Category Archives: Top NYC Restaurants

Frugal Friday — Ninth Avenue International Food Festival

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Not this year’s festival…

A bit over a year ago, I reviewed “New York Street Fairs,” using the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival as an example.  That particular festival showcases “New York’s most diverse and interesting ethnic neighborhood.”  Last year, I checked out Valducci’s square pizza, an apple tart from Mitchell London Foods, and a couple of items from Basera Indian Bistro.  I went back a few months ago to see what this year offered, and to see how vegetarian-friendly the offerings were. Continue reading

Louro — Vegetarian Nossa Mesa Supper

Mushroom "pot pie."

Mushroom “pot pie.”

If you’re looking for great vegetarian food in the West Village, you really ought to check out Louro, a now-one-year-old restaurant run by Chef/Owner Dave Santos.  Santos, you will remember, was doing a “supper club” at City Grit; they did a great vegetarian dinner a while back which I quite liked.  Chef Santos now has his own restaurant, but he still maintains a bit of the inventiveness of his old dinners with the “Nossa Mesa Supper Club” at Louro.  Every Monday, the restaurant serves up a prix fixe menu that changes with the seasons and the kitchen’s whims.  The restaurant opened last December and one of the first supper club menus was completely vegetarian!  My wife and I checked it out and had a great time. Continue reading

Bouley (second visit) — 5 Stars

Entrance, decorated for Christmas.

Entrance, decorated for Christmas.

Sometimes, I go to a restaurant, mean to write a review, and, months later, never get around to it.  Usually, I just move on.  This time, though, even though the visit is almost a year old, I want to share with you my visit to Bouley last December.  As frequent readers know, I visited Bouley for lunch while on jury duty last summer.  The experience was, I wrote, nearly pitch-perfect.  So about a week and a half before Christmas, I went back for dinner.  The second time was even better.  The food was great, the service was fantastic, and the overall experience was impeccable.   Continue reading

The NoMad — Reserve Red Wines by the Glass

As I wrote yesterday, The NoMad (my reviews herehere (at the rooftop), and here), made news recently with its list of “reserve wines by the glass.”  The NoMad uses a high-tech system called a Coravin, which lets you pour a glass of wine out of a bottle without removing the cork.  As a result, the restaurant (or you, if you want to shell out a few hundred bucks) can serve wine by the glass without exposing the wine remaining in the bottle to oxygen.  Yesterday, I did a little analysis on white wines; today I am doing the same for their reds.

The basic theory here is that the Coravin makes wines by the glass affordable — but how affordable, exactly?  Just like last time, the first three columns are straight from The NoMad’s wine list.  The next column is the average price for that bottle of wine on www.wine-searcher.com.  The NoMad says one “serving” is about a quarter bottle, so I divided the wine-searcher price by four to get a price-per-serving at retail prices.   Finally, I calculated the NoMad-to-retail ratio:  the lower the ratio, the better the deal. (Once more, the wine list is at the bottom of the post.)

Have you ever had a wine by the glass (or bottle) that you thought was a good value?  What was it and where did you have it?

 

VARIETAL DESCRIPTION NOMAD PRICE PER GLASS WINE-SEARCHER AVERAGE “RETAIL” PRICE PER GLASS NOMAD-TO-RETAIL RATIO
PINOT NOIR ALAIN HUDELOT-NOELLAT, LES BEAUMONTS, 1ER CRU, VOSNEROMANÉE, FRANCE 2005 $80 $200 $50 1.6
DOMAINE DUJAC, GRAND CRU, CHARMES-CHAMBERTIN, FRANCE 2007 $100 $199 $50 2.0
DOMAINE COMTE GEORGES DE VOGÜÉ, CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY, FRANCE 1993 $120 $290 $73 1.7
GRENACHE CLOS DU MONT OLIVET, CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE, FRANCE 1985 $75 n/a* n/a n/a
CHÂTEAU RAYAS, CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE, FRANCE 1997 $140 $329 $82 1.7
MONTEPULCIANO MONTEPULCIANO, EMIDIO PEPE, ABRUZZO, ITALY 1983 $60 $190 $48 1.3
CABERNET FRANC CATHERINE & PIERRE BRETON, BEAUMONT, CHINON, FRANCE 1976 $40 $85 $21 1.9
NEBBIOLO BARTOLO MASCARELLO, BAROLO, ITALY 2004 $50 $136 $34 1.5
AR.PE.PE., ROCCE ROSSE, SASSELLA SUPERIORE RISERVA, VALTELLINA, ITALY 1999 $40 $63 $16 2.5
PRODUTTORI DEL BARBARESCO, BARBARESCO, ITALY 1985 $60 $78 $20 3.1
TEMPRANILLO LOPEZ DE HEREDIA, VIÑA BOSCONIA, GRAN RESERVA, RIOJA, SPAIN 1976 $110 $365 $91 1.2
MOURVÈDRE CHÂTEAU DE PIBARNON, BANDOL, FRANCE 1990 $65 $140** $35 1.9
SYRAH JAMET, CÔTE RÔTIE, FRANCE 2006 $50 $238 $60 0.8
JEAN-LOUIS CHAVE, HERMITAGE, FRANCE 2010 $120 $478 $120 1.0
CABERNET SAUVIGNON MAYACAMAS, NAPA VALLEY, CALIFORNIA 1986 $75 $172 $43 1.7
TENUTO SAN GUIDO, SASSICAIA, TUSCANY, ITALY 1999 $75 $230 $58 1.3

*Not on wine-searcher.com.
**Estimated from wine-searcher graph.

As you can see there are a couple of neat values here.  The Jean-Louis Chave is priced at just about “par” — a 1:1 ratio of NoMad to retail.  But you still have to drop $120 on a glass.  The other interesting option is the Jamet.  It is listed on wine-searcher at $238, though this is a recent price spike from a historical average of about $150.  So perhaps The NoMad stocked up on a few bottles of the Jamet before the jump and can afford to sell it basically at retail.  (The bottle goes for $250.  And although wine-searcher lists and average price of $238, the only place I found actually selling it had it for $375, though oddly they list it as a “future” even though it’s almost a decade old.)  I like Syrah generally, so I would probably spring for the Jamet if I were back.  I would avoid the Barbaresco, not just because of the 3-to-1 ratio but because $80 is a price I might reasonably pay for a bottle to drink at home (whereas I probably wouldn’t pay $300 or $500).  The Tempranillo looks like a good value, too, though I’m not sure I could make myself pay $110 for a glass.

So there you have it, my analysis of the reserve wines at The NoMad.  I’m going to see if I can put up a calculator on the website as well, so you can do some calculations for yourself if/when the wine lists change.

The NoMad’s list of reserve wines by the glass is below. (Return to the body of the post.)

NoMad’s Reserve Wines by the Glass

The NoMad — Reserve White Wines by the Glass

The NoMad (my reviews here, here (at the rooftop), and here) made news recently with its list of “reserve wines by the glass.”  The NoMad uses a high-tech system called a Coravin, which lets you pour a glass of wine out of a bottle without removing the cork.  As a result, the restaurant (or you, if you want to shell out a few hundred bucks) can serve wine by the glass without exposing the wine remaining in the bottle to oxygen.  That means The NoMad’s list of “reserve” wines by the glass includes lots of bottles you wouldn’t otherwise find — generally, bottles that have aged 10-15 years or more, and that would costs hundreds of dollars if you bought them by the bottle.   Continue reading

Jean-Georges (second visit) — 4 Stars

Asparagus, being assembled...

Asparagus, being assembled…

If you want fantastic vegetarian food at a great good decent price, then Jean-Georges is the place to go.  The flagship restaurant is the crown jewel in the sprawling empire of celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongeritchen is the cheapest three-Michelin-star meal in New York City (at least for lunch).  Jean-Georges is quite vegetarian-friendly, too.  Jean-George can legitimately stake a claim to some of the best vegetarian food in New York. Continue reading

This guy is 103 and eats out at great restaurants every night.

Mr. Rosen is 103 but he doesn’t look a day over 90. His mother died at 53 and his father at 70, but he says he feels fine and has had no major operations or health problems.

He made a bundle with his office supply company and is spending it — $100 a night, on average — on dinners out.

Much of his work involved wooing clients over lunch and dinner, so after retiring a few years back because of hearing loss, he continued to put on a fine work suit every afternoon, grab his satchel, and head out to hail a yellow cab to one of his favorite restaurants. Café Boulud perhaps, on East 76th Street, or Boulud Sud near Lincoln Center, or Avra Estiatorio on East 48th Street.

“I haven’t eaten dinner home in many years,” said Mr. Rosen . . . .

NY Times, “A Nightly Dinner Out That’s Like Therapy”

The NoMad (second visit) — 4 Stars

The NoMadA year ago, I wrote that The NoMad was New York’s “restaurant of the moment.”  Since then, the restaurant has garnered a Michelin star, and spent a lot of time on Eater’s list of the top 38 restaurants in Manhattan.  (By the way, does anyone know why they list the top “38”?  Why not 35? or 40?)  The restaurant started off with a bang and has really maintained its momentum since.  Around the corner, Eleven Madison Park (my reviews here and here), with the same chef-owner, Daniel Humm, is doing some pretty neat things.  My not-so-secret hope for The NoMad was that it would be a place to get food at EMP’s quality, without having to pay EMP prices, and it looks like The NoMad might hit that sweet spot. Continue reading

Norma’s — Breakfast for Lunch — 2.5 Stars

Norma's

Norma’s

You know that friend of yours who tries too hard to dress fashionably?  The one who has just a few too many colors, or accessories, or flourishes, to the point where it overwhelms?  Norma’s is that friend.

In fairness, if you are looking for the best breakfast in New York, Norma’s has to be high on your list. Located at the Parker Meridien Hotel, Norma’s is open every day until 3 pm and serves breakfast that whole time.  Norma’s is a great option on weekends, and a fantastic alternative to the usual lunch spots.  In 2002, Eric Asimov described Norma’s breakfasts as “more fairy tale than real,” and a decade later — with Norma’s serving up cheesecake-stuffed French toast, a $1000 lobster frittata (with 10 oz. of caviar), or a $5,022 Caesar salad (which, in fairness, comes with the Presidential Suite) — the description is still true, even if the prices are higher.  But in the quest to be “fairy tale,” Norma’s tries too hard, to the point where the dishes don’t quite hold together.   Continue reading

Kajitsu — Four Stars

The entrance to Kajitsu.

The entrance to Kajitsu.

Dining at Kajitsu, the Michelin-starred vegan restaurant in midtown Manhattan, is like nothing you’ve ever done before.  (Trust me.)  There’s a reason it’s been on my list of places I’d like to go, even though I don’t typically list completely vegetarian restaurants on the list. The restaurant features Japanese shojin cuisine — a style of cooking that is centuries-old and comes from Buddhist monks.  But it’s much more accurate to say that this is a place that uses ingredients you might or might not be familiar with and concocts them into incredible works of food and art.   Continue reading