Tuesday, October 16, 2018

LE BERNADIN (NEW YORK, NY)

Le Bernadin
155 W 51st Street
New York, NY 10019
www.le-bernadin.com
Tel: 212.554.1515
Cuisine: French
$$$$ ($50+)
Sat, 09/01/2018, 7:45pm reservation
     (4.5 Piglets)


Le Bernadin is Eric Ripert's 3 Michelin Star restaurant located in the Midtown district in the heart of the Big Apple. It has been on my list of restaurants to try for the longest time and thanks to my AMEX Platinum card, I managed to snag a reservation for my time in NYC. 

The restaurant itself is exquisite. The service was impeccable. The decor was sophisticated. And well, the food was a masterpiece. Eric Ripert managed to bring French food to the Americans at its utmost quality. We decided on the Chef's Tasting Menu for $225pp. 

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche-the watermelon
CAVIAR TARTARE: Hamachi Osetra Caviar Tartare; Sea Lettuce; Dashi Gelee

LANGOUSTINE: Seared Langoustine; Foie Gras Crouton; Balsamic-Truffle Vinaigrette

SEA TROUT: Ultra Rare Smoked Sea Trout; Pickled Red Onion; Citrus-Miso Emulsion

HALIBUT: Poached Halibut; Radish Medley; Daikon-Ginger Dashi

DOVER SOLE: Sauteed Dover Sole; Lemon-Potato Mousseline; Shallot Emulsion

HAWAIIAN-WALU -JAPANESE WAGYU: Grilled Walu and Seared Wagyu; Tomato Summer Roll; Spiced Red Wine Sauce

YOGURT: Smoked Yogurt, Maple Macerated Blueberries, Graham Crackers

RHUBARB: Rhubarb Marmalade; Marscapone Cremaeaux; Limoncello Sorbet 

PETIT FOURS

Overall, Le Bernadin truly is a magical place. Everything from the bread and butter to the amuse bouche was made with precision. The food was simple yet elegant. The food was bursting with flavor yet you could taste each and every ingredient. I think that is what makes French cuisine truly special: it doesn't transform its ingredients to something weird like some molecular gastronomy restaurants do...it wants to make the ingredients shine. 

Notable Dishes: Langoustine and Japanese Wagyu


Monday, August 13, 2018

MAJORDOMO (LOS ANGELES, CA)

Majordomo
1725 Naud St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
www.majordomo.la
Tel: 323.545.4880
Cuisine: Asian
$$$ ($30-$45)
Tues, 05/08/2018, 8:00pm reservation
    (4 Piglets)


David Chang is a Korean chef who has made a mark for himself in the culinary industry. He has established a number of restaurants in NYC and has decided to take on the West Coast.

Majordomo is an Asian-inspired restaurant set in Chinatown that encompasses Korean food, without being Korean (if that makes any sense). There are dishes that are unique that you've probably never tasted before. There are some that are traditional with a twist. Nearly all the dishes are served family style, the way Asians do it. 

The interior is industrial, yet chic. There is a cool looking bar where you can drink as you wait for your table. There is a main room where all the tables are situated and a hidden back room for additional seating. 



RAW SUGAR SNAPS ($10.00): Horseradish, Lemon, Shallot. The vegetables were good but nothing really special. They were crisp and felt light amongst the other dishes we ordered. If you want a slightly healthier option, this is your best bet. 

SLICED KANPACHI ($16.00): Citrus, Bonji. I thought this was a good quality sashimi grade dish. It was also light and melted in your mouth. The citrus added acidity to the fish to bring out its subtle sweet flavor. 

MY FAVORITE DISH. BING BREAD WITH SPREAD: EGGS AND SMOKED ROE ($18.00); CAVE AGED BUTTER AND WHITE STURGEON CAVIAR ($32.00). I loved, loved, loved these spreads. The bread was awesome...moist and chewy with a slightly crisp exterior. 

FRIED BUTTERBALL POTATOES ($12.00): Salsa Seca, Peanuts, Chili. This was surprisingly good. The potatoes were fried super crisp and I loved every bit of it. It had such umami flavor that even those who don't like potatoes would definitely love this dish. 
VERMICELLI ($26.00): Shrimp, Mussels, Clams, Jalapeno Dashi. This was a hearty dish. The vermicelli was able to soak the flavored seafood broth. If you're a seafood fan, this is the dish for you. I just wish there was actually more broth in this dish. 

CHERRY TOMATOES ($14.00: Tofu, Shisho, Yuzu. This dish was just ok for me. It was nothing special. The dish was fresh and light but I didn't care for it. 

FRIED SMELT ($14.00): Shrimp salt, Almond, Lemon. This was fried fish at its best. Imagine eating and English fish and chips, revamped, without the chips. It was flaky and it didn't feel heavy nor greasy. 

BONELESS CHUCK SHORT RIB ($85.00): Braised with Asian Pear and Daikon. Served with Rice Cakes, Potato, and Melted Raclette. I truly enjoyed this dish. I was so full by the time this arrived. I felt I didn't truly enjoy this dish as much as I would have if I received it earlier when I was hungry. It was a heavy dish and it had tons of flavor. It was a lovely experience to watch them melt the raclette on the ribs. 

HORCHATA KAKIGORI ($15.00): Coffee, Rice, Dulce de Leche. This was light and delicious. It was a good way to end the meal since it wasn't too heavy. You could definitely taste the horchata flavor. 
Overall, I thought Majordomo was pretty good. The dishes were innovative and I especially loved the bing bread with different topping options. There were so many dishes I wanted to try but my stomach simply didn't have enough room to accomplish that task. Unfortunately, they tend to run out of the whole plate short rib (which we wanted to get) so it's important to order ahead of time.

Notable Dishes: Bing bread, Fried Potatoes and Boneless Chuck Short Rib

Thursday, June 14, 2018

ARAWAN (LAS VEGAS, NV)

Arawan
953 E Sahara Ave
Ste E-14
Las Vegas, NV 89109
www.arawanthaibistro.com
Tel: 702.734.7799
Cuisine: Thai
$$$ ($30-$45)
Mon, 6/11/2018, 2:30pm reservation
    (4 Piglets)


Arawan is a Thai restaurant located in the same strip mall as the original Lotus of Siam restaurant(my favorite Thai restaurant in the States). It was a spontaneous lunch date since I was pressed for time for my flight back to LA.

Interior


The restaurant was actually larger than what I expected. It was nicely decorated and the chairs were super comfortable. It was simple, yet elegant.

The menu itself was large but not overwhelming. There was a variety of the usual dishes to choose from, i.e. noodles, soup, curries and rice dishes. I wanted to stick with their most popular dishes.

Larb ($14.00): Ground chicken tossed in spicy lime dressing with rice powder, red onion, green onion and cilantro-served with lettuce. The larb was actually quite tasty. We asked for mild and it was the perfect level of spice. I  thought it was refreshing since the lime cut through the heaviness of the dish.

KA MOO ARAWAN ($15.00): Stew pork hog with boiled egg and steam Chinese broccoli. This dish was nothing special. It was tasty, but reminded me of a Chinese dish my mom would make than a Thai dish. It has a slightly sweet taste from the soy sauce and the Chinese broccoli was cooked perfectly.

Complimentary wontons

MY FAVORITE DISH. ARAWAN PAD THAI ($22.00): Fresh prawn wok-stir fried in a tamarind sauce with rice noodle, slice chicken, peanut, green onions and bean sprouts-wrapped with lattice egg and side of crushed peanuts. This dish was amazing. I normally wouldn't care for pad thai, but the watier recommended it and said it was one of the most popular dishes. Seriously though, I can totally see why...it's beautifully presented and there was tons of flavor. The pad thai wasn't overly sauced and it wasn't dry either. It was made perfectly. At $22, it better be though.

DUCK RED CURRY ($18.00): Roasted duck in a red curry coconut milk broth with red peppers, zucchini, tomato, grapes, pineapple, asparagus and sweet basil leaves. The flavor of the curry was good but it wasn't anything memorable. I thought the duck was quite dry and it was disappointing. The pineapple was actually a nice touch to the dish but that was the only thing great about it. I would pass.
Overall, I thought Arawan is a decent Thai spot if you want a change from Lotus of Siam. The place is also known for desserts, but unfortunately, they do not serve it during lunch. The service was good, always making sure the water was full. The food was served pretty fast as well. I think what made this place stick out was the pad thai and I would literally just visit Arawan for that noodle dish.

Notable Dishes: Arawan Pad Thai

Friday, June 1, 2018

LA COLOMBE (CONSTANTIA, CAPE TOWN, SA)

La Colombe
Silvermist Wine Estate

Main Road, Constantia Nek
Cape Town, 7806
South Africa
Tel: +27 21 794 2390
Cuisine: French-Japanese inspired South African
$$$$ ($50+)
Fri, 05/04/2018, 7:00pm reservation
     (5 Piglets)


Have you ever visited a place and wondered why one restaurant is far more exceptional than the others? What exactly makes the restaurant the best restaurant in the city? I contemplated these questions as I arrived in Cape Town. I've traveled the world and eaten at a number of three-michelin star restaurants (including Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy) and La Colombe has been consistently ranked the best restaurant in Cape Town. I managed to snag a reservation for my last night in South Africa. I simply wondered if it lived up to the hype.

Interior
The wine
Nestled in a beautiful winery in Constantia, La Colombe sits at the top of the Silvermist estate. It's about a half hour drive from the city on a good day. The views are simply spectacular and you're transported into a world where you are just one with the food.

As you ascend into the restaurant, you're greeted with a vast array of delicious amuse bouche to make you want more. You anticipate that the meal will be exceptional upon the first bite. The warm, freshly made sourdough bread complemented with the spiced pork lard simply melted in your mouth. I was looking forward to the meal. I decided on the gourmand, which is their elaborate tasting menu.


Gourmand:
Amuse Bouche
Sourdough, Spiced Pork Lard, Salsa Verde
Course One: Tuna "La Colombe"
Course Two: Mozambican Langoustine, Kerala Style Chicken Wing, Snoek Dressing, Coriander, Sweet Potato
Course Three: Korean Style Springbok, DUkkah, Romesco, Hoisin
Course Four: Seared Scallop, Glazed Sous Vide Pork Belly, Sweetcorn, Spiced Coconut
Course Five: Palate Cleanser: Lemongrass, Ginger, Pomelo, Kalamansi
Course Six: Linefish, Mussel, Black Forest Ham, Tarragon, Veloute
Course Seven: Lamb Loin, Braised Neck, Tenderstem Broccoli, Turnip, Pickled Red Onion, Smoked Garlic
Course Eight: Boerenkaas, Jerusalem Artichoke, Pear, Pecan Nut
Course Nine: Roasted Ivoire Namelaka, Pineapple, Chamomile, Sesame, Honeycomb
Amuse Bouche
Course one: La Colombe Tuna
Course One: unopened
Course Two: Langoustine
Course three: Springbok
Course four: Scallop

Course five: Palate cleanser
A closer look
Course six: Linefish
Course seven: Lamb loin
Course eight: Boerenkaas (cheese)

Petit Fours
Coffee..so good


Chefs James Gaag and Scot Kirton managed to construct a menu that was well thought out to bring out the flavors of every ingredient. Everything from the tuna served in a tin can to the dessert consisting of a moist sponge cake of pineapple was simply put: an orgasm in my mouth. The chefs managed to permeate flavors that were surreal. The meal from start to finish was an experience that truly was unforgettable. This is essentially why La Colombe is awarded as the best restaurant in Cape Town; the restaurant does live up to its hype. The service was on point, from filling the water when necessary to timing the food perfectly. The ambiance, though could be a bit noisy at times, was clean and sophisticated. The only thing left standing is the necessity for the Michelin guide to credit this restaurant it truly deserves.