After ending the fiscal part of my sojurn I toured the Moma, where I wasn't much entertained, the ICP where I loved the lush giant photos by Caio Reisewitz and stark recently-found ones of John G Moore's views of France in the summer of 1944, and beautiful Spencer Finch's colored panels at the Morgan (not worth $12, but viewable for free).
For dinner we went to Robert in the Museum I knew as Huntington Hartford's folly on Columbia Circle on the advice of friends. We couldn't get window seats (hugely recommended but greatly over-rated) but had a drink and gawked. And then had in order:
- an amuse ("sent out by our chef" sure!) of hummas with thin frites which Colette said were "Yuck." - a ceviche of scallops on slices of waterwelon which was/were OK - a tomato-cherry gaspacho with moussey-things that Colette loved and she predicted (correctly) I would not - mussels with ham - grilled octopus with crispy but salty chorizo and - an almond peach cake concoction.
Our bill - leaving out the imbibations we had becauce we were celebrating an upcoming heart-felt event - with a bottle of wine, no bottled water and no coffee, would come to about $130 before tax.
Go? Look, We lived in New York, on the West Side for 25 years - the view not much, the food not much, the price not much (of a much).
I don't mind publication tours but giving out money is much more fun than begging for it and since we had to be in New York to do the former what better place to have some food and art at our old haunts.
The Metropolitan Museum's Members' Dining Room has gone from an exclusive only top members except during August weekends to letting almost anyone in and a good thing too. Our meal of Lobster Bisque, Lobster Salad, Red Snapper a la plancha with two puree/sauces and Molten Valrhona Lava Cake. Everything was terrific and this is a great place that I don't see a lot of buzz about. But then I'm not tuned into the NY scene and the place keeps changing its requirements - from "top members of the Met only except for August weekends on leap years" to "anybody who is breathing." Our bill, with a bottle of fine Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc, no bottled water and 2 espressi, one a double - before tip - was $131.74. And then, one goes through the fabulous Met....................
Then, I then went thru the Garry Winogrand (ah, I don't get it) and Sol Lewitt (horribly displayed) at the Met; The Annual 2014:Redefining Tradition exhibition at the National Academy Museum and School (some quite nice pieces and TV stuff); the South American "Under the Same Sun" show at the Guggenheim (Ok, some good stuff but not nearly as dazzling as the Italian Futurism show there I saw earlier this spring); and the 3 shows at the Jewish Museum which were interesting for the eyes but empty to the souls.
Dinner was another old haunt - the Grand Central Oyster Bar where I've been coming since World War II when my Uncle Stanley tried to pass off clams instead of oysters on me thinking I didn't know the difference at age 8. Colette had a mixed salad (which one could have had anywhere in the world) and lobster gaspacho (which one could not have had anywhere in the world) and I had 6 beautiful Malpeques and a classic heart-stopping/clogging oyster pan roast - my oh my. With a bottle of French Muscadet, no bottled water and no coffee, our bill before tip, was $83.67. A Classic Dinner in a Classic/Classy place.
6.2 Le Tourbillon in the 17th has a bit of a back-story and because I promise my readers I will update information and my rating(s) here goes: I ate there first in February 2010 in their left bank site and felt it merited only a 5.1, slightly above average; then when they moved to the 17th I went in April 2014 and thought it was much better, about a 6.7. But today,....but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Today was the hottest day of the Year so far and by the time we's schlepped over to the 17th I was dripping and a glass of white Beaujolais was just what we needed. And their amuse-gueules were "very nice" said one of our friends of a couple who have homes in both Paris and San Francisco.
Our firsts were quite delicious: a plate of tomatoes, greens and melted goat cheese on toast and sweetbread bits with girolles and croutons. And another bottle of wine.
Then one of us had a very nice cut of veal and the other three had the jambonnette of stuffed rabbit - a big mistake - because the rabbit was dry as a bone and the jambonnette was unlike any jambonnette I've ever encountered (although much loved by Colette) and we had three servings to get through. By this point we'd switched to a red.
For dessert, we 4 ordered two; a tart of apricots that was lackluster and a very good tiramisu of chocolate and other flavors. (Based upon Colette's experience with dessert tarts in restaurants she has decided she can buy much better ones in a good bakery.) The mignardises, were, like the amuses, "quite nice."
We appreciated the airconditioning and we thought the service offered by two young women was very good.
Our bill with three bottles of wine, no bottled water and two coffees - 95.45 E a couple.
Conclusion: Not as ordinary a meal as I had in 2010 but not as good as 2 months ago. Too bad.
John’s Top Ten or so for 2014: 8.0 A.T. 7.8 Kigawa 7.6 BAT 7.5 Le Servan 7.4 Sur le fil, Bistrot Maquis 7.4 Maison de l’Amerique Latine 7.2 Le Bon Georges, Yard, Huitrerie Regis, Le Clown Bar 7.1 L’Envie du Jour 7.0 Table de Cybele, Will, Jeremie, Mangetout, Le Rubis 6.9 La Faille 6.5 Les Deserteurs, Dix-Sept, Les Enfants Gates 6.4 Auberge du Roi 6.3 Hai Kai, Eugenie 6.2 Atelier Ramey, Saut du Crapaud, Le Tourbillon 6.1 Circle Rouge, Postiche, Bistrot Quai 6.0 Ferme St. Simon, Petit Matthieu, OKA, Ruisseau
Les Enfants Gâtés in the 14th is a place that pleased me enormously a while ago and I resolved to go back with Colette. We invited another food-interested couple but got our wires crossed and so while we were in the 14th, they were in the 3rd. In any case they started us off with a thick mousse of avocado with tiny crunchy fish eggs or was it tapioca; hunnnnh?
Colette started off with a lovely mound of crab meat with herring eggs on a bed of crustacean jelly that needed a little fleur de sel de Camargue boost, but my sardines with sweet pepper, olives, tampenade and EVOO needed no enhancement and with the Buzet made for a great start.
For mains, Colette had the cod with squid slices, coco beans and aromatic oil and I repeated my sweetbreads with a risotto of diced potatoes - same overcooking of the sweetbreads but better offsetting by the potatoes this time around. At this point we moved onto some Chinon.
For dessert we shared a tiramisu with Mara des bois strawberries; just fine.
Our bill with the 1.5 bottles of wine, no bottled water, a 12 E supplement for the ris de veau and 2 coffees was 110 E.
Two very positive addenda: our check was delivered promptly and the A/C was turned back on after a number of us asked.