Cornelius is a new French and American style joint in Grand Central. My wife and I came in to give it a try, as the menu looked pretty incredible.
We started with some cocktails, all of which were killer. My favorites were the Sazerac (not pictured) and the caviar martini. If you have some time before you start to eat, grab the espresso old fashioned. That also works well with dessert too though.
We started with this foie gras terrine, which wasn’t on the menu. This is basically delicious meat butter, and it would also pair well with their cheese plate. We had that for dessert.
Next up was the beef tartare. This is made from hand cut prime tenderloin, but the bump of caviar is extra/not standard. I really loved this, and it’s definitely large enough to eat as a main course.
We shared this beautiful 28oz, 30-day dry aged NY strip/shell steak on the bone.
The sauce is a velvety and mild Hollandaise, and draped over the bone is a nice portion of sautéed broccoli rabe. On top, shaved Perigord black truffle. 9/10 – very tender, well rested, and great aged flavor coming through on that evenly browned crust.
Of course we didn’t stop there. These two dishes were both beautiful and well executed, but the winner of the night goes to the duck leg confit. The lamb collops of tenderloin were perfect, it’s just that the duck was masterfully prepared, The meat was so tender and well seasoned/balanced. And with a huge bed of lentils underneath, it was filling as well. Make sure you order that!
For dessert, along with the cheese plate up above, we had these incredible dolce de leche donuts. WOW! I was actually shoving some of the currant jelly into the hole to make them even more decadent.
This place is crazy good, and I really can’t wait to go back to try the chateaubriand for two and a few other items that look great.
This newly re-opened French joint offers three and five course prix fix tasting menus as well as a la carte dining. I went with some of the gang from Golden Packing to try out their wares and see what they are doing with the products Golden supplies to them.
The interior was beautiful and fancy.
First, the “Guillotine” cocktail. A bitter chocolate version of an old fashioned. Very nice.
Their table bread was this delicious basket of pao de queijo, a Brazilian cheese bread which is more addictive than crack. The owner is Brazilian so this was a nod to home.
We started with a tasting of yellowtail. This piece here was my favorite.
They will soon have an omakase sushi menu and a nice bar seating area for this part of the menu. They’re just waiting on some final refrigeration pieces behind the bar.
Next, Angel hair sea urchin carbonara. This was absolutely amazing. I just wanted MORE of it.
I ordered the chicken, since the chef spoke very highly of it when we visited him in the kitchen. Tender, juicy and extremely flavorful.
I tried a bike of my buddy’s duck as well. A nice light smoked flavor really made this pop.
The steak that Toqueville gets from Golden Packing is dry aged for three weeks. The cook is immaculate on this. Perfection. 9/10 because I wanted more than 6oz. ha!
This white truffle risotto was intensely earthy.
And this pineapple and lime sorbet dessert invention was otherworldly in its presentation. Wow!
I will definitely be back here again soon. Everything was delicious and the service and quality is worthy of a Michelin star for sure.
15 EAST AT TOQUEVILLE
1 E 15th St
New York, NY 10003
This joint opened recently and is connected to the 9 Orchard hotel. There’s a lot I want to try here, but on this first trip my wife and I just stopped in for a couple of cocktails and some snacks.
The cocktails are great. I had a Gibson that used basil syrup in the mix. Very herbal and unique.
I also tried their amari-based old fashioned, which was really strong at first. But as the ice mellowed it out, it was perfect.
We had the Oysters Rockefeller, which were quite expensive at $24 for four. They were delicious, however, and reminded us of the flavor profile of escargots.
We also had an order of their perfectly cooked fries, which come with ketchup, mayo, and dijon. I love that they give you dijon automatically. It’s my favorite condiment.
Based on this trip, we will definitely be back to try more of the menu. Stay tuned for updates!
On a second trip, after a LOT of hype in the food media world, I noticed a decline here.
First off, the nice ice cube in the old fashioned is gone now, and they replaced it with a bunch of small regular ice cubes. Bad move!
We started with the steak tartare, which was fairly good although it was very heavy on the onion and vinegar. The parm crisp on top was nice though.
The burger is no longer on the menu. I was excited to try it but they had a steak on special, so I went with that.
$185! Get the fuck outta here for 32oz!
It was just okay. Cooked perfectly, nice crust. But the meat itself was pretty dense and tough in places, and a good amount of connective tissue that was inedible. The best parts were along the bone, and edges, where some aged flavor managed to creep in. 6/10.
My wife’s duck was better, but parts of the dish were insanely salty.
The bread and butter here is fantastic, and complimentary. Get it.
I popped into this little French joint for Brunch last weekend. I tried the steak burger and really enjoyed it. it was topped with melted brie, thin sliced tomato and cucumbers, and tartar sauce, of all things. It really worked nicely. And the fries were BONKERS. I’d definitely eat this burger again.
LES ENFANTS DE BOHEME
177 Henry St
New York, NY 10002
The newly Michelin-starred Francie in Brooklyn was a mix of both great and “meh” dishes. I’m honestly a bit shocked that they received a star, but one or two items that we tried were truly top notch.
We started with the sourdough bread and lard, the duck mortadella, and a duck sausage that was on special for the night.
The duck sausage was the winner of these, but I must also point out that the lard that came with the bread was killer. They should be selling it by the jar. It had a nice hint of lemon to it that cut the fatness just right.
We also tried the barigoule (braised artichoke, fried chicken, mushrooms, egg yolk). This was really unique and tasty, and I’m glad we tried it.
We tried four pasta dishes. Of these, the rigatoni with green garlic and fennel pollen sausage was the best, followed by the tortelli with suckling pig and cracklings (despite the second being slightly too salty). The cavatelli was good for a more veggie friendly option, but the lobster ravioli was a bit of a let down to several of us.
For the mains, we ordered two entrees for two: the rib steak and the dry aged duck crown.
Both were beautifully cooked and presented.
But the duck was the star of the show. Perfectly crisped skin atop a layer of buttery soft rendered fat, with juicy, succulent, pink duck flesh beneath. Big win.
The steak was just meh. There was something sweet going on that didn’t sit well with me – I believe it was a molasses glaze. I still ate a shitload of it, but for the price point of $175 I would never order it again. It was too small in addition to having a confusing flavor profile, especially with the weird maple hollandaise that it came with. 6/10.
Over all, I highly recommend coming here for the duck apps, the rigatoni and tortelli pasta dishes, and the duck crown. Skip on the rest. For drinks, they do make very nice cocktails, but they’re pricey.
Quality Bistro opened back in January, if I recall, right when I started a hellish new job with insane demands on my time. Then, of course, the entire city went into lockdown from Covid-19. Somehow my work-life balance got even worse. I’m only just now finally beginning to break away from the +60 hours/week grip of this gig, to get back out there and review restaurants for you savage bastards.
Anyway, the point of that bullshit preface is really just to say that I’m excited to finally write about a new(ish) joint that I’ve tried, especially one that’s serving some awesome food.
Here’s my quick video run down of those spots, if you haven’t seen it:
First of all, this new place, Quality Bistro, is totally decked out. This is easily the most gorgeously decorated space in the entire Quality Branded suite of restaurants. High ceilings, beautiful booths, decor and tables – really on another level. They spared no expense. So when you go here, make sure you request a table inside. I recommend the booths in the room on the left when you walk in. The bar is sick too (hopefully some day soon we will be allowed to sit at one again).
The menu is decidedly French, which makes sense given the “bistro” restaurant name. But like all their other restaurants, they are aggressively beef-forward. I wouldn’t call them a steakhouse, per se, but they get very close to it. They offered five steak cuts when I was there: a filet mignon, a strip, a bavette, a tomahawk and a “cote de boeuf” rib eye for two. We went with the tomahawk, but let me run through the other stuff we tried.
We started with the escargots and the crab cake. The escargots are probably some of the best I’ve had in the city, rivaling Paul Denamiel’s at Le Rivage. Very close competition! And they’re in the shell too, which I love. Order these, and get a dozen because you save $10 when you jump from a half ($19) to a full dozen ($29).
The crab cake is massive. It’s about the size of an 8oz burger patty, thick too. Super crisp, great sauce. I think this would be amazing as a lunch sandwich with pickled green tomato on a brioche bun or a croissant, with a bit more green on top. Absolutely delicious.
Our mid course was the prime tomahawk. This comes slathered with Rogue Creamery smokey blue cheese – a TON of it!
The smell coming off of this thing was so amazing. It filled the massive dining room with funk.
The cook temp was a perfect medium rare. So juicy, so tender, and so packed with flavor. This is an easy 9/10. I stripped the fucker clean!
We chased that with the corn custard brûlée. I had high hopes for this, but it fell short for two reasons: (1) The inside was less custard and more clumpy scrambled egg. This is usually a turn off for me, but the flavor was really good, so I still devoured it. And (2), a bit heavy on the caramelized sugar on top. Too thick for my liking. The flake salt, however, really made the flavors on this pop. I can see this side being a star with a bit more fine tuning.
*SEE UPDATED REVIEW NOTES BELOW!*
Our third course was the Moroccan fried chicken. They serve a whole bird for two in a beautiful tagine with fresh cilantro, Moroccan pancakes and a trio of dipping sauces (spicy honey, Moroccan cilantro chimichurri and citrus yogurt).
The breading is really nicely spiced, with great middle eastern earthiness and aromas.
Absolutely jerkworthy. I’d get this again in a heartbeat. In fact, I’m glad we ordered big, because we took more than half of it home. I’m about to eat the left overs right now, and I’m psyched!
Last, we had the apple tart sundae with cinnamon ice cream. This was really good, and big enough to share with your date at just $12. The cinnamon ice cream tasted like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, my absolute favorite cereal of all time!
I guess that about does it for now. I plan to go back and try some of the other cuts, particularly the bavette frites, since that’s a little less common on menus. Definitely give this place a shot. Gaetano, Scott and Roger will treat you right. They provide amazing, clean service here, and you’ll feel safely spaced apart and very comfortable. Can’t believe I have to even mention such things right now…
My wife and I went back for round two, and tried a bunch more stuff.
For apps, we tried the taste flame, which is the joint’s take on Detroit style pizza + bread service. This was incredible!
Probably my favorite app here so far though, is this tuna carpaccio. Spicy, fresh, and deliciously refreshing.
These jambon beurre bites are pretty damn tasty as well.
This time, my wife went with the branzino. This was perfectly cooked and very flavorful. It comes with a choice of either salad or fries.
I went with the bavette, and also went with the French fries option.
They developed a great char on the outside…
While maintaining a perfect cook temp on the inside…
This was a solid 8/10. Really nicely executed.
On the side, we gave the corn brûlée another spin, and MAN were we glad that we did. As I expected, with the improvements I outlined above, this dish was a star. Much nicer texture inside (real custard-like), and lighter on the sugar top. PERFECT!
So that’s two steaks down, three to go: filet, strip, and rib eye for two. I’LL BE BACK!
Strip steak has a mild aged flavor, but a really nice peppercorn crust. Perfectly cooked throughout. 8/10.
Rib eye for two is great – a solid 8/10.
Lemon chicken is a sleeper here. Amazing dish!
Also really loved the glass for the French Bird cocktail. They should sell them!
In all my years in NYC, I never tried Balthazar until last night. I had heard all the great stories: awesome steaks, awesome fries, awesome bread. Only one of those is true, but there are other things worth noting.
My wife and I stopped in for a quick meal at the bar. We started with some nice stiff cocktails, and a pair of apps: escargots and steak tartare. BIG FRENCH.
The escargots were awesome. We crushed them quickly. The tartare was average to good, but the slices of toasted bread were awesome. In fact, the Balthazar bread is so good that other restaurants use Balthazar bread for their bread service.
For our mains, we had the burger and the steak frites.
The burger was really good. Nice crust, great flavor, ample cheese coverage.
The steak, however…
… was Applebees level trash. It was cooked nicely, but the quality was average at best.
I can make anything look good, but this was a 5/10 or 6/10 at best. At $42 this felt like a rip off, and I think it was either flank or flatiron. Not strip as I was kind of expecting. The fries were very good, but not quite at awesome level. Go across town to Raoul’s if a killer burger and steak frites is what you’re after. Here, I would stick to the bread, the burger, and the snails. And yes, the fries are still worth trying if you haven’t already.
I stopped into Pastis yesterday to try the burger. It was fantastic!
I have to be honest – part of me wanted to hate it. I know Pastis was loved by many back in the day, but I always despised the crowd of douchebags who went there. The place was (and is) beautiful. I don’t remember the food so much from back in the day, but this perfect chef’d-up Big Mac will definitely have me going back for more. I’ll try a steak frites too eventually. The fries are amazing, and they give you a lot with the burger.
This french joint just opened about two months ago with a really creative and unique menu. There were about eight starters that I wanted to try, but I ended up settling on three.
Black Garlic, Cynar & Bone Marrow Escargots
Incredible. The flavors, when combined, almost tasted like a really good balsamic. I’ve never really had snails like this before. Delicious.
Whiskey French Toast Foie Gras
This also had a cherry compote on it (on the toast in the background), along with some cocoa nibs and flake salt. So good. Really enjoyed this dish.
These massive head-on prawns were delicious. The spicy black garlic sauce really made them pop.
For the entree, we went with this 50-day dry aged cote de boeuf.
It comes with some tangy bone marrow and crispy fried onions, but what makes this stand out is the additional dry aging that they do in house. They get the meat at 28-days from Pat LaFrieda, but they age it for more time on site. I always find that this makes for a better aged flavor. 9/10.
We paired this with the schmaltz tater tots, which were fucking awesome.
We also had the purple and green asparagus, which was a special for the day. It had caviar and a fried/poached duck egg on top, along with a tangy hollandaise sauce.
For dessert, we took down this nice bread pudding.
This joint doesn’t have a full liquor license yet, but they do offer some creative amari type light cocktails, and a nice wine and beer list. I highly recommend this place. I know I’ll be going back to try the other apps that I wanted, along with some duck, chicken and pasta.
LE PETIT ROOSTER
491 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10024
My wife and I tried the newly opened Meatpacking District French joint “Coco J’adore” this past weekend.
This place has a really beautiful interior that’s just screaming to be infiltrated by trendy types, insta-models and brunch-drunk socialites.
It will no doubt become a big time scene place with hard to acquire tables, but contrary to what you might assume from my lead-in, it’ll be worth the effort to get in here.
Both the food and drinks are awesome. Over the course of our sweeping menu tasting, we tried four different cocktails.
1) Covent Garden
This refreshing take on a sour was made with gin, aperol, amaro, chamomile peppercorn syrup, egg white and lemon.
Rum, cachasa, passion fruit, demerara, campari and ginger beer.
Rye, ricard, earl grey tea syrup, black cherry and lemon.
This was a favorite. Vodka, cinnamon, green apple juice, lemon and rose powder.
All tended to be on the sweet side, but there were a few others that were more robust in profile as well. I’ll try those next time.
Okay on to the food.
First off, nice table bread with whipped butter.
This fava bean “hummus” with mixed olives and citrus was awesome. I could eat this by the bucketload.
These scallops were perfectly seared and presented in a sauce that was reminiscent of runny egg yolk. Delicious. That;’s a carrot salsa on top.
I loved the escargots. They’re served in-shell in an aromatic bowl of peppercorns. Delicious. These are top tier.
We tried two pasta dishes: the salt cod agnolotti, which was our favorite of the two, and the rabbit gnocchi. The rabbit ate more like a fall or winter dish, while the agnolotti was light, summery and fresh. Both good though.
Next up, the wild salmon with couscous and broccoli rabe. Excellent. Nice crispy skin too. This was my wife’s favorite.
The filet mignon was cooked to a nice medium rare and served on a bed of mashed potatoes with a mix of sautéed wild mushrooms. Very nicely done. 8/10.
For dessert, we had the creme brûlée and the chocolate soufflé with vanilla ice cream. Of these, we preferred the creme brûlée but both were good.
This is a great addition to the neighborhood. Go give it a shot before it gets mobbed!
1 Little West 12th Street
New York, NY 10014