Tag Archives: Steak

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..

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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

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

44 1/2

I know this is about a whole month late, but yay for multiple birthday dinners! This time it was at 44 1/2 in Hell’s Kitchen. The restaurant is located right next another restaurant called 44 and X, why do they have 2 similar named restaurants right next to each other? Don’t ask me. The modern themed restaurant is actually pretty nicely decorated. I really wanted to sit outside at the patio, but fear of rain and cold from fellow diners prevented that from happening. It was also a tad bit strange to be served by a staff that was predominately male in tight pink shirts. A dainty little bread roll and a smooth serving of butter made for an interesting sliced bread substitute. Let’s continue with the pink theme.Fresh roses create a more romantic ambiance.We started with a Roasted Garnett Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Herbs, Beet Puree and Chili Oil. A fresh start to the meal.I ordered the Long Island Duck Breast with Caramelized Fall Pears, Haricot Verts, and Aged Balsamic Reduction. A bit dryer than what I would usually like, and the flavor profile was fairly common. If you’re looking for good duck at a reasonable price, Crispo is the place to go. Lobster Pizza! It actually wasn’t as grand as it sounded. Just a couple of scattered chunks of lobster over a thin crust pizza. If you threw pieces of cheaper crab or shrimp, it would’ve probably tasted the same.They should actually rename their New York Strip Steak pizza to a Santa Fe pizza because of it’s southwestern flavor. The Red and Yellow Peppers, with the caramelized onions add a sweet crunch to the pizza, but the entire concept seems so disorganized. It feels like the chef just felt you can throw on a couple slices of steak and call it a day. You want some good novelty pizza? Head over to Bar in New Haven, CT. I took a quick bite of the Mushroom Risotto, and it just tasted like..Mushroom risotto. If you told me this was a side, it would totally rock, but as an entree? I’ll pass, thanks.

44 1/2 Scores:
Food: 5.5/10 – Although the plates were beautifully presented, there was no creativity in the menu, every bite just led me to wonder where I could fine a tastier substitute.

Restaurant Environment: 7.5/10 – Call me a sucker for modern themes. You can also have a decent conversation here since it’s not overly loud. Maybe, we were the ones shouting around? hmm..

Service: 7/10 – No Complaints, but no praises either. We did have someone show up a bit later, and they were able to squeeze her meal in and have it served at the same time.

Value: 5/10 – Entrees are roughly $20-25 each, but I’ll show you better places to spend your money

Overall: 6/10

EN Japanese Brasserie

How about we take a break from the west coast and swing it back east? Lucky for me, restaurant week was going on in New York.

Checking out the restaurants that were partaking in this season’s restaurant week, only 2 restaurants had piqued my interest. Cafe Boulud, which filled all of its reservations on the first day, and EN Japanese Brasserie. After hearing great reviews and how the tofu at EN was considered the best new dish of 2009, I just had to join my friends who managed to snag a reservation. I snapped a couple of quick pictures while I waited for my friends outside in the sub 10° Fahrenheit weather. They sure do like to stamp their logo everywhere. The restaurant’s design is breathtaking. A cool and modern theme, that is warmed with classic Japanese accents. After soaking in the environment, you’ll find the menu is tied to an easel-like board which lists your dining options (Don’t forget there’s a back page, it took us about half an hour to figure that out). Glancing over the menu, I really wanted to select the Kaede, which is a 7-course tasting that costs a reasonable $65. Who am I kidding, I can get that anytime, I’m here for the restaurant week 5-course tasting. While waiting for the rest of the party to arrive, I ordered an Otsukare, which was a House infused Vanilla Bean Yamazaki Whiskey with Japanese Black Sugar and Fresh Mint. It sounded better than it tasted. I’m not an alcohol connoisseur, but after having the splendid Yamazaki Whiskey at Minetta Tavern, I was less than impressed with the one at EN. Maybe I should have been a girl and ordered the Green Tea Martini. Damn my male ego. Soon after, my friends started to filter in and we placed our order.Out comes the first portion of the menu, and look who it is. The freshly made (every hour) warm tofu with wari-joyu topped with thinly sliced green onions. I was extremely disappointed at the portion size, basically only an ice cream scoop portion, but the small amount of tofu itself was amazing. The warm silky tofu paired with the delectable wari-joyu dashi was unlike any tofu I’ve ever had before. Being that it’s freshly made, the tofu was resilient enough to hold its shape, but upon taking a bite, breaks down into a smooth thick soup-like matter that slips down the back of your mouth. The green onions also provided a refreshing snap in between bites. We’re off to a great start.The second portion of the meal consists of the chef’s selection of 2 kyoto-style appetizers. The first (left) being sliced daikon and inari (sweet fried tofu) simmered in a dashi broth. The second (right) was their Hijiki which was hijiki seaweed and soy bean simmered in dashi and shoyu. I understand that restaurant week is an affordable representation of what the restaurant has to offer, but the daikon dish was terrible, completely flavorless and not even seasoned. This made the seaweed dish head and shoulders the best portion of the dish, but that’s not saying much. The chef who selected these appetizers should be exiled back to Kyoto to learn how to make a proper dish. A giant step back.Finally, something I can enjoy. Right? The Washugyu Yaki Shabu’s ostentatious presentation was probably the best thing going for it. Now it might be my fault, for not immediately eating the steak and spending the passing time photographing and waiting for the other dishes to arrive. But then again, why would you serve this to me first, while I have to politely wait for the rest of my table’s entrees to arrive. The steak was served with a ponzu citrus soy sauce and salt on the side, both of which were pointless. Dipping the steak into either only caused the meat to be over-salty and inedible. Kobe rib-eye? Far from it. The steak was extremely tough and sinewy, I’ve had better at Black Angus. Worst thing is, this was a $10 supplement. You’d have to pay me $10 to order this again.Lucky for me though, I had 2 entrees. The Saikyo Miso Grilled Black Cod was nothing out of the ordinary and tasted just like every other Miso Cod out there. However, I did prefer it over the disgusting rib-eye, which I’m still bitter about to this day. On a random note, I’ve always loved the pairing of black cod with daikon. OK, I lied, I’m a fatass that ended up having 3 entrees. I ordered the Sea bass Kara-age separately since it was not part of the restaurant week menu. Boy am I glad that I did. The sea bass was by far the best entree out of the three. Simply marinated in a sake and lightly fried, brought out the full sea bass flavor. I could eat these delicious little medallions everyday of the week.

But still, at this point, I was not only extremely disappointed in ENJB’s food, but their service as well. They had misplaced my order of Kobe Sushi for Uni Sushi, while insisting that I had ordered the Uni. Tsk tsk, not going well, not going well at all. Let’s continue on with ENJB’s circus of crap. First off, let’s start with those carrots you see right there. Completely inedible. Are they pickling their vegetables with formaldehyde? They would’ve been better off serving Gerbers’ Carrot Mash. Now that star they call Onigiri. Congratulations on serving sushi rice with a little bit of soy sauce, green onions, and sesame seed and then cutting it with your holiday cutter. Next time, serve it to me warm, not cold. I couldn’t even use this rice to eat my steak with. I’m just about ready to leave. At this point, I was absolutely disheartened over the entire meal. Until I found this little covered bowl of Miso Soup. It may be simple, It may be plain, but boy was it a beacon of hope. The EN Miso Soup had a very delicate flavor and contained tiny morsels of their outstanding tofu. I slurped up the entire bowl of soup with a giant smile on my face. Things were starting to look a little more promising. Finally, my stubborn waiter decided to bring my slice of Kobe Sushi. I knew from past experience to stay away from anything that was a carrot or was in a shape of a star. Behold! A star shaped carrot! I will not fall into that trap, just give me the sushi. The flash seared piece of Kobe (hopefully) is served with a burnt garlic chip. I devoured this bad boy in one giant bite (I tried to bite in half, but failed miserably). “This doesn’t compare to the one served at Morimoto” I told myself in my head. Although it was delicious and heavenly, the Kobe Sushi at Morimoto had a more lasting impression (it’s also cheaper at $8/piece compared to EN’s $10/piece).  Yes, that tiny morsel was $10 (almost as outrageous as the $10 supplement), something I’ll never pay again. Finally, we finish our ordeal with my favorite. Ice cream. It’s not a bad ice cream either, a Cinnamon Pumpkin Ice Cream with the nostalgic bite of Pumpkin Pie in every bite. You can also tell that it’s a Japanese ice cream with its rich, creamy, smooth, full body texture and taste. At least I got to leave the table with a smile.

EN Japanese Brasserie Scores:
Food: 6/10 – Maybe it was the high expectations I had for EN, but too many dark moments overshadowed the bright ones.

Restaurant Environment: 8.5/10 – A gorgeous restaurant, If only its food could do it justice.

Service: 7/10 – This score would’ve been a lot lower if it wasn’t for the extremely cute hostess that tried to mend all the mistakes.

Value: 4.5/10 – The cost is not appropriate for the portion size, but I didn’t leave feeling like I was in the middle of the Great Depression.

Overall: 6.5/10 – Would I come here again? Maybe. But that’s only because the pretty hostess promised me a better meal.

Balthazar

So Today I had a nice New York Sunday Brunch at Balthazar before shopping around in SoHo.Upon entering, we were told that the walk-in wait would roughly be around 45 minutes. But we could try our luck at the cafe. Again, a 45 minute wait at the cafe. HOWEVER, we could sit at the ultra super tiny table in the middle of the cafe without waiting. We happily obliged.

O well, it definitely beats waiting. A $4 small cup of coffee?? only in New York.What to order… what to order…

Balthazar bartenders busy at work; and their beautifully stocked bar.I opted to get the Bar Steak with Maitre D Butter and Balthazar’s world famous Pommes Frites. Also made famous by Bobby Flay’s spectacular piece on Food Network’s ‘Best Thing I Ever Ate’. Yes, that is the same Chef Lee Hanson from Minetta Tavern; which was from the previous post – giving Minetta Tavern a share of the title of Best Fries Ever. As far as the steak, it was a little tough, but edible. It’s almost acts as though the steak is the side dish for the fries.

Oeufs en Meurette (Eggs in Red Wine) – Poached eggs in red wine with mushrooms and slab bacon.

Balthazar was a spectacular meal indeed. However, with all the strings attached (long wait, limited seating, impossible reservations,etc) it definitely dropped to a somewhat mediocre restaurant. I’m not extremely ecstatic to return back to Balthazar, but if you told me that we were going to grab a bite there, I’d definitely give you a “sure why not.”