of being 'blown away' is circumstantial, and doesn't just have to do with the food. I'm not always blown away each time I go to a restaurant, even when I have the same -- or close to the same -- meal that has blown me away, before. If I'm rushed or stressed, I experience the food differently.

                                                                        It also has to do with the novelty of the food. The first time I ever had mofongo was in Puerto Rico. I couldn't stop raving about it for weeks and even learned how to make it at home (discovering in the process that I prefer to leave the peeling of green bananas to others). The first time I ever had sushi was in teh early 1990s, at Bond St., before it became such a craze and before I went to Japan for the first time. Again, I was blow away, even tho these days, I don't find Bond St. very good at all.

                                                                        That said, places where I have been blown away in the past year (not very recently... been a bit too busy at work for that) include WD-50, Aquavit, and the Modern Dining Room. And there were a few other places in Singapore, tho I was on vacation, then, so it's not a fair comparison, perhaps.

                                                                        Place where I was not blown away, but expected to be (perhaps *because* I expected to be): Per Se, Le Bernardin, Masa.

                                                                        1. steve h. RE: MMRuth Apr 22, 2008 08:45 AM

                                                                          lunch last sunday at per se was pretty good. two hours of fine dining in a gorgeous room with great views. food, service and wines were excellent. one of the best sunday lunches i've had in a long time.

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: steve h.
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                                                                            abud RE: steve h. Apr 22, 2008 11:24 AM

                                                                            Just out of curiosity (and to learn whether I could ever afford it) what does a two hour Per Se lunch cost?

                                                                            1. re: abud
                                                                              steve h. RE: abud Apr 22, 2008 11:47 AM

                                                                              five-course tasting menu with lots of amuse-bouche and "compliments of the chef" stuff ran $175 per person. this includes the built-in gratuity. wine and tax is extra. the nine-course chef's tasting menu is $275. five-plus courses were plenty for a sunday lunch.

                                                                              the place is absolutely serene without being stuffy. tables are far apart so you and a partner can chat about co-workers, the government, whatever without being overheard. also, there is no time limit. you can stretch your stay to as long as you like. staff will just keep piling on the sweets. i even noticed one well-heeled solo diner enjoying himself immensely.

                                                                              interesting place. give it a shot. the sunday lunch thing is a double secret and doesn't require the dreaded, "two months in advance reservation" that weekday dining does.

                                                                              1. re: steve h.
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                                                                                abud RE: steve h. Apr 22, 2008 12:13 PM

                                                                                THANKS!

                                                                                1. re: steve h.
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                                                                                  Adelia RE: steve h. Apr 22, 2008 07:04 PM

                                                                                  What were your favorite dishes?

                                                                                  1. re: Adelia
                                                                                    steve h. RE: Adelia Apr 23, 2008 06:07 AM

                                                                                    the tripe was absolutely the best i've ever had. crust like scrapple on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. it could not have been more than two inches long and maybe an inch wide. superb.

                                                                                    the lobster poached in butter was another winner. again, not too big, not too small. the sweetness of the lobster came through perfectly.

                                                                                    there was a domino-sized piece of steak that was seared to perfection. the marbling was extreme yet the small piece of meat was juicy, tender and full of flavor. not at all fatty.

                                                                                    i could go on.

                                                                            2. s
                                                                              Salsiccia Creature RE: MMRuth Apr 22, 2008 09:41 AM

                                                                              Del Posto, the tasting menu. Particularly the Agnolotti and garganelli pasta dishes.

                                                                              1. l
                                                                                links42 RE: MMRuth Apr 22, 2008 04:47 PM

                                                                                Nothing in the city has blown us away in many years. Upstate, The Basement Bistro has made us re-calibur how great a restaurant can be. Run by 1 person, the chef grows everything & the restaurant is sustained by the garden/greenhouse, makes aged cheeses & charcuterie, cooks & serves his tasting menus in his beautiful basement that is located on what is best described as a mini-estate/farm? We've eaten our way all over the world & this is the high point of our experiences.

                                                                                1. a
                                                                                  abud RE: MMRuth Apr 22, 2008 07:50 PM

                                                                                  just had artichoke's artichoke slice. wowEE.

                                                                                  1. m
                                                                                    marlosse RE: MMRuth May 6, 2008 07:51 AM

                                                                                    I have to agree with the first response to your post: I was completely blown away by a transcendent meal I had at Public. Chef Farmerie is particularly talented with his vegetarian dishes and salads (and I am an avid carnivore!)

                                                                                    Also, the tomato soup with the grilled cheese IN it was pretty ridiculous at The Smith.

                                                                                    1. b
                                                                                      bastet212 RE: MMRuth May 6, 2008 09:52 AM

                                                                                      I just ate at Little owl and i have to say- i was pretty thrilled with it.

                                                                                      I would also second ( third, twentieth?) degustation. amazing experience!

                                                                                      1. j
                                                                                        jsmitty RE: MMRuth May 6, 2008 10:03 AM

                                                                                        shorty 32 (5 course tasting for valentines wow)
                                                                                        dovetail
                                                                                        al di la(brooklyn)
                                                                                        pamplona
                                                                                        degustation(always great)

                                                                                        1. j
                                                                                          jsmitty RE: MMRuth May 6, 2008 10:05 AM

                                                                                          duck meatballs at a voce!

                                                                                          1. g
                                                                                            gangly handful RE: MMRuth May 6, 2008 10:51 AM

                                                                                            Fried chicken at Momofuku Noodle Bar: the perfect blend of heat, honey, salty, and crispy. I've never had anything quite like it.

                                                                                            1. m
                                                                                              mdp82 RE: MMRuth May 6, 2008 01:35 PM

                                                                                              Cafe Boulud. My group had 10 different cooked dishes in total (including desserts) and every single one was terrific. They shove a few too many tables into the room, but the service and the food are incredible.

                                                                                              1. i
                                                                                                iforman2001 RE: MMRuth May 6, 2008 01:41 PM

                                                                                                Kyo Ya - sat in the private room at the back. impeccable service & presentation, and delicious authentic japanese dishes.

                                                                                                others that blew me away...

                                                                                                Allen & Delancey
                                                                                                Falai
                                                                                                AOC Bedford (did it really close for good???)

                                                                                                1. a
                                                                                                  aeros RE: MMRuth May 7, 2008 08:22 PM

                                                                                                  Picholine. From the moment you enter, you know an extraordinary dining experience lies ahead. The service, the food, the cheese, the wine - all exquisite and divine.

                                                                                                  1. d
                                                                                                    debjoy81 RE: MMRuth May 8, 2008 10:08 AM

                                                                                                    The $95 tasting menu at BOULEY! Wonderful meal, atmosphere, and service! I cannot wait to go back! The dark chocolate souffle was to-die-for!

                                                                                                    1. r
                                                                                                      Royboy RE: MMRuth May 8, 2008 12:30 PM

                                                                                                      Its not Manhattan, but I recently had a great meal at Peter Lugers.
                                                                                                      Every time I've eaten there, it has been truly memorable.

                                                                                                      1. biondanonima RE: MMRuth May 8, 2008 12:39 PM

                                                                                                        Just had lunch at Jean-Georges and was totally blown away by the skate wing with Chateau-Chalon sauce and the short ribs. Wow, wow, WOW!

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: biondanonima
                                                                                                          k
                                                                                                          kobetobiko RE: biondanonima May 8, 2008 03:42 PM

                                                                                                          Hi biondanonima,

                                                                                                          You must have been to JG at lunch time. The same fish dish was prepared using turbot at night, and it was even better!

                                                                                                          1. re: kobetobiko
                                                                                                            r
                                                                                                            RGR RE: kobetobiko May 8, 2008 03:52 PM

                                                                                                            The turbot with Chateau-Chalon sauce is on the tasting menu of Jean-George's signature dishes. It is seriously delicious!

                                                                                                          2. re: biondanonima
                                                                                                            f
                                                                                                            FuDee RE: biondanonima May 27, 2008 07:33 AM

                                                                                                            I second both of those dishes at Jean-Georges. And please add the Foie Gras Broule- oh baby. Thinkin' about heading back today for lunch..

                                                                                                          3. Little Cupcake RE: MMRuth May 8, 2008 02:22 PM

                                                                                                            The Bar Room at the Modern

                                                                                                            Jean Georges

                                                                                                            1. b
                                                                                                              BW212 RE: MMRuth May 8, 2008 02:51 PM

                                                                                                              Most recently, L'attelier De Joel Robuchon. Can't rave enough about it.

                                                                                                              Others in the last year:

                                                                                                              Perilla
                                                                                                              Per Se
                                                                                                              Sushi Seki
                                                                                                              and oddly enough, Gobo

                                                                                                              1. t
                                                                                                                Taylor.Watson RE: MMRuth Jun 15, 2008 11:12 AM

                                                                                                                This thread inspired me to try Degustation. WOW. Blown away indeed! It was some of the best tasting food I've ever had. At times I just had to put down my fork and laugh with delight about how good it was. Really, really amazing. I cannot express with words how much I loved the food. I plan on going back and not worry about price and just get tons of great stuff. Oh God it was amazing.

                                                                                                                1. c
                                                                                                                  cimui RE: MMRuth Jun 15, 2008 09:48 PM

                                                                                                                  i've only had one standout item in the past several months: a series of different preparations of anago at yasuda.

                                                                                                                  i find that meals blow me away only three or four times a year, mmruth. the last time i was really blown away by a meal was in january at Lee Tong Kee Ipoh Sar Hor Fun in singapore.

                                                                                                                  i don't know if this holds true for anyone else, but i find it hard to completely separate the food from the rest of the dining experience. the truly blow-away meals are not just about fantastic food, but also about great service and company and me being at the top of my eating game, as well, i.e. i don't have a cold or allergies, i am eating with someone with whom i feel comfortable enough to focus completely on the meal at times and not on them (i have so few amazing business meals though i get to go to good restaurants), and i'm hungry enough to want the food.

                                                                                                                  i also think the element of surprise can play a major role in terms of what blows you away. meals that make you rethink food, meals where you discover something for the first time -- these are blow away meals for me. i can recognize food as being very good, but that is not the same as being blown away. the first time i ate at wd 50 and soto, the meals blew me away. since then, i've "just" had very good meals.

                                                                                                                  1. i
                                                                                                                    illtryit RE: MMRuth Jun 22, 2008 10:26 PM

                                                                                                                    I was just visiting NYC again this past week, and ate at the following restaurants: Momofuku Ssam Bar, Momofuku Noodle Bar, Prune, Babbo, Felidia, Les Halles, Aquavit, and WD-50. This is a wide range in terms of price and style, so in a way a fair sampling. What stood out the most? Both Momofukus's pork bun sandwiches (I will be dreaming in pork belly for some time to come), the horseradish aquavit and herring sampler with aquavit and classic beer chaser (lovely little dilled potatoes with dollhouse cheese wedges on the side), a real Scandinavian fantasy-come-true, and, finally, and I say without hesitation, every single dish (and we ordered MANY) at WD-50. It ALL worked. I say this, though I am a jaded, world weary eater by now. But the food was playful, inventive, and fully delicious in every animal sense, as it should be or else what's the point of molecular conceptual play? I found absolutely no pretense here, as the place really delivered. One day, I may rhapsodize in another post about each dish, when I find the time. But everyone should try for themselves.

                                                                                                                    Beyond that, the service at WD-50 was generous and knowledgeable, and the chef, who was there, a sweetheart to let me take a picture with him and have a few words. Our knowledgeable waiter showed us the kitchen. And I was not anyone special in the chef's world, just another customer who had made a reservation online.

                                                                                                                    I would return to these three establishments in a heartbeat.

                                                                                                                    Hope this helps.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: illtryit
                                                                                                                      q
                                                                                                                      quddous RE: illtryit Sep 3, 2012 08:48 PM

                                                                                                                      This thread was amazing. Thanks to all those who posted!!

                                                                                                                    2. ellenost RE: MMRuth Sep 4, 2012 03:35 AM

                                                                                                                      My dinner last week at Atera "blew me away". Will be making another reservation for the autumn menu. Looking forward to it!

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