Inn at Pound Ridge by Jean-Georges

Inn at Pound Ridge

Some 20 years ago, our family dined at the Inn at Pound Ridge for some important occasion such as Easter or Mother’s Day. Pound Ridge is about 15 miles from Greenwich, just across the New York border, and a number of celebrities call this exclusive and somewhat remote area “home.” I don’t recall the menu that day, but I do remember that the restaurant was loud and that the food was relatively unappetizing. We haven’t been back since.

A friend of ours suggested that we might want to give the Inn at Pound Ridge another shot since Jean-George had taken over the kitchen and that the food and service was considerably better. It certainly has, but the noise at the Inn is still deafening – even for lunch!

Restaurant at the Inn at Pound Ridge

Now, I am always intrigued by what Jean-George is up to in the kitchen since he plates well, the food is innovative and the service excellent. The meal we were served was no exception. Now Sheila is of the opinion that you should never accept the table that is first offered you and we finally settled on a corner table “far from the maddening crowd” of chatty women celebrating someone’s birthday, engagement or promotion. (Editor’s Note: I apologize if this sounds sexist as men are equally boisterous. Nevertheless, men have the good sense to duel for attention in a pub rather than a fine restaurant.)

As expected in a Jean-George restaurant, the service was impeccable: knowledgeable and personable waiters and a “wait-staff” that kept your water glass filled, re-folded the napkins if you happened to excuse yourself and always asked for permission to clear the table between courses. It is unusual to find this level of service in more than 5% of the restaurants today.

I suspect that the menu changes often at the Inn depending on the season, but the menu is extensive and there is plenty that would tempt even the most constipated gourmand. For appetizers, Sheila selected a delicious yellow-fin tuna sushi which was served over crusty rice and a tasty sauce with a hint of hot peppers. I settle for lightly-battered calamari served with a creamy Yuzo and sesame sauce. Both appetizers were excellent.

For a main course, I chose the hake served over mashed potatoes with broccoli. As I remarked to Sheila, it was the best broccoli I have ever eaten and the combination of flavors were exquisite. Sheila had a delightful hanger steak sandwich served with arugula in pita bread. It too was excellent.

Our desserts were a bit of a disappointment, and I am sure that both of us wished we had ordered Jean-George’s famous salted caramel ice cream served with popcorn and peanuts that we so enjoyed at his ABC Kitchen.

All-in-all a delightful dining experience and we will certainly return.

Germany and Argentina in World Cup Final

Now that Hannibal Lecter (aka Luis Suarez) has been sent home and the tearful Brazilian lads will be playing for 3rd place in the God-forsaken city of Brasilia, we can get down to the serious business of determining who will be World Champion on Sunday: Germany or Argentina?  (Editor’s Note:  Actually, Suarez is being transferred from Liverpool to Barcelona as he has found Mediterranean cuisine more to his liking.)

Maracana-Stadium-in-Rio-do-Janeiro

The World Cup Final for 2014 will be played in the fabled stadium of Maracana – recently modernized at huge taxpayer expense – where Brazil suffered a historic defeat in the 1950 World Cup Final at the hands of Uruguay. Thanks to the Germans, the Brazilian national team can now play a meaningless game against Holland in front of all of the politicos who have enriched themselves building these soon-to-be-forgotten stadiums and their equally corrupt accomplices: the mercenaries of FIFA.

Other than seeing the artistry of Lionel Messi one more time, I have no great interest in this game other than the faint hope that it will a memorable one. Come on guys, let’s score a few goals and give each other a little space to work magic with the ball. Surprise me!

mark-oneOn behalf of Brazilian football fans, I can’t think of anything more revolting than an Argentine victory on Brazilian soil. If this were to occur, I suspect that Maracana will need to be demolished since no reputable Brazilian could live with the shame of having the Argentine dogs mark their territory in historic Maracana. As such, I am hopeful that Germany will raise their level of play and show Argentina and the muddled lads from Brazil that the “jogo bonito” is still very much alive elsewhere.

Frankly, I think this has been a great World Cup celebrated in a Brazilian style that brings merit to this great country. Unfortunately, Brazilian soccer was having a “down year” as its players seemed more interested in promoting silly electronic products than playing great football. I suspect that this will change soon. In any event, football finally captured the imagination and interest of millions of Americans and I hope that this interest is not short-lived.

In a lovely Opinion in The New York Times by David Brooks quoting extensively from Simon Critchley, he argues that soccer is far closer to “living” than baseball in ways we never imagined:

Finally, Critchley notes that soccer is like a 90-minute anxiety dream — one of those frustrating dreams when you’re trying to get somewhere but something is always in the way. This is yet another way soccer is like life.

Indeed, who am I to argue?  “Sheila, will you please unlock the door?”

Kraut and Bratwurst Tonight

Following Brazil’s 7-1 thrashing at the hands – read feet – of the Germans, I will be dining on Bratwurst and Sauerkraut tonight rather than my traditional caipirinha.

Well done, Germany!  What a clinical display of football.  It was a joy to watch, but I wished the Brazilians had shown a bit more spirit. In fact, it was downright disgraceful. I won’t soon forget this game.

Even FIFA can’t FIX this shoddy display of Brazilian football.