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The Food Doc

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  1. Thank you very much Alex for your recommendations. I went on hotwire.com and saw some good deals. I am not certain if I should book now or wait a while for better deals, but we shall see. BTW: was able to get a reservation for Schwa. Can't wait!
  2. Hi guys! I'm going to Chicago in late September. I have an interesting line-up of restaurants that I will be going to, including Blackbird, Les Nomades and Alinea. I am looking at hotels to stay, but this being my first time in Chicago, I have no idea where the better neighborhoods are or the best places to stay. Price is an issue, of course: trying to get a hotel below $150 a night, if possible. If any egulleters can help me out on this, I'd be much obliged. Thank you!
  3. You say joke, I call it sarcasm. Either way, thou protest too much. Chang-bashers eat at his restaurants just as Chang-lovers do; they just eat there for different reasons. Again, you are entitled to your opinions, as I am mine. I wish you well.
  4. FDE, your Chang-hating is showing... Seriously, I would be more inclined to believe you if it wasn't obvious that you dislike the man, based on your last post. If you didn't enjoy your meal at Ko, so be it. Chang-hating should not figure into your observations; your objectivity just went out the window. You are entitled to your opinions, and the other posters are entitled to theirs. The comments do not have to be negative, on either side of the divide.
  5. I've eaten there long enough to know that at least a third to a half of all the diners are first-timers, even to this day. I have observed how they treat first-timers compared to a regular like me, and other than the familiarity factor, there is no discernable difference in the treatment first-timers get compared to me. I have noticed that there are first timers who, despite being asked during the reservation process online if they have food allergies, will come to dinner with a list of food items that they cannot eat. The chefs at Ko try their best to accomodate these diners, but making changes in the menu at such short notice can be irritating to anyone, not just the staff at Ko.
  6. I had dinner tonight at Momofuku Ko, and as usual, I had a wonderful dining experience. Here is a list of the dishes served tonight: 1) Amuse bouches: Chicharonnes seasoned with todarashi and salt Shigoku oyster served with kimchi gelee and black sesame Compressed cucumber topped with black garlic, chili oil and pea tendrils 2) Salad made with mushrooms foraged from Maine, served with pickled red onions, rehydrated black trumpet mushrooms, white fungus and jalapeno puree 3) Beef carpaccio with radish greens, charred onions, rice cracker crisps, and horseradish sauce. 4) Uni from Maine, grilled eggplant, melon balls, bean sprouts and Tokyo turnips served in a chilled ham consomme 5) Smoked soft-cooked hen's egg from Knollcrest Farms, served with soubise onions, fingerling potato chips, hackleback caviar and sweet potato vinegar 6) Tortelloni filled with chili and sweated onions, served with lobster mushrooms, ginger-compressed watermelon and crispy veal sweetbreads. Dish is flavored with shiso and tumeric. 7) Grilled caper-brined trout, served with yuzu-pickled breakfast radish, summer bean salad, almonds and bacon puree 8) Shaved torchon of Hudson Valley foie gras with lychees, pine nut brittle and riesling gelee 9) Elysian Farms lamb ribs cooked sous vide and then roasted, served with pickled kohlrabi terrine and baby leeks filled with a puree of Greek yoghurt, chives and pickled ramps 10) Pre-dessert: Apricot sorbet topped with pie dough crumbs and bourbon molasses 11) Dessert: Pretzel panna cotta served with root beer sorbet, brown mustard gelee and dehydrated caraway bread crumbs 12) White chocolate dusted with pea and mint powder Having eaten at Momofuku Ko more than three dozen times in the past two years, I may have a biased opinion regarding the service at Ko. I do agree that it has become a tad more expensive to eat at Ko these days compared to when it first opened two years ago, and for the price, people do expect better service and more amenities. However, I must say that I have enjoyed each and every meal I have had at Ko: the servers have treated me well, and the chefs take the time to discuss the dishes for the most part. I also prefer the more casual and intimate atmosphere at Ko compared to the more refined dining experiences of Per Se, Le Bernadin or EMP. The experiences of some of the previous posters may have been exceptions rather than the rule, but I recognize that the Ko experience is not for everyone.
  7. I cannot stress enough how you and your wife must visit SHO Shaun Hergatt for dinner while you are in New York. Granted, it is in the Financial District, not the most accessible place in the city, but the food and service are excellent, on par with EMP and Marea. Speaking of, any of the Michael White/Chris Cannon collaborations will also do, especially Marea.
  8. Business casual seems to be the attire there. Coat is optional.
  9. Had a good time at the Big Apple BBQ this year: it really pays to come early to the party! Really enjoyed the pork at Ed Mitchell: the piquant and spicy sauce was a lovely accompaniment to the succulent pork. Also went to Chris Lilly's spot: pulled pork was also nice but there were dry pieces of pork mixed with the more tender chunks, and it was a bit of a disappointment. Moonline's BBQ mutton was a revelation: flavorful, tender and not at all gamey, and the accompanying burgoo was also good. Had smoked sausage from Jim 'N Nick's BBQ: flavors reminded me of chorizo, and the pimento cheese provided some much-needed spice to the dish. Baby back ribs from Mike Mills' 17th St. Bar & Grill were tender but lacked flavor; his baked beans were also too sweet for my tastes. Went for Pecan Pie Oh My!!! concrete at Shake Shack for dessert. May consider a return visit next year, but must remember to come at 11 AM sharp! BTW: Was at Ed Mitchell watching him preparing the whole hog when I saw Steve Shaw talking to Ed. Nice fish pants, Steve. Wanted to introduce myself but I tend to be shy, and you were busy talking shop with Mr. Mitchell.
  10. If your brother-in-law lives near Wall Street, you may want to stick to a restaurant near the Financial District. I would recommend SHO Shaun Hergatt; if you want to do a steakhouse, Delmonico's is another good choice in the FiDi. Hope that helps.
  11. I am meeting some friends this weekend who are arriving at Penn Station. Other than steakhouses (which are a bit too expensive for my friends) are there any other good yet inexpensive places to eat in the vicinity? They are meat-and-potatoes kind of guys, and do not like restaurants that are too noisy or too hip. Any suggestions? They would like to stay near Penn Station, since their hotel is nearby. Thanks guys!
  12. I attended last night's dinner at Five and Diamond, and I had a lovely meal, to be sure. Here is a rundown of the menu last night: 1) Fluke sashimi topped with pickled rhubarb, sea beans and chili oil: Nice acidity and heat, but it lacked salt 2) Soft-cooked Keepsake Farms hen egg served with English peas, carrots, dijon shoots and bacon; topped with bacon foam, and served with grilled bread: Light yet flavorable, it was a dish well-suited for the season. Kudos for grilling the bread, which gave it a smoky flavor that paired well with the bacon. 3) Pan-seared scallops with grilled onions and peppers, and served with an apricot-pink peppercorn gazpacho: The gazpacho was pleasant, but it did overwhelm the perfectly cooked scallops. 4) Ricotta-filled agnolotti with spicy lamb sausage, olives and curry broth: Really delicious and well-executed. 5) Grilled Portuguese sepia served with pickled peppers, sherry shallots, olives and a piquillo pepper puree: Simple yet with layers of flavors and textures. 6) Pan-fried Kindai snapper with a plantain "brioche", topped with a smoked garlic/onion/shallot sauce and served with pickled onion and cilantro purees: Again, deceptively simple but surprisingly complex, both flavor-wise and texturally. 7) Roulade of Senat Farms chicken breast topped with almonds and chives, served with a cherry barbecue sauce, green almonds and cherries: The chicken breast was juicy and tender, the sauce struck a good balance between sweet and spicy. 8) Roasted Iowa pork loin served with grilled onions and asparagus, served with what tastes like a grape reduction: Pork loin was succulent; grilled vegetables added smokiness to the dish. 9) Dessert was mini-biscuits topped with macerated strawberries, and served with double chocolate ice cream and a strawberry-cilanto sauce: The plate was served with the ice cream half-melted; however, it was a pleasant dessert. A deconstructed strawberry shortcake with chocolate: who can resist? All in all, it was a successful meal: most of the dishes were solid, with a few exhibiting creative flourishes. My particular favorites were the egg dish, the agnolotti, the chicken and pork. Service was a bit slow: I discovered later that the kitchen was short-staffed that night, which increased my appreciation of their efforts. Both Dave and Ryan Skeen were the consummate hosts, and I enjoyed talking shop with them after the meal. Ryan mentioned the biweekly Monday cooking classes he will soon be hosting at the restaurant; I am looking forward to attending one of those classes in the near future, and I will definitely be coming back to Five and Diamond.
  13. They would probably prefer something closer to home, and not too pricey. Any good restaurants in the Royal Oak area?
  14. My friend and his wife are flying into Michigan next week, and will be staying in Royal Oaks. Does anyone have any recommendations as to which restaurants they should go to while staying there? Thanks!
  15. Can we start reserving now?
  16. The chicken dish is just as good as the duck dish, if not better. And the soft shell crab dish was just excellent. You have to go and try it out.
  17. I ate there last month, and I enjoyed my meal there. If I am correct, I probably saw you pass by my table many times during dinner service. Chef Skeen and you are doing a good job up there in Harlem. Can't wait to eat there again!
  18. I had lunch at Momofuku Ko this past Mother's day, and I was pleased to see that there were substantial changes to the menu since my last lunch in February. Here, to the best of my recollection, in no particular order, is the lunch menu: 1) Amuses bouche: Deep-fried quail served with pickled chanterelle and roasted eggplant puree Burgundy snail and chicken sausage with grilled pearl onion, grilled cauliflower, woodsaw and piquillo pepper puree Potato soufflé filled with crème fraiche and hackleback caviar 2) Kusshi oyster topped with herbs and sweet potato vinegar 3) Quartet of crudo: Madai drizzled with XVOO and topped with crispy fish scales Long Island fluke marinated in spices topped with puffed black rice Raw scallop topped with lemon zest and herbs Bluefin tuna toro tartare with scallions and black pepper 4) Dry-aged sirloin tartare topped with hackleback caviar, and soft-boiled quail’s egg topped with horseradish, accompanied by Wagyu short rib topped with shallots 5) Kimchi gelee with spring vegetables - A nod to Michel Bras, IMO. 6) Puffed chicken’s egg topped with scallions, served with house made English muffin with bay leaf butter 7) Beef cheeks sous vide with roasted jalapeno puree, pickled onions and cauliflower 8) Ricotta-filled dumplings served in fried chicken broth and topped with grilled ramps 9) Deep fried soft shell crab dusted with salt and todarashi, served with kohlrabi slaw, wax beans in XO sauce, and uni and beans in a clear broth topped with mustard oil 10) Shaved torchon of foie gras with Riesling gelee, lychees and pine nut brittle 11) Roasted spring chicken breast stuffed with leg meat, served with poached asparagus and jus 12) Pre-dessert: Black rice crusted coconut-caramel custard served with banana-passion fruit sorbet and dessicated coconut 13) Dessert: Mandarin orange granita with black sesame streusel, dehydrated almond cake It is gratifying to know that creativity and technique remain in the forefront at Ko. Wine pairing can elicit head-scratching from time to time, but the vermouth paired with the spring vegetable and kimchi gelee dish was inspired and perfect.
  19. Had dinner last night at Ma Peche. One dish not available during lunch service: the cote de porc. It is a huge pork chop from Bev Eggleston Farms in Virginia, cooked medium with a lovely outer crust. It is served in a brass fish fry pan, deboned and sliced, with fingerling potatoes, peas, and spring garlic tossed in sour cream. The pork just is flavored with orange marmalade and a hint of habanero peppers. It is a fantastic dish: the pork is succulent and bursting with flavor, the peas give some much needed sweetness to the dish, and the jus is unbelievably flavorful. Paired with a nice red Burgundy, and I was in porcine heaven. Kudos to Tien Ho and his kitchen staff! Also, my thanks to both Colin Alevras and Cory Lane for making the dining experience just wonderful.
  20. I agree...mostly raves for both the food and the space; should have been a two-star. One of the better written reviews by Mr. Sifton; most of his observations were spot-on.
  21. I went to Allegretti for dinner last night for the first time. It was 6:00 PM on a Saturday night; other than a couple of girls at the bar, I was the only dining patron there. Staff was professional and helpful; dining room was sleek and very bistro-y. Food was good but does not re-invent the wheel; I particularly enjoyed the Taste of Nice and the branzino. By the time I left, there were three couples and a family of three having dinner. Chef Allegretti came out of the kitchen to greet the family and one of the other couples while I was eating. It is a decent restaurant in an unfortunate location: I do hope that more people try the place out.
  22. You must also try the spicy honeycomb tripe dish at Ssam Bar: far from being heavy, the dish is refreshing and light. The whole porgy is also delicious, and can be shared by two or three people. But I must agree with some of the earlier posters: Ssam Bar did lose its focus when Tien Ho departed for Midtown. The menu remained stagnant for months while the kitchen re-staffed itself, and it is only recently that the menu has been slowly revamped by Tim Maslow, Ryan Miller and Chris Lin. Even Momofuku Ko's menu remained stagnant during the first quarter of this year; it is only last month that new dishes were being introduced. It is only at Noodle Bar where the spirit of innovation continues to burn brightly.
  23. I had dinner at Momofuku Ko last night, and here is a rundown on the dishes: 1) Amuse bouches: With the usual chicharrones and the black pepper/mirin brioche were two other canapes: braised lamb belly on top of green garbanzo puree, drizzled with lemon; and cornbread topped with crabmeat and a lime mayonnaise. Lovely. 2) First course: Slices of fluke rolled up with pea puree, pea shoots, and mustard oil, topped with chopped sea beans and rice puffs. @mig found it bland; I thought the fluke served as a vehicle for the heat in the mustard oil. 3) Second course: Beef carpaccio with radish greens, charred onions, crisps, horseradish sauce. This was one of the initial offerings when Ko started lunch service in 2008, and a personal favorite. 4) Third course: Brioche topped with bone marrow, caramelized pearl onions, and black onion dust, served in a Gruyere and comte infused broth. This dish grew on me, and I truly loved the broth. 5) Fourth course: Hand torn pasta served with crispy chicken skin and chicken sausage, topped with Pecorino cheese. 6) Fifth course: Lightly smoked hen's egg served with hackleback caviar, soubise onions, fingerling potato chips and a drizzle of sweet potato vinegar. One of the original dishes. 7) Sixth course: Almond crusted skate wing, served with roasted cauliflower florets and minced olives, and topped with foamed almond milk. 8) Seventh course: Shaved torchon of foie gras, served with riesling gelee, lychees and pine nut brittle. My favorite dish ever from Ko. 9) Eighth course: Roasted Muscovy duck breast glazed with pomegranate and mustard, served with charred Chinese mustard greens, and honey/ginger glazed turnips topped with pumpernickel crumbs. 10) Ninth course: Spiced white wine sorbet served with diced Asian pears and elderflower. 11) Last course: Pretzel panna cotta with caraway crumbs, with a side of root beer gelato. A few new dishes in the menu since February. The wine pairing last night was a head-scratcher, to say the least, and I was not a fan of most of the white wines served last night. It still surprises me that more than half of the diners are first-timers; Ko remains a curiosity, even today.
  24. I was about to grab a drink at Momofuku Ssam Bar tonight when I was informed that there was an opening at Momofuku Ko. I quickly took advantage of this, and I rushed to Ko for dinner. It has been two months since my last meal there, and not much has changed in terms of dishes offered, which are as follows: 1) Amuse bouches: Aside from the usual chicharrones and the black pepper/mirin brioche, we were offered three other canapes: a steamed littleneck clam served with bacon dashi; ebi with blood orange and minced black olive; and beef cheek cooked sous vide, served with broccoli puree. I felt that the olive overwhelmed the shrimp and blood orange, but the other two canapes were spot on. 2) First course: Slices of diver scallop served with buttermilk/sriracha sauce, poppyseeds and chives. The dish remains sublime, with the scallop providing added sweetness to the dish. 3) Tataki of Spanish mackerel topped with ginger-marinated onions, puffed rice and radish sprouts, and drizzled with yuzu. A dish similar to that being served at Momofuku Ssam Bar, done simply and perfectly. 4) Daikon ravioli containing caramelized onions and oxtail ragu, served with basil, mung bean sprouts and an oxtail consomme. Nice, clean flavors, with interesting flavor contrasts from the daikon and bean sprouts. 5) Hand torn pasta served with crispy chicken skin and chicken sausage, topped with grated black truffle. The truffle worked well with the rest of the dish, allowing the other flavors to come through. 6) Lightly smoked hen's egg served with hackleback caviar, soubise onions, fingerling potato chips and a drizzle of sweet potato vinegar 7) Almond crusted skate wing, served with roasted cauliflower florets and minced olives, and topped with foamed almond milk. A lovely dish, with the crunch of the cauliflower and almond crust contrasting well with the soft flesh of the skate, and the salinity of the olives pairing well with the subtle sweetness of the almond milk. 8) Shaved torchon of foie gras, served with riesling gelee, lychees and pine nut brittle. A crowd pleaser, and my favorite dish ever from Ko. 9) Roasted Muscovy duck breast glazed with pomegranate and mustard, served with charred Chinese mustard greens, and honey/ginger glazed turnips topped with pumpernickel crumbs. My favorite dish of the night: the duck was perfectly cooked, and the sweetness of the pomegranate works well with the bitterness of the mustard greens and the earthiness of the turnips. I actually preferred this dish to the other iteration of Muscovy duck served at Ko previously, with cherries and parsnips. 10) Pre-dessert: Spiced white wine sorbet served with diced Asian pears and elderflower. A pleasant palate cleanser. 11) Dessert: Pretzel panna cotta with mustard and rye chips, with a side of root beer ice cream. Unexpectedly subtle, and totally delectable. I did not go for the wine pairing this time, opting instead for half bottles of white and red wines from Lucien Crochet of the Sancerre region. Both wines were refreshing with floral and grassy tones, and simply wonderful. My compliments to Cory Lane for these wonderful vintages!
  25. The Food Doc


    Went Monday night. Food was okay but not revelatory. Did not see a 30% reduction in the wine prices, but the wine pairings were inspired. Restaurant was quite empty: other than me, there was a group of six co-workers, a couple, and two women at the bar. Very quiet and somewhat forlorn.
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