Three fish - this newish spot replaces Carpaccio. I guess the sign on the door that tells you about the concept behind the restaurant should have been enough of a warning, but we decided to eat there anyway. Although nothing was particularly bad or expensive, it felt like a waste of caloric intake and time (we had the calamari, corvina and salmon). In a place that has an underlying concept of knowledgable service (really, says so on the door), I would expect the waiter to know that Pouilly-Fume and Pouilly-fuisse are not the same.
Will we go back? Not likely, unless La Toscana, Sri Lanka and Barbette all burn down.
Cafe Barbette - you'd think that after receiving very good reviews in the local press and the highly self acclaimed citypages' best restaurant for late night dining award, the place will be packed. But it's not. I know why, you know why, but we won't talk about it. Instead, let me say we've dined there quite often recently and had food which was always good and nicely presented, never extremely good (except for the superb fries and home made mayo). Raw oysters of some unnamed variety (almost like blue points but less flavorful) were served on a bed of spiced sea salt. A tiny dish of 6 of their fried cousins were served on breadcrumbs to resemble sea sand. Salmon with Israeli couscous gave us a very clear idea of when the chef was working in NYC (just search the foodtv archive for it and you'll see when it was a hit) and desserts were very successful with dessert eaters.
Will we go back? Sure, both for dinner and drinks/coffee. Not for lunch though, the lunch menu is ridiculously limited.
Alma - If Alma gets a pastry chef and if they stop using dirt cheap spices, they can be a great restaurant. For now they are a very good one, both in that everything but desserts there was great and that they allow you to dine in an unusually wide price range. I think that given some time and perhaps guidance from an experienced chef, these guys can go on to play in the national league.
Will we go back? Yup
Pierre's Bistro - while the menu is limited to a fault, everything we sampled was good and very inexpensive (esp. the lamb chops, how they can serve a dish priced like that is beyond me). Service is good in a French way (i.e. would be considered slow and not verbose around here).
Will we go back? Occasionally
Yumi's Sushi - we actually ventured out to this Excelsior sushi bar twice (I guess we should have called to find out their on vacation), following some rave reviews. I guess those reviews were written when the kitchen was doing much better. The gyoza were more like korean mandoo (which is not bad, but they're not gyoza) and the sushi rolls were clumsy. I asked for uni (sea urchin) and was told they're out of it and asked whether oyster is ok instead. They ended up bringing me surf clam, nothing like oysters or uni and not even good for a surf clam.
Will we go back? If we're stranded in Excelsior
Origami - nothing much to write, it's a decent sushi bar, slightly on the expensive side, but reasonable. Given the quality of the fish I'd stick with rolls.
La Bodega - been there a couple of times now. I don't think we'll go back soon, both because the food is not particularly good and because of the looks we got after telling the waitress where we were from. I don't subscribe to Israel's policies and even if I did, discriminating against someone because of his nationality is, to put it mildly, stupid.