I last posted CHOW THOUGHTS 2 a couple of months ago and stated I wouldn't be writing for awhile till I got a chance to experience more foodstuffs. I since have and so I am , hopefully it will be of interest to some of you.
1) FEEDING A YEN-Calvin Trillin. Get a copy of this great book. All food lovers will hightly enjoy it. There is even a chapter on our own alpha hound, Jim Leff(Chapter 6). Also check out Chapter 11. It is about SHOPSINS. I have recently tried going there and checking out the avocado and chicken tortilla soup, but they seem to always be closed between 3 and 6, so I went at noon one day. A note said he was at jury duty and did not know when it would re-open. Talk about being indispensible. Couldn't he have gotten a special dispensation or something? So I still have not been there to experience that soup among other stuff.
2)PRUNE(54 East First Street)- I wanted to check this place out since I heard so much about it. I have a definitive brunch thought(been there about ten times) but not dinner. The brunch's are exceptionally good. The swedish pancake is tremendous. The smoked fish plate is a steal at $17 (sable, whitefish, nova and sturgeon). The only problem with that dish is , "give me a bagel!" They give you these cracker things that just don't do it. Make sure you get a Bloody Mary. One of the best I have ever had. They give you a beer chaser with it. Nice touch. I think it's a Wisconsin thing. The ricotta cheese plate with the peaches is GREAT. I know it does not sound that good but get it. Also the cinnamin buns were tremendous but they took them off the menu. Don't ask me. The place is airy and open with alot of light. A great vibe for brunch. My not completed opinion about dinner is that the food might be too heavy for its own good. A general opinion right now.
3)CRISPO(240 West 14th Street) This place is a real find. Completely under-rated. One night I had a veal medallion dish for a main course and got another one it was so good. How many times does that happen? The chef here really knows what he is doing in a very unpretentious way. Go.
4)THE INFAMOUS DOSA CART (Sullivan Street/ Wash Sq Park)
This guy does exist. He is there usually Mon thru Fri from 11 till 5. But it changes if he gets a private party or something. Get the pondichhery dosa, scrumptious, if it is your first time. Call him to make sure he is there. 917-710-2092. These dosas rock and are healthy too.
5)OSTERIA del SOLE(267 West 4th Street)- I gotta believe this place is over-rated from looking at the great response it has been getting. The food is too heavy for my tastes. Too much sauce, not enough of the flavor of the food coming thru. This is from two visits. Jury I guess is still out.
6)NEPTUNE ROOM(Amsterdam/83rd? Street) This joint is really over-rated. Really makes me appreciate MARY'S FISH CAMP. Keep it simple. Don't show me all your tricks.I'm too smart and so are you.
7)ALICE'S TEACUP(75th off of Columbus) This place is finally opened at some reasonable hours - not just for the mother's on the UWS. They have a pretty good breakfast going now. I think it starts at 8. Although you never know with them. It also is really pretty cheap since they want people to know they are open at that time. And they have great scones and tea's. A minor find.
8)Salon @ PER SE (Time Warner Building) I have not had the opportunity to eat at Per Se yet, but a great thing to do is have a drink in the Salon. Talk to Brian(bar server) and ask him to make you a gin and tonic. He actually makes his own tonic. It is a terrific drink. The benchmark for this classic, and so refreshing this time of year. The Per Se cocktail is worth a shot, but at $20 a pop I hope you're with someone you will be able to spend some quality time with after.
9) BLUE HILL(75 Wash. Place) Walked in I was expecting an open, Norman Rockwell, light wood, old barn-like type of place. What I got was a basement, low-ceiling, dark wood, "could be any type of joint" vibe. Sit in the front room or you will be even feeling more claustrophic. Service was exceptional. Bread came first. Some of the worst I have ever had at an upscale place. Better bread can be found at HOT-n-CRUSTY. From there it went completely uphill. Corn soup with mushroom ravioli that they were kind enough to split for us. Superb. She- a crab salad app with some kind of sorbet. Superb. Me- a heirloom tomatoe and mint salad with a sorbet. Superb. Main course. She- a cod on a bed of fava beans?, etc. Very good. So fresh and so simple. Me- A chicken dish that was the most succulent and tasty chicken I have ever had. Unbelievable. And I am saying that for CHICKEN. it was so simple and so fresh. I am still thinking about it. We each had a glass of the chardonnay. Tasted so good because the food was so good, I think. Had the cheese plate with a glass of a tawny(I think). Extraordinary plate that was paired with different fruits, etc. I wish I could give you the full weight of how good it really was. One notch below an orgasm, I think. Dessert she had a peach and sweet grit cobler, out of this world. I had the chocolote bread pudding, almost as good.They both came with a sorbet again. Blue Hill is big on these things, but they work.All in all one of the best meals I have had in a long long time. (Let's exclude 4 star restaurants). Will go back and back . Note: maybe they want the bread to be bad so people won't stuff themselves on it and not engulf the chicken when it comes.That is a thought.
10)SULLIVAN STREET. Make a day of walking from the dousa cart on the park all the way down to Broome Street. Stop at Melampo(105), Joes Dairy(around 3pm when the mozzarella/pepper sandwichs are just made), Sullivan Street Bakery(73), Ciao Bella, Yoghurt Place two(71),See Chocolote(80 Thompson). There are other places I am not remebering right now, but that street you can really make a great food day of it.
11) PLACES THAT HAVE "LILT".My wife coined this phrase. There are some places that just have a special feel to them. A lightness that makes you comfortable right away. It then translates in some weird way to the food, and you leave feeling everything is good in the world. These places have a lilt to them. I hope I am not getting too weird. These places in my book are: Mary's Fish Camp, Da Silvano, Barney Greengrass and Prune (for brunch). They are blessed with a good vibe.
That is it. Till next time I hope you enjoy some of my comments.