The food Usual Suspects

Due to the crappy business practice in the food industry here in the UK, I've been dying to get back to New York and enjoy great food at reasonable price, at reasonable hours. (Wagamama closed at 8PM on Sunday in central London near Victoria Station? No fish & chips? No sushi? Pizza Hut delivery costs $30+? WTF?)

So here is the list of NYC restaurants that Missus H. and/or I frequent, and I'll make a point of visiting in Jan:

  • Les Halles – best French fries there is! The steaks are great too!
  • Blue Ribbon Sushi – smaller portion than usual but fresh fish.
  • Johnny Rockets – Burger + fries + milk shakes = heart attack. But I'll die happy!
  • Sapporo – Best Japanese noddles in Midtown. Try the curry beef soap ramen and you will be nice and warm for the cold winter NYC walk. You know it is authentic when the staff is not faux-Japanese (i.e. Chinese).
  • Alfama – our favorite restaurant. Great seasonal Portuguese food with fantastic wine list. I prefer Port though and they have plenty of great ones 🙂
  • Congee Village – Where else can you get authentic Chinese food (not takeout variety) at really cheap price?
  • Blue Smoke – decent BBQ. Not proper BBQ triangle stuff but good for the NE.
  • L'Express – good French snack food. Always very busy on the weekend or week day lunch time.
  • Baluchis – decent Indian food. Not authentic like from Bangalore but hey that's OK.
  • Dos Cominos – nice Mexican food. Freshly made guacamole right in front of you. What can beat that!?
  • Pylos – fantastic Greek food. Best desert, EVER!

Actually the list can goes on forever but I think I've made my point! Don't think that I am dissing UK's restaurants in general, just that I think more should be opened on Sunday evening! And of course London is the only city where there are more than one Gordon Ramsay restaurants for us to eat at!

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Not all stars are given equally

eiron's company X'mas party was held in a West Village gastropub, which according to Michelin Guide 2006, is awarded one Michelin Star. eiron's colleagues were very excited because Michelin star is awarded only to great restaurant (even one star). But I was puzzled because eiron and I had eaten there previously with friends and although the food was good, it wasn't good enough to warrant any star! That place is more the place to be seen in rather than the place to have fine dinning. Sittings are cramped and service is definitely not up to Michelin standard (in fact not even NY standard). If that pub deserves one Michelin star then about half of New York restaurants should have one too! I can name a few just off my head: Alfama, Les Halles, Dillon's Prime.

After having eaten at two of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants in London (Angela Hartnett at The Connaught, and Gordon Ramsay's at Calridge's) which both have only one Michelin Star, I can safely declared that Michelin has lowered their standard for New York City. Mike Steinberger at Slate.com seems to think so too.

I hope NYers realised the difference in Michelin and rating and not compare Michelin Star-ed restaurants in Europe with the ones in NYC. At least not the one star ones. The three stars ones (Thomas Keller's Per Se, for example) are definitely better!

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