Tag Archives: BBQ

Le Bernardin

Happy New Years!

Au Revoir New York! Now how do I celebrate an end of an era? I’ve got the perfect answer…

By dining at one of New York’s most prestigious restaurants, Le Bernardin by Chef Eric Ripert. Often regarded as the world’s best seafood restaurant, Le Bernardin currently resides at #15 of the best restaurants in the world. Did I mention the 3 Michelin Stars and 4 star New York Times rating?A requirement to dine at Le Bernardin is that all men must wear a suit jacket and must have it on the duration of the meal. Stay Classy. If you’re ever lucky enough to arrive early before the rest of your party, you’re greeted with a plate of flaky parmesan breadsticks in the waiting room.

I mean seriously, how awesome is this? 99% of restaurants don’t even serve starter bread as delicious as these breadsticks. Yet, these appear while you’re still waiting in the foyer. Amazing.Let the free swag continue! As soon as we’re seated, the sommelier presents us with $75 worth of complimentary champagne.While sipping on the delicious crisp champagne, a gorgeous plate is placed in front of us. Served as an amuse bouche, is a Poached Oyster with Truffle Foam over a Sea Salt Bed. The oyster has a tremendous flavor while the foam provides a silk-like texture, add in a sprinkle of that sea salt and I guarantee you it’s the best little oyster you’ll ever have. Did I mention, all of this was served before we were even presented with menus? My friends and I elected to go with the tasting menu, be aware that it’s going to take a while. Our entire meal lasted an enduring 4 hours. This was the clearest picture I could get of the ultra quick man with the bread basket. In between every course, this mysterious man floats by, delivering a basket of fresh and warm baked goods of your choice. Now not knowing that he would continue to show up, I grabbed a beastly three pieces off his basket. A rosemary olive breadstick and raisin bread. Another thing to note is that well of softened butter at the top. The bread man had a best friend, and his name was butter man. That well of butter was always fill to the brim thanks to butter man. Sometimes it was like magic, I would scoop some butter for a bite, but when I reached back for more, the well would instantly be refilled.Our first course arrives, and it definitely resembles a pair of lips. Layers of Thinly Pounded Yellowfin Tuna; Foie Gras and Toasted Baguette with Shaved Chives and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The actual tuna ends up texturally similar to a jelly. The foie gras adds a velvety texture as well as contributes a nice depth of flavor. Finally, the baguette adds the final dimension of texture with that needed crunch.How romantic, they add a floating candle to your table. You have to indulge in a bottle of wine to complete this perfect meal.Here’s some more bread, the raisin bread again with a warm and soft sourdough roll. Next up, we have a Charred Octopus with Fermented Black Beans in a Pear Sauce Vierge Ink with Miso Vinaigrette and Purple Basil. Personally, I thought this dish had a strong Asian taste influence with the fermented black beans. And to be honest, although it was still good, it wasn’t my absolute favorite. I would’ve loved to have substituted this for something else.Before I can complain about anything, a magnificent jewel is placed in front of me. A plate containing a Warm Lobster Carpaccio with Hearts of Palm and an Orange Vinaigrette. The server comes around and drizzles a stream of warm melted butter sauce to top the lobsters. This dish would make all the angels in heaven jealous. The soft buttery lobster, is just so decadent that word’s cannot explain how perfect this dish is. I remember closing my eyes so that I could enhance my sense of taste. But as with all great things, it came to an end. Before I could lament, the next course was placed in front of me. Baked Wild Striped Bass with Cashew and Jalapeno Purée, topped Pickled Cucumbers and served with a Chill Blue Crab Consommé.  After the bass is doused with the blue crab consommé, the fragrance of the dish is so splendid it could calm a riot. The beautifully crafted consommé is perhaps the best pure broth that I’ve ever had. The flavor is absolutely ethereal and to be honest, I believe the bass played second fiddle to the broth. Keep in mind, that I’m not taking anything away from the wonderfully cooked bass, but just reiterating how tremendous the consommé truly is. Before I could wipe the gigantic smile off my face, I was served this little number, which made me smile even bigger (if that was even possible). Le Bernardin’s rendition of Surf and Turf – Escolar (aka White Tuna) and Seared Nebraska Wagyu Beef topped with a Sea Bean Salad and Eggplant Fries. I’m literally running out of synonyms for perfect and delicious. But that’s exactly what this was. The Wagyu without question was tremendous and the Escolar was flawless. The red wine sauce compliments both the steak and tuna, and those little eggplant fritters, well, let’s say I can eat a whole basket full of them. My goodness, are we done yet? Thanks to my friend Valerie knowing one of the sous-chefs, we were given another course (compliments of the chef). An immaculately cooked piece of Sea Bass with a deconstructed Chinese BBQ Pork Bun (imagine a steamed BBQ pork bun, but inside out). I don’t know if this fully counts as a dessert, but to me it’s just an intermezzo. Anyway, this “Panna Cotta” is Greek Yogurt served with a Candied Walnut and “Red Hot” Apple Gelée. A definite refreshing palate cleanser. Apparently, this was another complimentary dessert, actually it was a pre-dessert (a dessert before the dessert). An Egg Shell filled with Chocolate Mousse and topped with Sea Salted Caramel Foam.Finally our actual dessert arrives. A Dominican Chocolate Cremeux with Vanilla and Sweet Potato Sorbet with a Bourbon Caramel. This whole dessert not only works, but its abso-fucking-lutely amazing. All the flavors just work harmoniously together and nothing overpowers or is undermined. I now crave Sweet Potato Sorbet. Our last dish arrives, our Mignardises, a set of Petit Fours. A pistachio cookie, a chocolate wedge, a cream puff, and a fruit gelée a perfect way to end a perfect night.

With respects to all the other restaurants, this was by far the best meal of my life. Tons of unexpected dishes, outstanding flavors and unequaled company (thanks Valerie and Queenie) equate to one of my most sublime experiences ever.

Le Bernardin Scores:
Food: 10/10 – Eric Ripert, you are a culinary god. Not only did you give me a fascinating dish, you gave me 11.

Restaurant Environment: 10/10 – Even though it might feel pretentious with your suit jacket, you’ll find the entire restaurant is very welcoming regardless of your appearance.

Service: 10/10 – All the server’s knowing exactly what I want and need before I do, it’s a bit frightening (in an awesome way).

Value: 10/10 – Now this wasn’t cheapest meal in the entire world, but can you put a price on perfection?

Overall: 10/10 – I will be back, oh yes.. I will be back..

Nolita House

People don’t like being placed in awkward positions (unless you’re the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World), and the same goes for those that work in the restaurant business. While dining out at Nolita House my friends and I were placed in such a predicament and things started to get a bit testy. No thanks to the Yelp app for telling us the restaurant was only open at 4:00pm for dinner and not informing us about their earlier lunch time menu, we decided to wait until 4:00pm to head to the restaurant for an early dinner. But to much chagrin, we quickly noticed they served a similar cheaper lunch menu. After being seated and handed the lunch menus, our server quickly swooped in and removed them from our hands and replaced them with the pricier dinner menu and informed us that the kitchen was in the process of switching between lunch and dinner menus, we obliged since we were there for the dinner anyway. We placed our orders at 3:52pm on the dot and ordered a few BOGO happy hour beers excited to see our neighbors thoroughly enjoy their custom made burgers and fries. My friend had to be at work at 5:00pm, so we had to eat fast!

4:30pm hits, still nothing. Our server comes by to apologize saying that they’re still switching out the back end and that our food would be out in jiff. He presented us with a few complimentary beers that simply masked the hunger frustrations. But wait, are the cooks really cooking our food, because we see them all pow-wowed in front of the kitchen having social hour.

4:45pm: Apparently our dishes are now being plated and will be served up any minute now. We glare back at the kitchen, frustrated, waiting and hoping every desperate minute to see our dishes magically materialize, but still nothing.

5:00pm: My friend calls into work saying that she will be a bit late because she’s finishing up her dinner (that was a lie). They always say never shoot the messenger, and we did feel a bit sympathetic to see how genuinely apologetic our server was, but they’re just toying with our patience now.

5:03pm: The first dish arrives and it’s my BBQ Baby Back Ribs.I’ve got to say, I’ve had better ribs at Chili’s than the one served at Nolita House. The ribs came absolutely cold and had the mystique that it was just zapped in the microwave (which they did a poor job of) and brushed with a bit of BBQ sauce. Even though I was utterly disappointed, the sheer hunger that engulfed me fueled me on to consume the dish.

5:05pm: The second communal dish arrives, Nolita House’s “Famous Baked Macaroni and Cheese” with Bacon.This thing should’ve been made out of bologna, because that’s exactly what it is. $8 for this POS?? Plus an extra $1 for the bacon?? I’ve enjoyed EasyMac more than this dish. The filling was watered down and you don’t ever get the sense of it being warm and hearty that mac and cheese is famous for. To quote one of my favorite movies, F&F Tokyo Drift, “0 for 2, cowboy.”

5:05pm: My friend’s smaller plate of Ribs arrive and it’s completely inedible. It’s cold and absolutely pathetic, he sends it back to the kitchen.

5:06pm: The accompaniment to our rib dishes finally come out. The Serrano Skillet Cornbread. Now don’t let the picture or the name fool you, this thing was donkey crap. I would have rather they go out and run to Boston Market for me and bring me their cornbread instead of serving me their dry, tasteless object that they try to pass off as cornbread. And to think that they put it on the menu as a side order for $5 is a complete outrage.

5:07pm: Finally the last dish appears:A so called salad takes the longest time, go figure. Their Watermelon and Crispy Pork Belly was actually pretty decent. But at $13 and making each of these bad boys roughly $4 and change, I can think of many better things that I would rather enjoy, such as the Hirata Buns at Ippudo. My friend finishes just one as she has to jet for work.

5:15pm: After talking under our breath for a while saying that they should at least serve up a full sized portion of rib, Nolita House delivers and presents a now warm and full plate of their BBQ Ribs. What could have been.. what could have been. At least the meat falls off the bone this time.

What I find absolutely hilarious is that this was my first time at Nolita House, and upon leaving, I guess the manager comes out to greet me, saying that I look familiar and if I’ve been here before. I run with it and say that I have. He tells me, “yea, you definitely look familiar and I’ve seen you around.” (Is it because I’m Asian? And you’re just mistaking me for all the other Asian faces in Chinatown?) He tells me his name is Kyle, shakes my hand and guarantees he’ll help me out better next time. We’ll see about that.

Nolita House Scores:
Food: 1.5/10 – This is only because they came back out with an edible form of ribs towards the end

Restaurant Environment: 4/10 – It just feel’s like your basic pub, but I didn’t like seeing the cooks standing around not cooking.

Service: 0/10 – This was a tough one for me, but in the end Nolita House did not deliver upon their initial service no matter how sympathetic or how many beers they give me.

Value: 2/10 – Although the prices were fairly reasonable for New York standards, this directly correlates with the terrible food that was served.

Overall: 1/10

Fette Sau

Williamsburg, Brooklyn has started to assume the role of being the best place to grab a bite in New York. For some reason, even though I knew about all the deliciously wonderful food, I never found myself east of the East River all too often. After a recent visit to Fette Sau, Billysburg may start to become my new favorite eating locale. How can you not love a place  named “fat pig” in French (edit: it’s German)?When you enter the dining area, you’re completely overwhelmed with the sense that you’re no longer in New York and that you’re simply within a dream. If I planted an Inception in your mind that this entire eating experience took place in Kansas, would you accept that reality? This is my ideal wallpaper, covered with labeled butchered meats. How awesome would it be, if it was like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and you could lick and taste the meat. Drool.Fette Sau is equipped with a rotating menu, so basically the meat that you can order for the night is based on luck. But trust me when I say, everything is marvelous. To order, you approach a tiny counter with a man taking orders on how many pounds of which meat you would like to have, butcher style. He weighs out your meat, throws it on a sheet pan, and you’re on your way.I’m terribly sorry for the horrific pictures. As many of you know, I’m an over-passionate food fanatic. And when I literally laid eyes upon the cornucopia of deliciousness, my mind had gone into a frenzy. The spread contains from top to bottom clockwise, Burnt Ends Baked Beans, Hand Pulled Berkshire Shoulder, Spicy Berkshire Sausage, Berkshire Pork Belly (Bacon), Berkshire St Louis Style Pork Ribs, Dante’s German Potato Salad, and Boneless Beef Ribs. They’re served with a mountain of dinner rolls and bottles and bottles of BBQ sauce. The epitome of food coma or the “itis.” This picture may send Bourdain into cardiac arrest. Every single piece of meat was seasoned and cooked to perfection. There wasn’t a single bite nor a single second that I wasn’t entranced in utter euphoria. I was in BBQ heaven.The Pork Belly is peeping out to say hi. So tender, so unctuous, so flavorful. The pork sausages were some of the best I’ve had, with the harmonious snap of their casing contained in every bite. The spicy heat that its packed with slowly creeps up on you and leaves you wanting more. I call it the “Flamin Hot Cheetos Phenomena.” Where if something is both equally spicy and delicious, you can’t help but continue eating to combat the heat. If you asked me what my favorite meat of the day was, I would probably have gone with the Boneless Beef Ribs. Now usually, I’m not a huge fan of beef ribs. But these badasses were succulent, juicy, and laced with flavor. Oh, by the way, did I ever mention that you can order beer by the gallon here? Bravo, bravo. Standing ovation.

Fette Sau Scores:
Food: 9/10 – I think it’s because I’m a sucker for BBQ.

Restaurant Environment: 8/10 – I love the outdoor seating, and the backyard BBQ feel. The mosquitoes buzzing around the obnoxiously drunk individuals added to the flair.

Service: 7.5/10 – Even though it’s cafeteria style and you find open seating. The people working behind the counter were genuine and helpful.

Value: 8/10 – Stuff your face as well as getting enough left overs to feed me for 2 days straight. That’s value baby. At around $20 per person its a steal for New York City, but for Brooklyn? We’ll see.

Overall: 9/10

Daisy May’s BBQ

To start, (I know it’s a little late) but I would like to wish everyone a healthy and spectacular New Year! Secondly, I apologize for my incompetence and inability to write a new entry. I’ve been using the past week as a little R&R from my NYE weaksauceness; and I’ve also just spent the past couple of hours recuperating from the meal I just had. That’s enough introduction for now – onto the entry!

After watching last week’s Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” marathon, I developed a strong craving for some good ‘ol fashioned BBQ – thus leading me to Daisy May’s BBQ. Damn you Michael Symon, Damn you…

When you enter Daisy May’s you’re greeted with a simple sign that instructs you where to order, where to pick up, where to eat. I somehow got that wrong. Luckily, there was nobody else in line to witness my idiocy. Now, I will humbly admit that I was overly ambitious and probably misjudged my appetite and their portions (even after watching Chef Symon go on and on about the size of the ribs). Very confidently, I ordered the Oklahoma Jumbo Beef Rib with Rustic Creamy Corn with NY State Cheddar and Mac and Cheese as my fix-ins; my friend also placed an order of Pulled Pork with Corn Bread and also Mac and Cheese and fix-ins. “I’ll add a jar of Sweet Tea to that order”. pshh. “Make that two!” $48 he demands. “This is by far the most I’ve paid for BBQ,” I whisper to my friend. I reluctantly hand over my white card (my AMEX plug). Our order was ready in what felt like a couple of seconds. Great! I’m starving!

The cafeteria-esque seating was covered in numerous BBQ awards from all over the country. There was even an Asian group in the back doing what seemed to be a documentary on one of Daisy May’s Big Pig Gig.

Excuse the pedophile ‘stache, but holy shit! (am I allowed to curse in blogs? oh well) this rib is monstrous! It truly is a portion out of the Flintstones. I’ll talk about this rib a little later, I’m still intimidated.  I usually like to see my pulled pork in a sandwich form, but the pulled pork itself here wasn’t all that bad. The meat was still tender and juicy, and paired perfectly with the mild BBQ sauce. However, because of the giant sized ribs still placed in front of us – it was basically treated as a side. And as a side it was magnificent; but if you want to regard it as a main course, I would tell you to look elsewhere – maybe dare I say? the beef rib?These sides are no joke, don’t be tricked by KFC and their dinky little “individual serving” sides. I’d probably get more food from Gerbers than I would from an individual side at KFC. Sorry, random I know, but there was a KFC commercial playing in the background. Back to Daisy May’s. My friend and I both agreed that the mac and cheese came up well short of impressive. I come to a Southern restaurant, I want Daisy May to make me a great mac and cheese. Nope. Sorry. Won’t find it here. It’s maybe just a notch better than the one served at KFC (like that connection?). The creamed corn on the other hand was probably the best side. The cheddar cheese made it thicker and more flavorful, and the additions of peppers also gave it a textural variance. Some of the best creamed corn I’ve had in a while. Not pictured: Corn Bread. Why? Because it sucked. A phenomenal sweet tea, smooth and not over sugared. However, I ordered “Sweet Tea served in a Mason Jar” and what did I get? Sweet Tea served in a container which restaurant’s in Chinatown uses to deliver soup. Disappointing presentation. If you want good sweet tea, head over to McDonald’s with $1. Disclaimer: that’s not a lettuce leaf, but a mint leaf.Now, onto the MAINNNNNN EVENTTTTTTTT. The behemoth they call the Oklahoma Jumbo Beef Rib. I knew I was in for a treat when the meat just fell off the bone like butter. To be honest, that knife wasn’t probably needed. Everything just fell and pulled apart. When you rip open the charred surroundings, you unveil a wonderful tender meaty nirvana. Although, it was a little bit fatty, this didn’t prevent me from eating this bad boy. Usually, I don’t order beef ribs because they’re most of the time overcooked, dried out, and unappetizing. This wasn’t the case here; the rib was incredibly juicy. Daisy May’s you might have changed my stance on beef ribs.Even with 2 people working on it, and taking breaks. This was all we were able to accomplish. Actually, we were only able to finish one serving of Mac and Cheese, and one “jar” of Sweet Tea. Yay for leftovers tomorrow! I should bring a pillow to work just in case.

Dave Chappelle, you were right about ribs; off to bed now.

Daisy May’s BBQ Scores:

Food: 6/10

Restaurant Environment: 4.5/10

Service: N/A

Value: 3.5/10*

Overall: 5/10

*Note: This score does not reflect saving money on a meal the next day because of leftovers. Because if you were a true fatty; there would be nothing left.