Tag Archives: grand opening

New Restaurant Opening: Dirty French

30 Sep

The same fun foodie friends that tried (the absolutely awesome) Root & Bone with us made another reservation for us at a new restaurant within a few days of opening, Dirty French.  (I love having foodie couple friends!)

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Dirty French is the first French restaurant from Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick, who brought us Carbone, Torrisi Italian Specialties, and Parm (the latter 2 I still need to visit!)

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They definitely paid attention to the details, with some awesome personalization of their knives.

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And I noticed lots of pink roosters hanging around.

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And some super creepy heads (dead clowns maybe?) up on the wall.

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I had just had a great work meeting and was in a great mood when we sat down for dinner.  The high continued when they served us their table bread, which was a warm herbed flat bread of some kind with a cheese spread.

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It was good enough to have been a menu item.  We all loved it. And boy did it smell like heaven.

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A gentleman came by with a tray of oysters to show off.

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This is the first time I’ve seen that, and it was a winning move.  I wasn’t really considering ordering oysters prior to his visit, trying to jump right to the prepared foods, but with these pretty babies staring back at me, I just had to have some.

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We were then served a bowl that was shaped like another rooster.

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Which contained some little sides for the chicken (I believe).

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And then out came the chicken, which is “Presented in 2 Services.”  First service was the white meat, which was in a mustard sauce.

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They served it with tortilla like bread (which was unlimited and we got more of when we finished the first round) and sauces so you can kind of add sauces and ingredients to make it your own, similar to how peking duck is served.

The meat on this was so juicy and tender, with perfectly crisp skin. I can’t say it was as good as The NoMad chicken, but we all really enjoyed it. Especially the sauce (which surprised me as a non-mustard lover).

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We also ordered the veal, which I couldn’t have due to peppers, but everyone else really enjoyed it.

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My choice was the pork chop with apples.  Another mustard sauce that I actually really loved (am I becoming a convert?) and the pork was incredibly flavorful.

 

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I loved the apples with it.

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For the second service of the chicken, they served the dark meat… feet and all.

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The boys had some fun with being chicken models.

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Everyone also loved the legs. Sadly, I couldn’t have those either due to the peppers allergy.

Foot models?

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We got a side of the Bacon d’Hotel, which was meaty and thick and juicy and everything we wanted it to be.

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And a side of Pomme Frites which were unique and really fantastic.

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And a side of champignons (mushrooms) were a really great compliment to the rest of the meal.

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For dessert… we just couldn’t decide between the four options… so we went with all of them!

This is what took the meal from very good to great.  We all went around trying to decide which dessert was our favorite.

First was a coconut creme brulee which I thought tasted like vacation but some people thought tasted like sunscreen (though they claimed that wasn’t a bad thing).  I really enjoyed it.

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Next up was a pineapple… something.  I wish I remember what this was called because this was hands down my favorite.  The pineapple was caramelized and it was sensational.  I was deliriously happy when I was eating this. I was shocked at how good it tasted. Really took me (and the entire table) by surprise.

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Then a citrus tarte with meringue on top.  I thought this was really fantastic and loved the slightly browned meringue (I’m a meringue sucker!)

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And lastly, beignets with caramel sauce.  These were perfectly cooked, extra warm, and amazingly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. And that caramel sauce was over the top.  We all dipped a spoon in for one last bite before we finished.

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I’ve heard rumor that service has been an issue for some people, however, our service was fine (though not remarkable by any means). The man who appeared to be a sommelier seemed confused when we asked him where our waiter was and then he took our order… so I’m not sure if that was our assumption gone wrong or if he was filling in. But after that speed bump, we were just fine.

 

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Overall, I really enjoyed our meal.

I can’t say it was one of the best meals of the year, nor can I say “Go! Run! Now!” but it was definitely enjoyable.  I’m glad we tried it earlier but I do not have the urge to go back. I’d rather try other places.

Though I could do a run through for that pineapple dessert!

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

 

New Opening: THE NoMad BAR

21 Jun

We caught the news that The NoMad had opened up a new space called The Nomad Bar, attached through a semi-hidden passageway to their current space, The Library. It seems this came as a surprise to many, as I saw nothing leading up to it prior and it just kind of appeared one day with an entrance in the middle of the block on 28th Street (look for the Nomad logo on the door).  The space has been described as “sexy,” which it undeniably is, even down to a sexy promotional video. (And lots more sexy photos from Eater)

We went in at about 5:45pm on Friday evening and were told it would be about an hour wait for a table (as expected).  We put our names in and saddled right up to the sexy bar.

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We loved the food at The NoMad restaurant, and I actually find myself there nearly once a week now for breakfast meetings since it’s right near my office (and they have the super awesome granola from Eleven Madison Park).  We are huge fans of basically anything from Daniel Humm and Will Guidara after falling in love with EMP, which is our #1 restaurant in Manhattan. And when we heard that Brian Canlis, our gracious host from our fantastic honeymoon dinner at Canlis in Seattle, was lending a helping hand, it was all the more reason to visit at the first opportunity we had.

Mike and I had arrived early and were waiting on another couple friend to join us.  As we waited, we perused the menu and noticed that there were so many delicious sounding cocktails that it was going to be hard to choose.

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They have a section for “Reserve Cocktails” (read: very expensive with very good liquors), but they did mix a less premium version on request.  They also have an entire section of “Cocktail Explosions” for $90 to serve 6-8 people. It’s even labeled as “be careful” on the menu. We saw a few come out and they were like a super sexy scorpion bowl.  Could be great for a party.

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Our friends arrived shortly thereafter and as they ordered their drinks, the hostess came up to us and informed us that there was actually a change in another party so our table would be ready shortly.  Great!

We got our drinks and were led up the stairs to the second level, which is like a U shaped balcony with tables all around, looking down on the bar.

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They even light their stemware in a sexy cabinet with sexy lighting.

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What was a little less than sexy? The fact that they serve their “Forbidden Dance” in this slightly ridiculous, slightly awesome tiki glass.  I quite proudly carried this around a few hours later (more on that soon), but it was certainly a talking point (more on that later soon, too)

I have to say though, every single drink was amazing.  Perfectly balanced, perfectly constructed.  Really stand-out. This is truly a craft cocktail bar first and foremost.

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After ordering, our table was set with this cool box of silverware.

And then Brian Canlis stopped by and we said hello and told him that we were at his restaurant almost exactly 1 year ago to the day on our honeymoon.  He was so friendly and so warm.  He seemed genuinely happy to have us there and talk to us.  Brian Canlis knows hospitality and knows how to make guests feel special.

He also asked our opinion about the giant tiki glass sitting on our table.  Our dining companion informed him that she was a bit embarrassed by it and he told us that management is discussing whether it’s awesome or awful.  I think we all agreed that it’s a little of both.

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We started with the flat bread, which came with spring onions and fingerling potatoes.  We all enjoyed this but agreed that a little dipping sauce would have been good with it, perhaps a rosemary olive oil or olive tapenade.

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We also tried the Scotch Olives with lamb’s sausage and sheep’s milk cheese.

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It was like a scotch egg but with an olive.  I really enjoyed this.  Fun flavors and combination of textures and meat with salt and fry.

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Our final appetizer was the Swiss Cheese with beer mustard, pretzel chips, and pickles.  The cheese was absolutely phenomenal. I don’t know where they are sourcing this cheese, but it was some of the best swiss I’ve ever had.  I’m not a mustard fan, however, the two boys at the table sang its praises.

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Onto the entrees!

Two burgers on the table, and thank goodness.  This was a fantastic burger.

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The meat was cooked perfectly and the brioche bun was hearty without distracting from the main meat event. It was listed as dry aged with cheddar, red onions, and pickles.  So simple, yet so good.  One of my favorite burgers I’ve ever had.

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We got fries for the table and these were fan-freakin-tastic fries.  They were crispy and had lovely herbs on them (rosemary and parsley).  I gobbled up every little piece.

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We also tried the pork schnitzel on foccacia with tomato and pickles.  Of all the entrees, this was probably our least favorite. It was good but it didn’t sing with flavor like the other dishes.  It got a bit too muddled.

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I got the duck sausage with pickled ramps and cherries.  I was a bit concerned that this was the same mustard as the cheese, but it was more of an aioli, I think?

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The sausage itself was great.  Really nice combination of flavors and a nice snap to the outside.  Very enjoyable.

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With The NoMad restaurant serving one of my favorite desserts of all time (Milk and Honey), we were glad to have room for dessert.

We started with the Cookies & Cream, which was yummy vanilla ice cream rolled in cookie crumbs.  I loved that you could eat these with your hands and the texture was just right.  Delicious nibble.

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The banana pudding with rum & brioche was not how we expected it to look, but I really enjoyed this dessert.  I also enjoy how this picture wound up looking like that famous photo of Queen from Bohemian Rap City.

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And we had to try the candy bar, which was labeled on the menu as “literally, with dark chocolate and caramel.”

Literally indeed.

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Unwrapping it felt like Willy Wonka.

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And it was an awesome balance of the bitter dark chocolate with the sweet, dense caramel center.  A fantastic end to the meal.

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We had a few drinks throughout the evening, and all were great.  We decided we would end our night in The Library Bar for a night cap.

On our way down the stairs, we ran into Brian Canlis again.  We told him that we really enjoyed our meal and he asked us if we had ever been to the roof.  Why no… we had not.  He told us to hold tight and we told him we were going to head to The Library Bar.  That is when he informed us that the deal was that The Library Bar was now for hotel guests only. Apparently, the bar had become so popular that guests could never get in, so The NoMad Bar was opened up for the public now, in trade for The Library Bar being exclusive (in the late evenings anyway).  Interesting! So we grabbed our drinks at the sexy bar and waited for Brian.

We ordered a few things, including a repeat of a drink I had and enjoyed earlier in the evening, which was “The Shaman” (Pisco Acholado, Salers, Pineapple, Lemon, Cinnamon, and Angostura Bitters). Unfortunately (or maybe fortuitously) the bar tender heard incorrectly and thought I ordered “The Forbidden Dance.” And that is how I accidentally wound up carrying a huge Tiki Cup through The NoMad dining room, up the elevator, and to the roof with Brian Canlis.

But that’s okay… we named him Ted. (and he was delicious… and the bar tender took it off the bill… which was very, very nice of him).

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The roof of The NoMad was beautiful.  There is a special room up there in a circular turret-like construction where you can have a private meal, and I think all of our ears perked up at the thought of having a special meal up there.  They used to do a tasting menu up there, but with the weather and the financial opportunity of private parties, it is now a permanently tented space that is truly stunning with indoor and outdoor areas and a view of the Empire State Building and a world of beautiful buildings you would never know existed from the ground.  (If you have a lot of money, and a small guest list, this would be a dream wedding venue).

Overall, I really enjoyed our time at The NoMad Bar.  It is a well executed “more casual” version of The NoMad restaurant.  All the food was very good, if not great, and the cocktails were some of the best I’ve ever had.  We drank quite a few over the course of the night, so our tab was a bit hard to see, but for the caliber, it didn’t feel too nuts for NYC.  It is definitely as sexy as it has been billed, and if you are looking to impress a date, this is the place to go.  Looking forward to going back.

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

 

Grand Opening: Gotham West Market

23 Nov

Our neighborhood just keeps getting better and better. First Brooklyn Fare opens last month,  and now Gotham West Market has opened on 11th Avenue and 44th Street.

Gotham West Market is billing itself as “a first-of-its-kind retail and dining destination in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.”  It features some great foodie destination dining, including a new outpost of Cannibal and a permanent location for Ivan Ramen, an infamous ramen maker that has been opening pop-ups randomly throughout the city, but hasn’t had a storefront until now.  It is also home to the newest NYC location of Blue Bottle Coffee. Others on their restaurant/shop list include The Brooklyn Kitchen (great kitchen supply store), NYC Velo (a bicycle shop), Little Chef (from the same chef as Saltie, serving farm-to-table sandwiches, soups, and salads), El Colmado (tapas and wine from Chef Seamus Mullen), Genuine Roadside (classic “roadside” food including burgers and shakes), and Court Street Grocers (sandwich shop).

We stopped by today to check it out.

First of all, it’s far.  11th avenue is even west for me, and I’m a west side girl.  But it’s in perfect proximity to the Jacob Javits Convention Center, the Intrepid Museum, and all the new westside apartment complexes and hotels opening up recently.

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But once you make the haul there, it’s a fun (if not very expensive) escape into foodie heaven.

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This was their first weekend open.

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We ducked into The Brooklyn Kitchen and looked around their artisanal food selections and nice kitchen supply.

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And I really enjoyed their tag line.

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They have some great supplies and fun food items for those who love to cook and bake.

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And in the back they have cooking classes, including this knife skills class that was going on when we were there. (The clerk said classes are around $65-$85). They even have a pizza making class with Roberta’s.

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Out in the main part of the market, each restaurant has a nook and there are tables scattered about where you can take any of the food.

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When we were there, it was pretty full but not crowded. (I’m sure that is temporary!)

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The entire place is designed with a distinctive industrial aesthetic. And I was especially amused by their advertisement of “Clean” restrooms (and yes… they were).

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The Cannibal’s menu was actually quite consistent with the one in their main restaurant. They also had some brunch additions.

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And you can get some beer and booze as well.

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They have the case of meat, as they do in their main restaurant.

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Even down to the pig’s head.

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And the big case of craft beers.

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Just begging to be taken home.

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Little Kitchen had a fun menu

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And I really wanted to try each of these little snacks.

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El Comado had a lot of wines to offer.

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And I loved the display of Iberico Ham that they were shaving fresh.

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At Genuine Roadside, they had a big menu of comfort foods.

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But we decided to have our first Gotham Market meal at Ivan Ramen. (“Slurp Shop”)

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Their menu features a few different types of ramen.

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And an assembly line of ramen artists putting each combination together at a bar for all to see.

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We went with the Classic Shio (sea salt, chicken + dashi double soup, pork chashu, rye noodle) and Roasted Garlic Mazemen (nori, chicken + dashi double soup, pork chashu, rye noodle) and added an egg to each.

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The Roasted Garlic was more like noodles in a (very) garlicky sauce.  I loved the garlic flavor, but Mike was hoping for more broth.

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The Shio broth was very flavorful, and I especially loved the piece of pork that was cooked just right.  The egg was great, but not quite the flavor of the tea eggs I love.  The noodles also had a nice texture and I enjoyed the rye flavor.

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The ramen was quite good, but it was certainly not Ippudo (not even close) and even fell a bit short of our local favorite Crispy Rard Nah from Zoob Zib.  I’m glad we tried it, but I won’t be running back to try it again (especially with so many other things to try there!)  But slurp we certainly did!

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We also ended our meal at Blue Bottle Coffee.

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I really like the flavor of their coffees. They are quite rich and deep.

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And I also got a snickerdoodle (which was served, amusingly, in a coffee filter).  This snickerdoodle wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I read that it was made with saffron, but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so savory.  One thing I love about snickerdoodles is the cinnamon on top, and this was lacking. Overall good, but not what I would consider a snickerdoodle.

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But that coffee… oh that coffee.  They take special pride in their foam art and the taste was great, as always.

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Gotham West Market is an awesome addition to the neighborhood and I can’t wait to try more of their restaurants soon!