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  1. My sister just sent me her blog post draft for Momofuku Ko. I'm still editing the final post, but here are the food bits for those who are interested: --------------------------- For the amuse bouche, we started with a small lobster bisque, a two-ply thin piece of chicharrones (fried pork skin), and liver topped with garlic and coriander. A good start. The Chicharrones, which I had in its original form in Honduras, was clearly for the fat-avoidant NY clientele, but mostly the flavor had been retained. The appetizers thus began, the two-part seafood progression began with sweet shrimp, ama ebi, swimming shell-less in a light broth, topped with a razor thin slice of green chili pepper, and flavored again with coriander. After that, some slices of lightly seared Spanish Mackerel, plated and supplemented with a red beet puree. Next up was bone marrow on brioche in a Gruyere broth, topped with roasted garlic. It sounded to me better than it tasted, given the sedate flavor of bone marrow, which usually for me has knock-out potential. Here is supposedly a menu veteran, smoked egg (poached?) with caviar, over a bed of onions and accompanied with a side of sliced fingerling potatoes. I’m a sucker for all eggs poached, so this was definitely memorable. A good smoked flavor, with added sodium from the caviar nestled into a cut in the egg. A small pasta dish, mixed with small cubes of beef tongue, and grated horseradish, followed the egg. This for me was the most lackluster dish of the night, and really, quite salty. I’m always one to say that my kidneys will peace-out before my liver, but even this proved to be too much salt. I told our server lightly that it was, for me, a little liberal with the seasoning. “Yea. It is.” Finally, the big hitters were coming up. Roasted skate with a great almond milk foam, cauliflower, on a bed of olives. Great texture, and almond milk was a nice, creamy but light compliment. Muscavi duck breast with Chinese mustard greens and a pumpernickel crusted turnip. Cuts like a steak, eats like a duck on a diet. Muscavi is lean, so for those of us used to a bootylicious bird, this might be a little disappointing—nonetheless, something to try. Now for the savory-sweet go-between: foie gras hailing from Hudson valley, with cookie brittle and lychee. Personally, this was a little too avant-garde for me in terms of liver treatment. But my friend, a seasoned eater of hepatic tissue, was very much satisfied. Now for sugar proper: we start with an earl gray panna cotta, topped with caramelized butter corn and a scoop of orange ice cream. Next was some fresh donuts, which, coming right from Red Rooster was not impressive. Finally, a parsnip caramel ice cream. A better showing than olive oil ice cream at the noodle bar, but less satisfying than a scoop of Ben and Jerry’s. A gourmet’s icey treat for sure. I know the story is sort of only half told without the pictures. The food is good, no doubt, but the service really takes away from the experience considering what little ambiance there is in a 200 square foot space. Coming from a loyal David Chang diner, I have mixed feelings about the hype around Ko, though, to say I’ve completed the Momofuku restaurant series does prompt some feelings of foodie pride.
  2. Eatbigapple


    My sister is heading there tonight, will have her put a write-up of the place soon after. She had Momofuku Ko last Saturday, this will make an interesting comparison.
  3. no.... it's the same. but what is a "sashimi bar?" reminds me of my trip to Yasuda, the waiter said "I recommend Sushi, we are Sushi Yasuda, not Sashimi Yasuda"
  4. People always say for the best food at Japanese restaurants, sit at the Sushi Bar. Apparently, for the best service, it's also better to sit at the Sushi Bar, esp when you're at Niko.
  5. I actually chose not to share that... because it looks like such an amateur effort. Common Niko build a real site soon!
  6. The quality of the sushi and sashimi was top notch. I haven't been to Kuruma, but I'd say it's as good as Ushiwakamaru, Azabu, Sasabune, etc. Not as good as Yasuda, but then again I don't think Cobi Levy is aiming for that audience. The menu omakase is actually very cheap. I think it lists at something like $40 a person. Not sure what that involves however. Other things on the menu: about 8 appetizers and 4 hot entrees from the kitchen, plus free mochi icecream at the end regardless what you order. Prices: for two people, 3 drinks, 2 dishes from the kitchen, and about 11 pieces of sushi plus 2 hand rolls each. The total bill was about $230 before tip. For the quality, not bad at all. Hiro-san mentioned that Trevor was there last week. We actually first met the chef at last summer's Story of Sushi panel held by Trevor Corson, that's when I first heard about this project. However I did not ask if he was still involved, as the conversation was interrupted by another order from tables.
  7. Hiro-san also mentioned that a lot of the more "special" fish types are currently stuck at the airport due to inclement weather, something to encourage us to make a return visit. If anyone here goes and tries something truly different, please let us know. I had a sweet shrimp roe sushi, that was quite a surprise.
  8. With the departure of Yasuda, I was eager to find out how his former second-in-command Hiro-san would fare with his own restaurant. I met Hiro-san at a discussion panel on Sushi this past August, and he invited us to sit at the bar when the restaurant opened in October. The opening ended up being delayed quite a bit, it missed my friend's birthday in October, it missed my birthday in Nov... better late than never. I went to Niko this past Friday, with a 8pm reservation at the bar. Mr. Levy was at the door downstairs, and constantly paced up and down the stairs making sure everything ran well. We waited at the bar for our seats, then were told to go to a table? A quick comment about the error moved us to the 2 empty spots at the sushi bar in front of Hiro-san. (who had a serious black-eye but was in a jolly mood. I'm hoping it was some shoveling accident and not restaurant related) The 2 man sushi making team was working pretty much non-stop for the entire evening, despite the restaurant being only 60% full. There's some serious wasted time with Hiro-san writing down the type of each fish for the wait staff, something that more experience and training of the staff would eliminate. Perhaps they should have hired more people with experience from sushi restaurants? I understand each waiter only picks up dishes being fired out of the kitchen for his own tables, but with hand rolls, you got to be VERY FAST or the nori would get soggy. Hiro-san was not too happy about that. Sometimes rolls would be sitting at the counter, waiting for a particular waiter. Now the food and drinks. Stuff from both the bar (drinks) and the kitchen were both fantastic. We had a miso-cured salmon from the kitchen, and it was truly special. Hiro-san was a pleasure to talk to, and made some hilarious jokes. His fish slices are slightly thicker than Yasuda, and his knife and hand skills are quite mesmerizing to watch. If I must nitpick about the experience, the rice is not up to the standards of Yasuda. It felt a bit too moist, and each grain not as distinct in texture. As the bucket of rice cooled and dried slightly towards the end of the meal, the texture felt a lot better. I know Hiro-san is obsessed about sushi rice, and I'm sure it'll only get better. I had a good time, and some great food. One thing though, the wait staff has to respect the chef and his food. Hiro does not looked pleased by the waiters, and some members of the wait staff looked frustrated, or even pissed at some point. When i was at Yasuda in December, I saw chef-Yasuda lash out at the staff in Japanese for making a mistake while diners were still finishing their food. The entire restaurant respected the chef, which translates into quality and consistency. Hope to see that at Hiro soon.
  9. Best color for a Ferrari, red of course. That was easy. Now the part about the steak and your criteria...... Great Steak (assuming you want choices, not just one steak like Minetta) - Peter Luger's, Ben and Jack's, Sparks, Keens, Strip House, Wollensky. Big Red Wines, this just makes me think of the classics - Sparks, Keens, Wolfgang's, Wollensky, etc. Though all of the ones you quoted have a decent wine list. Lounging, then you need the newer entrants - STK, Dillon Prime, etc with the nicely decorated space. People/Celeb spotting - I'd say model types for people spotting don't frequent steakhouses. All of the above has a fair chance of spotting a celeb, though I would say the chances are not as high as the trendy restaurants. In some ways, your first two requirements contradict with the latter. The best bet is to break it into two locations to get a great steak, and then to lounge around.
  10. While reading Sifton's best dishes of 2010, among with all of the other "best of 2010" entries all around the internet, I realized that most of these lists focused on just the savory dishes. Now what if you could assemble one meal that truly showcases the things you ate in 2010, and design your own tasting menu. Amuse - Peekytoe Crab Toast (ABC Kitchens) Soup - Smoked Tomato and Oyster Soup (Blue Hills, Stone Barns) Bread - Artisan Bread with Red Wine Shallot Butter (Millesime) Appetizer1 - Hamachi Sashimi with Yogurt Snow (Gilt) Pasta - Razor Clam Cavatelli (Lincoln) Meat - Duck Steak (Cafe Boulud) Seafood - Butter Poached Lobster (Ai Fiori) Sushi (why not) - 4 pieces of Nigiri Sushi (Yasuda) Palate Cleanser - Basil Sorbet (Corton) Dessert - Coconut Dacquoise with Passionfruit Mousse (Cafe Kristall) Snack - Coffee and Donuts (Per Se) Sure this may be a silly exercise, but still, it's interesting to take all you've eaten, and design a meal around it. A meal to truly represent the NYC dining scene.
  11. I guess by heavy I meant to say "creamy". Most of the dishes were more on the creamy side. At Osteria Morini I had the Buffalo Moz, (super creamy) Pasta, then grilled meat. I'm sure that the fat content was similar, but the charred figs and grilled meats made it feel more balanced on the palate.
  12. I was actually there on the same night (Saturday night right?), and ordered many of the same dishes. I agree that Ai Fiori was the most mature and sophisticated of his restaurants, and was very impressed by the service and drinks program. The quality of the food was on par with Alto and Marea, however I found the taste a bit heavy. We had 3 diners all ordering the prix-fixe, so I tasted 9 dishes and 3 desserts. The lobster was phenomenal. My meals at Lincoln, Marea, and Osteria Morini all had elements that were lighter to balance things out. I'd like to see how the restaurant progresses. For the first month, it's damn good. Shamelessly snapped away with my DSLR, will have some pictures online soon.
  13. I'm going to try to get one last reservation when he returns to NYC from his holidays (anyone know if he's back yet?). I went in December and sat at Chef Yasuda's station, it was by far the best sushi experience I've had. The last 2 weeks of genuine Yasuda sushi. I'm confident the protege will do well in terms of making sushi, but I do hope his personality shines through once he's running the show, and no longer afraid to speak.
  14. This is what frustrates me with the US system. Because the system operates on an expectation of a tip, If I had a remarkable experience, there's no way to compensate and reward the particular waiter. Although it's more difficult to calculate and threaten to damage chemistry of the overall waitstaff, in the ideal world I would be able to just reward the people who were involved with my meal. In countries where gratuity is not expected, workers are thrilled to receive a tip, and thrive to perform. A direct correlation of performance and pay, no more freeloaders.
  15. I agree with most of the things she says. Controversy aside, the article does one thing: it makes me miss Lutece.
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