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Everything posted by alwang

  1. If the goal is to get a runny yolk, perhaps freezing the yolk beforehand would be the better way to go. I think 147F will be too low to cook pasta well.
  2. To clarify, the process Chang recommended in New York mag (which of course is not necessarily what's done in the restaurant) was to slow roast the pork butt in an oven, with periodic basting. The fattiness of the cut should keep it moist. If Ssam Bar has a steam oven installed, like a Rational or CVap, that would seem like an even more logical way to go.
  3. I was under the impression that the slow cook was also done in the oven? At least that's the recipe David Chang gave to New York mag a couple of years back.
  4. Man, what's up with your friends not letting you try their dishes? Totally unacceptable.
  5. Not sure about the SV temperature, but the Ko shortribs are deep fried afterwards.
  6. So, I know a good number of the French restaurants around town will be running specials either on Bastille Day (the 14th) or this weekend before: anyone have any recommendations, based on past years? Or for Philly Bastille Day activities in general?
  7. If you're really serious about pursuing that Holy Grail, to the extent that you'd be willing to undertake an hour's drive out of Philadelphia, the Bent Spoon in Princeton, NJ and Viva Gelato in Pennington, NJ are worthy of inspection (Yes, I know they aren't in Pennsylvania, but I'm guessing u.e. isn't browsing the Jersey boards). Viva Gelato's texture is a little less smooth than Capogiro, but the flavors are more intense. The Bent Spoon has often inventive flavors and excellent ingredients. They're about 15 minutes apart from each other.
  8. Exactly. Now of course, keep in mind that once the bag is conforming to the food, the food is acting like a rigid body (i.e. it can resist the force applied) and you can, if there is air inside the food, drop the pressure inside the food below atmospheric, if the food does not collapse (or, remove the air to cause it to collapse). For example, imagine doing a whole chicken SV: the rib cage could resist collapse and if dropped the pressure inside the body of the chicken, the whole chicken would be "under pressure." Of course, that is sort of irrelevant for SV cooking... just random physics babble ← Of course if we're being nitpicky, the title of Keller's book is not "Under Gaseous Pressure": if that chicken simply had a heavy skillet placed on top of it, it could be rightly described as being "under pressure". Likewise, compressing foods using chamber vacuum machines can certainly be described as placing them under pressure.
  9. Normally, I wouldn't think that a single dish would merit its own thread, but people need to know about this fiendishly habit-forming dish at Sichuan Spring in Highland Park/Edison. The restaurant is a pretty good Sichuan option for central NJ, though it's not as consistent as a place like Chengdu 1 in north Jersey. However, they do a dish called Chongqing Spicy Chicken which by itself is worth a drive from almost anywhere in the state, and possibly from Manhattan as well. I assume it's their take on the Sichuan classic, la zi ji ding, but I'm not positive. It consists of little nuggets of chicken that have been (I assume) deep fried to a light crispy crust, and then stir fried with copious quantities of chilies and Sichuan peppercorns. I know that sounds like the recipe for plenty of other Sichuan dishes, but the execution here makes all the difference. The combination of crunch, juiciness, chili heat, and peppercorn numbing is just insane. Also: it goes unbelievably well with beer. Has anyone else here experienced what I'm talking about? Sichuan Spring 1167 RARITAN AVE HIGHLAND PARK, NJ 08904 (732) 572-9510
  10. Nice writeup: sounds like you fit in a lot of great restaurants. I don't have a lot of experience with European starred restaurants, but I will say that in my experience, EMP compares favorably with the other NYC starred restaurants, so perhaps you caught them on a bad night...
  11. Interesting, will have to check this place out. The most well-known Hangzhou-specific dishes (as opposed to just general Shanghainese dishes) are probably tung-po pork (meltingly soft steamed pork belly), beggar's chicken (chicken baked in a clay shell), and west lake fish (a whole fish in a slightly sweet black vinegar sauce). It'll be interesting to see their take on these three. If they don't offer them at all, then I'd question how much of their Hangzhou cuisine focus is just a marketing gimmick.
  12. alwang


    Jean Georges' caper-raisin emulsion works well with all kinds of seafood. Just take the sauce from this recipe: http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/special/...ges/raisin.html I only wish the color was a little more appetizing...
  13. "Rou" means "meat." FYI, Larry, your photo link sends me into a cyber blackhole. ← "Rou" means "meat", but "rou" without any modifiers (i.e., "chicken meat", "cow meat", "lamb meat", etc.) almost always means pork.
  14. Had a quick meal at Zahav last night: it was solid but not spectacular. I like the space, though I wish they'd reconfigure the seating for less 2-tops and more large-group tables: the food works much better for larger parties. Had the fried kibbe (good: crispy, but under-spiced), the maluach (okay: pretty insubstantial for the price, but the flatbread was excellent), and two skewers, the Merguez and the "Farsi". The Merguez was good: came on a bed of couscous and a flavorful carrot stew. The components worked very well together. The Farsi was chunks of lamb on a bed of excellent saffron rice: the lamb was a little overcooked. In general, I felt the food was a little conservative with the spicing: hopefully Solomonov isn't trying to dumb down this food for a Philadelphia audience. As I mentioned earlier, these dishes are most enjoyable if you have a group of at least 4, and you just order a ton of small dishes. The service was friendly and very knowledegable about the menu.
  15. What I meant is that even your browning temp/time seemed low/slow relative to roasting chicken: 350F seems low for browning. and even in a steam environment, I think cooking at that temp for 1-2 hours will dry out the bird. If there was a setting to brown at a high temperature for a shorter period of time, then drop to 150F (which seems about right), that might be the way to go. Of course, this is all speculation on my part, having never used one of these devices.
  16. Sounds like a very useful tool, but I've never found low and slow a good way to cook a whole roast chicken. Perhaps fish or chicken breast would be a better initial test: those are both sous vide standbys.
  17. it was about 75% Japanese on Saturday. maybe 10% other Asians. but that was the soft opening. ← I think Larry and our party were most of that 10%.
  18. I basically agreed with most of Larry's comments, so I'll just toss in a few assorted observations: - The non-ramen appetizers are all decent but overpriced. In addition to the pork belly and croquettes, we also had the chicken karaage: deep fried chicken morsels breaded in crispy panko. That was probably my favorite of the three starters, but even there, I'm not sure I'd order it again. - The noodles in our ramen were definitely overcooked: I managed to sneak a few strands out of the bowl before the photo blitzkrieg, and they were already well past al dente. - The broth is hearty and comforting, and reminds me of a homestyle Chinese pork soup that I've had. I appreciate that even though the broth is certainly fatty, that fat is well emulsified, creating richness rather than greasiness. Let it sit for a little while though, and the grease will separate into a layer on the surface. - I suspect this opinion will be unpopular, but even though I enjoyed my ramen at Ippudo, I still found the Setagaya broth more complex and multi-dimensional. Ippudo's is certainly more porky, and I could appreciate that, but I really enjoy the combination of pork and seafood flavors that you get with Setagaya. Setagaya also has generally superior toppings (There's an argument to be made about the pork from either restaurant: Ippudo uses better quality pork and is more tender; Setagaya grills its pork for more flavor). Sure, I understand that there are different styles of ramen and it's tough to compare one to another, but if I could only keep one of the two restaurants in NYC, I'd take Setagaya.
  19. alwang

    Le Bernardin

    I had a solid but unspectacular dinner at Le Bernardin about two weeks ago. From what I recall, that night the sea urchin-caviar dish was not listed on the menu: I remember being surprised by that. I know for certain it wasn't included that night on the chef's tasting menu. My companion and I both had the prix fixe, so we tried a total of 6 dishes: Tuna/foie appetizer: I think this dish suffers from presentation problems: I don't find the flat plating very attractive, but more importantly, the way it's layered with a thin slice of toast at the bottom doesn't make it very easy to eat. The flavors are good though. Kanpachi tartare: This was one of my favorites. It's a small, intense bite, though the ginger-coriander flavors were masked by the wasabi and tobiko. I can't for the life of me remember the middle two courses clearly: I know one of them was a langoustine dish, but I don't believe it's the one listed on the web site menu. Neither was particularly memorable. The wagyu is served with tuna, and is pretty good. I know in other places they sometimes call escolar white tuna, but I don't believe that was the case here, as they have a separate menu item which is described as escolar. The meat and fish don't exactly work together in this dish, but each on its own is tasty enough. The fish was slightly overcooked by my tastes. Masala-spiced bass with peking duck salad and cardamom broth. I didn't get the indian flavors at all from this dish: it was pretty dominated by the hoisin from the duck. I found that to generally be the case in our meal: what read on the menu as interesting flavor combinations ended up not being balanced all that well, and more subtle flavors were lost. It was still good, it just didn't taste as advertised.
  20. Out of curiosity, how would you compare the service/seating to that of the high-end sushi bars in town?
  21. alwang

    Lamb burgers

    I'm thinking about grinding my own meat to make some lamb burgers: any recommendations as far as cuts of meat? Seems like a lot of recipes just use leg, but I'm open to any suggestions, including mixes of different cuts. I assume that lamb is similar to beef in that you want an 80-20 lean/fat ratio for burgers?
  22. alwang

    Le Bernardin

    Any experiences with the current dinner tasting menus? The Chef's tasting is certainly not cheap, but it looks quite a bit more interesting: any thoughts on whether it's worthwhile?
  23. I agree that for presalting meat, I don't find a significant difference between non-iodized table salt and any other. I use Diamond kosher salt because it's virtually as cheap, and more versatile for other things where the salt crystal structure makes more difference. I also like getting used to the consistency of one salt, as it makes it easier to measure by feel.
  24. I always pre-salt red meat when I have the time. I like to age my steaks for a couple of days anyway, so I'll pre-salt them and let them set in the fridge for 3-4 days. I think it definitely helps the salt distribute evenly. If you're going to rinse your meat an hour before cooking, I think it will be difficult no matter how much drying you do to get the surface dry enough for an optimal crust. I'd rinse further in advance.
  25. I agree - it's really great. ← Can someone provide a description?
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