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Looking for foie, 5-star food but casual place

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Hello New Yorkers,

I will be back to my favorite city later this year. I've eaten at a lot of high end places already (Per Se, Eleven Madison, Le Bernardin, Jean Georges). This year I want to try a place with a different vibe, one that is much more laid back. But I still want be wowed by the food and service. Specifically, I'm looking for a place that serves foie. Going through withdrawals from the CA ban. Does such a place exist? I really like wd-50's vibes, so something similar. Thanks!

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  1. Do you like hot or cold or both?

    Have you been to Momofuku Ko? It's laid back, counter seating, 12 seats. They have a grated frozen foie dish served with pinenut brittle, Riesling gelee and lychee. Tasting menu only.

    See also:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/827735

    11 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      I usually prefer hot but love a good torchon once a while. I've been trying to rez for Momofuku but not optimistic. Right now, my short list will be NoMad, Blue Ribbon or Casa Mono (thanks sam1 and uhockey). I know, all three are very different, but so many choices, so little time.

      Has anyone been to Balthazaar lately? It's the one iconic place that I really want to try, but hopefully not at the expense of good food or service.

      1. re: KathyM

        Don't give up!

        Ma Peche and Bar Room at the Modern usually have good foie gras dishes. The current Ma Peche one with sarsaparilla, malt, and brioche is excellent. Very creative. A server told me someone ordered it twice in one meal...once to try, and again for dessert, they were so impressed.

        The blood pudding waffles with foie gras butter and red wine poached pears at Public are also awesome, and a different take.

        There's a foie gras grilled cheese at Chez Sardine that is supposed to be great. Same for the Seared foie gras with Soup Dumplings at Annisa.

        Went to Balthazar recently, had a great meal there, and am going again for Christmas Dinner.

        1. re: kathryn

          Agree with Kathryn on Public and The Modern (either room, though the Bar Room is the A La Carte Go-To) but strongly disagree on Ko being worth the hassle or price. The dumplings at Annisa were good - not mind altering, however.

          Another spot to consider is DBGB - they frequently have foie on the menu and when I went it was excellent.
          http://endoedibles.com

          1. re: uhockey

            Actually I've been to The Modern (albeit bar) and DB Bistro and I want to try something with a slightly different point of view. The menu at Public looks great as does DBGB. DBGB's looks especially tantalizing as it has my other favorite love, roasted bone marrow, hence my previous choices. Aside from being a foie slut, I also love roasted bone marrow and oysters. These are some of my favorite things. To be at a place with all three and the casualness that I'm looking for would be like raindrops on roses epic.

            1. re: KathyM

              I have been to Ko multiple times and think it is excellent.

              For oysters and foie gras and bone marrow, look into Minetta Tavern.

              Perla also does a pancakes dish with foie gras for brunch.

              Also, the bone marrow poppers at Employees Only are awesome. Also I think Recette does creative things with bone marrow.

              1. re: kathryn

                Paradou does a 5 different foie gras tasting. Cercle Rouge has amazing seared foie gras. But the most creative foie gras I've had (photo attached) recently was at Recette. It is roasted foie gras on foie gras canvas with some chutney and uni bottarga.

                 
              2. re: KathyM

                DBGB and Minetta both definitely fit the bill for your favorite things, then.

                http://endoedibles.com

                1. re: KathyM

                  I don't love DBGB, overall, but it is possible to have a very good meal there, and I did like their foie, which was quite an excellent value for the quality. If you do go there, the tarte tatin was excellent. I also liked a duck dish with pears, though it was sweeter than necessary for my taste, and their salads are good. Don't bother with the sausages, in my opinion, and certainly not the merguez, which you can get better and cheaper at Cafe Mogador.

          2. re: kathryn

            Heh, that shaved foie is a fascinating tasting-menu dish, but I wouldn't say it satisfies cravings, especially for someone from foie-banned California. It's like, 2 very airy bites, no?

            1. re: calf

              If you don't care about fancy places and all you want is just fois gras and quite a lot of it because you wanted it for a long time and you really missed it (that's what happened to me... ;-) ) you can try Paradou.

              It's not a nice restaurant, I wouldn't recommend it for anything but their fois gras tasting.
              (actually the steak was not bad at all..)

              For 55$ you get 5 different fois gras preparation (torchon, brulèe, etc etc).
              It won't be as good as the fois gras you can have at many michelin star restaurants, but it's on par with the one I had in normal restaurant all across the south of france, and there's simply too much of it.
              I went with my girlfriend, we shared the 5 tasting fois gras as a starter and I could barely finish my main course!

              1. re: alepenazzi

                wow this is great, thanks for sharing!

          3. the seared foie gras with 5 onions at casa mono is a favorite foie dish of mine.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sam1

              Totally agree with this.

              http://endoedibles.com

            2. For a nonstandard preparation may I suggest the Raw foie gras & Langoustine, at Acme. It's really cool, like deconstructed uni, if only uni could be deconstructed.

              Acme also has really great desserts too. I loved the "Fallen Fruits" dessert; the nordic beer porridge is popular and technically impressive, but not to my preference; I hear the chocolate dessert is also really good.

              1. Sounds to me - and correct me if I'm wrong - that you'd rather lean away from the French and/or New American thing.

                For oysters AND foie gras, there's the "Oysters Foie Gras" at Morimoto. (which, if that weren't enough, also has a good blob of uni as well...) - tends to be divisive dish, though. Some people love it, others just can't get with the foieness + the brininess as a combination. Count me among the former. Certainly worth trying. My only complaint is that it comes with an odd number of oysters (3) - which makes sharing with another person uneven. (That said, last time we had it they allowed to us to up it to an even four for a small supplement - $7 IIRC - which they then didn't charge us. But no guarantees.) - vibe is casual, but somewhat boisterous, especially on the weekends.

                Also recommend anything they're doing at Acme, if they have a foie on the menu currently. Tough rez on the weekends, though.

                For a more refined Scandinavian take, Aquavit currently has two foie dishes on the menu - a gravlax with shaved foie is among the first course options, and a duck & foie entree among the third courses.

                They don't call it foie gras - but the goose liver ravioli at Babbo is insanely rich. Scarpetta also does a ravioli with foie, and a duck breast with a foie gras emulsion sauce.

                The black pudding waffles at Public are -decadent- but only available at brunch. It's for my money the most creative brunch in town as well, so if you can stand having a bit of foie twice in your trip, well worth checking them out (assuming you're here on a weekend) and doing somewhere else for dinner. Not that their dinner isn't good, too. As I recall, the current dinner foie prep is very "brunchy" - seared foie on french toast or something to that effect.

                Marc Forgione usually has some kind of foie app on the menu. Last I was there it was a playful deconstruct of a PB&J sandwich - foie, grapes, pine nut butter, and a duck-fat slicked english muffin. His BBQ Oysters are also a favorite that never leave the menu, thoug the preps changes slightly for different seasons.

                Also was at Balthazar recently. It's a great place, of course, a classic, though I'd say if you're only here for a short time go somewhere that's more "cheffy" so to speak. Everything's excellent there, of course, but it's not exactly known for it's creativity. More just well-executed classics.

                6 Replies
                1. re: sgordon

                  Interesting that Perla also does a foie and cherry jam sandwich, kind of PBJ ish. Two is a trend, I guess?

                  1. re: kathryn

                    Perhaps. Though foie + fruit is such a natural combination, I suppose not much of a stretch to throw in something nutty as well...

                    And come to think of it, the famous Ko dish is essentially that - foie, riesling gelee (grapes), pine nut brittle....

                    1. re: sgordon

                      Not to mention the famous Jean Georges foie dish, which some (not me) consider too sweet to be a savory course.

                      1. re: Sneakeater

                        Was not a fan of the foie brulee @ JG, personally. Not on account of it being too sweet (it was no sweeter than the Ko foie) but on account of it not being terribly exciting outside the one clever idea at its base.

                        1. re: sgordon

                          ...that, and it tastes like lighter fluid if the wrong chef gets ahold of it.

                          http://endoedibles.com

                      2. re: sgordon

                        I like foie + fruit to cut the richness if it's not cloying sweet. Did not like foie and peanut version at Alinea, but that was a few years ago. My palate may have evolved.

                  2. Hi everyone,

                    Thanks for all the great and thoughtful recs. You've given me a lot to think about. I should have given you more info about the sitch. I will be in NYC for 2 lunches and 2 dinners. Res has been made for Corton. I'm afraid but yet deeply intrigued. That's the "fancy" night where I'll have to be on my best behavior and look the part.

                    Been trying to get rez at Momofuku Ko for the 2nd dinner which I'm not optimistic about given supply/demand, but it fits what I'm most intrigued by with the NY food scene right now and my predilection for really interesting food and the casualness that I'm seeking. But I need more laid-back alternatives for the 2nd dinner if Ko doesn't work out.

                    Daytime will be shopping madness but I also want advice on lunches if we can swing it, hence my questions on Balthazar and others.

                    BTW, I've looked into Acme, love the menu but service seems to be inconsistent so I will probably pass.

                    Sgordon, I love new American and French but I'm trying to try something new. But nothing wrong with staying with what you love.

                    Thanks for being my enablers.

                    -Kathy

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: KathyM

                      Corton is excellent. I've dined there twice (most recently this past August), and loved the meals. Found the service better during my most recent dinner. The current menus look great. Have a great time!

                    2. Thanks for all the recs. I want to report back. I had excellent meals. We were able to get 2 seats at Balthazar for a quick lunch at the bar. The burger I had was wonderful. Beautiful crust and pink and juicy insider. The bun was a thing of beauty. I love it how it there are sesame seeds in the bottom part for structural integrity. The oysters were ok. Thought the oysters at John Dory were better.

                      I had the foie at Casa Mono and it was indeed delicious. The different onion components worked well with the slightly sweet/sour sauce (sherry or balsamic?). My only minor quibble is I wish the onion components pieces weren't so large. It was hard to share. I also had my roasted bone marrow fix there.

                      Now on to Corton. The food was outstanding and creative. Flavors are familiar but very sophisticated. This is WD50's older brother who just came back from a Paris summer abroad. Unfortunately I did not enjoy the experience as much as I had hoped due to the baffling and incongruent service. Explanations and answers to questions asked were delivered staccato fast. I'm curious how foreigners would feel here. There was virtually no eye contact made from the servers to me and my guest. Let me give you an example to further illustrate. Our table was against the banquette seating area. A small pillow was brought out to us and placed next to the the purse with a fast and perhaps inarticulate explanation. For the life of me, I couldn't understand the explanation. I just heard the word "purse". I don't know if it's meant for my back or for my purse. In either case, I didn't want to ask for elaboration for fear of appearing provincial since the first one or two times I asked for clarifications, it was not warmly received. I've been to other fine dining restaurants in NY and this is perhaps the oddest service. It was not snooty, just indifferent and Asperger-ish. To me great service is all about the ability to read social cues. And to this end, Corton was a disappointment. I wish their management would send their staff to a Danny Meyer seminar.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: KathyM

                        I think Corton , needs new staff. An experienced trained staff. They need more than a seminar. I could not understand any of the dish descriptions they gave. However, at least you liked the food. I thought they tried too hard to be creative and although the dishes looked good, the flavors or accompaniments didn't mesh.

                        1. re: KathyM

                          I think the seared foie at Casa Mono is the best preparation I have had anywhere (NYC, Montreal, etc). The vibe is right too. Highly recommended.