Sunday, January 25, 2015

Upland

 
As one might expect, if a restaurant is new and has a good team behind it, Chef Justin Sillie formaly of Il Buco Alimentari, it's imposible to get a reservation. In this case, no reservation leads to dinner at the bar (finally after about 30 minutes the people infront of us paid their bill and the bar stools were all ours). Bar seats are the best at new restaurants I feel because that's where you can see the crowd best and chatt with the bartender about all that is the restaurant. So exited to eat at Upland, at last.



This pear pizza was a great starts. Lots of flavors here, a wonderful balance of textures between the stracciatella, pear, and arugula. Pecan pesto and balsamic added an extra zest. A bit too much crust though but I guess that's what keeps all the ingredients nicely contained. If you love pizza I say you should give this one a try for sure.


This was a tasty surpirse, after all, I've never actually tried celeriac before. It's slow roasted and covered with black truffle butter. Oh so good. The texture is almost that of a potato but less starchy, a bit crunch and fresh. It does seem a bit oily but it doesn't taste this way. Unusual, unique and delicious.


Beef tartare is prepared with black trympet mushrooms and covered by puffed farro. Anchovy and egg yolk on the side mix very well with the meat. It's very tasty but nothing too crazy.


I like wings and I like duck, and I love these here crispy duck wings. Fall-off-the-bone soft, juicy, all cooked with great tasting chili paste called yuzu kosho. I bit salty but still that doesn't deter from the dish. If wings are your thing then definitely try this fancy take on them.


There's a lot going in in the upland cioppino. Clams, mussels, striped bass, honah crab and a big red shrimp to top it all off. Everything is mixed in with gochujan, Korean red chili paste, which makes the broth taste amazing. Loved this dish. It's good to share.


This unusual creation was at almost every table so naturally it appears here as well. It's a whole crispy hen of the wood mushroom with herbs, on the drier side. Fun texture, a good side dish but doesn't blow away with flavor.


No room for dessert this time. I'm sure it's as creative and delicious as all the other dishes here. Next visit for sure!

I loved the food and the lively atmosphere, although as expected it's was a bit of a shit-show with lots of people. Even at 11pm on a Tuesday this place is hopping. I don't see the hype dying down anytime soon though, the food is great amazing. Go!

Upland
345 Park Avenue South
212-686-1006 

Monday, October 13, 2014

White Street Restaurant

White Street has been getting a lot of press since it opened last month. Seems like it has to be a hit with a well known chef and restaurantours behind it. My visit on opening night gave mixed feelings about the place though. Granted the space is big and beautiful, modern and impressive. The food, however seemed a bit uninspired. It almost felt like a bunch of random dishes that have nothing in common, not really a consistent style. Some things were good but not sure if it lives up to all the hype.



Generous crabmeat cocktail. Good crab but sort of bland, not much else going on here, no flavor kick. Either way, one of the better things we tried. 



Hamachi tartare was good. Fish was very fresh, nice and light. This one is good as well.



Braised beef short ribs. So much going on here. Sloppy pileup of ingredients on top of actually very good beef short ribs. Not sure why the fries need to be on top at all. A bit of a mess this one, beef gets lost. Very good meet but too much going on. Not my favorite at all.



This one is a fish, randomly crusted. Tamarid glaze was nice and the actual fish was good, but this, like other dishes here, seems to try too hard to be something creative and as a result, the flavor is lost in everything else that's going on.



On to dessert. Chocolate mousse cake with hazelnut praline and ice cream. It's okay. Wish there was more mousse and less praline which seems to be all that's there. Really liked the dark chocolate on top, but was hoping for more. Overall, good not great dessert.


Not sure what to think about the dinner. Looks like the place is still trying to figure things out and try out the dishes. I think they need to simplify the preparation and focus on the main ingredient as oppose to trying to add so much stuff to every dish that you don't really get the full taste of anything. Cocktails were good though, very nice bar program. I would be curious to try this place again in a few month and see how things are then but as of now, I don't think this place is that good, especial compared to so many other amazing restaurants it that area - Distilled, Tamarind, atera (none like it), Bouley, and Locanda Verde.  

White Street
221 West Broadway
New York, NY
(212) 944-8378
whitestreetnyc.com

Friday, September 12, 2014

Navy


Navy, a new seafood place in SoHo is a must-try. It's a small place but I hear they will soon expend next door. Have to say that this place is charming and wonderful with it's fresh, crisp seafood flavors, great cocktails, and an occasion celebrity sightings.







Black Bass Crudo was fresh and delicious. The fish was nicely complimented by soft avocado and all covered in citrus on a bed of light yogurt. Great to mix everything up to get the perfect bite each time.



Another win was the Chili Squid. So nice that it's not fried, grilled instead with mixings of green herbs and charred cauliflower. Great presentation with arugula tahini on the side and a pleasure to eat.



Tuna Crudo, similarly to black Bass Crudo, had a great combination of contrasting flavors. Obviously the tuna was perfect and the diced sweet nectarines were such a great addition. Yummy and light yet full of flavor.



Seared tuna with pickled beets, stringed zucchini, and a thin pitta for soaking up the sauce. Expert preparation of of tuna, rare on the inside and pepper seared on the outside. Tart beets went great with the rich fish. It seems all the dishes so far have a mix of great ingredients that somehow form a unified delicious food experience.



Carrots were a bit oily but that did not distract us from devouring the entire plate within minutes. Soft, sweet carrots tossed with squash blossoms and herbs. Great side dish.



And yet another solid choice are the cucumbers. Usually never order cucumbers, I mean, how flavorful can they be? But, since all the food has had such a great feel so far then this should be equally as nice. The cherries and pine nuts gave usually bland cucumbers a wonderful flavor kick.



I really like how Navy pairs it's fish with citruses. This Striped Bass Vera Cruz prepared with heirloom tomatoes and crushed almonds was no exception, just as surprisingly awesome as all the other dishes.



Yes, there has been a lot of food on this table but how can you not save room for dessert. I just can't pass up a chocolate mousse. Simple, just as it should be. Loved the splashes of fresh cream. 


If you are bored with standard fish dishes then dinner at Navy is the way to go. The menu changes all the time so you will constantly be surprised by new inventions from the chef.

Navy
137 Sullivan Street
New York, NY

navynyc.com

Monday, July 28, 2014

Dinner at Bâtard

Bâtard has been open for a little while now and has been getting really good reviews. It's about time I visit. It's tasting menu style where you can choose 2, 3 or 4 courses, and it's actually reasonably prices, as compared to others I've seen. Everything looks very interesting so I'm exited to finally try the food.


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It must be heirloom tomato season, seems like they are on every menu in the city. Nice and fresh, bursts of flavor. I would venture a guess that this dish is only around for a short period of time so if you're a fan of heirloom tomatoes go sooner than later.



Always up for trying new octopus dishes. Octopus Pastrami was unexpectedly delightful. Braised ham added interesting balance to the dish and I just loved pommery mustard and it's texture. Order this. 



Rabbit Bouillabaisee was just okay. The meas was kind of bland for my taste. Reached over for the Veal Tenderloin to steal some bites instead. The saffron ravioli was pretty great though. So really, the dish would have been perfect without the meat, it really didn't add anything interesting.



I believe the Veal Tenderloin was the winning dish of the night. Meat so tender and juicy, and the thin crust was just the right consistency to keep in all the juices. The fixings were wonderful as well, loved everything about this. The sweetbreads were hard to find but hey no loss here, no one likes too much sweetbreads anyway, they can certainly be overwhelming.



Lime tart. They didn't have key lime pie. That would have been a perfect dessert. This was okay. Good tart but not my favorite. Order if you like lemon based desserts, you'll enjoy it.


Bâtard
239 West Broadway 
(212) 219-2777 

myriadrestaurantgroup.com/batard.php

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dinner at Narcissa


A little late to the party but better late then never. Michelin-starred chef John Fraser’s Narcissa has been around for a while now and definitely received raving reviews for being farm-to-table restaurant with beloved dishes. Finally, after all this time, Sunday night is my date night with Narcissa. Despite it being 10pm on a Sunday, the Standard East Hotel is hoppin'. Lot's of trendy-wannabees, young and old couples on dates, and even an occasional hisppter, all are there. Make your way to the restaurant entrance quick and you're finally safe from crowd. At last it's dinner time. 


Start with Mission Figs. For some reason I thought they would look like stuffed dates, they don't. Dish is generous with the mangalitsa ham and homemade rocotta and a few figs. The proportions of the ingredients are actually perfect because figs are pretty sweet and the rocotta and the ham cancel that out. This is a good one.



Probably the most ordinary dish was shrimp with quinoa. Strawberries were a nice touch but everything seemed to be separate from each other. Things just didn't mix well. Shrimp were fine on their own, although a bit bland. Quinoa was alright as well and the strawberries didn't seem to fit in at all. Meh.



So if you think that carrot fries will be healthier than regular french fries you are very wrong my friend. Carrot slices are fried in delicious dough and served with jalapeno-tofu dip. Amazing but not very healthy at all. All this works and tastes great although it's pretty sinful.



Kale was nice, although I bit oily. Not much to say here, just a purist kale side dish, always good to try.



I like Beef Wellington and I like carrots. Carrots Wellington?! Obviously yes. This was my favorite. So delicious and full of flavor. Carrots were sweet and perfectly cooked, the thin dough was light and crispy, so good. The addition of bluefoot mushrooms and sunchokes made this one winning plate of outstanding preparation!



Since carrot seems to be the natural theme of dinner then Partnip-Carrot Cake is the obvious choice for dessert. It's almost a de-constructed version of the traditional one. Cake itself was really good and carroty, if I may. Only thing missing was more cream cheese frosting, should be more of it I say. Good to try but probably next time the Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with curry-roasted bananas and espresso ice cream should be the choice.

Narcissa 
21 Cooper Square 
New York, NY
(212) 228-3344
narcissarestaurant.com 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The NoMad Bar


Just around the corner from the NoMad hotel is a new NoMad Bar, an extension of the NoMad empire if you will. This place has everything to make it a win, just like anything that has to do with The NoMad. There is a solid bar with amazing bar tenders who take extreme care making drinks, giving each cocktail special attention, making it perfect. It feels good to know your drink is not a slap-dash of a mix. Upstairs is where the dining room is, though there are a few places on the main floor if you want to be in the happening bar area. Dining upstairs looks over the bar so you can easily people watch and spy without them noticing. Plus it's a great place to watch the bar tenders at work, until you get your food. 


You don't see Carrot Tartar very much, you will in the future though, and The NoMad Bar has it. It's very surprisingly and amazingly delicious. Great combination of horseradish, mustard and whatever-else is mixed in, with a spicy hint. Definitely a must-order. The side of thin bread chips were light and crispy. Do this.


Another small dish is Scotch Olives. The olive is stuffed with sheep's milk cheese, wrapped inside lamb sausage and fried, the Scotch egg style. Even though I'm a fan of olives, this dish was just okay. Not much interesting going on here. Order something else instead, there are many other great choices.


A must have, and apparently a-claim-to-fame of the NoMad Bar, is the Chicken Pot Pie. The chef wanted to create something that would match the famous Chicken for Two at The NoMad dining room. This dish is delicious, and not as filling as it might seem. The Pie is brought to the table with a side of foie gras on a skewer and a spoon full of black truffle mousse-type mixture. Spoon breaks the pie crust on top and in goes the foie gras pieces, followed by a spoon full of truffle mousse. All this is stirred around flavoring the pie filling. That's good stuff right there. Very nice dish.


Now, for the ultimate dish, The Dry-Aged Burger. I would say this is the best burger ever! Better than anything similar out there. First off, the meat is incredibly juice and full of flavor. Topped with cheddar cheese and red onions. There is some sort of sauce on top that flavors the bun as well as the meat. This is an absolute must. Get this! You're welcome.


Can't leave out the drinks, this is a bar after all. The Huntsman is fresh and crisp and yet you can feel that's it's pretty strong on the vodka. Good but not favorite. A great cocktail that's easy to drink and full of interesting flavors is randomly named the Scotch Dumpling. Has brandy, scotch, and egg white, among other ingredients. Egg white gives the drink that froth on top. You'll order more than one during the evening.


Another drink is also strangely named the Shuttlecock. It's a friuity, icy cocktail that' a joy to drink. Not too sweet, just fresh and crisp. You have to love the blackberries and mint in your cocktail this summer.



How can a dinner be complete without dessert. It's the Chocolate Bar this evening. Dark chocolate squares filled with caramel. Yumm! Don't eat all of it after dinner, take some home with you and enjoy it for a few days.


This NoMad Bar is a new favorite, big part because of the burger and intricate, crafty cocktails. Daniel Humm and James Kent have created another winner. You'll want to go back more than once for sure. 

The NoMad Bar
10 West 28th Street
212-796-1500
thenomadhotel.com

Monday, June 23, 2014

Cherche Midi, New York

Cherche Midi is a new creation by Keith McNally, the man behind NY classics like Balthazar, Minetta Tavern, Morandi, and Lucky Strike. This new venture brings together Shane McBride from Balthazar and Daniel Parilla from Minetta Tevern. It seems Cherche Midi is destined for greatness.  

The space is reminiscent of Balthazar, similar decor and French Brasserie type atmosphere but obviously much smaller. There are socialites, business people, dates and tourists - interesting people from all walks of life it seems. Now, about that food...


Cherche Midi Crudites are green market vegetables and salami. A board of fresh and marinated veggies covered with seasoning and a little bit of oil. I do wish there was more salami though as it was very tasty. Great way to start the meal.



Just look at that homemade brioche. How beautiful it looks. Pan-roasted foie gras is served on a bed of rhubarb. To make the perfect bite, take a generous portion of the brioche, spread foie gras and add a piece of rhubarb on top. The sweetness of the warm brioche tones down the creaminess of the perfectly prepared foie gras and the tartness of rhubarb adds an unexpected and amazing burst of an additional level of flavor. It's all good here. 



Steak tartare is very tasty at Cherche Midi. The meat is obviously perfect and the mixed-in fixings are evenly incorporated throughout the entire serving. This is just wonderful. Don't even need bread for this, just take a fork and enjoy. 



Saddle of lamb is prepared with zucchini, eggplant and basil. Very good dish here. Lamb is exquisitely prepared, it melts in your mouth. Basil sauce is a great compliment. This dish is so full of delicious flavor it definitely deserved a place at your table. 



Lobster ravioli is amazing. Generous on the lobster each ravioli is a burst of flavor. Don't you dare puncture or cut it. Just take one and eat it whole, that way you don't loose any juices. The creamy ginger beurre blanc sauce is light and altogether ideal for the ravioli. It's so nice to actually taste the lobster and not just the dough. This is a must-try. 



Apparently the Keith McNally and his team have spend months trying to invent a burger that would rival the Black Label burger at Minetta Tavern. Obviously have to try this. This prime-rib burger is topped of with bacon marmalade, roasted mushrooms, and gruyère cheese. So much hope and expectations for this. Pleased to say that this is an amazing burger, I mean, how can it not be with bacon marmalade and melted gruyère cheese. Very well done. However, I wouldn't go as far to say that this is better than the Black Label burger. In my opinion it's not. This is definitely worth trying though. 



Oh how I love soufflé! Chocolate soufflé is probably my favorite dessert ever. So happy to report that this one is a sure win! So many soufflés are too sweet, overpowered with sugary taste. This one was chocolaty, not too sweet, perfect consistency and is the most delicious thing ever. I have witnessed a couple order two of these and after, ordered another round. Yes, it's that good. There was also a raspberry soufflé that's waiting for me next time I'm there. 


So exited for this great addition to Keith McNally's empire. This man can do no wrong I tells ya. Can't wait to go back, probably will be there tomorrow.

Cherche Midi
282 Bowery 
(212) 226-3055