Showing posts with label New York City. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New York City. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Manhattan's Finest: The Nomad

When I stepped into the Nomad restaurant at the Nomad Hotel with its nostalgic and upscale vibe, that was when I felt like I was a true grown up.  It was busy, with 40's + crowd, and everyone seemed like they'd been here before numerous times. Loud chatters filled the atrium as people sipped from their wine.  Dressed up parsnips seemed to be the  popular snack as they were flying out all night.  We were on a mission; to try their famous roasted chicken.   However, I ended up falling in love with other few dishes on the menu instead.

First off, we could not get enough of their artisan flatbread.  It was baked crisp and topped with sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary, garlic, and white beans.  It was hard to not fill up while waiting for the courses to arrive.

As you can see, I had no idea the marinated fluke would be a stunning art on a plate.  And yes, it tasted as amazing as it looked. The basil oil brought out natural sweet flavors of the heirloom tomato while the subtle acidity complement the fluke, making it the star. This was my favourite dish of the evening.  

Out of all the things on the menu, there's always a soft spot for poached egg, no matter what time of the day.  And this time was no different and it had to be included.  A perfectly poached egg peaked through a cloud of foam and brown butter with asparagus and crispy quinoa. When it comes to food porn, there's nothing that's more visually tantalizing than cracking a perfectly poached egg and watching the yolk slowly oozes out. Only this time, the yolk dripped down to a cloud of foam clouds. Although the sauce was a bit too high in sodium, it was an awesome comfort food no less.

Looking at this dish, comparing with other items we just had, we were not as wowed by the seemingly humble appearance.  However, the king crab tagliatelle with Meyer lemon and black pepper proved to be the underdog.  Frankly, it was a well executed dish.  The tagliatelle pasta, made in-house, had the perfect texture. It was lightly seasoned with lemony flavor, but it was enough to make an impression. Topped with succulent king crab meat, we gobbled it up the entire plate within minutes. 

When the suckling pig confit with pears cabbage and mustard showed up at the table, we already knew what we expected out of it; ultra crispy skin, a fatty layer with moist and tender meat.  

The star of the show, and what many come to the Nomad for, was the $79 whole roasted chicken with foie gras black truffle and brioche. It was the most pricey and fancy roasted chicken we have paid for.  It was presented to us fresh out of the oven before being carved up and prepared 2 ways (like a Peking duck).  It looked gorgeous with golden brown glistening skin with arrangement of fresh herbs.  But aside from that, the only other thing I seemed to notice was how small the whole roasted chicken looked compared to the size of that gentleman's hands holding it!

The different meat of the chicken was prepared two ways. Accompanied by white bean truffle puree, the breast, served skin on, was very tender but the truffle essence was very faint.   

Meanwhile, the dark meat had a more rustic take, served in a skillet with green beans and mustard seeds with a touch of acidity from vinegar. The crispy skin bits were a real treat.  Overall, the chicken was good, but in my opinion for $40-50, not $79.

Our food journey at the Nomad ended with 2 modern desserts.

I loved the artful presentation and play on 2 contrasting textures for "milk and honey".  You get the crunchy harder bits from short bread brittle with the sweet, yet mellow honey ice cream.

When it comes to taste, I thought this plum dessert was more unique than the rest.  There was a lot of flavours and textures going on in this dish; from sweet to tart to salty from the corn sabayon, spongy to rich to creamy, even temperature ranged from warm to cold.  While it was yummy altogether, I had a great time dissecting each component with each bite and trying to figure everything out.  It was unique, distinct, and special. A dish you wouldn't find at just about anywhere.

I would love to come back to the Nomad again for their creative takes on snacks, appetizers and desserts.

The NoMad on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 4, 2013

Manhattan's finest, Bouley by David Bouley


If you are looking for an exquisite dining experience in Manhattan, bring yourself and your loved ones to Bouley, a French contemporary restaurant in Tribecca and try their 5-course tasting lunch menu. I may advise that you either clear out your schedule for the afternoon or give yourself about 2.5 to 3 hours for the complete course.  Trust me, when you are seated in this luxurious oasis in Manhattan, you would not want to rush through your meal. 

My first visit was in mid September and the experience was exceptional from the moment you walked through the entrance corridor and greeted with the intoxicating scent of fresh apples. The waiting room was elegant with a sophisticated Old World vibe.  The boutique dining room with a lavender theme makes diners feel welcomed and relaxed. The service, as well, was impeccable. 

The amuse bouche of the day was a simple tomato gazpacho topped with yogurt and lobster, and a side of cracker with creme fraiche and black truffle.  It was gone quickly, but at Bouley, they do not leave their guests to starve. Before we could have time to peak through the back, looking for our first course, a man pushing a cart of daily-made artisan breads reeled the wheels to our table. The selections were endless. We tried as many selection as we'd like. 

Then, arrived the first course; fresh oysters paired with kiwi and New England Big Eye tuna.  I've never thought oysters and kiwi would work together and initially found it bizarre. It was no accidental experiment, though. The combination was a dynamite. The tartness and sweetness of the kiwi balanced out with the fresh-from-the-sea flavor of the oysters. 

My sister's Big Eye tuna was even more of a knock out dish. An extremely sophisticated dish, slices of fresh tuna were placed on top of a delicate and aromatic apple foam and topped with caviar. If the oyster and kiwi was a smart pair, this was Einstein.  My palate went into a frenzy trying to figure out what these new flavor combination  meant. This would be one of the dishes we would fly back to NYC for. 

Another dish that captivated my soul was the second course: the porcini flan. If I had to share this dish with anyone, it would be the ultimate test of my love and devotion for that very person. Inspired by traditional Japanese steamed egg pudding dish, chawamushi, this was a French spin on the Asian classic. The egg pudding was soft and delicate, disintegrating immediately as you take the first bite. The broth infused with porcini and black truffle was earthy, savory and fragrant. The meaty pieces of dungeness crab in the broth also elevated everything.  A very refined dish and one of my favorites. 

For the main course, I ordered the duck breast in the sweet, caramelized, and savory sherry date jus with clementine confit and polenta. My sister ordered the organic chicken baked "en cocotte", which was extremely moist and tender. It was served with emerald hued kale and roasted garlic. 

Moving to the fourth course, what I call an intermission, I had the white peach soup topped with sorbet, while my sister refreshed her taste buds with strawberries rhubarb and gelato. 

By the time the final dessert course arrived, we felt like we were entering food comatose state.  My sister ended her course with hot caramelized Anjou pear with Breton biscuit lemon verbena and delicious hot toffee sauce. The dessert also came with a side of Tahitian vanilla and lemongrass ice cream.  I indulged in the decadent chocolate soufflĂ© accompanied by a white coffee cloud, white chocolate ice cream and a fluffy chocolate mousse.  We were one step closer to going to food heaven. 

Just as we thought we were finished, we were offered with more delectables...

If you are looking for a fulfilling gastronomic experience that will entice your every senses, make a reservation at Bouley. 

Bouley on Urbanspoon
Bouley Restaurant on Foodio54

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cafe Espanol: Unbeatable lunch deal!

Here Ye Here Ye!

Are you in New York City and perhaps hungry? Do you love finding good deals? In NYC, finding good deals for lunch and brunch is quite easy.  If you happen to be in the Greenwich Village,A lunch deal of $11.95 at Cafe Espanol offers quite a quantity you don't find very often, just check out their menu of how many ways you can mix and match.  Allow me to break it down for you.  For $11.95 on a weekday (or $13.95 on the weekend), you get a drink, a soup or salad, a main course, and a dessert.  Not too shabby! The portion there is enormous that it could last you a few more days. 

 Right when you walk into Cafe Espanol, the spaniard murals and traditional decor would tell you that the restaurant is old school and a place which offers a more traditional and rustic spanish cuisine.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Memory of Shinjuku: Sake Bar Hagi, NYC

During a rainy evening while wandering in Midtown, NYC, we somehow stumbled upon a Japanese izakaya, Sake Bar Hagi.  The menu looked promising, the price point looked alright, and the place was packed, and most importantly, we were starving.  No hesitation there!  We walked in and the busy Japanese bar was reminiscent of the buzzling izakayas in the ever lively Shinjuku district, a parallel comparison to Timesquare neon central.  The menu consisted of Japanese tapas such as yakitori, deep fried dishes, noodles, as well extensive list of sake, cocktails and Japanese beer.  Could this be the real deal? Let's find out!

First to caught my eye, a list of flavoured beer.  I went for plum flavoured beer and it tasted quite exquisitely refreshing.  Sweet and tangy, like an umeshu, or plum wine, with a bubbly note.  I wish I could take this home with me!

And perhaps the plum flavoured beer was the most impressive item of the night...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summer is here at Ideya Latin Bistro

Ideya Latin Bistro is a Caribbean latin restaurant which takes influences from many latin regions and giving its dishes a contemporary twist. The atmosphere was very lively and laid back, a great spot to chill out on a hot summer evening with your date or a group of friends. The restaurant was decorated with Caribbean murals, and cool colour tone such as white concrete and lime green walls.  In such a tropical setting, you almost feel like you're on a vacation.
Yay, something that's not just tortilla chips and salsa! The first batch of plantain chips and salsa is complementary.  While the second batch will cost you extra $4.50, you will probably be addicted right after the first bite and asking for more.  The plantain chips were crispy and fun to eat.  The salsa had bits of mangos in it and was freshly made.  We just couldn't stop eating them!
Mojitos and summer go together hand in hand like, as Jay-Z would put it, "Nike Air and crisp tee".  As Ideya is known for its specialty in mojitos, you cannot go there without ordering one.  The guava mojito ($12) was excellent.  It was refreshing, slightly sweet and tangy, not to mention stiff.
Our appetizer, pato de chocolate, or seared duck breast, chocolate, orange sauce and stewed leeks ($12) could've been an entree on its own.  With a little French cuisine influence, the dish was a combination of sweet and savoury.  The duck breast was tender, a hint of sweetness of the chocolate came through and toned down the gamey taste of the duck.
The second appie was bacalaitos, beer battered salt cod fritters with guava marmalade ($9).  The deep fried fish cakes had crispy, flakey, chewy texture.  The guava marmalade was sweet, tangy, and carried the fruity guava taste that I love.
A Salvadorean classic, papusa ($10) with roasted chicken stuffed corn masa cake refried bean puree topped with salsa and pickled cabbage.  While the traditional Salvadorean papusas are made with soft tortilla with soft, paste like filling, Ideya's version is more of a tower, much like a gordita.  I thought the masa cake, which was a thick cornmeal tortilla, was too thick and I wish there was more melted cheese stuffed inside since the bites were a bit too dry.
 Up next was chuleta a la diabla ($21), or grilled chipotle marinated porkchop with tomatillo (green tomato) sauce.  The flavours and smokiness of the marinated grilled pork really came through, although the pork was a bit over-grilled and tough to chew.  I loved the vegetables with tomatillo sauce, which wasn't acidic like red tomatoes and was like a lighter version with the savouriness of a gravy.
The meal was completed with a dessert, guava empanada $8 (I seem to have a theme going on here).  Ideya actually has a descent list of desserts to choose from; chipotle & chocolate cake with tomatillo sauce, ginger coconut float with ginger beer, coconut ice cream and molasses spice cookie, and a sundae with banana frita and spiced peacans.  Mmmmm they all sounded really tasty and exotic.  The empanada was really good.  It was very similar to an apple pie with a flakey pastry and caramelized fruit inside.  

Ideya offers not only variety, but also a contemporary flare in Latin cuisine.  I really enjoyed the mojito, exploring the menu, and trying out their dishes. Given the opportunity, I would return again for more plantain chips.

Ideya on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Giorgio's of Gramercy

 We walked into Giorgio's of Gramercy the following day, once again with empty stomachs.  Once we stepped inside, my first impression was "wow, this is really dramatic".  The impression I got was Boom! Welcome.  The restaurant was decked out with deep red wall colours accented with black trimmings, chandeliers, and abstract gold paintings.  The three of us sat down and ordered 1 prefixe lunch ($25), and 2 (appetizer size) pasta dishes.

 The starter of the prefixe lunch, fried oysters with creamed spinach and chipotle remoulade was ... hmm how can I describe it in just one word? exquisite? unreal? delightful? I can go on forever! Speaking of which, I think I need MORE!!

 The prefixe entree selected, seared scallops with peas, trumpet mushrooms, risotto and decorated with balsamic glaze.  The seared scallops were perfect.  The risotto, although not soggy or starchy, it was rather boring on its own and, thus, served its purpose as a supporting role.

I was so happy with the penne alla vodka $8 I ordered (the word "vodka" stood out on the menu lol).  It was saucy, and tasty with the right consistency.  The sauce, made with sun dried tomato and vodka was tangy and creamy like a rosee.  The penne did its job in holding the sauce, the panchetta was nice and smoky while the asparagus added extra crunch. was delicious....For a short asian girl, the "appetizer size" pasta was a descent size meal for me.  It filled me up just right without having to overstuff myself.  For guys though, this will probably be too small and can only pass as a starter.  

The other pasta dish, seafood linguine ($9), was surprisingly not that impressive nor memorable.  There was nothing special to it in terms of flavours.

The dessert, s'more bread pudding, took days to come out.  Okay, I exaggerated.  But despite our plea that we were in a hurry, it still took quite some time for this decadent to arrive.  Thi was in a hurry to go back to work but he longed for a taste and hoped that, by stalling some time, perhaps the dessert would come out any second.  With no luck, he left the restaurant saddened.  As he dazed off, dreaming about the s'more pudding, it obviously arrived the moment he stepped out the door.  Meanwhile, Pepe, after 2 seconds of contemplation, decided to chase after him to come back for a taste of the long awaited s'more. The waiters couldn't help but chuckle..  She called out his name several time as she ran after him, with no response.  The chef, on his smoke break, took notice of the fiasco and decided to lend a hand.  In his deep and loud raspy voice, he roared "THiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!"  It worked, he finally caught Thi's attention.  He shook his head, "you shouldn't leave a lady hanging like that."  To him, all he saw was a boy leaving a restaurant, ignoring his girlfriend who was frantically running after him and screaming his name.  Did they have a fight? How cruel,... how sweet.  Anyways, Thi came back and savoured a few bites of the spongy, warm, and rich chocolate marshmallow cake topped with vanilla gelato and graham cracker.  It was sooo good.

Giorgio's of Gramercy on Urbanspoon