Las Vegas, Nevada
This Chef and cookbook author lives in Las Vegas (one of my former homes) and he also reviews his favorite restaurants on his web site. So stop by and visit Chef Les Kincaid's web site and you can read some reviews about where to eat in Las Vegas.
Had a great dinner in Minneapolis in a restaurant called "Goodfellow's". Everything but the desserts was excellent, from the appetizers to the wine to the entrees. Unfortunately, the desserts were a disappointment, but that's my only complaint. It's not cheap, but still worth it, IMHO. Adlai (This review dates back to about 1998.)
St. Paul, Minnesota
Also had lunch at a place in St. Paul called "Café Latte", which was also quite good. They have fresh salads, both pasta and others, soups, dessert items, and everything is made daily (and tastes it). Worth trying if you're in the area. Lots of other good stores along that block
(Grand Ave.), too.
Also had a DELICIOUS brownie at a place called "Bread and Chocolate", which is across the street from Café Latte. It was very moist and fudgy and without nuts, which is just how I like my brownies. I'm a purist when it comes to brownies, probably stemming from the way
they had them in the cafeteria in junior and high school. I loved those brownies!!! Adlai (This review dates back to about 1998.)
New York City
Lespinasse - It's a small, beautiful place; very upscale, with many "ladies-who-lunch". While the meal and service was quite good, it wasn't one of the best I've ever had, or even close to it. Now, I'm assuming it's partly because we were there for lunch and not dinner, but speaking strictly food and only food, I'd give it an '8'. I guess I'd have to reserve my total opinion until after going there for dinner, since so many people (including fellow Foodwino Peter P. ) rave about it.
Union Pacific - This is a relatively new restaurant which has been getting rave reviews. I'd have to say that this was our favorite of all the ones we tried this trip (and now on our list of top faves for NYC, in general). It's basically seafood, and all was extremely fresh and delicious. They have an appetizer that should NOT be missed by anyone eating there. It's "Taylor Bay Scallops with Uni and Mustard Oil". It's served raw on a half-shell, and it's one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. Also, the "Bigeye Tuna Tartare with Asian Pear and Fresh Wasabi" was fantastic! The ONLY negative thing I have to say about the food is their bread. It was very hard and chewy and almost seemed stale, like a day (or 2?) old, but that's truly the only negative thing about the whole dining experience. I have the regular and tasting menus for that day, which I can post or send to anyone, if they want. (=Mark, perhaps?????) I'd have to give it a "9+", and would definitely go back again.
Payard Patisserie and Bistro - This is also relatively new. He (Payard) is a pastry chef who (with Daniel Bolud) opened this very handsome (dark wood, etc.), if not almost TOO symmetrical, bistro/retail place. While I expected the pastries here to be very good, I didn't expect the food to be. Well, was I ever wrong. The salads that we had were exceptional. Now that may sound funny and you're probably thinking, "how could salads be exceptional", but they were. I apologize that I don't remember exactly what we had (this is definitely no reflection on the food or the experience), as it was a very hectic week, and I was going to write it down and, well, I didn't. But, the food was excellent. I'd give it a "9", and would definitely go back again.
Verbena - This restaurant has been opened for 3.5 years, and has been getting rave reviews since then. The owner/chef, Diane Forley, worked with Richard several years back, so when she saw he were there, she came over and talked to us. She asked us if we just wanted her to "send things out", instead of ordering from the menu, to which we eagerly agreed. Two of the best things we had were " Warm Oxtail Terrine with Cipolline Onions, Kirby Pickles and Celery Root Puree", and "Medallion of Monkfish, with Split White Lentils, Cauliflower and Kumquat Chutney". I have a copy of their 3 menus (Spring Dinner, A La Carte, and Weekend Prix Fixe Brunch), too, if anyone wants me to post them or send a copy. I'd give it a "9", and would go back again, too.
Balthazar - This is also a relatively new place. It was absolutely PACKED with business people types. I think I expected more than what it was, so I was a little disappointed. We had the Beef Bouguinone (sp?), which was very good, and the Steak Frites, which was just good, not very good (although how could you make it VERY good, I guess?). The pace is very hectic, although I don't know what it's like in the evenings for dinner. I'd have to give it a "7", although I'd like to go back for dinner.
Po' - We all know by now what this is...Mario Battali's little place. Here, too, I expected more. It was OK, but most of that was because of the company (since we dined with friends that evening). We had the tasting menu, and none of it was really memorable, except for the quail, which I DO remember I did NOT like. I'd have to give it a "5", and I know I have no reason to go back there again. A BIG disappointment!!!
We also ate at the Carnegie Deli, since it was a block away from our hotel. We went with some friends, too, and had A LOT of food. From the Chicken Soup with gargantuan Matzo Balls (too fluffy for my taste, though), to the Kishka with gravy, to the delicious deli-style French fries, to the very large Potato Knish, to the mile-high sandwiches, it was ALL excellent. I had almost forgotten what deli food was like.
CFF Shared by Adlai Calman <email@example.com> (This review dates back to about 1998.)
San Francisco & Surrounding Area
My favorite place for breakfast is SEARS (no, not the department store...on Powell Street right across from the Sir Francis Drake hotel) it opens at 6:30am and closes by 2 or 3pm. It specializes in 18 silver-dollar size Swedish pancakes and wonderful French Toast and the freshest fruit around. There's always a line and they'll only seat you when your whole party is together. You can share a table or also seat at the counter. It's right out of the 1950's. President Eisenhower made it famous when he had breakfast there. The grandson of the orignal owner still runs the place and some of the waitresses have been there from the beginning... they are a riot! Don't miss it!
I would avoid the restaurants at Ghiradelli Square and Pier 39... VERY touristy and pricey. For a great view of the city go to the Top of the Stars (Stralight?? ) at the Sir Francis Drake...go just before sunset and stay after it gets dark...beautiful views of the Bay. Greart for cocktails and oeurd'ourvres.
One of the restaurants I really like there is BUCA GIOVANNI on Greenwich and Columbus in the Italian section ... near Washington Square park. It is in the "basement" and specializes in Italian game dishes; very good and not too
A great Japanese BBQ place is off Union Street called, Yoshido-Ya ...wonderful place at 1257 Taylor St. 415-346-3431.
A brand new place on Union Street that's lots of fun and terrific pan-Asian food (Thai, Malaysian, etc.) is Beetlenuts! If you like sushi..try THE SUSHI MAN on Sutter. Sit at the counter and have the sushi man pick your fish. Wonderful.
Here are some others you might want to consider. Their addresses are in the phone book:
- E&O Trading Company on Sutter - brewpub... great homemade beer and food
- Fog City Diner
- Il Fornaio 415-863-5545
- MacArthur Park (great BBQ Ribs)
- Moose's at 1652 Stockton Street 415-989-7800
- The Elite Cafe on Fillmore Street [New Orleans-type food}
- The Waterfront Pier 3 (???) 415-397-4888..wonderful seafod
- Lulu at 816 Folsom Street 415-495-5775 the new IN spot with SF natives!
If you see a place you'd like to try...go to it. You can't go too far off in San Francisco.
If you get up to Napa Valley.. try:
- Tra Vigne wonderful Tuscan food!
- Auberge du Soleil (lunch on the terrace overlooking the valley... expensive but what a treat!)
- The French Laundry
CFF Shared by MMazzarese <MMazzarese@aol.com> (This review dates back to about 1999.)
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