Monday, March 29, 2010

Café Sabarsky - New York, NY
Kaiser Mélange und Apfelstrudel

Per Colonel Landa, one must wait for the cream.

Neue Galerie
1048 5th Avenue, 
New York, NY ‎10028


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spago Beverly Hills - Los Angeles, CA
When someone mentions Wolfgang Puck, I usually think of his casual airport chain, which, admittedly I am usually not in much of a hurry for. His flagship Spago Beverly Hills, on the other hand, is a pretty serious restaurant in Los Angeles with two Michelin stars (hm..) and a loyal following. So, when I was in LA, I was curious to check out Spago and form my own opinion. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch on the patio on a sunny (per usual) LA day. We ordered the tasting menu and added two items a la carte.

Tuna tartare in a sesame tuile with bonito flakes. The tuile was cloyingly sweet; the whole thing eaten together was a bit of a strange combination.

Roasted Chino Farm's beet layer cake - warm sautéed goat cheese, toasted hazelnuts and shallot-citrus dressing

Smoked sturgeon lemon herb blini

Bacon confit gougère. Pretty tasty and addictive.

Cucumber with roe

Raw Nantucket bay scallops

Sautéed Nantucket bay scallops, pickled ginger vinaigrette, Asian cabbage. Fresh scallops in both preparations; nothing too groundbreaking but good.

Broiled langoustine with a side of pad thai (served tableside from a mini saucepan; elicited my chuckle)

Marinated Kobe “Szechuan” steak - stir fried bok choy, choy sum and shiitake mushrooms. Pretty flavorful and tender steak, and the far east accoutrements surprisingly did not distract.

However, this frivolous side of rice did.

Hand-made agnolotti with foie gras and pork. Probably my favorite course; well done house made pasta with a surprisingly light and delicate filling.

Grilled lamb chops with cauliflower puree and wine-black truffle reduction and shavings. The lamb was quite good, but the sauce overpowered all other ingredients.

Warm fig compote, mandarin sorbet, grapefruit, creme fraiche, bent shortbread

Twelve layer chocolate cake

The food at Spago is pretty fresh and tasty. Nothing was that standout but I'd return for good standard California cuisine fare. Not a 2 star establishment in my opinion, but the whole US system is puzzling to say the least.

Spago Beverly Hills
176 N Canon Dr,
Beverly Hills 90210

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Monday, March 08, 2010

Soto - New York, NY
New York has a good number of great sushi restaurants, and Soto occupies an attractive niche: excellent uni and its frequent usage in inventive small plates. Some flavor themes are consistent throughout the menu - shroomy broths, miso, truffle salt, an abundance of ponzu - but done thoughtfully and with high quality fish. 

Ainame ponzu - thinly sliced Japanese greenling fish with chive, ginger shoots, shiso leaf, under mizore ponzu sauce

Sea trout carpaccio - cured tasmanian sea trout with black truffle sea salt, sweet miso mustard sauce, served with sesame cresoon

Uni and yuba - black soy bean milk skin with uni, served with shiitake broth. Thin, delicate sheets of soy skin rolled tightly and topped with the freshest uni. It turned out that the rest of our uni dishes would be standout too.

Uni ika sugomori zukuri - sea urchin wrapped in thinly sliced squid with shiso, served with quail egg and tosa soy reduction

Cyu toro tartare - chopped fatty part of big eye tuna with avocado coulis, garnished with caviar, chive, served in sesame ponzu sauce. The finely minced toro was very high quality, but overpowered by the avocado.

Uni cocktail - sea urchin sashimi with soy reduction and fresh wasabi

The fish at Soto is very high quality and the small plates are done with great attention to detail. You also can't go wrong with anything that has uni. It really is a wonder though, why the place isn't packed with more people.

357 Sixth Ave.
New York, NY 10014

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