Some notes on a recent weekend pilgrimmage:
(1) Despite the high Zagat's rating, Oznot's Dish is a wonderful little Mediterranean (Moroccan?) place in Williamsburg. Our favorite was a spicy mint-flavored duck confit bisteeya with mushrooms, pine nuts, and Napa cabbage.
(2) Is the corned beef sandwich at Carnegie Deli shrinking? It's still impressive and I'm not really complaining, but for the first time I can remember, I had no trouble getting up for dinner six hours later.
(3) I'm tired of reading that John's Pizza has gone downhill. Perhaps I'm just less discerning than the average chowhound, but it tastes the same to me after 40-some years. In my opinion, it's still the best -- best crust, best mozzarella, best anchovies, and best fennel sausage anywhere -- truly a thing of beauty.
(4) Mamoun's on MacDougal is also still good, especially that hot sauce, and the price of a falafel sandwich has increased only by a factor of four over thirty years. But what happened to the attitude? I had come to look forward to genuinely nasty service, and now suddenly they're almost pleasant. Is this a post-9/11 business strategy?
(5) Dinner at Avra was OK, but I've come to the conclusion that haute Greek is just a bad idea -- an apparent attempt to improve on the real thing by leaving out the garlic and spice. The result may be generally unoffensive, but is sadly lacking in character.
(6) With a 10:00 reservation at Il Mulino, we were seated sometime after 11:30. The food may be good, but it's hard to tell after an evening of pretzels and fried zucchini. Our protests were met with a boastful reference to Zagat's observation that "enormous popularity can mean 'waiting even with reservations'", which was apparently taken by the management as approbation rather than criticism. How about a class action suit?