New York City Restaurants

one star for Ilis.

what’s most surprising is the amount of time after opening to review.

https://messaging-custom-newsletters.nytimes.com/dynamic/render?isViewInBrowser=true&te=1&nl=the-restaurant-review&emc=edit_pw_20240513&uri=nyt%3A%2F%2Fnewsletter%2F72c2d692-797c-551d-9ba3-40580ec7520f

Ouch!

Fascinating read. Thanks for sharing.

Have not been.

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I had an incredible dinner there and will be going again on Friday. It is definitely a polarizing restaurant as I know many who have really not liked it.

I’ve yet to go, but friends whose palates I respect did not enjoy it.

nice little sit down with Anthony Mangieri. I felt a little more relaxed just reading it.

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I love the guy. He did a great job explaining what went wrong the Fabian and Jeremiah partnership.

Dinner with my wife at Jungsik last night. Really enjoyable overall but enough negatives / neutrals that I wouldn’t go back given the price point.

The food was immaculately and in many instances creatively presented. The dishes were thoughtfully thematic, with many variations of umami, clearly Korean flavors. My favorite dish was a large, red octopus arm cooked to perfect crunchiness on the outside curled around a gochujang based sauce. Portions were just the right size for me and, combined with the fresh desserts (particularly a crisp sorbet palate cleanser) I left satisfied but not obliterated.

Other than the octopus dish and maybe one or two others, however, the flavors were merely good rather than memorable. To my taste, three of the main dishes (sea urchin bibimbap, scallops and braised beef) had a texture I can only describe as slimy, although my wife reckons that’s just my lack of Asian food cred. The service was by no means bad, but a bit chaotic and really not at the level you would expect from a two star restaurant.

At 45 pages, the wine list is a novella rather than war and peace, but it was well curated - several enticing options for both a bottle of white and half bottle of red - and fairly priced. The wine service alas was brusque and not really helpful.

At the end of the meal, the bill was presented on a tablet with a pre-loaded 20% tip, with the server hovering at my shoulder offering to enter an alternative tip manually himself if needed. Perhaps we’re old fashioned, but neither of us though this was a terribly cool way to finish a nice meal, and contributed to the overall impression that the service needs rethinking.

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It’s timely that you mention this. I was just talking with my wife about how at the last few places (both high end and casual) that we’ve been to the server kind of looked away while holding the handheld payment device so I could enter whatever tip I wanted. I thought that was an astute move as it made me more comfortable.

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@Jorge_Henriquez made reservations at Monsieur Vo for us this evening after I got done with work obligations. First, we stopped at Mister Paradise, which had a fun and eclectic cocktail lineup. Short list, and lots of action in each drink, but very, very enjoyable cocktails. My brief bit of advice to the owners would be to delineate the cocktails between styles, as they were not entirely clear from ingredient description. Even so, fun place, good action, and interesting clientele, ranging from old dudes like us having a pre-dinner cocktail, to private room full of 25 25 year old women dressed to kill. Fun vibe, simple but cool decor.

Monsieur Vo was extraordinary. We have a great vietnamese food scene in Houston, but not much of real merit in Dallas. While Madame Vo is lighter and pho oriented, Monsieur is much heavier, meat oriented, with various poultry and seafood dishes. But they are famous for their Beef Shank. I’ll cut to the chase. If you like southeast Asian flavors, this is pretty elite. The beef shank is one of the single best dishes I’ve had in years, perfectly balancing a hedonistically rich slow braised beef shank that is literally melt in your mouth (you just pull off chunks with chopsticks), with a perfect balance of salty, spicy, sweet, and tangy. If there was rub, I ate the meat. And that was after quail with lime and rub, a full sampler plate, a noodle dish with chicken gizzards, thighs, and crispy skin, and a noodle dish with crab. In essence we had an app and four entrees and dessert between two people and one entree was for three people. It was such a preposterous amount of food that I think our waiter suspected we were competitive eaters. But it was all crack-level addictive.

IF I was picking fly shit out of the pepper I would say: the crab pasta dish sauce was to die for, but overpowered any flavor of crab, which was fine because the dish was delicious anyway just not really crab driven. The chicken noodle dish was very good. The sampler platter came with hot water and glass wraps but I don’t like that so I just ate the good bits and the beef was sublime to the point of mesmerizing, but the chicken was overcooked and meh…the vietnamese sausages were so good I started wishing that I could replace every breakfast sausage I’ll ever have with those. The beef shank is served with just some cabbage with chili, but it needs rice or plain noodles because it has a wet braise though is really mostly a damp dry rub. It just needs something to absorb some of the juice.

Now, that sounds like adverse commentary, but it isn’t really. I was beyond happy with everything. From a consumption standpoint, I can only think of a handful of meals in the past few years where I ate so much simply because everything was so goddam good. I am writing this late tonight in part because I’m such a blimp I don’t really feel like sleeping.

It was sensational. If you like vietnamese food, take it for a spin. Champagne and riesling and gruner. Or just drink beer.

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Thanks for the write up. It is a 5 minute walk from me and I have never gone.

I don’t recall seeing it mentioned here, but we ate at Figure Eight on Cornelia Street the other night. All-in-all, not a very good experience. Service was distant (both literally and figuratively) and disjointed, with very bad pacing. The food was hit or miss. High points were probably the raw scallop dish and the long beans. The rest just okay, and the pricing was pretty heavy for what you were getting. I did quite enjoy their version of a dark & stormy however.

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Strong post. Thanks for writing. Wasn’t even on my list.

Oh it was discussed! It was the restaurant that was discussed in the twilight of the somm thread that was looking for a GM / Somm.

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Your intrepid reporter is hard at work. Three great experiences. GEM Wine on Friday was fantastic. The current menu is bursting with spring flavors. The asparagus stew was wonderful, the fried skate wing with Morels was one of the best things I have eaten this year and ramp pesto Lasagna was genius!

Met some friends at Parcelle which is open at 1:00 on Saturdays and just a perfect day drinking spot. They also have a huge outdoor area.

Then our return to Illis. We loved our first meal. But I do concede not everyone I know loves it. Well this meal was even better, I have no idea WTF Pete Wells ate! I will admit that it is a bit of a long meal at 5+ hours but it was also nice to take our time and enjoy our wine and a leisurely pace. We are going to go back soon to try the a la carte menu in the bar area.

Up next Uncle Lous for lunch!

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Atoboy tonight. First time. Very much looking forward.

Anything in particular to keep in mind?

get the fried chicken add on!

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Enjoyed Ci Siamo right before hitting a show in the local area. $35 corkage for a Michelin recommended restaurant is a great selling point. 2018 & 2019 Burlotto Castelleto at reasonable price (same as retail, and cheaper if you used InKind). We only tried a handful of dishes, most were great… carrots + dill, bean stew appetizer, and ramps + green chili pasta.

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skate wing with morels!
that’s enough to make me get on a train
maybe next weekend when the city heads to the hamptons :wink:

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yes—fried chicken add on is a MUST!

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