Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Name is Athos, and I'm an Addict

I just read this article where it compares the addicitve properties of bacon and cheesecake to heroin and cocaine in rats. "Not even mild foot shocks kept them from compulsively feasting on chocolate bars, cream-stuffed cakes, sausage, frosting and other highly palatable human foods. Within 40 days, their body weight had increased 25%." Truth be told, the scientists were mainly monitoring the dopamine levels in the brains of the rats, but it's still interesting - and funny - to see how they were addicted to this food. Can I use that excuse?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Daniel - Review

Daniel - Highly Recommended
60 E 65th St, New York NY 10065
Btwn Madison & Park Ave
Phone: (212) 288-0033

The dudes and I always talk about the best meal we ever had and one of the best for me has always been Daniel. By no means was it perfect, but it was one of those experiences where you knew only this kitchen could produce dishes that ethereal. Fast forward 5 years later and many amazing restaurant experiences under my belt, I was a bit worried this experience was going to be underwhelming. 100% not the case as this proved to be the best restaurant experience I've had states side. Overall, I give the restaurant an 95/100.

Our Menu
Amuse Bouche **
Trio of Peas
Delicious pea flavor running through out with different tastes and textures - earthy, creamy, tart, crunchy. The puree was heavenly, but so were the actually individually cooked peas...what a great way to start the meal.

. . . . . . .

date and marcona almond napoleon, baby turnips, spinach
I've had a boat load of foie gras in my day and sadly, I just don't get fired up over foie gras anymore. Well, the one they served here was a complete WTF moment. Maybe the most intense FG I've ever tasted. Mixed with the tart turnips and sweet dates made for a ridiculous combination of flavors.

pickled daion, satur farms mâche, pear confit
Another WTF FG dish. The capon was delicious, tender, and paired perfect with the foie gras. Really perfect...

. . . . . . .

North Star Caviar, Barron Point Oyster, Finger Lime, Tapioca Vinaigrette
A bright combination of flavors and textures - huge sea urchin flavor in a nice tender custard. The sea urchin flavor paired perfectly with the briney oyster and caviar.

Celery, Walnut Oil, Granny Smith Sauce
Another course - another WTF moment. The crab was perfect in every way - beautiful texture and such a naturally sweet flavor. Combined with the sweet/tart sauce - everything just really popped. This dish would have made Le Bernardin proud!

. . . . . . .

Hazelnut Crusted Maine Sea Scallops *
Morel Fricassée, Swiss Chard, Miners Lettuce, Green Peppercorn Sauce
Didn't love this dish at first, but it started to grow on me. Perfectly cooked sea scallop that was so meaty and flavorful - never had a scallop like this before. I wanted more acidity and brightness though since this was a pretty damn heavy dish with the morels.

Littleneck Clams, Squid, Bay Scallops, Anise Hyssop Salad
Another WTF dish - perfectly textured ravioli with such an amazing filling and sauce. Earthy, bright, and paired with the subtly sweet sea food.

. . . . . . .

Hawaiian Hearts of Palm, Red Kuri Squash, Chorizo Emulsion
The first shock of the night as this dish just didn't work for me. From texture to flavor - everything seemed pretty dull. Again need some more acidity here. The squash was muted and slightly sweet. Also, the tuna didn't pair well with all those flavors.

Leek Potato Parmentier, Roasted and Tempura Celery
The dish I was looking forward to most was to me - the most disappointing. I loved this dish back in 2005 (my favorite dish of all time), but it was served en paupiette basically wrapped in potato where it crisps up and leaves the sea bass moist and tender. The sea bass was nice this night, but not as moist as I'd like. Also the potato was pretty over salted. It was decent overall, but such a let down from my first memory.

. . . . . . .

Braised Radicchio Tardivo, Confit Fennel, Crispy Polenta, Sicilian Olives
After the disappointing fish dishes, this dish totally reminded me I was at Daniel. The lamb loin was ethereal - huge lamb flavor, perfectly cooked where it was meaty and tender at the same time. The fennel, the olives, and the lamb jus were such a perfect compliment.

Red Wine Braised Short Rib with Chanterelle Marmalade |
Seared Tenderloin with Chestnut-Potato Gnocchi, Swiss Chard

Another ridiculous WTF dish. Braised short rib is a dish that people do everywhere, but not as well as they serve it here. Rich, intense, and tender as hell. The short rib alone would have made me happy happy, but the perfect wagyu tenderloin put me over the top. Huge meaty flavor and perfect texture with the intense bordelaise sauce.

. . . . . . .

Mango-Thai Basil Gelée, Poached Pineapple, Coconut Rum Sorbet
This kind of reminded me of a Chinese dessert with the poached pineapple and coconut - just needed some sponge cake. Sorbet was phenomenal, but surprised to say that the gelee's weren't that great - the ones at Ko seemed to pop more.

Liquid Caramel, Fleur de Sel, Milk Sorbet

Another one of those dishes that everyone does - but no one can touch this one. By far the best chocolate coulant or lava cake I've ever had. This actually maybe the best dessert I've ever had. Such an intense chocolate flavor with the liquid chocolate caramel center. This was the only dish the whole night that made me dizzy with pleasure...

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience (95/100)
  • Food (9.5/10) – Best food I've had in NYC. Forgot how much sauces really make a great dish a WTF dish - that Bordelaise sauce and lamb jus is still making my mouth water. 10 out of 12 dishes were killer with some being ridonkulous.
  • Service (9.5/10) – After checking out Le Bernardin recently, it was shocking how much better Daniel's service was. Lots of little attention to details like the little ottoman for my wife's purse and they properly clean up the crumbs after each course (take note Le Bernardin). The food came out at a consistent pace - relatively fatst. And they still have the same ninja system they had in the past where multiple captains are overlooking the whole dining room and as soon as a patron needs anything - SWARM! - multiple people stop by to help you. Also, noticed the entire waitstaff was French which didn't seem to be the case last time
  • Atmosphere (9.5/10) – Much more relaxed atmosphere than 5 years ago - still extravagant though, but more muted with cream colors. Place was filled with people in their 50's + and surprisingly maybe 30% Asian. The place is very comfortably spacious which was different than Le Bernardin which felt quite cramped. Had reservations and I waited at the bar for my wife. Once she arrived, we were seated immediately.
  • Price (9.0) – Crazy expensive, but worth it for a special occasion - about $250 a head including tip.
Closing Comments
Funny note is I mentioned to my wife how much I always love the dishes I pick for her more - the last time her dishes at Daniel were superb and mine were just OK. It happened again as I liked her dishes more than mine...spectacular experience and would love to go for the 3 course menu.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tekka Don

I had some left over Big Eye Tuna from an event I did Saturday and made sure I didn't waste it. 
I got home, sliced up the Tuna and marinaded in a homemade "Zuke" (Soy Sauce, Mirin, Dashi marinade) for 20 minutes, and layered it over a bed of rice and some other garnishing sides. 

Makes for a healthy and delicious meal.

Friday, March 26, 2010

No! THIS is a F'n big deal

The last thing I want, is to talk politics... but to quote VP Joe Biden, "THIS is a F'n big deal," guys!

Our President and Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces has endorsed a Ban on Blue Fin Tuna trade.
Now if this International Ban is approved, it means no more Blue Fin Tuna for any of us because it's virtually impossible to sustain regional demand without international fishing.

Without spewing too much of my personal views, please read the link I've attached below.
And make up your own minds.


A Chance for the Bluefin

There finally may be a reprieve for the bluefin tuna of the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic, which are spiraling rapidly downward toward commercial extinction. On Wednesday, the Obama administration endorsed a ban on international trade in these fish. It must use all of its influence to get the European Union and others to follow.

Delegates from 175 nations will soon meet in Doha to determine whether to restrict trade in bluefin tuna. It would take a vote of two-thirds of the members to impose a ban, and much depends on whether other major fishing nations sign on. The European Union, whose members account for much of the tuna harvest in those waters, has yet to take a formal position.

Under the international rules governing endangered species, individual nations can opt out of any agreement. Japan has already said it would ignore a ban and leave its markets open to continued imports — even if the tuna are granted endangered species status. That means that for a ban to succeed, the big exporting countries will have to ensure that their fleets abide by the rules and don’t sell to Japan, which consumes four-fifths of Atlantic bluefin, and other countries that keep their markets open.

There is no doubt that the species is in desperate trouble. Stocks of Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin declined by more than 70 percent between 1957 and 2007, and by more than 60 percent in the last decade alone. Stocks in the Western Atlantic, including the United States, have stabilized but at a very low level. The decline has been driven by a growing global appetite for tuna, and by the rapid mechanization of industrial fishing, chiefly purse-seining operations that allow for the capture of entire schools of tuna at once.

Even with a ban, countries would still be allowed to fish for their own domestic consumption. In the case of the United States, a net importer of tuna, the ban is likely to lead to a rise in price. A ban can be lifted when the fish recover; while it is in effect, the fishing industry will inevitably suffer. But that’s far better than waking up one day and discovering that there are no tuna left to fish.

Banning international trade in any species is a big step. The United States came to it reluctantly and only after other international bodies had failed to stop the decline. Now it has to persuade others — and fashion a winning vote in Doha.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Locanda Verde: Stuffed Mountain Trout

Some co-workers took me out to lunch for my birthday, so I suggested Locanda Verde since I'm a big fan of that place.

It kicked ars as usual and may have been one of my favorite dishes of the year.

My Menu
Stuffed Mountain Trout with lentils, gala apple and pancetta ***
Incredibly tender and flavorful fish that tasted like it was smoked - pancetta is usually unsmoked though. The crisp apples and perfectly cooked creamy lentils put a big smile on face. Big time WTF moment.

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Beautiful Sunday...

Mr Risotto, the wife and I met up our friends Charissa and Bruce for a fun gorgeous Sunday in NYC. As usual, it was a great day with lots of laughs and lots of food. We hit up Kefi first for a solid brunch, but with the nice weather it made sense to stop by Grom for some gelato. We weren't finished there as Beard Papa was next door, so it only made sense to get some cream puffs. We finished off the day with shopping trips to H&H Bagels, Zabar's and Barney Greengrass - fun food day in the Upper West Side.

Our Menu
Kefi - Spinach Frittata *
Eggs were decent and filled with tons of spinach and topped with lots of cheese. Fun stuff, but I almost liked the side greek home fries better - perfectly cooked potatoes and nice roasted tomatoes.

Kefi - Greek Eggs Benedict **
This dish was so eff'n great. Poached eggs with phenomenal creamed spinach on the bottom mixed with some Greek cheese. Crispy pita chips were perfect complements to everything.

Grom - Pistachio and Straciatella Gelati **
I'm not a big fan of the West Village location because my favorite gelato - Nocciola is always disgustingly gritty. Still gritty up in the upper west side, but the Pistachio and Straciatella gelati was pretty damn good. Intensely flavored and nice and creamy. My fave gelati place is still L'Arte in the West Village thouugh.

Beard Pappa - Original Cream Puff *
These are pretty fun - cream has great flavor, but I wish the pastry was lighter. Still pretty good though.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Legal Sea Foods - Review

Legal Sea Foods - Highly Recommended
1 Garden State Plz # A8a
Paramus, NJ 07652-2417
Phone: (201) 843-8483

Living out in the burbs, I'm surrounded by many a chain restaurant. Usually that's a bad thing - ala McCormick and Shit, but sometimes you find a gem. Legal Sea Foods is definyitely one of those chain restaurants that I wouldn't mind going to every once in a while. Overall, I give the restaurant an 84/100.

Our Menu
Oysters (PEI and Kumamoto) *
Kumamoto's were nice and sweet and the PEI's were decent. Not bad at all.

Grilled Calamari **
These were shockingly great and not even on the menu - they're usually served fried, but my parents are health conscious. These were very tender with good flavor and served with perfectly cooked orzo, lemon juice, and olives. I can't reiterate how great these were.

Clam Chowder *
Flavorful clam chowder and pretty good stuff. My favorite memories of clam chowder are still up in Newport where the chowder was slightly sweet from the clams and less heavy than the ones here.

New England Lobster Bake **
This is my idea of perfect summer food or in this case nice weather food. Steamed lobster that was flavorful and juicy with a side of drawn butter. Then, they throw in some perfect flavorful juicy mussels, chorizo, corn on the cob and steamers. Really fun stuff although the steamers are a bit gritty if you don't remove the skin.

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience (84/100)
  • Food (8.4/10) – Nothing fancy, but seafood cooked very well. My wife's tuna which I had one tiny bite was solid as well. Something about lobster and drawn butter. So simple and so delicious.
  • Service (7.5/10) – Waitress was pleasant and tried her best although she was late with some items.
  • Atmosphere (7.0/10) – I hate the Paramus Mall and a big problem with this place for me is it's in what maybe the worst parking lot in America. The place inside though is OK with the standard dark tables/chairs. There's some kitschy things all over the place like sail boats and maps on the wall. Place was a mix of younger couples, families, and older couples.
  • Price (N/A) – Parents paid for my birthday dinner, so I can't fairly rate this. But it looked like most entrees were around $25 which is a tad pricey in my opine for NJ.
Closing Comments
Pretty damn happy with this place and will definitely go back to try the cioppino next time.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Blue 9 Burger - Review

Blue 9 Burger - Highly Recommended
92 3rd Ave, New York NY 10003
Btwn 12th & 13th St
Phone: (212) 979-0053

Met up the Cardinal for his birthday, so we decided to check out Blue 9 Burger since we were in the area. Now if you're a follower of this blog, we dudes are pretty picky about our burgers and amongst the dudes we have our own very strong burger opinions. Well, all three dudes that went were all big fans of this burger.

Our Menu
Blue 9 Burger Combo **
A surprisingly great burger. 2 double thin patties topped with lettuce, tomato, american cheese, and thousand island dressing - basically a way better version of a big mac. I'm usually anti thin patties since you don't get much juiciness, but here the burgers are incredibly flavorful and pretty juicy without cheating ala Shake Shack and their fried mushroom. Pretty damn delicious and even their fries are popping with good potato flavor.

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience
  • Food – Best thin patty burger in the city. Makes Shake Shack taste like cafeteria food.
  • Service – Walk up order, get a beer and wait. Took around 5 minutes to get the burger.
  • Atmosphere – Tiny joint that seats about 15 people. Got there at 7:30 on a Friday and there were plenty of seats - maybe half full. The place was younger with a bunch single eaters there.
  • Price – Phenomenal deal here for the quality of the burger. $11 for burger, fries, and a beer.
Closing Comments
Love this burger here, but my favorite burger joints are still Bar Artisanal and JG Melon. Still need to do a back to back burger comparison between those two to see who's burger reigns supreme!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Squire (Chatham)

I gotta hand it to the town of Chatham (Cape Cod).
Not only do they have a well kept little town on the beautiful Cape, these little restaurants serve up wonderful food.

Chatham Squire Restaurant - Recommended
487 Main St
Chatham, MA 02633
(508) 945-0942

I've been to "The Squire" almost every time I visit Chatham and never a bad meal.
Portions are good and the food is tops in my book. Pub grub but just done right. Very homey feel and surrounded by really nice New Englanders.
Put a plate of good food in front of me and I'll overlook the fact they are all Red Sox and Patriot fans.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I still hate Peas!

I'm on the road yet again.
This time I find myself in Cape Cod and I'm exhausted after the 300 mile drive up here.

So I check into my hotel and decide to order room service.
It takes for ever so I go down and just order take out instead.

Out of a relatively short menu, I felt adventurous and ordered the "Carbonara".

Now if they had just called it Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo... it would have been spot on.

Long story short... I ate my dinner and realized at the end of the meal that I still really hate Peas.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patty's Day

I felt it appropriate to celebrate St. Patrick's Day by ordering my favorite sandwich on the planet - half corned beef and half pastrami reuben from Katz's Deli. Highly recommended if you've never tried it before!

Kitchen Fantasy

What guy doesn't want to come home from work and see his lady in the kitchen wearing this?
Alright, for you Budweiser fans out there who'd rather see a girl in a g-string grilling a steak, this may not be for you.

But I'll go for the preppy/well-kept girls who can fix me up a beef bourguignon, or a 4 cheese quiche any day.

*courtesy of William Sonoma (Time Warner Bldg)

Homemade Sausages

Sausage making is probably one of the hardest things to do as an amateur cook.
Controlling the seasoning, texture, filling, and then the smoking and grilling/boiling.
There's a lot of steps in making a good sausage.

But before any of that... let's be honest... it's shaped rather peculiar. Someone had a sense of humor when they came up with the concept.

Now back to my post.
A buddy of mine gave me some homemade sausages the other day.
I got the chance to whip them out yesterday and shared it with my co-workers.

Great flavor, seasoning was just right, texture was a blend of smooth and small chunks, and even had slight smokiness to it.
All aspects of the sausage rocked.

A little bit of awesome dude. A little bit of awesome.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I met up my colleagues for a "Power Lunch" the other day at Gyukaku.

34 Cooper Square
New York, NY 10003
(212) 475-2989
Gyukaku is doing a great promotional campaign for lunch.
1/2 off all meats during lunch hours.
And... they also have $12 lunch specials running as well.

Go check 'em out.
Surprisingly, the quality of the meats were rather good as well.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cooking at Home

Was craving some home cooked Japanese Curry this weekend.
And the ladies at work have been asking for their fix as well.

Step 1. Working on my Mirepoix

Step 2. Add Tomatoes, Red Burgundy, Chicken Stock, and Bouquet Garnis.

Step 3. Throw in cubed Seared Beef Shoulder (and stew for 4 hours)

Step 4. In a separate pot, work on caramelizing Onions

Step 5. Add Carrots and Potatoes. Saute and add Water

Step 6. Add Japanese Curry Roux and Stir over medium heat to ensure no clumping

Step 7. Steam Rice (California Koshihikari Rice)

Step 8. Plate piping hot white rice with a slabs of tender beef and ladle curry over dish.

Step 9. Serve immediately. And EAT!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The "Hard Shake"

March 11, 2010, 5:51 pm

Japanese Master of the 'Hard Shake' Comes to Town

Kazuo Uyeda behind the bar in Tokyo.
Ko Sasaki for The New York Times
Kazuo Uyeda behind the bar in Tokyo.

Though living and working half a world away, the Japanese bartender and cocktail-shaking philosopher Kazuo Uyeda has managed to inspire many a Manhattan barroom argument. Most of them have centered on what is called the hard shake, an ornate and controversial method of shaking drinks devised by Mr. Uyeda.

Soon, bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts can question the master in person. On May 3 and 5, Mr. Uyeda, 65, will be making what is being billed as his first appearance in New York. The event, which will take place at the Hiro Ballroom in Chelsea, is presented by Cocktail Kingdom, a company run by Gregory Boehm that sells Japanese barware, among other drinking accouterments. Communicating through an interpreter, Mr. Uyeda will explain his barroom philosophy and demonstrate his techniques to anyone willing to pay $675 for the privilege.

Audience capacity is 110. Also speaking will be Stanislav Vadrna, a Slovakia-born disciple of Mr. Uyeda.

Simultaneous with the seminar, Mud Puddle Books, an imprint owned by Mr. Boehm that specializes in reprinting long-out-of-print cocktail manuals and recipe books, will publish the first English-language version of Mr. Uyeda's book "Cocktail Techniques."

Those interested can contact the Cocktail Kingdom's Web site.

According to the Web site, the ticket price includes admission to both days of the event, an AG cobbler shaker, lunch on both days, cocktails during the event, admission to an after-party on Day 2 with a guest, and other gifts.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

AIWF Beef Seminar

Me and the dudes stopped by the AIWF Beef Seminar this past Wednesday and so glad we did. The night started off with some delicious canapes as people were mingling and drinking some wine. The big star was the beef tongue with marrow butter - uber tender beef with great beefy flavor sitting on top of some amazing marrow butter. First time I've had marrow butter, but I could eat tons of this stuff. Me thinks this marrow butter would taste delicious with some fresh pasta...

After the canapes were served, we were treated to a great talk about grass fed beef from Ken Jaffe from Slope Farms and George Faison from DeBragga. It's always so fascinating to hear people in the industry talk about their trade since they're so passionate. Any who - the talks highlighted why grass fed, grass finished beef is so much better for you and the manner in which the cows are slaughtered affect tenderness. I will have to conduct a dudes test kitchen post to see the difference in taste between grain fed, grass fed/grain finished, and grass fed/grass finished beef.

Once the talks wrapped up, we were served some more dishes with the big star being the chocolate caramel tarte. Big time WTF moment and by far the best dessert I've had this year. Phenomenal combination of textures, temperatures, and flavors - the caramel was on the cool side which was really refreshing and the fleur de sel added some nice crunch and just made everything pop. Chef Sean Rembold did a great job with all the dishes and was a cool dude to talk to. Thanks again to Christine (a friend of the dudes) for a great time!

Our Menu

Chicken liver mousse with McClures pickles
Crostini with roasted shallot puree & Crimini mushrooms
Beef tongue with marrow butter

2008 Chateau La Gatte Rose
Dry rose from Bordeaux

Main course
Braised brisket
Sheldon Farms mashed potatoes & braised red cabbage
2006 Chateau La Gatte Bordeaux Superieur Rouge
2006 Chateau Saincrit Reserve Bordeaux Superieur

Chocolate caramel tarte with fleur de sel

Friday, March 12, 2010


Quick post today.

Porterhouse Steakhouse :
One of my favorite steak houses in Manhattan.
They serve CAB prime dry aged beef.  
And their desserts are pretty darn good as well.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Brooklyn Dem Wants to Ban Salt

State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz is aiming to ban salt in all nyc restaurants. Another waste of tax payer money - I would think there's better use of tax payer money than to have this idiot think of ridiculous ideas like this.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Negative Effect Bertolli

You should fire your ad and pr agency immediately.  Your newest ad campaign is completely unbelievable and quite frankly in poor taste. 
After stumbling upon the link below, I feel angry, jealous and disgusted with your choice for spokes people. 
Putting Marisa Tomei next to Rocco DiSpirito is like pairing Jessica Alba with Hitler on Dancing with the Stars.

I understand Marisa Tomei plays the roll of "eye candy", so she's more than welcome...
But seeing Rocco "flirting" with Marisa makes me wanna vomit...
I will never purchase another Bertolli product as long as Rocco is a spokesman for them.