Restaurants & Bars


NYC Weekend Report Vol Two


Restaurants & Bars 5

NYC Weekend Report Vol Two

BrianC | Jan 30, 2005 07:57 AM


If Friday was a success (see Vol One post below), Saturday was more of a mixed bag. Started with breakfast at Balthazar. It was just as described so often, very Parisian in appearance - down to tight small booths and small tables. Not crowded (no place in NYC is at 10 am!). Had the breads basket, which was delicious. I had eggs benedict, which I only order occasionally because Hollandaise is so bad most places, but it was wonderful. I could taste the faint tartness of lemon, and the eggs were perfectly cooked. Dean and Jacob had brioche French toast, which was also very good, but the brioche was a bit too light in texture for my tastes. We were seated in the bar, with the zinc bar and all the wine and liquor bottles and people reading the NYT, and it was a very enjoyable slice of NYC.

Next we went on a tour of the Upper East Side, and stopped at JG Melon for a burger. Had to wait more than 30 minutes to sit down, and the burger was not as good as the one from Burger Joint on Friday. Asked for crispy fries and the cottage fries we got were not even all cooked. I did get to watch all the activity and food put out by two people at the tiny “kitchen” in the front of the place. Amazing amount of food coming out of a small place! This is obviously a successful place, but nothing special in my opinion. And why is it that every place in NYC uses red onion instead of white?

Walked around UES and had an egg cream at Lexington Candy Shop. It was good, but not as good as the one I had later at Gem Spa on 2nd Ave and 8th. Gem Spa semi-freezes the milk, so the finished product is colder, and also seems to have more chocolate flavor.

After a stop at Kaluystan’s to pick up some Turkish pistachios, we walked down to Lower East Side and ate at 2nd Ave Deli. What a wonderful place. Not too busy mid-afternoon on Saturday, and the waitress (Ida) could not have been nicer to me and the boys. Had matzo ball soup, which was almost as good as my mothers, and I had gefilte fish. This is the only place I have ever eaten gefilte fish since my mother died in 1985, and it is almost as good as hers! I am told Russ & Daughters also makes a good rendition, but I have not tried it. Dean and Jacob split a corned beef sandwich which was excellent. It is thinly machine sliced here, which is the way I am used to it. But why is it you cannot get plain yellow mustard in NYC??

We took a break, and Dean took a nap!

Next was dinner at Keen’s Chop House. I did not enjoy the place at all. I had been there once before for drinks and loved the scotch collection, but dinner was not near as good. I have read the recent post about Keen's, and understood it was not in the same league as the high end steak houses, but it still should have delivered a better product. We walked from the Empire State Building, down a desolate, abandoned block of 36th, which turned out to be a metaphor for the restaurant. We had been able to get a Saturday night at 9:30 reservation on Saturday afternoon, which should have told us something. The place seemed old and tired and worn out. Gene’s on Friday was an old but proud Italian joint, but this place was not alive at all. The place was not that busy, but service from the waiter and staff was not good at all. We were seated just inside the main room, next to the hostess stand, and all of the waiters and bussers walked by us constantly going to the hostess stand for some reason. It took too long to be acknowledged at all by our waiter, who seemed in a hurry to leave our table each time he did stop by. We had to ask for water three times. The water glass was never filled timely, plates were not removed timely, and my glass of wine did not arrive until I reminded the waiter after the steaks were served. Waiter did not come back to ask if we were satisfied with the steaks until we were almost done eating them. The steaks were fine dry aged beef with good chew and flavor. The creamed spinach was not great, it definitely needed some salt. After dinner I watched our waiter talking endlessly with the bartender for perhaps 10 minutes with his back to us and all the other diners, while we waited for him to turn around and get us our check so we could get out of there. This place was like being around proud old Grandpa, who is nodding off at 8 pm and snoring. Next time I want a steak I will go someplace else.

Tried to get into Serendipity 3 at 11:30, but there was an hour and half wait! Still have not been there and don’t get it about such a wait at that hour?? Maybe we will get it today. Got to go to Chinatown and DeMarco’s pizza, so there is a lot more eating to come!

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