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Apr 21, 2008 07:01 PM

Tailor: tasting menu or a la carte?

Thew posted a great review a few weeks, ago, but i haven't seen too much, since. Any opinions, either way?

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  1. I went for dessert only after dinner at Momofuku Ssam. They're advertising a $45 prix-fixe with wine on Sundays from 6-10 pm. I forgot to ask how many courses that would include, but it still sounds like a pretty good deal, so I'm probably going to try to do it on my next trip.

    I loved all of the desserts I tried:
    "French toast": deep-fried french toast stick, brown butter ice cream, brown butter gelee, bacon dust, raisin puree, raisin paper. Classic flavors, deconstructed and reconfigured into something new and delicious.

    Soft chocolate with sesame ice cream: also mole paper, ancho caramel, chocolate soil, sesame soil. Flavors I don't automatically associate with each other, but made sense once I thought about them. On one level, the mole paper and sesame soil reminded me of Chinese candies I grew up with (haw flakes and sesame candy). On another level, there's mole as the unifying thread, with chocolate, sesame, and ancho as separate components, teased out and given their own spotlights.

    Kumquat confit, caraway ice cream, pumpernickel crisps, soy caramel. I honestly still can't figure out why this combination tastes good. Maybe the astringency and herbal/citrus quality common to kumquat and caraway? Whatever it is, it was genius, and I loved it.

    We also had the solid cocktail trio (a jelled, fizzy "cuba libre"; the "white russian" - a doll-sized bowl of kahlua coated rice krispies in milk; and the table favorite, the gin fizz, which really just tasted like a delicious orange flower water flavored marshmallow to me).

    I tried the huitlacoche margarita as well, which I thought was a little overwhelmed by the smoked salt on the rim. The mushroomy undertones were interesting, but not enough for me to get this drink again.

    525 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

    7 Replies
    1. re: daveena

      i love your reviews, daveena. they're so descriptive -- the next best thing to actually eating at the restaurant.

      to tell you the truth, i've tried tailor twice now and not been all that excited about it -- not even the desserts or the (liquid) cocktails. i'm not sure whether it has to do with me having a slight cold both times i went, but i think i will wait a bit before trying it one more time. i do look forward to trying the solid cocktails!

      1. re: cimui

        i'd say the desserts were the weakest thing on the menu, to my taste

        1. re: cimui

          when i ate in the dining room with some friends, we enjoyed the food, but many of my friends found the prices large and the portions small. due to sticker shock, we only ordered one dessert (the french toast), which was really itty-bitty. like a one bite dessert, maybe two.

          i would have a hard time returning with most people i know for the regular menu, although i would in a hearbeat go again with people comfortable with the price point who know to expect tiny tasting portions. the prices at WD-50 may be a little higher, but the portions are of a decent, sharable size.

          however, i love the mixed cocktails and the food on the bar menu sounds good and has some established winners. i will definitely return for drinks and snacks.


          as for the original question, i think it depends on your group size, your budget, and what sounds the most intriguing to you. i enjoy tasting menus, but if i'm with a group of sharers, i prefer to create my own tasting from ala carte. unless i'm really pulled in by unique offerings on the tasting menu that aren't available ala carte.

          which i think is a long-winded way of saying that i think the decision is too personal and subjective to have others advise upon.


          1. re: cimui

            I actually thought the solid cocktails were the least interesting thing I had that night... partly because I'd already read comprehensive descriptions of them, and partly because I'd just had solid cocktails as the amuses-bouche at Providence in LA a week earlier. They're worth trying once, though.

            Did you have any of the same desserts I had? I'm definitely more of a fan of savory elements in sweet dishes than of sweet elements in savory dishes, so I thought I'd dip a toe in the pool with desserts only this time. I think I have a slightly more conservative palate than you and thew, as I didn't love WD-50 (with the exception of the desserts) quite as much as you guys did. Anyway, I'm looking forward to hearing your impression of Tailor when you're 100% :)

            1. re: daveena

              i did, daveena. i've had the soft chocolate with sesame ice cream, as well. i liked the sesame components, but thought the texture of the soft chocolate was gluey and unpleasant, and it stuck to your tongue so that other flavors had a hard time emerging. i do think that conceptually, these flavor combinations could work very well, together.

              1. re: cimui

                Ah, well... it might not have been your cold affecting your enjoyment of it, then. I can't remember if I've seen reviews from you on P*Ong or Will Goldfarb's new place - do you think either of those are worth trying? (I was going to try to get into P*Ong but didn't have a res and the wait was too long).

          2. re: daveena

            The sweet plates have changed a lot since I was there. They still sound amazing, though. My boyfriend and I are now sitting here plotting our return. I like that Tailor's molecular gastronomy always, always, always (at least when we were there) leads to good, familiar flavors that are innovative in the way they're gotten. For instance, they used to have a smoked coke and bourbon cocktail that tasted like the best bourbon and coke ever because it had such a pronounced smoky flavor that is in good bourbon, but sometimes gets lost in coke. In fact, I hope they still have it.

            I'm glad you liked it.