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.
My wife told me about this joint that just opened their second location on the upper west side. I took her here for an early surprise Valentine’s Day dinner, since she has to travel on the actual date.
Everything we had here was incredible, and at a price point of $155 for the premium omakase, you really get a ton of high quality pieces. I think there were almost 20. Below are a few of my favorites.
Of course, the one that involved wagyu and foie gras was awesome:
These two with highly marbled tuna belly were great.
This was also awesome; three different kinds of eggs:
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
I’d been to Felix a few times for drinks in the nice weather, but I never actually sat down to eat until yesterday. I was invited in to take photos of the food and post some stuff to Instagram, so my wife and I went for dinner and tried some good French classics.
First, the foie gras terrine.
This was incredibly smooth and creamy. It was served with toasted bread and some caramelized shallots. Highly recommended, but I actually liked eating it better with the table bread than the toast.
I had to get the beef carpaccio, just because, you know, beef.
It was beautifully plated with arugula and shaved parmesan. Also really tasty, and also recommended.
My wife went with the cassoulet.
This baby was packed with a massive assortment of meats: chicken, duck, pork and two types of sausage.
I went with what was described on the menu as both a cote de boeuf and an aged 40oz prime rib for two. However, what came out was more like a traditional steak as opposed to roasted prime rib.
It also felt like it was a little smaller than 40oz. Perhaps maybe 32oz.
I ordered somewhere between rare and medium rare. Some parts were spot on, and others were over. But the flavor was pretty good at a solid 7/10. It also came with a nice vegetable medley of string beans, carrots, mushrooms and baby Brussels sprouts. The fries were really great too.
The three sauces that came with it were Bernaise, peppercorn and blue cheese (and a small dish of dijon for the fries). My favorites were the peppercorn and the blue cheese, but I was going into the peppercorn more because the blue cheese sauce was strong.
For dessert we tried the apple tart (tarte tatin).
This had a great texture on the outer edges of the tarte, with a soft and tasty apple inside. A nice pairing with some vanilla ice cream.
Occasionally you come across a meal that changes the way you view particular food items. I’m a steak man. Clearly, this is known. I’ve eaten hundreds of cuts in my endeavor to find the best that NYC has to offer. I thought I’d pretty much seen it all in the world of steak. What else could there be, aside from some aged wagyu, or something completely ridiculous and rare? But just when I was starting to get a little bored and comfortable with my favorite food, Petrossian Chef Richard Farnabe came through with a completely unique and utterly genius steak offering.
The cut itself is something with which we steak aficionados are familiar; a 28-day, dry-aged strip loin (NY Strip). This lean cut hails from Four Story Hill Farm in PA. But Chef Richard’s preparation is what sets it apart from the panoply of great meats in the city of this cut’s namesake; it’s cooked to a perfect medium rare all the way through, and topped with bone marrow and caviar.
Caviar? Why would someone do that, you ask? Well, having eaten it, I have a hypothesis: The natural brine and salt content in the caviar compliments the aged taste of the meat in a tremendous way. Aged beef has a certain flavor profile to it – earthy, funky, and highly concentrated. The caviar, being naturally salty and funky in its own right, is the perfect pairing with this kind of meat. It helps bring out those aged characteristics while also providing a juicy pop and briny burst to each bite.
And, as you might expect, the marrow adds some nice fat flavor and texture back into the lean cut of beef. It really is a brilliant conception. In my opinion this is probably one of the best strip steaks you can find in town. 10/10.
It’s accompanied by a semi-raw, ice cold asparagus salad. This adds some acidity and fresh green flavors to the meal, deftly balancing the punch you’re getting from the steak.
And that’s not the only beef I tried. On the appetizer menu, they offer A4 wagyu topped with grilled sturgeon.
This comes with a pickled quail egg and some caviar as well, along with a little crispy potato cube. When eaten together (beef and fish), you are experiencing that same beautiful pairing of earth and sea, one enhancing the other. The sturgeon had a flavor that was reminiscent of a good, Japanese style grilled eel. The slightly candied or caramelized, almost sweet top coating on the sturgeon pulled out a lot of those rich beef fat flavors from the steak. Another 10/10. For the record I believe this was sliced strip loin, but since it’s A4 wagyu, I will include it in my “other cuts” section for catalog purposes.
Now that I’ve gotten the most important things out of the way, let me briefly discuss the remainder of the meal. After all, the rest was just as impressive as the meats reviewed above. Even the table bread and drinks were nice.
Petrossian explores elements of both classic French cuisine and Russian/Eastern European cuisine, and there is a healthy presence of caviar and smoked fish in the dishes, aside from having a robust stand-alone caviar menu. The starting amuse, for example, features both French technique and Russian cuisine, along with both caviar and smoked fish.
What exactly are you looking at here? Three items.
(1) The lollipops are smoked salmon with cream cheese foam dipped in beet foam to make a shell;
(2) The cubes are savory caviar marshmallows;
(3) The spheres are chocolate foie gras truffles with gold leaf.
These concise, decadent and dynamic bites set the tone for the entire meal. Petrossian is truly one of the few great places to indulge and splurge with a high quality meal where it’s actually worth the money, and where there is no pretense, no elitism and no unnecessary vegetable worship.
The next item that came out was a terrine-like foie gras brulee with smoked sturgeon and a pomegranate Guinness drop. It came with a little bread puff but I really enjoyed this by itself.
The Guinness drop was spun sugar and candy-like in flavor and texture, and the foie brulee was rich, creamy and deeply flavorful.
My wife’s starter was the Petrossian sampler, which contained various smoked fish items and caviar. Everything I tasted on this plate was delicious in addition to being beautifully presented.
Her entree was a special: baby pig, which consisted of an assortment of meats from the animal, including kidney, ear, rib, and crispy skin. There was also a croquette and crispy hash made from the meat as well. I tasted a bit of everything, thankfully, because I definitely would have ordered this if the steak wasn’t on the menu.
In particular, I really liked the kidney, which was skewered on a sprig of rosemary. That little touch of presentation/technique added a great roasted herb flavor to the meat. Absolutely outstanding. It almost reminded us of Japanese yakitori.
Our sides were sumac pomme souffle, which were like little puffed potato chips, and a bowl of sauteed wild mushrooms with herbs.
These items went perfectly with our meat courses.
Dessert was a lot of fun as well. We had beignets with a multitude of injectable sauce bulbs, and a smoked wood ice cream chocolate ball, which was covered in chocolate sauce at table side.
The beignets were very light and crisp, and my favorite sauce was the pistachio. The chocolate ball was rich, creamy and decadent. Really smooth and tasty.
And then these little guys came out with the check: chocolate truffles and marshmallow cubes, both plated on a bed of dark chocolate morsels.
With Chef Richard at the helm, Petrossian has skyrocketed back into NYC’s short list of high end restaurants that discerning diners simply must experience at least once. I was extremely impressed.
We went for lunch on a Friday. It wasn’t packed or anything like that: we sat right away. Yet it took us an hour to have three appetizers. The wait time between the first appetizer and the second two appetizers was horrendous. Probably a half hour.
We started with the wok fried monk fish, called ca bam. Though very salty, small, and overpriced ($15) it WAS very tasty. The rice chips were the perfect crunchy vessel to eat the peanutty and lightly spiced fish.
Fast forward 30 minutes and our soups FINALLY came to the table. We each ordered the signature pho dish. At $19 a pop I was expecting something at least as filling as a bowl of pho from Chinatown. No such luck. There was about 10-12oz of liquid broth, a few thin slices of the meat, a small handful of noodles, and a small piece of fois gras. The bowl, in all, is a bit smaller than what you’d make with instant ramen or instant pho. While I realize that it is an appetizer portion, I feel that for $19 you should get more substance. At least it was delicious. It was hearty, tasty, and it contained quality ingredients. The foie gras was deliciously fatty and perfectly executed.
The decor was definitely beautiful. I should have thought to snap a pic of that. It was very reminiscent of real French-Vietnamese structures in Vietnam. Hence the name Le Colonial.
But paying $68, tax included for three appetizers to come out over the course of over an hour was fucking absurd. I’ll never eat here again, though I’m glad I got to try the soup. In the future I’ll just stick with the Chinatown pho joints. Only in midtown NYC can you pay $68 for lunch and still be hungry. Fuck that. I guess the good thing is that I got to spend some quality time with my wife in the middle of a work day.