Monday, January 30, 2012

Pseudo Cioppino

After my trip to the Bay Area, I wanted to try and make a pseudo cioppino for the parents. The flavors were pretty delicious, but I should have followed Tadich Grill's method of cooking the seafood outside of the broth to keep the pieces in tact. I aimed to incorporate more flavor so I tried cooking it in the broth which shredded up all the pieces. Still hella delicious though...

1 onion diced
1 fennel bulb diced, fronds saved
6 cloves garlic minced
3 cups Fish Stock
1 cup Clam juice
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
White Wine
Olive Oil
12 Cockles
12 Mussels
1 Branzino Head
1/2 pound cod filet
12 Shrimp de-veined, shells reserved
Salt and Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Baguette

1) Sautee the vegetables in a stock pot in extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until soft - onions, fennel, 1/2 garlic for about 5-10 minutes.

2) Add the white wine to deglaze for 5-10 minutes.

3) Add the fish stock, tomatoes, shrimp shells, and clam juice and cook for 30 minutes. Remove shrimp shells and squeeze out extra juice back into the pot.

4) Make the garlic bread. Blitz together butter 3 cloves minced garlic. Smear garlic butter over baguette split in half, season with salt and pepper, and top with parmiggiano reggiano. Cook in a 350F oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

5) Cook the fish, mussels, and clams in a separate saute pan over medium high heat adding the cioppino broth. To be picky you can cook each individually to the perfect temp. Mussels till they open, reserve. Clams till they open, reserve. Then fish for 8 minutes in the saute pan. The last couple of minutes poach the shrimp in the stockpot and add to the sautee pan. Add it all back to the saute pan and warm through. To plate, serve the seafood with some broth (not a lot) top with extra virgin olive oil, and fennel fronds. Enjoy with the garlic bread!


I love a good roast bird on the weekends. You are in no rush and able
to savor the process as well as the edible result.

Air Chilled Chicken from Pennsylvania.
Simply seasoned with Herbs de Provence and Roast.
Hn you have a superior bird, no butter or lemon/bouquet garni necessary.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fiore's Deli

Moving out to the burbs, we were pretty damn lucky finding tons of delicious ethnic foods - mexican, japanese, chinese, turkish, etc. - not the watered down versions you find in most suburbs. However, the one thing I miss the most is the Italian sandwiches of Hoboken. It doesn't get any better than Fiore's Deli (414 Adams Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030) where they make their own mozzarella on site (or "mutz" by the locals). They have some delicious specials like the roast beef|gravy and the insanely addicting virginia ham|honey mustard gravy.

But, as a purist, I dig the mutz on a roll. The mutz here is perfect - it's juicy, has great milky flavor, perfect texture, and is nicely salted. All the sandwich places near me serve dry mozzarella that don't have that great milky flavor.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wayfare Tavern - Review

Wayfare Tavern - Dude Grade: C+
558 Sacramento St, San Francisco 94111
Btwn Montgomery & Leidsdorff St
Phone: (415) 772-9060

During our short stay in San Francisco, we wanted to stop by the Wayfare Tavern - Tyler Florence's joint in the financial district. I'm a fan of his original Tyler Ultimate shows where he travels around the world trying to find the ultimate version of a dish. Also, I was searching around the internet and there seemed to be a positive buzz about this place. My only concern was after going to the lights out "Fremont Diner" this place wouldn't match up. I was 100% spot on although they do similar American comfort food (Wayfare a lil fancier), Fremont Diner is on another level.

Our Menu
Popover *
Instead of bread they serve these fun popovers to start your meal. These had great flavor, but the texture wasn't as light and airy as I would expect - crunchy, but a little heavy and doughy. Still pretty fun though.

Monterey Bay Sardines **
roasted garlic, parsley butter, herb bread crumbs, lemon

These were awesome - sardines were so friggin flavorful and the topping perfectly complemented the flavor of the fishies. Pretty damn addicting and satisfying.

Organic Fried Chicken
buttermilk brine, roasted garlic, crisp woody herbs, lemon

I was looking forward to this the most and I recognized this from his tyler's ultimate show where he went to Cesare Casella's joint Beppe to have the lemon fried chicken. Unfortunately, this was a big swing and a miss for me. Fremont Diner hit the nail on the head hitting every criteria for the perfect fried chicken for me. Wayfare's has a soggy crust (egg based only I think) and the chicken is dry as well. The crust is fun with herbs and lemon, but still a pass for me. On a side note, it is pretty damn tasty cold in the morning.

Grilled Bone-In Pork Chop *
black pepper spaetzle, braised cabbage, spiced apple pulp, grained mustard cream

I love me some pork chop and this is decent. Spaetzle is solid and the combo of all the components are pretty fun. The one thing that seemed weird is the pork tasted like deli meat ham - not sure if this was due to the cure/brine, but that wasn't what I was looking for. More of a straight pork flavor. The Hudson House in Nyack, NY serves up what I consider the perfect pork chop.

Sticky Toffee Cake **
This was my favorite dish of the night. Moist toffee cake and delicious with the sweet dates. Even though I was relatively full after all that protein, we still killed this toffee cake since it was so damn delicious.

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 (C+) – Decent comfort food, but nothing to write home about. The drinks did kick ars though. The picture to the right is the stage coach (Rye, Amaro, Blood Orange Liqueur, Bitters.), a take on the manhattan but waaaay more delicious.
  • Service (B) – Server was friendly and offered up some good recommendations. They were on top of their game getting drinks filled right away. Food came out a very solid pace.
  • Atmosphere (B) – Felt like an old school upscale bar which I definitely dig. Place was absolutely mobbed for a Thursday at 5:45 - first floor is the bar area with the dining on the second floor. The place looked like a combo of half tourists (prolly due to Tyler) and half financial district groups. It is pretty dark though.
  • Price (C) – Not terrible. $22 for the fried chicken and $29 for the pork chop. However, the food isn't that great for the price.
Closing Comments
I wanted to like this place, but there's gotta be a ton of other places that do this style of food better.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

OJ in Trouble

No, no - not the murdering one. Looks like Tropicana is getting sued for adding "aromas and flavors" to their "100% pure and natural" orange juice. Basically, they probably boiled the crap out of those oranges and add chemicals to make them taste like oranges again.

Funny, since late last year, 60 minutes aired a good segment about the "flavorists" that talked about how these companies put chemicals in just about every single packaged product.

Next time you open up a package of chips or drink a tasty beverage - check out the packaging. Natural flavors - that should be OK right?

"Natural flavors come from nature, but not necessarily from what the label implies. For example, strawberry and vanilla flavor can come from the gland in a beaver's backside."

Pseudo Italian White Bean Stew

With the colder weather hitting the East Coast, I decided to use the new pressure cooker to whip up a white bean and sausage stew. Generally, beans take way too much planning and time to make from scratch - overnight soak, then another 60 minutes to cook 'em. But, the pressure cooker is so damn convenient - 5 minute "pressure soak" and another 5 minute "pressure cook."

Double benefit for buying raw beans is the cost is phenomenal @ 47 cents for 3 cups which is good for 6 peeps. I don't think I've ever paid 47c for anything in the past 5 years. Also, the texture and flavor on these things are amazing - firm, yet creamy. After you make beans at home, you'll never go back to buying the canned stuff.

3 cups raw cannellini beans
1 carrot - peeled and cut into large dice
1 red onion diced
5 stalks of collard greens sliced
2 sausages (I used stone barns which are phenomenal)
1 garlic clove minced
4 stalks thyme - leaves only, minced
2 stalks rosemary - leaves only, minced
multigrain bread
6 cups chicken stock
extra virgin olive oil

1) Pressure soak the beans to remove the compounds that make you "toot," remove the nastiness coating some of the beans, and make it much quicker to cook. Do this by adding the beans and 6 cups water (double amount of beans) to the pressure cooker. Get the pressure cooker to do it's pressure thang, then cook for 5 minutes and set aside. Once the pressure subsides (another 5 minutes), take the beans out and rinse everything. This normally is soaked overnight, so you saved a ton of time.

2) Sear the sausages over medium heat in the pressure cooker uncovered. Once browned on both sides remove and place in a pyrex container. There should be a good amount of sausage fat/juice to start the flavor base for the stew.

3) Finish the sausage in the oven at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes and slice.

4) Start pressure cooking the stew by adding the thyme, rosemary, carrots, garlic, onions, soaked/rinsed beans, and chicken stock. Get the pressure going, then cook for 5 minutes and set aside. Once the pressure subsides, open up the pressure cooker. Finish by adding the sausage pieces with it's juices, olive oil, and season gently. Season again and repeat until you like the taste. Finish with parmiggiano-reggiano. Make sure you have some bread to soak up the juices since it's pretty damn tasty. Buon appetito!

Monday, January 9, 2012

TV Shows: San Francisco

Watched the shows "Hook, Line, and Dinner" and "The Layover" and found out they went to my faves Swan Oyster Depot and Tadich Grill.

Over the xmas break, we stopped by both and I will happily say they are still my happy happy places. Next time, I'll see if I can swing the secret off menu item oyster stew or the fresh uni from Swan - tid bits I learned from watching both shows...

Pictured below Swan Oyster Combo Seafood Salad with Anchor Steam. And, the delicious Cioppino from Tadich Grill.

Annisa - Review

Annisa - Dude Grade: C+
13 Barrow St, New York 10014
(Btwn 7th Ave S & W 4th St)
Phone: (212) 741-6699

I was looking for a place to take out the wife for her birthday and I thought Annisa would be a fun place to try. The wife generally likes more casual places with fun Asian influences, so Annisa sounded like it would fit the bill. Plus, it was ranked 15th on Adam Platt's Top 101 restaurants in NYC list. There were definitely some delicious things on the menu, but it seemed a bit inconsistent with some total misses. Not bad by any means and the wife and I had a nice night out. Apologies for the dark pictures - there were a couple sitting right next to us, so didn't want to blow up their romantic night by rocking the flash on the camera.

Our Menu
Chicken Livers Amuse **
The first bite of the night and it was pretty delicious. Smooth and airy chicken livers with great flavor topped with some dried fruit in a delicate crunchy tart.

Eggplant with Two Turkish Chilis in Yogurt Water
Two cold eggplants that were stuffed with two types of chiles. Average flavor and something that you might get from an average deli. Yogurt water was gimmicky - sour and a little cooling effect to play off the chiles.

Unagi and Taro Chawan Mushi **
Great texture and incredibly addicting to eat. Egg custard with pieces of unagi, crispy taro, delicious broth, and perfectly cooked rice.

Broiled Spanish Mackerel with Garlic Fried Milk, Satsumaimo and Korean Chili *

Mackerel was cooked nicely, but what made this pop was the kimchi type sauce. Really delicious sauce that played off wonderfully against the oily fish. Definitely going to steal that idea next time I try to cook a fancy pants fish dish at home.

Rabbit with Red Scallions and Japanese Curry

Think thin fried chicken cutlet cut into chicken strips, but replace rabbit with the chicken. It was dry and under seasoned. The curry was pretty average as well. The thigh meat was delicious though.

Poppyseed Bread and Butter Pudding with Meyer Lemon Curd **

Really moist, buttery, and creamy bread pudding. Probably the best bread pudding I've ever had. Delicious with the bright lemon curd.

Pear Posset with Elderflower and Shiso*
A nice light dessert - posset is generally made with cream I believe, but this was much lighter. Nice bright touches with the shiso

Petit Four *
Papaya lollipop, candied ginger, and chocolate nuts. Fun, light bites to close out the evening.

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 (C+) – A couple of great dishes, but a couple of misses. Meal felt pretty inconsistent.
  • Service (C+) – Server was very friendly, but the food took a while to come out. Also, it was tough to get the servers attention to get a drink.
  • Atmosphere (B) – A pretty small spot seating maybe 50 or under. Place was on the darker side and was relatively quiet. It was pretty clean and very white - walls, tablecloths, etc. Clientele consisted of half couples 20's-40's and large groups wearing suits. Place was completely full for a Monday night around 9ish.
  • Price (B-) – $78 for 5 courses at an upper echelon restaurant is a solid deal. Unfortunately, some slight misses on the service and food take it down a notch for me.
Closing Comments
A decent restaurant, but not my cup of tea. If I want this style of food, I would hit up any Momofuku as you're guaranteed to have all delicious dishes. If you are looking for a more peaceful setting like Annisa with this style of food, I would go to En Japanese Brasserie nearby.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bolognese Sunday Morning

Is it wrong to start off the day with a healthy serving of Spaghetti

I say "No".

This is a meal fit for the King of Kings and Defender of Mankind.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

What can I say about this place that hasn't been said already? I loved it.
This is clearly one of those places public schools should have on their short list of destinations for class trips.
I am willing to argue a field trip to Blue Hill at Stone Barns is just as important as a class trip to the Smithsonian.
Animal husbandry, symbiotic sustainability, organic agriculture, should all be part of a child's vocabulary growing up. Unfortunately we are light years from such reality here in the US.

But this guy is a believer and will do what he can to hopefully make a difference for our future.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Marrowfat Peas

To celebrate the new year of the dragon, my buddy Pat decided to share the Irish treasure known as Marrowfat Peas. His family swears by this stuff, so I decided to give it a try. Although the name says Marrowfat, I don't believe this is cooked in bone marrow...though that would be mighty tasty.

The texture is pretty substantial and creamy having some decent pea flavor with a hint of sweetness and mint. Also, these things are like mutant peas not the tiny petit peas you see in the frozen section of your local mega mart. Pretty solid stuff and it kinda reminds me of split pea soup which I do love...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pressure Cooker - First Try

After watching top chef many a time, I was always intrigued by the use of the pressure cooker - that damn lid won't close and they've got 30 minutes left! I finally got one of these bad boys for xmas and I was pretty shocked that it destroys any food in a very short period of time. The lid is actually very easy to close although when the pressure builds up and the thing is hissing, it's quite scary for the first time.

Any who, I took some beef brisket that had 0 fat on it and pressure cooked it for one hour and it was fall apart delicious - asian'd it up with 5 spice powder, soy, oyster sauce, ginger, garlic, and scallions (pretty damn delicious with rice btw). Usually, something like that would take me a good 2-3 hours to make the beef not have the texture of leather. The only problem was I cut up some carrots and potatoes and pressure cooked it for only 3 minutes (!!!) at the end and it turned to mush. Gotta play with the timings, but pretty awesome when you're short on time and want to cook up some delicious stews.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

In-N-Out Burger - Review

In-N-Out Burger - Dude Grade: A
1159 N Rengstorff Ave
Mountain View, CA 94043

This is my third trip to the bay area and I've always heard about how good this In-N-Out burger is - hell, even the deified Thomas Kellar loves this place. We are actually pretty damn lucky in the NYC area with a ton of burger options - the fast food joints (Five Guys, Smashburger, etc) and the sit down joints: (JG Melon, Prime Meats, Minetta Tavern).

For a fast food burger joint, In-N-Out Burger is friggin awesome. Hands down the best fast food burger I've ever had - categorized by me as something you can order and get within 5-10 minutes either take out or sit-down.

Our Menu
Double - Double ***
Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, onions, and bun
. Sounds familiar right (minus the pickles and sesame seed bun)? Wrong. This thing is a totally different animal than the Big Mac. The bun, which is baked fresh, is light and fluffy with a hint of sweetness. The patties have great texture to it and is seasoned beautifully with decent beef flavor for a fast food joint. Even the damn lettuce, tomato, and onions feel like they've been picked from a local grocery store and cut for you. Everything about this thing is awesome. A big wtf for me that this place actually matches the hype serving an awesome fast food burger.

Animal Fries *
Fries are actually hand cut there and they're pretty good. Not great by any means and five guys definitely takes them down here - better potato flavor and crispier. Animal style is off their secret menu - basically adding grilled onions, pickles, and special sauce.

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

Service I was pretty amazed about how they run their operations. It's totally the ford assembly model with everyone working very focused and efficiently. Completely floored since I'm used to the lazy arses you usually see at McD's and BK not paying attention and taking their sweet ars time. It does take 5-10 minutes for the burger, but that's because they're cooking and preparing your burger there - not using a microwave like bk or mcd's.

Closing Comments
Definitely the best fast food burger I've ever had - for those of you pointing to Shake Shack that place is average. Although In-N-Out makes the best fast food burger, this by no means is the best burger I've ever had. Prime Meats takes the cake and you can go to a ton of other joints in NYC (e.g JG Melon) for a better burger. I guess I'll have to hit up Blue 9 Burger if I ever want to satisfy the In-N-Out burger craving since they do a pretty damn good rendition of this style of burger and serve it pretty fast too.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Benu - Review

Benu - Dude Grade: A+
22 Hawthorne St
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: (415) 685-4860

I've had a lot of fun on this blog documenting 261 dining experiences across the globe. But, this meal at Benu may have been the best dining experience I've ever had. The guys at Benu, led by the former executive chef of the French Laundry, are doing some ridiculous things here. First the plates are extraordinarily beautiful - so much work and detail for each dish. Then, the technique - everything is perfectly balanced and seasoned. Also, I hate molecular nonsense...unless, the food is delicious and this my friends is incredibly delicious (WD-50 take note). The final thing for me is it's so damn fun to eat here as it evokes so many memories from so many Asian meals as a child or as an adult, like Anton Ego from Ratatouille. I can't recommend this place enough - big time wtf restaurant.

Our Menu
buckwheat and toasted nori wafers **
A delicious bread alternative that sets you in the mindset of what is about to come. The buckwheat flavor definitely comes out and the nori adds that savory pop.

thousand year-old quail egg, potage, ginger ***
First dish and it was a doozy. I usually lean towards the big bold flavors, but this was a wtf for perfect balance that was subtly flavored. The quail egg was so delicious and creamy and the potage was a delicious light creamy foam that had that background hint of ginger. My wife's favorite of the night.

oyster, pork belly, kimchi ***
Next dish and this was a close your eyes type of bite - a big wtf wmd. Kimchi stock was gelatinized and formed the skin which was filled with super porky pork belly and a perfectly briny/creamy oyster. The best kimche chigae flavor in one awesome bite. Lights out and probably the best thing I've eaten all year.

monkfish liver, caviar, pistachio, cauliflower, lemon jelly, brioche **
Love this dish - taking the "foie gras of the sea" and treating it like real foie gras with the accompanying ingredients. The pistachio cream was so awesome with the monkfish liver and slightly reminded me of le cirque, but done even more elegantly. Great combination of textures (cauliflower) and flavor (salty pop from caviar and brightness from the jelly). Also, such a beautiful plate - the pictures don't do it justice.

jasmine chicken with dates *
A really fragrant and beautiful dish which they encourage you to smell first - beautiful floral jasmine notes. The chicken had this really smooth/solid texture, no meat fibers here - me thinks some chemicals were involved. Fun dish that was pretty tasty with the dates and jasmine water.

eel, feuille de brick, creme fraiche, lime **
Another dish that I love. This was one of the many plates that seemed made just for this place - the eel cigar sits perfectly in this groove on the plate. They even think of wrapping it in paper so you don't burn your hands and get it greasy. This crispy fried cigar with delicious eel inside was crazy addicting with the bright limed-up creme fraiche.

chilled homemade tofu, pumpkin juice, black truffle ***
This dish made absolutely no sense to me, but it was so damn delicious which made for a wtf moment. The tofu was beautifully made and had this great texture and the pumpkin juice was slightly sweet/sour perfumed by the truffles. Again, not in my normal flavor profile, but it worked out so well. Big time wtf.

salt and pepper squid **
This dish made me smile as it brought back so many childhood memories. Salt and pepper squid is their take on the chinese classic. But like most of his dishes the simple description does not fully explain what is going on here - kinda like saying Leo DiCaprio occasionally dates. He uses a shrimp chip for the serving vessel which adds flavoring and crunchiness. Then he studs squid, crunchy bits, and jalapeno which completes the whole experience. If you get everything in one bite, it really does mimic an awesome salt and pepper squid with more flavor and texture. So awesome and fun to eat.

chicken velvet, abalone, matustake mushroom, chrysanthemum **
This dish reminded me of a chinese fish ball soup - except in chicken form. The texture of the chicken dumpling was so light and airy. What gave this real delicious oomph was the amazing broth with the abalone and shaved matustake mushrooms. Incredibly delicious.

caramelized anchovy, lily bulb, peanut, pickles **
Another dish - another memory. This dish reminded me of the korean banchan - the small dishes served before a korean meal. There was this anchovy gelatin that was in the middle that was extremely delicious (a little sweet / a little meaty) with little crispy anchovies all over the place. Sprinkle in some pickled cucumbers and daikon and you had an awesome flavor bomb.

foie gras xiao long bao *
This was the dish I looked forward to the most as I've read so many internet reviews raving about this dish. Although it was a tasty dish, I was expecting an all foie gras explosion - a bit misleading. This was still real fun to eat, but the filling seemed like 80 or 90% pork studded with foie gras. Skins were very thin with no chance of breaking and the broth was solid. Kinda felt like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - I was expecting one thing and got something else.

fresh noodles, shrimp roe, tarragon, veal jus **
Noodles and sauce had amazing texture - so addicting and even an Italian would be extremely happy eating this. The sauce flavor was out of control also with the veal and shrimp.

duck, celery, chestnut, persimmon, shaoxing wine **
The duck cookery reminded me of french laundry - so perfect with the texture being out of sight. The shaoxing sauce was perfect for the duck (stuffed with a foie gras mousse?) as was the side accompaniments of root veg, chestnuts, and creme fraiche? Great flavors. Funny thing is I noticed the 5 tonged fork - no idea if this was ordered special for benu, but I've never seen one before. Kinda like the 3 eyed fish from the simpsons...

beef braised in pear, beech mushroom, sunflower seeds and leaves ***
Short ribs that was sous vide'd down in pear juice till ultra tender. Texture did remind of uber tender brisket which puts me in my happy place. The slight sweetness of the pear, richness of the beef, and the nuttiness of the sunflower seeds and mache leaves were pretty out of control wtf.

"shark's fin" soup, dungeness crab, Jinhua ham, black truffle custard ***
The last savory course and we went out with a bang. The shark's fin were made by gelatinizing the Jinhua ham stock and then cutting them into thin shreds. The broth was insanely good - like cut off a pinkie good. Add the ridiculously delicious black truffle custard and you have another flavor wmd. Big time wtf dish

grapefruit, espellete, white chocolate **
Another dish that shouldn't taste good, but it is soooo damn tasty. The grapefruit sorbet was pure grapefruit - citrusy and sour with almost no sweetness to it. But the white chocolate shavings and cream made everything balance out. Add the background heat of the espellete powder and you have a wide range of flavor profiles being attacked - in a good way.

acorn-cranberry custard with banana ice cream **
This was friggin stupid good. Banana ice cream and custard was an amazing combo of texture and flavors. There was this crunchy thing that yielded into soft milkiness that bursted of banana flavor. Would have been a wtf dish for me, but there were cranberries on the plate that were grossly sour on its own. Eaten together with everything else and it made sense.

chocolates **
Delicious petit four with even the white chocolate, which I'm not a fan of, tasting amazing. Served in another beautiful custom made box for benu.

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+) – I haven't had a meal like this in a long time. Beautiful plates that taste so delicious and so many wtf moments. Even the dishes that weren't wtf's generally made me smile a lot.
  • Service (A+) – Haven't had any better than this - they really thought of everything. The server was awesome - anytime I wanted a drink he was there before I had to call him. Even his knowledge of the dishes was ridiculous - he mentioned feel free to ask him about any dish and when we did he knew the exact techinque - (e.g. when agar agar was used and why). Plus, he was casual with us towards the end since we were talking and laughing with him - always a fun thing. The food also comes out a perfect pace - about 5-10 minutes after each dish. Even an extended pause right in the middle (10-15 mins) as I was thinking I needed a break.
  • Atmosphere (B+) – Kinda weird as you walk into what looks like a neighborhood parking lot. After you walk past this parking lot area, there's this serene outdoor seating area (ala French Laundry). When you walk inside, it looks like this large warehouse with everything gray with very tall ceilings. The thing I wasn't expecting was having carpet, but it was a nice comfy touch. The decor is not really notable but it works perfect as it allows you to focus on the food. The music was at a perfect level and sets a total serene mood (unlike the dudes at momofuku which like blasting their music) - more ambiance here which again is perfect. It's not spa music, but things from the 70's, 80's, and 90's. Again, not distracting in any way, but whenever I did stop and focus on the music it put a smile on my face. We got there at 5:45p on a Friday and finished around 8. The place was fully packed by the time we left. Consisting of lots of couples in their 30s or early 40s with some large groups sprinkled around.
  • Price (A) – $185 for everything which was 100% worth it based on what you get. Phenomenal food and service that is unparalleled. Cheaper than many of the fine dining joints in NYC although I think this is at the upper range in the SF dining scene.
Closing Comments
French Laundry, considered at one time the best restaurant in the country, was my benchmark for food and service but I'd have to say this was definitely more impactful in every way. The food just made me smile so many times. The menu looked like Momofuku when I first saw it online - awesome technique using some Asian ingredients that taste delicious. Although I love all the Momofuku's, none of them can even come close to this place. The technique, plating, and just overall happiness is off the charts for me. Again, ignore the internet haters and trust me on this...100% highly recommended.