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Dec 25, 2009 10:12 AM

SHO Shaun Hergatt getting better

As always, full review with photos at the blog: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...

I went there not long after it opened, and had the tasting menu. I thought it was good, but there was still work to be done. Fast foward to last week, where I went there with a friend to celebrate a birthday.

Quick highlights from the prix fixe:

The hors d'oeuvres were lovely and quite sizeable.

The red chili and coconut milk glazed quail was amazing. It was decadently stuffed with foie gras, but the glaze, which reminded me of Malaysian curry, was the highlight and brought the dish to another level. This is the only dish that has never left the menu since they opened because everyone loves it.

Sweetbreads poele with truffle risotto and aged balsamic was very tasty. Nice big piece of sweetbread with a texture that I loved, soft, but not too melty. Good strong flavors rounded out by the balsamic.

Milk-fed veal tenderloin was well cooked and the double cream emulsion jus had great flavor. The square of layered, thinly sliced veal tongue was amusing. I loved the vegetables that came with this, the variety, the texture, the tastes. I thought it was a terrifically composed dish.

The mediums:

Ordered the egg dish a la carte. The poached egg came with uni, uni foam, and caviar. The caviar wasn't strong enough to stand out among the egg yolk and uni flavors. The egg was delicious, but I don't know that I would spend $40 on this egg dish again.

The salmon had good flavor and it was a big piece, but I thought the thai basil froth was too strong and I was surprised a restaurant of this caliber did not use wild salmon.

The desserts were good, though I've never been big on desserts.

Overall, the food has gotten better, and the service is coming together.

With this new confidence, the kitchen now has a 15 course tasting menu ($220ish) that wasn't available my first visit.

Anyone tried it? Anyone want to go try it? I'm thinking of maybe giving it a go in February, when chef Hergatt said halibut will be back in season for his halibut with truffled celery root puree.

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  1. I thought it was fabulous the first time we went at the end of September. Looking forward to going again. There was a shorter tasting menu taken directly from the regular menu. But it didn't include the dishes we were most interested in having, so we did the 3-course prix fixe. Is the 15-course tasting a published menu? Or is it at the whim of the chef? If it's published and we liked what's on it, we might go for it. If not, I doubt we'd do it because there are things that I don't eat.

    Photos here:

    Edited to add: I just looked at your photos. As it turns out, two of the desserts you had are the same as the desserts we had. (Also, like you, we had the quail.)

    3 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      We were there the other night for the second time. I only took a really quick glance at the tasting menus, but I'm pretty sure the 15-course did list the dishes. I would call to confirm, though. The food was just as wonderful as the first time, which was about a month ago. One change which we really liked is that instead of bringing a plate of mignardises to the table, they now wheel a cart over and you can just pick whatever you like. It makes a really nice presentation, too, with huge jars of chocolate truffles and drawers of macarons, jellies, and miniature pastries. The service was absolutely perfect.

      1. re: rrems

        @RGR I remember glancing at a menu that listed all 15 courses. They have the shorter 6 course as well. We had that 6 course tasting the first time, whereas in retrospect I think I should have ordered the prix fixe back then for the same reason you listed.

        @rrems They didn't wheel any cart over that I remember :(

        1. re: fooder

          Good to know that the 15-course menu's dishes are listed. At $220ish, they're in Per Se territory (when you add a 20% gratuity, which Per Se's $275 already includes), though the number of courses is nearly double Per Se's (9).

          With regard to the cart, it's either their new regular way of presenting the mignardises, or they're just doing it for the holidays.


      i went based on this thread -
      here is my review from that other site:

      i've been dreading writing this review, as i'm really not sure how i feel about this place. I mean everything was pretty flawless - the decor tasteful, the service attentive, the food prepared just so - but somehow it left me a little cold - there was no soul to it, no soul to the food. 3 stars is too few, probably 3.5 isnt enough -but can i say i'm a 4-star fan?

      we opted for the 3 course menu, as there was some dishes there not on the larger menu's that we really wanted to try.

      1st was a plate of amuse bouches which were tasty, but the quail egg was refrigerator cold, which was a turn off, but the goat cheese square was delicious. there was a 3rd one, but i can't remember it. that doesn't speak well of it.

      for apps we had :

      Millefeuille Of Hudson Valley Foie Gras (pain d'epices tuiles, banyuls reduction



      Red Chili And Coconut Milk Glazed Quail ( shiitake duxelle, wilted tetragonia)

      both were prepared perfectly. and yet - it doesn't stand out in my mind a mere week later

      for mains we had:
      Three Day Short Rib( hazelnut and cranberry crust, parsnip purée)


      River And Glenn" Rabbit Loins (coco beans, baby spinach, natural sauce)

      again - flawless. the loin was tender and flavorful, the rib was falling apart perfectly, the parsnip's bitterness was a perfect foil to the unctuousness of the rib.

      everything was beautifully plated.

      the wine was excellent.

      and still i wasn't wowed, like i should have been. like i often am by places of this quality

      flawless and soulless. how many stars is that?

      SHO Shaun Hergatt
      40 Broad St, New York, NY 10004

      1 Reply
      1. re: thew

        I felt exactly the same way (I've been once). Well executed. Soulless. Service, food, surroundings - no soul. I really have no desire to go back.

        This piece in the NYT expressed some of my feeling about it:

      2. We had a spectacular dinner there last night (the tasting plus wine pairing). It's the Dionysian counterpart to the Apollonian Per Se, very sensual, sexy food.
        Every dish was distinctively and exquisitely flavored, I could go on and on about them. The escolar was a standout, rare, a glorious pale peachy-pink (I want a dress that color please), with a Thai basil foam - it tasted like the tenderest imaginable veal. Those who think that foams have no place on food should try Mr Hergatt's versions.
        The meat course - perfectly rare lamb loin and crisp lamb belly with exquisite peas - brought my appetite that was somewhat flagging at that point right back.
        I had noted when making the reservation on Open Table that it was our anniversary and we were presented with a little hazelnut and chocolate cake decorated with hazelnuts and gold leaf and a chocolate plaque with Happy Anniversary on it, a nice touch.
        Mignardises were very abundant and exciting, particularly the chocolate and soft centered salted caramel truffle.
        Service was efficient but a bit off, not unpleasant but a tiny bit more obtrusive than it should be by rights in a restaurant of this caliber.
        The sommeliere on the other hand was very charming and informative about the pairings (the Kabninett Riesling with the foie gras mousse was inspired - and the pistachio brioche toast with that course tasted like toast should in heaven).
        The atmosphere is rather like dining in a luxury restaurant in a hotel in Asia, a bit impersonal but what matters here is what is on the plate.
        I was as happy as a baby with her first taste of ice cream. if you want big flavors and exciting food, this is the place to go.
        (Tasting $120, wine pairing $70 - very few bottles are below $60 on the list incidentally - , total with 2 cocktails and tip around $500 - expensive but half the price of Per Se for very different but equally entrancing food.)

        4 Replies
        1. re: buttertart

          Thanks for the report. We were there this week after not having been for several months, and the food was even more spectacular than we remembered from our past visits. We just had the standard three-course, but with the assortment of canapes, two amuses, and abundant mignardises we would not have wanted more. The foie gras quenelle with rhubarb was heavenly, as were the fruits de mer provencale. The halibut was one of the best preparations of that fish that I have ever tasted. I managed to get the last bottle of the $50 Ribeira del Duero, which we have had before, and it was perfect with the food. We had to wait a while for our table, but we were rewarded with a large table facing the kitchen, and a wonderful cognac after the meal. We plan to go back again very soon.

          1. re: rrems

            We had an OUTSTANDING meal there 2 weeks ago. The food, space, & service were all beautiful. We had the 3 course menu which really was more like 7 courses with the multiple amuses the extra birthday dessert (so lovely, just wish we weren't so damn full- and we are BIG eaters)...the bread & butter could be a course on it's own. I wanted to eat that truffle butter with my spoon.
            My only complaints would be our initial impression. When we arrived on a Saturday night to an empty lounge & 1/2 empty dining room were asked to wait in the lounge for at least 20 minutes to "wait" for our table. Once we were eventually taken to the dining room (the only explanation I can think for this would be trying to get us to buy an extra cocktail that we perhaps wouldn't have ordered otherwise- in very bad taste), they tried to seat us in the middle of the bench seating between 2 other tables when there was 2 deuces free standing closer to the kitchen. They did move us upon request.
            My initial feelings of discomfort and 'oh oh, this is really not a good start' were beyond surpassed with bliss, awe and lingering feelings of please, please, please when can we go back (sadly, we live in Toronto).
            I wholeheartedly & enthusiastically recommend SHO.

            1. re: todc1996

              We were asked to wait a moment on the couch by the entrance - and there were several tables available all evening, we had one on the end of the banquettes facing the kitchen which was quite comfortable. The kitchen seems very well-run - it appeared quite calm from the outside at the least. (Mr Hergatt was working the room and came to our table as well as several others to exchange a few words - it was amusing because I think I was taken for one of his suppliers - he referred to "liking my products"...and what might they be pray tell?

            2. re: rrems

              The rhubarb WAS brilliant with the mousse of foie gras - and I forgot to mention the breads, which were great - the whole grain was amazingly light and flavorful. The butters didn't hurt. Will go back for next occasion (my birthday), the 3-course with a pairing or lower end of the wine list bottle should do nicely. They have a $30 3-course lunch that looks a bit of all right as well.

          2. Any not to miss dishes from current summer menu at SHO Shaun Hergatt?Thanks

            1 Reply
            1. re: gatilgan

              This isn't really an answer to your question but I'll say this, I had the tasting menu a few weeks ago and it was fantastic from start to finish.

            2. I would never pay 220 for Sho. I would rather go to Per Se in a heartbeat. Anyways I have never been, and it seems like the serve alot of rather random tweezer food, and it seems like the food/menu isn't very coherent. I could be wrong though, it sounds like many of you guys enjoyed your experiences. Would anyone recommend the restaurant?

              Per Se
              10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

              16 Replies
                1. re: princeofpork

                  Grant Achatz carries tweezers around on his jacket at all times. Perhaps "tweezer" food means "best restaurant in America" quality food? In that case, I think I need to check SHO out.


                  1. re: uhockey

                    I think Tweezer food means they plate the dishes with a tweezer. If that the case I will pass

                    1. re: princeofpork

                      A google search turned up one person's definition of tweezer food:

                      "High-end restaurant cuisine that is delicately prepared and presented – often literally with tweezers".

                      Is there something wrong with that?

                      1. re: rrems

                        I don't have a problem eating food that has been plated with tweezers. Actually i value presentation very much. Is the food at SHO interesting? From what I've seen, everything pretty much seems like it has been done before. Can somebody describe the dining room to me? It sounds like everyone recommends it, so I guess i'll try it out.

                        Also how does Sho's lunch service compare to their dinner service? I remember eating a lunch at eleven madison park (before their early fall renovations) was nothing like having a dinner there. Obviously that should be expected if you're paying 28 dollars versus 95. Has anybody recently (post-renovations) had lunch there?

                        1. re: mjm1218


                          A couple of months ago, but post-renovations.

                          Never been to SHO for lunch.

                          1. re: fooder

                            Thanks alot for this, many of the answers to my questions are in your review.

                          2. re: mjm1218


                            The first time we had dinner at SHO in September '09, I took photos of the dining room. You can see them in this set:

                            We've had lunch at EMP twice since the new menu format began (as well as dinner several times). The 3-course/4-course options on the lunch menu are exactly the same as the 4-course dinner menu. There are amuses to start though not as many as at dinner. The mignardises at the end are the same, but there is no take-home gift (the jar of delicious granola) as at dinner.

                            As far as the renovations go, on the upper level, there are no longer any tables in the side alcove under the overhang. That area has been closed off and is now a service area. Also, access to the kitchen used to be through doors in the bar area. Those doors are no longer there, and access is now via the new service area. The rest of the dining room remains the same.

                            Photos of the lunch we had at EMP in December can be viewed here:


                            1. re: RGR

                              "The mignardises at the end are the same, but there is no take-home gift (the jar of delicious granola) as at dinner."

                              Actually, I had lunch at EMP recently and received the jar of granola as a take home gift.

                              1. re: H Manning

                                Maybe they started doing that more recently than the last time we had lunch.

                        2. re: princeofpork

                          Seems highly illogical, but to each his/her own. If attention to detail doesn't detract from taste then I'd say it is a good thing.


                          1. re: uhockey

                            The fresh hearts of palm salad I had at Per Se was laid out on the plate like jewels (as were the other dishes). I don't think the Keller kitchens are any strangers to tweezers.

                            Per Se
                            10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                            1. re: buttertart

                              Not sure how that pertains to me, or if you simply clicked respond. I am quite fond of Keller's kitchens and "tweezer" food.


                              1. re: uhockey

                                No, of course not, CH has a disconcerting way of putting responses wherever the heck it wants - this was in response to mjm1218.

                    2. re: mjm1218

                      I would most definitely recommend SHO! We finally made it back there for the second time at the end of November, and the food was as wonderful as it was the first time we were there in September '09. Portions are more than adequate, and there is parade of amuses to start as well as a wide variety of mignardises at the end. Service is first-rate, and the room is very comfortable. The cost for the 3-course prix-fixe has risen to $75 from the $69 it had been since the restaurant opened, but that's still quite a bargain for cuisine of such high quality.

                      Photos of our recent dinner can be viewed here: