Thursday, April 30, 2009
I'm proud to be a supporter of American Craft Beers.
"I Am A Craft Brewer" is a collaborative video representing the camaraderie, character and integrity of the American Craft Brewing movement. Created by Greg Koch, CEO of the Stone Brewing Co. and Chris & Jared of Redtail Media...and more than 35 amazing craft brewers from all over the country. The video was shown to a packed audience of 1700 craft brewers and industry members at the 2009 Craft Brewers Conference as an introduction to Greg's Keynote Speech entitled "Be Remarkable: Collaboration Ethics Camaraderie Passion." As is tradition for the CBC Keynote, a toast to the audience was offered. This time, the beers offered for the toast were all collaboratively brewed craft beers including Isabella Proximus, Collaboration Not Litigation, AleSmith/Mikkeller/Stone Belgian Style Triple, Jolly Pumpkin/Nøgne-Ø/Stone Special Holiday Ale, and 2009 Symposium Ale "Audacity of Hops."
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I figured I would pick Nocciola (hazelnut) and Pistachio; two flavors the wife and I consistently had during our two week stay in Italy. These two (along with Stracciatella) were the gelatos we had at least 2-3 times a day in Rome / Amalfi, so figuring we could judge those best.
Different tests, but same results for me. Grom is unrecommended and L'Arte is highly recommended.
First up - Nocciola
- Grom Flavor - 6/10 - An intense hazelnut flavor that unfortunately is marred by a gritty texture. Grom would have the edge here if it were not for the disgusting texture.
- L'Arte Flavor - 8.7/10 - A nice hazelnut flavor that stands out above most gelaterias, but nowhere near what Italy does.
- Grom Texture - 0/10 - Pretty unpalatable to me. Same comments as my previous review. Ground hazelnuts that aren't strained out...WTF. Kinda like eating the sandiest mussels. I've had Nocciola from many different gelateria in Rome and Amalfi and I've never had a sandy Nocciola gelato before. Also, the gelato doesn't melt as well in the mouth.
- L'Arte Texture - 9/10 - Beautiful texture. A nice custardy like mouth feel that melts effortlessly. Definitely similar to what we had in Italy.
- Overall Grom Nocciola - 3/10 - That texture is a complete WTF moment in a bad way - completely unbearable. The price is also slightly more expensive than L'Arte also - about $5+ for two scoops.
- Overall L'Arte Nocciola - 8.9/10 - Definitely a solid gelato with great texture and very good flavor. Price is about $4.50 for 2 scoops. An added bonus are the guys manning the gelato's all speak Italian.
Finally - Pistachio
- Grom Flavor - 9/10 - A really intense pistachio flavor that definitely stands out. A tad sweet compared to Italian standards, but still hella tasty.
- L'Arte Flavor - 8.6/10 - A sold pistachio flavor that is almost a tad too sweet. More sweeter than Grom actually.
- Grom Texture - 7/10 - Decent texture, but not velvety or custardy like L'Arte. Does not melt effortlessly in the mouth. Not sure if it's because of the temperature or not. Also, I noticed there were more tiny holes in their gelato compared to L'Arte...maybe signs of more crystallization?
- L'Arte Texture - 9/10 - Same comments as the L'Arte texture for Nocciola
- Overall Grom Pistachio - 8.4/10 - Much better than the Grom nocciola, but for some reason - worse than the one in my original memory of the Grom in the Upper West Side.
- Overall L'Arte Pistachio - 8.7/10 - Very tasty gelato, although I liked the nocciola slightly better.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
42 E. 20th St.
New York, NY 10003
(nr. Park Ave. South)
One of the best meals I've ever had in Manhattan.
And I can't believe Monday night was my first time.
It wouldn't be fair if I didn't mention Colicchio in this post. Perhaps this is the place Tom built, but Chef Michael Anthony gets my tremendous praise. His food is so pleasant.
Michael's cooking isn't too gentle nor is it over the top, punch you in the face flavor overload.
Every dish was just the right. Just the right touch.
And while on the topic of shout outs... Danny Meyer gets huge props as well.
Union Square Cafe, Shake Shack, Eleven Madison, and now Gramercy Tavern have all been extremely solid eating experiences. Could this man be the ultimate Restaurateur? At this point, I would have to say so.
I will probably go back in the next few weeks to enjoy a meal in the "tavern" portion of the establishment. It's less formal there and you can order A La Carte as opposed to the fixed menus in the dining room.
- Amuse Bouche Trio **- Potato Grugere, Pork Pate, Foie Gras Custard
- Salmon Duo **- Cured Salmon layed over Salmon Tartare
- Trout ***- Steamed and Smoked with Celeriac and Beets Brunoise
- Striped Bass ***- Steamed over Bokchoy leaves, Turnip Puree and
Fond de Veau (FdV)
- Veal Duo ***- Roasted and Braised Over some Potato Puree and FdV
- Carrot Gelato *- Palate Cleanser
- Rhubbarb Cobbler ***
- Chocolate Mousse ***
Cava **- Spanish Sparkling
Chardonnay ***- Russian River Valley
Moscato ***- Italian
Greek Dessert Wine ***
200 E 54th St.
New York, NY 10022
This place probably was once a very nice place to dine. Before the time Lemongrass, Star Anise, Sichuan Peppercorns were commonly known ingredients in NYC. A leader maybe 20 some years ago.
But last Thursday, I had a lunch meeting with a customer and from the moment we entered the place, it was just a bit out of place/out of date for NYC.
Tradition is good I guess, but something about Vong just didn't vibe well with me.
The space is quite large. The people are very nice and hospitable, but the food tasted mass produced.
The spices were dealt with a heavy hand, and clearly not deserving of the Jean Georges status.
Perhaps I am tooting JG's horn too much, but I expected better from his establishments.
Striped Sea Bass - Overly spiced and salty
Ox Tail Noodle Soup - No flavor
Desserts - They were all pretty average to good.
But not good enough for me to go back again.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Ristorante Spadaro - Highly Recommended
211 E Main St.
New Rochelle, NY 10801
Tel. 914 235 4595
It was a great experience. Even with the traffic heading up, it was totally worth it. Ristorante Spadaro totally delivers.
You get everything you would expect from when dining in a typical Roman Trattoria. Great simple foods, warm service, laid back atmosphere where the chef owner comes out to have a glass of wine with his wife (the waitress), and everyone chats (for those who speak Italian) with her 80 year old father who has his beloved Lazio playing in the background on the TV.
* 2 more reasons to love this place. They carry some really good wines.
Below are some pics from our (3 hour) lunch. That's really the only way to enjoy a good Italian meal. Unrushed.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The Village Tea Room - Highly Recommended
10 Plattekill Ave
New Paltz, NY 12561
Phone: (845) 255-3434
Went up for a day trip to Mohunk Mountain House with the wife and I ran across this place based on the web reviews out there. Basically, simple food using good ingredients cooked well. Can't get any better than that I guess. Eating outside looking at the mountains also makes everything taste better. Overall I give the restaurant an 86/100.
1) Roasted Vidalia Onion & Ewe's Blue Cheese Sliced Almonds & Sherry Vinaigrette *
2) Salad of Local Organic Tender Field Greens Shallot Vinaigrette **
3) Crisp Roasted Chicken **
House-Made Apple Chutney, Pan Gravy & Scallion Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes, Murray's Free Range Chicken
4) Roasted Butternut Squash, Sage, Onions, & Grapes *
5) Lamb Sheppard's Pie *
6) Gingerbread Cake **
--- What the F - in a bad way * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way
1) This usually would be my type of dish and I've made something similar before. Unfortunately, there were some things that were a little off - some of the onions should have been peeled a little bit more. Also, the flavors didn't mix 100% well together. With all that said, it was overall pretty good.
2) Simple dish, but works really well. Basically, fresh local field greens that had a yasuda like affect - each leaf had a pronounced flavor. Perfect salad which means greens were still crisp and the flavor was not drowned out by the dressing.
3) Perfectly crisp skin and the legs were juicy, moist and very flavorful. That alone was a WTF moment. However, the breast meat was a tad dry, but the tasty apple chutney paired perfectly and made you forget about the dryness. The mashed taters were also perfect too. Great texture and potato flavor without being watery or drowning in butter. All these NYC restos now are going a little overboard with the Robuchon stlye pomme puree's - way too much butter and losing the essence of the potato.
4) Simple, but delicious. Sweet squash with a nice roasted flavor - great balance between savory and sweet. Onions and the surprising grapes add to the sweetness without being disgustingly sweet.
5) Nice lamb's sherpherd's pie. Nothing to go nuts over, but it does it's job.
6) A great way to end the meal. Huge complex flavor - crispy and caramelly on the outside and inside had a pronounced ginger and cinnamon flavor. Though a wee bit dry, the delicious cream hid that fact. A very surprising and great dessert. Amazing with the great Cochin Masala Chai tea with steamed milk and honey. This place does some solid teas too.
Overall Restaurant Experience
- Food 8.5/10 – Simple food using very good ingredients cooked well. Very solid stuff. Also, they give out some great sesame sticks with a daal dip...hella tasty.
- Service 9/10 – The waitress was extremely nice and the food came out in a great time.
- Atmosphere 9.5/10 – Can't beat it. Sitting outside looking at the beautiful mountains smelling the amazing food coming out of the kitchen - definitely a serenity now moment. There was indoor seating as well, but the patio was where it was at on a nice spring day. The crowd was all older professors - which makes sense since New Paltz has a college in town. Everyone there was so chill and very happy. We got there at 6pm on a Sunday and were seated immediately.
- Price 8.0/10 – A solid value for a filling meal. Dinner for 2 was about $80 including drinks. There was a prix fixe that night for $22 which my wife got - included app/entree/dessert. The chicken dish we had was monstrous and we still had leftovers...roasted chicken, mashed taters, and butternut squash make a suprisingly amazing taco btw.
I wouldn't drive out to New Paltz, NY just for this restaurant, but I would 100% go back if I was in the area. Definitely going to try and go back during the fall to check out the leaves and checkout more of the menu. A know a place is good when I want to make a similar menu and this definitely did the inspiration thing for me.
231 West 40th Street
Inakaya is originally a hugely successful restaurant located in Roppongi. This heavily "gaijin" populated area of Tokyo is where a ton of expats go to eat, drink and later hit the clubs in order to meet Japanese girls who love nothing more than to hook up with foreign men.
Many times, American men who come back from their temporary corporate assignments have this misconception that all Japanese girls are "easy" and then go on to believe all asian girls are hoes based on their escapades in Roppongi. Needless to say, that's not the case... Roppongi is simply a location in which the hoes flock to and just about any non Japanese man can get a piece of ass as long as you speak English.
Anywho, I digress. Back to Inakaya.
Although already very expensive in Tokyo, it's even more expensive here in NYC. And the quality no where justifies the price. Many of my coworkers have gone and were highly disappointed.
Basically, this establishment was built on the premis to rip off tourists or expats in Tokyo. But now, the tourists and expats don't need to fly 6,000 miles to get ripped off because they've set up shop here in NYC.
Here are some excerpts from the piece and also a link to Bruni's review.
Food is sidelined at this large and theatrical Japanese restaurant on the ground floor of The New York Times building. It’s an offshoot of a Tokyo establishment and it’s billed as a robatayaki, which means that grilling is its focus.
Much of the space is taken up by a long counter with 30 seats. There are, additionally, three communal tables, and it was at one of these that my friends and I sampled many grilled dishes, like the Japanese eggplant ($5) and shiitake mushroom ($7), that were pleasant enough.
Others, like skewered hunks of juicy, fatty, lavishly salted chicken thigh ($10), were better than that. But still others, like the whole deep-sea snapper, flown in from Japan and advertised as “Inakaya’s pride dish,” were a shame. The small, dry, emaciated snapper ($65) would have been too expensive at half its lofty price.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Casa Mono - Highly Recommended
52 Irving Pl, New York 10003
Btwn 17th & 18th St
Phone: (212) 253-2773
I've been avoiding all Mario joints for a while now due to my terrible experiences in the past. However, I have always wanted to go to Casa Mono and Porthos has highly recommended this place. I was in the area, so figured why not. Good call as this place was definitely rocking with the flavors there, albeit slightly salty imho. Great, fun food but a tad pricey. Overall, I give the restaurant an 84/100.
Our Menu Rating System Overall Restaurant Experience
1) Goat Confit with Saffron Honey *
2) Razor Clams a la Plancha ***
3) Pig's Feet Croquetas with Green Tomatoes *
4) Skirt Steak with Onion Marmelada **
5) Duck with Rhubarb **
6) Pork Belly Fabada with Horseradish *
--- What the F - in a bad way * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way
1) Soft, tender flavorful goat meat that is slightly overpowered by the honey.
2) This was a complete wtf moment for me and how I imagined Spanish food should be. Simply cooked fresh ingredients that was full of flavor. Tender, rich, briney, with a good dose of garlic.
3) Crispy and tender, but the pork feet are definitely lost and not the star of the dish here.
4) Tender and very flavorful steak. Combined with the sweet/sour onions and this was a dynamo dish.
5) Mr Risotto's favorite dish of the night. Perfectly cooked duck - tender, juicy, with a great strong duck flavor. The rhubarb had the sweet / slightly sour thing going on which went perfect with the duck.
6) A decently tender pork belly, but not that remarkable otherwise. A good dish though.
Big flavors that don't necessarily seem too Spanish to me. Still delicious though and although a tad pricey I would definitely go back with more people, so we can sample more items.
Overall Restaurant Experience
Monday, April 20, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
215 E 4th St (btw Ave A & B)
New York, NY 10009
I don't often plug Italian joints, but this place is an exception.
In Vino literally is a "hole in a wall", but it works. Heavy on the Italian wines, this place is the perfect neighborhood "cozy" restaurant.
The moment you walk in, you feel like you are in a cave... a very romantic cave that is.
The staff is very hospitable and they will do what it takes to make sure you are having a good time.
Bring that special girl here and you're sure to be well rewarded later that evening.
The food was pretty good. The wine was great. The atmosphere and service puts it over the top.
You can tell the chef wants to use the best ingredients the neighborhood can afford. In Vino has a great vibe to the place and I will definitely go back to spend a relaxing Saturday evening there.
Here are some of the dishes my party and I had Wednesday night.
- Charcuterie Platter (Prosciutto, Mortadella, Speck, Braseola)
- Fried Artichokes
Here is a great bottle from Sicily.
A really big red. Tons of Black Currants and Tobacco. Velvetty on the palate.
60% Nero d’Avola
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Some nutritional numbers:
"KFC says each piece of its grilled chicken has 70 to 180 calories and four to nine grams of fat. By contrast, the Original Recipe items have between 110 and 370 calories and 7 to 21 grams of fat, depending on the piece. The grilled chicken contains from 160 to 440 milligrams of sodium per piece, as opposed to 290 to 1,050 milligrams of sodium per piece of Original Recipe chicken."
We'll see how it goes as "KFC will offer customers a free piece of grilled chicken on April 27."
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
It's a crispy and flaky rice cracker filled with sweet red "azuki" beans.
When you buy the good stuff, they are often separated in the package and you get to scoop how much or how little azuki you want in each burger bun like cracker.
Here are some pics I took while assembling them.
You would ideally want to have these Monakas with a nice "Matcha" Green Tea.
The bitterness from the tea and the sweetness from the Japanese pastries goes hand in hand.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
So in memory of our collegiate days, I picked up a box of Stouffer's at my local Duane Reade the other day and nuked it to give it a try.
Overall, it does it's job. For something under $5, this takes care of your hunger and has decent flavor. The salisbury steak actually tasted like a salisbury steak you'd find at a diner.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
172 Thompson St # A
New York, 10012
This place is always packed. And rightfully so. They have some of the best prices here.
I went with some coworkers the other day. We were a party of 3 and our total bill came to $130 (including tax and a 30% tip).
The sushi neta (piece of fish) is rather large and the chef does a pretty good job with the preparation.
The atmosphere and quality is something you can expect to find in Japan.
Not the best Sushi in the city by any means, but a decent and affordable joint to hit up when jonesin for some Hamachi.
- Toro *
- Botan Ebi
- Salmon *
- Hamachi *
- Negi Toro Roll
- Mentaiko & Shiso Roll
- Tamago *
- Sunomono (vinegared fish)
- Squid Kimchi
- Toro Kakuni (stewed toro) **
- Miso Soup
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
Thursday, April 9, 2009
taken from the NY Times
A $5 hot dog was often the default meal at Shea Stadium and the old Yankee Stadium, since there were few better choices. But food is not an afterthought at their replacements.
Even the bleacher creatures at the new Yankee Stadium will be able to get steak sandwiches from a premium butcher. And at Citi Field there will be lobster rolls and barbecue, with beer and wine flowing more freely.
Is that cheering we hear from the nosebleed seats?
Of course, those with plush seats closer to the action will be able to dine on dishes like heritage pork porchetta over kielbasa sauerkraut, and crab cake with a cauliflower and tomato relish from the $48 prix fixe menu at the terraced tables of Citi Field's Acela Club. The restaurant overlooks left field, where the chef is Michael Sobelman, formerly of Tribeca Grill. It is one of several high-end restaurants in the new ballpark.
In Yankee Stadium's high-priced sections, fans will have a chance occasionally to watch marquee chefs like Masaharu Morimoto and April Bloomfield, as well as Food Network personalities, serving their specialties at more than 15 cooking stations in several dining rooms. To pamper big spenders, food is included in the price of tickets to the club seats and suites at Yankee Stadium. This program, a sports arena trend, will not be offered at Citi Field, where top prices for seats are lower.
Both new stadiums have elite Delta Sky 360 Clubs, with the one at Citi Field run by Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group.
But fans in the cheaper seats have not been forgotten.
At Citi Field, an open-air food court called Taste of the City, with a dozen concession windows, sprawls along the concourse behind left-center field. With expansive views, it is quite a change from Shea Stadium's back of the hand for hungry fans, the tunnel-like corridors where they were forced to grab a bite.
Early in the season, at the Mexican stand, El Verano Taquería, Floyd Cardoz, the executive chef of Tabla in Manhattan, who said he is a "huge Mets fan," expects to be on hand frequently, checking on his soft tacos, with pork carnitas, skirt steak or pumpkin seed and chicken mole ($7.25 each). He will also be serving Mexican-style corn on the cob dusted with cheese and mayo for $3.50.
The Union Square group, which runs the taquería, has also brought a branch of Blue Smoke, its barbecue restaurant, which will serve Kansas City ribs ($10), pulled pork sandwiches ($9) and chicken wings ($8). Shake Shack, the company's popular hamburger ($5.75 to $8.75) and milkshake stand, will also be at the food court, along with Box Frites, with fries ($6.50 and $7.50) and a choice of five dips, including smoky bacon.
Nearby, Catch of the Day, run by Dave Pasternack of Esca, another Mets loyalist, will remind fans that Queens segues seamlessly into Long Island, with lobster rolls ($17), fried local flounder sandwiches ($8.25), blackened shrimp po' boys ($12.50), fried calamari ($9), and clam and corn chowder ($4.50).
And those steak sandwiches ($15) at Yankee Stadium will be carved at a rotisserie cart on the main concourse, and at two Triple Play carts, from beef supplied by Lobel's, the carriage trade butcher on Madison Avenue, which is also the meat purveyor for the restaurants serving the better seats.
Legends Hospitality Management, the company the Yankees formed with the Dallas Cowboys and Goldman Sachs to run food services, hopes food lines will be shorter. The number of concessions will be about the same, but they will have about 50 percent more registers, all accepting credit cards. Aramark, which runs the concessions at Citi Field, has increased the number of stands to 66 from the 50 at Shea. Legends has doubled the number of food service employees, including vendors who sell in the seats, to about 2,500, up from about 1,200, and at Citi Field the number has gone to 1,700 from 1,200 at Shea.
And more of what people will be waiting for will be freshly prepared. In the old Yankee Stadium, only 14 percent of the food carts and concessions could cook. But now about 70 percent of the food stands will be grilling, frying and baking, including places like Brother Jimmy's barbecue, Johnny Rockets burgers and shakes, Latin Corner with pressed Cuban sandwiches, and Soy Kitchen, a Bronx purveyor of Asian food. At Citi Field, 23 stands will be cooking, up from 7 at Shea.
Most of the food stands on the concourses, which circle each stadium, and in other areas, have been set up so the field is visible.
Both stadiums also have market areas where prepared foods and even fresh produce can be purchased.
Easing ticket-price pain, some concession-stand prices are lower at Citi Field than they were at Shea: $5.75 for a regular hamburger, down from $7.50, and $3.75 for a knish, instead of $5.25. Yankees fans will be given no such relief.
Both teams have even paid attention to wine. Throughout Citi Field, there are wines by the glass from lists that Zachys Wine and Liquor, in Scarsdale, N.Y., has suggested. "For the first time, wine is available for those in general-admission seats," said Andrew McMurray, the executive vice president of the store. A five-and-a-half-ounce pour costs $9.
And, after a nine-year drought, fans in Yankee Stadium's bleachers will be able to buy beer, as well as wine, which is completely new.
Glatt kosher food is also available, from Ouri's, a kosher caterer in Brooklyn, at various locations in Yankee Stadium, and from Kosher Sports of Englewood, N.J., at Citi Field.
As for those hot dogs, at Citi Field, stands will be selling Nathan's skinless and natural casing dogs, as well as corn dogs on a stick, plus, from Shake Shack, a Chicago dog ($5.75), a New York City dog ($5) or a smoked chicken bratwurst ($6). Nathan's skinless franks will be hawked for $4.75 in the seats, $5 at Yankee Stadium.
The Stadium will also have natural hot dogs and corn dogs, Hebrew National hot dogs, a glatt kosher hot dog and, for $3, a smaller frank. Many of them will be grilled.
Also, for Yankees fans who want a sit-down meal without springing for the expensive seats, there is the NYY Steak House above the Hard Rock Cafe, with a street entrance open all year.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
204 E 43rd St, New York 10017
Btwn 2nd & 3rd Ave
Phone: (212) 972-1001
This was bite for bite the best meal I've had - definitely the best sushi experience I've ever had. Due to the size of the sushi Yasuda-san creates, you can eat everything in one bite and man what a bite that was. Every time I ate a piece of sushi, it was what I like to call an "American Beauty" moment. My focus on the sushi was singular (some could say disturbing), everything else goes to dark, and all I saw were rose petals falling down around me.
Like Porthos mentioned, only at Yasuda have I ever experienced each fish having it's own unique qualities - such different flavors and textures. Hell, even different parts of the tuna had such a strong contrast of flavors and textures. This again reconfirms my belief I don't really care how many people prepare the food or wait on me - it's all about the pleasure of that dish unlike whatever Daniel thinks. Any who, I have never had this many consistent home runs ever in a dining experience. At the counter with Yasuda san serving you, I believe this is a 95/100 for a dining experience. Best ever for me...
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon
57 E 57th St, New York 10022
Btwn Madison & Park Ave
Phone: (212) 350-6658
I was expecting subtle flavors and you can go that route, but there are big time wtf moments here. Here it's all about displaying perfect technique and a surprising take on flavors. The first couple of dishes that we ordered had such a nice balance. Also, pretty interesting to see some old school French classics - vichyssoise, ballotine with fg. Delicate flavors with perfect technique...that chicken breast was ridiculously moist and tender.
After these first courses, the flavors got hugely amped up - again with perfect technique. Perfectly cooked, juicy and insanely flavorful quail. And, definitely the best FG burger in town...sorry Db Bistro. My only complaint was that the quail leg and the burger were slightly salty - not like the train wreck that was Spotted Pig, but still noticeable. It was so tasty though, I ended up inhaling it any way and biting my lip in the process.
Two complaints about this place: the price and the number of cheesedicks. Basically, they have a whole mess load of plates that are $50 a pop. Very pricey stuff, but the quality of cooking is amazing. What is inexcusable are the cheesedicks at this place. When we were there, it was a bunch of couples practically dry humping at the counter...no f'n joke. Also, the conversation was ridiculous "Baby, I don't want to lie to you like I've lied to all the other girls. You're really special...(silence as he nibbles on her ear)" If this was done at Yasuda, he would fillet these mother f'ers...ah well, still great food and worth it in my opine...
Great times, however, I realized when you have that much amazing food, too much of a good thing really is too much. After eating Yasuda, I was blissed out and we were under Yasuda's spell. He's not a master of sushi but a grand wizard casting a trance over all those who eat.
By the time we rolled into Robuchon, I already shot my "awesome food load" and could not take much more. The first couple of courses were mellow enough, but the quail and the burger was complete sensory overload...great times either way and this will be very difficult to top.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
If asked to try name a few famous duos.
- Cleopatra & Mark Antony
- Reagan & Gorbachev
- Michael Jordan & Scottie Pippen
- Tom & Jerry
- Batman & Robin... may come to mind for most.
But for Aramis and I, last thursday marked a new revelation.
Yasuda and Robuchon.
Quite possibly, the Dudes Night that will never be topped.
It started out innocently enough on Monday. I gave Aramis a call at work and just wanted to catch up a bit and see if he wanted to grab dinner sometime that week in the city.
We realized we hadn't been back to Yasuda for a long time and so I made the rez and Thursday night was set.
I got to Yasuda a bit early and saw that 2 seats (I assumed they were ours) were vacant at the counter. I went in and was seated right away.
Chef Yasuda remembered me and we quickly caught up.
Aramis arrived shortly after my little conspiracy and as he sat down, the first nigiri was placed in front of him. 20 pieces and 2 rolls later, we stumbled out of the place with a huge grin on our faces.
Tuna : Akami ***
Tuna : Akami (near backbone) **
Tuna : Akami (near dorsal fin)
Tuna : ChuToro ***
Tuna : Toro (stomach) ***
Tuna : Toro (tail section) ***
Uni : Maine *
Uni : Santa Barbara *
Oyster : Washington (huge) **
Oyster Liver : Washington **
Geoduck : Base ***
Geoduck : Neck **
Mackerel : Slightly Torched ***
Mackerel : Gen Saba ***
Mackerel : Vinegared *
Snapper : Madai *
Kohada : Gizzard Shad ***
Anago : Shio *
Anago : Tare **
Mackerel Roll : w/Shiso and Ginger ***
Negi Toro Cigar ***
I've noticed many times, when you dine at the hands of masters, you will always learn something new about them each and every time.
On this trip, the experience of the flight of Tuna sticks in my mind vividly.
Each piece, being different texturally, visually, taste wise, was prepared with a different hardness in the rice.
The Akami was accompanied with a harder nigiri while the more fattier cuts were prepared softer respectively.
Every piece served that night was special. Aramis made a great observation saying, "...only here, at Yasuda, is every bite, every piece of fish uniquely special. They all have their own personality and characteristic that is not found elsewhere..."
Pretty powerful stuff.
Aramis looked at me and we both knew the 2 nuclear missile launching keys were just turned. We have been talking about a meal at Robuchon for 2 and a half years.
One of us would always bring it up the spur of the moment and never would we both agree it was the right thing to do...
That was until last Thursday.
Chef Suga is actually leaving for Taiwan to open up yet another L'Atelier for Mr. Robuchon and our time was limited. It was either now or never.
So we broke open the Missile Defense authorization card and read out the launch codes. Called to make the rez and alerted the Chef we were on our way.
Upon arriving, the host greeted us at the entrance and took us to the counter where we got comfortable.
Our intentions were humble at first...
But we soon warmed to the atmosphere and ordered like we hadn't eaten since 12 noon.
Here are the parade of dishes ordered. Some shared, some individual dishes. But all mouth wateringly delicious.
- FG Mousse with Port Reduction and Parmegiano Foam ***
- Scallop Carpaccio **
- Pan Seared Diver Scallops *
- Vichyssoise **
- Sweetbreads *
- Chicken Ballotine with FG Torchon **
- Pan Seared FG **
- Quail stuffed with FG ***
- FG Burgers ***
The chef came out to chat with us a bit and we exchanged soon to be new contact information.
In addition, I also ran into George Mendes (who is about to open Aldea very soon) sitting at the bar with Stephanie Goto (designer of notable restaurants such as Corton, Buddakan, Morimoto, Jazz at Lincoln Center and now Aldea). It's funny how food nerds desperately try to sneak in one last meal from their favorite chefs before they leave.
The last time I was this saddened with a chef leaving NYC was with Dante Bocuzzi from Aureole.