cgfd RELOCATES TO DUBAI!!!

Guess who’s bizzack / Still brushin’ sand off my clothes / Mall rats are the same I suppose / Don’t make me relapse /Moved on from Hamad to Mo/ Middle East sh*t is all I know…

Goodbye Doha...

...Hello Dubai!

A sudden change at work brought about a bit of turmoil, and then an unexpected move to Dubai.  I got caught up in the transition, a wedding, the holidays, and business trips and, although I reviewed a lot of restaurants in the interim, I did not make the time to post them.  After dedicating an all-nighter to transferring the reviews in my notebook to the blog, I have finally published most of the back-logged reviews from September to the present, resulting in brand spanking new, never-been-read-before-posts for the rest of India, Istanbul, San Antonio, Dubai, New York, Paris, Florence, Travel Editions and, of course, reviews of my final meals in Doha.  Check them out by city or by month. Halfway there, and still working on the rest of them!

Please recommend TBRs for Dubai – ESPECIALLY for a great burger – in the comments to this section.  We’re still waiting, Danny Meyer.

THE MEAT CO. – NOT FOR BURGER LOVERS

FIND IT:

The Meat Co
Shop 14
Souk Al Bahar, Old Town
Burj Dubai, UAE

+971 4 420 0737

Your Critique Geek loves meat.  About once a month, I have a burger craving that comes on so strong, it makes me a bit wild. In my crazed, carnivorous state, I usually run to my nearest Shake Shack and git-r-done.  Luckily, I have been back to New York a few times since moving out to the Gulf, so I haven’t suffered terribly.  But it’s been two months already since my last Shackburger, so these past few weeks have been difficult.  I reached out to everyone I know for burger recommendations for Dubai, and a few people directed me to the Meat Co., a South African chain known for its quality meats.  I put it off as long as long as I could, but last weekend, I woke up in a frenzied state, looked in the mirror and saw that the burger deficiency had really done a number on me.  Every cell in my body called out for a burger. Continue reading

SHAKE SHACK SNUBS QATAR

GET PAID

 

I don’t post restaurant news, so much as restaurant reviews, but this is particularly vexing.  I heard a while ago that Shake Shack was slated to open in the UAE and KSA in the coming months, and even thought about a special trip to Dubai to evaluate the quality control.   But then I read this: http://www.248am.com/mark/kuwait/shake-shack-in-kuwait-first/

Qatar is,  like, so much richer than those other losers. 

Seriously?  I’m hurt.  I will no longer be stalking Tina Fey at your UWS location.

(The Kuwaiti blogger claims that the decision to open in Kuwait came right after a complaining post, so it was worth a shot).

PARIS TRAVEL EDITION II: kgb

KITCHEN GALERIE BIS – WORTH THE HYPE, WE SAY

 FIND IT:

25 rue des Grands Augustins
75006 Paris, France
01 46 33 00 85

 

It’s really lame that I didn’t take photos, I know.  But I was distracted by the buzz and I hadn’t slept for 40 hours. 

Because we decided to check it out only a few days before,  the earliest reservation available for a Friday evening was at 10:00 p.m.   We arrived around 15 minutes late with no good excuse.  Seeing the place (once described as a “loft new-yorkais”) full of trendy left bankers and frenzied waiters at that hour, we assumed we would be ignored.  However, whether it is a credit to the attentiveness and professionalism of the host or our own striking good looks, we were promptly acknowledged and seated. 

KGB’s “deal,” if you like, is chef William Ledeuil’s knack for French-Asian fusion (and of course the Art+Food concept).  Here you will find French dishes and techniques, embelllished with the pronounced use of kaffir lime, tumeric, galangal, ginger, thai basil, coriander, garlic root, chinese shallots, kra-chai, ngo’om, coconut milk, wasabi and tamarind, among other delicious Asian ingredients.   I was esssscited, to say the least, and the yumminess that ensued supplied my third wind for the evening. Continue reading

BICE COMES TO DOHA

BICE DOHA: CARPACCIO NOT ENOUGH TO BUILD A DREAM ON


FIND IT:

The Pearl
Doha, Qatar
Tel:  446 3444

 

Ya heard right: the world renowned Italian eatery, Bice, has opened in Doha. Since the Persian Gulf iteration of winter has arrived, your Critique Geek has been hunting for new places to dine with outdoor seating and good views. Bice on the Pearl in Doha has both, but unfortunately, the overpriced, sub-standard food will prevent me from returning. When my companion and I arrived on a Tuesday evening sans reservation, the terrace was completely booked. However, after appetizers, a table became available and our server kindly gave us the option to relocate. The outdoor area is decidedly better than the indoor area, so if you go to Bice in spite of my recommendation (don’t do it!!!), make a reservation outside and at least enjoy the atmosphere. Indoors, the rounded booth seating and the floor-to-ceiling glass case full of wine are inviting enough, but the chairs look uncomfortable and the opposite wall looks more like a hotel conference room expander.

On to the food and drink. Continue reading

SAN ANTONIO TRAVEL EDITION: cgfd’S FAVORITE HOMETOWN CANTINA

ROSARIO’S MEXICAN CAFE AND CANTINA

FIND IT:

910 South Alamo Street
San Antonio, TX 78205
(210) 223-1806

guacamole

nachos (chicken and beef)

Rosario’s has consisently sweeped the official awards for Best Salsa, Best Nachos, and Best Guacamole in the Alamo City, but unofficially, it is considered by San Antonians as their overall best Mexican restaurant. Strange, then, that your Critique Geek, a Greater San Antonio native, doesn’t remember eating there as a child. Well, neither did her father, but then after we walked in, the memories came like a flood.  Dad actually did major renovations to the restaurant back in the day, when it was converted from the Old Jordan Ford dealership offices.   Continue reading

ISTANBUL TRAVEL EDITION: THE SEARCH FOR RESPECTABLE SUSHI CONTINUES

MORI


FIND IT:

Mayadrom
Akatlar
Istanbul, Turkey
0212 351 64 65‎

I think we’ve just about established that the Middle East is not where you want to find yourself when you’re craving some good sushi.  Unfortunately, Mori, despite being the best of about five sushi restaurants in Istanbul, provides us with one more piece of evidence than is necessary close the case file on this one.  And yet I keep reopening it.  I thought this time it was going to be different. (I mean, Turkey is practically Europe!…said about 85% of Turks and about 15% of Europeans).

What’s it called when you keep subjecting yourself to the same bad situation over and over?  Jung’s avoidance of necessary pain?  Einstein’s definition of insanity?  Battered woman’s syndrome?  Wow, you and I, Turkey, we’re not so different.

Look, I’m not saying that Mori’s sushi is bad, because it’s not.  It’s just nothing special, and that hurts when you’re looking for something special.  So it’s my fault right?  I know.  What’s wrong with me?  I’m sorry.

We ordered the neguro (tartare w/ scallions), hitomi (fried seabass), edo (salmon/tuna/seabass/avocado/cucumber/tobiko), spicy sake (hello tabasco!), salmon teriyaki, and the house white wine.  The wine, the ambience (and, of course, the company!) made the meal.  The wine crisp AND smooth, and ambience relaxed, minimal deco, simple and clean.

Will I keep going back to sushi restaurants in the Middle East? If Turkey can move on, maybe I can too.