Chinatown Brasserie serves excellent Peking Duck without an advance order for $20 for a half duck at lunch.
My New Haven pizza history goes back to 1962, when I started law school. At that time, all three of Pepe's, Sally's and Modern were going strong. (We didn't know about Zuppardi's). Modern had a coal oven, later converted to oil. Pepe's was great and Sally's even then was deeply annoying, so we avoided it. But to show that we were in the know, we went to Modern a lot (it's good now, but it genuinely was better then, with a deeply dedicated pizzaiola (who unfortunately died before his time). And to show we were REALLY in we went to The Spot, which became our favorite. The Spot is the small place abutting Pepe's parking lot which now serves as the annex. It was even smaller then -- tiny really (it was expanded later, after the old guys died or retired), and was the original Pepe's (or so we were told). It had a coal oven and was run by two (three? I've forgotten) old guys who apparently were Frank Pepe's cousins and who made all the pies and served them. There was a limited range of choice, but the pies were truly great.
We still live in New Haven, and Zuppardi's is now our go-to place, partly because Pepi's is much more crowded and partly because the clam pies as good as Kenji says, as is the sausage. I love the thicker crust because it's so perfectly done that it's not soggy and has the breadlike "hole structure" that Ed likes to talk about. Pepi's is still great; Sally's is if possible even more irritating than it was then (an achievement that I think they are proud of!) and Modern is certainly excellent, but a cut below Zuppardi's and Pepe's in my opinion.
As a serious rib consumer, I agree that NY's are not in a league with the best (my particular favorites are from Memphis, but there are certainly other serious contenders). I think you must have gotten a bad rack from RUB. My experience with them has been generally favorable, if not overwhelming. And Hill Country's really are not comparable to the others, another thing entirely - fine if you like German-style pit-smoked, but with none of the regional spice/condiment notes that make barbecue so interesting as well as delicious.
And now reappeared.
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Not a surprising result. Gotham is a great restaurant, but its whole aesthetic and focus is away from comfort food, simply and straightforwardly done. It specializes in refined and slightly surprising renditions and presentations of familiar ingredients, often with exotic touches. It is priced accordingly. Probably not what one is looking for in a good fancy-pants burger at a reasonable price.
Much too generous. Makes me wonder if we ate in the same restaurant. Hill Country Chicken is good but not great, different from but not obviously better than Popeye's. It's very expensive, even for NY, and the faux-Texas cafeteria feels hokey. The whole thing is one of those exercises in "let's see how far we can push the pricing envelope in NY if we can put a story on the food." Even the sides push the envelope ($1 for a biscuit?!).
This doesn't seem to be a topic that has drawn much interest, but just in case someone is curious about the answer to my question: I had lunch there today. It was delicious as usual and the Chinese restaurant is still where it's always been. So whether the rumor I heard had any basis at all in fact at some point (at least as to intentions), things are still exactly as they have always been, which is just fine with me.
I agree that Le Bernardin is as good as it gets in NY and perhaps anywhere (I'm not saying the BEST -- whatever that means -- but in the top class of any reasonable ranking). The ingredients in the second lunch are more expensive than those in the first, for what it's worth. Having said that, I don't know whether the difference is at all proportional to the price difference and I suspect it's not.
I understand that they have moved the Chinese restaurant downstairs -- very unfortunate if true. Is it true?
The white clam pizza was not invented in the mid-Sixties. It was being served at Frank Pepe's at least as early as 1962, when I first had one, and it was not presented as an innovation at the time. It was also available at The Spot, which was being run quasi-independently by two older men who were relatives (uncles? cousins?) of Frank.
For what it's worth, I'm a pretty critical eater and have had numerous lunch specials at Gotham. While I haven't had had the hanger steak and can't honestly say that every dish every time was a home run, there have been no strikeouts and the batting average has been extremely high. I would put Gotham's lunch specials on the list with an extremely small handful of the best restaurants in town (Jean George's and its ilk). I recommend it very highly and suggest that Nick give it another try.
Cape Cod. Their reduced fat chip is also much the best of that sort of thing I have tried.
Ed may be a purist, but someone willing to be "distracted" would find the bacon cheeseburger to be absolutely superb. Don't let him talk you out of it!
I'm afraid I must disagree with the suggestion of Otto. The pizza is not in NY's top ten and much of the rest of the menu is frankly not very Italian in its execution. The pasta is overcooked and oversauced, and some of the servers give you attitude. The best bets are the appetizers. If you want inexpensive but good informal Italian, you might try Bar Stuzzichini on Broadway between 21st and 22nd.
Who seeded this tournament? Five Guys and In-and-Out shouldn't even be in the same half of the draw.
I seem to remember reading somewhere (SE?) that Chinatown Brasserie is moving downstairs while something else is going to be done with the main room. Is this true? Were you downstairs? Was it reasonably pleasant. I am a big fan of Chinatown Brasserie, especially at lunch, and I hope they haven't messed it up too much.
Have you ever considered the possibility that not everyone (except chefs) shares your passion for salt?
As a New Haven whose exposure goes back 47 years and who simply won't put up with the treatment at Sally's, I have mainly frequented Pepe's with occasional detours at Modern (as well as other places not as good and some really great ones, alas no longer with us). My experience is also that Pepe's is much more variable than it was when the previous generation was running it and before its expansion, but I have had some remarkably good pizza there recently and disagree with Ed's verdict (of course, I didn't have the pies he had). You get superb pizza more often than not and I haven't had a BAD one. My experience with the Fairfield location has actually been quite good, but I haven't tried the others.
I'll have to try Zuppardi's in West Havenm. Do they have a coal oven?
I've eaten at both more than once; he'd have been better off to have closed the "main room", which is pretentious, overpriced and a little oppressive in tone, and whose food isn't outstanding enough to justify the attitude. The Enoteca had excellent, inventive food at reasonable prices, served by friendly people who didn't take themselves (and you) so seriously that you spent more time worrying whether your tie was on straight (the main room is that kind of place, even if you are not wearing a tie!) than enjoying the food.
Is there a better dim sum restaurant in Flushing than Ocean Jewel?
While I enjoy local food, especially when I can find sources that taste better than what's available from afar, there is a romantic quality to this whole "movement" that is a bit precious. I think it unlikely that we could feed 20 million people in the New York metropolitan area for 12 months of the year on locally grown food and, even within quantity limits, confining themselves to food seasonally available is unattractive to most people. Beyond that, it is not clear that fruits and vegetables carried in small quantities in trucks or cars (when picked up at a farmer's market or farm) have a smaller environmental "footprint" than large quantities of food packed in containers and distributed in full trucks to supermarkets.
The availability of decent and decently priced food in low-income neighborhoods is a completely different problem better attacked by finding ways to attract larger stores (even supermarkets!) selling mass-produced food at manageable prices.
Having said all that, those of us who can afford it should encourage artisanal food for the same reasons we prefer and should encourage artisanal production of wines, cheeses, jewelry and clothes. The individuality provides variety and makes an important statement about individuality in a mass-production world -- but only for those who can afford it and without the expectation that we are going to return to eighteenth century production methods and levels of consumption.
I may be too tightbutt here, but it wasn't clear to me that the Cowgirl Seahorse review was about food. It was more like a club guide. Nothing made me want to EAT there, although I could see why someone might want to GO there.
An important philosophical question: How big does a meatball have to be to become a burger?
"You could almost deem this a complete meal." (re: Craft). Yes, the two basic food groups, fat and sugar!
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