Tuesday, August 28, 2012

La Serre

We had finally gotten through all of the leftovers in the fridge when I asked my wife what she would like to do for dinner. She replied "we should probably eat that steak from Friday, even though I don't want to." "I ate it for lunch," I quipped. "Oh thank goodness," she said. I asked where we should go and she said she felt like Italian food. My wife is pregnant and her tastes vary more than usual, just recently she told me that she didn't like Italian food. I think she is the only person in the world who doesn't like it, until recently. I suggested La Serre, which in the interest of full disclosure is owned by a friend of ours. For some reason we don't go to La Serre very often, yet every time we leave I say we should go there more.

It was a lovely evening so we decided to sit outside, which we had never done before. It was very quiet other than the band from a neighboring restaurant, which was a pleasant surprise. We ordered two salads and an order of escargot. The fellow with whom we were eating, we'll call him Fred AcNamara, has ordered them before and both times been disappointed because they come with a cognac sauce instead of in the shell with garlic and butter, as I believe they are traditionally served. (I think he secretly wants to act out the pretty woman scene with the escargot projectile.) My wife had the Papardelle Carbonara, which was delicious. I guess the papardelle refers to the thick fettuccini that is used in the dish. Apparently the name comes from the verb pappare, which means to gobble up. Fred and I both had the Lobster & Crab Ravioli and his wife had the crab cakes. The crab cakes were delicious, but quite rich. The ravioli was excellent. It is made with egg and squid ink pasta, which is delicious and gives a nice visual with the white top and black bottom. It is prepared with a butter sauce and roma tomatoes. For dessert we had chocolate mouse, key lime pie, and an Italian creme cake. All three were delicious, I am always fond of key lime pie, as one can never go wrong with a graham cracker crust. A very enjoyable meal was had by all and the bill was quite reasonable (about $50 per person) we thought. I would certainly recommend La Serre to anyone looking for French or even Italian cuisine, since they serve both. Oh, I probably should have mentioned that part.



Monday, August 27, 2012

Eat It Alert!

The location formerly known as The Miss Albany Diner will become an Italian restaurant named Sciortino’s after the owner's grandparents. I was sad to see M.A.D. go, but it's nice to see that the place will be open again. See the post here

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Blind Literally Leading the Blind

Eating whilst blindfolded is all the rage these days. And "Dans le Noir?" (which they translate as "In the Dark," when it should be "In the Dark?") is a restaurant concept that takes the blind thing to the extreme. All blind everything!

New York, NY-March, 5 2012-After Paris, London, Barcelona and St
Petersburg, Dans le Noir? opens its fifth restaurant in New York
City. Dans le Noir? enhances the patrons other four senses with the
ultimate experience of dining in the pitch-black dark. Convinced that
distinctiveness creates value, its founders and teams prove it daily
with 50% of staff with heavy disabilities.

Entering the lightless dining room, guests are guided to their seats

by a team of expert guides, most being blind. In New York City, Dans
le Noir? works closely with two local foundations "Visions and
Services for the Blind" and "Lighthouse International" to hire its
blind staff.

With its official opening on February 27th, Dans le Noir? has been

busy booking reservations as this groundbreaking concept reaches the
restaurant world of the United States. Located at 246 W - 38th Street
in the heart of the "Fashion District", not far from Times Square,
Dans le Noir? intends to be one of the most fashionable new addresses
of the Big Apple. This New York venue is managed by Marco Valente, a
New Yorker who has been in the restaurant business ten years with
starting his own restaurant at 19 years old.

The developer of all the Dans le Noir? branches has unique in its

blood, Ethik Investments an elite, independent and innovative group
of companies founded in France in 2003. The group is also developing
event and consulting activities worldwide and expect a growth of more
than 30% with an expected turnover between 9 and 10 million (USD)
this year.

Reservations: booking-nyc@danslenoir.com
Ph: (212) 575-1671
Website: www.danslenoir.com

Friday, February 3, 2012

RIP MAD


The Miss Albany Diner, or MAD for short, is closing its doors. Since the death of her husband Cliff, Jane Brown has been trying to sell the business. Some entrepreneurs who own a nearby club have scooped up the building, but not the business, name, or recipes. I really loved this place and I'm sad that it's closing on February 10th. Any time I was in my hometown, I would meet friends there and enjoy some MAD Irish Toast (Texas French toast filled with pecan cream cheese, drenched in Irish whiskey butterscotch sauce) or MAD Eggs (curried eggs served over butterflied English muffins).

It was an institution and will be sorely missed.

http://hudsonvalley.ynn.com/content/top_stories/572508/historic-albany-diner-to-close/

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Eat It - Saxon + Parole

on monday nite, i went to a late dinner (not for new yorkers) at the new noho restaurant, saxon + parole, located at the corner of bowery and bleecker. opened in september 2011 by chef, brad farmerie and avroKO hospitality group (both from the restaurant, public), the saxon + parole website describes their menu as grilled domestic meats and aquatic delights. i'd say that's a pretty apt description.

first with the decor and ambiance - i was in love with the space and energy that filled the room. as i noted during dinner, everyone around us was having a great time, laughing and seemingly engaging in great conversation. the music was a great blend of soul and oldies that contributed a great vibe but never got close to drowning out the conversation. it was noticeably a great blend of chatter and music. even our waiter was full of energy and all smiles, which can sometimes border on annoying if you happen to not be in the mood but in this case it didn't bother me at all simply because the atmosphere was a lot of fun. the space and design was very trendy yet warm - they have a bar area as you walk in, with a room in the back and another, more intimate room downstairs.

onto the food - in general, the meal was quite delicious. there are a lot of concoctions on the menu and though we didn't stray too far, there were a few gems. first off were the prince edward island mussels with fire-roasted piquillo peppers, tomato & caper broth. quite simply, they were some of the best mussels i've ever had. the mussels were sublime and all the sauce was a perfect compliment of flavor and texture.

for the main course, i was deciding between the bone-in ny strip or the whole roasted branzino stuffed with parmesan, toasted panko bread crumbs and smoked paprika. i am a big fan of branzino in general, but the waiter did a good job of selling the strip. we also got the fillet and for sides, whole grain mustard mashed potatoes and sautéed edamame/sun-dried tomatoes/feta cheese.

though a tad bit salty for my liking, the steaks were still very very good. i guess that, to some extent, it's sort of hard to mess up a good piece of meat as long as the cut is good. but, i am certainly not an easy person to please and i was happy to say that they were cooked to perfection, tender and flavorful. the bone-marrow béarnaise was good, but their homemade steak sauce was even better, with a great sweet and tangy flavor.

as for the sides, i am not a big fan of mustard so i guess i'm not sure why we went with mustard mashed potatoes. it probably is delicious for those that can stand mustard seeds. the edamame, however, was fantastic even though they failed to mention the presence of cilantro (which i detest). but in this cold side dish, the combination of the edamame, tomatoes and feta cheese essentially nullified even the strong overpowering taste of cilantro. it was a very muted blend that i actually found to be a great contrast to the explosion of flavor found in all the other dishes.

overall, i had a wonderful time which was in large part thanks to my beautiful companion, but regardless i would highly recommend this dining experience to anyone looking for a fun meal.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Don't Eat It - dodici restaurant - long island, new york

since i am the first to contribute 'words' to this site, i am not sure whether there is a structure to follow, but i am sure that i will figure it out as i go.

all i know is that i was asked to contribute and far be it from me to deny such a kind request from my pal, colin, especially when i may just have something to say about a recent dining experience of mine. i can't hold myself out to be any sort of restaurant connoisseur or even a "foodie", if you will, but i do love expressing my opinion, especially if it's a negative one, which, lucky for us, this will be.

last nite, i dined at a restaurant (if you can call it that) named 'dodici', which apparently means twelve. my guess is that they are just compensating and are really are more like a 3, or 4 tops. since it is extremely difficult to find decent restaurants outside of the city (New York City obviously - there's only one city!), i quickly went to nymag.com and searched italian cuisine on long island/hamptons.

well, unfortunately for me, i was nowhere near the hamptons, be it south, bridge, west or even sag harbor. i was, however, near rockville centre where again, unfortunately for me, so was 'dodici'. we arrived at around 7pm (on a thursday) so it was fairly empty. the room was quite spacious so i chose a table in the back (away from the loud, middle-aged, italian gentlemen and their stories about loose women). in hindsight that may have been the wrong move because after taking our drink order (just water) i had to go find my waiter so he could entertain the idea of taking our food order.

oh, did i forget to mention that the restaurant is decorated like a cross between the venetian and ceasar palace hotels? i know this was long island, but i'm talking tacky tacky tacky.

onto the food - we started off with the 'cozze alla fiorentina' or mussels in white wine sauce. the mussels were quite good as was the sauce, but i have a strange feeling it was because they loaded up on the garlic and salt. the sauce was very heavy (at least for a white wine sauce) albeit quite tasty so i won't harp too much. in fact, if it wasn't for the rest of the meal i would have had a better recollection of the mussels. as for the main course, three pasta dishes were ordered, and they included the 'tagliatelle verdi' - 'rigatoni alla buttera' - 'linguine marechiaro'. i had the rigatoni and i must say that it was one of the saltiest dishes i've ever had - it's been 24 hours and my lips are still withered. the sausage was barely edible and halfway through i had to just call it quits. the other two dishes fared no better and both were pushed aside before too long.

what makes a meal a disaster is not always the food itself, although i may be in the minority by saying that. this time, though, the food ruined everything. the discussion at the table turned to the unbelievable levels of salt that must be used at this restaurant and the fact that they seemed oblivious to it to boot.

i am a big fan of having a nice cup of coffee after a good italian meal and perhaps a piece of cake. 'dodici' took that joy away from me. they left me with a taste in my mouth that nothing but time could overcome and for that it will be forever until i return.