Showing posts with label wagyu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wagyu. Show all posts

Thursday, January 11, 2018

BOA Steakhouse: dineL.A. Restaurant Week Exclusive Series Preview

by guest blogger Bryan Tsunoda @discovering_LA

Dine L.A. Restaurant Week for Winter 2018 begins Friday, Jan. 12 and runs through Jan. 26. Approximately 300 LA area restaurants are participating for this event. Also returning is dineL.A.’s exclusive series: 16 select restaurants have created a special menu only available during dine L.A. These exclusive dinners start at $95 and BOA Steakhouse in Santa Monica and West Hollywood both return after successfully participating last year.

BOA Steakhouse is modern and has an impressive decor which quickly establishes the tone of the restaurant. We sat in the expansive outdoor patio which is designed to protect its diners from the elements. In January, al fresco dining is unheard of in most cities and I appreciated the experience.

Their dine L.A. menu is a four-course dinner featuring multiple selections per dish and the choices available are quite impressive. Foie Gras Torchon, black truffle cannelloni, Japanese Wagyu and pan seared scallop are just a few of the savory selections. A duo of exquisite desserts round out the last course (you can check out the full menu here).

BOA Steakhouse is well known for their caesar salad.

Prepared tableside it is fun watching the preparation, but it is also prepared to perfection. Foie gras lovers will appreciate the torchon method because it is prepared sous vide and is the ultimate way to prepare foie gras. It was placed on top of a funnel cake with blood orange marmalade giving it a salty and sweet experience.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

New Secret Kitchen Item from Crustacean

by guest blogger Bryan Tsunoda @btsunoda


Crustacean in Beverly Hills has been around for quite some time. The roasted crab and their famous garlic noodles are crowd pleasers and what Crustacean is best known for. Despite its name, Crustacean is so much more than that and I recently had the opportunity to sample some of their new offerings.
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Crustacean is also known for its “Secret Kitchen.” A closed door kitchen within a kitchen, it’s where some of the restaurant’s most coveted dishes are prepared. Since their opening in 1997, only six dishes have been created in the Secret Kitchen. Now, there's a new Secret Kitchen item that we'll be tasting tonight.

As I entered Crustacean, a three piece jazz ensemble provided entertainment to the bar patrons. The walk on water entrance features a serpentine shaped aquarium that doubles as a floor. It was obvious that Crustacean is still a place to be seen as everyone seated at the bar had the required ‘look’.DSCF2018 Our group was led outside through the side door of the restaurant, entered an unmarked exterior door and walked up a flight of stairs. We learned that this is Crustacean’s new “Secret Room” - a new private place to dine. Celebrities enjoy the fact that they can be whisked in from valet parking through the separate side door.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Osawa Upgrades Old Shaab Location in Pasadena

When Shaab shuttered it left Pasadena devoid of shabu shabu. Now Osawa has taken over the exact same spot, serving shabu Shabu, sushi, and otsumami (small plates). Osawa is owned by Sayuri Tachibe, the wife of Chaya's corporate chef, Shigefumi Tachibe.


I went with Wandering Chopsticks who I know doesn't drink much so I ordered something sweeter that she can enjoy, a yuzu sake called Aladdin. Definitely easy to drink.
There's also blood orange lemonade for those who don't drink at all.
We started with some otsumami. I had been eyeing the beef tongue with Furofuki daikon radish and shaved kelp ($11)
I wondered if this was a common combination. I've never had shaved kelp (as opposed to dried) and like bonito flakes, when they get wet they clump together making it hard to separate with your chopsticks, but overall I liked this interesting dish. The beef tongue was quite tender and I'm partial to daikon.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Preview of Trattoria Neapolis, Opening July 10 in Pasadena

There has certainly been quite a few new openings in Pasadena in the past couple of years, and there's one more to be excited about: Trattoria Neapolis on Lake Ave.

Having lived literally across the street for about 3 years, I now cannot even recall what was previously in this space next to Anthropologie. They have now renovated it into a spacious and elegant dining space, complete with a beautiful enclosed patio space by the entrance.

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A view of the bar from upstairs:
The bar at Trattoria Neapolis

Other than the food, you should also be really excited about the drink program. The owner Perry Vidalakis has really searched out some of the best in the business in every aspect.


Before the dinner started, we were all treated to a glass of Deus Brut des Flandres (Brouwerij Bosteels, Buggenhout, Belgium)
IMG_9862This biere de champagne has been one of my favorites, sometimes I crave it more than champagne.
Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune, a.k.a. The Beer Chicks, are in charge of the beer. Christina is responsible for the beer list while Hallie is acting as the in-house cicerone.
The main beer and wine list consist only of either local or Italian (with all beers on tap coming from the LA area), but there is an extensive reserve list with what they deem the best beers and wines from all over the world (the Deus obviously is on this list).
Christina had recently spent some time in Italy so this project came at the perfect time for her. She says there is a huge beer revolution there and there are over 300 breweries now in Italy, twice as many as in Belgium.


While waiting for dinner: Arancini - mini crispy lobster arancini, pickled fennel, Eureka lemon aioli
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The first two courses were paired with cocktails (that are actually created especially for this dinner. It's not on the menu but the bartenders can create "bespoke" cocktails for you).

For the cocktails, the owner has enlisted Vincenzo Marianella of Copa d'Oro, the Godfather of LA cocktail scene, to create the cocktail menu. His Italian background probably helps him pair the cocktails with the food here as well.
The first is Vincenzo's twist on a French75: Pasadena 75 with Plymouth gin, Cynar, lemon, cucumber and celery juices, prosecco
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The cocktail was bitter and aromatic, but it balances out perfectly with the beet salad:
Barbabietole - roasted baby beets, saba, grilled treviso, house made goat milk ricotta
Beet Salad
The salad had so many components to it, at the same time sweet, smoky, and bitter. The ricotta rounds it out with its creaminess. Great pairing with the cocktail, nothing overwhelms the other.

Polipo - wood grilled baby octopus with crispy "potato torta", cerignola olives, sweet tomato oil
Polipo
Think hashbrowns! That's what the crispy potato torta was like, the texture contrasting nicely with the tender baby octopus. The potato seemed to have been the star of the dish, though.

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This was paired with Ostuni, made with Partida Reposado tequila, Aperol, fresh ruby grapefruit juice, prosecco. 
(Ostuni is an area in Puglia famous for octopus.)


Vincenzo wanted to try something difficult to pair (tequila) and it worked quite nicely.


Our first pasta course was the Gnocchi - roast garlic gnocchi, smoked pork shoulder, artichoke, asparagus
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The chef, Bryant Wigger, is apparently famous for his gnocchi and I can definitely see why. These were so light and pillowy. I typically see gnocchi served with a sort of creamy sauce, and the smoked pork was a very nice departure from that. This may very well be my favorite gnocchi dish in town currently.

According to Christia Perozzi, artichoke is difficult for wine pairing but good with light, effervescent beer (which is also good with smoky flavors). She paired this with the Blond 5 from Brouwerij West, a local Los Angeles brewery. This 5% ABV Belgian style blond is fruity, citrusy, and effervescent.

Next is the Lasagna - wood grilled summer vegetables, ricotta, mascarpone
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This vegetable lasagna is a much lighter, healthier version of the standard dish - just right for the summer.

Paired with Nora, Birreria Le Baladin, Torino, Italy
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I have never had this before and this is now my new favorite beer! This beer from Piemonte is made from an ancient Egyptian recipe, using Kamut (a large Egyptian grain) and myrrh. It's fruity (notes of apricot and honey), with the malty sweetness, and just all in all amazing. If you see this beer retailing somewhere, please message me, seriously.

The entrees are paired with wine, which had been chosen by Diego Meraviglia. He wanted a list for everyone with all kinds of palates and budgets. There is a list of 50 wines under $50, and 120 wines in total (including the reserve list).

Our entrees:
Merluzzo - pan roast black cod, charred sweet corn, Manila clam broth, salsa maro (fava beans)
paired with Chardonnay, Copain, Anderson Valley 2010
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The black cod was so soft and delicate, yet the dish packed some bold flavors, especially with the corn.
The wine is a biodynamic, unoaked Chardonnay. According to Diego, it's balance between European and American style. Since black cod is a fatty fish, it needs something crisp with higher acid to cut it. 


Bistecca - wood grilled Wagyu flat iron steak, crispy Temecula honey onions, salsa verde, porcini BBQ sauce
Paired with Valpolicella "Ripasso" doc, "Il Bugiardo", Buglioni, Veneto 2008
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The flatiron cut of wagyu gives it that meaty flavor some people look for in a steak, but it's still very tender. The BBQ Sauce is made with oven dried porcini, mustard, and balsamic vinegar. Since it's sour, Diego paired it with a jammy wine to cut it. 

The Ripasso is Valpolicella which was remacerated in the pomace used to make Amarone. It's big and bold, but a middleground between the dry Valpolicella and sweet Amarone. (I'm seeing this middleground between two different styles to be a running theme here. The Chardonnay, the flatiron wagyu).

All the entrees come with a choice of a side dish, though in our tasting we more than one:
Finocchio - roasted fennel, tangerine, toasted pistachios, white balsamic
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The dish is quite sweet from the tangerine. The fennel was unusually creamy and soft.

Carciofi  - crispy artichokes, caper berries, ricotta salata, mint
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For the dessert course, we moved to the semi-private dining room upstairs:
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Panna Cotta - Greek yoghurt honey panna cotta with apricot granita, hazelnuts, and basil gelatini
Marsala Superiore, 10 years, De Bartoli, Sicilia
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Yoghurt panna cotta? Yep!
Marsala is historically a very important dessert wine but thanks to marketing and commercialization it has been relegated to cooking wine. Diego wants to show what a great dessert wine it is.

The dessert was also served with a cup of Guatemala Finca El Injerto - Bourbon varietal, single origin direct trade, French press. The restaurant uses Stumptown Coffee, who will soon be opening a roaster in Los Angeles (in early 2013), but the Trattoria's decision to exclusively use their coffee came way before that.


The panna cotta was actually great with the coffee. The Marsala was great but pairing-wise, I thought the coffee was better. 

We didn't try any of their pizza tonight, but their oven sure seemed impressive. The back part of the restaurant will be a sort of market / food-to-go section and they have tapped the former manager to Mozza 2 Go to run it.

Trattoria Neapolis will soft open with dinner service on July 10.

Trattoria Neapolis
336 S Lake Ave
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 792-3000
trattorianeapolis.com
Trattoria Neapolis on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Raymond: a Pasadena Old School Classic

The Raymond, situated in a historic cottage built in 1901, is very much a part of Pasadena history. This intimate and charming restaurant has always been a Pasadena favorite for romantic dates and special occasions, but the forward looking management is aiming for a larger audience. For this reason, they invited some bloggers for a private tasting.
Even though it's right next to a major street, walking down to the restaurant transports you to old Pasadena, with a quiet and welcoming facade.

Their new Executive Chef, Tim Guiltinan, is a Cordon Bleu graduate and had worked at various restaurants in the Orange County including as chef de cuisine at Leatherby's Cafe Rouge under Mark Gold (now of Eva). Guiltinan has been heading the kitchen for 1 1/2 years.

Our multi course meal started out with three Island Creek Oysters, harvested 2 days ago.
The oysters were big and meaty. Three oysters call for three sauces. Here they serve: asian ginger szechuan peppercorn, habanero, red wine & shallot mignonette
The szechuan and habanero sauces luckily weren't too spicy although they did have a teeny kick to them. My favorite was easily the mignonette and I think many of us agreed.

Next was a simple salad of locally grown lettuce tossed in lemon vinaigrette and garnished with smoked salt.
This one paired with 2007 Alois Ladeger Pinot Grigio (vat fermented from north east Italy)
The lettuce was very fresh and definitely showed superiority of sourcing it locally, though the salad itself was perhaps too simple for a tasting menu such as this.

The third course was Heirloom beets with Cypress Grove goat cheese, paired with Arneis from Piemonte, Italy.
The wine is minerally by itself but the beet and cheese bring out the fruitiness, making this one of the more memorable pairings of the night.

Sea bream (a.k.a. tai snapper) with lime vinaigrette, diced chile, and Australian Marie river salt.
Paired with prosecco.
This was a little spicy for my weak tongue, though I can still handle it. The sea bream was fresh but perhaps could use a little more salt.

Sable fish (cod fish) from Canada (harvested yesterday), piquillo, Venus clams.
Paired with Ramey Chardonnay from the Russian River valley.
Guiltinan sources a lot of his seafood from "his guy" in Canada and manages to get very fresh seafood. The cod fish had a crispy outer layer and a nice kick from the chorizo. Paired well with the chardonnay, so far this is my favorite.

Deep water scallop from Canada with house grown basil, black trumpet mushrooms from Oregon. Paired with 2007 Porter bass Chardonnay from Sonoma coast.
The scallop had a lovely texture and a nice subtle flavor that's not overwhelmed by the sauce and accompaniments.


New Zealand John Dory with soy and sweet pea and maitake mushroom.
Paired with 2007 Sonoma Coast Flower Pinot Noir.
Another well cooked fish with a nice texture, this dish had great flavors and I particularly liked the sweet pea and the mushrooms.

American wagyu medallion from Idaho. Served with Potato emulsion with jus, soy caviar.
Paired with 2006 Napa Valley Chappellet Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon.

Photo courtesy of e*starLA

The wagyu was amazing and cooked perfectly. Very tender and flavorful. The dish easily became my favorite of the night and as far as my memory serves me, this was better than my experience with CUT's American wagyu.

Our dessert was layered in a martini glass: Butterscotch topped with panna cotta, popcorn tuile, blueberry compote.
I'm not sure if the layers work here. As a dessert it was overall too salty/buttery for my taste. I crave something sweeter to finish off my meals. I did like the fact that the dessert was paired with scotch however, since it is unusual and complements dessert better than sweet wines in my opinion as it cuts the sweetness (though the sweetness is lacking in this dessert).

Luckily they did serve these chocolate truffles after.
The Raymond is a special place for the Pasadena community for its history as both an architectural landmark and a long-standing (30 years) fine dining establishment. With the new management and new executive chef, they bring in high quality ingredients and infuse playful touches in their classic dishes. While some dishes still seem to be lacking, yet others I found to be great and a couple of brilliant dishes have me looking forward to what they have in store for the future.

PS. The Raymond has donated a $100 gift certificate to Bid and Eat for Haiti, so if you want to check out the place, why not bid on it? 100% proceeds go to charity!

The Raymond
1250 S Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 441-3136
theraymond.com
Raymond on Urbanspoon
Raymond in Los Angeles

Thursday, June 18, 2009

CUT: 100% Wagyu Beef and a $200 Meal

I was coaxed by the 100% Japanese wagyu beef! By a reservation that suddenly becomes available. At any rate I found myself at what is purported to be the best steakhouse in LA, Wolfgang Puck's CUT, with fellow bloggers Pepsi Monster, KevinEats, and tangbro1.


We started with a variety of bread including these Gougeres,
and a bottle of champagne: 2002 Jose Dhondt Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Mes Vieilles Vignes.

We pretty much dined family style, sharing everything from appetizers to steaks. We ordered a series of appetizers according to CUT veterans Kevineats and tangbro1.

Prime Sirloin "Steak Tartare", Herb Aioli, Mustard ($22)
A classic but well-done preparation of steak tartare, with high quality meat. This was delicious and rich with the addition of the quail egg.

#1 Grade Blue Fin "Toro" Tartare, Wasabi Aioli, Ginger, Togarashi Crisps, Tosa Soy ($32)
This was a good quality tuna and a well-done dish, but quite the "classic" preparation - in other words, rather boring.

Kobe Steak Sashimi, Spicy Radishes ($22)
I enjoyed this dish quite a bit and wished I could have more. The meat tasted fresh and had a nice flavor and texture.

Warm Veal Tongue, Marinated Artichokes, Cannellini Beans, "Salsa Verde" ($17)
Perhaps my favorite appetizer of the night, tender flavorful tongue and delicious tomatoes. This was the most interesting of the appetizers. The tongue was gamey which might put off others but I personally love.

Maple Glazed Pork Belly, Asian Spices, Watercress, Sesame-Orange Dressing, Rhubarb Compote ($16)

Since we couldn't decide on a red wine, I chose a 1997 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape, because I've never had a Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This one was not particularly smooth - I thought it was okay.

We also shared 2 non-steak entrees:

Kobe Beef Short Ribs "Indian Spiced", Curried Sweet Pea Purée, Garam Masala, Slowly Cooked For Eight Hours ($39)
Sashimi Quality Big Eye Tuna Steak ($42)
Surprisingly, the tuna takes the win in this competition. The short ribs were quite tender but a bit too sweet. The tuna was excellent - high quality fish and seared just right. The middle rare part was delicious.

As for the steak, we decided to get each one and divided it evenly among everyone (6 people total). These are the 4 steaks, in the order of least favorite:

4. U.S.D.A. Prime, Illinois Corn Fed, Aged 21 Days; Bone In New York Sirloin 20 Oz ($56)
The cheapest, and weakest, of all the steaks. It's probably good by itself, but after having the other three, I'd stick with one of the other three no doubt.

3. American Wagyu / Angus "Kobe Style" Beef From Snake River Farms, Idaho; New York Sirloin 8 Oz ($75)
Before trying the 100% wagyu, I quite liked this. After a while though, it isn't as meaty as the dry aged, but not as amazingly-fatty as the wagyu. Feels like it's just stuck in the middle for me.

2.U.S.D.A. Prime, Nebraska Corn Fed, Dry Aged 35 Days; New York Sirloin 14 Oz ($59)
Flavorful, juicy, and meaty. If I had to eat more than 2 oz, this would be my favorite any day as the 100% wagyu would just be too fatty. An excellent piece of steak.

1.True Japanese 100% Wagyu Beef From Saga Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan; New York Sirloin 6 Oz ($120)
What we came for. Let's take a look:
In the middle is the American Wagyu while to the right is the 100% Wagyu. The difference in marbling is strikingly noticeable (pardon the flash, but I had to capture it). And aye, it's that fatty. Yes, it is delicious. If you're eating 2 oz or less. Anything more and I would have a heart attack :P (Well, I may be able to handle 3 oz).

Indulgence does not end there. It's time for some dessert!

We started our dessert courses with a Brooke Cherry Toasted Almond Crumble, Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream ($14)
They scoop the crumble onto the bowl tableside. I'm very much partial to berry cobbler/crumble and thus really enjoyed this.

Dark Chocolate Soufflé, Whipped Crème Fraîche, Gianduja Ice Cream ($14)
I've heard about the Valrhona chocolate souffle at CUT and thus have been looking forward to this dessert. A well done souffle with a rich chocolate flavor.

Warm Brioche Doughnuts, Huckleberry Compote, Butter Pecan Ice Cream ($14)
The simplest turned out to be the table's favorite. The doughnuts were warm and fluffy, they were perfect with a bite of the nutty, creamy ice cream.

To finish the meal were three types of dessert bars: lemon, caramel, and chocolate.
I liked the lemon bar the best, though I've always been against caramel because it sticks to your teeth ...

Kevin says that this was the weakest of his CUT visits thus far, which was unfortunate since it was my first. I still had a good impression overall, though, and would probably come back another time. This meal cost $184 including tax and tips. At first I was proud for spending less than $200, but then I went to pay the valet .... which cost another $16 :P
So there you go, $200 even for a grand tasting at CUT.


CUT
9500 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 276-8500
Cut (Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons) on Urbanspoon

Cut in Los Angeles

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