Cotton & Rye

1801 Habersham StSavannah, GA 31401 • (912) 777-6286 • cottonandrye.com
 

Billed as one of the top places to go according to Eater, Wifey and I hit this James Beard nominated, Vault wannabe (also a bank renovation), edge of town location, for their southern-with-a-twist (a la Husk) cuisine. Yes, a lot of sub-references on this one as it seems to be one of those places architected to be a success, right down to its ampersand.

Ampersand aside though, the meal began with a promising start marked by a pair of winners, the grilled Caesar salad and the Ultimate fried chicken wings sauced with honey, chili and sumac to help those babies soar like a mofo!

For entrees, Cotton & Rye stumbled a bit. The pork shoulder tagliatelle was a touch bland and in dire need of salt, pepper and parm. But the far greater disappointment came from the pork chop. Mostly because of the stratospheric recommendation from not one, but two different waiters, claiming unequivocally that this was hands-down the best pig chop in town (mainly predicated on the fact that it was sous vide). Which I suppose should’ve been my red flag, because more often than not it’s been my experience that sous vide is really code for “big disappointment,” chef’s always relying too much on the juices and not enough on the seasoning or accompaniments. Worse still, is that these waiters could not have been more wrong. A FAR superior chop exists less than a mile away at Elizabeth’s on 37th. I even asked the waiters if they had Lizzy’s chop before making such wild assertions, but neither of them had (yet, another red flag).

Dessert boded well though, with an apple crumble bread pudding. Two of my favorite things in one dessert. Kinda hard to fuck that one up.

So a little more work on the main event and I’d agree with Eater, but until then, head to The Grey if you truly want Savannah’s best.

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251 Lex

251 Lexington Ave. Mount Kisco, NY 10549 • (914) 218-8156 •  251lex.com

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I was excited to try this relative newcomer, which seemed to have promise from the outside looking in. Unfortunately, the promise only seems to be on the outside. In fact, the only nice thing I can say about the inside is that the people are nice. Oh, and the prices were pretty great, granted it was restaurant week, but only twelve dollars for a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc is worthy of a star in and of itself.

Beyond the wine and the warm pita with olive oil, the restaurant falls short on virtually every other metric possible, coming off like a child’s doll house dressed up to play a game of restaurant. The kids, a.k.a. waiters, inside trying so hard to please that it’s almost charming, but when they keep spilling water everywhere and forgetting silverware, the charm wears thin.

In terms of grub, nothing was god awful, but if tepid is the response you’re looking for, then you’ve come to the right place. Starting with the oysters, they were probably the best thing of the night, clean and fresh, served with a beet mignonette that overpowers them, so I would skip it. And while we’re on the subject of skipping things, the kale Caesar salad was cream based, a major no-no, and blah based, also a no-no.

For entrees, the salmon with cracked bulgur struggled to even register a pulse, as did the signature octopus dish, served with Israeli couscous in a skillet that’s so friggin piping hot you could probably still use it as a kiln to bake ceramics after it cools down a touch.

With the writing already firmly on the wall, there was little dessert could do to sway my already solidified opinion and as one would expect, dessert did little to even try. The Greek yogurt and honey panna cotta with fig mostrada, while interesting in theory, proved par for the course in terms of taste. That said, I’m not the biggest panna cotta fan, so the fact that I didn’t hate it is a major coup for 251. And finally the gelati was also semi-decent in the most average sense possible, falling short of supermarket gems like Talenti and Steve’s.

And falling short was theme throughout. Short of expectations and hopes. Really not sure what people see in this place or why it has the crowd or reviews that it does, but I suppose I’ll chalk it up to the fact that people are easily fooled. Case in point, Trump will be the Republican nominee for president. Mic drop.

2 teeth

Manny’s Steakhouse

825 Marquette Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55402(612) 339-9900 mannyssteakhouse.com

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So, apparently the Morton’s Steakhouse in Minneapolis closed down, and that’s not even the bad news. The really bad news is that Manny’s is the consolation prize. A poor man’s Morton’s if ever there were one, not that Morton’s is the end all be all of steakness either, but it’s still better than Manny’s.

Manny’s isn’t exactly bad, however, there’s just nothing amazing about it. It’s your run-of-the-mill steakhouse food you’ve eaten at least a hundred times over, with nothing impressionable enough to make a memory. You’ve got your Caesar salad, crab cakes, shrimp cocktail and seafood towers. Your New York Strip, Rib Eye, Porterhouse and Filets. The same old sides like mac and cheese, creamed spinach and baked potato.

But, if an old school steakhouse is what you’re craving in the twin cities, then I recommend The Strip Club in St. Paul. If that’s still not an option for you, however, then best of luck with Manny’s. It’s nothing spectacular and nothing terrible, just smack dab in the middle of steakhouse mediocrity. Good for large parties and testing out the elasticity of your stomach’s lining.

2 teeth

Millesime

92 Madison Ave. New York, NY 10016(212) 889-7100millesimenyc.com

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This is a cautionary tale about how things can change in the blink of an eye. Those things being restaurants, considering this is a food blog. Now, I’m not exactly sure what changed at Millesime- Management? The chef? Perhaps they are just horribly inconsistent? But whatever the reason, it was definitely for the worse.

On my first visit I could’ve sworn it was one of the best French bistros in the city. Far better than Balthazar and Pastis (RIP). And the Caesar salad was easily the best I had ever had- grilled romaine with black cod- just perfection.

My entrée, however, was foreshadowing toward the rapid decline ahead. I got the scallops with short rib ravioli. The scallops were great, it was the ravioli & short ribs that fell short. Also, a weird culinary combination in hindsight.

But then dessert came and once again all was right with the world. The profiteroles were excellent. Flaky and crsipy and done with hazelnut ice cream instead of the usual vanilla. I loved it.

So with two different dishes flirting with Ultimate status I had to rush back with the wife. So, a month or so later we returned and that’s when the honeymoon ended- with Millesime, not the wife.

My how far they’d fallen. The Caesar was soggy and over dressed, the profiteroles were doughy and service was poor. It was enough to make me wish the Carlton was a time machine and I was eating at Country (RIP) instead.

2 teeth

BOA Steakhouse

101 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401 • (310) 899-4466 • innovativedining.com/restaurants/boa

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If you heard that it’s a great place for star spotting, I’m afraid that’s the other one. This one is just for a good steak. Although the last time I was there, we did see Jon Favreau so go figure. And while it’s no Mastro’s, if you’re craving a steakhouse experience on the West side, I would look no further. That said, I wasn’t actually THAT impressed with the steak itself to be honest. The blackened sea bass was a bit of an eh as well, granted as gargantuan as that hunk of fish was, I found it impressively well cooked.

The goat cheese baklava, however… Thank you Yelpers! Would’ve never thought to order it without your reco. But my god is that thing good! Best dish of the night. Both times I’ve been here. So flaky and creamy and nummy nummy.

As for the Caesar salad, it’s good. But, it’s just a Caesar salad at the end of the day. And the heirloom tomatoes don’t exactly wow either. The blue crab cocktail on the other hand is quite money (belated Jon Favreau sub-reference). Second best thing of the meal.

In terms of sides, the chipotle lime corn is definitely the clear winner, followed by the truffle cauliflower. The creamed spinach, was just okay as was the squash medley. And while the truffle cheese fries aren’t terrible, they are terribly gut-busting, which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to make room for a 50+ dollar steak.

For desserts, skip the crumble. The maple, bacon Bonut (get it? BOA’s branded version of the Cronut) was a table-pleaser, although WAY too bready to truly be compared to its namesake. The cookies and ice cream were another table fav. Followed by the S’mores.

As for service, while friendly, it’s a tad on the slow/spotty side. The view is stellar, overlooking the ocean. And the decor is clean and modern. So all in all a solid good. But definitely shy of great.

3 teeth

 

Purdy’s Farmer and The Fish

100 Titicus Rd. North Salem, NY 10560(914) 617-8380farmerandthefish.com

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This is a tale of two visits. Two vastly different experiences, primarily due to the service. The first time it was literally one of the highest points of the meal. Our waitress was amazing. Attentive. Helpful with the kids. Accommodating. Warm. My only nit was toward the end of the meal, when the kids were reaching meltdown, she took an awfully long time with the bill. But since she was so incredible up to that point, I let it slide.

The second time, even though we had a reservation, they made us wait, even though the table was empty when we arrived. Then, it took over 20 minutes and us having to ask, before a server finally came to take our orders. Upon delivering those orders they were often incorrect in virtually every way possible. For example, when the oysters came, they were served with only 2 forks even though there were three people. Drinks came after appetizers. Bread was never brought to the table. And other orders were completely forgotten. Oh, and once again it took forever to get the check, even after asking multiple times. I literally wanted to walk out without paying I was so annoyed. Instead I exacted my revenge with a commensurate tip.

But inconsistent service aside, I still do like the place because the seafood is quite good (and the fact that the owner has his own fish market in the city doesn’t hurt). I mean, not everything is excellent, but the highs are so high, it almost makes up for the frustrations above. But if the service is ever like that again, it might just be a deal-breaker.

As for decor it’s quaint and charming. Both times sat on the patio of the white house, over-looking the garden. And both times we took the kids for a walk around back to see the farm while we waited for our food.

So now let’s do a deeper dive into the food, there were three dishes that were out of this world.

1. The swordfish with balsamic sauce and garden fresh veggies was so fresh and delicious. It had these these tiny little tomatoes that exploded in your mouth like those little fireworks in Ratatouille, adding layers of depth to a dish that was already perfectly cooked.

2. The frozen key lime pie was a nice twist on one of my favorites. Striking a nice balance between tart and sweet.

3. The white chocolate bread pudding with salted caramel ice cream. My god! It was so damn good I nearly fell over into the citronella candle behind me.

Honorable mentions would include the lobster roll, one of the best in Westchester and the oysters. Raspberries go to the Caesar salad which is not served with a true Caesar dressing. Typical creamy crap you find at most places these days.

And falling somewhere in between, the halibut with corn risotto was just okay. As was the big eye tuna. Granted, the tuna was remarkably fresh. Melted in my mouth. But when the recipe says “Szechuan” I expect a little more heat.

But all nits aside, Purdy’s definitely has game on the plate. They just need to work on the spotty service, because really does detract from the experience.

3 teeth