May 2009 (updated Nov. 2009) - Joanne White

Restaurants in New York

Marea Interior - New York City - Chef Michael WhiteMarea
New York, NY

Marea is the new Central Park restaurant of Chef Michael White. We visited Marea on their 4th night of service, so with that in mind, I won’t mention the foibles of service as it looks like they have it well in hand to smooth out any wrinkles. We enjoyed our dinner. Next time we want butter or oil for the bread. That said, we’d be back, and we would recommend it to a friend where price is no object. The wine list has some interesting choices; we ordered a Bressan.

Sardines (Fritti): Coating was a bit heavy/hard for the delicacy for the fish but it held together when cut and provided a nice crunch to the succulent sardine flesh.

Crudo assortment: Yum. Prawns with citrus were the best. The crab was good. The tuna good but the sauce was overpowering, albeit wonderful.

Lobster Burrata:
The tomatoes in this dish simply should have been left out (tomatoes are not in season in NY in May...). Otherwise it was excellent, but we’ve had better burrata.

Zuppa: The trout roe made this dish. The soup itself was a bit lackluster despite it’s cheerful color and lovely plating. A bit over salted for my taste.

Mare Risotto: Nicely done. A nice mix of seafood and well made risotto, there was only one mussel in my dish and a slice of overdone scallop but I could overlook that for the whole lobster claw and delightful rock shrimp.

Branciata: Could convert me to a fish lover. The sauce was wonderfully piquant with the crispy skin of the fish.

Polenta with Rhubarb. The polenta flavored with vanilla bean with a fine crust was wonderful – and a great surprise. The rhubarb pairing was both nicely tart and appropriately seasonal. I wished for a bit more than the smear of cream on the plate.

Passionfruit Sorbet (normally a trio) We enjoyed the one flavor we chose.

Chocolates with the check were a lovely finish. Nicely made.

Flavors of Early Spring at Corton - NYC
New York, NY

Corton, in Tribeca, has a fresh chef full of excitement and wonderment which I do appreciate when they result in gutsy pairings that work – and a lot of what we were served was in that category. However, there are simply too many plates on the table for a course and too many flavors in a single dish to make me happy.

Barring that, we really enjoyed our meal. There is a sense of fantasy and playfulness in the food and presentation, which I love, but, (will I say it?) it needs a bit of calm to make it right, a bit of reining in. Fewer plates per course/one less element per dish and Corton has the makings of something really great.

We loved the Pastry chef’s enthusiasm with her snail meringue and multi box petit fours, but the cheese selection was poor for NY where there is a wealth of truly great cheese. It would have been better for them to choose 1 cheese/ night and pair it simply, than offer  “international” cheeses  which are easily available at your local upscale grocery store.

We’d return, but we’re not running back. However it was a fun dinner and we felt pampered – and the dining room has a bit of an air of romance.

Gougeres with Mornay and pea cakes

Foie Gras Mousse topped with aspargus  coulis and toasted crunchy bits – wheatberries?

Foie Gras
Hibiscus-Beet Gelée, Blood Orange

Good but too much of it to eat alone. Nothing standout but definitely good.

Hamachi - Meyer Lemon, Violet Mustard, Smoked Steelhead Caviar
Beautiful Presentation. Really lovely use of spring flowers and greens.

Flavors of Early Spring
Daurade, Yuzu Gelée
Peekytoe Crab, Green Mango
Octopus with Curry and ?? beans?
Ocean Trout, Yogurt, Caviar
($18 supplement)

Cod - Risotto of Razor Clams, Melon, Arugula Chantilly :
Melon wrapped on a parcel atop the other ingredients.

Maine Lobster - Parmesan Crumble, Burgundy Carrots, Balsamic Brown Butter - ($9 supplement)

Elysian Fields Farm Lamb
Elysian Fields Farm Lamb
Pimento Crusted Loin, Eggplant Chutney, Ricotta

Palette Refresher: Hisbiscus sorbet with Yuzu(?) Foam and maybe turbinado sugar on the bottom?

"Old Fashioned" Palette
Dark Chocolate, Cherry, Whisky

Vacherin Snail at Corton NYC
Vacherin: Lychee, Earl Grey, Honeydew
Lovely presentation complete with caramel slime trail and meringue rounds for the shell.

Selection of Artisanal Cheeses :
We chose just one: Comté - they didn't know who it came from or how old it was. (Selles Sur Cher, Stilton, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, La Tur and Comté were offered).

Petits Fours are brought in boxes tableside for personal selection (a really fun idea - especially liked by our young diner). All we tried were very good.

Fruit pastes: Pineapple and Mango
Choice of  Banana or  Pink grapefruit

Macaroons,  Cherry mint, Kaffir Lime, Chocolate, Salted Caramel chocolates or earl grey truffles.

Brown Sugar Shortbread to take home were presented with the check.

Afternoon Tea at the Metropolian Museum of Art - New York City
Petrie Court Cafe
at the Metropolitan Museum of Art - Afternoon Tea
New York, NY

However appetizing the photo may be don't be fooled or coerced or romanced. The Afternoon tea service (and I use the term loosely) at the Met is extremely poor and very expensive. I actually had concerns about eating the food. So save your cash and catch a cab or eat before you go.

We also had lunch at the roof garden. The very limited menu take-out food was okay - but if you go on a busy day expect to eat it on the ground as there are no tables on the roof.

Blue Hill Stone Barns - Potanico Hills, NYBlue Hill at Stone Barns
Pocantico Hills, NY

We finally made it. After visiting three years ago it was nice to actually sit down to dinner in the hallowed barn. We chose the tasting menu and settled in.

One note: At one point in the starter parade we had simply too many dishes on the table to manage them, while the whimsical presentation was appreciated, some thought needs to be made with timing or order.

Thus noted, we were enthralled. Definitely a destination and our best meal of the year.

Tasting of Vegetables: baby carrots, easter egg radishes, 2 kinds of lettuces, asparagus (lightly blanched with citrus), sugar snap peas
 ...Just seeing baby vegetables which you would never be able to sell at the farmer’s market – so beautifull washed and presented.

Asparagus burgers Jumbo asparagus wrapped with pancetta

Carrot and Lemon verbena juice (definitely some vinegar as an element)

Fried green leaves (kale?), potato chips with sage and housemade crackers

House made charcuterie: Four spice salumi, Coppa and Bresaola

Fried Trout on a stick

Pig’s cheek pancetta - very crisp thin rounds

Bread comes with butter, ricotta, parsnip and carrot salts

Marrow Bones split lengthwise (Veal?) topped with caviar

Kobia Sashimi with rhubarb and succulents

Black Bass with seafood (shrimp lobster and clams) and black eyed peas in a butter citrus sauce

Asparagus with curry sauce and whole blanched almonds with grated embryonic eggs (which they age for 2 weeks) – a flavor reminiscent of parmesan cheese.

Poached Farm egg with speck on brown bread with ramp puree, pine nuts and marmalade.

Berkshire pork with saltwort and asparagus with crisped skin.

Roasted goat shoulder with chickpeas, fiddleheads and spinach

Rhubarb and elderflower gelee with fresh cheese ice cream and elderflower foam

Asparagus foam on cake - with pine nut butter and pickled fiddleheads

Ricotta cake with rhubarb and rhubarb sorbet

Mignardises: Raspberry chocolates, raspberry vinegar meringues and Herb?? Vinegar marshmallows

We passed on the Andante cheese course as we were just too full. Next time!

Our excellent wine: 1998 Prager Gruner Veltliner Auslese Weissenkirchner Achleiten Halbtrocken

(The one downer were the people sitting next to us: A woman on one side was wearing a ton of perfume. On the other side, a man with dining with his wife and boss; the boss was incredibly boring (we could overhear most everything he said) and the wife desperately wanted to be anywhere else on the planet.)

2003 Clos Rougeard at Grammercy Tavern
Gramercy Tavern
New York, NY
Overall we were expecting less from Grammercy Tavern and got a whole lot more. The dinner was pleasant in both surroundings and service, and the food was memorable. The cheese board I spotted on the way to the table, lightly covered in muslin. It sang it’s siren song and rightly so, as it entranced both in selection and quality. Grammercy Tavern might not be on the new-chic-hot-gotta-go radar of NYC foodies, but it should be. Jack's expectations were highly exceeded - the only time this year. We are eager to return.

Spring Tasting Menu
Pork Terrine with Celery Root sauce (amuse)

Citrus Cured Arctic Char - Lemon Confit

Chilled Asparagus & Nettle Soup
with Crispy Oysters and Pickled Ramps
- fantastic! A great assortment of complimentary flavors.

Smoked Trout - Cippollini Purée and Pickled Onion Vinaigrette

Blackfish - White Sweet Potato and American Caviar

Veal Chop

Cheese Plate: A divine beautifully plated assortment of NY State cheeses

Rhubarb Tart with Rhubarb sorbet and raspberry coulis

Chocolate Mousse terrine with whipped cream

Mignardises: Macaroon, Pecan toffee chocolate covered, chocolate passion fruit, chocolate tart, chocolate balls,

Passionfruit sorbet with a snickerdoodle

We also had the: BBQ Pork with coleslaw and pickled vegetables. Side of smashed potatoes made specially for our young diner.

Lurisia Water
2004 Movia Veliko Bianco
2003 Clos Rougeard Les Poyeux - rockin'!

Little coffee cakes to take home

Kuruma zushi
Kurumazushi (no website)
New York, NY

An unassuming spot on the 2nd floor, with a great reputation, was almost deserted on a Monday night. We left filled with high quality delicious fish, and memories of Russian crab and divine toro, yet considerably poorer.

Joanne loved the delicate glass sake cups. There is no cooked food on the menu, so you would expect the sushi and sashimi to be good, and they were. The only disappointments were in the garnishes which were not up to the scratch of the fish.

We had the Sashimi Dinner which came with Russian crab salad, miso soup, sashimi, sushi and ice cream. As well we ordered a la carte, a variety of sashimi including smoked salmon, salmon roe, shrimp and bonito. The toro and crab appetizers were so appreciated we reordered them along with a hand roll (in an open ended roll served on a plate).

Expensive but very good. We’d return. Heck, we might even see Martha Stewart again...

trent at kuruma zushi in NYC
New York, NY

In a nutshell… expensive and no reason for it, that I could see, except for the DB in the name. It was fine. The food was good, but there is simply no reason to ever return. If you want to eat DB go to Daniel.

Prix Fixe Lunch:
Asparagus Soup
Soft Shelled Crab
Cheese Plate

Chicken Oysters and Snails Fricasse – A specialty of the house. Unpleasant to eat. Snails were chewy. I would never order again.

Duck Confit – nice. A bit on the greasier side but generally it was fine – a lot to charge for one duck leg, albeit a good one.

Pommes Frites – crispy and pleasant.

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