The Snooty Eater’s Round-Up

I do these round-up posts fairly often – they usually include a mixture of low-end and high-end places, with a few cocktails, a slice of artisanal pizza, and maybe a burger thrown in the mix.

But lately…I have been eating with family a lot.

And eating with family means that your parents want to eat at restaurants where they can sit for a while, not have their eardrums blown out with loud music, and order food that can be customized until it no longer resembles the dish actually mentioned on the menu.

Code: it means I dine way more expensively than I do when I dine on my own.

And so, when your parents visit or boss wants to take you to a nice dinner, or when you really screw up and need to apologize to your loved one, refer to this post:

The Snooty Dining Round-Up

Charcuterie Plate at Ca Va

Todd English…I generally hate you. Your food is blah, your prices are inflated, and your personality in the press is smarmy. Ew. But, when my dad wants lunch 4 minutes from my apartment and he doesn’t want to go eat the world’s best Thai food on torn vinyl booths with cans of diet soda…we go to Ca Va. The food is generally well prepared but plain, but the charcuterie plate is totally awesome. House made pickles and terrines, pots of rich rillettes and lightly whipped duck liver, smoky bresaola and salty prosciutto ..this is just a great, filling plate. Served with grainy mustard and really nice baguette, this is an A+ charcuterie plate that would be at home in any French country restaurant. It isn’t cheap but hey..nothing on this round-up is! If you find yourself in the theatre district with a couple of minutes and a few bucks to spare, come here and go for this dish.


Artichoke with mustard mayonnaise, chervil, and lemon at Nougatine

This Jean-George restaurant is the more casual offshoot of his eponymous Michelin starred eatery. It has hip music and a gorgeous waitstaff, but also very relaxed – I felt totally at home dining in jeans and a nice shirt. Though the menu is filled with complex items, and a lunchtime steal at $32 for three courses, the simplest dish is the one not to miss. What’s the last time that you ate a whole artichoke in a restaurant? In, like 1993, right? It’s time to rediscover this fabulous vegetable. Nougatine steams and cleans it perfectly, rendering soft, meaty inner leaves and a tender heart. Grassy and lemon scented, dipping the leaves in the mayonnaise sauce, tart with cornichons and slightly spicy with mustard, is one of life’s great pleasures. Plus, how great is it to get to eat with your hands at a lah-dee-dah restaurant?

Seared foie gras with huckleberries and graham cracker puree at Dovetail

I saved the best for last. This foie gras is divine – a generously portioned lobe of foie, beautifully cleaned and seared until it is crunchy outside and positively melting inside. Rich and iron-y, tasting almost wild, like game. It tastes far more savory than other foie preparations thanks to the very sweet, almost spekuloos-like graham cracker puree. It is a brilliant choice, because the sweetness of the puree mixed with the tart huckleberries makes the foie stand out as meaty and savory. A shaved fennel salad provides a bright contrast  and this is yet another fabulous foie preparation in the Big Apple.

And THAT’S how you eat snooty in NYC!

Ça Va Todd English on Urbanspoon


  1. This made me laugh. My Bro is the food snob in our family. But I have eaten at some equally tattered Indian places with him in CIncinnati. As long as the food is awesome he is willing.