Tag Archives: Bread

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..

Bottega Louie

Bottega Louie at Downtown Los Angeles. By the way, do not enter the parking garage before 3:00pm. They’ll charge you $4 per 15 minutes instead of the $5 flat rate advertised price.Colorful Macaroons inside the marketplaceDining RoomComplimentary artisanal bread and butterHalf size of the Louie Salad – Iceberg Lettuce, Jumbo Shrimp, Hearts of Palm, Avocado, Sweet Onions, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, and Dijon VinaigrettePortobello Fries with Garlic and Herb AioliBurrata Pizza with fresh Burrata, Prosciutto, Rapini, and Granna ParmesanPappardelle – Mushroom and Foie Gras Duxelle

Bottega Louie Scores:
Food: 6/10 –  Despite a unique and delicious Portobello Fries, I’ve experience more flavor chewing cardboard than the Pappardelle and the bitter rapini in the Burrata Pizza caused me to shove my plate away.

Restaurant Environment: 8/10 – A large open seating area and a marketplace displaying colorful macaroons upon entry give the restaurant its charm.

Service: 8.5/10 – Our portions were pre-divided in half without us asking, a small attention to detail that allows you to enjoy your dining experience.

Value: 8.5/10 – With everything priced around $12, it’s well within many’s price range.

Overall: 7/10

San Francisco – Absinthe Brasserie

I’ve recently been told to write less, and just add more pictures. So this is my attempt on being a minimalist.The bread and butter was.. well.. just bread and butterSome beautiful and fresh oyster shooters with a spicy Bloody Mary sauce up in the top left.Phenomenal Duck Leg Confit Golden Peaches, Watercress and Goat Cheese.Beef CarpaccioBeef Short Ribs with Mirepoix, German Butterball Potatoes, with a Pinot Noir Jus.Alaskan Halibut with Sweet Shrimp, Mussels, Saffron-Chorizo Broth, Crostini, and Rouille.Grilled Skirt Steak Frites with Green Peppercorn Jus and Caramelized Onions served with Mixed Greens and Fries.Honey Upside Down Fig Cake with Fresh Figs and Ice Cream

Not Pictured: Yellow Watermelon Sorbet

Absinthe Brasserie Scores:
Food: 7/10 – Although all the ingredients in the entire meal were absolutely fresh, there wasn’t a single stand out dish that would expedite my return.

Restaurant Environment: 8/10 – A relaxing brasserie/tavern feel, having a relaxing absinthe based drink at the bar is simply divine.

Service: 7/10 – Nothing over the top, but servers were there when you needed them.

Value: 7/10 – With everything on the menu under $30, it’s affordable but doesn’t scream value.

Overall: 7/10

San Francisco – Wayfare Tavern

What more can I say about chef Tyler Florence? He is my culinary god that I worship day and night. I can safely say that he is one of the sole reasons that manifested my food obsession. The days of Food 911 and Tyler’s Ultimate were the good days of Food Network, unlike the new-age shows dominated with cupcake decorating and cake building. Maybe it’s all the Bourdain I’ve been reading, and his hatred of everything Food Network. Whatever it is, I’m growing further and further away from this once sacred channel. Sorry about the side rant, where was I? Oh yeah, when I heard Tyler (we’re on a first name basis now ok?) opened his new restaurant Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco, it instantly rose to the top of my restaurant bucket list.As I made my way into restaurant, my jaw literally dropped, flabbergasted. Seeing Tyler stand in the kitchen with his arms crossed, I felt like a young teeny-bopper seeing Bieber for the first time in person. Screw Bieber-fever, this was Tyler’s Ultimate Fever. We’re lucky enough to be seated at a booth next to the open kitchen, I saw Tyler wave at me (not us, just me). However, I thought he was waving at somebody else, disregarded the gesture, and refocused my attention to the waiter. Again, I peeped over at the kitchen, and Tyler waved again. Acting like a dumbfounded idiot, I reciprocated with the most awkward wave that I will remember for the rest of my life. Sigh.

The meal started with warm buttery popovers that were crusted on the outside and ultra soft on the inside, served with some softened butter. Just awesome. I love when restaurants actually are meticulous and put some TLC in the bread they serve.

While sipping on some amazing Napa grown wine, a flurry of dishes is brought out before us.

Beginning with the Seared Sonoma Foie Gras served with roasted plums, tarragon and sea salt on grilled sourdough. What a phenomenal dish. The plums were sweet and succulent and a perfect complement to the buttery foie gras.Next on tap was a pretty similar dish, but something that I always order in the Salt Roasted Bone Marrow. The marrow is plated over a bed of Parsley-Shallot Salad with a Veal Demi-glaze on a Sourdough Toast with Molasses Butter. I’ll have to confess that I do love the foie gras more than this dish, but the bone marrow was no pushover either. I just think it was missing the unique element of something sweet to balance the saltiness.Our final appetizer was the Santa Barbara Sea Urchin from their raw bar. The sea urchin is presented on top of a Sweet Corn Puree, Bread and Butter Pickles, and Chervil. The dish was absolutely superb, and epitomized San Francisco dining with the use of fresh, in season, ingredients. The lightness of the sea urchin and sweet corn paired perfectly with the saltiness of the previous ones.On to the main events! This is Tyler’s rendition of Steak and Eggs. A Petit Filet Mignon topped with Soft Eggs, with toasted Dungeness crab, Asparagus, and a buttery Béarnaise. He should’ve called it the most decked out Egg’s Benedict in the world. Again, you notice the quality of ingredients in every bite and the perfect execution of every dish.The Wood Grilled Chicken Paillard is an artistic masterpiece of colorful ingredients served with Marin Organic Tomatoes, Frisèe, Bacon Lardons, Watercress and a drizzle of Roasted Chicken Jus. Honestly, if this is the kind of dishes that farmer’s eat, you can call me Old McDonald, because I’m putting on my overalls and carrying out my pitchfork.Finally, comes my dish, their Organic Fried Chicken dipped in a Buttermilk Brine, served with Roasted Garlic, Crispy Wood Herbs, and Lemons. To quote Usher, O-M-G! Drop everything you’re doing and fly out to San Francisco, make your way into Wayfare Tavern and order the most amazing Fried Chicken you’ll ever have in your life. The chicken feels as if it’s quickly fried and then finished off in the oven, since there’s no oily residue at all. The herbs and crust are simply divine. Every bite I smear the roasted garlic like it’s butter and squeeze some of the fresh lemon. This is in a whole different class of Fried Chicken, screw Shake and Bake, KFC, Popeyes, even the highly touted chicken at Blue Ribbon doesn’t compare. Mr. Florence, I see you in an even higher light.You might ask yourself, can this meal get any better? And my answer to you would be yes! (emphasis on the exclamation mark). Along with the three entrees, we also ordered a couple of sides, which included the best Macaroni and Cheese in the world. The Baked Mac and Cheese is laced with Jack Cheese, Garlic Breadcrumbs, and topped with Chives and Smoked Olive Oil. The cheese not only had extraordinary flavor but also had the perfect consistency, not too thick and not too watery. The use of larger macaroni pasta was a magnificent touch. Please, no more, this food-gasm is unbearable (in a great way).Our final dish was the Creamed Corn that was also topped with Smoked Olive Oil and Chive Blossoms. Continuing with the theme of the day, flawlessly executed and just marvelous to eat. I honestly think I’m running out of synonyms for this entry.But wait! There’s more! You thought that was all that we ordered? Keep dreaming, I have to end this momentous night with some dessert. Enter Big Papa’s Banana Cream Pie, filled with Banana Custard, Vanilla Wayfares (get it?), and topped with a Toasted Meringue. I’ve always loved banana cream anything, but just imagine Marie Calender’s Banana Cream Pie stepped up a few notches and that’s what we get here. Although it is a bit sweet, sharing this dessert amongst a few friends ends up being the perfect finishing touch.On our way out, we’re even presented with little Ginger Snap cookies that would’ve made the Keebler Elves quit their jobs.

I truly can’t say much more about how utopic the night has been. I enjoyed beyond a doubt one of the best meals of my life with some of the greatest people (Thanks Tiff and Vanessa). My only advice about eating at Wayfare Tavern (which would’ve made my night complete) is what I learned at the end of the meal. Is that Tyler loves meeting his guests and fans and is a very approachable individual. If you were like me and were simply waiting for him to come around and interrupt your meal, you’d be at a loss. Our waiter told us that we should’ve asked him to meet Tyler. But this only gives me more reason to head back to San Francisco and visit Wayfare Tavern Again.

Wayfare Tavern Scores:
Food: 10/10 – My first and quite possibly only perfect score. Not only did I enjoy great food, it was a great experience.

Restaurant Environment: 10/10 – To personally be at your restaurant shows a lot and how much you care about your actually restaurant.

Service: 10/10 – A kind staff and great recommendations, helped garnish a perfect score.

Value: 10/10 – To set this straight, you can’t enter Wayfare Tavern thinking Dollar Menu, but for what you get. I’ll gladly pay my first born.

Overall: 10/10

Las Vegas: Postrio

A recent weekend jetset to Vegas to celebrate the birthdays of two of my best friends (Mr. Aaron Hsu and www.zooshoo.com CEO, Jason Hsu) presented an opportunity to indulge in the fine cuisine Vegas had to offer. However, due to the sheer size of the party as well as other personal factors, finding a reservation for that perfect restaurant somehow always eluded us. However, we did manage to score a simple reservation at Wolfgang Puck’s casual bistro, Postrio. I’m not going to lie, the 20% off coupon for being a guest made the choice tremendously easier. The starter bread is paired with a nice olive tapenade. Simple, but refreshingly different. The Puree of Sweet Corn Soup with Roasted Corn and a Black Pepper Creme Fraiche, was thick and creamy. They could’ve just called it a creamed corn soup, because that’s all it was.As an appetizer I started with the Salt and Pepper Rock Calamari and Rock Shrimp which is married with Fresno Chilis and a Sweet Thai Chili Sauce. I would have to say that I do prefer the sweet and sour flavor profiles added by the Chili Sauce compared to your traditional marinara. However, maybe it was just me and the time I spent passing it around and trying to feed everyone got the dish cold, but it was actually pretty mundane. The other appetizer that was ordered was a Trio of Sausages with three different mustards served with Roasted Peppers and a Baby Mache. Maybe it’s because I haven’t developed a taste for fancy sausages yet, but I would take the sausages served with garlic gloves on the streets of Taiwan, over this, any day of the week. I did try a bite of everybody’s dish and I’m sorry if it got a bit excessive and intrusive. But I wanted to be a good little blogger and make sure I sampled everything before I critiqued it. The Fresh Linguini is served with a bed of Manila Clams and tossed with Garlic, Chili and Parsley. A very simple and clean dish. The linguini was cooked al dente, but I do prefer something that packs a bigger punch flavor-wise. The so called Housemade Scialatielli Pasta with Beef and Sausage Bolognese with Basil and shaved Pecorino Cheese, or as my friend called it, “Chef Boyarde,” was a simple meat sauce pasta with a jazzed up name. Although I am a sound epicure of a good bolognese, I did enjoy the linguini more this time. I do believe this is a half plate of the Seafood Bouillabaisse, which is basically a seafood stew. The dish is served with Tortelloni, Clams, Mussels, Calamari, Shrimp, Bay Scallops, and a pinch of Saffron. A bit salty, but hey, it is a taste of the ocean. A serving of the House Made Spinach Lasagna is doused in the same Beef and Sausage Bolognese as the pasta and paired with a nutty Parmigiano Reggiano. Although very similar to the bolognese, I would order this a million times over the regular pasta. Maybe it’s the fresh taste of the spinach , but it was actually a very simple yet delicious lasagna. The Atlantic Salmon is presented over a bed of Roasted Patty Pan Squash, some Fennel, and a warm Tomato Vinaigrette. Bland, bland, bland. But hey, that’s why you order salmon right? The salmon they serve at Whole Foods is a fraction of the price, take away the flair of the unique ingredients, and you’ll have yourself the same dish. I’m here to save you money people. Pesto Marinated Shrimp with Goat Cheese, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Rapini, and some fresh Basil. Sounds good right? Meh. The Steamed Black Mussels are cooked with a White Wine and Garlic, and served with a Giant Sourdough Brick with a layer of Bearnaise Sauce. The mussels were fresh and done cleanly, but the Sourdough Toast was just a joke with the heavy buttery bearnaise, unless your name is Paula Deen. Every bite resulted in taking a year off your lifespan. Next up, was a Pancetta Wrapped Meatloaf over a soft bed of Potato Puree and Mushroom Gravy while stacked high with Buttermilk Onion Rings. I’ve tasted cardboard that had more flavor than those onion rings. The meatloaf was far from spectacular as well.Finally comes my dish. The Alaskan Halibut with White Corn Succotash with Wild Mushrooms, Cherry Tomato Relish, and a Sweet Corn Nage. The actual Halibut was dry, but I guess that helped soak up the flavor from the Succotash, which I absolutely enjoyed. The dish was definitely a clean summer dish that was easy on the palette.

Postrio Scores:
Food: 7/10 –  The food here could honestly be characterized by one word, average.

Restaurant Environment: 8/10 – Being in the Grand Canal shops of the Venetian and that sense of a lighted open environment helped cast an illusion that we were dining outdoors at 3pm, when it was actually closer to 9.

Service: 7/10 – Maybe I enjoy being pampered in Vegas, but I didn’t even seem to notice the waiters, a bad thing? perhaps.

Value: 7/10 – At around $20 a dish, it’s a fair price to pay.

Overall: 7/10

Blue Ribbon Brasserie

A popular question that many people would like to know the answer of is where do restaurant chefs go to eat? In New York, it has to be Blue Ribbon Brasserie. This is the place where the chefs gather at 2am after a long and arduous shift. This is theplace where you would’ve saw Anthony Bourdain kick back and have a couple of drinks (he did name it his favorite place to grab bone marrow). This is the place where my friend (who is a chef) called “an American institution.” This is the place I definitely had to try to see what the fuss was all about. You know it has to be a restaurant delegated for chefs when you have to slice your own bread. By the way, I’m thinking about starting to implement the “Bread Theory.” In which, a restaurant is just as good as the bread the serve pre-meal. We’ll see how this turns out. Don’t let this picture fool you, the restaurant was actually a dungeon of darkness. Ahh.. the almighty Bone Marrow and Oxtail Marmalade. Absolutely splendid, but the best I ever had? That still goes out to my personal biased and neighbors of Blue Ribbon, Minetta Tavern. Regardless, the bone marrow is done to perfection.

Satisfyingly unctuous and paired with a sweet marmalade, the only downside to the dish was the fact it was served on such spongy bread. Perhaps a textural contrast with a toasted baguette next time? The Striped Bass entree is served with Red Pepper, Roasted Garlic with a Red Wine Sauce. This is the dish I should’ve ordered.Instead I ordered the trout. Oh bland, flavorless, boring trout. The trout is grilled with almonds and served with fennel and orzo. I honestly have had better tasting food on an airplane than this trout. This dish might have manifested a new hatred towards trout. From this day forward, I will never order trout again. Finally, we come to the reason why we actually came to the restaurant in the first place, for their beloved Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Collard Greens. The fried chicken was nicely seasoned and packed a bunch of spices. Pairing it with the honey gave it that extra edge. However, for $26, I could easily buy buckets and buckets of Popeye’s and feed an entire community. They even give me free packets of “honey.” I mean, I could see why this Fried Chicken is raved, but for me I’ll stick with my $3 3-piece meal. I even get a biscuit.

Blue Ribbon Brasserie Scores:
Food:  6.5/10 – Maybe it’s because I had huge expectations. But major points off for serving a bland dish.

Restaurant Environment: 7/10 – You’re average Brasserie feel, but sitting us next to the kitchen was a minus.

Service: 7.5/10 – They granted us a couple of special requests, but nothing spectacular.

Value: 5/10 -While it doesn’t leave you wishing you had more shares in Apple, it’s not the cheapest place of the litter.

Overall: 6.5/10

Craft

In the culinary world, instead of the popular phrase WWJD, the phrase would be converted to WWTCD. What would Tom Colicchio do? The celebrity chef is best known for his role as head judge on Top Chef. His impeccable resume consists of multiple James Beard awards, highly touted restaurants from across the nation, yada yada yada. This is all splendid. However I’m interested in just one thing, if Tom Colicchio can impress me.

To answer this question, I went to his flagship restaurant Craft in New York City.Shame there was construction going on, I couldn’t take too many pictures of the facade.The fresh flowers that welcome you at the front door are a nice touch. The open space is a breath of fresh air. I’m tired of all these New York restaurants using every single square foot to their advantage. If you look to the top left of the picture, that entire glass room is their wine cellar. The beginning of many drinks to come. The Edison was a vodka based cocktail with lemon, passion fruit, and champagne. So what, if I enjoy a tasty fruity drink. The bread is nothing fancy, which kind of disappointed me. All the other restaurants on the same tier do tasty biscuits and fresh baked bread. Nope, not at Craft. P.S. they don’t even give enough butter for the bread. Amuse Bouche of Asparagus Soup with Creme Fraiche Shooters. Extra Salty.Ruby Red Shrimp. With a name like that you can’t fail. Right? These bad boys tasted like they came straight from Chinatown. $18 for a few measly shrimp? At least they were peeled.Suckling Pig Ballotine. What in the world is that? I have no idea either. The dish reminded me of cow tongue, but it really was more like a whole plate of bacon. I love foie gras!! I forgot what the server said, something along the lines of a Papaya reduction. Sorry, I was just way to hungry to listen. They serve the foie gras with some warm toasted brioche (which they should serve at the beginning of the meal). Sadly, this was probably the best dish of the night. The 28-day Dry-Aged Sirloin is served with a tiny bit of bone marrow. The steak was juicy and tender, to go along with all the other fine qualities you look for in a cow. However, it didn’t really carry that wow factor with it. My entree was served in a copper pot. Don’t be tricked because the dish is served in a pot, a smurf would even complain about the size. (Use the size of the spoon as reference)So what was in that magical pot? Some Beef Short Rib from the what was probably the smallest cow known to man. Served with a couple of roasting vegetables, the ribs had a very sticky glaze, which made it a bit uncomfortable to eat. Before I could even start enjoying the dish, it vanished in a couple of bites. So in light of the tiny sized entrees (one which was a duck dish that was not posted), we ordered a bunch sides to fill our stomachs. The Garlic Risotto was done to perfection. Flawlessly cooked and flavored, a plus in my book. The addition of bread crumbs to the Spinach Gratin provided a crunch texture that I haven’t had in other creamed spinaches. Onto (sarcastically) the best side dish ever! Hen of the Wood Mushrooms! We had 3 of these bad boys for $15, making them $5 a pop. What a joke! The waiter must have been laughing at us when we ordered them. Yum Yum. I always love potatoes gratin. And to finish the meal, a nice glass of peppered whiskey.Chocolate Bread Pudding with Espresso Ice Cream and some Dried Apricots. Just call it a moist cake.Maple Pound Cake with Maple Ice Cream and what was almost a Maple Chocolate.Ok, besides the Foie Gras, this is the best thing on the menu. Their Sugar and Spice Doughnuts with dipping sauces. Freshly baked and amazing. I can honestly eat these puppies everyday.What’s funny is, before they give you these tiny sugar cookies, they tell you that it was specially prepared by their pastry chef. Who cares? they’re sugar cookies, and tasted like they were from the supermarket.

A sad sad showing Tom Colicchio, I had such high hopes. Also, update your website once in a while to include your current dishes, it would definitely be helpful.

Craft Scores:
Food:  7/10 – Taking the portion size out of consideration, the food was very good, with some winner and loser dishes. It definitely wasn’t what I expected from Tom, nor do I believe it will ever earn a Michelin Star.

Restaurant Environment: 9/10 – The vaulted ceilings, open space and relaxed environment set up a perfect dinner location.

Service: 8/10 – The sommelier apologized for not having the wine that we requested, but gladly gave us an alternative. Our glasses were always kept full which is definitely a plus.

Value: 3/10 – I really wanted to visit the McDonalds next door, does that say much about the portion size?

Overall: 7/10