Two months since its opening, Mix continues to elicit a mixed reaction from food critics, primarily in terms of the dining experience. Last week William Grimes wrote of Mix, "Someone needs to tell Mr. Ducasse that Americans, even if they do watch a lot of television and have short attention spans, do not need to be distracted every second that they are in a restaurant. Mix is fun, but a little less fun might work just as well."
Adam Platt of New York Magazine writes: "Of course, Monsieur Ducasse’s version of a good-old fashioned meal is different from yours and mine. Mix may be a spin-off, but being a Ducasse restaurant, it has nothing casual about it. The tone of the place. . . is elaborately, even purposely confused. It’s a mad jumble of transatlantic styles and intentions, an entire restaurant lost in translation." and ". . . some of the dishes have a stilted, off-key quality."
Certain places flagrantly take customers to the cleaners. Two weeks ago, I called out new Alain Ducasse-backed Mix over its obscene prices, which much of the foodie press seems determined to deny. The Times reported Mix's pre-fixe dinner options as $48 or $58. It unfathomably chose not to mention the $72 option - the only one that includes a real entr‚e, and the one most diners will want.
The new Zagat Survey ranks Mix as "E" for expensive. In the zany world of Zagat, "E" means $31-$50 for dinner per head with one drink and a tip. At Mix, $31 will cover a glass of wine plus tax and tip, leaving maybe $4 for food. Eat up! Pretending prices don't matter is unfair both to customers and restaurants.
But never fear, dear foodies and fans of Monsieur Ducasse! Egullet.com's Steven "Fat Guy" Shaw has come to the rescue, defending Ducasse from the haters who clearly do not understand the concept of fun and tremble in the shadow of cool! He writes,
NYTimes on Douglas Psaltis, the 29 year-old native New Yorker who also happens to be the chef running the kitchen at Alain Ducasse's just opened Mix:
Mr. Psaltis, who has embraced his new responsibilities with almost joyous energy and little trepidation, is from Huntington, on Long Island. He played football and lacrosse at Ohio State University, had zero interest in academics and quit after three semesters.
"All I wanted to do was cook," he said. "My mother was really upset. She didn't want me to wind up like my grandfather."
From the time he was 10, he said, he loved helping his grandfather, a first-generation immigrant from Andros, Greece, who had a diner in Jamaica. "I was the one who piled the meringue on the pies," he said.
Friday night and a birthday combined for the perfect excuse to enjoy our first meal at WD~50. We started off with the ruby red shrimp and squid linguine -- both were outstanding and the squid linguine particularly memorable. For our main course, I had the monkfish and he had the Flatiron beef. The monkfish was the one disappoint of the evening -- too subtle to be compelling and ultimately bland, except for the accompanying medallion of monkfish liver. In contrast, the flatiron beef was melt-in-your mouth good and the accompanying bone marrow tart was perfectly delightful on the tongue. We finished it all off with tomato-mango ravioli and Gianduja parfait. The tomato-mango ravioli was an unusal and pleasing flavor combination, and served with a rich yogurt sorbet; the Gianduja parfait was simply perfect. We look forward to exploring the menu further on our next visit.
Ruby red shrimp, onion-clove compote, red pepper
Squid linguine, canteloupe melon, serrano ham, sweet paprika
Monkfish, snow peas, oyster mushrooms, bonito broth, mint oil
Flatiron beef, chinese broccoli, shallots, smoked paprika/bone marrow tart
Gianduja parfait, chocolate cream, kumquat coulis
Tomato-mango ravioli, yogurt sorbet, crunchy honey
50 Clinton Street
We enjoyed a meal at the very cozy Westville last night. Located in the West Village, Westville serves polished comfort food like smoky mac n'cheese, corn-on-the cob, burgers, and hot dogs. Some of my favorites from last night's table were the crab cakes with green salad; corn-on-the-cob served with lime, cumin, and cotija cheese; crisp french fries; and from the "westville market", a daily selection of vegetables, grains and salads -- lemon-grilled asparagus.
Dessert is not to be skipped at Westville. Magic Chocolate Cake served with a scope of Bassetts vanilla ice cream, homemade oreo cookie, carrot cake, and butterscotch pudding were all excellent. And you don't have to take my word for it -- as we were finishing our dessert, Leonardo DiCaprio strolled in and ordered the carrot cake and oreo cookie to go -- a moment captured by David's dexterous moblogging skills.
210 W. 10th St. (@ Bleecker)
Executive chef Michael Navarro cooks up New American bistro food, tailoring the menu to patrons' personal tastes (hence the name.) Ideally, diners select from both small and larger dishes to create their ideal meal. Navarro has tried hard to anticipate every sort of craving: tuna tartare, a salad of smoked duck with grilled asparagus, risotto, mac 'n' cheese, grilled whole fish -- even mom's potato salad makes his list. For midnight snackers, a late-night menu is served until 4AM.