- Drinks (84)
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- Restaurant Reviews (114)
Finally got a peek at Kurt Gutenbrunner’s wine bar The Upholstery Store and it looks like the perfect spot for illicit drinks. There weren’t more than a few candles lighting the place, and I couldn’t see past the person I was meeting. The cocktails got high marks, but I sadly missed that round.
The big news of the day isn’t breaking. We’ve known for weeks that this day would come. The New York Times has run Sam Sifton’s final restaurant review. I guess we’ll next meet when I someday read his new coming-of-age food memoir.
In his final review, as promised, Sifton crowns Per Se the best restaurant in New York City. Warning: You are entering a humor-free zone. Sifton mostly gushes, but he truly gets the idea of the “whole restaurant experience.” What I mean is, he goes so far as to tell us what type of dining companion will most compliment a meal at Per Se. As a reader I find that kind of information extremely helpful. (Answer: Someone you love.)
Everyone recognizes and enjoys it when they come across a restaurant with the magic combination of great food, beautiful room, and careful service. I think I can say that. It comes along so infrequently in D.C. that people don’t even really hope for it anymore. (That’s right, when people shrug and say the food’s the only part that matters, they are just being defensive.) But just imagine: What if the food at DC Coast matched the cool, white room? What if the food at Bistrot du Coin was as authentic French as the happening space? What if Komi was set in the beautiful bar at Cashion’s Eat Place?
Do people in D.C. go to brunch? Are there excellent brunch spots in D.C.? I had a blt with tater tots once at noon on a Saturday at Tonic in Mount Pleasant. And I waited for the Tabard Inn in Dupont to begin seating one packed Sunday–I later ate one fresh-baked donut and took my entire very rich meal home in a box. I’ve heard about the drag brunch at Perry’s in Adams Morgan. So, I admit my brunch experience in D.C. is limited…
It is a very, very rare menu that gets everything right. And here come the hedges! I mean according to your own taste, of course, and presumably a particular menu is its creator’s ideal listing. Okay, so, I’ve never, ever found a menu that gets everything right for me, but today I’ve read one that comes close. (Sorry, D.C., and sorry me, it’s in New York.)
This Toby Cecchini post at the T Magazine blog is a nice read. In fact, I wish I had written it. The prose is pleasant and Cecchini goes into the right amount of detail to really capture the drink experience in question. That is, Glühwein at the Upholstery Room, the wine bar semi-attached to Wallse in the West Village. I also wish that I had written it, because that would mean that I still went to Wallse enough to know this place even existed (since 2009 no less!).
There are some restaurants that you go to purely for the experience. New York is lousy with this type of establishment. Graydon Carter’s Monkey Bar is one such place. Tucked back in the Hotel Elysee on East 54th between Madison and Park, even its location demands it be a destination rather than a happenstance. Stepping inside you are transported to the 1930s–albeit a less smoky version–with twinkling warm lights, large red banquettes, and the beautiful, jazzy murals by Ed Sorel, who also did those on the walls of Graydon’s other restaurant, The Waverly Inn.