Showing posts with label tasting menu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tasting menu. Show all posts

Friday, January 24, 2020

Crustacean Beverly Hills, Beyond the Garlic Noodles

Even though I've been in LA for a while and have even had the An family's food at AnQi in Costa Mesa and even the famous garlic crab at the original Thanh Long in San Francisco, I actually have not made it to Crustacean until recently. Sure, I've had the garlic noodles at food festivals, but that's not quite the same.

Luckily, I was recently invited for a tasting menu so I made my way there for the first time. It was the middle of the week but the Beverly Hills restaurant was hopping. It was quite crowded both with dinner guests and people drinking at the bar (after-work drink crowd, I presume). There was a live music performance going on, which takes place on Wednesdays from 4-7pm.

Our tasting menu for two started with these tuna cigars, with quite the eye catching presentation. A cigar box was presented to us and smoke wafted out upon opening.
Crustacean
The tuna cigars were made of feuille de brick, tuna, avocado silk, Vidalia onion, and tobiko caviar.
Crustacean

The smoky presentation continued on with the cocktail I ordered, the Hightea Penicillin. The Penicillin traditionally consisted of scotch, ginger, honey, and lemon juice and here it's topped off with black tea and lavender cloud.
Crustacean

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Ktown's Caffe Concerto Gets New Chef and Tasting Menu

Caffe Concerto in Koreatown has been around for a while, serving Italian food with Korean inflections (you can read my previous review here of their pasta including a kimchi carbonara).
They recently hired a new head chef, Terry Kim, and have added a tasting menu component (the rest of the a la carte menu remains the same).
Concerto Tasting
After the amuse bouche we started off with some beautifully plated Tuna tartar and Granny Smith apples
Concerto Tasting
This was a good rendition of a classic, with the sweet apples juxtaposing the fatty tuna nicely.

The tuna was followed by a Tomato salad, persimon dressing, cherry tomatoes, tomato sorbet, parsley oil, olive crumbs
Concerto Tasting

Friday, January 3, 2020

Taco Omakase at Bee Taqueria (West Adams, Los Angeles)

West Adams seems to be the upcoming food hot spot, and Bee Taqueria is certainly adding to that reputation. Bee Taqueria is opened by chef Alex Carrasco, who has worked at places like Scratch Bar, Osteria Mozza, etc. It's not a fine dining place, but rather a colorful tin shack with outdoor seating only.
Bee Taqueria
That doesn't mean the food is low-brow. While Bee Taqueria has a casual a la carte taco menu, Carrasco also offers a taco omakase by reservation only, and it's one worth trying. There's a table of four in the corner that's set aside for the omakase.

We started with taco placero (market taco). For this one Carrasco uses a white heirloom corn tortilla and tops it with roasted pork belly, tomatillo salsa, and herbs including papalo and chives.
Bee Taqueria

Next: squid ink tortilla topped with quesillo, huitlacoche, black truffles, bottarga, and tomato.
Bee Taqueria
A great combination for someone (like me) who loves the black fungi like huitlacoche and truffles!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Urban Hearth: A Charming Gem Near Davis Square (North Cambridge, MA)

Urban Hearth is a small and charming supper club in North Cambridge, a short walk from Davis Square station. They're open for dinner and also for weekend brunch.
Urban Hearth
I tried Urban Hearth recently and got a cozy corner table by the window. Urban Hearth offers a seasonal prix fixe menu for supper, with a three-course option for $70 or five courses for $85. We picked the three course option but ended up with a lot more food thanks to the extra appetizer, palate cleansers, etc.
Urban Hearth
Even though the above pricing doesn't include wine pairing, they started us off with a cocktail made with blackberry syrup, pineapple and chamomile infused vodka, and lime.
Urban Hearth
The appetizer before the first course: bread with za'atar and red pepper feta
Urban Hearth
For the first course my friend got the Lamb dumplings, flowering mustard, pickled cherries, leek soubise, spring onion
Urban Hearth
I admit, I had food envy, the lamb dumplings were great, especially paired with the cherries!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Visit the Chef's Playground with Leo's Lab at Tico (Boston, MA)

The best meals are created when chefs get to play around and innovate with their ingredients. Chef Leo Asaro at Tico Restaurant in Boston's Back Bay gets to do every once in a while with a special dinner called Leo's Lab, which happen every 2-3 weeks.

Leo's Lab
For Leo's Lab, guests are seated at the lab kitchen counter, so you can see all the action of Chef Leo Asaro preparing everything. There are only eight seats and only one seating for the night, so it's quite an exclusive experience.

Each Leo's Lab dinner comes with five savory courses, a dessert, and a chef's special cocktail - plus a welcome glass of prosecco for $75. Instead of a server, chef Asaro serves and explains each dish to the guests.

I attended the last dinner, which started with some Bay scallops with autumn berry, pine, and smoked oil
Leo's Lab
It was near the end of the season for Nantucket bay scallops, and we savored it paired with tart autumn berry sauce.

"Wrapper's Delight" - vegetables wrapped with jamon serrano and mole
Leo's Lab
The mole took chef Asaro 2-3 days to make and was very rich in flavors. The wrap filling was also accentuated with some rau ram (culantro).


Hearts of Palm "Carbonara", uni and oyster crema, pancetta, pink peppercorn
Leo's Lab

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Seafood and Absinthe Go Swimmingly Good at Waypoint (Harvard Square, Cambridge)

Waypoint is the seafood-focused restaurant from Chef Michael Scelfo from Alden & Harlow. Tucked between Central Square and Harvard Square, it has become one of my favorite restaurants to go to for seafood.

One time, I went for the chef's counter tasting menu using a Gilt City voucher (seriously, Boston's Gilt City has some great restaurant deals listed from time to time).

For the tasting menu, we started with some oysters with pickled fennel mignonette, and fish pepper cocktail sauce
Waypoint
this was paired with Ca Di Rajo's Le Moss Pet Nat
Waypoint
We loved the wine. Le Moss is an unfiltered sparkling Glera Pet-nat (Petillant Naturel). Unlike champagne, these wines are bottled before fully completing its first fermentation.

The second course was the steak tartare, 3 minute egg, smoked trout roe, toast
Waypoint
This was one of the better steak tartare in the city, in my opinion. The flavor and texture of the meat was spot on, and the slightly runny egg yolk added a nice touch.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Tapas Tasting at Toro, a Boston Mainstay

I have long wanted to try Toro. This tapas bar from duo Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette has been around for many years (since 2005), but there's still always a long wait every night since they don't take reservations, even after they've opened other locations in New York and Bangkok. I finally went to try it when I saw a Gilt City voucher for it. The voucher for a tasting menu wasn't cheap at $100 but it was 8 courses including wine pairing, but the best part is that it allows you to make a reservation! If you've never used Gilt City, you can save $25 off your first order with my invite link.

The tapas tasting started with a Tortilla Espanola (egg, onion, potato, nettle, aioli). A nice rendition of the traditional Spanish dish. The ratio between egg and potato is just right.
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Uni Bocadillo (pressed uni sandwich, miso butter, pickled mustard seeds)
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This is similar to the uni sandwich at Coppa. Of course, I'm always happy to get uni on a tasting menu.

Since my friend is kosher, we got different third courses - I wanted at least one porky dish. I got the Jamon Blanco (Toast with lardo, marinated Jonah crab, black garlic, crispy shallots and avocado)
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While this wasn't what I had in mind when I wanted a "pork" dish, I enjoyed the toast regardless.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Mini Tasting Menu at Journeyman (Somerville, Boston, MA)

Journeyman is a small restaurant hidden in Somerville that only serves tasting menu. They're also one of the few (only?) spot in Boston that uses a ticketing system, and prices for the same menu vary depending on the time of your reservation. If you book a normal reservation, the 9-course tasting menu is $95. If you prepay by buying a ticket, the ticket is $85. But if you want to dine at a non-peak time - say, a Wednesday at 9pm, it's cheaper still at $75.

Journeyman
My friend and I wanted to go for cheaper still, and Journeyman also has a deal for diners who come on Wednesday, Thursday, or Sunday evenings after 8:30 pm. During this time, you can get a 4-course meal for $40! We sat at the counter and our meal started with a nice bread service.
Journeyman

Since it's next to Backbar, they also have a daily milk punch menu.
Journeyman

Our first course: Icelandic char, fennel puree, roasted sunchokes, chorizo oil, apricot gel, mizuna green
Journeyman

I'm partial to char ever since I went to Iceland and had a great arctic char at Blue Lagoon. I loved the crispy skin on this char. The flavors come together nicely in this dish and the chorizo oil added just the right amount of kick.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Tasting at Clio (Boston, MA)

I read recently that Clio, one of Ken Oringer's restaurants in the Eliot Hotel in Back Bay will be closing while Uni (also his restaurant) will be expanding into its space. I was a bit bummed by it since I recently tried Clio and enjoyed it. So, I thought I would blog about my experience there before they close, in case you guys would be enticed to go try it out! Plus, it's one of the only photos I took with my new Sony a6000 before it was stolen when my house got broken into the second time ... sigh.

Anyway, I had grabbed a Gilt City deal for a tasting menu at Clio, which was a pretty good deal for this restaurant. Clio has had a number of great bartenders behind the bar and albeit some have moved on to new restaurants, they still had a nice cocktail menu when I went. Being a root beer lover (don't give me that Dr. Pepper nonsense), I obviously went with the Sarsaparilla Flip (sarsaparilla spice rum, root beer reduction, egg white, nutmeg brulee, $14)

Clio

Dinner starts with an amuse bouche of nori with white umami cream cheese, lemon cream cheese - a rich umami bomb.
Clio

The first course was a Chilled Courgette (zucchini, basically) Soup, marinated mussels, rose geranium, truffle vinaigrette
Clio

The soup is a local marrow squash with smoked salt foam.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Tasting Room at 51 Lincoln Opens with 5-Course Menu (Newton, MA)

51 Lincoln in Newton will be opening their Tasting Room on July 29, where they will offer a 5-course prix fixe menu on Tuesdays-Saturdays. The Tasting Room will be located downstairs of 51 Lincoln.and can seat up to 20 people.

The Tasting Room
Before dinner started, we got some cocktails from 51 Lincoln's bar menu. I had the Barkeep's Julep with bourbon, sarsaparilla reduction, Leopold fernet, and mint ($12). The fernet's bitterness added a nice depth to this classic cocktail. 
The Tasting Room

The first course of our dinner was a light, refreshing scallop crudo with grapefruit segments, evoo, opal basil sauce. As you'll see throughout the dinner and in this course, the chef pays a lot of attention to the dishes and bowls used.
The Tasting Room
This was paired with a glass of Pinon sparkling Vouvray. It's a creamier sparkling and it's a lovely pairing with scallops.
The Tasting Room


Friday, June 26, 2015

Providence's Anniversary $80 Menu Extended to July

Chef Michael Cimarusti's Providence Restaurant celebrated its 10th anniversary with a four-course menu for $80 in June, but don't be mad that I didn't tell you because they've extended it to the month of July!

Providence is one of the top fine dining destinations in LA, as evidenced by it having survived 10 years! It's one of my favorites, and though it would usually cost quite a pretty penny to dine there, every June they celebrate their anniversary with a cheaper 4-course menu (it has gone up from the $65 from a few years ago, but hey, inflation). And lucky you, they usually also extend it to July.

Oh, and your $80 gets you more than just four courses. When I went there were amuse bouche upon amuse bouche and great bread service before the real dinner even started. The amuse bouche included salmon skin chips with creme fraiche.

Providence

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Forage: A Surprising Fine Dining Gem in Salt Lake City (Utah)

I never knew Salt Lake City to be a fine dining destination, but my last visit to Forage was an eye opener. Chef Bowman Brown's tasting menu at Forage is worthy to be compared to the best tasting menus in New York or other major metropolitan cities, and at a fraction of the price! The food and presentation reminded me a bit of my experience at Willows Inn.

We got the wine pairing and started dinner with a glass of Gruet Brut, followed by the first course:
apple and evergreen

Forage SLC
These tiny, bite-sized apples were filled with chestnut and coated in spruce vinegar. What a surprising dish and so fun to it. To make it even better, it was served with apple cider poured over spruce juniper. Can I have the whole pot?
Forage SLC

Bread with goat's milk butter, both really good (even if it doesn't compare to Willows Inn's chicken drippings to go with bread).
Forage SLC

Potatoes cooked in oak leaves, garlic scapes
Forage SLC

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ten Tables (Cambridge)

I finally tried Ten Tables in Cambridge, an outpost of the original in Jamaica Plain. It's a popular place - the cozy, dimly lit restaurant was completely packed and it wasn't even a weekend night. As with most other restaurants, they serve locally sourced ingredients, but instead of a hip, modern direction, they went with the comfortable, neighborhood feel.

We went with the tasting menu instead of ordering a la carte, which is $55 for 4 courses.

We started with a tile fish rillette

Ten Tables

Followed by Oyster with kombu seaweed, apple, vanilla foam
Ten Tables
I liked this surprising dish. I don't normally associate oyster with a creamy broth and vanilla aroma, but after my initial suprise I really enjoyed how the flavors worked together.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ribelle (Boston, MA)

Trying to find all the best restaurants in Boston, I jumped at a Gilt City deal for a tasting menu at Ribelle in Brookline. Ribelle is a small restaurant by chef Tim Maslow, a Momofuku alum. By the way, if you've never bought any voucher from Gilt City, you can get 25% off your first purchase using this link.

While waiting for my friends to arrive, I spent time at the bar with the Hip Replacement (Laphroaig, lime, salt, burnt cinnamon, $13), a nice cocktail with plenty of the components I like: smoke and citrus.

Ribelle

Our dinner started strong with some South Bay Blonde oysters with shiso ice. I'm really digging the briny East Coast oysters and these sweet oysters from Cape Cod are no exception.
Ribelle

We had a wonderful salad of Macoun apples, stracciatella, mustard frill, nori.
Ribelle
I can't think of a time I've had apples better and sweeter than these so I had to look them up. The macoun apple is a Fall fruit (yes, I'm behind on blogging and I had this meal in the fall) and is known to be especially sweet and juicy. It really was sweet and paired so well with the creaminess of the stracciatella.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Trio Menu at Next Restaurant (Chicago)

I've been visiting one Grant Achatz restaurant/bar per visit to Chicago, starting with Alinea, then The Aviary, The Office, and now, finally, Next. As you may know, the menu at Next changes every few months, and we're not just talking seasonal changes but complete, absolute shift to distinct themes. There had been Modern Chinese, Bocuse d'Or, Chicago Steak, and other themes. This time, since it is the 10th anniversary of Alinea, the theme is Trio. This is the restaurant in Evanston that Grant Achatz was working at when he met and subsequently partnered with Nick Kokonas to open Alinea. The menu thus evokes techniques and dishes that he served 10 years ago at Trio.

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Our meal started with Osetra,caviar avocado, sugar, lime
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This goes back to when they started playing with "neutral flavors" with the hardened sugar chip that adds texture to the dish.

Rock shrimp, cranberry, Meyer lemon, vanilla bean
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A simple fried shrimp skewered with a stick of vanilla bean to enhance the aromatic experience.

When we were first seated, we were given a glass of rose. Now, they bring a bottle of housemade bitters that we can add to the rose based on our own taste preferences.
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Crab, coconut, ten bridging garnishes
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