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Everything posted by sickchangeup

  1. Sounds great! I won't be going back to HK for at least a year, but does XiYan only take groups, or can you go as a party of one or two? And is that $250 HK dollars? ← ~$250 US was the total bill for 4 (we didn't drink alcohol), but we were told they had a 4 person minimum (although perhaps this only applies to the Four Seasons bookings, but I doubt it). Given that they were very generous with the kobe, you get a whole fish, a whole crab (which is very expensive in HK) and 4 small portions of birds nest atop sorbet, that alone almost made up the price in our (biased NY) book. So we felt pretty good about the price we paid, and we left stuffed.
  2. I will post another short report on another dim sum place that a local brought us too (if Image Gullet doesn't give me a hard time) to compare with Luk Yu. In terms of quality, (like you said) I thought Luk Yu was ok, not bad but not outstanding and I believe it was quite expensive compared to other Dim Sum places. ← Me and my wife ate at Luk Yu twice and neither time were we really impressed. It seems far more like regular NY Chinatown dim sum to me than like something special. The place is fairly run down, service was ok, the food really didn't impress. Perhaps I'm being a bit unfair, after all it was good... we were just disappointed since it was our first taste of this miraculous thing we heard about called "Hong Kong dim sum" which is meant to be way more special than anything else out there. We were however very impressed with the Sunday dim sum at Maxim's Palace. Make sure you get there EARLY, cause the place get's super packed about an hour into service and you can find yourself lining up outside the door. If you do get there early it's pretty funny as you get to join the mini yet mad dash of people that literally run to secure a specific spot in the massive massive room once people are let in (window tables go quickly). We ate a TON between me and my wife, and everything was delicious, definitely lived up to our expectations for excellent yet traditional dim sum. I think our servers thought we were crazy seeing how much food we ordered and ate, we literally racked up some $80 in food, a damn near impossibility, but we just kept wanting to taste everything (tripe and feet included!). I would recommend the place in a heartbeat over Luk Yu.
  3. While in Hong Kong we had the Four Seasons book us a dinner at a private dining club called "XiYan" (www.xiyan.com.hk), and I saved the menu for what we ate below. This certainly wasn't touristy, it was a modern cantonese 12 course banquet to be shared by 4 people and cost about $250 total. The food was a mix of standard fare (dan dan noodle for example) with more exotic modern cantonese fare (friend pomelo skins for example). In terms of value we were blown away, as several items were simply delicious like the wagyu, the crab and the grouper, while there were a couple misses like the soup, the dessert and the watercress dish coming last (would have been fine as a side earlier). The service was also very friendly, so if you are looking for something with that's not trendy and hip (you can dress pretty casual), but is somewhat progressive cantonese cuisine, then I'd recommend this spot. 12 course "seafood" tasting Appetizers Pan fried wagyu beef steak with duo sauces Stir fried pomelo skins served with shrimp eggs and XO sauce Crispy sparerib bites with preserved tangerine peel Auntie's renren (Chinese Olives) Entrees Chicken in hot and spicy sauce with "century" eggs, peanuts and broad glass noodles Stir fried whole crab with kimchi and rice cakes Water chestnut sorbet with bird's nest Chicken, coconut, white fungus and red date soup Deep fried grouper with lemongrass, shrimp paste and pomelo salad Xi Yan dan dan noodles Stir fried watercress with preserved flowering cabbage Dessert Sago Melaka (small tapioca pearls in coconut milk with molasses sauce)
  4. As for thoughts on the lunch experience: Having had both lunch and dinner at Ko, I personally would be more eager to return for lunch in the future. There is the logistical issue of my preference for leaving a restaurant after a 3+ hour meal at 3:30 to 4pm rather than at 11pm or midnight. But it's also more than just that, lunch also seemed to be more... fun - everyone was more relaxed, more conversational (on both sides of the counter). We all knew there was 1 seating, that we'd be there together for 3+ hours, that no one was coming or going, and that these chefs were done for the day once they finished cooking. It felt more like a Friday afternoon at work as compared to the weekday dinner service which felt more serious and busy. The connection I'm guessing they were aiming for by having chef serve patron was more evident here. If you're a high end food critic, the execution dial didn't hit "3 star michellin french" (someone suggested that having Chang prepare your food get's you pretty darn close), but the food on the plate sets a really high bar for what is essentially a 3 man tandem busting it's ass for 8 hours (prep starts 8am or earlier) to bring you 17+ dishes. For my shekels, lunch was simply better than dinner. As for the food itself: - I really enjoyed the scallops. The soy powder clumps up a little with the moisture in the dish and you get a really nice salty chew here and there to contrast with the white peppers and the citrus'y scallop. - Quark cheese with szechwan peppercorn is comfort food delicious, as is the butter bomb bread. Was up there with the onion soubisse & red vinegar from dinner in terms of foods I wish I could throw together at home and eat out of a bowl. - The egg was a disappointment, it just stood out as unrefined, although it was dressed up a bit. My inner whites were left raw, but that felt besides the point in this format. As a diner at the Momo's, you're left with the expectation that if something unrefined is ever presented, it's only because it's gonna be absolutely delicious as is, and this fell short of that. - The lamb and the cheese course had all 12 seats buzzing. Granted, the chefs threw all the credit behind the exquisite tender lamb to the farmers (like they do with the bacon in the dashi), but the cheese course is exceptional in it's simplicity.
  5. My wife is Chinese, and her uncle and grandpa live outside of Flushing, so we go meet them for food a lot. The one place we always go to is called: Imperial Palace (Chinese name is East Lake something?) 136-13 37 Av It's better than any food I've had in Manhattan. Everyone eating there is pretty much Chinese, and it's most suitable for larger parties (i.e. definitely not couples). AFAIK, this isn't the place for dumplings or the like, though in fact nothing that I'd normally order from standard Manhattan take out get's ordered here (her family does the ordering) My personal favorites are: - Some sort of fried Seafood patty appetizer - Sticky Crab Rice (huge thing of rice with a cracked crab plopped right in the middle of the table. No need for any other rice if you get this) - Mayonnaise Shrimp (deep fried, covered with mayo and served with candied walnuts - absolutely sinful) - Deep fried pork chops/pieces - Sizzling beef with black pepper sauce - soft tofu cubes in some form of egg yolk sauce Other popular items are lobster stir fried with garlic and ginger, steamed fish with soy sauce, chinese broccoli or pea shoots, roasted chicken (eh) and roast duck. Her family manages to get reservations by calling, but otherwise I'd just show up early.
  6. I went to Toloache last week with a few former colleagues. They were very nice and understanding when one showed up late, one extra one showed up, when we spent about 20 minutes catching up and drinking instead of ordering, and when we ordered another round after asking for the bill. Not a single peep, no one made us feel uncomfortable or made us feel that someone else had the table reserved and I'll add that the place and the bar was full the whole time (Thursday night). As for the food, although it wasn't the main purpose of the evening (rare, I know!), everything was very honest tasting and the flavors listed on the menu definitely came through in every dish - something somewhat rare in mexican food where bold flavors can overwhelm easily. I tasted the quessadilla with short rib, and the short ribs sung through very clearly. I ordered the cabeca tacos, and the veal cheeks were delicious, and carried the flavor of the taco. Unfortunately they were out of the grasshopper tacos so I didn't get to try those. I also sampled about 3 different mezcals, each served in a snifter accompanied by a lime wedge. Pretty nice.
  7. Hi folks, Here is the lunch menu from the second weekend of service, I had a Saturday lunch reservation for one. I've pieced this together from memory, from a diner that sat to my left who took notes, from here and from Knowlton. The biggest changes appear to be that they threw in an small otoro dish, and that they gave us a small jar of pickled vegetables (with a peach sticker on it) to take home after the meal. I'll post thoughts separately. AMUSE pommes souffles stick, creme fraiche, hackleback caviar fried corn cup/tuile, pork rilletes, tomato jam KAMPACHI raw sliced kampachi, lemon jam, white soy, daikon radish sprout FLUKE raw sliced long island fluke, fermented chilli paste (gochujang) OYSTER grand island oyster, hackleback caviar "crust", lime segment SCALLOP julienne of raw scallop marinated in citrus, shiso, watermelon radish, roasted white peppers, soy "powder" TUNA "otoro" tuna tartare, american osetra caviar LOBSTER SALAD lobster meat, cantaloupe gelee, mini cucumber and melon balls, tomato consomme (or "water" if you prefer), hyssop flowers CARPACCIO beef carpaccio, grilled thinly sliced baby leeks, quark cheese with szechwan pepper, fresh horseradish, crunchy horseradish cracker pieces butter bomb bread, black sesames SALAD fresh made yuba skin, fresh/frozen cherry tomato salad, shiso chiffonade, toasted crunchy black rice SOUP bacon dashi, bacon fat poached shrimp, matsutake mushroom, tonburi, cranberry beans EGG deep fried egg, cherries, cherry peppers, crunchy fried thin onion strips, mustard greens FISH corn drop soup "dumpling" (large raviolo), steamed black sea bass strip, lobster mushrooms, bok choy, toasted kasha PASTA buckwheat tortellini stuffed with eggplant puree, grilled baby eggplant, Korean black garlic, chinese long beans, pork and miso sausage "patty" FOIE microplaned frozen torchon of foie gras, pine nut brittle, reisling gelee, lychees (smaller than dinner portion) MEAT Elysian Fields lamb chop, feta puree, watermelon, dried black olives CHEESE Blackberry Farms Singing Brook sheep's milk cheese, Humboldt "fog" goats mik cheese, smoked cantaloupe puree, shallot marmalade, pork fat brioche PEACH white peach ice cream, milk crumbles, cinnamon streusel/schmear CORN corn-chocolate parfait, sour cream ice cream, freeze dried corn, chocolate crumbs, fudge schmear
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