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Kate and Jon’s Supper Club: “If You Can Make This, You Can Make That”

14 Feb

We met Kate and her husband Jon at a blogger event a few years back and struck up a friendship. We’ve spent some great times with them and really enjoy having a foodie couple friend to pal around with. While we dined out together a few times, we had yet to try her home cooking.  And if you read her blog, you will quickly learn that not only is Kate a clever writer (and her husband a great artist), but she also knows her way around the kitchen! Kate writes the awesome cooking blog If You Can Make This, You Can Make That.

So when they mentioned that they were going to host their first Supper Club at their home, we couldn’t possibly say no!

We started with lovely lovely apps.

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And an awesome cocktail.

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Here was the menu for the night.

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And we each sat down to this surprise bag at our place setting.

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Now I love corn soup…

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But corn soup with homemade popcorn (the contents of the surprise bag) was like a miracle in my mouth. (How have I never put popcorn in soup before???)

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And then out came the goat cheese souffle.  Wow! Souffles always impress me.

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Most souffles look pretty but taste bland. This most certainly did not.  It was filled with flavor.

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And then the scallops… ooooo caramelization! Delish (and with my favorite: squash puree)

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The roast pork was great. Very moist and great flavors.

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And then out came the bowl of schlag (homemade whipped cream). I could have just eaten this for dessert.

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But there was a plum crumble in my future.  Since I love both plum and crumble, this was right up my alley.

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And then there were some soft, warm chocolate cookies that were mind-blowingly awesome.  Kate keeps saying she doesn’t make cookies. I think she is a bloody liar.

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We had such a great time at this Supper Club and met some fun other people. The food was delicious and I’m so glad to have such delicious friends! I also think Kate may have read this entire blog cover to cover to find all my favorite foods to put on one menu! How else would she have known to put together such a perfect meal of NYCNomNom’s favoritist favorites?

Michael White’s Marea

12 Feb

We like to start the new year right by eating at a restaurant we want to check off the list on January 1st each year.  This year it was Marea on Central Park South. We chose Marea because we really enjoyed our last Michael White meal at Ai Fiori (pasta focused) so we decided to try this seafood focused location.

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It’s a very nice, very white room with dark floors and dark chairs.

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We started with a amuse bouche that was not overly memorable.

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And we decided to try a Cristom Pinot Noir to ring in the new year (it was excellent).

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We started with the 4 course prix fixe menu (for $97 each) which came with Crudo, Ostriche or Antipasto / Pasta / Pesce or Carne / Dolce.

And of course, we started with the Ostriche, which are oysters. (Very good)

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I started with a seafood sausage and egg dish.  I really loved the seafood sausage and it all blended well with the dish (I think there were lentils on the bottom)

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Mike then had the Caramelle, which were short rib ravioli with red wine sugo, celery root, and foie gras emulsion.  I really enjoyed this dish. The short ribs were absolutely yummy in the ravioli.

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I chose the fusilli with red wine braised octopus and bone marrow.  I thought this was very good, but I think the taste of bone marrow is so good on its own that it gets a bit lost when it’s in a tomato based sauce. 

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Mike’s entree was the spada, which was grilled Hawaiian swordfish.  The current menu describes it with eggplant, radicchio, watercress, marcona almonds, and apricot, but I actually think it was a different version with chick peas in it.  The swordfish was perfectly cooked and it all went well together. But I didn’t love it.

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I decided to go out on a limb and I ordered the Seppia.  Seppia is grilled mediterranean cuttlefish with escarole, taggia olives, livornese, and wild oregano. Cuttlefish is one of those things I’ve always meant to try, and I figured there are few places better to take a risk on a strange seafood than Michael White’s Marea.  SO I went for it.

And then there was an alien on my plate.

I am the last one to stick up my nose at “gross” food but the way this thing looked at me… it gave me the heebie-jeebies.  It was quite delicious, and I feel like if I liked cuttlefish I would have loved this version. But sadly… I didn’t.  Well… It’s not that I didn’t like it, I just wouldn’t go out of my way to order it again.  I would much rather eat about a million other things.

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We added a side of brussels sprouts with pancetta, and they were cooked perfectly.

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Mike chose the Torta di Olio, which was an olive oil cake with roasted pineapple, green apple, and olive oil gelato. This was fresh and beautifully plated. 

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I went with the Strati Di Cioccolato, which came with dark chocolate crema, salted caramel mousse, cookie crumble, and gelato. YUM! This was great. I loved all the different textures and flavors. They came together perfectly.

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The crumbles on top really made the dessert.

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We ended with some petit fours.

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Which looked beautiful from every angle.

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And then they did my favorite thing that nice restaurants do… they gave us a muffin for the next morning.

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I don’t remember what it was, but it was really really delicious. I absolutely love that final touch. It wins me over every time.

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All the food that we had was very good. Frankly, I don’t think we ordered well. The cuttlefish was just not my thing, so it’s really hard to judge. Overall, I think the meal was very good and I’m glad we tried it.  I want to try the rest of Michael White’s places, but I would run back to Ai Fiori in a heartbeat. Not sure I would say the same about Marea.

Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10

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Resto

7 Feb

On a Friday night during Restaurant Week, we were without a reservation. A quick check of participating RW restaurants in the area with an open reservation led us to Resto, a place we had been meaning to try.  I had been to their sister restaurant, Cannibal, in the past where I enjoyed an incredible pig’s head. 

Their Restaurant Week menu looked good with 3 options in each section.  But due to my allergy, I was left with many fewer choices, so while we were in for the Restaurant Week menu, we wound up ordering entirely off the regular menu.

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I was a bit confused as to why we had a Sotheby’s catalog on our table.

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But soon found out that they put their drink menus in other books (we saw a children’s book on the table next to us). Cute idea.

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The space has a really good vibe, with old-looking metal ceilings and an industrial style.  

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Mike started with the deviled eggs which came on pork toast with charred scallion.  I couldn’t try the egg due to peppers in the filling, but I took a few bites of the pork toast and it was really fantastic.  Crunchy outside around soft and flavorful pork.  Mike enjoyed the egg but thought the egg to pork toast ratio was off and he wanted more egg.

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I started with the grilled halloumi with pistachio puree, grilled pear, grapes, and watercress. Everything on this dish came together perfectly. The sweetness of the pear and grape, the richness of the grilled halloumi cheese, the salty earthiness of the pistachios, the freshness of the watercress.  Very good.

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Mike chose the hamburger, which wasn’t on the menu and he had to request it specially.  When it came out, I couldn’t help but notice that it came on a regular ol’ hamburger bun. The kind of the grocery store.

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But it turned out it was a really great, nostalgic taste for this delicious burger. The burger was made with pork back fat and beef cheeks and a few other meats. It has a distinctively meaty and almost gamy flavor.  I really liked it, but there was one big problem… it was a TINY piece of meat.  

The fries were perfectly pillowy outside and crispy inside, so it’s not like Mike walked away hungry. But I think he was a bit disappointed that the burger wasn’t heftier.

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I chose the striped bass with roasted cauliflower, beluga lentils, and cauliflower cream. This dish was perfect. The fish was cooked perfectly and with a slight sweetness that made the meat really flavorful. The roasted cauliflower and cauliflower puree went very well with it, and I really enjoyed the flavorful beluga lentils.  

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We also got a side of brussels sprouts, which had a lovely crisp to them.

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Overall, we really enjoyed our meal at Resto. I think my 2 dishes were better than Mike’s 2 dishes, but everything was very good.  It was a hearty meal in a hearty space, with everything cooked very well.  I would just stick to the recommended items on the menu, and maybe skip the burger.

Overall Nom Points: 7 out of 10

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Guest Blog: Mas (Farmhouse)

1 Feb

I work in a field where I get to meet a lot of really great people. It isn’t rare that I find someone who loves food as much as I do, but to find a kindred spirit who thinks about it night and day and loves nothing more than talking about it is unique.  When I sat down next to Alexis at a lunch, we were excitedly chatting about her recent meal at Mas (Farmhouse) almost immediately, with her showing me pictures on her phone.  Kindred spirit… check!

It has come to my attention that, disappointingly, I cannot visit every great restaurant in the world, let alone in NYC on my own.  So I am thrilled that Alexis agreed to guest blog about her Mas (Farmhouse) dining experience.

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From Alexis:

I recently started working closer with Sara and when we recently dined together at Millesime, we quickly realized we shared two major passions in life; food and Words with Friends.  I actually mentioned to my husband that these are the only two things I needed in life, he was a bit taken back that I didn’t include him in my list, but hey, I thought that was a given.  My passion for food has transpired over the last few years and I am known to be eating lunch while reading menus for dinner, tomorrow’s dinner, next week’s dinner, you get the point!  I have a self proclaimed eating disorder, where I go to sleep dreaming of food and wake up the same way.  Harnessing this issue has been a problem, so when I was given the opportunity to guest blog, I realized that this may be the perfect outlet for my infatuation. Here goes it…

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This past weekend my husband and I went for dinner with another couple.  Of course I read the menu in advance, but I must say the menu doesn’t read as well as the food looks and tastes. Also, despite the waiter’s best effort to showcase the culinary offerings as “custom”, we were a bit overwhelmed by the variations in which you can order; 4 course tasting; 7 course tasting; create your own tasting; a la carte.  We decided to order a la carte but collaborated and shared so we could taste more dishes.  This is always the way I (try to) order despite some people not always in agreement. There’s always that stinker who “doesn’t like to share”… Hate those kinds of people….

Diving right into it…. We were greeted with an amuse-bouche – I didn’t get the exact description, my first blogging error, but don’t hold it against me! – Goat cheese tartlet with caramelized onion and some kind of gelee and micro greens?!

It was truly fantastic and a perfect bite to get our palates going.  I could have easily eaten at least three more of these little tastes of heaven …

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For our Appetizer course, I rallied up the troops to each get something different… I love duck, especially confit style, so I was excited about my selection: Duck Confit Tart with Espresso Gastrique; Apple Butter, Sliced Pears & Mâche Lettuce. The portion size was really nice for one, and actually just enough to give everyone at the table a taste, albeit a small taste as I realized quickly how delicious this sucker was after my first bite ;). The blend of flavors and ingredients in this dish were incredible, and again I would’ve loved to supersize it into an entrée!

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My husband ordered the Yellowfin Tuna l’Occidental; Flashed with Beurre Noisette & Crispy Shallots. Despite him not knowing what half of the ingredients were or knowing what the “flashed” methodology of cooking is, he’s a sure thing when it comes to Tuna with any semblance of tartare-y style. The crispy shallots were a really nice addition, adding texture to the dish and breaking up the typical tuna tartare flavors you usually see.  Very refreshing dish…

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My girlfriend ordered the Shrimp Crusted with Spaghetti Squash; Salad of Frisée & Marcona Almonds with a Horseradish Dressing which was actually on the special tasting menu, but they were flexible to allow her to order it as her app. Although it was certainly a unique presentation, I felt the frisée salad overwhelmed the plate and drowned out the beautiful look of a dish as unique as this one.  Despite the amass of greens, this was another superb dish with unique flavors and texture. I would have gone in for seconds if I wasn’t so wrapped up in hoarding my Duck confit.

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Lastly, my friend’s husband ordered the Brussels Sprouts Roasted with House- Cured Lamb Bacon; Deviled Quail Egg, Butternut Squash Confit & Shaved Pecorino. This is the only dish I did not try. Brussels Sprouts aren’t really my thing, but the rest of the table seemed to enjoy it.

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New blogger mistake #2  = missing a photo-op of our pseudo third course.  The Ricotta- Lemon Tortellini; Wild Mushroom Stew, Sunchoke Purée & Parmesan Foam was actually an entrée, but we concurrently decided that we all would like to try it and share it as a table.  This pasta was amazing.  I would have licked the plate and scarfed this dish down if it was just mine, but I tried my hardest to be polite and somewhat refined. This stacks up with the Duck Confit as my favorite dishes of the night. Also, I am a self proclaimed pasta addict, so I may be a tad biased.  I also love mushrooms, ricotta, and I mean you can’t go wrong with parmesan foam, can you? I wish I had a picture to share of this dish… sorry!

For my entrée, I actually sprang for the chicken. For me, I almost never order chicken in a restaurant, but since I tend to put more emphasis on the ingredients and preparation than I do on the actual protein – I just had to try this.  The chicken was good, but I wasn’t overly impressed.  I found myself forking under the chicken for the escargot and the butternut squash risotto, which were two major elements that elevated this dish.

Chicken Breast Roasted with a Black Trumpet Mousse; Hen of the Woods Stewed with Escargots, Butternut Squash Risotto & Fennel

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I also found myself wishing I ordered my husband’s entrée – Butter Poached Lobster with Hon Shimeji Mushrooms; Huitlacoche Purée & Ricotta Spaetzle with Baby Arugula- The ricotta spatezle were so interesting and different, they tasted like a mini ricotta gnocchi and were super light and airy. These morsels mixed with lobster and a mushroom like puree created for literally the perfect bite….

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We were too full for dessert, but the restaurant provided us with Lemon Marshmallow’s that hit the spot.

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Overall, I would rate mas (Farmhouse) very high – a solid 9.  I definitely recommend this place to anyone that is looking for a unique meal with a French flair. This spot is pretty pricy so it may be best suited for a special occasion, dinner with rents or if you have the luxury of a business expense account, snag some foodie client’s and enjoy!

Millesime for Restaurant Week Winter 2013

28 Jan

The Carlton Hotel in Flatiron has been home to many restaurants, including Town and Country. I know I have been there in the past, but it was before the blog. You enter into the lovely hotel lobby and then go through the bar/entertainment space and up the stairs. The restaurant there is now called Millesime.

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There is a really beautiful glass ceiling in the dining room.

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Millesime is participating in Restaurant Week and we were there for lunch. I ordered off the Restaurant Week Menu and my dining companions ordered off the regular menu. The restaurant week menu had 2 choices in each category. Butternut Squash Soup with crispy prosciutto or Butter Lettuce Salad with mustard and hazelnuts for the appetizers. Tuna Salad Roule’ with lavash, radish sprouts, marinated vegetables, tomato confit & potato chips or Linguine Gratinee with sauteed chicken, tomato, kale & parmesan for the entree. Orange Creme Brule with almond tuile or Cherry Chocolate Croissant Pudding with chocolate ice cream for dessert.

My dining companions both tried the crab and onion soup with gruyere crouton. They both seemed to like it, but neither finished it to save room for the entree.

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I went with the squash soup. It was pretty good, but could have used some more flavor. It was very one note. Even the crispy prosciutto didn’t really scream flavor.

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For entrees, one person ordered the veal piccata with ricotta gnocchi, roasted cauliflower, pine nuts, and lemon. She said it was pretty good but there were a lot of flavors going on.

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The other person ordered the steak sandwich and seemed to really enjoy it.

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I went with the linguine gratinee. Hmmmm… This pasta was most certainly round, not flat like linguine. And it was just… plain. Totally lacking in flavor. I salted it to death and it was still pretty flat. I have no idea what they were going for here, but this dish was really bland. Even a bit of basil or some wine in the sauce would have made it better. Even the chicken just tasted like boiled chicken in there.

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Thankfully, dessert was delicious. It was like bread pudding and the cherry and chocolate together were great flavors.

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Millesime was getting some press as being underrated and there were a number of great reviews. I just didn’t get it. Perhaps they just really screwed up their Restaurant Week selections, but I will not be running back here. Food needs flavor. Salt is cheap. It’s no excuse to have bland food at such a nice restaurant. It was all barely average, but the rating gets a little bump for the delicious cherry and chocolate dessert.

Total Nom Points: 5.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 5.5 out of 10

Butter for Restaurant Week Winter 2013

28 Jan

Even if Executive Chef Alex Guarnaschelli (who just won Next Iron Chef) has nothing to do with Butter at this point in her career (which I am not sure about at all… I’ve heard she doesn’t do much with the restaurant anymore, but it’s hard to tell), you would never know. We have been meaning to go to Butter for years, and just never got around to it. I had heard it was good, but no one raved about it so it never made it high up on my list. But when we were trying to find a few new places to try for Restaurant Week this winter, we decided that in light of Chef Guarnaschelli’s recent win, we would check it out.

It’s right by the Public Theater in the East Village. We were seated downstairs and enjoyed the wood tree trunks and sticks that decorated the room. It had a nice, loungy feel with low couch benches in the bar areas and music playing in the rooms.

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Here was the Restaurant Week menu for dinner on Sunday, January 27th.

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And the regular menu.

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And of course, since it’s butter, here is the butter shot.

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And some more butter porn. (The butter itself was decent, but nothing too special and I could have used with a larger portion to cover off on the bread that was on the table.

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But the pumpernickel and sour dough breads were top notch.

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We decided to start with cocktails, and since they were so good, we continued drinking them throughout the meal (rather than switching to wine, which is our usual MO). I got the Pearadise with pear infused Bacardi rum, fresh pear puree, St. Germain liqueur, muddled limes and mint. It was fantastic. Perfectly sweet without being cloyingly so. Mike got the Mickey Blue Eyes, which was a martini made with Grey Goose Vodka and blue cheese stuffed olives.

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Mike started with the House Made Charcuterie Platter. This came with house-cured bacon, duck breast mortadella, and chicken liver toast with spicy napa cabbage. This was awesome. The mortadella had a great flavor, and the chicken liver was packed with flavor and had these perfect crispy onions on top. But the bacon… ohhh boyyyy the bacon.

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I got the soup of the day, which was a butternut squash soup. I have had butternut squash soup all over the world at this point, and I am a fan simply because I really love butternut squash soup. You don’t need to get fancy with it to be delicious, but that also means that most people serve butternut squash soup that tastes just like everyone else’s version. Sure, some people put in some toasted pumpkin seeds or some basil oil (and I sure do love it when they do) but the soup itself usually just tastes like squash, or squash and apples.

But this… this butternut squash was The Shit. I never knew squash soup could have this much depth of flavor. A bit of brown butter flavor and sweetness (from what I assume was brown sugar but not sure) with a layer of fresh squashy goodness. And the salted popcorn to accompany it was just perfect. I actually asked for more bread so I could lop up every last drop of soup. It was, hands down, the best butternut squash soup I have ever had.

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As we started the entree portion of our meal, the additional side of cider glazed roasted parsnips came out. These had thinly sliced apple chips on top and the cider glaze was superb. It was the perfect compliment to the roasted parsnips and it was great comfort food without being heavy.

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Mike chose the House Made Ricotta Ravioli with roasted oyster mushrooms, chili flakes (which they nicely served on the side so that I could eat it), and pecorino cheese. I thought the sauce and mushrooms went very well with the ricotta in the ravioli, which was fluffy and a tad tart, with great flavor. Though in the end, I never order cheese ravioli because I just find myself hard to impress with any version.

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I ordered the Braised Pork Shoulder with a pretzel crumb crust and buttered rutabega. This was also outstanding. A great pork flavor over a bed of creamy rutabega. The little salty crispness of the pretzel with the cabbage on top was delightful. It was perfectly tender so you could just pull it apart with your fork. Fantastic.

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For dessert, Mike chose the Ginger Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich with vanilla ice cream and spiced pecans. It was very good, with a well flavored ginger cookie and what I think were golden raisins with orange zest. The pecans were spiced with something pepper related that I couldn’t have (but Mike enjoyed) and while the cookie was a bit hard to cut, the dessert was very good.

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My dessert came out and the first thing I noticed was that it was tiny. It’s hard to tell in this shot, but the piece of chocolate cake was about 3 inches tall and wide and less than 1/2 an inch thick. But BOY was this big on flavor.

The chocolate was rich and decadent, the pomegranate seeds adding a little bit of lightness to it, and a shmear of awesome salted caramel. The entire dish was so fantastic, and so packed with flavor, I didn’t miss those additional bites.

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As the meal ended, I told Mike how I wanted to lick my plate for every single dish I had. (That is one of the highest compliments I can give a place!) The execution was flawless and I didn’t feel like we lost anything by ordering off the Restaurant Week menu. Portions weren’t huge, but I walked away totally satiated.

Overall, this was a standout meal not just for Restaurant Week, but overall. I was truly impressed and look forward to returning again in the near future. I can’t believe it took us that long to go!

Total Nom Points: 8.5 out of 10

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Riverpark for Restaurant Week Winter 2013

20 Jan

We have been to many restaurants for NYC Restaurant Week at this point, and we’ve found some great choices and some poor choices, which makes it hard to find new places worth sampling each year.  But this year, we decided that Restaurant Week (through Februrary 8, 2013 so far this winter) was a great opportunity to try one of Tom Colicchio‘s newest choices, Riverpark

I really like how many Colicchio restaurants handle Restaurant Week. Rather than serve a “wedding food” (beef, pork, or fish) version of their menu, they serve their regular menu and the items that require a higher price to produce include an incremental charge, noted on the menu (base price is $38).  Here was the menu on January 20, 2013:

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For the Restaurant Week price of $38, we were able to choose an item from the left side plus an item from the main section, with a dessert.  You could substitute pasta (a larger portion for entree) for either course.

The building was a bit hard to find.  It is located near the East River on 29th Street and the FDR, in a complex called the Alexandria Center.  Our taxi wasn’t sure where to find it, so he dropped us off on the corner of 30th Street and the FDR access road and we walked down what looked like an industrial part of the city near the back of the hospital.  We took a chance and walked up some stairs and found it there at the top,  inside the building.

The decorations are very modern, with clean, perpendicular lines, much like Colicchio and Sons.

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The lights above our table were kind of cool and modern, but also a bit seizure inducing after a few drinks.

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We started our night with cocktails. Mike got the “Colonel Mustard” with mustard infused white rum, thyme honey, lime, and candied bacon. It was fantastic.  Heavy on the thyme and a perfect balance of flavors.

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I tried the “Spiced & Spiked” though without the “spiced” since that was homemade hot sauce (which would have peppers, which I’m allergic to).  It had hot apple cider, Goslings Rum, and clove.  Even without the hot sauce, this was very delicious and well balanced. I wanted something hot on this very cold night, and this hit the spot.

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We added a half-dozen oysters to our Restaurant Week selection, with 3 East Coast (Barnstable) and 3 West Coast (Shigokus). They were both divine, but the west coast Shigokus were especially fantastic.

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We then decided to try a bottle of wine. There was a section dedicated to Orange Wines which were described as “interesting and funky.”  We have a love for Russian River Valley wines (especially Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) so when we saw one on the menu under the Orange variety, we decided why not try something interesting and funky.  We really enjoyed this wine. It was easily drinkable, dry without being puckering, and went well with food and stood up on its own.  A very enjoyable wine.

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I then tried the Kabocha Custard & Crab Fondue with crispy black trumpet mushrooms and spiced pumpkin seeds (which I went without in my dish due to my allergy).  This was sensational. A touch of sweet, delicious squash, fresh crab, and a slight crispy from the mushrooms.  A great balance.  This is the second custard from a Colicchio restaurant that really impressed.

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Mike tried the Testa Tortellini with pears, walnuts, sage, mustard seed, and spiced consomme.  Sadly, I couldn’t try it due to my allergy, but Mike said it was a great balance of flavors. The waiter said he should try everything in one bite and he would realize why the pear, tortellini and consomme was put together and sure enough, the layers of flavors were fantastic with the rich broth and the fresh pear.  Everything together was delicious.

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For our entrees, Mike chose the 20 oz. bone-in dry aged sirloin, which came with a $20 supplement charge. It was with cipollini onions, charred shisito peppers (which they put on the side so I could try it), and tempura hen of the woods mushrooms.  The char on this was fan.freakin.tastic.  And the tempura-ed mushrooms were really fantastic on this. An all around awesome cut of meat. If you order this when it is not Restaurant Week, the steak alone is $50.  So for the $38 base price of Restaurant Week and the $20 supplement fee, the value of the app and the dessert came to a mere $8.  Not too shabby.

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These were the peppers that were put on the side, which Mike said added a nice depth of flavor without being too spicy.

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I chose the Berkshire Pork Chop with Brussels sprout apple hash and parsnip puree.  This was absolutely incredible.  A slight sweetness from the apples complimented by the slight bitterness of the sprouts. And the pork itself was a perfect foil to both.  Incredible. So incredible, in fact, that I picked up that bone with my fingers to get off any last morsel.  Totally worth it.

 

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Then we had our choice of desserts (a tough choice indeed) and we also chose to order dessert wine (Domaine des Schistes, a muscat).

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I chose the Chocolate Souffle Cake with coffee ice cream and chocolate crumble. This was a lovely dessert with warm souffle cake, with a nice balance of bittersweet and sweet with the chocolate and a great compliment with the coffee ice cream.

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But Mike chose the Beer Sundae with Guinness Cake, oatmeal stout ice cream, butterscotch, chocolate pretzel, and candied walnuts.  While my chocolate souffle was very good, this was just damn special.  It was unique flavors with a perfect balance of salty and sweet. It was a fantastic, inspired dessert.  Really, really fantastic.

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Our food throughout the meal with simply spectacular.  We paid a number of up-charges, but I am very certain that we would have enjoyed our meals just as much had we stuck with the Restaurant Week prices and not paid for any of the supplements or additional drinks/supplements.  But half the fun of Restaurant Week is being able to save money so you CAN pay for those lovely extras.

This is how you do Restaurant Week. Offer your regular menu so no one feels that they are missing out and just give people a chance to really enjoy your restaurant with a nice introduction.

Well played Riverpark.  You have made the list of “where to eat for Restaurant Week.”

Total Nom Points: 8 out of 10

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Peter Luger Steakhouse

15 Jan

Peter Luger is probably the most famous steak house in all of NYC, which is why I find it strange that it’s in Brooklyn. I’ve long wondered if that adds to the allure… “it must be good if people will brave the L train for it!”

I had been to Luger once before and hated to say I was underwhelmed. I mean, it was a very good meal, but I didn’t think it was better than places in NYC and didn’t think it was worth crossing the East River to eat.

But when friends from out-of-town wanted to try it, I was excited to go on a food adventure with them.

I certainly love the inside. It’s beautiful without being fancy.

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Someone suggested we try the bacon. And BOY am I glad they did. This was probably my favorite part of the whole meal. It was thick cut, perfectly cooked, a little charred on the ends. Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmmm.

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And they are famous for their tomato and onion salad. This… I do not understand. I mean I like tomatoes and onions just fine… but why is this special? 

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Though they did advise that we pour the Peter Luger Sauce (which is on every table) on it, and I will admit, it made the onions and tomatoes very tasty (and added great, but not overpowering flavor to the steaks, too).

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The steak ordering is incredibly easy from the menu. You tell them if you want steak for two, three, or four and out it comes. It’s a beautiful Porterhouse that they serve nicely carved and dish out to each person at the table.

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And you don’t get more perfectly Medium Rare than this:

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We also ordered the lamb chops so we could try some different things.  These were delicious and I’m glad we had some variation (as much as I love steak!)

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We got a side of creamed spinach, which I thought was really tasty and heavier on the spinach flavor than the cream (which I prefer).

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Mmmm… meat.

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Even though we were all totally stuffed by the end, we just had to try the ice cream sundae (which came with a chocolate cow on top).  This was heavenly.

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As was the pecan pie.  It was super pecany and not overly sweet. And don’t even get me started on that homemade schlag!

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As you leave, everyone gets some chocolate gelt to take home.  A nice little way to be reminded later of the great meal you had.

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I certainly enjoyed my meal this time more than last time, and I think the key was variation. Definitely get the bacon, try some sauce on some tomatoes and onions (why not?) and then order up some amazing steaks with some lamb chops.  Leave a wee bit of room for dessert and you’re perfect.

Do I feel the need to travel to Brooklyn for this on a regular basis? No.  I still think the novelty is good for tourists, but as a local, I’ll stick with Keen’s. (Though my arm could certainly be easily twisted to return to Peter Luger!)

Total Nom Points: 8 out of 10

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Saxon + Parole: Just a nibble

10 Jan

I met Chef Bill for a quick catch up about opening his new restaurant, The Keys, over drinks and nibbles at Saxon + Parole.  He wanted to go there due to their focus on fresh ingredients and molecular gastronomy inspired cocktails.

We each got a very, very good cocktail and decided to order some charcuterie. We went with the “A bit of everything”: Cured pork, chicken liver pot, terrine, cheese, olives & pickles for $29.  This was sensational.  Absolutely sensational.

The chicken liver pot may have been the best I have ever had. The rich liver was perfectly cut with a sweet and salty top.  Fantastic. And each meat and cheese was a perfect pick.  I really, really enjoyed this plate.

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I really look forward to going back and trying more soon! 

 

L&W Oyster Co

1 Jan

I joined an old coworker for lunch right near my NYC office at a brand new place, L&W Oyster Co (on 5th Ave between 28th and 29th). I think it had been open for just a few weeks.

The menu was a bit different from what is posted online, so here was the lunch meeting from a couple weeks ago:

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The restaurant is quirky, small, and fun.

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With magnetic poetry on the walls.

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And place mats explaining some of their favorite oysters (though not what is on the menu).

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My ex-coworker started with the clams.

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And I got a selection of the three oysters on the menu and we shared some large shrimp cocktail. (All the fresh seafood was very good and very fresh)

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And we were delighted to be given a pack of their homemade goldfish crackers.

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They were mildly spicy and baked to a perfect crispy.

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Steve got The Popeye with steamed mussels, chorizo, spinach, white wine, and gigantic beans. I couldn’t try it due to the chorizo, but he really enjoyed his meal.

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I got the Clam on Clam action which came with a clamwich (fried clams, tarter sauce, and pickled shisito peppers, which I asked to not have due to the my allergy) and some chowdah (brooklyn clam chowder, brooklyn lager, corn nuts, and house cured pancetta).  Before my meal made it in front of me, our waiter realized that my clamwich still included the peppers, so back into the kitchen that went.  But I got to start on my chowdah and quinoa (which was tasty).  I really loved this chowdah.  Creamy without being too heavy, good clam flavor, and the corn nuts and pancetta in it were just perfect.

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And when my clamwich (with salt & vinegar potato chips… YUM!) came out, I enjoyed that it was on a parker house roll roll.  It was a nice fluffy foil for the crunchy clam strips (though I wish they were more clamy in flavor).  The sandwich was good, but not as good as the chowdah.

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We also ordered some coffee (gotta love a French Press).

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And tried their sorbet of the day, which I can’t remember the exact flavor, but I remember it being some sort of citrus, and it was especially delicious. Great flavor and texture.  Really great end to the meal.

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I was impressed by our entire lunch here and think it’s a great lunch spot.  Nothing was among the best of that dish I have ever had, but everything was solidly tasty and I like what they’ve got going on.

Total Nom Points: 6.5 out of 10

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