New York City Restaurants- Fall 2018 update

The Pool

The Pool is the sister restaurant to the Seagram Buildings, The Grill, is a dramatic space with roughly 30-foot ceilings and tranquil, thread-like floor-to-ceiling windows. Its food and service are as impressive as the space. We were intrigued by the whole branzino for two, grilled over what is claimed to be a special, extra-hot burning Japanese charcoal with shellfish oregemata (clams, octopus, calamari, onions and tomato) with an accompanying order of grilled russet potatoes coated in duck fat. The lovely complementary wine, recommended by the somm, was a 2011 JJ Confuron “La Montagne” Cote de Nuit Village. Since the 2.5-pound fish was already more than we could eat, we were unable to partake in any appetizers, much less dessert. We decided to pass on a dessert wine from the restaurants list of roughly 30 Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes—bottles that went all the way back to 1880 and cost up to $37,750!!

Red Farm

Red Farm is the original West Village branch of a popular Asian restaurant at which we had previously dined at their Upper West Side location. Our greatest challenge was in refraining ourselves to ordering only the number of dishes we realistically could eat, rather than all the dishes we would have liked to try. We decided to skip the Peking Duck for which Red Farm and especially its downstairs sister restaurant (Decoy) are famous in favor of sampling a number of smaller dishes. We passed on the fresh corn, chive and shrimp dumplings, the BBQ pork wraps and the fried rice with roasted duck in favor of three others. We ended up with steamed lobster dumplings with mushrooms (good, but not quite as interesting as we had expected), pork and crab soup dumpling (large and filled with far more, more concentrated and better tasting soup than we typically get in soup dumplings) and jumbo, sautéed shrimp and vegetables in slightly spiced XO sauce (which Tom enjoyed but were a bit too spicy for Joyce). Wine was a 2016 Kruger-Rumpf “Muenster Rheinberk Riesling. Decoy is now on our list for our spring 2019 trip.

Legacy Records

Legacy Records is a Chelsea hotspot. We enjoyed three good dishes. The charcoal-grilled quail (with watercress and peach) was very good, albeit pretty limited given the price. We had no such reservations with our two pasta dishes: ravioli with pumpkin, smoked leeks and lobster mushrooms, and torchio pasta with surf clam, saffron and lemon balm. Wine was a 2015 Chianti Classico from Laola e Olana.

Empellon Midtown

Empellon is the new branch of the popular West Village hotspot with the same name. We shared three dishes. Due to Joyce’s dislike of most Mexican food, we had totally different perceptions. Tom found the crab nachos with sea urchin quesa to be incredible: Joyce at least found them edible. She loved the king salmon tartar with gooseberry and trout roe salsa (as long as the serrano chiles were at least 18-inches from the plate. Tom included the peppers and found it to be fine, but uninspired. tom also enjoyed the Octopus Taco with salsa verde.  Joyce reluctantly accepted pieces of the tentacle that had not been remotely contaminated by the salsa, even though it had virtually no heat. She, in fact, was so turned off by the food that she would not even accede to ordering guacamole which (as long as it has no onions or pepper) she normally loves. We did, however, at least agree on the alcohol. We enjoyed the Mezcal margarita, but found the pomegranate version to be too fruity for our tastes. We both enjoyed the Gruner Veltliner we had by the glass, but were disappointed in the Riesling.

Flying Fisherman

Flying Fisherman is an Upper West Side seafood restaurant that isn’t fancy and doesn’t offer particularly complex dishes. We, however, had very good meals and good service for a very reasonable price. Part of the reason for the pricing is that our pre-theater dinner coincided with the restaurant’s Happy Hour, several dishes from which Tom made a complete meal. After beginning with a dozen Blue Point oysters, Tom went on to small dishes of baked clams, grilled shrimp BLT sliders and “Jaleo”, a mixture of shrimp, calamari, octopus and pollock that was dredged in potato powder, lightly fried and served with onions. Joyce ordered a regular entry of delicious, perfectly cooked grilled Faroe Island salmon which was nicely complemented with uni butter, mango, heirloom potato and corn succotash. The only disappointment came with the side, a Peruvian-style creamed corn which was too watery and the corn too finely minced for our tastes. Wine was a pleasant bottle of 2017 Chablis from Domaine Gauthier.

Via Carota

Via Carota is a very popular (read packed) Italian eatery in Greenwich Village where we had three wonderful dishes and a bottle of wine. We began with an appeaser of Tuscan beans with tomato and Italian sausage, followed by two main dishes of lightly fried rabbit with rosemary and roasted garlic and an only slightly less interesting pappardelle with wild boar ragu. Wine was a 2016 Rocca di Montegrossa Chianti Classico.

Madame Vo

Madame Vo is a popular Greenwich Village Vietnamese restaurant where we lunch with a friend, which allowed us to order four dishes. All of the dishes were were pretty good, but none compared with Slanted Door, our regular San Francisco Vietnamese favorite. After beginning with shrimp summer rolls with peanut sauce, we shared three entrees: Madame Pho with beef broth, rice noodles, brisket, eye round and meatballs, fried rice with prawns, sausage, onions and fried garlic, and a Vietnamese crepe with prawns, pork belly and fish sauce. We complimented lunch with a few Singha beers.

PJ Bernstein

We continue to be upset with the closing of Carnegie Deli, which we always visited for corn beef and chopped liver for our plane ride home. We have not found a good substitute but we did find a new option with PJ Bernstein. This is a straightforward Upper East Side (3rd Ave and 70th ) deli with very good and reasonably priced chopped liver, kiska and corned beef.

Red Hook Lobster Pound (Red Hook Brooklyn)

While we wouldn’t normally have gone to Brooklyn for lunch, we met a friend for lunch in at the Red Hook Lobster Pound. Tom had a BLT lobster roll with crisp Applewood-smoked bacon and Joyce had  a “Connecticut” roll with plain lobster and melted butter on the side. Both came with choices of sides (fries for Joyce, potato salad for Tom). While Joyce stuck with iced tea, Tom enjoyed a Mermen beer

Additional New York City Restaurants

You can find our thoughts on additional New York City restaurants at our following older blogs

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