Archive for April, 2009

Where to eat, drink and stay – New York

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

NEW YORK

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The restaurant scene in New York is very fluid, so I would do your research before you go, and book the top end restaurants at least a month in advance.   Here are some of my favorites (they have been around for years, which is a good sign):-

Gotham Bar and Grill -  a class act, and one of New Yorks Michelin Star restaurants.

Marks out of 10

Food 6.9

Service 7.5

Ambience 7

Blue Water Grill – Great for Brunch

Marks out of 10

Food 6

Service 6

Ambience 6

Eleven Madison Park – stylish, great deserts.

Marks out of 10

Food 6.9

Service 7

Ambience 7

Red Cat – Very cool, very New York

Marks out of 10

Food 6

Service 6

Ambience 6.5

The Plaza – Just one of these places you have to visit once.

 

Marks out of 10

Food 5

Service 6

Ambience 7

Other recommendations

Cafe Sabarsky - Tucked away within the Neue Gallerie in Upper East Side, great for Viennese pastries.

Bryant Park Grill – the outdoor bar for drinks

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Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square - it has a revolving Restaurant and Bar. Just go for the Bar (The View), its a great way to see New York, and yes I do believe it is the hotel where Arnie took the horse into the lift in True Lies.

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Dylan Hotel – it’s a boutique Hotel in a excellent location, just next to Grand Central station so perfect for public transport, which along with walking is the only way to do Manhattan.

Roof Garden Cafe at the Metropolitan Museum – open from May through to November (weather permitting – except for Mondays), fabulous views over Central Park. The elevator to the roof is hard to find, so you may need to ask a guard.

Lifts

LOCATION INFORMATION

Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – New York, USA

Gotham Bar and Grill – Pow and Ka-boom!

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

The Gotham Bar and Grill is a class act, and one of New Yorks Michelin Star restaurants.  It was recommended by a friend who has been making annual pilgrimages here from Scotland for well over 15 years now.  We have not been there quite so often, but have managed to visit a few times for lunch. We found it to be a quiet refuge from the crowds, an excellent place to relax and enjoy good quality food and wine. On one visit they had a power cut, which the staff handled with ease, turning what could have been a disaster into a pleasant candle lit experience.

The following video gives a good overview of what the restaurant is all about:-

The name of course I have always found amusing especially since the chef is called “Alfred” and my Scottish friend has mentioned in the past a very helpful member of staff called “Robin”. ;)

Update : October 2009 – The Gotham Bar and Grill successfully maintained its Michelin Star in this years awards.

Marks out of 10

Food 6.9

Service 7.5

Ambience 7

Gotham Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

LOCATION INFORMATION

Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – New York, USA

Eleven Madison Park – Sweet success!

Friday, April 17th, 2009

I enjoyed Eleven Madison Park, the place has style.

To get a feel for it, I would recommend viewing the rather fun short, speed-ed up film showing the restaurant in action over a 7 hour period.

On the food front I especially remember a sharing dessert platter.

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It was way too big for us to finish, which may have been the idea, as they were only too happy to box it up for us to take back to our Hotel.  It was absolutely yummy,  just thinking about it gives me a sugar rush!.

UPDATE February 2010 – It seems like Eleven Madison Park is not loosing its touch, Andy Hayler gave it very high marks in his recent review.

See 11 Madison Park Review

UPDATE : September 2011 – Danny Meyer may be selling Eleven Madison Park, see http://www.tinyurls.co.uk/1q1 for details.

UPDATE : October 2011 – Eleven Madison Parks has been awarded 3 Michelin stars. It is also definitely being sold, for details see Eater artical.

Marks out of 10

Food 6.9

Service 7

Ambience 7

Eleven Madison Park on Urbanspoon

LOCATION INFORMATION

Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – New York, USA

Blue Water Grill – buzzing for brunch

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

The Blue Water Grill is in a prime location right in the heart of Union Square.

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It’s an excellent venue for Sunday brunch, with a really good buzz.  You can not reserve the outside seating, that is allocated on a first come basis, but if you do book, I would recommend trying to get a table near the windows.

Marks out of 10

Food 6

Service 6

Ambience 6

Blue Water Grill on Urbanspoon

LOCATION INFORMATION

Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – New York, USA

The Plaza – New York, New York!

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Lunch at the Plaza, it’s like Tea at the Ritz, you just can’t go to New York and not pop in.

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Lovely room, friendly staff and a surprisingly good lunch deal. Worth checking if this is still available following the Plaza’s recent refurbishment.

Marks out of 10

Food 5

Service 6

Ambience 7

Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel on Urbanspoon

LOCATION INFORMATION

Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – New York, USA

Craft – Short sighted? No, just don’t see the attraction!

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Tom Collichio’s Craft restaurant in New York is the epitome of style over substance. Not clever to make the menu font so small, to justify the gimmick of giving out reading glasses to the “short sighted”.

My main problem with the meal was that you are meant to mix and match the elements that you order. Excuse me but surely that is part of the art in preparing a course and one that the chef should take care of.  He or she should be the expert in matching the ingredients on the plate. That’s what I’m paying you for.

This video explains why they choose this mix and match concept:-

Did not work for me, not surprised it lost its Michelin star.

Food  5

Service  0 (the man at the next table was choking and was ignored! – eventually with a lot of effort his wife managed to get him a glass of water).

Ambience  !! (not important if everything else is wrong).

Craft on Urbanspoon

LOCATION INFORMATION

Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – New York, USA

Red Cat – very cool!

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Really liked the Red Cat, it’s very cool, very New York.

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On the plus side or maybe the negative side, the last time we were there was during the Republican Party Conference, so we had the Secret Service outside and someone from the Bush clan inside. Much to the horror of the dinners at the next table who were obviously Democrats.

Marks out of 10

Food 6

Service 6

Ambience 6.5

Red Cat on Urbanspoon

LOCATION INFORMATION

Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – New York, USA

The Fat Duck – OTT

Friday, April 10th, 2009

The Fat Duck in Bray is the complete opposite of its near neighbour the Waterside Inn, The Waterside goes for old fashioned comfort (old money clientele), the Fat Duck does “flash” (new money clientele).

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The room is minimalist in style and the food is excellent with very over the top presentation.

We visited before the recent alleged food poisoning problems, and experienced all the trade mark gimmicks – Dry Ice, Dragons Breath, IPods and the obligatory Snails Porridge. We also went for a matching flight of wines. There are two price options here, expensive and extortionate.  We restrained ourselves and kept the wine bill under £100 per person.

It was an experience, but I have to admit I missed the warmth of the Waterside Inn as once the meal is finished, there is no way you would want to hang around or indeed be encouraged to hang around in the rather cold room.  Then again I guess that is why Heston Blumenthal’s Hinds Head is only a few yards away.

The Fat Duck is currently number 2 on the S.Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants list.

Marks out of 10

Food 9

Service 8

Ambience 6 (we were the noisiest people there and we were not that loud).

The Fat Duck on Urbanspoon

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Berkshire, UK

Hibiscus – too much hype!

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

For a while Hibiscus seemed to be the most talked about place.  Everyone just raved about it. We even had it recommended while in L’Astrance in Paris.

The conclusion from our visit on a Saturday evening when they only do tasting menus (a rather mercenary approach in my view), was that it was over hyped, overpriced rather boring food.

When the best dish in a £175 a head meal (food with matching wines) is the cheese course, then there is something wrong.

This restaurant is currently number 56 on the S.Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants list. It has 2 Michelin stars and 4 AA Rosettes, so it should have been superb or a least very good, as at this level there really should be no off days.

Very disappointing

Marks out of 10

Food 4

Service 4

Ambience 7

Hibiscus on Urbanspoon

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – London, UK

Dockmasters House – pre cinema treat

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Dockmasters House looks very out of place now in the Docklands, surrounded by warehouse style buildings and opposite a multiplex cinema. It is such a stunning building, both inside and out. The modern Indian food is top notch,  they do a pre theatre menu that is ideal if you want to splash out on something a bit special before hitting West India Quay Cineworld, which  is now my cinema of choice for several reasons:-

1 - it’s a modern cinema complex with a good sound system

2 - it’s cheaper than central London

3 - central London cinemas do not have Dockmasters House next door.

Marks out of 10 for Dockmasters House

Food 6.5

Service 6.5

Ambience 7

Dockmasters on Urbanspoon

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – London, UK