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Ramon C
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#201 Post by Ramon C » February 20th, 2015, 6:31 am

Motorino get's my nod for the better Neapolitan-style pizza over Keste. I like Keste, but Motorino is better.
@brera

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#202 Post by WvanGorp » February 20th, 2015, 7:08 am

You guys are gonna KILL me for this but I also liked Nicoletta for pizza (ok, it was delivery via trycaviar.com but it was pretty good for pizza that has uniformly been panned......)

Agreed about Danny Meyer's watered down restaurants to please the masses. I never understood why people went nuts about trying to get into Maiolino. I went once or twice and that was enough. Similar model in Chicago from the dominant restaurant group though there are exceptions (e.g. what Doug Psaltis is doing).....
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#203 Post by ybarselah » February 20th, 2015, 7:09 am

Steve Plotnicki wrote:Roberta's good, not as good as Keste which is close to what you get in Naples
have had both many times. roberta's much better. but keste might be more like naples, but i don't care about that.
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#204 Post by Steve Plotnicki » February 20th, 2015, 7:19 am

Nicoletta putrid.

Pizza is sort of like wine. If you guys were weaned on the real thing when growing up, places like Marta and Nicoletta would taste terrible to you. But because your frame of reference is Americanized pizza, you approach it from a different/subjective perspective. You need to reorient your palate in the same way someone who grew up on New World pinot learns how to reorient themselves after they taste La Tache for the first time. But you need to go to Naples in order to do that because you can't get the real thing here because of the sauce.

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#205 Post by mark rudner » February 20th, 2015, 7:41 am

can't have oad without opinionated [cheers.gif]

fwiw i could'nt agree more with the opinions posted above about ushg, especially maialino and it's appealing, inoffensive, high-end mediocrity.

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#206 Post by ybarselah » February 20th, 2015, 8:21 am

Steve Plotnicki wrote:Nicoletta putrid.

Pizza is sort of like wine. If you guys were weaned on the real thing when growing up, places like Marta and Nicoletta would taste terrible to you. But because your frame of reference is Americanized pizza, you approach it from a different/subjective perspective. You need to reorient your palate in the same way someone who grew up on New World pinot learns how to reorient themselves after they taste La Tache for the first time. But you need to go to Naples in order to do that because you can't get the real thing here because of the sauce.
this is a bad argument because it's based on the appeal to tradition fallacy. and it applies to wine as well. naples pizza or la-tache cannot be "best" because they were first. they might have an advantage, but there needs to be other factors at play. and there are, but not to the exclusion of others.
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#207 Post by Barry L i p t o n » February 20th, 2015, 8:35 am

Steve Plotnicki wrote:And so far all of the reviews I have collected of the restaurant for the OAD survey are poor as well.
For Marta? All? Not true.

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#208 Post by Steve Plotnicki » February 20th, 2015, 8:39 am

I didn't say they were the best because they were first, I said they were the best because they are better and people don't realize it because of the way they learned how to appreciate wine or pizza.

There is nothing wrong with having a subjective preference. But when you say you like Roman pizza better than Neapolitan pizza, you are saying you prefer pizza made with an inferior tomato sauce. worse mozzarella, lesser olive oil, and less fragrant basil. Its as if you prefer Kistler Pinot Noir to La Tache despite the fact that it is a less complex wine.

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#209 Post by Alain M » February 20th, 2015, 10:54 am

But then wouldn't any recipe that differs from the original one be de facto worse because there is less or more of this or that? That's similar to saying that first equals best.

And "there are the best because they are better" is not really an argument.

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#210 Post by Scott G r u n e r » February 20th, 2015, 11:26 am

Steve- You are missing the point of subjectivity. If people prefer Roman Pizza over Neapolitan or Kistler over La Tache, it really doesn't freaking matter WHY they prefer it. They just do. Doesn't matter if you agree or think they are complete Luddites.

The way I read your comments, you are confusing subjectivity with verifiable. Your opinions are not the only ones that are "right", no matter how much your defend it. Still an opinion and not right or wrong.

I like a lot of your work, and have enjoyed your site, and I am fine if you think you are the emperor and final arbiter of taste. But your attitude towards other opinions is very very off-putting.
//Cynic

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#211 Post by Alan Rath » February 20th, 2015, 11:42 am

Scott G r u n e r wrote:The way I read your comments, you are confusing subjectivity with verifiable. Your opinions are not the only ones that are "right", no matter how much your defend it. Still an opinion and not right or wrong.

I like a lot of your work, and have enjoyed your site, and I am fine if you think you are the emperor and final arbiter of taste. But your attitude towards other opinions is very very off-putting.
Ha! Try arguing politics with Steve. I think there's a Monty Python sketch about that [wow.gif]
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#212 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » February 20th, 2015, 12:15 pm

It makes no sense to say that Neopolitan pizza is defined by higher quality ingredients. To my knowledge, the only requirements for a pizza to be true Neopolitan have to do with the way the dough is made (ingredients, knead process) and the way it is cooked (time, fuel, temp). There are also official topping components. Neopolitan pizzas may meet all these requirements and vary in quality, both of ingredients and finished product. Perhaps Steve means that, in his experience, the quality of ingredients used in Naples is generally higher than in Rome or elsewhere?

BTW, I also prefer Neopolitan style pizza (defined as I briefly outlined above). That's the way we make it at home. But if we made a thinner dough - or a thicker one, for that matter - I am sure the sauce, cheese, olive oil and other toppings would be of an equally high quality.

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#213 Post by Steve Plotnicki » February 20th, 2015, 12:17 pm

Scott Gruner - Well you can't have it both ways. You can't discuss whether something is good or bad, implying that there is a correlation between preference and quality, without dealing with the issue of how people with expertise have determined the concept of quality. How else would you learn about something? Maybe it is just my personal approach to these things but, there was a time when I used to enjoy drinking overoaked and overextracted California cabs. And if I got insulted when more experienced wine drinkers told me they weren't "real wine", I might still be drinking them.

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#214 Post by Steve Plotnicki » February 20th, 2015, 12:19 pm

Sarah go to this website there are quite a few rules about what an authentic pie is. pizzanapoletana.org

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#215 Post by Thomas Puricelli » February 20th, 2015, 12:22 pm

Steve Plotnicki wrote:I didn't say they were the best because they were first, I said they were the best because they are better and people don't realize it because of the way they learned how to appreciate wine or pizza.

There is nothing wrong with having a subjective preference. But when you say you like Roman pizza better than Neapolitan pizza, you are saying you prefer pizza made with an inferior tomato sauce. worse mozzarella, lesser olive oil, and less fragrant basil. Its as if you prefer Kistler Pinot Noir to La Tache despite the fact that it is a less complex wine.
Stevie, you are getting dangerously close to touching off another "best tomato" discussion. Tread lightly!

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#216 Post by Steve Plotnicki » February 20th, 2015, 12:27 pm

Tommy I hear you!

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#217 Post by Steve Plotnicki » February 20th, 2015, 12:30 pm

By the way, there is nothing wrong with liking a less complex wine than some 100 pointer. But it's not a better wine just because you prefer to drink it. I drink less complex wines all if the time and I am happy to admit it. I don't understand why there has to be a perfect correlation between my taste and good and bad.

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#218 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » February 20th, 2015, 12:32 pm

Steve Plotnicki wrote:Sarah go to this website there are quite a few rules about what an authentic pie is. pizzanapoletana.org
I know the website well. It is from there that I was, admittedly, paraphrasing.

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#219 Post by Steve Plotnicki » February 20th, 2015, 12:38 pm

But San Marzano tomato sauce and buffalo mozzarella are superior products so I dont understand the point your making

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#220 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » February 20th, 2015, 12:41 pm

No, they are specific products. Sure, those specific products are superior to some other specific products - you can only compare something to something else - and specifying the products does not equate directly to specifying the quality. The Ven diagrams overlap but they are not congruent. And saying the codification and specification of product makes the entire category superior to another category (Roman, for instance) is a reach.

Codification draws the line below which the product cannot be called by that name. But real quality is measured by how high above the individual artisan goes in making the product. Some celebrated producers of a number of different products feel the codification holds them back from using "the best" products or techniques, and therefore abandon the name in favor of what they see as quality.

And furthermore, Buffalo mozzerella is a wonderful thing, but including it on a pizza doesn't make the pizza superior.

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#221 Post by Mike Cohen » February 20th, 2015, 1:26 pm

All opinions are equally valid...yet not all opinions are equally powerful
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#222 Post by Steve Plotnicki » February 20th, 2015, 2:27 pm

Sarah - quality is not the function of a scientific equation. it is derived from a consensus of the informed. Having said that, if we were to take 100 informed people who were traveling to Italy for the purpose of eating pizza, what do you think the ratio of preference of Neapolitan to Roman style would be?

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#223 Post by Steve Plotnicki » February 20th, 2015, 2:41 pm

And just to add to the above, how many Roman-style pizzerias open compared to Neapolitan-style and why is that? The only other Roman-style pizzeria I know of that opened is Pizzeria Mozza and that is sort of a hybrid. And the only reason Danny Meyer opened one is when his father's tour business was open, Danny used to give tours of Rome and that is what he would eat all of the time.

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#224 Post by Barry L i p t o n » February 20th, 2015, 3:08 pm

Steve Plotnicki wrote:Sarah - quality is not the function of a scientific equation. it is derived from a consensus of the informed. Having said that, if we were to take 100 informed people who were traveling to Italy for the purpose of eating pizza, what do you think the ratio of preference of Neapolitan to Roman style would be?
A biased sample. No reason to believe those people to others who go to Itsly for other reasons and eat a lot of pizza. If there is one food that isn't the province of the food elite, it's pizza.

New York style slice pizza really doesn't exist in Italy. Just like spaghetti and meatballs is Italian food whose birthplace is New York. The subject is best NY pizza.

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#225 Post by Steve Plotnicki » February 20th, 2015, 3:18 pm

A biased sample? Why would pizza aficionados have a bias for one type over the other?

Your spaghetti & meatballs point is an interesting one. I happen to love the dish. But I am enculturated to it. Hence I have a bias. Most people who are expert in Italian food, but who did not grow up with that bias, would reject it as being good.

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#226 Post by Barry L i p t o n » February 20th, 2015, 3:48 pm

You went just to eat pizza. How many days did you spend in Rome just eating pizza vsNaples?

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#227 Post by Steve Plotnicki » February 20th, 2015, 3:52 pm

I went to Pizzarium which is the most famous one and it wasn't very good. But that's besides the point. I am only one person. You still haven't explained why pizza aficionados choose Neapolitan over Roman at an alarmingly high rate!

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#228 Post by Barry L i p t o n » February 20th, 2015, 4:19 pm

i don't think that's the case.

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#229 Post by WvanGorp » February 20th, 2015, 4:23 pm

Food fight! Next up....Chicago deep dish. NOT (lol....joking)
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#230 Post by Steve Plotnicki » February 20th, 2015, 4:33 pm

Yes but that is just one opinion. If you asked 100 pizza aficionados whether they preferred Pizzarium or La Notizia in Naples you would probably run 75% or higher for Naples. You can't ignore the type of inference you can draw from that

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#231 Post by Barry L i p t o n » February 20th, 2015, 5:11 pm

Where do you get those numbers from?

Most pizza fans who go to Italy never even go to Naples.

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#232 Post by Alan Rath » February 20th, 2015, 5:13 pm

Does it lengthen or shorten your life to care so much about something so meaningless [wow.gif] neener
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#233 Post by Russell Faulkner » February 20th, 2015, 7:14 pm

Where does the pizza served by Da Spontini in Milan come into this?

;)
U

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#234 Post by Steve Plotnicki » February 20th, 2015, 7:54 pm

Barry - Why are pizza fans relevant to this discussion?

Are fans of Hershey's relevant to a discussion about chocolate?

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#235 Post by Scott G r u n e r » February 20th, 2015, 10:29 pm

Steve, enjoy the smell of your own farts.
//Cynic

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#236 Post by Steve Plotnicki » February 21st, 2015, 4:16 am

I guess that Scott Gruner believes that we should we only measure something by the limitations of his ability to discern them. Better information that he is in possession of is just, er, farts.

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#237 Post by AlexS » February 21st, 2015, 7:21 am

[popcorn.gif]
s t e w @ r t

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#238 Post by Philip Ente » February 21st, 2015, 12:05 pm

Any recent experiences with Jean Georges, the big one, not Nougatine?

Wilfred- ssh!

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#239 Post by WvanGorp » February 22nd, 2015, 5:58 am

:-)
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#240 Post by dcornutt » February 26th, 2015, 5:08 pm

Don Antonio pizza and then Mike Maneris Steps Ahead at Birdland. That pizza is the real thing!!!!!!
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#241 Post by dcornutt » February 26th, 2015, 5:17 pm

The burrata is amazing too
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#242 Post by Z. Hu » February 26th, 2015, 8:49 pm

Philip Ente wrote:Any recent experiences with Jean Georges, the big one, not Nougatine?

Wilfred- ssh!
I was there last week for lunch. Loved the sea bass, the foie gras dish, and my friend's fish dishes too but I also got the sweetbreads and the sauce tasted like Panda Express sweet and sour sauce :(

Overall, really enjoyed it but I wish I substituted the crab risotto which was really good!
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#243 Post by Philip Ente » February 27th, 2015, 7:45 am

Interesting. Even one China Panda sauce at a restaurant with this level of reputation is inexcusable. I was there recently and had four China Panda level courses
I cannot explain the discordance between my experience and those of everyone else and the critics, so I sent the below to some friends.
Would appreciate any theories to explain this discordance.
I worked in two 3 star Michelin and one 2 star restaurant and for me it is inconceivable to me that a restaurant could vary this much.
---------------------
I wanted to share with you our terrible experience at Jean Georges restaurant. The main reason is to come to some sort of understanding of the discordance between our own experience and all the raving reviews this restaurant receives. I have my own explanation based on the experience below at Paul Bocuse. I clearly understand why that restaurant has gone awful and I suspect Jean Georges is going in the same direction for the same reason.
I'll start with my post on wine berserker of several years ago:
Chefs like the Troisgros brothers, were remarkable, charismatic people, with impeccable values. I am therefore not surprised that they were able to instill those values in their children, who continue to maintain this restaurant at extremely high standards. Paul Bocuse was a completely different person. He was not a bad guy, but clearly did not have the moral fiber or security of other great chefs I knew. He basically encouraged being used as a pawn by people who promoted him for their own self-interest, but at the same time enabling Bocuse to increase his ego. A few years after leaving France I came across a photo essay book on the great French chefs of that time. This guy did a brilliant job depicting the personalities of each great chef through photos and interview. The initial photo of Bocuse was him squeezed into a far corner of a room by all of his promotional items and publicity material. I suspected that Bocuse would never instill the qualities needed to be a great chef in any of the children of his three wives,or anyone else, and I suspected that this place would become a crummy experience..

First of all, the restaurant has been turned into into a circus/hall of fame.

The formerly great Loup en Croute farci de mousse hommard , sauce choron., is now a disgusting catastrophe. The lobster mousse has been replaced by a cheap fish paste and the sauce Choron was absolutely disgusting- far too much egg yolk turned it into a thick mayonnaise. Just as bad was the presentation with the waiter dropping pieces of fish all over the place, and not caring over this in the least
The cookies served at the end of the meal were stale; this is mind-boggling for a three-star restaurant

Regarding the service, although formal, the personnel clearly had no passion for cooking or pride in working at this restaurant. (One of the greatest features of Troisgros is the pride/true warmpth of the staff - if a client was the least bit unhappy, everyone would be truly upset ). They were just going through the motions of being a waiter at an expensive restaurant. When they asked ( too repeatedly) how the meal was going, it was obvious they really didn't care in the least whether I was happy or not. I could've told them the food stank and they would probably smile the same. On the two occasions that we were served bread, the waiter served to me by reaching directly across my wife.

The reason that this restaurant continues to thrive is that the people I saw there were clueless as to how bad their experience was. These were all (not trying to be a snob here) people with no true sophistication in what a great restaurant should be, or the self-confidence /ability to judge the restaurant for themselves. I suspect most of them were going to a great restaurant for the first time and picked Bocuse through the vulgar publicity that has surrounded this restaurant for 30 years.

The diners who surrounded us, spent a great deal of time sharing their experience with people at surrounding tables. They would talk about this being a "once-in-a-lifetime experience". One couple went to the Bocuse souvenir shop in the restaurant and showed off a gold statue of Bocuse that they had purchased.

From a behavioral standpoint, the reason that this restaurant continues to thrive is that the people who go are not aware that this place is now terrible, and therefore the restaurant never gets "called out", or as my psychologist wife says, they never have to deal with the consequences of their behavior. I strongly suspect that no, even minimally sophisticated person would ever go there anymore. I was embarrassed to tell my French friends on this trip that I went there but they enjoyed the story that I am describing here and agreed.

I analyzed my own behavior after leaving and wondered why I did not follow my initial instinct and immediately tell the waiter not to reach over my wife when serving the bread. I'm sure a more sophisticated French person would've done that from a reflex type level. I also fantasized about calling them out on the disgusting level of the source Choron, my own sauce Choron is far superior, and I should've even offered to go back in the kitchen and teach the chefs how to create a decent sauce Choron.
__Anyway back to Jean Georges.
A main problem is that these fantasy sauces would oppose and damage the essence of the product they were supposed to complement. Overcooked scallops were served with a ridiculous Thai peanut sauce. A beautiful piece of Hake were served in a green chili sauce that was so strong that not only did it blow away any taste of fish but the burning persisted until the next course. The "confit of suckling pig" was basically tasteless pulled pork, again in a ridiculous sauce. I could've had better meat in a pulled pork sandwich from a street vendor. A chicken breast with crusted Parmisan was further evidence. The Parmesan was so strong that it totally overcame what was a mediocre piece of chicken. The sauce was so acidic that it clashed with everything else in this dish. This dish was never beta tested-when you try to cut down through this very hard Parmesan crust, the artichoke hearts underneath the chicken would go squishing out all over the place.
The service was not only as bad as what was mentioned in above in Bocuse, but even worse they were clumsy and would often get in each other's way. I made the mistake of expressing my opinion of the above-mentioned hake-chili pepper sauce plate to our server and she all she did was fake some concern. At some point the maître d' came over in a very sterile way to ask how the meal was going. He should not have done this during the middle of a course, and just as bad did not attend to the empty wine glasses that he probably did not notice anyway. Instead of wasting time I just told him everything was excellent. I could've said I'd rather be a prisoner of ISIS than eating at his restaurant and it would not have made any difference.
The people there were different from what I saw at Bocuse ( at Bocuse they were primarily naïve tourists who are looking to eat at "the greatest restaurant in the world"). The people at Jean Georges seemed to have no interest in the food itself and were there for other reasons. The guy at the table in front of us brought a 15 pound camera with a 10 inch long lens which occupied most of the table. He spent most of the meal blasting photos, while his female companion played with her iPhone. Another table of six was laughing and carrying on so loudly and in such a vulgar manner that any quality restaurant would have done something about it
So in conclusion I think Jean Georges, possibly a great restaurant in the past, is following the same course as Bocuse for the same reasons. Jean George himself, was possibly capable of creating highly unique (I learned he was trained in Thailand and not in France) sauces to complement the basic product in a very challenging way, but whoever is running the restaurant now, is probably not receiving any supervision from Mr. George and has gone off on a ridiculous tangent, but nobody seems to notice/care.

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#244 Post by Walt Hoehler » February 27th, 2015, 8:34 am

Philip Ente wrote:.... but whoever is running the restaurant now, is probably not receiving any supervision from Mr. George and has gone off on a ridiculous tangent, but nobody seems to notice/care.
Tell me you're kidding.... Mr. George? Really?

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#245 Post by mark rudner » February 27th, 2015, 9:04 am

i guess i'm one of the lucky few that has had great experiences on all but one of my many visits.
used to have lunch there twice a month but sadly down to 3 or 4 a year these days.
i love the room, the service, and the food.

the mr george thing is a joke, i guess?

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#246 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » February 27th, 2015, 9:34 am

Philip Ente wrote: but whoever is running the restaurant now, is probably not receiving any supervision from Mr. George and has gone off on a ridiculous tangent, but nobody seems to notice/care.
Mr. V. is still often in the kitchen at Jean Georges.
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#247 Post by mark rudner » February 27th, 2015, 9:45 am

hey ray
i'm surprised at how often i see him there, considering how far flung some of his places are these days.
the flagship must be maintained

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#248 Post by WvanGorp » February 28th, 2015, 7:38 am

He has been there most of the times I've been there, and watching over things like a hawk. I was shocked to read Philip's email when he sent it to some of us. I had also alerted Alex Wolf, the GM, that he and his wife would be coming in, so I'm really surprised at this

My meals at JG have been stellar, and I consider it perhaps the best restaurant in NY. I don't know what could have happened that night!
Wilfred van Gorp

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New York City Restaurants

#249 Post by jhowe » February 28th, 2015, 3:38 pm

I'm going to JG for the first time a week from today. I have a good friend who just dined there last week and loved the place. I'll report back about my meal. I have plenty of experience with high end dining in NYC and elsewhere so I'm looking forward to the visit.
Joe

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New York City Restaurants

#250 Post by Alan Rath » March 2nd, 2015, 8:34 am

So we went to both Don Antonio and Marta last week. Really liked Don Antonio, excellent pizza, excellent service. For atmosphere, it was a little more bustling and somehow "commercial" compared with the more eclectic vibe I remember at Keste (but that night Keste had a live jazz trio performing in the front corner, which is hard to beat).

Marta is a nice room, very "warm" visually, which was great for a cold night. Nothing wrong with the pizza, but for my taste I prefer Antonio's softer, chewier style to Marta's very thin, crispy style.

Can't really compare the two restaurants, Marta is a more upscale place, Antonio is a pizza joint (albeit with a very well stocked bar). Would be happy to eat either pizza any time.
I'm just one lost soul, swimming in a fish bowl, year after year

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