This Week in Reviews - August 26, 2005
Each Friday, A Guy In New York publishes "This Week in Reviews (TWIR)," with quick links to New York City restaurant reviews and mentions from the previous seven days in blogs, magazines, and newspapers.
- Robert Sietsema likes the three kinds of xiao lung bao (soupy dumplings) at Shanghai Café ... pork, pork with "a larger wad of crab than has ever been found in a [soup dumpling] before, and "gravy and pork in a doughier dumpling, fried crisp on the bottom like a pot sticker" ... "Nip and Squirt" ... "My favorite item on the menu, aside from the tiny juicy buns, is the Shanghai standard of shredded eel ninplo style" ... 100 Mott Street, 212-966-3988 [MenuPages | addyourown] ... see our post on how to eat a soupy dumpling ...
- Waiter Rant suggests that wait staff "Collect all the pharmaceutical pens you can lay your hands on. Then, when you get a problem customer, make a diagnosis and suggest some treatment options with the pen you give them to sign the check." ... some of WR's ideas ... "Zoloft – Good for the obsessive compulsive guy who double checks the bill 5 times. (OCD)" ... "Propecia – You may have money you rude arrogant bastard - but I have all my hair. (Baldness)" ... "Clozaril – Customer says “Do you know who I am?” No I don’t. And I’ll bet he doesn’t either. (Schizophrenia)" ... and closes: "So the next time you go out to eat dear customer, take a close look at the pen you’re signing the check with. Your server may be trying to tell you something." ... funny article, but take a look at the comments ... we tip based on the entire meal and insults do not increase it ... if you want to increase your tips, read the resources in our post on tipping ...
- Verbose Coma has some good advice for staff with a link: "Employees Must Wash Hands Before Returning to Work" ... and you might want to give an extra wipe to the tables at Bistro Du Vent
- The Kitchen Review states: "Please try and convince me that a national service charge wouldn't be an overall good for the industry." ... comments are open ...
- Sweet Blog o' Mine likes the huevos rancheros at Clinton Street Baking Company ... 4 Clinton Street, between Stanton and Houston Streets, 646-602-6263 [MenuPages | Citysearch] ... and has pics from her lunch at Aureole ... 34 East 61st Street, 212-319-1660 [MenuPages | Citysearch]
- gothamist has an update on the ice cream war between the Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory and the Nolita Ice Cream Factory ... asks if "anyone noticed a distinct difference in ice cream quality between the two shops?" ... see the comments ... we wonder if this isn't a PR stunt to sell so-so ice cream ...
- Plate of the Day tried the new Congee at 98 Bowery ... "Congee Village Chinese Restaurant NY Bowery" ... and liked ... the Thai chicken feet, which "is essentially a spicier pickled version...served cold...The bones have been removed so you just get the crunch of the skin." ... and the "steamed bamboo plate of chicken and mushrooms" ... "food overall was pretty good and the service was average" ... 98 Bowery, between Hester and Grand Streets, 212-965-5028 [MenuPages | Citysearch]
- Hala Lettieri says the Roma Luncheonette "isn't quite as transcendently good as the old Bleecker Luncheonette, but it comes close in spirit and is done with a surprisingly light, clean touch." ... 636 East 187th Street, Bronx, 718-367-9189 [Gayot]
- A Hamburger Today in "George Motz Mania" ... links to a 90 minute seminar given by George Motz on October 6 ...
- cityrag lets us know that "2 Big Macs have less fat than 1 Chipotle burrito!" ... Ai yi yi! ...
- David Rosen, like Gael Greene, likes the Peking duck at Mainland ... "The wood aroma imparted on the duck is what makes this classic Chinese dish a standout at Mainland." ... in "Mainland Is Latest Addition to City's Club of Upscale Chinese Restaurants" ... 1081 Third Ave. between East 63rd and 64th, 212-888-6333 [MenuPages | Citysearch]
- Elissa Meyers' Contrarian Quarterly says in "WD-50 Tasting Menu" ... "If there's a more fun place to eat in town we've yet to find it." ... the yellowtail was "terrifically delightful" ... also liked ... squab breast ... artichokes and ricotta ... lamb belly ... and "the quite phenomenal carrots confit" ... 50 Clinton Street, between Stanton and Rivington Streets, 212-477-2900 [MenuPages | Citysearch]
- Pascale Le Draoulec says "Tides still looking for its sea legs" ... "A handful of dishes would lure me back, but an equal number suggests the kitchen needs a buoy - and fast." ... but that "washing your hands in the bathroom is the closest you'll ever get to being in an Herbal Essence commercial" ... another bathroom to see after 21 ... 102 Norfolk Street, near Delancey, 212-254-8855 [Citysearch]
- Gael Greene also visited Tides ... "Why Do I Feel a Sea Breeze on Delancey and Norfolk?" ... liked ... the lobster roll ... jicama-carrot slaw ... corn pudding ... but the red snapper was overcooked and "two out of five scallops are over the hill" ... we've smelled sea breezes like that ...
- Dana Bowen looks at the recently-opened You-Chun ... "Digging In With Chopsticks and Scissors" ... says the best dishes are "Dumplings; all versions of naeng myun; seafood noodle soups; pork belly" ... 5 West 36th Street, 212-239-5000 ... pics at hello, typepad
- Steve Cuozzo, in "Spice is Right, but Central not Grand" ... warns that the entrees at Havana Central are a "minefield" ... but says it "tames the island spices at prices that make it one of the Theater District's best bargains" ... 151 West 46th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues, 212-398-7440 [MenuPages | Citysearch]
- Joshua Bernstein likes the outdoor patio at "summertime oldie-but-goodie: El Rey Del Sol" ... "Pitcher-Perfect Salvation" ... "it serves some of the city's finer margaritas in a setting tailored to heat-induced lethargy and marathon intoxication" ... 232 West 14th Street, between 7th & 8th Avenues, 212-229-0733 [MenuPages | Citysearch]
- Peter Meehan looked at ... espresso accessories made by Ken Nye's Espressocraft in "The Mad Scientist of Espresso, Way, Way Beyond Mr. Coffee" ... and links to CoffeeGeek, an amazing site for coffee lovers ...
- Frank Bruni reports that Spigolo "serves unpretentious Italian food in an uncontrived setting" ... while the kitchen "doesn't make the mistakes of flamboyant inventiveness and annoyingly cheeky conceits" ... yet "Spigolo's dishes aren't uniformly terrific" ... he liked ... the shrimp and baby octopus appetizers ... the salmon fillet ... pan-roasted wild striped bass ... and some desserts ... "Italian, Almost Home Cooked" ... 1561 Second Avenue at East 81st Street, 212-744-1100 [MenuPages | Citysearch]
- Jules at The Bruni Digest ... also looks at "Spigolo: Bosomy Buddies" ...
- Tables for Two went to Mercadito ... liked the "guacamoles—traditional, mango, and pineapple—are piquant and addictive" ... and the wild-bass seviche ... the tacos ranged from "uninspired" to "superb" ... and helpfully suggests that "the back dining area provides a cooler, slightly less raucous refuge" ... 179 Avenue B, between East 11th and East 12th Streets, 212-529-6490 [MenuPages | Citysearch]
- Hal Rubenstein reviewed Bette ... "No Velvet Rope" ... says owner Amy Sacco is "determined to make it feel more like a neighborhood restaurant than a white-hot scenesters’ hangout" ... "the menu won’t dazzle you with innovation" ... damning with faint praise "the food [is] sometimes spirited, generally good, and always serviceable" ... "But when the kitchen gets slammed, and it can happen as quickly as Beyoncé changes outfits, the young staff can get careless" ... Frank Bruni reviewed Bette last week ... Bette, 461 West 23rd Street, 212-366-0404 [MenuPages | Citysearch] ... and said Gusto "is the rare local spot worth a visit just for the food" ... but doesn't like "its sparkling but unnavigable design" ... Gusto, 60 Greenwich Avenue, near 7th Avenue and 11th Street, 212-924-8000 [MenuPages | Citysearch]
- The Amateur Gourmet had a busy week ... nominates the Chicken Adobo at Cendrillon ... "my #1 favorite chicken dish for 2005." ... 45 Mercer Street, 212-343-9012 [MenuPages | Citysearch] ... also went to Prune for dinner ... had roast suckling pig that was "prefectly [sic] moist and succulent and flavorful" ... "heaven-on-earth delicious chocolate bread pudding with mmmmmmm sauce" ... and "a magnificent evening." ... 54 East 1st Street, 212-677-6221 [MenuPages | Citysearch] ... also posted James Felder's review of Mara's Homemade ... who declares, "Mara’s has the best BBQ combo in the city" ... 342 East 6th Street, 212-598-1110 [MenuPages | Citysearch]
- Andrea Strong writes about Uovo ... "while the place gives good vibe and made me want to spend many a night dining there, the food gave me little desire to return." 175 Avenue B at 11th Street, 212-475-8686 [MenuPages | Citysearch]
- Clareified, in "THAT'S AMORE...OR 900 FAT GRAMS...ONE OR THE OTHER," says the best pizza in NYC is in Brooklyn ... and "the best pizza is DiFara's on Avenue J." ... Grimaldi's "the pies are perfect everytime" ... Totonno's ... Gino's ... and "Any neighborhood pizza shop. Look for placards advertising Italian ices and there should be a huge window that opens horizontally in the front." ... DiFara's, 1424 Avenue J, Brooklyn, 718-258-1367 [slice] ... Totonno Pizzeria Napolitano, 1524 Neptune Avene, Coney Island, 718-372-8606 [slice | Citysearch] ... Gino's Pizzeria, 831 Flatbush Avenue, 718-287-8800 [Citysearch]
- Alarming News responds "Totonno's [Coney Island] remains my favorite" ... and L&B Spumoni Gardens "deserves a second shot. I'm buying, Dawn, if you're driving." ... L&B Spumoni Gardens, 2725 86th Street, Brooklyn, 718-372-8400 [slice | Citysearch]
Did we miss your favorite review? Want to see your review here next week?Let us know: aguyinnewyork [at] gmail ... we're especially interested in hearing from NYC bloggers ...
To Tip or Not to Tip - NYT Op-Ed
Steven Shaw has an op-ed in today's NYT, "Tipped Off"," that advocates replacing the tip with a service charge.
Michael Lynn, an associate professor of consumer behavior and marketing at Cornell's School of Hotel Administration, has conducted dozens of studies of tipping and has concluded that consumers' assessments of the quality of service correlate weakly to the amount they tip.
We like the practices of adding a standard service charge with no tipping and posting the full price of a dish, including tax and service charge.
My experience with being on the receiving end of a tip was during the years I drove a cab, and I can say unequivocally that the best tippers are waiters, waitresses, and bartenders. The worst tippers in my experience? Doctors, lawyers, and airline pilots (the pilots were usually condescending, too).
- "Mega tips: Scientifically Tested Techniques to Increase Your Tips," by Dr. Michael Lynn, 2004 (pdf)
- "Researcher in consumer behavior looks at attitudes of gratitude that affect gratuities," Cornell Chronicle, August 17, 2000
- "How much to tip," CNNMoney
- "How to Tip Properly" on eHow
- "The Economics and Etiquette of Tipping," by Steen Videbeck, Policy (The Centre for Independent Studies, Australia), Summer 2004
- "Tipping Your Server: Better With Cash or Credit," by Jay M. Allison, Missouri Western State College, December 5, 1995