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Manhattan Trip Report

May trip report including bakeries


Restaurants & Bars 4

May trip report including bakeries

mrsjoujou | May 17, 2013 01:55 PM

We had a great time in Manhattan and for the most part ate very well. Here are the places we tried:
Momofuku Ssam
We were starving since we haven't had anything to eat except for some snacks on the plane. We started with Kimchi apple and it was pretty good. We then had charred ramps with pistachios and it was a nice spring veggie dish. Next was the scallop with avocado sauce that was fresh and satisfying. My husband's favorite was the rice cakes with sausage. I couldn't get enough of the rice cakes and would like the recipe, but the whole dish was on the spicy and very salty side. Not a healthy dish by any means, but a tasty one. Service was attentive and overall a nice experience.
I have heard so much about the lobster with burrata and the pasta with crab and uni (Ziggy, I am talking to you) that I choose this place over other Italian places.The crusty bread with the flavorful olive oil was a delicious start. I enjoyed the lobster with burrata and my husband enjoyed his grilled octopus. I then had the crab and uni pasta and it was pretty good, except that I chewed on a couple tiny pieces of crab shells. My husband really liked his salsa verde halibut with morels and smoked potatoes. As much as we would have loved to try their dessert we had plans to stop at DA later on. Service was professional and I did see Chef White on the lower flour of the restaurant.
We stopped at this place right before it got packed. We started with the pub cheese and it was pretty good. It came with pistachio brittle. The smaller brittle pieces were good, but the larger piece was too hard. We then had the rye pasta with pastrami and it was tasty, but a small portion. We also had the Arctic char and it was good, but a very small portion. It was funny to see the look on the guy’s next to us face when they got their sea bass. The only thing that was just OK was the root beer pudding. Service was fine and the place was super loud during our dinner. We did see Chef Dufresne .
Per Se Salon
We had lunch here and it was a nice experience. Service was professional, but stiff. To start with I had nettle pierogi with morel and pea tendrils . I was a small portion, but delicious. My husband had ricotta agnolotti with pepper, fava beans and meyer lemon. I like my pierogi better. I then had the lobster with miso pudding and coconut nuage. It was a very flavorful dish and I enjoyed it very much. My husbands halibut was less successful. It was a touch over cooked and I told him to send it back, but he didn’t. As a whole the dishes he picked were not as flavorful as mine was. We skipped dessert because nothing jumped at us. Overall a nice experience for me, but not much for my husband.
I came across this place while researching and since I make a great falafel myself, I figure we give this place a try. We tried the roasted pepper falafel with the works and the Sabich . The falafels were tasty enough, but the hummus was on the bland side. It needed a little lemon and garlic. The sabich was OK since they give you a little eggplant and a lot of filler. Overall this is not the kind of food to eat before a concert!! I was thinking of trying Mile end but this was closer to where we were (DA).
We had brunch here and it was pretty good. I had Steak and eggs with delicious potatoes and my husband had the baked eggs with spinach, leeks, feta and potatoes. His was basically was a slice of a frittata. Service was fine and we enjoyed our second meal that morning, previous one being at Mille Feuille
I only picked this restaurant because of the app F.E.D. and all the expert’s recommendation of this place and the fact that when they first opened up every one loved the uni toast. We started with best dish of the night, the delicious uni toast. It was really good and I was very hopeful that the rest of the meal was going to be great, NOT!! We then had the ramps dish with fave beans and even though we liked the ingredients it was a bland dish and at $18 not worth it. My husband had the cod and he said it was fine. I had the suckling pig and this was the only disappointing dish of the trip and at $36 not worth it at all. The pork had a strange taste and on the dry side and it came with a few clams, some sweet carrots, cauliflower and bland potatoes. This dish was a total miss and when the waitress checked on us I told her I didn’t care for this dish and her response was oh, it is too rich?!! Not too rich lady, too dry and bland. I should have sent it back and got another uni toast. The best part of the meal besides the uni was the dessert. We had Torta de chocolate with banana ice cream and it was very good. Different textures and tastes of chocolate. I would only return here for uni and dessert. Service was fine.
We had our last brunch here. We had lunch here last time we were in NYC Since we enjoyed it and they are one of the few places that start serving brunch at 10 we picked this place and it did not disappoint. Their French press coffee was pretty good and we started it with their tasty bar patatine . It was fried potatoes with pecorino and very addicting. My husband had the delicious steak and eggs with ramps and I had Malfatti al Mailalino. I had this delicious dish last time and I asked myself if I was having suckling pig pasta for brunch why did I bother with suckling pig at Aldea the night before? You live and learn. Great brunch and good service.
This was our last dinner and probably the best one. After reading all the positive reviews on Chowhound my expectations were high and lucky for us we had a great meal with warm service. I was surprised that besides us only one other table was occupied. I guess all their fans were coming for the mon night dinner (uni). They told us they had to add a second night by popular demand.
We started our dinner with broccoli in textures with strawberry guava. When you travel you need your veggies and fiber to offset all the pastries you eat. We then had the uni with pork belly and it was tasty and rich. Next was Octopus Bolognese and even though I am not a big Octopus fan, I really enjoyed this creative dish. My favorite was the last savory dish we had. It was tempura dug egg with spring onion, asparagus and very tasty lemon ricotta. I could have eaten another plate of this dish. I have already picked our dessert before we even walked through the door and it was strawberry compote with asparagus ice cream. I love when chefs are creative and I have never had asparagus ice cream before. It was a delicious end to a wonderful meal. I told our waitress I wish we lived near this restaurant.
We saved our last lunch for this place and it was great. We were seated in the fireplace room next to two French people having a 2+ hour lunch talking and sipping tea in the style of Paris.
I already knew that I wanted the tagliatelle with crab and meyer lemon and it was really good.
My husband got the Hake and he enjoyed this dish more than his halibut at Per Se!! We declined dessert because we were planning to make our last stop at DA, but there were a few that sounded interesting. Service was fine. It is on the pricy side, but definitely worth it.
Il Laboratorio del Gelato
Years ago I was looking at this place and I could not find it so after Momo Ssam we walked to this place and the flavors we picked were good. We really liked the black sesame, Turkish fig and coconut. Service was OK.
Dominique Ansel
We tried this place three times. The first time because of our jet lag from CA we had a late start and I decided we should walk to DA from Wall ST. By the time we got there was around 10:45 and obviously the baked goods were not as fresh. I tried to convince my husband to try the pastries, but his heart was set on the apple turn over so we had the following:
Chausson aux Pommes- He loved it
Pain au chocolat- It was OK, not as buttery as Payard and I prefer Payard’s chocolate to DA.
Ham and cheese croissant- It was OK, we should have asked them to warm it up. The best in this country so far is from Tartine bakery in SF.
DKA- Was great the first time, but the one we brought home lost the crunchiness due to the humidity in the air.
Cannelé de Bordeaux was great and one of the best we had.
Second time we had:
Matcha Passion Fruit Blanc Manger- This was great because of the passion fruit. Put passion fruit in anything it will taste great.
Chocolate Caviar Tart- I had my heart set on the blackberry Pavlova, but the counter person suggested this one. It was OK, nothing amazing with a little caramel inside.
Final stop on our last day we had:
Blueberry Blackberry Pavlova- The pavlova was on the sweet side but I really enjoyed the lemon cream with berries.
Coconut Mango Religieuse -This was good, but on the sweet side.
Pistachio Sticky Bun- We had this at home so we would feel a little better of leaving my favorite city and it was pretty good.
Chocolate pecan cookie- It was good, but on the sweet side
In conclusion a lot of stuff would have been better if they cut a little sugar and added more butter.
Bien Cuit
Every thing was disappointing and just OK. The biggest problem was not enough butter. We tried the following:
Pain Au Chocolat- Not as good as Payard not enough butter and the chocolate was OK
Almond croissant- It was OK and too heavy and sweet according to my husband
Ham and cheese croissant- The most disappointing one. Not enough cheese and their ham was oddly sliced and dried out.
Raisin and walnut bread- They redeemed themselves with this bread. It has a nice crust and plenty of raisin and walnuts. The counter girl didn’t have much info as to which one of the breads has more fiber and she said they were all basically the same!!
Ii Buco Alimentari
We stoped here on our last day to pick up one of their breads and we picked up the unusual lentil bread. It is a good bread, but I don’t know if it is worth the $8.50 price tag. Service was not good.They ignored us for a while and then we had to wait for them to open up their register in order for us to pay for our bread.
LMTC Wall St location
We picked up a few pieces and our favorite was passion fruit, coffee and anything with caramelized nut. The French lady that helped us was very friendly and talked to us for a long time. We just finished our last piece last night, and I wish we would have bought more!! But can you ever have enough?
We picked up a few pieces and our favorite was the Champagne and passion fruit. We had to wait for a long time since only one person was assisting the customers.
Patisserie Payard
We stopped here between the Fritz and Metropolitan and it did not disappoint. The coffee is from La colombe and this certain blend at $4 was on the stronger side. We shared Millefeuille and Éclair seasonal. The éclair was a pistachio/ raspberry and was pretty good. The Millefeulle was a berry one and good enough, but nothing like the fresh made to order one from Jacques genin. The girl at the coffee bar (barista) was friendly, but the manager was stiff.
Payard bakery Village location
We stopped here twice and had their baked goods at La Colombe once. Every time we go to Las Vegas we make at least two stops and even though I was not planning to make this many stops, I still think they have the best Pain Au Chocolat that we have tried in Manhattan. We tried the following:
Pain Au Chocolat- Always great, flaky and buttery with a great tasting dark chocolat
Almond Croissant Better than many places and not as sweet as BC.
Orange brioche- It was good.
Ham and cheese croissant- We had it in the afternoon and it was better than DA and BC, but not as great as Tartine.
Papa Payard tart- We had this one at the airport and made every one jealous. It is a pretty good tart with apple and pear and a light custard.
Gâteau Basque was even better than above with vanilla and rum pastry cream.
Service was always great.
In conclusion, we had a great trip and ate a lot of great food. As far as bakeries they were good, but not great. For great chocolate and pastries you have to go to Paris
If you have made it this far thank you for reading.

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