Thursday, June 22, 2006

Cafe D'Alsace, 6/22/06

As our week of eating continued, we headed uptown for a dinner with JB's mom. We hardly ever cross paths in the summer, so this was our farewell dinner.

With no reservations, we decided to try Cafe D'Alsace which has received some recent raves. Lucky for us, we snagged the last outdoor table on 2nd Avenue at 7:30 to enjoy the longest day of the year.

JB's mom had been a few times and recommended the burger. It was Burgers all around for the Bergers. They come with grilled onions, muenster and fries. Simple, perfect. Wait, this is a Berger Review!

But Cafe D'Alsace is more than a burger place, it's a beer place. They have TONS of beer. JB had a Trappist Ale which I learned is 11% alcohol making my 4% Hoegarden a measly sip. JB wanted three beers but could barely finish the one (lightweight).

We also shared some homemade duck sausage (JB's mom is much better sharer than mine) and a goat cheese tartlet. I didn't care for the sausage but JB loved it. So I took charge of the goat cheese. And we all took charge of the molten chocolate cake which had just enough molten, for once.

As the evening continued, we enjoyed people watching and soaking in the Frenchbistro ambience. So much so that we did not notice the slow as molasses service - maybe that's why it is so hard to get a table. Or maybe it is the food, which I strongly recommend.

Until we eat again, KLB

Kittichai, 6/20/06

Coming off the horrible dinner at Gramercy 24 (see below), I had superhigh expectations for Kittichai. It had been on my list for almost 2 years and when my mom asked where I wanted to go for my belated birthday dinner, it sprung to mind.

Kittichai was early in the Asian pioneers, before Spice Market, before Buddkhan, before Buddha Bar. It is Thai by nature, even though all Asian fusion places tend to follow similar themes.

The restaurant is in 60 Thompson, a boutique hotel on Thompson Street where you often read that celebrities hang their hat. The restaurant is celebrity-worthy, with a pool in the center of the room complete with floating candles and orchids, it is a downtown Four Seasons Pool Room.

My parents, not the best sharers, rose to the challenge and shared every dish. I had done the requisite research and ordered for the table. Appetizers were crispy rock shrimp with eggplant, seared tuna, foie gras and chocolate spare ribs. Sea bass and wok fried chicken rounded out the meal along with fried rice and asian greens.

All dishes were tasty. Highlights included the seared tuna which you cooked on a hot rock on the tabletop. The chocolate ribs were fun to watch being eaten -- my dad's face was covered in chocolate -- than to eat. I did not have the foie gras which JB especially loved and my mom devoured the shrimp.

I found the mains on the small side, especially the chicken, however, since we had a lot to start we were sated. And the extensive cocktail list helped, too.

Dessert included banana spring rolls and honey ice cream. The honey ice cream was a standout. A nice reminder of summer.

Until we eat again, KLB

Gramercy 24, 6/19/06

This was quite possibly the worst dinner in New York city in my lifetime. I knew to question the crowd which was small and obviously from out of town. But I had hope for the chef and the restaurant. Hope was not enough.

It wasn't entirely my fault. We had agreed to go to a seafood place. I nominated Tides on the les or Ditch Plains in the west village. It was kimberly who suggested something closer. And that's how I found gramercy 24.

A seafood place in the gramercy park area - how bad could it be?

At least the wine list was good. A nice bottle of reisling was reasonably priced. When we finished dinner JB asked what everyone's favorite of the worst was - matt's was the wine, confirming that he is indeed the smartest of us all.

I'll talk about the food in order of bad to worse. Kimberly had the linguine and clams which were sort of safe, Matt and I each had the tuna burgers, which were small, overcooked and taseless. JB had pizza for reasons no one could explain. Seriously, why order pizza in a seafood place? But he had a craving that was not satisfied. Elio's would have been better.

Also on the menu was a lobster club which was my first order. When ordering I specifically asked if there was celery, being a celery-hater. I was told a definitive no and wouldn't you know it, the club came packed with celery. I sent it back, but not before JB tasted it and declared it equally awful. At least they were consistent, consistently awful.

Until we eat again, KLB

Saturday, June 17, 2006

TBD, 6/15/06

OK, so this makes for interesting restaurant reviewing, since the restaurant is so new it has yet to be named.

It is located on Little w. 12th Street, and can't go by its number because that would be ripping off One Little W. 12th Street, a restaurant took its addresss first. And so in its place, it will now be called the great, new restaurant where we had Matt's birthday dinner.

Now that we've cleared that up - let's discuss food.

Aubrey had organized Matt's birthday dinner in a beatiful back garden, nearby their equally beautiful new apartment in the West Village. Each place setting had a single hydrangea defining our assigned seat. The menu choices were simple -- to start: a simple salad or a tuna ceviche or shrimp in black sesame paste or tomato and mozzarella salad. To middle: filet or swordwish or spaghetti alla vongole. To finish: chocolate crunch or do it yourself tiramisu or, darnit, something else with a coffee flavor. (This is why I should take notes and not relinquish my menu or both!)

JB and I were both thrilled with our meals. When you have a new, really new restaurant, you always need to be wary of the food while they get their feet wet. Since this place began as bar, they had a head start. Although their were a few service questions that took awhile to be answered. For example, it took our waiter a few trips to the kitchen to leanr the main ingredient of the ceviche. He tried to convince me it did not have any fish in it, which by definition, is always the main ingredient.

Nonetheless, the ceviche was delicious. The other starters I tried were even more so. I typically love tomato and mozzarella salad, but have had a few unripened tomatoes of late which is why I skipped ordering it. Big mistake - huge! That cheese reminded me of capri and the tomatoes were right on.

I did order better on the main with the filet that was accompanied with three sauces, a balsamic, a bbq and a terriyaki. I stuck with the terriyaki, of course.

We shared lots of sides including asparagus and hand cut french fries.

After all of the wine and champagne (and food), dessert was almost an afterthought, but my few bites of the chocolate crunch were tasty. JB demolished his make your own tiramasu and starting making more tiramisu off of Aubrey's plate.

As the evening progressed, the bar area spilled into the outdoor restaurant and we found ourselves in a veritable hot spot, which is when we left for the more laid back atmosphere of Matt and Aubrey's rooftop and more champagne (obv).

To bring it full circle, I'd like to offer up the first suggestion for a name for the new restaurant - Matt's, in honor of his birthday.

Until we eat again, KLB

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Dinosaur BBQ, 6/6/06

Let's just say that it took me a full two days to recover from the amount of food consumed two nights ago at Dinosaur BBQ. This is not a joke. Never have I ever had such a vast quantity of such delicious food that I could not stop eating. Let's begin at the beginning.

Dinosaur BBQ is a local restaurant in Syracuse, New York that opened a Manhattan, Harlem actually, branch last year. To get there is no easy feat, you must take the Subway up to 125th Street and walk over to 12th Avenue and then up to 131st Street. Luckily, 126th - 129th street do not exist that far west, or as our friend Jenn noted they must have been "stolen", so the walk is shorter than you think.

Inside, it looks like a large bar with tables one step up from picnic. But seriously, who cares.

There were four of us, which was the perfect number for the appetizer sampler of friend green tomatoes, deviled eggs, spicy shrimp and wings. One for each, with some extra shrimp to share. The FGTs were particularly good, and surprisingly, so were the wings.

I was dead set on ribs and got the smallest portion available which was subsequently huge. I got 2 sides, mac and cheese, adequate, and salt potatoes which came in a butter bath. JB and Jim both had platters of brisket, ribs and pulled pork. Everything fared well and Jenn especially liked her pulled pork which was her only meat.

As if that wasn't enough, we had key lime pie and peanut butter pie, not mention several beers from their huge selection.

The next day, I told everyone I knew to check it out. But the problem is, I can't go for awhile. I'm still full!

Until we eat again, KLB

Monday, June 05, 2006

Berger Review! Zip Burger, 6/5/06

It's been ages since I've done a Berger Review, but even longer, it's been a year and a half since I'd seen my friend Jeramie.

Jeramie and I started working together in 2000 and then when he moved jobs, I followed suit. And we were at the same place when he left in May 2004 to follow his dream and move to Australia.

What I miss most about Jeramie are our food discussions. We both love food in its simplest form, especially burgers.

And so, it was almost fate that Zip Burger, the newest "foodie" burger joint to hit Manhattan, opened last week mere blocks from my office on 52nd & 2nd. Jeramie had asked to have lunch near my office.

I had, of course, reviewed the menu in advance. It is simple -- burgers only -- beef, veggie, turkey and salmon. Pick your bun, your cheese, your sauce and any extras. Fries and shakes complete the menu. And hamburger salad -- right.

All ingredients are high quality which is why our two burgers cost over $20 at this takeout place.

My burger was topped with Vermont cheddar and grilled vidalia onions wrapped in a lettuce wrap. I don't recommend the lettuce-wrapped burger, it just falls apart. I do recommend the vidalia onions.

Jeramie chose a more extravagant bunned burger of guacamole, bacon and cheddar.

We had similar opinions: excellent toppings (next time I want to try the goat cheese burger), decent beef and at an average price. Both burgers, though, came underdone at medium, so I'd order up.

And get there early, the lines can be long and last week they ran out of meat!

Until we eat again, KLB

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Hosteria Mazzei, 6/3/06 (Port Chester, NY)

I needed a reason to get back into the Berger Blog and what better way than a Berger birthday. Well technically, my mom is not a Berger, but it sort of counts.
For my mom's XXth birthday, my dad, generously, took several of us to an Italian restaurant in Port Chester. We knew it would be good because my Uncle Jim recommended it and nothing comes between him and fine Italian cooking.

The meal was, to my father's liking, not conduive to sharing. So I can only report on my dishes and JB's, my ever-willing dinner partner.

The options ran your typical Italian fare, from antipasti to grilled meats to delicious pastas.

I started with an insalate caprese, a constant favorite of mine. I've been wary of it lately since tomatoes are not yet in season, but the fresh mozzarella was tempting. The cheese was tremendous, very fresh and the tomatoes were almost there. JB's stewed calamari starter was too fishy for me, I had anticipated a Batali-like calamari and was let down.

I opted for a pasta special of homemade cavatelli with lamb ragu for my main. It was tasty and hearty. I think from now on I will only eat pasta if it is homemade. Otherwise, it is just not worth the carbs.

JB chose one of my all time favorite dishes -- rack of lamb. It was not a huge portion, nor was the pasta, but my (small) taste was good. Not as good as I've had elsewhere, though JB seemed to gobble up the four grill-marked chops.

Dessert was somewhat of a lowpoint, as it often is, my apple cake was just too muffiny. JB did like his panna cotta although what's not to like about a gel-formed milk.

Regardless, it was a festive evening for all and another Italian Job well done.

Until we eat again, KLB

Monday, April 03, 2006

Wrist Recap -Part I

This is one-handed typing here, so I'll be brief.

I've had a bunch a great meals in the past few weeks, but no time (or ability, thanks to my recently repaired ligaments). Here are some truncated thoughts on the standouts:

- Spigolo: This Upper East Side italian redefines neighborhood italian restaurant. Pastas (which are small) and desserts are the things to order here; gnocchi, papparadelle and donuts specifically. It does not come cheap and it is worth it.

- Mercadito: I anxiously awaited our reservation here on Avenue B and was disappointed. Food was fine, again small portions, but lacked the kick that Mexican should have. Drinks, cucumber margaritas especially, rocked.

- Highline: This restaurant answers the tired Meatpacking District question - where without the big spend. Thai food here was indeed delicious and reasonable. Everything was good and gave us fuel for a late evening. Stay away from the underage lounge, however.

- Cookshop: My new fave in Chelsea and all over town. Snacks, starters, mains and dessert were perfect. The only flaws were the sides which were too oily around the table. My short ribs fell off the bone and my grilled squid was not overly rubbery. Try the sundae for the dessert. And check out the mighty fine bus boy (Taye Diggs in training).

Until we eat again, KLB

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Alison (Bridgehampton), 3/11

Another weekend, another prix-fixe. I'm not getting tired of it, because in a month or two the Hamptons will be mobbed and I'll be barbecuing on my deck instead of eating at fine restaurants.

This weekend we tried one that has been on both of our lists for quite some time, Alison in Bridgehampton. Alison used to be in Sagaponack, and was on the beach, and there was also one in the city, but no longer. Instead, the restaurant is housed in a charming white house just off of Montauk Highway.

We were there early to take advantage of the deal, $19.95 for two selected courses, or $26.95 for three if you order before 7:00. Selections were limited and they make you suffer through the same menu and just tell you what you can have. Smart (and tricky if you ask me). We both wanted something else, but felt we should try to stick to the PF for our first time. If we loved it, we could always come back in the summer and pay retail.

We each chose the mixed greens salad (over the alternate of soup) and it was extraordinarily fresh, albeit a bit boring.

Dinner options were a flounder and a chicken. JB opted for the flounder which came with fennel and truffle risotto, while I opted for a simple chicken with mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts. Everything was good, but nothing was stellar. The chicken lacked flavor and the MPs were bland. JB enjoyed his flounder, but I, again, thought it could have had more of a kick to it.

We decided to skip dessert. Nothing looked too terrific, although we had the full run of the dessert menu which I appreciated.

All in all, it was a nice meal, but I don't think I'll suffer through the summer, weekend prices of $28 - $35 for an entree. The room never filled up.

As we drove home, we passed the Almond where the week before we'd had another terrific prix-fixe meal. Theirs is $19.95 for 3 courses and I think better all around. And just to compare, they were packed.

Until we eat again, KLB

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bread, 2/28/06

After getting fitted for our bridesmaid dresses for Vicki's wedding, Laura and I felt like eating. We thought we should eat as if we were the actual size that we had to order our dresses in. What better name for a restaurant in this situation than: Bread.

Avoid the carbs no more, Bread is the perfect excuse. This tiny restaurant on Spring streetin Nolita is an Atkins nightmare.

The carbs, of course, outweigh the dietetic options.

We started with a salad - arugula and parmeggiano. Boring and healthy.

The eponymous bread was delicious, although it took awhile to come.

We each had a pasta dish, tortellini for me and lasagna for Laura. I think Laura won. While my tortellini was flavorful, it bordered on too oily. Laura's lasagna on the other hand was meaty and delicious. Lucky her.

Service was slow...but the space fun and the crowd, your typical hipster. I'd go again, if I didn't have a work deadline. Like I do tonight.

Until we eat again, KLB

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Mac and Cheese Off, 2/24/06

Our friends Kimberly & Matt decided to do something a bit strange for us this weekend, have people over instead of going out. This night had a twist - a contest,a macaroni and cheese contest to be specific.

4 teams of two squared off in the competition. We were judged on four categories: presentation, individuality, texture and taste.

Here's how it shook out:

- Mini-Mac: Our entry was a basically Annie's Cheddar M & C with a lot of Old Bay Seasoning. We knew, or rather I knew, that since it would be basic, we should beef up presentation. We decided to put some of our wedding gifts to good use and brought espresso cups that we stacked into a pyramid each with an individual serving.

- Suck My Elbows: This elbow casserole dish had way too many onions. Seriously, who puts onions in mac & cheese?

- Cheesus Christ: Obviously, this entry had the best name. In addition to an abundance of cheese, there were crisped breadcrumbs on the top giving the dish amazing texure.

- 7th Heaven: 7 different cheeses made up this overwhelming dish. I only tasted one and it was strong. Everyone else, however, seemed to love it.

In the end, we got third, but we won hands down for presentation. 7th Heaven was a clear winner, followed by CC. Suck my elbows brought up the rear.

Although we didn't win, it was a fun event and different from the traditional going to dinner and drinking lots of wine. Thanks to our hosts and event creators.

Watch out, next year, the Bergers are going to win.

Until we eat again, KLB

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Almondito (Wainscott) 2/19/06

We are still loving the Hamptons in the winter and the dining bargains to be had. This weekend was especially great because the offer we found is available all year round and we cannot wait to get it again soon.

Almondito is a cavernous Mexican eatery just on the outskirts of East Hampton. As we pulled up in the 15 degree weather I could imagine 100 people hanging off the deck in the 85 degree weather margaritas in hand. This is a great party place. And they have a great deal. Order by 7 and 3 courses are $19.95. No joke.

OK, entree selections are limited, chicken, salmon or pork, however appetizer choices are varied and portions are HUGE. After eating the delicious chips and salsa (two baskets, we'd skipped lunch) I couldn't finish half my tomato soup with chorizo and corn dumplings. JB on the other hand polished off every mussel on his plate. We both had the chocolate-y chicken mole devouring the bird, spinach, rice and beans. And a simple ice cream scoop for us both.

Dinner, with a large margarita for JB and a pinot noir for me, was just $60! Now that is deal. I'd do the Mexican hat dance to make it my regular place.

Until we eat again, KLB

Valentine's Day Special: Via Emilia, 2/14/06

Many years ago, JB and I had our first date at a restaurant called Trattoria I Pagliacci on Park Avenue South. I still remember what I wore (grey skirt, black sweater, black boots) and what I ate (minestrone, grilled calamari) which is a good thing because the restaurant no longer exists. Instead, Via Emilia is in its place. And for the past few years, JB have headed there for Valentine's Day.

It is small, no reservations, cash-only type of place. Most tables are two tops, so it should be romantic, but there is a lot of light and bare walls. Yet, the food is consistently terrific.

Their specialty is stuffed pastas. Perennially, I get the pumpkin torteloni and this year was no different. It was as sweet as I remembered it. JB mixed it up with lasagna, that he loved, and we both mixed it up with an oysters appetizer. Come on it was v-day.

Dessert was the downfall, the berry pastry was still frozen, but by then we'd had enough Italian wine that it did not matter. I think we'll skip dessert next year and just get an extra order of torteloni.

Until we eat again, KLB

The Bergers Hit the Road! San Diego, 1/27 - 1/30

This entry we're expanding beyond food into travel. It is called Bergers & More after all.

So here goes.

JB & I decided at the last minute to take a weekend trip to San Diego. We wanted to see a new place, get some sun, oh and there was a golf tournament. Thanks to American and Hilton for the miles and points respectively, we were able to get free airfare and 2 of 3 nights of our accommodations.

Here are the highlights:

Friday, 1/27 - San Diego/Coronado

Mission - This plantation-styrestaurantant fed us one of the best meals of the trip. We wanted to start out with the Mexicali flair and here we could. JB ordered a breakfast burrito my urging and I ordered breakfast quesadilla that I had read about. Major YUM. My breakfast quesadilla had bacon, cheese, tomatoes, beans and lots of cilantro.

Hotel Del Coronado & Moo-time - We spent the day exploring San Diego, the gaslamp district, where we stayed, and Coronado, an island just off the coast of SD. We headed to the famous Hotel Del Coronado and walked on the beach picking up purple sand dollars (yes, purple!). Since we'd had a late, and large, breakfast we each just got a scoop of amazing ice cream from the Moo-time creamery. Get the vanilla.

Rama - San Diego has a lot of asian restaurants and Rama is one of the best. We stuck to basics here, spring rolls and pad see yew, in a very trendy setting.

Saturday, 1/28 - San Diego

San Diego Zoo - This is the best place to spend 5 hours. Buy tickets online and save a few dollars. We walked around the whole zoo and then took a bus your to make sure we didn't miss anything.

Little Italy - I guess every city has a Little Italy. SD's is still developing but we found a great shop, Niche Boutique and a cafe for a mid-afternoon snack.

The Beach - And every city now also has a W, where the bar is also bound to be trendy. The SD W bar is literally a rooftop beach with heated sand where you can almost see the sunset. The roof is really only three flights up, but the eye candy is really the view.

Chive - We had reservations at Candelas, a haute Mexican restaurant, but they could not honor our reservation. We found ourselves wandering around the Gaslamp district and fell upon a Chive. A newish spot that had one of the best chicken dishes stuffed with goat cheese and on a bed of risotto. JB got mini-burgers (of course) and feta fries, which were stellar.

J Bar - Stiff competition for the Beach, this rooftop bar had an even bigger roof and crowd.

Sunday, 1/29 - La Jolla

Buick Invitational - The main point of our trip. This was six hours of unadultarated golf, Tiger to the max. The Torrey Pines course is beautiful overlooking the Pacific, but the crowds were horrific. (Note: On Tiger Woods golf on xbox, they have a much smaller crowd)

George's at the Cove - The most romantic restaurant of them all is in La Jolla hanging over the edge of the Pacific. We sat upstairs on the less expensive Ocean Terrace. Fish tacos were a mandatory. Worth the trip alone.

Monday, 1/30 - Old Town, La Jolla

Old Town Mexican Cafe - We thought it was a necessity to visit Old Town San Diego, the birthplace of San Diego. I'd skip it next time. Although the chorizo breakfast quesadillas were not half bad.

Roppongi - We spent our last afternoon driving through all the beach towns and ended up shopping and gallery hopping in La Jolla. Our final dinner was at Roppongi, a renowned Japanese restaurant with a renowned early dinner special, half-price off all small plates. We cleaned up the ribs, tuna and more.

As I mentioned, this was a points trip so we were married to Hiltons, San Diego Gaslamp and Hilton Torrey Pines, respectively. They both had nice pools with views. The Gaslamp had huge complimentary breakfasts. TP had the benefit of golf course and Pacific views, plus JB saw Sergio Garcia in the elevator.

We used two great resources planning our trip that I would recommend: - The Food Network's website. They have a specific travel section. We took recommendations from both Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray, FYI Bobby's recs were better! - Lucky for us, the 1/20 Escapes section featured 36-hours in San Diego. We didn't follow it to a tee, we had about 84 hours after all, but we came pretty close.

Until we eat (and travel) again! KLB

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mo Pitkin's 1/24/06

Ever since I read about Mo Pitkin's I've been dying to go. They positioned themselves as Juedo-Latino restaurant on where else but Avenue A. Think Jewish comfort food, chorizo and Manishevitz-tinis.

We met our friend Amanda for some noshes and catch-up at their East Village location, following a long meeting with our wedding photographer. I needed a drink.

The center of the menu offers specialty cocktails, JB and I each got a spiked egg cream, mine with Stoli Vanilla and his with chocolate vodka. It was like starting with dessert. I could have had 3.

I wanted everything on the menu. They have brisket, roast chicken, matzoh ball soup, cuban sandwiches, you name it.

We settled on the following -- an order of latkes to start, a mo pitkins platter for Amanda, a Mo Burger for JB and deep-fried macaroni & cheese for me. As you can see, we opted for Jewish, not Latino.

In short, the food is good, but it is a little gimmicky. The latkes were fine, better than the ones JB tried to make in a soup pan in December, and surprisingly the applesauce was superior with lots of cinnamon. I didn't have any of the items on Amanda's sampler that included deviled eggs, chopped liver and lots of veggies, but it was served on a seder plate, so that has to be good.

The burger is one of their trademarks. It comes with a shmear of chicken liver and a fried egg. It was too much for me, sort of ripoff on the DB Burger, though not a bad deal at $11.

And then there was the mac & cheese. It was a brick of breadcrumbs sitting in velveeta soup. Inside was perfect macaroni & cheese. This side order was more than enough food for me, I'd argue that it is a meal for two.

An hour later, I'm still stuffed and probably will still be tomorrow. But isn't that the point of good Jewish comfort food?

Until we eat again, KLB

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Berger Review! Burke in the Box, 1/18/06

It seems that everyone wants to get on the burger train these days. First it was Daniel Boulud, then Danny Meyer and now the latest entry, David Burke.

You'll find Burke in the Box at Bloomingdales, believe it or not. You can enter from the cosmetics department or 59th Street. The idea is smart, have a snack and keep on shopping.

JB and I stopped in for just that in between another one of my all-too frequent visits to the Bobbi Brown counter and a quick movie.

We opted for the sliders which at $9.95 include 3 mini-burgers in haute-cuisine style. They looked terrific and tasted terrible. A serious miss.

The meat was completely dry and the brioche bun was hard. The highlight was the lone cherry tomato atop the bun secured by a toothpick.

This burger is not worth it, too bad, because I would have been a very regular customer.

Until we eat again, KLB

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Yum! 1/16/06

I try not to eat at restaurants that are named for the sound you are supposed to make while eating their food. But I can't help myself at Yum.

I learned about this hole in wall, real dump of a place on It looks like nothing, but the Thai food taste is all there. Located on 44th Street between 6th & 7th, it is the perfect place if you have only 30 minutes to eat before a show. And it is cheap, $7.50 is the high price on most menu items and the portions are huge.

As we trudged out of Penn Station yesterday, JB and I considered our dinner options. Pizza from the guy downstairs or leftover lamb from Sunday night, we both agreed on Thai food. The lightbulb went on and we wheeled our bag over to Yum for some takeout.

It was worth the trip. The food stayed warm in the taxi home and was the ideal Golden Globe watching fare. I had my pad see yew, JB had his pad thai. It was just that easy.

Until we eat again, KLB

The Palm (East Hampton), 1/14/06

I think its red meat week at the Bergers. After Paul's on Thursday, we were invited to a celebratory birthday dinner for our sister-in-law Melissa at The Palm in East Hampton in Saturday night. The Palm, for those of you who don't know, is a temple to steak.

I'd been to Palm Too and Palm West both in NYC, and JB had been to Palm Too (with me!) and to the Palm in EH before. Actually, it was on his bachelor party weekend so I didn't have too many details and I was excited to try it for myself.

We sat for dinner at 6:30 and the restaurant was mobbed. Families mostly, each with a kid or two, including ours, jammed each table. It was old home week for half of our table who knew the groups on both sides of us. To say it was a scene was an understatement. You'd think it was Boca over Christmas, not Martin Luther King Day in the Hamptons.

Nonetheless, I was there for the steak (and the company of course). We tried to stick to Steakhouse favorites. 4 ribeyes and 2 strips. Sides of creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, green beans and broccoli. Salads all around from caesar to iceberg.

I was the only member of the clean plate club. 12 ounces of steak is no match for me. The first bite was the best - warm, slightly greasy, juicy steak. As I sat, talked, drank and continued eat, the steak became less juicy but kept its flavor. And while I almost threw in the napkin with about 4 bites to go, I perservered after a 5-minute break focusing on the sides.

The sides I had were tremendous with tons of garlic in the green vegetables. We learned the secret ingredients of the mashed potatoes, corn starch and flour, and found them perfectly whipped. I did not try to the creamed spinach, but JB found it a bit thick. There's flour in there, too.

No one had room for dessert but for a birthday we all made the sacrifice. The key lime pie was excellent as was the chocolate mousse pie.

All in all, a great meal. I did not see the bill, nor did I want to, and I can only imagine the cost. This is not a cheap dinner by any means, but worth a splurge to your wallet (and your arteries) once or twice a year.

Until we eat again, KLB

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Berger Review! Paul's 1/12/06

Boy I have missed these Berger Reviews. Its been a busy beginning to 2006 and today I finally had my first burger of the year.

I met JB at Paul's on 2nd Avenue near 8th Street in the East Village. According to JB it's a "dive" but who doesn't love a good dive. I certainly do.

Paul's is full of NYU students, wanna-be NYU students and people like us who read that Paul's has one of the best burgers in town. There were even a few tourists in the corner, complete with camera and all.

JB got there first and was moved to a few different tables before I got there 15 minutes later. (Note: I was not late, he was early!) He was disgruntled upon my arrival but his mood quickly picked up when we got a back table against the wall.

Burgers are the thing here. I ordered a mozzarella burger with grilled onions and JB opted for a cheddar deluxe that also came with raw onion, lettuce, tomato shoestring fries. He also splurged on a vanilla shake.

We noshed on the complimentary pickles and watched Jeopardy on the big screen while we waited. The milkshake came first which was mostly milk and little shake.

The burgers followed quickly and were 8 ounces of delight. They were greasy, flavorful and cooked to our specifications. They also got it right with the bun which was slightly smaller than the burger so you weren't stuck with a boring bun at the end. The shoestring fries were top-notch and there were plenty on the deluxe for both of us to share.

At the end of the meal, we'd spent less than $20 and were more than satisfied.

So the question remains, is Paul's the best burger? Probably not, but it's up there. We have some more burgers to review.

Until we eat again, KLB