Showing posts with label fine dining. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fine dining. 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 soufflé 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

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria and Cucina, Las Vegas

 My trip in Vegas went by in a flash.  On our last night, we wandered around and came across Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina, located inside Crystals at City Centre.  After a quick survey, the featured wood-oven baked pizzas along with other rustic Italian classics led us to a consensus to give it a go.  Also, they had a pretty good deal for happy hour which could only be ordered at the bar.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

All you can eat dim sum at Summer Palace, Intercontinental Bangkok


One may ask, "how many hagow can one eat?".  If you like dim sum, and an option of AYCE is put right in front of you, why not try it out if you're in the mood?  That's what I did.  Summer Palace is not just your regular dim sum restaurant.  Located at the 5-star Intercontinental hotel, it is probably one of the most lavish and elegant chinese restaurants one could dine at.  

No, there are no dim sum carts being push around here folks.  You don't have to order all you can eat either.  But should you choose to, there is a separate menu of the Cantonese dim sum favourites such as siu mai, hagow, etc., along with soups, main course dishes, and desserts.

The majority of the dishes are comparable in taste to any other dim sum restaurants.  The dishes that really stood out were deep fried mashed taro stuffed with prawn, duck spring rolls, duck fried rice, bamboo fibre and crab soup, and crispy rice noodles topped with savoury meat sauce.  Their marinated chicken feet were flavourful despite being served in a dish broken in half by the steam.  The desserts offered were traditional, and some are not easily found else where.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

50 years of excellency, Methawalai SornDaeng เมธาวลัยศรแดง

Located right by the Democracy Monument, Sorndaeng has maintained its reputation as an outstanding Thai restaurant for over 50 years.  The first time my father dined here was when he was still a university student who just moved to Bangkok.  Both he and my aunt remembered it like yesterday how delicious the food was back then.  Due to its location, it is amazing that the restaurant has survived through many historical events and up rivals, and still opening its door today.

The interior is decorated in an elegant European style with beautiful china.  The ambience is quite comfortable.  With large windows, there is enough natural sunlight and outside scenery. But do not be fooled but the western decor, the authenticity and quality of the fine Thai fare being served here is impeccable.  Every single dish is exquisitely presented, the taste is divine; it is a meal fits for royals.  The price range, to my surprise, is extremely affordable.

Sorndaeng is popular amongst foreign visitors and it's an absolute go-to place if you are ever in Bangkok.
Blended watermelon

Their appetizers were superb.  Mee grob, or crispy noodles, and kratong tong (pastries filled with seasoned ground pork) were quite the delectables.
Ho Mok 
Tod mun pla (fish cakes)
Green curry pork ball
Yum tua ploo
A closer shot of carved pumpkin
panang moo
Tel: 0-2224-3088

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hapa Umi

Located at Coal Harbour, Hapa Umi, a sister restaurant of Hapa Izakaya, is an upscale, fine dinging-style izakaya serving modern Japanese cuisine in an elegant and intimate setting.  As this was my first visit, I was open to try a variety of items and see what this place has to offer.  From what I got, it was anything but boring food.

Our server was very informative about the ingredients and description of dishes on the menu.  She was also helpful in making suggestions for items that may suit our taste.  We started things off with scallop ceviche ($12) with lemon lime soy marinade and shiso-infused olive oil.  The scallop was fresh, and there was a refreshing fragrance of shiso.  The lime dressing was acidic but the ceviche tasted great as a whole dish.  

I tried out a roll consisting of dungeness crab (similar to california roll) topped with tuna and ginger.  For $15, I didn't find this particular roll any more exceptional than the ones you can get for $7.50 (at most).
The short rib sliders were on the special. Served on soft chinese steamed buns, the glazed meat was tender, sweet and savoury.  The wasabi mayo in there for an extra kick and crispy lotus root chips were a nice touch.  This was a great snack to share, or add a side and make it a meal on its own.

Kani pasta with dungeness crab, cream and peas ($23) was pretty filling.  Although there was a bit too much oil, there was enough sauce in there to coat all the pasta, making it really enjoyable to slurp down.  It was a rich, creamy, with very good flavour. I liked the garnish of seaweed and especially the minty shiso.  However, if you're not a fan of strong, herby flavour, you might not enjoy it.  

I was torn between ordering the chicken karaage  or the tempura oysters ($11).  The tempura oysters prevailed, but I later regret the decision.  There was way too much soggy batter on the oysters.  The miso vinaigrette didn't much help either.

The final course, yuzu tart with mixed berry sorbet was amazing.  The presentation was beautiful and it tasted delicious.  This was definitely worth $9 and I would come back again just for it.

The overall dining experience was good.  There were some dishes that we could pass for next time, but others such as the short rib sliders and yuzu tart were outstanding.  The price point may be high, if you are able to pick and choose the 'right' items here, you would not be disappointed.  I would be returning back to try the edamame ravioli, chicken karaage, and, of course, the yuzu tart.

Hapa Umi on Urbanspoon