Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lamb Chops from Le Cirque

Who doesn't love a nice plate of perfectly cooked med-rare lamb chops
served with lamb jus reduction and roasted veggies?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Setagaya Ramen in NYC = Sucks!!

Poor Setagaya.

In Japan, they are an amazing Ramen chain.
But here in NYC... Possibly the worst bowl of Ramen sold by a
restaurant group and not a Mom&Pop shop.

Now that's what's up!

I found myself at Katz's again and this time, I made sure I got a
moist Pastrami sandwich.
Boy was this good.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hokkaido Miso Ramen

Today til the weekend at Mitsuwa in NJ, some famous guy from Japan is
cooking up his Miso Ramen.
It's a bit on the saltier side for me but this is the real deal.
Come get it while it's here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lighthorse Tavern (Jersey City)

This (not on the menu) dish is something of a neighborhood "thing"
here in Jersey City.
Sweet glazed pork ribs with a side of jalapeño polenta.
All in all, good dish and I'll probably order again when visiting
Lighthorse Tavern.

Thank goodness we have Thirty Acres now for a little bit of NYC caliber cooking.

Pastrami Heaven

Every so often, one must go back to the basics.
And Katz's deli is definitely NYC 101.

I love their pastrami sandwich!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bad Ramen

Normally, I usually let this sort of thing slide. And by "this sort of
thing", I mean famous places serving what should be their jam but Not!
So I got sick as a dog from this bowl of Miso Ramen at Rai Rai Ken the
other day.
Not only did it taste like dish washing detergent (no lie, literally I
tasted detergent) but also remnants of curry (probably from using the
same wok for the previous order).
And to top all this, after I left the place, I was looking for a place
to $hit my brains out. Massive, montezuma's revenge people! Cold
sweats, butt clenched and desperately looking for a toilet in the east

Save yourself from this nightmare and just skip this place when you
find yourself in the Ramen mood. There are PLENTY of other places to
go in the city.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

30 year Reunion

After moving to Asia as a kid, I never got a chance to revisit my
favorite Chinese restaurant in the city.
And by the time we moved back to the east coast, they had closed shop
so needless to say, I was crushed.

That is until I was leaving a meeting in Chinatown today and walked by
the New 456 Restaurant.

You can bet your bottom dollar I ran in there and tore through an
order of my favorite 小龍包.

Yes, life is good.

Monday, May 7, 2012

From Star to Streetcar

Rocco went from 3 star NYTimes restaurant chef to garbage reality food
TV goof, to now streetcar vendor.

Best teaching lesson for kids to never lose Humility and to always be Humble.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Holeman & Finch : The Burger

Rated one of the best burgers in the States.
And I have to agree.
Although I would have preferred it cooked a little rarer, it was a
mighty fine burger.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Wegmans Pasta

I stopped by the Wegmans near my parents the other day and I saw these little beauties in the pasta aisle - Wegmans Italian Classics Barilotti. Highly recommended by this dude - texture is extraordinary. And the shape is perfect for catching all the saucy goodness. So awesome and yet so irritating that there are no Wegmans near me.

$1 Spicy McChicken

Curiously spicy!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Late Night Snack (Salzburg, Austria)

Hungry... But tired from all the walking around today, it's great to
get a little help from the Club Lounge.

And take note of the Red Bull Cola on the top left hand corner.
Yeah, Austria rocks!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Yasuda is Tokyo

Our favorite sushi master, Chef Yasuda, has resurfaced in Tokyo. Although it was a traumatizing experience with him leaving NYC, it gives me something to look forward to the next time I visit Japan.

Another day, another Midnight Snack

A midnight stroll through the streets of Vienna can only be heightened
with a pint of Steigl Lager and Kasekrainer Sausage.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Midnight Snack (Prague, Czech Republic)

I'm here in Prague for a few days and I gotta hand it to the locals,
this street food is great. For about $1.80, you get this amazing
smoked sausage on a bun with a condiment station that dispenses 3
types of mustards and mayonnaise onto your midnight snack.

Talk about "Snap"! This thing is one of the best sausages I've ever
had. Washes down great with the local can beer.

NYC could use a sausage truck or two.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blue Hill at Stone Barns - Review

Blue Hill at Stone Barns - Dude Grade A-
630 Bedford Road
Pocantico Hills, NY 10591
Phone: (914) 366-9600

My wife took me out for my birthday and we ended up going to the great Blue Hill at Stone Barns. We've been there a couple of times to check out the farm / farmer's market, but we've never been to the restaurant. 100% well worth the wait as this place rocks. This place shows off their phenomenal ingredients with solid technique ending up in uber delicious dishes.

Our Menu
Raw vegetables from the farm *
Carrot Juice and Mint ***

Raw vegetables simply seasoned with olive oil and salt - my fave was the radish and cauliflower. They do taste delicious and really a great palate opener for the delicious vegetables about to come. The carrot juice was pretty mind blowing - huuuuge carrot flavor and even a meaty flavor thing going on. No idea if they use some stock or seaweed, but it's a big time wtf starter.

Pickled Asparagus and Egg Yolk **
I love me some pickled vegetables and this was bright and acidic which was balanced by the awesome egg yolk.

Beet Sushi **
Smoked and Dehydrated Vegetables **
Beet sushi was unexpected, but it definitely made sense. Sushi rice had the nice sweetness and texture paired with the crunchy beet. I wish they would sell the veggie chips - they're friggin' amazing. Potato, kale, and carrot. More foreshadowing as beets and kale are used in many other preparations.

Beet Burger **
Sweet and warm brioche buns with this delicious beet burger. It had this really meaty flavor which I'm not sure how they accomplished that - maybe stock? seaweed? Pretty damn surprising how good this was.

Roasted Salsify with Sesame Seeds **
Another delicious dish - roasted sweet flavor that had this almost potato thing going on which was really satisfying.

Fish Ball with Field Greens *
Fishball was tasty and the field greens were really delicious. The sauce was a bit too salty for my taste though - I believe made from seaweed and either fish sauce/anchovies.

Beet Salad **
More beets, but oddly enough at no point in the entire dinner was I ever sick of them. This was paired with pistachios, goat cheese cream, and some type of beet marmalade. Very delicious stuff.

Fresh Ricotta, Spinach Marmalade, Brioche **
I've never had spinach marmalade before, which is weird since this made so much sense. Rich, bright, and acidic which paired perfectly with the ricotta made at Dan Barber's (owner) farm. A big thing about this place is the servers take their time to explain where things come from. They brought these ancient grains out (making the brioche) and explained how the restaurant sourced these since they are not grown much anymore. Pretty educational stuff - and ultimately awesome for the diner that they seek out things like that.

Scallop and Chowder **
Perfectly cooked scallop with this really bright chowder. The acidity of the chowder was such a perfect match with the scallop. I love how many restaurants are now making sure there's an acidic pop to balance out traditionally rich dishes. This brightness makes your palate alive and wanting to eat more instead of being dulled down by too rich of a sauce.

Roasted Parsnip and Beet Ketchup *
Loved this dish, but the beet ketchup was completely unnecessary. The parsnip was so sweet and the jus or demi-glace paired perfectly. The ketchup was delicious, but it kind of muddied up the flavor of the parsnip and sauce.

Whipped Lardo, Butter, and Vegetable Salts ***
Everything on this plate was perfect to me. The lardo was stupid good - so porky and delicious. Even the butter was amazing - huge flavor.

Poached Egg, Speck, Kale ***
This was my type of wtf dish. Salty/porky speck, rich and creamy egg yolk, and the awesome brown butter sauce made for an over the top dish. Even the sweet kale was friggin such a perfect match.

Black Trumpet Mushroom Pasta
A pass for me. Pasta was undercooked and didn't have that juicy quality - a tad too dry. Wife enjoyed it though.

Venison, Kidneys, Broccoli Rabe **
Completely delicious dish. Kidneys and venison were friggin awesome - perfectly cooked and seasoned. Probably the best kidneys I've ever had.

Another pass for me - way over seasoned. If you're eating the fatty part of the lamb, it's not bad but when you hit all meat - it's waaay too salty.

Hudson Valley Beef Loin **

The server brought this other dish to make up for the lamb and it was spectacular. Perfectly cooked and amazing with the carrots, sauce, and the greens. Beef had big time flavor too.

Sweet Potato Cake, Pumpkin Seeds
Great dessert - sweet potato had great flavor. Some type of lemony foam and the roasted pumpkin seed added this nutty complexity to the dish.

I love me some cheese and this was decent, but I was hoping for some local cheeses instead. These were from Cali and Wisconsin which were decent, but not great.
Beet Cheesecake **
A really surprisingly delicious cheesecake. The sweetness definitely had this beet type of flavor going on which was really delicious.

Chocolate Cake and Cream **
This reminded me of a delicious ho-ho - chocolate fudginess on the outside and cream filling on the inside. Crispy chocolate topping added an awesome textural contrast.

Petit Fours - Chocolate Cookies, Marshmellows, and Lollipops *

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way | (no stars - poor to average) | * Good | ** Great | *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience
  • Food (A-) – Everything was definitely in my strike zone - great products with solid execution. Only a couple of slight misses with the majority of the dishes great.
  • Service (A+) – Someone was always there when I needed something and the food came out at a perfect pace. The servers were incredibly knowledgeable about all the dishes and were generally enthusiastic describing the food. Unlike Le Bernardin, they cleaned up the crumbs from the table frequently. They also were very willing to replace the lamb dish and apologized giving us a free very delicious beef dish.
  • Atmosphere (A) – Nice bright open place with large ceilings. Seeing the fields in the background and hearing the birds chirping adds a nice touch. The place seats around 60 with the majority being couples and groups of couples of all ages - younger and old. Everyone rocked the same attire - dresses for the ladies and blazers, button down shirts for the men.
  • Price (A) – $148 for 8 courses which I felt was definitely worth it.
Closing Comments
A great place for a special occasion fine dining restaurant which I definitely will be back to revisit.

Doritos Locos Tacos

If you haven't yet already taken a bite, we highly recommend you do soon.
My oh my is this good!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Shrimp Tempura Udon

There are so many types and makers of Tempura, Udon, Broth. The
combinations are a plenty.
This simple (very common) dish can range from $6.99 to $13.99
depending on the grade of every ingredient.

Can the average American taste the difference?
Probably not.
So how do I educate the public and develop a higher quality demand?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Prime 112 - Horrible

This place is considered the top restaurant in Miami Florida.
On a short list of "Must Go", Prime 112 is right up there with Zuma,
Hakkasan and Michael's Genuine.

But in my humble opinion, this place SUCKS!
Probably one of the worst restaurants I've been to in Miami.
That's including diners, hotel room service, and Sushi Samba.

The steaks are not flavorful at all. The waitress makes terrible
recommendations for the table (but that's probably geared towards
Miami diners so I can't truly fault her for that).
The sides are very basic (meaning made with no particular skill).
The decor is absolutely boring and poorly put together.
And the general staff(runners, bussers, and floor managers) have no
clue what they are doing. NO CLUE.

If you are from a foodie city, and have a decent palate, just do
yourself a favor and cross this place off any "must go" list.

Worst steakhouse experience in years.
Calling this joint a steakhouse is insulting the industry and also the
cows who sacrifice their lives.

This carrot cake was the best dish of the meal, and I'd rather pay for
a Supermarket frozen Carrot Cake any day.