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mbernstein

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Everything posted by mbernstein

  1. Thanks for the write-ups. I'm going to Japan in two weeks, they will be very helpful!
  2. Can Roca is a must. In many ways as rewarding as going to El Bulli. Can Fabes is also very good, but I found Can Roca more exciting.
  3. I've been to Seville earlier this month, and would like to report that we had a very nice (two in fact) lunch at Az Zait. This is a Bibi in the Michelin 2009. It feels like a one star with a lesser price (not cheap, but good price for what it is). It is modern style cuisine with some creativity and innovation but it never jumps overboard. The chef takes care of you personally and is attentive without being intrusive. Good service. The fact that we came back is telling. Worth to go. It is near the Museo de Bellas Artes. Plaza San Lorenzo 1.
  4. Yes, there were some reports on Seville forum, but I believe it deserved its own. At least I managed to get to El Bulli last year...
  5. mdbasile, As you can see from my posts, I had a wonderful time in La Pergola. After almost two years when I think back about the best restaurants I've been to, and think "best lamb", "best foies", "best dessert", La Pergola is among the top and the Foies Gras and desserts never leave my mind. So, if you are not going with the tasting menu and love Foies Gras do go for it (if it is still in the menu): Duck liver escalope caramelized in balsamic vinegar on lemon foam with mint ice-crush. BTW I'm glad they are renovating! Keep us posted.
  6. Hi, reporting my dinner at La Alqueria. They had a renovation. I don't know how it looked like before, but it is pretty charming now with an air of Hacienda. They also changed the concept of the restaurant. Now they don't serve an assortment of old El Bulli dishes. They still have some of them in the menu, but the major part are new creations by Adriá, taking local produce into consideration. It seems products are more into consideration now (as well in El Bulli) than in previous years as opposed to things "invented" that taste like something else, I guess. The number of courses also diminished, with bigger portions. You can check the difference in the menus in the links below (I don't know for how long as I don't know the best place to upload pictures as I don't have a blog). Old Menu: http://rapidshare.com/files/238176972/La_A...antigo.jpg.html New Menu in May 09: http://rapidshare.com/files/238176973/La_A...090507.jpg.html I still don't know if this new concept is better or not. In El Bulli last year I thought that although it was great to taste so many different things, it was impossible to be outstanding with 35 courses or so, and when there was something exceptional there was not enough food to savor and imprint the tastes in your memory/palate. But then again you have the opportunity to taste lots of dishes and there were amazing things, oh yes. I thought that in Alqueria, as it was a selection of past El Bulli dishes (with no obligation to change every course every year as there is in El Bulli) there would be even a few more outstanding courses. But it seems I lost that incarnation of Alqueria. On the other hand, as it is now, it addresses my consideration above and the outstanding dishes can be appreciated more. And to me (us all in the table, in fact) there were two of those: - Gnochis de polenta: I normally am not very fond of polentas, but this is another experience completely. No taste of corn, they put some coffee over the gnochi, and some more things that I can't remember. We are still amazed how a "gnochi" can taste. They served us four gnochis each. It should have been fourteen! - Pan Ingles de chocolate blanco - boy, this is awesome. Something like "air" of white chocolate with yogurt powder over it, colder in temperature. The attendant asked us to eat fast to appreciate it more (before it dissolved, perhaps?). She didn't have to ask twice. My parents who joined me and my wife and are not used to go to these "modern" restaurants couldn't believe it. It felt almost like there was nothing in the mouth except the flavors (my dad kept saying "it does not exist, unreal")... Rest of the meal was pretty good as well, with Gambas and the Rabbit (conejo) more notable, as well as the Sabayon de rosas, the first dessert. All in all, it was great. Just for the sake of reference, I would compare it more to an evening at Can Roca now than El Bulli in terms of concept, number of courses, and "type" of satisfaction. A little more traditional with some great innovations.
  7. Going to Cuba next week. Anything new on the restaurant front? I believe the post above is still current, but are the others from 2002 still good? Any "Paladar" recommendation? Thanks.
  8. Thanks so much, Pork Belly and Olivier for your answers and clarification on type of food. Exactly the advice I was looking for. I couldn't thank before as I had no internet for the last two days. I'll then do lunch at Rue de Balzac. One last question: Is it totally necessary to make a reservation or lunch is more walk-in?
  9. Some advice, please: Going to Paris in May and really curious to experiment Gagnaire, but at this point I am not sure if I will be willing to spend over EUR 500 for two for dinner at his main restaurant. My doubt is what is a better way to experiment his food: 1- have the lunch fixed menu (90 Eur/person) at Rue de Balzac (how many courses would I get including amouses?) 2- Dinner at Gaya (meaning for the same price as #1 can I have a similar or better/wider selection and experience) 3- Lunch at Gaya (so I first see if I like his type of food, which I assume I will as I am very fond of this experimentation trend such as Can Roca's food and El Bulli) I thank you for any clarification and correction in terms of cost.
  10. I've been to El Bulli last year. My "dream come true" would be to have Bulli's classics thus my question about the "special" tasting menu. But from your posts I guess that's just a dream...
  11. Sure, it was mentioned, but within other restaurant's threads. It seems that non-guests of the hotel can only do the Tasting. Thanks for confirming/expanding the info I had. Just wanted to make sure I was not missing anything.
  12. I am going in May, and I've read somewhere that one can order a "special" tasting menu when making the reservation that is bigger than the official tasting. Is this correct? Anyone confirms? I tried that through e-mail, but got the answer that there is the regular tasting menu only. Also, for its fame, I thought curious there is no thread on this restaurant, no photos, maybe it can be started now (I just found some comments here and there on the forum). Thanks.
  13. The to my taste excellent desert with truffles was at Patina, although I mentioned that I thought Providence was the most consistent meal. My dinner at Patina was on January 18 as mentioned above, thus their truffles, I guess. If Tupac was referring to the truffled course at Providence in August, I believe they used Summer Truffles - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuber_(genus)#Summer_truffle. I hope Ulterior Epicure was not mislead (BTW the desert he mentioned seems really good). Although I agree with his conclusion. If I had to recommend one of these restaurants to try first, it would be Providence. But of course it is never too much to remind that this is all very personal (including my reaction to the mentioned desert). After all, my business is to make films... I remember, for instance, Kai-m (who I greet back) and I have had very different impressions from La Pergola in Rome which still has a very fond place in my gourmet journeys even after going to more renowned restaurants. And I mention this for no argumentative reason, just as a proviso. Hope this clarifies. And warns!
  14. This may be a little belated, but I had a very good dinner at Providence last August. I had the Market Menu with wine pairing (menu similar menu to the one posted with photos above). Highlights for me were "bobby's block island sea scallops", Tenderloin of veal, a linguine with truffles that I ordered on the side. After I have been to some restaurants very well regarded (Urasawa, Providence, Sona, Patina, Spago (too many years ago)), I would say that Providence was the restaurant that gave me the more overall satisfaction. Urasawa is at the same level (maybe a little bit above) but pricewise it makes you think twice. Not sure I will repeat any time soon, but Providence I will for sure, specially with the pairing. It is a reasonable deal. Sona, I went last week, very disappointing. Good presentation, service OK but with an irritating tendency of self praise (delicious this, super tasty that, marvelous whatever). The diners should be doing the praise, not the staff. To be honest, everything seemed a little blend. Even the fois gras. They maitre said nobody ever complained. But who would: "oh, this fois gras not so good". I wonder how many marveled at it. The tastes seemed to compete with the fois. Not that the tastes were so strong, but the fois did not shine at all. That said, I guess what propelled me to write was not really Providence itself, but actually Patina where I've been this evening. As I haven't written about Providence before and this thread seems more active than Patina's I took the liberty. I took the tasting. Amouse Bouche was nice, fish with black beans soup, which reminded a lot what we have in Brazil. It was nice, not more than that. Main fish courses (Crusted Tuna Belly and Alaskan King Slamon) were very unremarkable. Well done, but...unremarkable. Fish at the amouse was tastier. Meat courses were way better. Sauteed Fois Gras with huckleberries and chocolate was delicious (as the one from Sona was expected to be!). Perfect cooking, the sauce adding a touch to the Fois, but not overcoming it. American Kobe Beef with sweet potato tempura in its reduction sauce was really good. Very tasty, the meat came almost rare as I have ordered, huum... I preferred its execution to the one I had at Urasawa. I probably don't understand much of Kobe beef but, that's my taste. But what really propelled me to write was the desert (after reading about Providence's desert discussion above). What came to my table really made me voice my ooohs, and aaahs. It was a Chocolate Truffle with actual Black truffles along with withe chocolate sorbet with white truffles, bedded over "baby" apple compote. I was stroked by it. Surprising, unexpected, delicious. Wow. One of the best and most interesting deserts I have ever had. Actually I asked another one to make sure, and even stuffed I could not stop praising it. Amazing. I wonder if it is just me or if anybody here shares my enthusiasm.
  15. Just as a follow up, I ended up going for dinner to save up time for Museums and other stuff. I had the Signature Menu. It was mostly wonderful. Apologizing in advance for my lack of technical precision, I will make some comments. Two low points for me (us three at the dinner): - Sea Scallops was much worse than the other dishes for me. As I had expected a little bit more of the Egg Caviar (it is very good, but I don’t know why I expected a little bit more – perhaps because I had had the precious “Oysters and Pearls” at Per Se a few days earlier), when I tasted the Sea Scallops I feared for the night. The Sea Scallop was not bad, but totally unremarkable for us. - Deserts looked very creative and presentation was beautiful with each person's four “courses” on a divided plate. We had three different tastes – chocolate, caramel and strawberry – but among the 12 different deserts probably only two were very good, rest was interesting or just fine, with some two kind of bad – not good enough for a restaurant of this quality, I think. Highlights: - From Garlic Soup to Squab – delicious, excellent, top notch. - I loved the “soup” quality/preparation of the Garlic, Turbot and Lobster. Sometimes chefs tend to be very tight on the sauces. In here there was an overflow of sauce. Surely, they were less concentrated than say, in the squab, they are different concepts, but I did love the idea/execution. - I really enjoyed the “taste” option of the wine menu. I don’t drink much, nor could financially match all courses, and this smaller than the glass option allowed me to have three different very fine wines. - Finally, Jean Georges may be the cheapest three stars in the world… I’ll definitely be back in my next trip…
  16. Just got back from NY. I was really glad about The Red Cat. I tried most dishes in the menu (we were in three and went there 3 times as it was two blocks from my hotel) and none frustrated me. Although it has some ambition, it is not overly so or pretentious. There is always a nice twist on each dish. It was perfect as a neighborhood restaurant for daily food. Service was pretty good. Next time in NY I will be back.
  17. mbernstein

    Urasawa

    Hey, thanks for the tip. Mouth watering. I really like interesting meat. If I ain't broke by January when I shall be in LA, I'll try (dollar is getting expensive now and I'm spending quite a few in restaurants in NY next week). Do you know how much is it now?
  18. I believe this is only partially true. I believe local opinions have to be balanced with opinions from others that you regard as having similar taste to yours. For instance, in this very forum Docsconz, who I am most certain is American, gave me an invaluable appreciation of two Spanish restaurants that I was considering going to, and I could pick the one that really made me happy. An American giving advice to a Brazilian on a Spanish restaurant. I understand your point about the specificity of Japanese food, but in the end it is our own palate that matters, is it not? So we have to find whichever reference will better please our mouth, right? And I'm rooting for you concerning the Michelin job . This surely will dispel lots of polemics about this guide. Cheers.
  19. This is such a silly and xenophobic remark: “Japanese food was created here, and only Japanese know it,” Mr. Kadowaki said in an interview. “How can a bunch of foreigners show up and tell us what is good or bad?" Or else no American or Brazilian can review a French restaurant in Paris anymore.
  20. Good points. In two weeks I'll be in NY for the first time since the Michelin Guide. If the dollar stops skyrocketing in my country, I shall be going to Per Se, JG and one or two 1 stars. I'm not so thorough/knowledgeable as most here, but I've been to a bunch of 2/3 stars so I can compare if the NY Guide works for me as much as it does in Europe. It did in LA in August anyway.
  21. I tend to agree with Alexandra. Being a non-American, my experience is that the Michelin Guide coupled with a local guide is the best resource to get to good and reliable restaurants. It seems to me that many people tend to have a kind of biased opinion that a foreign appreciation of the restaurants is less reliable than a local. I believe they are...different. That's why I, for once, couple Michelin with a local guide. After traveling a while around you kind of get the Michelin criteria (which is pretty constant everywhere - of course you can question stuff, like why Spain have so few 3 stars, but that's another discussion) and see if theirs matches your criteria. If it does, with the other guide you get the local feel, taste and scene, thus giving you a better ground to make your choices.
  22. mbernstein

    Urasawa

    Great post. My personal taste notwithstanding, I agree with most. The guy is great. I only regret that in my visit there were not so many Wagyu courses, only two. I was not so amazed by it and somehow feel that will have to give it more tries.
  23. mbernstein

    Urasawa

    I've been to Urasawa on August. It was quite an experience. As I said before, I like Japanese food, but don't love regular sushi. So my comments below will reflect this, and I think this may be helpful to other people with similar taste. First, general comments: - The menu was similar to the ones above, with slight variations. - The Tofu with green tea was a revelation. Could never imagine how good a tofu could taste. - it was my first time eating Toro, and I believe he prepared at least 3 or 4 variations on it. All were surprising, tasty. - the sushi was the best I've ever had or expect to have. Really tasty, interesting. I've never eaten it with such pleasure. I don't see (of course I shall be wrong on this) how can it be better, considering what a sushi is. - the tempura's were also very good. - Fois Gras shabu-shabu was soooo good. Simple and sooo good. Wagyu was somewhat not overwhelming besides it. - every ingredient sparks freshness and taste - chef is really charming and attentive, and it is really nice to sit around him while he prepares the food. You feel like an insider. That said, most of the menu IS sushi. I believe how much you like it or how amazed by it you can be is of importance here. If you are a sushi lover and have the money to spare (my personal total bill was U$ 400 with no alcohol, only water), this is a no brainier. It is worth the money. If you are like me that don't love sushi, just like it, you may take this into consideration: I, for instance, don't regret going to Urasawa at all, but if I were tighter on money at the time, I might would. And I believe I will only go back when I can really spare this kind of dough nonchalantly, or gladly, right away, with a company paying for me! Hope this somehow may help others.
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