December 1, 2003 | Ask Gael
What I need right now is beautiful soup.
Kill the chill at Bao Noodles with a steamy bowl of soothing Vietnamese pho (pronounce it fuh)—noodles with beef and oxtail in a thrillingly complex broth, or equally haunting Da Nang–style crab soup...
November 24, 2003 | Ask Gael
I want strident flavor and quiet prices.
There is a pleasant benevolence about Mojo, where the food looks great and tastes good, especially if you arrive before local fans pile in (no reservations). This is homey food with chef Chris Santos’s quirky Southwestern inflection...
November 17, 2003 | Ask Gael
I want a discreet spot uptown for breakfast.
I can’t promise that your mate, your aggressive business rival, or the “Intelligencer” won’t spot you sharing an indiscreet breakfast BLT with a tattooed ingenue...
November 10, 2003 | Ask Gael
Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s Daniel Boulud!
Now that Daniel Boulud is no longer content with a restaurant empire he can reach by bicycle, his Palm Beach stretch and commitment to Las Vegas have made fans anxious...
November 3, 2003 | Ask Gael
Where would Magellan be heading about now?
Boldfaced names turn up in the oddest places—but then, they’re invited. Now let’s see what fearless explorers among us paying civilians can find the way to the vast, stylish cavern that is Matsuri on faraway Ninth Avenue...
October 27, 2003 | Ask Gael
Another cookbook? Who needs it?
I defy a passionate cook (or a passionate cookbook collector) to resist The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen, Paula Wolfert’s newest (Wiley; $34.95). It looks almost edible: the cover with its spilled seeds of the pomegranate, the apple Eve probably passed on to Adam, the sensuous photographs...
October 20, 2003 | Ask Gael
I’m a West Sider, and I hate to roam.
Dazzled by the gold rush of prime chefs to the neighborhood, I’d simply forgotten Calle Ocho. So, what a surprise to catch a remarkable renaissance, since consulting chef Douglas Rodriguez began stirring the pots. Expect a couple of pure Rodriguez jolts
October 13, 2003 | Ask Gael
We’re into eating light and sharing.
Enter the Twilight 101 zone, where the bar, with its river-rock wall and romantic glow, is great for sipping wine by the glass and sharing small plates—from terrific almonds or four itsy bacon-wrapped dates and olives ($3), to a trio of fried goat-cheese balls rolling in lavender honey ($5), to quail with braised white beans ($10)...
October 6, 2003 | Ask Gael
I want to try Indian food I’ve never tasted.
Amma takes on sophisticated airs with its own sommelier and a duo of new chef-partners in the kitchen—gifted tandoori veteran Hemant Mathur (from Diwan Grill and Tamarind) and my friend Suvir Saran, with a preview from his book-in-progress on Indian home cooking...
September 29, 2003 | Ask Gael
I’ll go anywhere if the food is good.
My expectations are zero when I enter Patio Dining through the slammin’ bar next door. Patio? It’s a funky curtained-off alcove with a kitchen and half a dozen tables. But as long as Picholine-prepped Eric Korsh is doing his manic magic act at the range...
September 15, 2003 | Ask Gael
Can you send me somewhere romantic for an exotic drink?
Even on the hottest night of Indian summer, there’s a cooling breeze as you sip strawberry caipirinha coolers under the stars in the funky High Bar on the roof of the Gramercy Park Hotel (the top-of-the-town fantasy of a longtime pal, I confess).
September 8, 2003 | Ask Gael
Is Park Avenue the new Soho?
The cacophony stuns, and the downtown crowd lounging so cockily at the Lever House Restaurant is a shock in a Zip Code that’s not about hot...
August 25, 2003 | Ask Gael
What’s Jimmy Rodriguez up to on City Island?
‘Giving back,” he says. Jimmy’s Bronx Café launched him. So he’s invested considerable passion and more cash than he expected in Jimmy’s City Island (he lives just six blocks away) and it’s already standing-room-only on weekends...
August 11, 2003 | Ask Gael
It’s my favorite grape nut’s birthday.
Let him flaunt his cellar’s precious treasures on BYOB Mondays at Montrachet, the vino mecca where Chris Gesualdi, a chef I’ve always admired, is back at the range. A cloud of nostalgia descends as I see so many ancien offerings on the menu...
July 28, 2003 | Ask Gael
Authentic? I don't care. What's good is what counts.
We follow chef Su Torres following her dream - i.e. Suenos - to this eccentric, hidden warren off Eighth Avenue. Surrender your senses happily to fava-bean-and-drunken-goat-cheese empanadas and the pork tamale with grilled shrimp and ancho beurre blanc...
February 17, 2003 | Ask Gael
I’m tired of trendy - let it be tried-and-true.
You won't find licorice sticks in your lamb chops at Ouest. When it's new on the menu, it's simply yet another lip-smacking toss of some familiar food, most likely scented with garlic or punctuated with bits of pork...
January 7, 2002 | Ask Gael
Had any cosmic thrills lately?
If I were tossing around stars, I'd drop a shimmery fourth on Terrance Brennan's Picholine...