New York restaurant report
New York restaurant report (belated)
At long last we were in New York for our 45th anniversary visit.
After our midtown arrival, we chose a close-by restaurant, Oceana, for a late lunch. I was eager to give it a try after reading so much about it on CH. It was a lovely way to start our visit. We had stuffed calamari for an appetizer. My husband liked it, but for me it lacked something, just wasn't appealing.
My mouth had been watering for fish and chips, but I asked my waiter for recommendations. He recommended the lobster cobb salad or lobster sandwich. I chose the salad with blue cheese, bacon and tomato confit. It was delicious with nice chunks of lobster throughout. DH chose seared big eye tuna with apple and fennel salad, walnuts, and mint cider vinaigrette. It looked wonderful, but he found it a little dry. He would have preferred it with less salad. I was surprised to find the rolls on the dry side. The amount of butter served was skimpy, and we had to ask for more. We were impressed with the excellent service; one of our waiters was especially attentive. The cobalt blue glass lobster tank between the kitchen and dining room was stunning, and I had the pleasure of having it in view. Do try Oceana--I would definitely return to give it another try. Later that evening, we had food from a close by deli. It was awful.
Day two. Going to the EV I was planning RGR's LES tour and Broadway Panhandler, picking up lunch along the way. I got bywayed and ended up at Balthazar, a restaurant I had wanted to try for so long but eventually lost interest in going there. But it was so highly recommended by a nearby salon, I decided to give it a try, and it did not disappoint. It was packed and noisy and I loved it. I ordered the bar steak and pommes frite, both excellent, the steak done perfectly medium rare. The bread was outstanding, probably the best I had of any restaurant this trip. The service I thought outstanding. The young man, here for only three months from the midwest, did such an excellent job. Definitely would like to return. I asked my waiter if he sees celebrities often. John Cusack had been there two days before. I was tempted to buy an autographed cookbook on my way out. Now I wish I had.
The salon person who gushed about Balthazar also recommended a store close by that sells Japanese items. I just couldn't find it. I think it started with the letter M. Anyone know what it may be? I'd like to check it out online.
That evening was our special anniversary dinner at EMP. It too didn't disappoint, and definitely lived up and over my expectations. I can't praise the service too highly. It was stellar-- attentive, friendly, welcoming, etc. We loved the high ceilings and atmosphere. We were seated in a cozy corner, perfect for us with plenty of private space. The suggestion of a glass of champagne set the tone for the evening. We were then served an amuse of little puffs called georges that were tasty and delightful. I wasn't sure what was in them. Then came a tray of mini appetizers--tuna tartare, another with a light tomato taste; I especially remember the carrot shaped sweet bread. It melted in my mouth. There was another I can't remember. Rolls were delicious. My appetizer was Hawaiian Prawns, roulade with avocado, lime and yogert. DH's was Alaskan King Crab, variations with green apple, cilantro and Madras Curry. He nodded approvingly, and my appetizer was outstanding.
DH's entree was the Black Angus Beef with bone marrow crusted with saffron soubise and braised shallots. He said-- very good. I had the Four Story Hill Farm Suckling Pig with roasted sweet potato, brussel sprouts, pickled plums and amaretti. It had two parts, one in a circular shape and the other in a rectangular shape with a crunchy top. It was tasty, and I enjoyed trying something I hadn't had before. The brussel sprouts surprisingly tasted a little bitter. I didn't keep track of wine selection names, but our bottle of wine was divine. Dessert platter came with several rows of mini macaroons in several flavors. We shared the sampling, five for me, three for my husband. We had wonderful desserts with the words Happy 45th anniversary written in chocolate on the plate. Mine contained caramel; my husband's peanut butter and chocolate--tooth-achingly delish.
We ended with lovely tiny goblets of brandy and an extire bottle of brandy for our pleasure. Too bad we were ready to call it a night after drinking from the goblets and didn't partake from the bottle. I would like to come back and have the five course pre fixe. Or I would love to try a lunch. I must come back. All presentations were stellar. We left with a box of sweet fruit jelly candies called mignardises fruit jellies, thoroughly enjoyed after returning home, and a copy of the menu saying happy anniversary. But wait, Chef Krumm was on his way to Europe. So they will mail us an autographed copy of the menu after he returns. Thank you chowhounds for recommending this experience. I just received a note saying they enjoyed serving us and hoped we were happy with their service.
I know a true chowhound trys new places,but I didn't find any to recommend this trip. I had breakfast at a mexican diner in Chelsea. Food and service were barely ok. When I walked in, my jaw dropped. I could have sworn I saw Mark Bittman with a companion having coffee. When he walked by I asked if he was a food writer. He said no and made a pleasantry Joke was on me. Or was it?
Day three. I had reservations at Jean Georges for 10 am breakfast. I had another wonderful experience and a delicious meal. I had the $28 special in the Nougatine room. Again, service was outstanding. They looked after me very well as I sat and planned my day and enjoyed the atmosphere and view of Central Park. I started with the heavenly freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee. The pork sausage with herbs was excellent. The highlights were the scrambled eggs and potatoes maxine. The scrambled egg dish was practically my favorite food on the whole trip. They were off the wall tooth-achingly delicious, perfectly prepared. You know how eggs can cool off so quickly. Not so this time. There were in a bowl and remained warm for a considerable amount of time. I was intrigued with the potatoes maxine. My waiter said they take considerable time to prepare and that I was lucky to get them on rotation. They are thinly cut potato slices in even cylinder shapes about two inches in diameter overlapped in a circle and resemble the shape of a sunflower. I wasn't rushed at all and would love to return for breakfast or maybe try lunch next time.
That evening we dined at DB Bistro before our theater date. Everything was excellent. DH had an appetizer of a tarte flambe with fromage blanc cheese, bacon and onion. His entree was diver scallops--both delicious. I had peekytoe crab and seafood fettuccini with scallops, shrimp, salmon and mussells The crab was excellent and the seafood fettucini was sublime. My delicious dessert was apple crisp; dh's was clafoutis, a chocolate sorbet with vanilla ice cream. The complimentary dessert had "Happy 45th Anniversary" written in chocolate on the beautiful white china plate. Service was attentive and very much appreciated I would definitely return.
Saturday, day four: We had a late quick lunch at a Mexican restaurant in a lower Manhattan hotel, close to the Irish memorial. Service was friendly and willing to please, but the fish tacos were a far cry from the catfish we were told they contained. Instead, they had not very good tasting salmon. The fried beans, and cornbread were barely decent.
Keens was our destination that evening. Service was excellent--such nice and attentive waiters. Overall, the experience was pleasing, though rushed on our part. We had to leave in time to pick up tickets a half hour before curtain call. I wish I'd had time to look around and take in the great ambiance and history of Keens. We had oysters rockefeller for our appetizer. DH liked it, but I've had much tastier. Sorry, can't remember why. I could not believe the gigantic portions of steak being served. Bread was very good, vegies and dip were old fashioned and refreshing. DH had strip steak and I had bone-in sirloin. We enjoyed them, but my steak was medium rare on the thinner parts, which I liked, but overly rare on the thick part. I liked the creamed spinach, though a little salty. I had already left the table when they brought complimentary cheesecake. What a shame to rush off and miss that. Now I know why after-theater dinner can be more appealing and relaxed. They had two daily seafood specials (shrimp and scallop) appetizers that sounded wonderful and wish I had ordered instead of the steak. I recommend Keens and would definitely return, maybe try the bar and a hamburger next time.
Sunday, day five. The Modern at MOMA was close by, and we had enjoyed it before so we chose it for lunch. DH had grilled yellow fin tuna with crispy sweetbreads and preserved lemon. He liked it as well as the flounder tartere with sea beans yuza juice and breakfast radish. I had fresh grilled shrimp with green cabbage and gruyere salad--delicious. I had roasted long island duck breast with peppercorn-crusted apple and toasted pistachio truffle dipping sauce. I hesitatingly ordered the duck well done. It was still a little pink and still tasted good. The truffle dipping sauce was divine. The crusted apple looked like two lonely fried chicken nuggets, but they tasted good.
I was thrilled with our wonderful anniversary visit to New York. I am so appreciative to chowhound for the fantastic advice you gave that enabled us to have a anniversary trip I will always remember with such happiness and great memories.
Postscript: I didn't keep track of wine except for one. It may have been at Eleven Madison Park. 2006, Bourgogne, aligate domaino, Perrot-minot--wonderful.
Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010
1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023
65 E 8th St, New York, NY 10003
120 W 49th St, New York, NY 10020
1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023
Thanks for the detailed report, conniemcd. Glad you enjoyed all your dining experiences.
Re: EMP. The "little puffs" are gougères made of cheese.
Btw, it's Chef Humm.
P.S. I can think of no better reason to ditch my tour than to eat at Balthazar.
Balthazar photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...
Could be. I was about to recommend Takashimaya for the OP's next trip if she's interested in Japanese stores, but I see on their website that they'll be closing this Saturday! I am incredibly saddened. I'll miss the place and its floral department SO much. Not to mention the Tea Box (gotta keep it Chow-related, right?)
Tea Box Cafe
693 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019