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babern38

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Everything posted by babern38

  1. babern38

    Nobu

    Had dinner at Nobu last sunday. Had the $150 omakase menu and must say I was not very impressed at all. In fact, i was a bit disappointed by several things. Having only been to Matsuhisa in LA where I was blown away by the tasting there, I found several flaws in my recent dinner. First, our first course of Toro tartare with caviar in a sweet wasabi sauce was so incredibly laced with wasabi it completely obscured the tuna and caviar. I wound up scooping the whole tartare out of the sauce bowl and eating it off another plate. I love wasabi, but this was way too much. my girlfriend who really doesn't like wasabi at all could barely tolerate it. Not a good way to start. Second, the cod was delicious, but my girlfriend had to pick out about 7 pin bones from her piece where as mine was fine. I could understand one bone, but 7 for her and none for me makes me question the consistency of this place. Third, The kobe beef that came grilled in a pot was tasty, but I again, I found it to be too overly seasoned and salty. I love my soy sauce, but when I go to such nice restaurants I prefer more attention to the taste of the high quality product and not everything around it. There were some other service and food mis-steps along the way, but I don't feel the need to rant about them here in more detail. In short, I had high hopes for a great meal at Nobul, but left very disappointed due to the inconsistency of dishes and some preparation issues. Having recently dined at Morimoto's, where I had an amzing meal, I think I'll just prefer to say I've been to Nobu and have no reason to return.
  2. I forgot to ask for a menu so I can't be too specific. I do remember not having the salmon crisp and that there were different accompaniments to the veal (no asparagus). Nothing too major. We did have a different dessert due to dietary restriction, which was the litchi-shiso sorbet with passion fruit gelee and soy coconut soup. The waiter had commented that he thought it was a better dessert than what normally came with the menu. We really enjoyed it as it was lighter than chocolate and very refreshing. Besides, you get enough rich chocolate flavor with the mignardises. I am definitely interested in returning for a dessert only tasting.
  3. Had a great meal at Providence last Friday. We had the full tasting menu which was quite similar to the description poster above with pictures except for a few minor variations. I really enjoyed the wine pairings as there were many unique varieties I have not tasted previously. The cheese course was fabulous and the dessert has made us look forward to returning for one of the many dessert tastings.
  4. So, I basically asked a similar question under the Blue Velvet thread, but was not receiving any replies, so I thought I would rephrase my question and make it more general. I am flying into LA from Missouri and am planning a romantic dinner. I would appreciate some recs for places with tasting menus, great ambiance, and service where we will be well catered to. I'm basically looking for the place where we will be there for a while (with a tasting menu) and be able to converse with minimal interruptions/distractions. I was interested in Ortolan, Providence, Blue Velvet, but would be interested in any other places I'm not yet aware of. Thanks.
  5. I will be in vegas for one month surgery rotation starting this friday. This is my first time going to vegas. While I have followed this board for awhile and am looking forward to trying many of the restaurants mentioned. Most of those discussed are high end and I will not have the time nor the money to dine at them all. This friday I will be eating at wing lei - any thoughts on which tasting menu is currently the best/authentic/original? saturday I am wavering between a res at fleur de lys or l'atelier I am also looking forward to trying bouchon and lotus of siam However, I would appreciate some recommendations on the more local eateries that may be a bit more budget friendly and not necessarily in buffet style. For instance, where is the best cheap chinese, thai(lotus apparently), japanese, mexican, etc. I look forward to reading and hopefully soon experiencing your recommendations. THank you
  6. going to vegas for the first time on friday. eating at wing lei and seeing le reve on friday. I have reservations for fleur de lys on saturday, but really want to try laterlier. I was just wondering if my family did not want to do the tasting, how many appetizers/entress equal an average 3-4 course dinner? I'm just wondering how large the apps are if ordered ala carte. thanks
  7. Went to aigre Doux for my last night in chicago and had a fantastic meal. While I had been looking over the menu on-line for a while, I was excited to see more options last night. I had been craving sweetbreads earlier and was happy to see them as an appetizer. I started with the crispy sweetbreads with an apricot chutney and almond kohlrabi puree. delicious. my entree was the duo of veal consisting of braised veal cheeks, tenderloin, asparagus, cous cous and, a raita salad. Everything was excellent. The fork tender succulent veal cheeks and the perfectly seasoned veal tenderloin. dessert was good, but a bit not as good as I had expected given this place will also open as a bakery on its other half soon. It was described as a malted chocolate and hazelnut kit kat. it basically turned out to be a chocolate mousse in a bowel with some creme fraiche and then a nice krispy "kit kat" stick on top. I would havbe much preferred to have a larger version of the kit kat stick, but I still had no trouble finishing the dish. I had considered going here on and off over the last month and I am definitely happy I decided to go. I look forward to returning with my family. It will be interested to see how their bakery does when it opens.
  8. babern38

    Per Se

    Any idea of the cost of the standard wine pairing? And am I correct in understanding that the price someone quotes me will include service? Thanks.
  9. Just got back from Avec. Went alone and luckily had a chance to sit at the bar right in front of the chefs. While I had been looking forward to going here for some time, the fact that many of the chefs at Avenues on a recent visit ranked it very highly on their personal favs lists. In short, had a very nice, fresh tomato salad with white anchovies and lemon cucumbers. - just out of curiosity, is there such a thing as a lemon cucumber or is this a regular cucumber that is marinated in a lemone juice? they seemed to have a different texture as well as flavor than the other cucumbers in the salad I then had the Haddock in an awesome tomato sauce with caperberries followed by the housemade pork sausage with paprika bacon. The sausage was good, though a bit too salty. I decided to forgo dessert and try the chef recommended (and proclaimed house specialty) of the chorizo sutffed and bacon wrapped dates. These were an excellent and satisfying end. I greatly enjoyed my first experience at avec. I absolutely love the decor. Also, I think it is interesting to note that many of the presentations and flavors were far from my expectations from what was described on the menu. This was obviously for the better. I also think they have an excellent wine selection. I look forward to returning.
  10. babern38

    Per Se

    Got a res for 5:30 on October 6th. Real excited. Just out of curiosity, what is the cancellation policy for one person? I understood $150 per person cancellation fee. Is there a time (48 hours) associated with this? For instance if I found out this week my wife couldn't go, would we have to pay or still be in the clear as long as we let them know? Thanks.
  11. Went to Avenues for the first time on short notice and ate at the bar. I will report more later but for now all I have to say is WOW!!! Holy Crap, what a great meal/experience. Thank you to Chef Bowles and his great team for a fun and delicious night.
  12. Living only two blocks away and being enticed by the indian/south american fusion I thought I would try Vermillion on Hubbard st. To make a long story short, I there were many items on the menu (tapas and entrees) and instead of picking I opted for the $75 tasting menu. Without going into complete details, many of the dishes were very nice, though there were a few problems encountered along the way. First the amuse was a shaved ice with ginger, lime and mint. This was so cold, that the spoon stuck to my tongue like a flagpole in winter. I was worried that I may not be able to taste the rest of the meal due to the impending frostbite. I really enjoyed the artichoke pakoras, a 3 pepper soup of the day, the caldeirada de peixe(amazonian seafood stew), and the chili-glazed tamarind ribs. I was also served one of the best flourless chocolate cakes I can remember eating which was a complete surprise given the type of cuisine. The scallop suffered from too much "grittiness" and the paneer vegetable terrine, while comprising of a few tasty components, didn't work well together in my opinion. Oh, and the sorbet with dessert was also frozen. My general impression is that this place has some pretty good ideas and some definite talent combining flavors and ideas, but could possibly use a kick in the pants to kick it up a notch to get it to the level it is desiring to be.
  13. Well now that I am in CHicago for a month, I couldn't help but walk the mere 3 1/2 blocks from my hotel to frontera/topolo for another great meal. I arrived around 5:20 and instead of waiting for a table until 6 as I was told, I dined at the bar. Nothing on the frontera menu was really catching my eye, so I asked for the topolo menu and proceeded to order the: Empanadas de Huitlacoche y Trufa Negra: flaky turnovers filled with Three Sisters Garden huitlacoche and black truffle; truffle honey, three-chile salsa, baby greens and aged Mexican queso anejo. - I wanted to try huitlacoche on my last visit, but they did not have any available. I really enjoyed the flavor, but it was milder than I had expected. Since this was my first time with this ingredient I could be wrong, but I wondered if the empanadas might have been a little too fried or rich and covered up some of the flavor. I still enjoyed this new taste. For my main I had the Cochinita Pibil: rosy slices of Maple Creek roast pork loin over cochinita pibil (coarse shreds of achiote-marinated suckling pig slow-roasted in banana leaves with xcatic chiles); Tracey's sunflower shoot salad, homemade queso fresco and pickled red onions. - delicious. The pork loin was extremely juicy and the shreds of pig were amazing. The habanero sauce delievered separately was delcious and while quite hot in the aftertaste, there was still plenty of flavor to make it enjoyable (but only in small doses). While I am not that familiar with true mexican dining traditions, I've noticed several mexican restaurants give you tortillas with the meal. Perhaps this is simply likw bread and used to help mop up all the sauces. However, when combined with the food, I found the tortillas overwhelmed the delicate and complex flavors of the meats and sauces. Has anyone else felt this way? I have now had 2 great meals at this restaurant and will be jealous of everyone nearby when I leave chicago.
  14. Went to Custom House for the first time tonight because I got off work early and was in the mood for some sweetbreads. The sweetbread starter did not disappoint. I'm not sure the mushroom dusted sweetbreads paired that well(or made them any better) when combined with the polenta or bacon, but all the ingredients, especially the sweetbreads, made me not care about that fact in the least. The veal cheeks were outstanding. It was like the richest, heartiest, most fulfilling pot roast ever. If I had to nit pick, I would say they became overly sweet at the bottom of the cast iron pan they were served in. Another winner however. The pommes anna was slightly disappointing as the dish was too heavily salted. This was not because of the cubed bacon,, merely there was too much salt added to the surface. Dissecting to the middle of the potato stack, helped correct this, but in my mind they were not worth the $8. Even though I was stuffed, since everything else was so excellent, I had to try dessert. The sour cherry pie was exactly the type of dessert i like. Having dined at Green Zebra I had expected the food and flavor to be at a high level of which my expectations held true. I was also impressed with the decor which is a bit more upscale and glamorous than Green Zebra. This was an excellent restaurant, with a great staff, and I look forward to dining here again in the future.
  15. Went to TVH with my wife last night and HAD A BLAST!!! We went there after a great dinner at Bin 36. After the initial difficulty finding the place "we walked by people in line once" since there is no address or signage. We waited about 5 minutes before being let inside. The space is really cool and I am a fan of being seated at a bar instead of standing around looking for a seat. I love the giant back chairs, which make you feel like you are in your own private booth, shielding you from other customers. The waitress explained that each drink takes 4-6 minutes to prepare, but our first order actually took about 12-15 minutes. I had the Iron Cross which was excellent and my wife had the sangria whch was also well done. I've never had such a well constructed cocktail before. Halfway through those drinks we went ahead and ordered the next round so there would be continuous service. We also tried the Jockey Club, Blue Ridge Manhattan, and a Hotel Nacional. We also indulged in the sinful fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. I would liken these cocktails to the food at Alinea. There are multiple ingredients, of which each can be pinpointed in the cocktail, but they all fuse together to make a great drink. In summary, this is an excellent establishment of which I look forward to returning. It is so refreshing to go to a bar where you don't have to yell to have a conversation and can drink something far superior to the basic rum/coke. I wish this place the best of luck.
  16. thanks for all the recs. I have yet to explore the the "L", but am looking forward to venturing down to chinatown . As I've been walking around I've started to find a lot of little spots that will be good to try. Some look shady, but sometimes those yield the best surprises. I am looking forward to going to fox & obel as I've read good things on egullet. Be assured I'll keep everyone up to date with my experiences.
  17. I have just moved to chicago to do a one month rotation at Northwestern. I will be staying at the hilton garden inn on 10 N grand. While I have several ideas from my history of reading on this board, I'm looking for some more recs for places to eat whenever I get the time (which may not be much). Most of these will probably be solo meals, so anyplace where you can eat at the bar (Avec, Avenues, etc.) would be nice. I know Frontera is a block away as well as brasserie jo. where else? I'm also looking for good little, cheap spots. Where is some cheap, close mexican, thai, chinese food? all recs appreciated Also, once I get my schedule figured out on Monday I plan to see if a group of egulleters would want to get together.
  18. I'm looking forward to hearing the first reviews of Moto's sister restaurant OTOM. I would like to wish its staff the best of luck. Given my experience at MOTO I'm not sure they will need it.
  19. Went to the soft opening at Jinny Yu's tonight and was quite pleased. Our waitress was very new at the job and new very little about the food, but my family and I are easy going and didn't care the least. First, the space is very nicely decorated. My only comment is that they may be trying to squeeze one 2 many tables in making the floor a bit crowed, but we were in a booth off to the side and had no problems. Currently there is simply an abbreviated menu (3 cold apps, 3-4 hot apps, and about 6 entrees). The owner told us they had about three menus of which they will change about every few weeks to perfect the individual dishes and then have a big grande opening in october with the complete menu. They will also start serving lunch on Monday. My parents and I split two apps. First was a seared tuna. The tuna had been marinated and was very flavorful, yet retained all the taste you'd expect from the fish. It may have been cooked a bit too long and was not as pink as preferred in the center. There was some tiny roe on top (the roe was red and the size of tobiko). Underneath the tuna was mixed greens with a tangy ginger/soy dressing. The second app was a chicken satay served with chips instead of lettuce to wrap. The chicken was good, but I'd prefer lettuce wraps over the chips as it would be much easier to eat and give the illusion of health. The entrees consisted of Bibimbap, salmon, and flank steak. All were very nice. I had the salmon which was marinated in sake and served with a fried spinach and shiso leaf. (not sure where the shiso leaf was). My dad had the flank steak which had a lot of flavor and just a nice touch of heat. My mom had the big bowl of Bipimbap which looked quite tasty, but I didn't try. The only dessert offered was a sweet potato and banana rolled in a wonton wrapper and deep fried served with ice cream. I enjoyed it For its first night open i was quite pleased with everything I tried. I'm looking to returning both for lunch and when they start adding more to the dinner menu. Hopefully the service will catch up to the kitchen by the time I return, which won't be long. This should be a nice additiion to Columbia restaurant choices.
  20. I hear the bar at Avenues is a hot ticket and there is probably availabilty. I think the bar would be great for the single diner. I'm looking forward to going in the near future as I'll be doing a one month away rotation at Northwestern throughout August. Moto would also be entertaining to fly solo. Tru is very nice, but may not be as enjoyable as a single diner, though I highly recommend it for the future.
  21. 8/1 is wednesday and 7/29 is saturday. There are 31 days in july.
  22. Sounds like a very good and accurate report and assessment given my previous experience. Thanks.
  23. Just thought I'd let everyone know that Jinny Yu's Asian Bistro opens this Friday. I stopped by last week when they had their open hous, but it was absolutely packed and they were just passing around some appetizers. I was there long enough to think that the place looked very nice. I'm excited to return this weekend. On a side note, after that brief visit my family and I wound up having dinner at Simma Down which is the restaurant in the new Wilson's gym. It was pretty good. The sushi chef needs some work as the rolls kinda fell apart and took forever to be made (we were the only customers). The salads were nice as well as the strawberry soup.
  24. I remember enjoying the Tasting Room at Randolph Wine Cellars on a visit to Chicago awhile ago. Great selection for wine and cheese flights. Great, by the glass list.
  25. I was just looking for a an update regarding the foie gras ban in chicago. I thought there had been rumors about a reversal of the ban a while ago, but have not heard anthing. Are people still fighting the good fight to bring back foie?
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