New York is Calling

I’ve been in a dining lull lately. I’ve eaten out a few times (French Laundry, Bin 8945, Quince, & Iberia) but a few different variables prevented me from creating posts – truck drivers aiming for Porsches, dead camera batteries, large groups, and/or a little too much Burgundy. French Laundry was good but not great; Bin 8945 was very good but not excellent (somewhat my fault); and Quince was very good and then excellent during a second meal. Bin 8945 (LA) is an especially interesting restaurant that I will do a more extensive post in the upcoming month.

But no worries – New York is coming up. The tentative itinerary includes:

Formal Restaurants

  • Jean Georges – It was my favorite meal long before; it’s finally time to venture back into those waters. Can it re-claim its top spot as America’s best? Can “New York” Michelin 3-star quality compare favorably to its French and Spanish brethren?
  • Le Bernardin – Coming off of the excellent Providence meal, it will be interesting to see how my memory of Le Bernardin’s fish compares to the reality. (For the record, my last meal was easily “French” Michelin 3-star quality.)
  • Atelier de Robuchon – some people love it; some do not.

Informal yet Excellent Restaurants

  • Momofuku Ssam Bar – my first time but it sounds like a late-night version of my favorite Momofuku. One of David Chang’s earliest supporters has finally agreed – it has arrived.
  • Momofuku – no trip to New York is not complete without a stop here.
  • Resto – a new Belgian restaurant that looks interesting enough.

Desserts & Treats


  • Pegu Club – I can’t get enough of their ginger beer cocktails. I won’t (or can’t?) tell you how many I had last time – thanks to Olivia for the great tip.

That’s the basic idea. WD-50 disappointed me last time; I don’t feel like spending for Kuruma; it’s bad timing for Sushi Yasuda; I would try Bouley again if I had one more day; and I just can’t get that excited about 11 Madison Park. In many ways, NYC leaves me wanting – SF’s got the ingredients, NY’s got the technique; can the two meet in the middle somewhere?

If you have any suggestions, let’s hear them.

- chuck

  • mark z

    sounds like a great itinerary…
    You ought to put P*ONG in there… just opened last week, old pasttry chef at JG 66 and Spice Market with his own place. Still seems to be working out the kinks in service and finding itself, but interesting none-the-less.
    Im guessing you also had Daniel Humms food in SF, but just had the tasting last night at 11 mad and was very impressed. While everything didnt hit on all cylinders (ie a flat under-seasoned cocoa-foie) other dishes hinted of brilliance, like a divine salmon with fennel cream. The restaurant is also inching towards more luxurious by removing the small 2-tops in favor of more spacious seating arrangements.
    Also, I dont remember coming across anything here about DiFara’s…. if you havent its a must.
    and…. Le Bernardin is sublime (and thats not cause i work there)!

  • ChuckEats

    Thanks Mark, P*ONG was on the list somewhere but I’d completely forgotten about it. I’ve added it.

    The problem w/ Humm are the *hints* of brilliance. He’s been there for 2-3 years now – when will he turn the corner?

    DiFara’s – went there on the last trip but didn’t blog about it. The value isn’t there for me – we stood in line for an hour for a pretty good pizza. The crust was not as crisp as we’d have liked. I have Grimaldi’s on the list but I don’t think there’s enough time to make it out to Brooklyn on this trip.

    Le Benardin was sublime last time – I hope it is this time too!

  • Rory

    Granted, your blog has given no indication that budget/value are key considerations for your dining agenda, but its worth mentioning that lunch at Jean Georges is an absolutely absurd deal (or at least it was when I was there about 5 months ago). $28 for 2 courses (not counting amuses/mignardises); $12 for each extra course; $8 (I think) for dessert. My mom and I had an awesome meal there for under $150 including tax, tip, etc. (no wine, admittedly, but still). If I lived in NY I’d probably eat lunch there once a week.

  • ChuckEats

    Rory, yes, JG is for lunch. For this trip, it’s more of a time constraint but all reports I’ve heard indicate lunch is often better than dinner (JG is in the house) at, like you say, a fraction of the price.

  • H.C.

    Can’t wait to see your Bin8945 post; LA foodies seemed to be especially polarized about the food & service at this place (and the owner’s response to this created a stir of sorts as well.)

    I personally went there once (before I started my blog) and I enjoyed it, though I can certainly empathize with some of the problems the detractors have.

  • ChuckEats

    HC, I know the investors (whose eating resume makes my blog look like kid stuff) but the new chef, Mike Bryant, is certainly capable of great dishes. I think their pairing approach is fairly unique and the kitchen serves quite a wide variety of seemingly spontaneous dishes Gagnaire style. The pairings by David are top-notch. I will be back soon to do a proper review.

  • Moby.

    I’ll be interested in your take on JG, having eaten so widely now in France. I found it absolutely dreadful. Unbalanced flavours, dreadful conception in some dishes, good conception but dreadful execution in others. Some average ingredients. L’Atelier needs to be revealed as the corporate airplane food that it is. Makes Bras looks like he invented intimate authenticity (rather than the outward-dissipated cuisine that you and I know he now serves – albeit with the possibility still of a great meal). With Atelier it’s ideas taken from (ironically) lesser chefs, and repackaged as ‘classic’ Robuchon cuisine. Even when done well, it’s imitation food. Ersatz, as Vedat would say.

  • Michael

    I would certainly be interested in your evaluation of Rosanjin in NY as compared to Urasawa.
    If you have some more theater time, see Journey’s End.

  • ChuckEats

    Moby, L’Atelier is out and Kuruma Zushi is in – I just can’t bring myself to go. And it’s been well over a year since I’ve eaten Kuruma. I too am very much anticipating JG – it was probably my first “very fancy” meal, followed shortly after by French Laundry and Masa’s (former Ron Siegel here in SF) and JG was head and shoulders better than both. It will be interesting to see how it compares to my adventures over the past 1.5 years.

    Michael, never heard of Rosanjin – will do some research and see if it I can fit it into the next NYC trip; however, the closest you will probably get to Urasawa is Masa.

  • Michael

    Chuck, You’ll find a big Rosanjin post on our blog, A agree with Moby on JG; we didn’t like it at all. I am amazed at the high ratings it gets.

  • mark z

    I am finally glad to hear some people not afraid to criticize JG….
    even if lunch is only 28 bucks, id rather buy 28 papaya-kings
    My meal there had only one dish that was interesting… not even that good, but it was interesting…. none of the others left much to be remembered by.
    should not make a short list

  • ulterior epicure

    1. Just to clarify, I didn’t hate L’Atelier, but you’re right, I didn’t love it either. At that price point, I can’t really say I walked out over-joyed with the experience.

    2. re: Jean Georges. I have eaten at his New York restaurant twice (once for dinner and once for lunch – and the lunch is a steal), and once at the outpost on the Bund in Shanghai. I have never had a bad meal there, although I don’t doubt you could. I just got back from eating all over New York and had a rather unremarkable meal at one of his lower-end restaurants, Perry Street. Everything was fresh, some things were very good, but certainly not ground-breaking. That being said, I don’t think Perry Street is supposed to be ground-breaking.