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The Food Doc

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  1. I spent Super Bowl Sunday at Ko, as has been my tradition for the past few years (besides, could not stand to see the Ravens win). After an aperitif of apple puree and smoked ginger mixed with rye, club soda and a lemon twist, this is how the meal went: 1) Amuses bouche: Chicharonnes seasoned with todarashi and salt Octopus with dry aged beef, watermelon radish and Huitlacoche (Mexican fungus) Sambal chawanmushi topped with crispy shallots Shigoku oyster with kombu and green apple bits 2) Red snapper served with a Sriracha and buttermilk sauce, topped with kohlrabi and poppy seeds 3) Spanish mackerel tataki topped with pickled shallots, rice pearls and yuzu 4) "Dairy-less" New England clam chowder with littleneck clams, shrimp, bay scallops, Andouille sausage and housemade crackers (foam was made from potato puree and clam juice) 5) Smoked soft-cooked hen's egg from Knollcrest Farms, served with soubise onions, fingerling potato chips, hackleback caviar and sweet potato vinegar. This was served with housemade potato bread and housemade smoked butter 6) Celery root agnolotti with tandoori spice and black truffle 7) Slow cooked branzino with roasted daikon and mushrooms, served with a fennel and shishito pepper broth 8) Shaved torchon of Hudson Valley foie gras with lychees, pine nut brittle and Riesling gelee 9) Millbrook Farms venison with sunchokes, kale chips, kale puree and pomegranate sauce 10) Pre-dessert: Toasted rhum meringue topped with coconut lime sorbet, banana and dessicated shortbread 11) Dessert: Calamansi sorbet with buckwheat caramel and Earl Grey tea panna cotta
  2. I went for dinner last night at Momofuku Ko. Compared to ellenost's dinner a month ago, most of the dishes remained the same, except for a few new additions. Here is a rundown of my menu, with my comments: 1) Amuses bouche: Chicharrones dusted with togarashi salt Heirloom tomatoes served with mascarpone cheese and topped with a basil gelee (looked like stained glass window; the basil gelee was an innovative and delicious way to introduce basil in this dish) Chilled corn soup topped with lime zest and piment d' espelette (the corn flavor was muted, and it needed a little more heat) 2) Diver scallops from New Jersey served on a bed of sticky rice and tomatillo slices, topped with a nori-chipotle powder (nice balance of heat, acid and sweetness; the scallops remained front and center) 3) Dry aged sirloin beef carpaccio with rose-compressed strawberries, black olive powder, grated horseradish, puffed black rice, and feta cheese (the mild flavors of the carpaccio did not hold up well against the other components) 4) Langoustines cooked on the plancha, served with toasted brioche topped with herb butter (marjoram), orange gelee and steamed romaine lettuce, in a smoked pepper, squid and chile vegetable broth (robust and spicy; the sweetness of the orange rounds out the other flavors beautifully) 5) Smoked hen egg served with hackleback caviar, onion soubise, fingerling potato, sweet potato vinegar and herb salad. This was served with a house made potato bread and smoked butter (the quintessential egg dish from Ko. The potato bread was soft and had a wonderful crust, and was not overly sweet; it was handy to sop up the rich yolk of the hen egg) 6) Toasted walnut agnolotti with crispy veal sweetbreads, pickled cherries and chanterelle mushrooms, ricotta sauce and orange zest (just divine; rich and hearty, with a hint of sweetness and acid. A pasta appropriate for autumn) 7) Almond crusted skate wing served with almond milk foam, roasted cauliflower, olives and water chestnuts (the welcome return of an old Ko favorite; tender and subtly sweet skate meat paired with the nuttiness of the almond, cauliflower and water chestnuts, with the olives adding a punch of salinity) 8) Shaved Hudson Valley foie gras torchon with lychees, pinenut brittle, and Riesling gelee (60+ meals in, and I still do not tire of this dish's perfect combination of sweet, fatty and nutty) 9) 48-hour braised beef short rib, deep-fried and served with peach puree, pickled peaches, basil pea greens and rye dust (tender rib meat with a crunchy crust; the sweetness and tartness of the peaches subtly cut through the fattiness without overwhelming the rest of the dish) 10) Spicy carrot cake drenched in carrot essence, topped with slices of pickled carrots, carrot blossoms, and carrot pastry cream, and served with buttermilk ice cream and rye crumble (another seasonal dessert: light yet earthy, with just the right amount of sweetness) 11) Concorde grape sorbet served with macadamia truffles and miniature rice krispies (interesting juxtaposition of creamy and crunchy) Wine pairing was mostly on point; the pairing of the desserts with beers was an inspired choice. The kitchen staff was particularly engaging and friendly; hats off to Josh, Troy and new chef Kerry. Momofuku Ko continues to maintain the high standards it set in March 2010, and I look forward to my next meal there.
  3. I had lunch at Ko this Sunday; another wonderful meal prepared by Sean Gray and company. Following a ginger-chamomile cocktail, lunch started as followed: 1) Shigoku oyster with kombu and apple vinegar 2) Amuses bouche: Pommes soufflé filled with burnt onion and hackleback caviar Poppyseed biscuit with smoked pork butter Red curry chawan mushi topped with peach bits Fried shrimp cake with basil and fish sauce 3) Quartet of crudo: Long Island fluke topped with grated redball radish, citrus fennel and soy glaze Diver scallop wrapped in celery, served with roasted tomato, tomato water and fresh chickpeas Spanish mackerel topped with pickled onions and Japanese cereal Grilled octopus inoculated with a pistachio-miso solution, with turnips and potatoes dressed with turnip mayonnaise, pistachio, miso and lemon gelee 4) Dry aged beef carpaccio with pickled strawberries, feta, redball radish and black olive powder 5) Santa Barbara uni served in a honeydew-cucumber soup, topped with nasturtium, fried morels and chili oil 6) Puffed hen egg topped with chives and braised kombu, served in a bacon dashi 7) Bento box: Pork belly ssam with bean sprouts and pineapple kimchi Charred mustard greens topped with crispy shallots Grilled rice roll 8) Housemade cavatelli with charred fava beans, mortadella, clams and lardo, and topped with fried ginger 9) Roasted lobster tail served with apple, porcini and bamboo, topped with lobster jus 10) Shaved torchon of foie gras with Riesling gelee, lychees and pinenut brittle 11) Sausage-stuffed chicken breast, served with grilled asparagus spears and hummus, topped with chicken jus 12) Frozen goat's cheese with milk crisps, nasturtium flowers and pomegranate tea gelee 13) English pea ice cream with pound cake and shiso foam 14) Dessert: Sugar cone filled with sticky rice and sweet miso ice cream, topped with puffed black rice It may have been hot and steamy outside that Sunday afternoon, but it was warm and comfortable inside Ko. Every meal I have there is like a home-cooked meal enjoyed with family.
  4. It has been a few months since I had dinner at Ko, and when a reservation became available last week, I decided to snap it up. A few new dishes were available this time around, and I was glad I went! 1) Amuse bouches: Chicharonnes seasoned with todarashi and salt Lobster on mashed potatoes smoked in beef fat, served with pickled fennel Shigoku oyster dipped in cornmeal-wheat flour mixture, deep fried and served with dashi aioli 2) Diver scallops with avocado and jalapeno puree, cucumber ice and radish 3) Spanish mackerel tataki with apple-beet puree, topped with puffed black rice, braised red cabbage and mustard greens 4) Louisiana crawfish with brioche topped with herb butter, marjoram, romaine lettuce and orange gelee, served in a pepper and chile vegetable broth 5) Smoked soft-cooked hen's egg from Knollcrest Farms, served with soubise onions, fingerling potato chips, hackleback caviar and sweet potato vinegar 6) House-made ricotta cheese cavatelli with braised beef tongue, mustard and fried sauerkraut 7) Pan seared halibut served with kohlrabi, radish, lemon, seared fiddleheads, pepperoncini and sauteed onions 8) Shaved torchon of Hudson Valley foie gras with lychees, pine nut brittle and riesling gelee 9) Roasted breast of Muscovy duck glazed with pomegranate molasses, served with sauteed mustard greens, ramp puree, and pumpernickel-dusted turnip braised in honey and ginger 10) Pre-dessert: Goat cheese ice cream with rhubarb, pistachio and goat cheese cookie 11) Dessert: Honey sorbet with lemon-thyme foam, bee pollen and milk crisps I loved all the dishes; I also noticed a certain subtlety to the flavors that allowed the individual items in each dish to sing without overwhelming the other dish components. Four years in, and almost sixty meals later, I can say that Momofuku Ko continues its trend of serving excellent food in a casual setting. My thanks to the kitchen staff at Ko!
  5. As the New York Giants were marching towards a nail-biting victory over the New England Patriots last night in Super Bowl XLVI (GO GIANTS!), I celebrated Super Bowl Sunday the same way I have the past few years: having dinner at Momofuku Ko. As sous chef Sean Gray was quick to announce, this was officially my 50th meal at Ko (although if you add F&F and all the walk-ins, it may be closer to 60), so it was a milestone of sorts. Here is a compilation of the menu last night: 1) Amuse bouches: Chicharonnes seasoned with todarashi and salt Boneless chicken wing Chawanmushi topped with broccoli puree and uni Fried wonton filled with eggplant and almond pistou 2) Slices of Long Island fluke topped with poppyseeds and chives, and served in a Sriracha and buttermilk sauce 3) Spanish mackerel tataki topped with pickled shallots, rice pearls and yuzu 4) House-made brioche topped with roasted bone marrow, pickled pearl onions, lemon confit and micro-sorrel, served in a Comte broth 5) Smoked soft-cooked hen's egg from Knollcrest Farms, served with soubise onions, fingerling potato chips, hackleback caviar and sweet potato vinegar 6) House-made ricotta cheese cavatelli with beef tongue, watercress and fried sauerkraut 7) Oven poached trout topped with bread crumbs, rutabaga and shallots 8) Shaved torchon of Hudson Valley foie gras with lychees, pine nut brittle and riesling gelee 9) Roasted breast of Muscovy duck glazed with pomegranate molasses, served with sauteed mustard greens, turnip green puree, and pumpernickel-dusted turnip braised in honey and ginger 10) Pre-dessert: Granny Smith apple sorbet with apple bread, topped with apple chips and saffron sauce 11) Dessert: Coconut custard served with passionfruit meringue, peanut butter and chocolate cookie crumbs, banana slices, and Thai basil Dinner began with a huckleberry negroni aperitif; I also noticed that some wine pours were shared by two courses, instead of one wine pour per course. Service remains efficient yet warm, and the chefs were friendly and accomodating (congratulations on your engagement, Mr. Gray!). There were dishes that were also served last year during Super Bowl XLV; only the fish dish, some of the amuses bouch, and the desserts were new to me. I have always loved the egg and foie gras dishes, and the duck dish is quite delectable. The trout was last night's revelation: tender and flaky, flavorful but never heavy.
  6. In between Christmas shopping and partying, I had lunch at Momofuku Ko yesterday. Lovely meal, as always, and for a change, I decided to forego the usual wine pairing, and instead opted for a bottle of white wine from the Roussillon region of France (lovely acidity, with some interesting notes and heft). So, here goes the meal: 1) The meal started with a Kusshi oyster served with a jalapeno vinaigrette. Briny yet with some kick. Nice way to warm up the stomach and the taste buds for the meal to come. 2) Amuses bouche: Pommes soufflé filled with sour cream and hackleback caviar Aged beef tartare with radish and spicy vinaigrette Fish chowder with white chives 3) Quartet of crudo: Madai with XVOO and topped with crispy fish scales and chives Long Island fluke topped with pickled red peppers and fermented bean paste Raw scallop topped with poppy seeds and sriracha sauce dressing Spanish mackerel topped with pickled onions and Japanese cereal 4) Vegetable trio: Roasted sunchoke with pinenut pesto Fried cauliflower floret with fish sauce vinaigrette (a bit similar to the one Tien Ho made for Momofuku Ma Peche) Braised turnip dusted with espresso 5) Wild mushroom salad served with pickled red onions, micro-cilantro and a charred pickled jalapeno puree. Mushrooms included chanterelles, hen of the woods, lobster and royal trumpet. 6) Puffed chicken’s egg topped with chives and kombu, served in a bacon dashi broth 7) Matsutake mushroom ravioli topped with puffed buckwheat, in a butter sauce. This is served with a side of matsutake mushroom broth topped with spruce oil, and a maple brown butter French toast 8) Bento box: Fish consomme topped with garlic oil and raw bean sprouts Pork rib cooked sous vide, then slathered with house made barbecue sauce before going under broiler. This is served with grilled shishito pepper. Grilled rice roll Grilled and julienned brussel sprout salad 9) Pan roasted monkfish served with vegetables in a rich lobster broth 10) Shaved torchon of foie gras with Riesling gelee, lychees and pinenut brittle 11) House made charcuterie, served with black onion puree and cranberries: Chicken liver pate Smoked duck breast Pig's head cheese 12) Lamb rack from Elysian Fields served with salsify and burnt onion puree, with a side of cassoulet served in a miniature Le Creuset dutch oven 13) Goat cheese and honey sorbet, served with a four-layer gelee of milk, tea, pomegranate and honey 14) Dessert: Sugar cone filled with sticky rice and house made ice cream (cannot remember the actual flavor) There were new faces behind the oven: Sous chef Sean, and line cooks Heather and Josh. Nice people, and quite talented. All in all, the perfect way to enjoy a December afternoon.
  7. Yes, it was goat's cheese. Wrote it on a piece of paper, but with a little wine my writing becomes illegible. Thanks! Lunch looks good; might go for that soon.
  8. I've been to Momofuku Ko more than 40 times since it opened in 2008, and for the most part, I believe the quality and the creativity behind the dishes have remained more or less high, although in my honest opinion, the very first tasting menu in March 2008 remains the best. The wine pours for the wine pairing have become stingier, unfortunately. The chefs engage the diners more willingly these days, making the dining experience a little more accessible than it was in the past.
  9. I was going to eat at Momofuku Noodle Bar last night when a slot opened at Momofuku Ko. It's been four months since I last ate at Ko (see my previous post on SuperBowl Sunday), and I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the courses were new to me. Let's see if I can remember them correctly: 1) Amuse bouches: A spicy seafood consomme with lime, basil and fresh garbanzos Chicharonnes seasoned with todarashi and salt Spanish mackerel tataki with beet puree and puffed black rice 2) Slices of raw diver scallops served with coconut-avocado puree, lemongrass and frozen cucumber juice. Needed heat to balance out the dish. 3) Branzino served with white asparagus spear cured in miso, black sesame, yoghurt, grapefruit and horseradish. Nice balance of flavors. 4) Green aspargus spears, sugar snap pea pod containing honey dew balls (made to resemble peas), poached pork loin roll with shiso, and charred pea shoots in dashi. Refreshing yet flavorful. 5) Smoked soft-cooked hen's egg from Knollcrest Farms, served with soubise onions, fingerling potato chips, hackleback caviar and sweet potato vinegar 6) House-made macaroni with spring peas, house-made chorizo and octopus. Meaty and delicious. 7) Pan-roasted halibut served with a remoulade of zucchini/kohlrabi/fennel, grilled ferns, compote of charred onions, and a pepperoncini-lemon sauce. Tart, spicy yet delicate. 8) Shaved torchon of Hudson Valley foie gras with lychees, pine nut brittle and riesling gelee 9) Roasted beef short rib with pickled onion and charred green onion. Reminded me of the very first short rib dish that Ko served on opening day, but better. 10) Pre-dessert: Green tomato sorbet with oregano and rhubarb. Interesting palate cleanser. 11) Dessert: Ice cream served with shortbread, poached rhubarb and pistachio. Can't remember the exact composition of the ice cream and short bread (ellenost, you might know this one... :-) An after-dinner dark chocolate-amaretto bonbon was served at the end of the meal. Really satisfying and creative dishes. Can't wait to see what lunch service has in store.
  10. When I went to Chicago last September, I booked my reservations for Alinea as early as June. It seems to be a safe bet to reserve at least three months in advance for most sought-after restaurants.
  11. Hello my fellow eGulleters! I am now enjoying the sunny weather here in San Sebastian, and gorging myself on pintxos. I also took a side trip to Bilbao, where I visited the Guggenheim Museum and had lunch at the well-received museum restaurant. I will be dining at Arzak, Martin Berasetegui, Akelarre and Mugaritz in the next few days. I do have a reservation at Can Fabes on Saturday, but I realized too late that Sant Celoni is located on the opposite side of Spain, which brings up both logistical and financial problems. I also feel like after the first four restaurants, it will be too much of a good thing to go to Can Fabes as well. I would like to ask my fellow eGulleters if I should stay put in San Sebastian and content myself with the restaurants in the area. Any advice concerning this dilemma will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  12. Hi everyone! I have made plans to go to Spain this May. I plan to stay at San Sebastian while I'm there, since most of the restaurants I want to go to are in the area (Berasetegui has already confirmed; still wiaitng for Arzak and Akelarre). Does any one know good yet inexpensive accomodations in the area? This may not be the proper forum for this, and I apologize in advance. Also, any other cities I should not miss while in Spain? Thanks!
  13. I have made it a tradition of sorts to celebrate both Christmas Day and Super Bowl Sunday at Momofuku Ko: there usually is a one-seat reservation that remains open during those days, and I enjoy the fact that most of the diners are first-timers and tourists who are discovering Momofuku Ko for the first time. The meal was delicious, as always, and the beverage pairing was interesting, to say the least. I hope that I remember the dishes correctly (ellenost, you were there Friday night; chime in any time): 1) Amuse bouches: Chicharonnes seasoned with todarashi and salt Corn and lobster fritter with remoulade Duck meat chili with lime-flavored sour cream and house-made corn chip 2) Slices of raw diver scallops served with chorizo powder, sesame yoghurt and jalapeno puree 3) Spanish mackerel with apple-red bed puree, pickled red cabbage, puffed rice and micro-greens 4) House-made brioche topped with bone marrow, pickled pearl onions, lemon confit and micro-sorrel 5) Smoked soft-cooked hen's egg from Knollcrest Farms, served with soubise onions, fingerling potato chips, hackleback caviar and sweet potato vinegar 6) House-made cavatelli with beef tongue, watercress and horseradish 7) Almond-crusted skate served with pan-roasted cauliflower, turnips, green olives and almond milk foam 8) Shaved torchon of Hudson Valley foie gras with lychees, pine nut brittle and riesling gelee 9) Roasted breast of Muscovy duck glazed with pomegranate molasses, served with sauteed mustard greens, turnip green puree and pumpernickel-dusted turnip 10) Pre-dessert: Earl grey tea panna cotta topped with sweetened buckwheat crumbs and Seville orange sorbet 11) Dessert: House-made yeast doughnut holes with caramel-parsnip ice cream, and white chocolate and hazelnut crumbs Momofuku Ko has gone through a lot of personnel changes since it opened in March 2008; of the original staff, only Peter Serpico and Mitch Bates remain (Sam Gelman has moved on to Ma Peche). Thankfully, the quality of the food and beverages has remained high in the past three years. Of the original menu that was served three years ago, three dishes remain: the togarashi-dusted chicharron; the soft-cooked Knollcrest Farms egg with soubise onions, fingerling potato chips and hackleback caviar; and the shaved torchon of foie gras with pinenut brittle and riesling gelee (which remains my favorite dish of all time at Ko). I cannot wait to see what the coming years have in store for the restaurant.
  14. I agree with you on the ploye and the doughnuts: not really interesting nor delicious. I truly enjoyed the sausage and egg sandwich, as well as the tortilla espanola and the burger. There is a lot to enjoy at M. Wells, and if parking -- and the threat of coronary artery disease -- was not a problem, I would be there every week.
  15. I've been there a few times, I agree that it is definitely Michael White at his best. It does not hurt that he has some topnotch help at the restaurant, but the results are excellent, nonetheless. I really enjoyed everything I ate and drank there, and I cannot wait to return.
  16. I think 2010 will be remembered as the Year of the Italian. With the debut of Eataly, the opening of Michael White's Osteria Morini and Ai Fiori, the return of Shea Gallante at Ciano, the birth of Jonathan Benno's Lincoln, and the rise of Torrisi Italian Specialties, Italian food had a banner year...and the food was just wonderful. Despite his recent split with Chris Cannon, and the expansion tear he has been on recently, I still believe that Mr. White is able to maintain the quality of food and service at all his restaurants, and I am truly happy to return to his restaurants time and time again. My other memory of 2010 is Momofuku Ma Peche: a prolonged debut, followed by a lackluster reception by the critics, only to see the same critics revise their respective opinions of the restaurant as the year ended and give Ma Peche the due recognition it deserves. Tien Ho has finally found his voice, and we are all the richer for it. The Momofuku empire has had its ups and downs this year, but the restaurants have maintained their relevance in the gastronomic discussion, and I remain a loyal and satisfied customer (ellenost, I know you broke my record at Momofuku Ko...congrats!). I also enjoyed my meals at the Brooklyn Fare, Aldea and SHO Shaun Hergatt. The food at M. Wells and Traif were also unique and interesting, and the pizzas at Paulie Gee's were also good.
  17. Just my two cents: Like everyone else here, I found the reservation system for Schwa to be a head-scratcher...and I have had to contend with Momofuku Ko and Tom: Tuesday Dinner here in New York, which are some of the most difficult reservations I have had the pleasure of obtaining in the past few years. I was going to Chicago in September, and as early as June, I started calling non-stop every day: most of the time, I got the voice mail saying the mail box is full. Frustrating, yes, but I persevered. One day in July, I finally got a voicemail message announcing that reservations for September would be entertained starting later that month. At the appointed date, I began calling almost daily, until I finally got a human voice on the other line, and I was able to get a reservation. Surprisingly, once I got the reservation, I received two more calls from Mr. Carlson himself, checking to see if I still wanted to obtain a resy. I am a patient man, and I am willing to go the distance to get a reservation at a restaurant I want to eat at. Schwa turned out to be a most wonderful dining experience, one of my all-time favorites. I have read about Mr. Carlson, and I was really intimidated by him, but he turned out to be a lovely man who was willing to sit down and explain the food to me, and even share a glass of wine with me. Mr. Carlson's brother served as front of the house the evening I went, and he treated me well, even hailing me a cab after dinner. My experience at Schwa may not be the norm, but I would like to implore the naysayers to give Schwa the benefit of the doubt. And I do hope that it gets two Michelin stars come November!
  18. I decided to try out River Park last night for dinner, and I agree that it is one of Tom Colicchio's better endeavors. He has always been known for clean flavors and uncomplicated dishes, but the food at River Park has zest and complexity not seen at his other restaurants. Beautiful view of the East River, too. My absolute favorite dish was the sardine escabeche served with crispy paella cake and jamon Iberico: a wonderful symphony of nutty and savory flavors. The rack of lamb was also delicious and perfectly cooked. Wine list also not expensive, compared to Colicchio and Sons and Craft.
  19. The situation at the Brooklyn Fare is similar to that of Momofuku Ko without the online reservation madness: with 18 seats to fill for five days a week, available resys are limited to start with. Also, the available resys for a given month are not released until six to eight weeks before the start of the said month: I called the day after Michelin list was announced, and they are booked solid through November (I'm on the waiting list for December). If you want to be put on the waiting list for December, you can call (718) 243-0050. Good luck! As to mondaybox's query: Mr. Ramirez usually starts the meal with 5-10 appetizers, mostly seafood based. I agree with LPShanet that champagne or a light white may be the way to go for the amuses, then a more full-bodied white for the actual dinner courses and a medium bodied red for the meat courses (he seems to have a preference for veal). The first time I went there, I asked the woman taking reservations if she could give me an idea as to what proteins Mr. Ramirez would be using for that evening; she was kind enough to provide me with a current menu, which helped me immensely with my wine choices. The kitchen also provides corkscrews to open your wine.
  20. Went to Lincoln last night, and I can say with certainty that Michael White et al have some serious competition. Waited at the bar for my table; not many cocktails to choose from, but my bartender helped me choose which drink to have. Wonderful professional staff. Asked to do tasting menu; maitre'd had to ask Mr. Benno if he could do a tasting menu before I could order it. Pasta excellent: had the cavatelli with razor clams and sweet peppers, potato gnocchi with matsutake mushrooms in veal jus, and rigati with sea urchin, sea beans and Dungeness crab. Pastas are well-made, and the rigati was excellent: my favorite pasta dish of the year. Steak was a 28-day dry-aged beef from Creekstone Farms with spinach and cipollini mushrooms: real good. Only "bad" dish was burrata with roasted squash: burrata too strong for delicate squash. Wine pairing on the mark. Got the chance to go inside the kitchen to personally thank Mr. Benno for the meal. Can't wait to go back.
  21. Went for opening night this evening. Michael White and Chris Cannon were there to greet diners and friends. Pastas remain his strong suit: the tagliatelle with ragu was particularly delicious, with the light and fluffy noodles keeping the dish from becoming too heavy. The crochettes, with specks and bechamel sauce, was also a wonderful appetizer. I was not much of a fan of the braised beef shank with potato puree and root vegetables: the meat was cooked unevenly, with the outer layers being fork tender, and the meat around the shank bone being dry and tough. For dessert, try the panna cotta: it was outstanding, with the silky smooth yet thick panna cotta balanced by the strawberry compote and peach slices. Surprisingly, not many shutterbugs; I myself forgot my camera in the car. Some ladies had their photo taken with Papa Bear White, but otherwise, the flashes and clicks were few and far between. They will be offering a 25% discount this week to all diners, as they test and refine their dishes. The full menu will be out by next week.
  22. Hi everyone! I am about to call it a night after three days of food and wine, plus stops at the Art Institute and Wrigley Field. I must say that my eating experience here in Chicago has awakened me from my stupor induced by the culiary scene in New York City, and I plan to visit here again come the spring. I had opted to buy wine from Cellar Rat along W. North Avenue, which was only a few blocks away from Schwa: the store was recommended by the staff at Schwa, and the wine selection was not bad and quite inexpensive. Bought a sancerre from the Loire region and a syrah/cabernet blend to enjoy with dinner; I also got a lovely rioja for Michael Carlson and his staff. To summarize: Schwa was outstanding, Alinea was transcendent, Blackbird and Avenues were both good, and Hot Doug's was wonderful. I already commented on Schwa on my blog; the other restaurants will follow once I get back home. If you are interested, here is the website: http://www.thefooddocu.blogspot.com.
  23. I have resys for October 7. Looking forward to the food, but kinda bummed out about the photography ban. Oh well, hopefully the food will be worth the news blackout...
  24. I honestly haven't been to Ko for dinner since the late spring. Will probably go next month. Lunch has more to offer in terms of dishes and creativity, but I think the dinner service is just right to keep you full both gastronomically and aesthetically.
  25. I had lunch at Momofuku Ko today, and there were some significant changes in the menu to reflect the fall season. Still a bit tipsy from the wine, but hopefully I remembered it well: 1) The meal started with a Kumamoto oyster served with a glass of oyster stout beer from Dublin. I particularly love Kumamoto oysters, so this was a nice treat. The beer had a nice briny flavor to it; according to the chef, oysters were included with the hops during the brewing process. 2) Amuses bouche: Pommes soufflé filled with squash puree and hackleback caviar Roasted potato slice topped with bone marrow and burnt onion powder, and served with Korean chile puree Poblano soup topped with choke cherry puree and a fried lily bulb 3) Quartet of crudo: Madai drizzled with XVOO and topped with crispy fish scales and chives Long Island fluke topped with pickled red peppers and onions Raw scallop topped with apple vinegar and radish slices Marinated mackerel topped with beets and freeze-dried soy sauce 4) Another quartet of crudo: Santa Barbara uni with heirloom tomatoes and puffed black rice Beef tartare made from 14-day dry-aged sirloin topped with hackleback caviar Salt-cured and soft-boiled quail egg drizzled with horseradish oil Slice of pan-roasted Wagyu beef topped with sauteed shallots 5) My favorite dish of the afternoon: mushroom salad served with pickled red onions, micro-cilantro and a charred pickled jalapeno puree. Mushrooms included chanterelles, hen of the woods, lobster and royal trumpet. Meaty, tart and spicy: just a wonderful combination. 6) Puffed chicken’s egg topped with scallions and dhydrated pieces of ham, served in a bacon dashi broth 7) My other favorite dish of the afternoon: sweet corn- and sour cream-filled ravioli, served with cotija cheese, chorizo bits and sweet corn kernels. Another lovely combination of sweet, spicy and savory. 8) Braised lamb rib served with daikon slaw, yellow wax beans in XO sauce, grilled rice rolled in pork fat, and a chilled dashi broth containing cucumber balls and pea tendrils 9) Grilled trout filet served with pickled vegetables 10) Shaved torchon of foie gras with Riesling gelee, lychees and hazelnut brittle 11) Roasted beef short rib served with an eggplant terrine and pickled watermelon relish 12) Cheese course: Sunflower and rye "bread box" containing melted Camembert cheese, cherries and water chestnuts, topped with macadamia nut shavings 13) Pre-dessert: Bittersweet chocolate ice cream topped with a ramen "posado" (similar to puffed rice bits), and served with a glass of almond milk 14) Dessert: Peach compote topped with nutmeg ice cream and bay leaf powder, and served with a vanilla wafer chip I did not care much for the beef tartare: the saltiness of the caviar completely overwhelmed the delicate beef. I also felt that the peach compote needed an additional herbal component such as mint to balance the dish. Otherwise, the food was again creative and delicious, and this was the perfect meal to celebrate my 40th meal at Momofuku Ko. We were sent home with the jar of kimchi pickles and the infamous onigiri, which I learned was specifically made by a Japanese line cook downstairs. Too full to enjoy it tonight, but will have it for lunch tomorrow. Will let you know how it tastes.
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