A bit of history: New York and Washington

In March of last year Daniel and I visited New York City and Washington DC. Here we ate better than perhaps even in the Basque country. New York is a fabulous city for good food. We made a note of what we ate:

New York City first round

Honmura An

  • Oyster and scallop sashimi
  • Beef tataki
  • Kobe pork
  • Various soba
  • De Montille Pommard Rugiens 2000
Good, but small portions and hardly thrilling.

Rare Bar & Grill

  • Calamari fried in beer batter
  • Mexican cheeseburger
  • Chilli burger
  • Fries
  • Onion rings

Perfectly reasonable, staggeringly large portions.


  • Duck meatballs
  • Mascarpone ice cream cones
  • Raw fluke with caviar
  • Raw langoustine with truffle
  • Burrata three ways
  • Grain fed veal “sous vide” with black-truffle anchovy mayonnaise
  • JJ Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 1995
  • Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet Ruchottes 2000
  • Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny les Amoureuses 1993
  • JJ Christoffel Ürziger Würzgarten Beerenauslese Auction 1975
Great wine list, wonderful service and well-priced. Quite brilliant.

Kuruma Zushi

  • Neck and belly toro
  • Herring
  • Spanish and horse mackerel
  • Kampachi
  • Hamachi
  • Shima aji
  • Seabream
  • Sweet shrimp
  • Eel
  • Monkfish liver
  • Japanese tiny shrimp
  • Kuruma shrimp
  • Squid
  • Sea urchin
  • Several more grades of toro
  • Herring roe
  • Lots of sake
Amazingly good.

Nicky’s Vietnamese Sandwiches

  • Pate sandwich
  • Chicken sandwich
Nice sandwiches for the price.

DB Bistro Moderne

  • Chicken oyster salad with shrimp
  • Roast chicken salad
  • Twenty-nine dollar burger
  • Biale single-vineyard Zinfandel
Quite fun, quite cheap. I did like the burger and use of chicken oysters.


  • Pickled tongue with fried mayonnaise
  • Corned duck
  • Octopus
  • Monkfish and pear consommé
  • Flatiron fillet steak with caramelised onion tart
  • Pineapple, pine nut, pine needle
  • French toast with brown-butter ice-cream and bacon
  • Kreydenweiss Pinot Blanc 2002
  • Joguet Chinon Clos des Chenes 2002
Really very good indeed. Very inventive with a high level of skill in ingredient selection, menu composition and preparation. Certainly this was much better than Kevin Spacey told us the night before. Wine list was rubbish, alas.

On to Washington, DC.


  • White anchovies
  • Malpeque oysters
  • Serrano-wrapped white shrimp with aji blanco
  • Braised octopus in tomato, garlic and olive oil
  • Maine diver scallops and duck ravioli
  • Rock shrimp risotto with asparagus, thyme and mascarpone
  • More Maine diver scallops with duck ravioli
  • Chateau Ste-Michelle Eroica 2003
Very good. Top class ingredients handled very well.

Ben’s Chili Bowl

  • Half-smoke chili dog
  • Chili burger
  • Cheese fries
  • Vanilla shake
  • Diet Coke
Well, I enjoyed it apart from the cheese fries that were more disgusting than I can articulate.


  • Tuna sashimi
  • Toro sashimi
  • Rockfish sashimi
  • Ama ebi sashimi
  • Flounder sashimi
  • Yellowtail sashimi
  • Salmon sashimi
  • Crab with ikura sashimi
  • Uni sushi
  • Monkfish liver sushi
  • Flounder sushi
  • Seared white tuna sushi
  • Seared toro sushi
  • Eel in some form of sauce canapé
  • Tuna with spring onion canapé
  • Yellowfin with Japanese potato and garlic crisp canapé
  • Salmon canapé
  • Burgundy “three ways”
  • Mugnier Musigny 1999
Stunning. Slightly less traditional than Kuruma, but really good nonetheless. Great Burgundy list.


  • Filipino spring rolls
  • Warm goat’s cheese with potato scrapings
  • Lobster roll
  • Flatiron steak
  • Creme brulée
  • Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese 2000
  • Cristom Marjorie Vineyard Pinot Noir 2001
A good, well-executed, interesting and affordable meal.

New York City round two

Peter Luger

  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Porterhouse steak
  • Fries
  • Brooklyn lager
Good ingredients, cooked with a surprising lack of ability.

Pearl Oyster Bar

  • Fried oysters
  • Fresh oysters
  • Lobster rolls
  • Hot fudge sundae
  • Sierra Nevada Pale Al
Very good, lobster was top-hole and very affordable.


  • Lobster ravioli
  • Spätzle supposedly with rabbit
  • Kavalierspitz with rösti
  • Wiener-schnitzel with cold, tasteless, deeply nauseating baby-food
  • Gobelsburg Heiligenstein Riesling 2003
Woeful, one of the worst meals it has been my displeasure not to have avoided eating. The service was laughably poor, but I did not laugh at the time, I shouted, in fact.

Tomoe Sushi

  • Baby spare ribs
  • Monkfish liver in ponzu sauce
  • Toro sushi
  • Yellowtail belly sushi
  • Squid sushi
  • Sweet shrimp sushi
  • Scallop sushi
  • Stimpson clam sushi
    Smelt roe sushi
  • Sea eel sushi
  • Kirin Ichiban
Variable, from awful to reasonable.

Rice to Riches

  • Traditional romance rice pudding
  • Coast to coast cheesecake rice pudding
Nice enough, but cold rice pudding? Hmmmm…

Gotham Bar and Grill

  • Scallop ceviche with avocado
  • Pasta with prosciutto, chorizo and baby clams
  • New York steak with onion rings and mustard custard
  • Martinelli Charles Ranch Chardonnay 2002
  • Celera Mills Vineyard Pinot Noir 2000
Very good, but not the most exciting of food.

Grand Central Oyster Bar

  • Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail
  • Various fresh oysters
  • Smokehouse platter
  • Bay scallops in herb butter
  • Brooklyn lager
  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Passable, but the service was piss-poor

Jewel Bako

  • Black sesame tofu
  • Toro tartare with oscietra
  • Monkfish liver
  • Two other appetisers
  • Rockfish
  • Green tea fried shrimp


  • Three types of yellowtail
  • Toro
  • Sweet shrimp
  • Grunt fish
  • Live yellow clam
  • Another type of live clam
  • Akami tuna
  • Japanese snapper


  • Squid
  • Seared toro
  • Sea eel
  • Chopped mackerel with ginger
  • Akami tuna
  • Little white shrimp
  • Uni
  • Seared white fish
  • Baumard Trie Speciale 2000
Staggering good. Lawks!

Le Bernardin

  • Smoked salmon rillettes
  • Flash-marinated scallops with truffle and parmesan snow
  • Progressive tasting of marinated fluke ceviche
  • Lobster choucroute with pineapple and bacon
  • Boxler Riesling Sommerberg JV 2000
I was pleased there was raw and barely-cooked fish on offer, and the prices were reasonable, but not up the the standard I had hoped.

Pearl Oyster Bar (again)

  • Fried oysters
  • Oyster, clam, lobster and shrimp cocktail
  • Lobster roll
  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Still good.


  • A vast pizza with sweet sausage, red onion and anchovies
Good enough and cheap.

Weight gained during the trip

  • David Two and one half kilogrammes
  • Daniel Within the statistical margin of error.

What a great holiday, not hard work in the slightest.