CRAFTkitchen [9,] Henderson NV

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CRAFTkitchen

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Iced Coffee from Colorado River Coffee Roasters

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Ham & Cheese Kouign Amann

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Maple Bacon Cronut

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Glazed Cronut

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Strawberry Poptart

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Pork Carnitas Omelet – Cage-free Omelet stuffed with slow braised Pork, Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa, Cotija Cheese, Lime Crema, Micro Cilantro

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Bananas Foster Pancakes – Buttermilk Short Stack, Brown Sugar and Orange Rum Glaze, Vanilla Whipped Cream

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Buffalo Chicken Loaded Fries – ‘Chicken & What’ Bites, White French Dressing, Blue Cheese Crumbles, Shaved Carrots and Celery

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CK Monkey Bread

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Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf

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Lemon Raspberry Loaf

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Blueberry Muffin

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Cinnamon Roll

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Pecan Sticky Bun

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Carrot Cake

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Now more than a year and a half in business, the crowds still present even as other nearby restaurants have come and gone, CRAFTkitchen from Jaret and Tami Blinn proved a near-ideal stop en route from Las Vegas to San Bernardino for a concert, the 220-mile drive and 9-hours in 101°F temperatures with little shade fortified by new items from the Weekend Brunch menu plus several Pastries, a restaurant that already sets the bar high finding an extra level rather than resting on its laurels.

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Already visited several times for both Breakfast and the recently launched Friday Happy Hour, the food which has been universally excellent despite remaining broadly appealing a testament to Chef Blinn’s skills honed at Red Rock prior to taking a chance on the space previously inhabited by Bread and Butter, it was with the Chef taking a needed break to coach his boys’ traveling baseball team that two old friends sat down at one of the windowside booths, locally born n’ raised Manager Devin keeping an eye on one of the most consistent off-Strip waitstaffs in all of Las Vegas or Henderson.

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Improving the restaurant soundtrack with each visit, Weezer’s Say It Ain’t So followed by Phil Collins’ That’s All playing lightly overhead as the menu was perused, it was with the first of several Iced Coffees from Colorado River Roasters that choices were made, a trio of new Pastries sent out in the form of two lightly fried Cronuts plus a Strawberry Pop-Tart that continues to one-up artisan versions elsewhere by way of being crisp like the Kellogg’s original, but stuffed with naturally sweet Fruit without trending over to Toaster Strudel territory by getting over-frosted or soggy.

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Recently adding a savory option to the ever-changing list of Kouign Amann, the laminated layers holding up nicely to Ham and Cheese that could have benefitted from just a touch more Salt, it was next in two Brunch specials and a previously unnoticed Omelet that $10.95 to $13.50 was invested, the house-braised Pork intensely spicy inside the fold of three Cage-free Eggs but mellowed by Tomatillo Salsa, Cheese and Lime Cream while the fried Chicken found itself tossed amidst Buffalo Sauce, vinegary white Dressing and Blue Cheese atop thin-cut French Fries and shaved Vegetables that tasted great, and was assuredly portioned sharing.

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Happily tucking into the can’t miss CK Monkey Bread and Jaret’s Bananas Foster Pancakes, an improvement on whatever Jack Johnson may have been singing about thanks to the addition of Brown Sugar and Orange Rum Glaze plus house-whipped Cream to the fluffy stack covered in sautéed Fruit, it was along the I-15 that a box of to-go Pastries was investigated, all of these items old favorites and highlighted by the softly spiraled Pecan Sticky Bun as well as Sin City’s best Carrot Cake, whether in a full Birthday Cake portion as it was in April or here, made bite-size.

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FIVE STARS: Better with each visit, and now proving to be just as well CRAFTed even when the Chef is (rarely) absent, anyone who has not been to CRAFTkitchen owes it to themselves to stop in for Breakfast or Lunch, the whole menu offered seven days a week and far better than anything found at The Cracked Egg , Babystacks or Egg & I.

RECOMMENDED: Pop Tart, CK Monkey Bread, Pecan Sticky Bun, Pork Carnitas Omelet, any of the Pancake Specials, Plain Cronut.

AVOID: N/A, though a touch more salt on the Ham & Cheese Kouign Amann would have made the flavors pop against the buttery Pastry.

TIP: As always, keep an eye on @craftkitchenLV on social media for menu updates, weekend specials and happy hour offers.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

http://craftkitchenlv.com/

craftKITCHEN Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Coffee, Craft Kitchen, CRAFTkitchen, Dessert, Food, Henderson, Las Vegas, Nevada, pancake, Pancakes, Pork Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar [15,] Las Vegas NV

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Yardbird Southern Table + Bar

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Deviled Eggs – Dill, Chives, Smoked Trout Roe / Fried Green Tomato BLT – House smoked Pork Belly, Pimento Cheese, Frisee, Smoky Tomato Jam, Lemon Vinaigrette

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Classic Buttermilk Biscuits – Honey Butter, Apple Butter

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Kids Swine Burger Sliders – Short Rib and Chuck Blend, ‘Merican Cheese, House Fries, Ketchup

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Peppered Gnocchi Pot Pie – Wild Mushrooms, Sage, Mama’s Biscuit Crust

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Fried Chicken Breast – 27-hour brined and fried, Honey Hot Sauce

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Crispy Brussels – Spiced Honey

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Cowboy Steak – 20oz Bone-In Cowboy Ribeye, Red Eye Steak Rub, Yardbird Butter, Buttered Potatoes

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Shrimp n’ Grits – Seared Shrimp, Roasted Tomatoes, Virginia Ham, Red Onions, Nora Mill Grits, PBR Chicken Jus

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Chicken n’ Watermelon n’ Waffles – Honey Hot Sauce, Chilled Spiced Watermelon, Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese Waffle, Bourbon Maple Syrup

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Macaroni & Cheese – Torchio Pasta, Five Artisanal Cheeses, Crispy Herb Crust (+Pork Belly)

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Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes – Whipped and Roasted Garlic

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Skillet Cornbread – Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Bacon, Jalapeno, Honey Maple Butter

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Maple Glazed Bacon Brioche Donuts – Bacon Bits, Butterscotch Sauce

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Cornmeal Chess Pie – Sorghum Chantilly, Caramel Sauce, Caramel Pretzel, Popcorn

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Deep Fried Oreos – Rice Crispy Doughnut Dough Fried Oreos, Oreo Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce

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Chocolate Nutella Cake – Candied Hazelnuts, Chocolate Nutella Mousse

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With the recent opening of Chica less than a hundred yards away and Yardbird locations in Beverley Hills as well as Singapore coming soon it would seem that 50Eggs is in full expansion mode for 2017, a brunch look at the Lorena Garcia concept a week prior proving fairly disappointing despite hiring a top-notch Chef like Mike Minor while Yardbird Southern Table + Bar’s recent menu changes also seem somewhat misguided, the ‘Southern Hospitality’ naming of Mama’s Biscuits replaced by the word “classic” while items like the Low n’ Slow Chicken Salad and Smoked Bone Marrow are now gone in favor of “Carolina Q Tuna” and Burnt Ends.

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Admittedly a fan and frequent visitor to Sin City’s best choice for Southern Food since day one, everything from Friends and Family and the Grand Opening Party in January 2015 to a fourteenth visit prior to birthday #37 in late February proving delicious and well made even as the restaurant has transitioned through a handful of Chefs, it was with an old friend in town that four guests once again sat down at a table towards the back of the restaurant, Chef Sandra Palomo still present at the end of a long shift and ever pleasant, as was the thin African American server who played up the Southern Hospitality with great enthusiasm.

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Deferring carte blanche to the kitchen with a focus on mixing classics and new items, this the first visit for one in the party, it was with waters poured and napkin rings cleared that the meal got started mere minutes after sitting down, the aforementioned Biscuits still ‘a rose by any other name’ best-in-America contender with seasonal Apple Butter while the famous Deviled Eggs and Fried Green Tomato BLT have not changed a bit, though it would still be fantastic to see the restaurant offer the fantastic Pimento Cheese as a spread for the Biscuits, or as they do it down South with a sleeve of Saltine Crackers.

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Specially preparing a quartet of plain “Swineburger” sliders for the youngster at the table, nothing but the juicy Patties and melted Cheese on Grilled Rolls with a side of Fries, adults were treated to the newly launched “Peppered Gnocchi Pot Pie” that comes up a bit short in terms of texture while going all in on tender Mushrooms in Sage Gravy, the addition of a Fried Chicken Breast raising the bar significantly for those who aren’t practicing Vegetarians while the Carnivorous and Omnivores alike should be impressed by the crispy Brussels Sprouts in Spicy Honey that come in a sharable portion for just ten dollars.

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Understandably catering to all tastes and demographics given their location in Venetian’s Restaurant Row, though it could just as easily be argued that Chica also serves Steak – as do Delmonico, Morels and Carnevino down the way – another of Yardbird’s new items arrived next in the form of a 20oz Bone-In Ribeye grilled medium and topped with Compound Butter, the added Herbs penetrating deep into the flesh and yielding one fine piece of Meat while the Shrimp n’ Grits, Chicken n’ Watermelon n’ Waffles and Cornbread Skillet all remain rightfully unchanged, the Macaroni and Cheese given a much needed kick by diced Pork Bely while the chunky Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes present a good choice for those watching their calories with just a bit of salt and plenty of Roasted Garlic.

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Not changing Desserts as frequently as it did under former Pastry Chef Vivian Chang, the focus on creating a menu that can be standardized from Miami to Los Angeles to Singapore making ideas like Hummingbird Cake or Crunch n’ Munch Bread Pudding a thing of the past, Keris Kuwana’s Chocolate Nutella Cake nonetheless continues to set a high standard for Chocolate Cake on The Strip while Yardbird Classics like the Maple Glazed Bacon Brioche Donuts, Deep Fried Oreos and usually Brunch-only Cornmeal Chess Pie will hopefully never be lost to a decision made by corporate.

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FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Still a great restaurant with wonderful Chefs, dedicated servers and a good vibe it would do Yardbird a world of good to look at their history before stepping so boldly into the future, a few small tweaks always a good idea but moving away from the “Southern Hospitality” concept in favor of dishes that are ubiquitously found less than a football field away just the sort of ‘towards the middle’ thinking that shuttered several of Michael Mina’s Las Vegas restaurants and got Daniel Boulud into trouble at DB Brasserie.

RECOMMENDED: Classic Buttermilk Biscuits, Crispy Brussels, Skillet Cornbread, Cornmeal Chess Pie, Chicken n’ Watermelon n’ Waffles, Shrimp n’ Grits.

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AVOID: N/A, though the Steak was a fairly fatty cut at its center which, along with the bone, makes the edible portion closer to 12oz while the Pot Pie could use a contrasting texture beyond the now inconsistently named “Mama’s Biscuit” crust to help offset the mushiness.

TIP: Yardbird Beverley Hills is scheduled to open 2nd half of 2017 at Beverley Center as part of a $500,000,000.00 renovation.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

www.runchickenrun.com

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Coffee, Cornbread, Dessert, Food, Gnocchi, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Tasting Menu, Waffle, Waffles, Yardbird, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Yardbird Southern Table and Bar Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Silverado Steakhouse, Las Vegas NV

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Silverado Steak House

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House Wine

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White Roll, Cranberry Walnut Bread, Pretzel with Butter

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King and Blue Crab Cake – Red Pepper Coulis

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Caesar Salad – Romaine Lettuce, Croutons, Parmesan Cheese, Traditional Caesar Dressing

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Green Salad – Tomatoes, Artichokes, Vinaigrette

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Crispy BBQ Prime Rib Tacos – Shredded Barbequed Prime Rib, Creamy Cole Slaw, Crisp Won Ton Shells

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Burgundy Sauteed Mushrooms – Fresh Mushroom Caps Sauteed with Burgundy and Garlic

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Baked Potato – Sour Cream, Butter, Chives

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Filet Trio – Three Medallions over Toasted Croutons, Bearnaise, Roasted Garlic, Mushroom Sauce, Mashed Potatoes

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16oz. Bone-In Rib-Eye – Dry Aged Prime Beef, Charbroiled Medium-Rare

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Port Wine Demi, Roasted Garlic Sauce, Bourbon Sauce

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Chicken Vesuvio – Chicken Breast Sauteed with Artichoke Hearts, Mushrooms, Flamed with Sauternes

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Coffee

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Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding – Crème Anglaise

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Banana Foster & Strawberry Waffle – Chocolate Waffle Cup, Glazed Bananas, Strawberries, Vanilla Ice Cream

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Warm Apple Crumb Cake – Crown Royal Apple Crème Anglaise

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Warm New Orleans Style Beignets – Raspberry Sauce, Warm Chocolate Sauce, Whipped Cream

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Momenti Chocotini Chip Spirited Ice Cream – Vodka, Dark Chocolate, Chocolate Chips, Seasonal Berries

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Featured as the first Inspired Dining Series event, a collection of dining experiences in conjunction with the Epicurean Charitable Foundation (ECF) to discuss food, mentorship and the future of Hospitality in Las Vegas, it was alongside Assistant Executive Chef and Food Safety Manager for the South Point Hotel & Casino Keith Norman that dinner was enjoyed at Silverado Steakhouse. This Old Vegas room toqued by Chef John Romine proving to be far better than many locals might have ever guessed.

Chosen for the first of these meals thanks to both Chef Norman’s contributions as a Mentor and South Point Director of Food Operations Michael Kennedy’s position as Chairman of the ECF Board, it was as a group of five including one local Mentee that the group was greeted by a pleasant hostess and led to a table towards the back of the room. The space which is decorated in hand painted murals and vintage photographs is elegant yet comfortable as patrons of all ages and demographics were seen smiling over plates of both innovative seasonal options and traditional Steakhouse fare.

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Embracing the old way of doing things in terms of service, the Potatoes loaded and Salads tossed tableside, it was over the course of nearly two-and-a-half hours that Keith, a young mentee named Ben and three others shared stories and opinions about the current state of the industry and how Chef Norman got his start cooking in his Grandmother’s kitchen. He and four of his brothers are all Chefs and Keith himself a Marine Corps veteran who came straight to Las Vegas and landed a spot at Bally’s where “Chef Warner – that old-time Chef who gave me my first shot, he took me through the paces from Graveyard to Swing shift to Days.”

Enjoying three styles of warm bread from Great Buns Bakery and a glass of house Wine with appetizers, the underage mentee abstaining and keeping a good distance from the glass throughout the night, it was over an amuse composed of both King and Blue Crab with only a bit of filler that stories about Keith’s time opening The Mirage were remembered. “A great ‘wow’ moment working with Mr. Wynn and Certified Master Chef Gustav Mauler” was cited as an inspiration to do things the right way; the same way Silverado cooks their tender Mushrooms in Burgundy Wine with Garlic and composes the Caesar Salad topped in Dressing with a bold smack of Worcestershire Sauce and Anchovy Paste.

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Making almost everything possible on-site for nearly ten years since moving from Suncoast to South Point, Chef Norman stating “I’m not a mover and a shaker, if I’m with a good company I’m gonna stay.” It was while further discussing his time at the Mirage and then Treasure Island that he first suggested passion as the most important thing a youth can bring with them to the industry, “because if you aren’t passionate you’re just spinning your wheels,” a memorable bit of truth recalled between bites of Barbeque Prime Rib ‘Tacos’ served on crispy Won Ton Shells.

Enjoying dinner during Las Vegas Restaurant Week, the Chicken Vesuvio cooked in sweet Wine with Artichoke Hearts and Mushrooms is a crowd pleaser befitting a Casino described as having “a local feel.” It was here that Chef Keith spent some time discussing how a background of discipline benefitted him and contributed to his worldview and his reasons for working with the Epicurean Charitable Foundation. “Right after I graduated from boot camp, I was out on my own, right out in the world so I had to grow up quick. One of my first bosses in the Marine Corps was just that kind of guy – took me under his wing and taught me the things I needed to learn. Those are the kind of things I try to give back.”

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Noteworthy for setting a high standard in Allergy awareness, every restaurant on the South Point property deemed allergen friendly and recently winning “a national award for the best Allergy Program through a company called Allertrain.” The South Point’s Food Safety Manager went on to say that he became interested in such things while teaching students for nine years at the Art Institute. “So when ServSafe was mandatory, a lot of the properties who knew I taught food safety reached out to me.”

Thoroughly enjoying a clever plate called the “Filet Trio,” a trifecta of Steak Medallions served on toasted Bread beneath housemade Sauces, it was as the group carved up the 16oz Dry Aged Rib Eye that Keith went on to say, “I’ve never believed that Health Departments should have to make us do what we as Chefs should be doing anyway.” He followed up by saying, “We really have to raise the bar – protect the A.” His parting advice to Ben was to treat “every day as a learning experience and never forget that.”

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Certainly not planning to skip Dessert after such a meal, though the lack of an on-site pastry kitchen does mean most items are imported from elsewhere save for the best-selling Beignets and Vodka-spiked Dark Chocolate Ice Cream served with seasonal Berries, it was with a smile that Ben stated “there is not an employee on the property who won’t mention how good Chef Keith’s attitude is or how passionate he is.” As dinner was finished with Coffee alongside Sticky Toffee Pudding and a Warm Apple Crumb Cake, the contended crowd departing on Chef Norman’s advice that “if you can maintain [a positive] attitude and make sure that everyone is better in your presence you’re going to go a long way.”

Silverado Steak House

http://ecflv.org/

Posted in Bread Basket, Coffee, Crab, Dessert, ECF, Epicurean Charitable Foundation, Food, Ice Cream, Inspired Dining Series, Las Vegas, Nevada, Silverado Steakhouse Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Parsley Modern Mediterranean on West Tropicana, Las Vegas NV

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Parsley Modern Mediterranean

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Eggplant Salad ( 3 o’clock )

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Babaganoosh

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Chicken Hummus Shawarma Bowl with Tzatziki

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Falafel Side with Tahini

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Warm Pita

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Baklava

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Like many Las Vegas Restaurants, Parsley Modern Mediterranean began with the passion of immigrants, a man from Israel and his British wife originally meeting in Southern California before coming to Sin City and opening their first outpost in 2011, a second on the other side of Las Vegas Boulevard added in 2015 and both continuing to operate under a business model based on tradition, affordability and healthiness.

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Originally envisioned in the form of a Mediterranean Street Food stand back in Los Angeles, the concept reshaped into a quick-casual Restaurant with a focus on bold flavors featuring all-natural ingredients upon opening the first location on South Pecos, it was Saturday evening around Six o’clock that a visit was paid to Parsley Modern Mediterranean #2 on West Tropicana Avenue, the narrow space about 2/3 full with kids on their way to EDC as well as a couple of local families while two women and a man worked the counter.

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Described by one fan as a “Greek Chipotle,” and favored by a respected local Chef as one of his go-to spots for healthy food, patrons approaching the counter at Parsley are directed to the end furthest the door in order to place an order, the idea a fairly simple one with three Proteins plus Falafel offered as everything from Bowls to Pitas or Platters, several traditional Dips and Side Dishes also available along with Baklava and Fountain Soda.

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Fairly light in décor, a few Bookshelves and a mounted rack of Mediterranean Spices the only ornamentation aside from reclaimed wood and tile, it was after some perusal that the decision was made to order as wide a variety as possible with a focus on tasting, a bit of strategy allowing one to taste four Dips, a salad and two of the four ‘Entrees’ plus Dessert for under eighteen dollars.

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Serving many of the traditional Foods one might expect to find at their local Greek restaurant, everything but the Panini-press warmed Pita Bread made in house daily, it was with 80% of the order in hand that a table was found directly across from the register, first bites of the spit-roasted Chicken noteworthy thanks to not only the juicy texture but also a bold hint of Herbs, the Hummus atop which it was situated a substantial portion dusted in Paprika and Parsley with tangy Tzatziki added at the end.

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Taking a chance to unwrap the Pita, a second look at the menu later indicating that Parsley does indeed offer a housemade version for $1.00 more per piece, suffice it to say that the store-bought version does little to detract or add to either the smoothly pureed Chickpeas with a hint of Garlic or the smoky Babaganoosh bright with Lemon and Cumin while the Eggplant Salad is cool, slick and refreshing with thick-cut roasted chunks tossed in Tomatoes, Olive Oil and Peppers.

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Told that the $3.99 side of six Falafel was owner Ygal’s family recipe, the effort to fry them fresh appreciated even though the flattened shape led to a large surface area and thus a bit too much Oil, those who do not eat Meat are encouraged to taste the light green fritters for themselves with or without Tahini while anyone not on a diet would and without allergies would do well to finish with a small slice of Baklava available in many shapes, the traditional square featuring innumerable layers of Phyllo wrapped around ground Nuts and soaked in Honey.

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FOUR STARS: A nearly perfect idea when accounting for location, nutrition, ingredients and price, Parsley Modern Mediterranean is the sort of idea America should be embracing instead of the suddenly ‘clean’ Panera or 1,000+ calorie Burritos, the menu well-culled and highly customizable with almost everything offered naturally low in fat and available by request without any added Oil.

RECOMMENDED: Eggplant Salad, Chicken Hummus Shawarma Bowl with Tzatziki, Baklava.

AVOID: Falafel are oily, Pita are Store bought but housemade is available.

TIP: Free Baklava for Social Media Check-Ins and $16 for $9.50 Groupon make Parsley Modern Mediterranean an even better deal!

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Parsley Modern Mediterranean

Parsley Modern Mediterranean Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada, Parsley, Parsley Modern Mediterranean, Parsley Modern Mediterranean on West Tropicana Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Chica [2,] Las Vegas NV

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Chica

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Watermelon Lemonade

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Amaybamba Cusco Peru – French Press for 2

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Grilled Peruvian Octopus – Grilled Octopus, Crispy Quinoa, Aji Amarillo Sauce, Blistered Shishito Peppers, Spicy Guasacaca Pico

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Eggs & Grits – California Red Flint Grits, Farm Fresh Eggs, Housemade Chorizo, Fire Roasted Peppers, Smoky Tomato Ragu

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Sweet Corn Pancakes – Fresh Berries, Whipped Coconut Cream, Agave Syrup

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Chicken & Waffle – Marinated Rotisserie Chicken, Peruvian Peppers, Housemade 5-Spice Waffle, Agave Syrup

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Lemon Donuts – Wild Berry Compote, White Chocolate Dulce de Leche

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Dulce de Leche French Toast – Custard Dipped Challah Bread, Macerated Fresh Berries, Dulce de Leche Drizzle, Fresh Whipped Cream

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Espresso Filled Churros – Cinnamon Dusted Mexican Donuts, Espresso Cream, Marinated Cherries

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Tres Leches Dulce de Leche – Traditional Three Milks Cake, Toasted Meringue, Exotic Fruit Pico

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Unimpressed by Db Brasserie from the start, the eventual shutter little more than a protracted death march after the kitchen switched Chefs in an attempt to recover from the mistake of treating Las Vegas as if it was a one-off town willing to settle for a mish-mash greatest hits compilation rather than an original idea, it was with high hopes that the space could shine under the management of 50Eggs that friends and family was attended at Chica, the service an unmitigated disaster even for a trial run while the food was mostly good, though much showed room for improvement.

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Fresh off of almost unprecedented success with Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, not even a couple of changes in the kitchen slowing business for a restaurant that remains full at nearly two-and-a-half-years in, Chica is touted to “give guests the opportunity to explore the flavors of Latin American cuisine as one culture” with a menu from Lorena Garcia featuring “influences from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina, among many more,” the decision to hire former Border Grill Chef Mike Minor to head a restaurant “boasting the first Latina chef on the Las Vegas Strip” seemingly an odd choice regardless his skills.

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Now open just over six weeks, presumably enough time to iron out most kinks when considering the fact that Yardbird was on-point from week one, Saturday Brunch saw Chica at perhaps 25% capacity while its sister property was predictably out the door, the hostess at the podium retrieving a reservation as if she was surprised before handing three guests off to another young woman who led them through a maze of obstacles to a table against the back-right wall.

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Featuring a Full-bar, Ceviche station and Rotisserie/Grilling area amidst stylish décor dotted in pots, books, plants and metal sculptures, the music overhead ranging from Shakira and Santana to older Mexican ballads, it was shortly after sitting that a young woman approached the table with a cocktail list, menus and three types of Coffee, a lengthy description of their origins and flavor notes apparently commanding $12 for a two-person French Press featuring an admittedly smooth brew out of Peru with subdued spice and lingering fruity notes.

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Opting to defer menu choices to Chef Minor, only the Octopus, Tres Leches and a Watermelon-infused Lemonade for the youngster specifically requested, it was after greetings from Mike as well as the daytime Manager that the meal got underway, the “Grilled Peruvian Octopus” quite undercooked and thus rubbery despite being well flavored, the Shishito Peppers actually stealing the spotlight as they were served charred but not too spicy amidst toasted Grains and Yellow Pepper Sauce.

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Perhaps making a mistake in returning for Brunch, the limitations of a this meal frequently stressed by in-the-know diners, it was by plate two that trouble was first sensed, the “California Red Flint Grits” with Eggs, Chorizo and Tomato Ragu about as ‘Latin’ as the Shrimp n’ Grits next-door while the Chicken & Waffle seemed unapologetically ridiculous considering not only Yardbird but Chica’s theme…even a nine year-old wondering aloud if people eat Waffles in Mexico, before also pointing out that although the Chicken was “really juicy,” the Waffle was “too dry.”

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Finding the sweet half of the menu a bit more interesting than savories, though a thin stack of Johnny Cakes with Berries and Cream has a long way to go before matching those at HeXX, Lorena’s “Award Winning” Lemon Donuts were offered gratis by Chef Minor before moving on to the meal’s three best plates, the crispy Churros piped with Espresso Cream alongside Cherries soaked in Syrup a suitable replacement for those previously offered at Art of Flavors as Las Vegas’ best while the lighter-than-it-sounds French Toast with Dulce de Leche Drizzle is a great share-plate for just $14, especially since most will have no interest in sharing the sopping wet Tres Leches Cake served in a bowl with plenty of sweetened Milk and a topping of Toasted Meringue that is mellowed out my diced Fruit and Tajin.

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TWO AND A HALF STARS: Though none but the Octopus was really ‘bad,’ nothing about Chica warrants a special trip, and if Daniel Boulud failed in this space for trying to create a mash-up of all of his successful New York Restaurants what makes 50 Eggs think they will succeed with an equally ‘by committee’ menu of Latin/South America? Decent but far from great, it would do 50 Eggs a world of good to step back and rethink offering items like Chicken & Waffles or Grits when both can be found next door in a more accessible manner while also embracing the sort of cooking Mike proved capable of at Border Grill.

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RECOMMENDED: French Toast, Tres Leches, Churros.

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AVOID: Octopus, French Press Price (and shame on servers for not making customers aware of the $5 freely-refillable house blend.)

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TIP: The full dessert menu is available during Lunch, Brunch and Dinner…and for those dining during Brunch, remember, Yardbird is right next door with Mama’s Buttermilk Biscuits and Chess Pie with Chantilly Cream ready to go.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

https://www.venetian.com/restaurants/chica.html

Chica Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Chica, Coffee, Dessert, Food, French Toast, Las Vegas, Nevada, Octopus, pancake, Pancakes, Pork, Tasting Menu, Waffle, Waffles Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sparrow + Wolf, Las Vegas NV

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Sparrow + Wolf

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German Slurpee – Tito’s Vodka, Reisling, Thyme, Peach

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Full Monty Charcuterie Plate – Culatello, Spicy N’duja, Calabrian Chile Soppressata, Finocchiona, Pâté de Campagne, Lavender scented Lardo, Coppa, Liver Mousse, Apple Moustarda, Housemade Pickles, Mustard, Grilled Bread

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Lamb – Toasted Sesame, Apple and Walnut, Warm Bhatura Bread

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Hearth Baked Bread – Cultured Butter, Sea Salt

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Artichoke – White Bean Hummus, Charred Tomatillo, Mortared Herbs, Pine Nuts, Arugula

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Butcher Wings – Burnt Tomato, N’duja Vinaigrette

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Happy Hour Creekstone Farms Beef Skewer – Smoked Tallow Butter

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Black Truffle Meatballs – Dashi Butter, Bonito Flake

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Chinatown Clams Casino – Lap Cheong, Shiitake Mushroom, Uni Hollandaise

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Udon – Lamb Bolognese, Taggiasche Olives, Mint, Egg

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Campfire Duck – Hudson Valley Farms Duck Breast, Foie Gras, Wood Ear Mushrooms, Salted Cucumber, Plum & Duck Bone Broth

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Beef Cheek & Bone Marrow Dumplings – Green Onion Emulsion

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Sweetbreads – Grilled Romaine Hearts, Smoked Bacon, English Peas, Fond Blanc

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Tres Leches – Vanilla Bean, Orange & Cocoa Nib Crunch

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Calamansi Tart – Vanilla Meringue, Blueberry

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Black Sesame Crepe – Cherry Yuzu, Marmalade, Whipped Cream

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“You’d think Grant Achatz was opening a restaurant in Las Vegas” said one local Chef, a quick quip about cooking with “Unicorn Tears” replied another at the table, and so began a discussion about the endless parade of pictures and details about Sparrow + Wolf even before the restaurant opened its doors, Chef Brian Howard’s little dream seemingly happy to revel in as yet unwarranted hype, until it quickly silenced the doubters within its first two weeks of opening.

Now over two years in the making, Chef Howard’s departure from since-shuttered Comme Ca followed by fumbled leases that eventually led to a sizable space with an enormous exhibition kitchen on Spring Mountain Road, Sparrow + Wolf is described by the Chef as “food from the heart using a modern hand,” and what diners can expect on entry is really quite unlike anything Las Vegas has seen to this date, the wooden hostess podium standing in front of custom built ovens and a team of men and women hard at work, SLO-Boy’s Justin Kingsley Hall already breaking a sweat over the stove even though, at 4:55pm, the restaurant had not yet even opened.

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Managed by John Anthony, an industry veteran who willingly took on the challenge of opening a Modern American eatery Off-Strip, it was with seating offered at a four-top towards the back of the restaurant that diners were greeted by a young woman fresh out of a restaurant in Culver City, her ability to show some personality while remaining professional an admirable skill, though the over-explaining of concepts should be better gauged by reading diners while subtle up-sells such as “Bottled or Sparking” with no suggestion of Tap or “Would you like to add an egg to that” seemed a bit sneaky, as were repeated urgings to try items that topped the price list.

Without doubt a trendy restaurant, though not in the way that many would think since the menu is rooted in Chef Howard’s training and travels, those put off by loud Restaurants will be happy to know that Sparrow + Wolf does indeed feature music, though at low volume, with bands such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers not obtruding on conversation that will likely be sparked by beverages such as Jump the Shark or Spring Mountain Sour, this particular night’s feature entitled “German Slurpee” and identical in texture to those at 7-Eleven, but all grown up and mellowed-out with Tito’s Vodka, Thyme, Peach and Reisling.

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Offering several nightly specials, plus a bar-only Happy Hour that just began this week, it was with a shotgun approach that the menu was navigated after a bit of discussion about likes and preferences, a total of fifteen plates divided by four not an unreasonable amount of food as most dishes are well sized for their price, the opening board of Charcuterie allowing everyone to get a taste of each Meat with the N’duja and Liver Mousse both standouts, Chef Howard promising that the program will soon expand with several housemade offerings.

Happy to see the kitchen taking several chances, his ambitions ideally to be met by better turnout than Standard & Pour where outstanding plates such as Venison Tartare were seldom ordered by the timid palates of Henderson, Sparrow + Wolf’s Lamb Tartare takes on an Indian accent thanks chopped Fruit and Nuts plus puffy Bhatura Bread, the $5 “Hearth Baked Bread with Cultured Butter” one of the first *sold* on a local menu since David Clawson was panned for charging for Bread at his restaurant, the fluffy texture pleasant but still a bit tough to swallow as even New York’s Contra and Wildair charge less for their larger rolls based on an aged Sourdough Starter, also served with very good Butter.

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Suddenly seeing Artichokes on several local menus, a trendy ingredient best saved for Chefs given the time and effort to prepare it at home, Sparrow + Wolf pairs their crispy leaves with herbs and bitter flavors before leveling it off with White Bean Hummus, the $2.75 each “Butcher Wings” a veritable steal when compared to most when taking into account the plump size of each and a bright, spicy topping composed of Tomatoes, N’duja and a bit of acid.

Not particularly impressed by the Happy Hour Beef Skewer save for the Butter, Chef Howard sending this out gratis, it was at his and the waitress’ urging that the group also tasted four “Chinatown Clams Casino,” the combination of Chinese Sausage, Mushrooms and a big tongue of Uni more than justifying the $7.50 Umami-Bombs, though at $15 for five the group all preferred the equally bold nightly special of tender Black Truffle Meatballs rested in a salty Butter bath and dusted with Bonito flakes.

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Continuing to show an Eastern influence with slippery Udon topped in Lamb Bolognese, the $6 upcharge for an Egg a regrettable choice for more than one reason as the runny Yolk made the dish *too* wet, those looking for a better Pasta are encouraged to try a bowl of Beef Cheek & Bone Marrow Dumplings, the Dough a little thicker than some of the Strip’s best Italian spots though the filling is rich, creamy and well met by the foamy Emulsion of Green Onions.

Acknowledging the price of luxury ingredients and the high food costs sustained by restaurants in 2017, the final two plates of the night spoke directly to the prices of their ingredients in terms of their sharability, the Campfire Duck barely enough for a bite each of the Liver or Breast though the flavor seemed on-point while the soft, meaty Sweetbreads were elegantly placed amidst the flavors of Spring with a bit of salinity added by Bacon wrapped around the grilled Lettuce for a dollar less.

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Perhaps not a place some would think of for Dessert, the smell of smoke and wood in the air plus an interesting Bar program not really shouting “Cake” or “Pie,” Sparrow + Wolf nonetheless avoids the Hipster trap of serving a deconstructed American Classic or some ridiculous concept such as Celery Sorbet by allowing diners to choose Cheese or one of three sweets, the Tres Leches a boozed up version of the Mexican favorite that spins it towards Tiramisu with the addition of Chocolate while the Calamansi Tart and Black Sesame Crepe both continue to show a global influence, the former reining in the Fruit’s sour notes by way of Vanilla Meringue to create something smooth and light while the
Crepe is savory enough that it could easily be served with a protein were it not for the Citrus-tinged Cherries and thick Cream.

FOUR STARS: Not as skeptical as many at first, but not entirely sure the place would be as great as writer-friends of the Chef made it out to be from preview bites, Sparrow + Wolf is precisely the sort of restaurant Brian Howard promised to create. Still new, and at times oddly priced, it speaks volumes that the kitchen is already executing at the Michelin 1* level of similar places in Chicago or New York and it will be interesting to watch how the project evolves once the initial surge slows down, its long-term success likely to be based on locals, and thus very telling about the future of Las Vegas’ Off-Strip dining scene.

RECOMMENDED: Charcuterie, Butcher’s Wings, Black Truffle Meatballs, Sweetbreads, Black Sesame Crepe.

AVOID: Happy Hour Beef Skewer, $6 (price not listed) Egg that actually works to the Udon’s detriment, Duck (for groups of 2+.)

TIP: Currently taking reservations by RESY from 5p-11p Su, Mo, We and till 1am on Th, Fr, Sa. Closed Tuesdays. Chef’s Table tasting available along with daily specials.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

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Sparrow + Wolf Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Foie, Foie Gras, Sparrow + Wolf, Sparrow and Wolf, Sweetbreads Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Herringbone [6,] Las Vegas NV

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Herringbone

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It’s Still Hot in Mexico – Espolon Repsado Tequila, Thai Chili, Agave, Lime, Cilantro, Cucumber / Kiss my Bubbles – Belvedere Vodka, Aloe Vera, Elderflower, Strawberry, Lime, Simple Syrup, Prosecco

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Hamachi Sashimi with Ruby Red Grapefruit, Serrano Chiles, Avocado

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Buffalo Octopus with Black-eyed Peas, Celery, Carrots, Ranch

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Mango with Roast Duck, Cashews, Jicama, Passion Fruit-Truffle Vinaigrette

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Green Lip Mussels Tikka, Cilantro, Grilled Flatbread

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Summer Pea Ravioli, Morels, Butter, Hoisin Barbeque Sauce

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Chilean Sea Bass with Farmer’s Market Vegetables, Citrus Miso Glaze

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Brussels & Pecans with Maple

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Double Espresso

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Chocolate Cake with Caramel Mousse, Raspberry Chocolate Grenache, White Chocolate Cream

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Mascarpone Cheesecake with Strawberry Gelee, Pistachio and Mandarin-Yuzu Sorbet

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Chocolate, Sea Salt & Caramel with Candied Hazelnuts and Nutella Gelato

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Not especially sold on Searsucker, but a fan of Brian Malarkey’s Herringbone at Aria ever since its earliest days under the toque of Geno Bernardo, it was prior to a show at The Park that two guests sat down to enjoy the late-Spring dinner menu, a 5:00pm reservation seeing Chef Nick Aoki currently in charge and the service as good as ever.

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Continuing to do good business for Brunch even during Las Vegas’ warming weather, the poolside patio still hosting a few lingering customers even as the wind whipped through palm trees, it was at a four-top in the middle of the dining room that seating was offered, the menu quickly perused before deferring to Chef’s choice, a pair of drinks including the Fruit-forward “Kiss My Bubbles” and Thai Basil-infused “It’s Still Hot in Mexico” both well crafted and balanced at the Strip-expected cost of $17.

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Aware of the seven o’clock showtime, and sending out plates one-by-one at a pace that was never too fast, it was with summertime tunes playing overhead that Chef Aoki’s new Yellowtail course was served with Grapefruit, Chiles, Avocado and crispy Shallots added for a crunch, the clean flavor well-suited for rising temperatures while a follow-up of triple-cooked Octopus topped in housemade Buffalo Sauce is more of an anytime dish that makes the Cephalopod more accessible to some while reinterpreting it in a surprisingly delicious and tender way for those who are familiar.

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Continuing to embrace the “Fish Meats Field” concept, though many might believe that the restaurant is solely about Fruits of the sea, plate three was presented as the Chef’s nightly special with roasted Duck served atop sliced Mangoes and Jicama with Cashews and a bright Vinaigrette that worked despite that Passion Fruit thanks to top notes of Summer Truffle, Chef Geno’s Green Lip Mussels Tikka continuing where the Octopus left off by presenting a fusion of ideas that worked, though more Grilled bread would have been ideal to sop up *all* the creamy Sauce brightened by Garlic and Tomato.

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Showing off two dinnertime favorites and one new plate for Summer, the caramelized Sprouts as good as any in town while a sizable fillet of Sea Bass was served tender and meaty with a vibrant glaze over Intuitive Forager’s Market Vegetables, those reminiscing of Chef Bernardo’s days at Nove will be happy to know his Pasta continues to shine by way of sweet Pea Ravioli served with Morel Mushrooms bathed in Butter and a fairly mild Hoisin Sauce.

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Enjoying a Double Espresso along with Dessert, the Dark Chocolate and Caramel Tart specifically requested based on the recommendation of others everything a ‘Chocoholic’ might want with a bitter Ganache sweetened by Caramelized Hazelnuts and Nutella Gelato, those looking for something lighter would be well advised to choose between the flourless Mousse Cake stuffed with Raspberry Jam beneath a quenelle of White Chocolate Cream or the smooth-as-silk Cheesecake atop a Pistachio Biscuit served with refreshing Citrus Sorbet.

FIVE STARS: Executing the rare feat of offering quality Shellfish, creative fusion plates and subtle dishes that would not be out of place in a restaurant from one of the Strip’s French Masters, Herringbone succeeds in targeting a wide customer base without seeming contrived, Chef Aoki steering the ship with confidence as Geno helps tweak the California locations and readies to open new Herringbones in Hawaii and Los Cabos.

RECOMMENDED: Buffalo Octopus, Mussels Tikka, Summer Pea Ravioli, It’s Still Hot in Mexico, Mascarpone Cheesecake.

AVOID: Getting your hopes up for the Duck Salad…though the restaurant almost always offers a daily special.

TIP: New menu launches on June 15th with plates including the Hamachi and Ravioli plus several additions and changes in other plates’ set-ups.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

https://www.aria.com/en/restaurants/herringbone.html#/Menu

Herringbone Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Coffee, Dessert, Food, Herringbone, Ice Cream, Italian, Las Vegas, Nevada, Octopus, Truffle, Truffles Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rosallie [10,] Las Vegas NV

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Rosallie ‘Le French Café’

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Almond Croissant

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Butter Croissant

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Pain au Chocolate

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Praline Cake

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Red Velvet Cake

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Chocolate Cake

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Goat Cheese, Cherry Tomato, Red Pepper, Olive Oil Tartine

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Apple Pie Smoothie

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Palmier

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Walnut Pie

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Nutella Almond Pie

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Apple Pie

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Soft Roll

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Country Peach and Fresh Basil Jam

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Fresh off a trip to New York, the first in four years and one that featured 48 eateries including almost two-dozen bakeries, it was straight to Rosallie ‘Le French Café’ for Breakfast, the Big Apple’s move away from classic French Pastry in favor of Instagram-friendly everything sometimes offering a tasty bite, though little of it seems likely to stand the test of time.

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Owned and operated by Jonathan Pluvinet, his first twenty-one months of business largely successful despite chronic construction on South Rainbow Boulevard that obstructed the storefront and likely turned away many potential first-time visitors, June 2017 sees the youthful Chef soon to launch a second location across-continent in Orlando Florida, though the first store has in no way showed signs of slowing down with a half-dozen new items added since April.

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At this point a place with more regulars than fresh faces, Chef Pluvinet greeting many guests by name with a hug or handshake, it is finally with the Wine Cellar well stocked and private room fully decorated that the interior of Rosallie has matured to match the quality of its menu items, the space formerly harboring a 7-11 exuding European charm even though a Sushi Burrito shop sits next to it, the offering of Smoothies to meet Las Vegas’ hot summer yet another smart idea with the Apple Pie version tasted a bit icy but still delicious with bold Cinnamon notes carried high by Milk, roasted Fruit, Whipped Cream and more.

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Additionally ordering a Double Iced Americano, Pluvinet’s excellent hand-mixed blend of Beans potentially soon to see an upgrade as he looks to add a Roaster to the new location, it seems redundant to reiterate the fact that Rosallie’s Butter Croissant and Almond version remain the best in Las Vegas by a substantial margin, Jonathan’s housemade Roasted Peach and Basil Jam a great addition to the former and just as good on one of his toasted Soft Rolls, though it could just as easily be added to a summer grilling project as the sweetness comes across up front before slowly dissipating in an clean, herbal finish.

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Always impressive by way of their Pies and Quiches, the all-Butter crust with razor sharp edges rarely less than picture perfect, Summer has seen Jonathan add a Nutella-Almond version to the already great line-up including Walnut and Apple, the Hazelnut-Chocolate Spread forming a light layer beneath the glazed Nuts that comes across mostly as an accent, the same to be said of the light heat of roasted Red Peppers amidst Tomatoes on the soon-to-be-released Tartine with French Goat Cheese.

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Still looking to increase the daytime pastry offerings, particularly as popular items like the Almond or Nutella Croissants occasionally sell out before noon, Rosallie’s final new addition is a trio of Cakes offered in individual portions, the Chocolate and Praline previously offered as Buche de Noel at Christmas here served in layers with light Frosting while the Red Velvet is admittedly not remotely “French,” but also not American as Chef Pluvinet has replaced the sometimes-heavy Cream Cheese Frosting with a light Buttercream accented by curls of White Chocolate.

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FIVE STARS: Not slowing down, not even a bit, one does wonder just how well Rosallie will fare as ownership focuses on a new market over 2,000 miles away, but if the past year and a half is any indication there is almost no doubt Orlando is in for a treat while the Las Vegas location continues to thrive, the only one likely to suffer being Jonathan as he racks up frequent-flier miles and advice for minimizing Jetlag.

RECOMMENDED: Almond Croissant, Chocolate Cake, Walnut Pie, Country Peach and Fresh Basil Jam, Nutella-Almond Pie, Apple Pie.

AVOID: N/A.

TIP: South Rainbow construction has finally moved on…and there was much rejoicing. Yay.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

https://rosallie.com/

Rosallie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Breakfast, Coffee, Croissant, Croissants, Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada, Rosallie, Rosallie 'Le French Cafe' Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Uncle Boons, New York NY

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Uncle Boons

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Huu Muu Sawan – Heavenly Pigs Ears, Whiskey & Chili Glazed with Sawtooth and Scallion

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Mee-Krob – Sweetbreads, Crispy Noodle Salad, Peanuts, Dried Shrimp, Egg, Sawtooth, Tamarind

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Pla Muuk – Grilled Baby Octopus, Charred Lime, Tamarind Sauce

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Sticky Rice

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Sai Krok Ampai – Grilled Issan Pork & Rice Sour Sausage / Khao Gun Jiin – Blood Sausage, Kaffir Lime, Herbs wrapped in Banana Leaf

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Roti

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Khao Soi Kaa Kai – Northern Style Golden Curry, Homemade Egg Noodles, Chicken Leg, Pickled Mustard Greens, Fresh Turmeric

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Caramelized Milk Toast

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Opened by Per Se alumni Ann Redding and Matt Danzer in 2013, the restaurant’s daily 5:30pm opening still marked by lines at the door due to the limited number of reservations and popularity built on Beard Award nominations, countless Best of Lists and the only Michelin Star for Thai food in Manhattan, Uncle Boons was picked for the final dinner during a recent trip to New York largely as a result of location and curiosity, the results marred by only steamy temperatures and a noise level most accurately described as “scream to be heard by someone seated at arm’s length.”

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Certainly not a mom n’ pop Thai spot frequented by locals craving Drunken Noodles or Tom Yum, the theme that of a 1970’s Bangkok Dive-Bar complete with region specific music, dark wood and low ceilings, it was at precisely six o’clock that two adults and one child approached the doors of a step-down space that sprawls back from a crowded Bar to two rooms divided by a long hallway, a reservation made 14-days in advance circumventing what was already a thirty-minute wait for four that expanded to 2.5 hours for a two-top by 7:30 on a Saturday.

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Well received by travelers and critics alike, Redding’s youth spent in Thailand explaining how two Caucasians who met while cooking in Thomas Keller’s Michelin 3* kitchen at Time Warner Center came to own a Restaurant known for Curry, Larb and Boxing Arena snacks, those sitting down at Uncle Boons will quickly realize that this is not a concept built on Hipster sensibilities and ‘fusion,’ but rather a serious operation that refuses to take itself too seriously, the plates all featured by their traditional name and composed of well-sourced ingredients.

More expensive than the average Thai spot, yet still amongst the cheapest Red Guide rated restaurants outside of Bib Gourmand, it was after being seated in a cozy corner booth that a young waitress stopped by with water and menus, the frequently changed options accurate from Uncle Boon’s Website which made things easy, a total of six plates and two sides served as they were readied by the kitchen, mostly in five to fifteen minute intervals.

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Undoubtedly trying to create a certain mood by way of the music and densely-packed tables, the servers cut from that smile-always cloth that almost seems fake because diners subjected to such volume and conditions are challenged to believe anyone would want to be subjected to such things day after day, it was shortly after placing an order that plates one and two arrived just as the air-conditioning clicked off, the Sweetbreads Mee-Krob a pleasantly funky dish pairing fried Offal with crispy Noodles, Peanuts and the bold flavor of dried Shrimp while the “Huu Muu Sawan” drinking snack was hot, tangy and cooked just enough to slightly melt the cartilage while still leaving plenty of tender Meat.

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Detailing a section of the menu as Ahaan Yang, or Charcoal Grilled Goodies, plates three and four took on a smoky note thanks to Danzer and Redding’s desire to serve a style of Thai food not typically seen stateside and although the whole Baby Octopus were a tad more chewy than charred the $15 Thai Sausage Duo was sensational, the Sour Issan Sausage featuring a good snap and smooth grind while the Khao Gun Jiin was a creamy, spreadable sensation with a texture not dissimilar to N’duja but an even more concentrated iron tinge that is still evident above the citrus and spice.

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Enjoying a bit of sticky Rice with the Sausages, a $3 fold of Roti saved for the sizable bowl of Golden Curry featuring Chicken, pickled Greens and homemade Egg Noodles both boiled and fried, those expecting something creamy may very well be disappointed by the somewhat thin broth heavily spiced in Turmeric, though it seems unlikely that any would take issue with the Caramelized Milk Toast Dessert that serves a thick slice of Brioche completely soaked at its center but shatteringly crisp on the exterior.

http://www.uncleboons.com

Uncle Boons Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Dessert, Food, New York, Octopus, Pork, Sweetbreads, Uncle Boons, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rice to Riches, New York NY

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Rice to Riches

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Samples: The Edge of Run Raisin, Almond Shmalmond, Man-Made Mascarpone with Cherries, Take Me To Tiramisu, Fluent in French Toast

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Omni – Oreogasm, Butterscotch Boulevard, Play it Again Butter Pecan

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Open in Nolita since 2003, probably before the area was actually called that as opposed to simply a run-on from Chinatown and Little Italy into SOHO, it may seem surprising that it took nearly fourteen years for a frequent New York visitor with such a pronounced sweet tooth to make a stop at Rice to Riches, the main justification being that the enormous portion sizes were seen as too filling for an already packed dining agenda.

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Owned by Peter Moceo Jr, his highly publicized multi-million dollar gambling ring case in 2005 seeing many speculate that the stylized Rice Pudding shop had been used for money laundering, the passing of more than a decade has done little to slow down the oval-glass fronted space that continues to amuse tourists with clever names and funny signage, the novel idea now even spawning a competitor on Bleecker Street called Rice Cream Shoppe.

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Stopping in after lunch at Joe’s Shanghai, the waiter there actively deterring an order of Sweet Congee that immediately spurred a decision to finally visit Rice to Riches with two others along for the ride, it was just minutes past three o’clock on Saturday that the group stood chuckling at signs reading “eating three sensible, balanced meals a day will only spoil your appetite for Rice Pudding” and “sleep til you’re hungry, eat til you’re sleepy,” a few samples of the creamy rice enough to prompt the purchase of a three-flavor “Omni.”

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Offering both take away and dine-in options, the booths elevated above floor level in a brightly lit alcove perfect for photos and being out of the way as a continuous trickle of traffic circles the room eating and reading, Rice to Riches shows an unexpected appeal amongst Chinese, Indians and Latin Americans where more subtle styles of Rice Pudding are actually quite popular, the Cheesecake and Vanilla said to be the shop’s best sellers though neither were tasted in the face of items like Man-Made Mascarpone with Cherries, bitter-sweet Take Me To Tiramisu or the Cinnamon-flooded Fluent in French Toast.

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Offering approximately 20-to-24 flavors daily, many of them consistent with others rotating in and out seasonally, it was after making a few tough decisions that curved ‘spoons’ were inserted into choices from a divided plastic bowl, the “Play it Again Butter Pecan” identical to the classic Ice Cream flavor while Butterscotch Boulevard bettered many Mozza-inspired Budinos thanks to sweetness tempered by a faint bitterness, the “Oreogasm” saved for last exactly as it should be, complete with bits of granulated sugar filling occasionally encountered amidst the otherwise creamy texture.

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https://www.ricetoriches.com

Rice To Riches Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Coffee, Dessert, Food, New York, Rice to Riches, Tiramisu, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Joe’s Shanghai on Pell Street, New York NY

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Joe’s Shanghai

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Pork Steam Buns

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Fried Pork Dumplings

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Kung Pao Chicken

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Pan Fried Noodles with Beef

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Originally located in Flushing, the Soup Dumplings such a sensation that locations in Chinatown and Midtown soon followed, Joe’s Shanghai is as close to an institution as anything in the Five Boroughs, accolades from the Times, Zagat and several international publications turning each walk-in-only Restaurant into the sort of place both locals and tourists are willing to line up for.

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Originally founded in 1995, though the praise and décor would make many assume the restaurant that has since expanded to Japan is far older, it was around 2pm on a Saturday that a party of three approached Joe’s at 9 Pell Street, the low-ceilinged space completely full with persons of all ages, colors and ethnicities, one of the six-person communal rounds soon to partially open up after a mere ten minutes of standing at the door.

Owned by Mei Ping Matsumura and “Joe” Si, the somewhat Americanized Chinese menu taking its roots in the food of Hong Kong but spreading across hundreds of items including a few, like the sweet Congee, that servers will frankly tell patrons *not* to order, it is with Hot Tea (that is also used to wipe down tabletops) already present that diners are handed menus, Tap Water refilled intermittently on request with a few additional Sodas and softdrinks also available.

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Mostly English friendly, a necessity thankfully recognized by ownership as no effort has been made to detail dishes on the menu – the famous xiaolongbao still listed as “Pork Steam Buns” even though almost everyone calls the Soup Dumplings either that or XLB, it is essentially as if servers already have “1” or “2” written down as they seat patrons, the former $8.25 and stuffed with Pork plus Crab while the $6.25 version eschews the Crustacean and comes across with a smooth, briny smack thanks to the cloudy Aspic with a surprising amount of shredded Meat mixed in it.

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Flooding the table with condiments, chopsticks, small cups and eventually food, those ordering past the Dumplings are offered a bevy of options including whole Ducks, various Seafoods and Noodle dishes, the Fried Pork Dumplings taking a wrapper similar in thickness to those of the Soup Dumplings and placing it around ground Sausage with just a bit of spice and serving it with Ginger-infused Soy for dipping.

Hoping that a place of such regard would have mastered Kung Pao Chicken, though the Sichuan origin of that dish probably should have raised some second thoughts at a place with Shanghai above its door since the areas are over thirteen hundred miles apart, Joe’s version comes with a lot of oil and not much spice, the Vegetables completely eschewed with extra Peanuts filling in alongside the generous plate of cubed slightly overcooked Breast Meat.

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Doing better by the Pan Fried Noodles, a Shanghai standard that here sees thick, flour lengths first broken and then cooked springy in Dark and Light Soy Sauce plus a bit of Sugar, Joe’s Beef is sliced thin and added to the pan late which makes for a unique taste with some bites briny and others meaty, the sautéed Spinach standing in for Bok Choy another odd choice leads to an earthy finish, rather than the more typical bitter.

http://www.joeshanghairestaurants.com

Joe's Shanghai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Joe’s Shanghai, Joe’s Shanghai Chinatown, Joe’s Shanghai on Pell Street, New York Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fuku, New York NY

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Fuku

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Spicy Chicken Sandwich

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Fries with Ssam Sauce

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Say what you will about David Chang, the guy knows how to market himself, and in a hype-begets-hype world of Umami and Instagram the not-so-humble cook has influenced hundreds of Chefs since the original Momofuku opened over a decade ago, his Fuku that launched out of the original Ko space in June of 2015 every bit the internet sensation one might have expected from the very start and now with five locations including those at Madison Square Garden, Citi Field and on Wall Street.

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Originally built around Chang’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich, claims of bettering “the great fried-chicken places and fast-food concepts out there,” and references to “Chick-fil-a, but better” not really overselling the concept to someone who rarely eats fast food and has little respect for the latter save for their pickle-brining technique, it was just past noon on a Saturday that entry was made to a space that was mostly disappointing when visited in its previous format, the service this time at least friendly and the music turned down with the total bill just over $12 for one Sandwich plus an order of Fries.

Using fresh deboned Thighs instead of the traditional Breasts, this fact alone enough to elevate the expectation of juiciness when compared to national chains, Fuku charges guests $8 for a sandwich that most should be able to consume in approximately four bites, the bun a bit undersized but pillowy soft and a good contrast to the Crispy Batter painted in Ssam Sauce.

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Seemingly unbrined, but plenty juicy thanks to the meat and spicy without being *hot* as a result of both the sauce and the breading itself, Fuku does Chang proud by refusing to modify the sandwich and although most may feel the pickles necessary to replicate the restaurant’s influences the fact of the matter is that they neither help nor hinder the Sandwich, much as the addition of wedge-cut Fries dusted in salt does little to make Fuku feel like anything more than a typical Fast Food restaurant at more than twice the price.

Fuku

Fuku Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Food, Fuku, Momofuku, Momofuku Fuku, New York, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Petee’s Pie Company, New York NY

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Petee’s Pie Company

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NY Sour Cherry Pie

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Brown Butter Honey Pecan Pie

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Black Bottom Almond Chess Pie

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Opened since 2014 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a ramshackle little spot on Delancey barely visible from across the Street, Petee’s Pie Company has been said to offer some of the Big Apple’s very best Pies thanks to using only top quality ingredients and changing things up seasonally, the prices comparable to Pie Corps or Four & Twenty with about twenty varieties including sweet and savory choices available daily.

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Ranging $5 – $6 per slice, the promise of Green Market Produce, Organic Flour and Grass-Fed Butter from Upstate New York combined with all-natural sweeteners and zero preservatives certainly a model that anyone with the financial means should be willing to get behind, it was just past 10:30am on Saturday that the small shop was entered, one patron present browsing the internet while two young women worked stocking shelves, a few questions answered and the decision to take out made largely due to the shop being a bit too hot and stuffy, not unexpected as they were consistently running a convection oven to re-warm dine-in items.

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Owned by Petra Paredez, a Virginia native who grew up the daughter of bakers before eventually settling in New York, Petee’s collection reads very much of the young woman’s past with a focus on all the typical Fruit and Cream choices plus some more Southern Specific, the words “Ice Box” and “Chess” not usually seen on menus north of the Mason-Dixon, but here featured prominently including the Black Bottom Almond Chess that fuses the Cornmeal and Vinegar classic with both Almond Flour and sliced Nuts atop a thin layer of Fudge nestled into the all-butter Crust.

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Dining as a solo and thus forced to cut the order about six slices short of what one ought to, Maine Blueberry, Local Apple, Key Lime and Banana Cream all left on the shelves along with weekend special Cinnamon Rolls, bites to follow were invested in a sloppy slice of New York Sour Cherries followed by Brown Butter Honey Pecan, the former using only enough Sugar to keep the Fruit sticky as it baked inside the Pie Shell while the later would have benefitted from a bit higher Nut-to-Jam ratio, though this is but a minor complaint for those who like their Pie sweet since the combination of Local Honey, Brown Sugar and Butter give Milk Bar’s “Crack Pie” a run for its money for the most sugary in the City.

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http://peteespie.com

Petee's Pie Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Dessert, Food, New York, Petee’s, Petee’s Pie Company, Petee’s Pies, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Patisserie Chanson, New York NY

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Patisserie Chanson

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House Filtered Water / Drip Coffee

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Ham and Cheese Croissant with Rosemary

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Fresh baked Caramel Pecan Sticky Bun

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Cashew Croissant

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Made to Order Pistachio Mille Feuille

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Carrot and Coconut Cake, Pistachio Granola, Feuilltine

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Chocolate Pecan Kouign Amann

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Pistachio & Cherry Snail

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Chocolate Hazelnut Macaron

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Seven days in New York and it seemed as if all hope was lost for any of the city’s highly touted new Bakeries to impress, but willing to take the chance on a friend’s recommendation it was at 9:00am that a party of three found themselves waiting for Patisserie Chanson to unlock its doors on Saturday, the recently opened shop by Rory Macdonald outclassing Florentine, Ansel and Union Fare in terms of quality without entirely eschewing a creative component.

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Born in England and a veteran of names like Ramsay and Arzak, his work with Tong Chee Hwee further rounding out the resume when he joined Hakkasan to open their New York Flagship, Macdonald’s work at Patisserie Chanson sees his first solo foray exploring the world of French Pastry using only the best ingredients available with a focus on pushing boundaries without breaking them, the shop modern and classy with a ceiling lined in baking sheets.

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Located in the Flatiron, just south of Madison Square Park, and reportedly soon to offer a nighttime “Dessert Bar” experience similar to Dominique Ansel’s Unlimited Possibilities, Patisserie Chanson in its current state sees a collection of grab n’ go options up front along with a sizable barista station, the more formal Salon area in back offering table service for Pastries and Drinks plus a few additional options including Afternoon Tea, Salads and Sandwiches.

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Debating between grabbing Pastries to take elsewhere versus sitting down to eat, a decision quickly made with one glimpse of the menu, it was with mispronounced French staples from still-green service that a combination of Pastries and made-to-order items were debated, the eventual choice to invest in six still leaving at least a half-dozen desirable choice on the shelf, Chef Rory stopping by briefly to greet patrons and even being so kind as to send out one of the newly-released Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns for the table to taste.

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Ordering one glass of Milk and two Coffees, the former also presented gratis to the nine-year-old at the table along with a Chocolate-Hazelnut Macaroon that cracked softly to yield a creamy dark filling, those interested in classics would do well to take a gander at several styles of Croissants, the most interesting amongst those a Ham and Cheese version stuffed with thinly sliced Pork from France plus Gruyere and Rosemary or a Cashew version that one-ups Almond by way of the more buttery Nut ground into both the Flour itself and a ribbon of Crunchy Butter atop the textbook laminated Pastry.

Still trying out several new recipes, the aforementioned Sticky Bun a true butter-bomb that is certainly best shared, another new-that-day item was a rectangular Kouign Amann with soft puddles of Dark Chocolate folded into the laminated Dough along with toasted Pecans, the Pistachio and Cherry Snail featuring the same base as the Croissant wound around poached Fruit without any added sweetness, the finish just a touch salty.

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Taking a page from Paris’ Jacques Genin and offering a la minute Mille Feuille, the light green Pistachio chosen over Chocolate or Coffee with $15 yielding a dual-layer construction of smooth Pastry Cream sandwiched between two layers of compressed, caramelized Pâte Feuilletée, it was with a loud crackle that utensils pierced the top with a clean break prior to each memorable bite, a finale of Carrot and Coconut Cake again going a couple steps beyond what is necessary to impress, the Cake itself a soft sponge without a lot of added Sugar topped in Pistachio Cream, Granola, razor-thin Carrot Chips, Cream Cheese Frosting and Feuilltine.

https://patisseriechanson.com

Patisserie Chanson Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Chanson, Coffee, Croissant, Croissants, Dessert, Food, Macaron, Macaroon, New York, Patisserie Chanson, Pork, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Atoboy, New York NY

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Atoboy

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Seaweed Crackers

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Black Sea Bass – Spring Onion, Mint, Kiwi

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Leek – Doenjang, Cheddar, Walnut

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Corn – Taleggio, Bacon, Doenjang

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Squid – Pork, Shrimp, Salsa Verde

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White Rice, Seaweed Rice, Spicy Cabbage Kimchi, Apple Kimchi

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Chicken – Spicy Peanut Butter, Garlic

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Pork Jowl – Barley, Ssamjang, Cipollini Onion

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Strawberry Cheese Mousse Cake – Pistachio, Mint

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In a place like New York City, the haves and have-nots readily evident by any number of metrics as each try to chase their ‘American Dream’ on exceedingly competitive terrain, Atoboy sees former Jungsik Chef Junghyun Park currently getting his time in the spotlight along with wife and Manager Ellia, the $36 three-course menu of upscale Korean food well received by critics and locals alike.

Described as a “casual fine dining restaurant” serving family-style, those words fairly telling of a target market featuring folks used to dining at trendy spots with “chef-driven” this or “artisan” that, Atoboy is located at 43 East 28th Street and although it does not look like much from the outside its interior stretches back at least 150 feet from door to kitchen, the tables collected as two-seaters, four-tops and a few communal options with the service efficient and friendly, though getting them to explain certain preparations will occasionally require some effort.

Sort of a unique entry to the Flatiron, the pricepoint seemingly a good one though admittedly fairly high compared to other Korean restaurants found across the United States, it was after reservations were confirmed that three diners were led to a table along the painted-white bricks, the menu navigated after a bit of indecision and first bites soon delivered as a thin, briny pile of Seaweed Chips.

Known to change up their menu frequently, though a few signatures have already emerged as heavily recommended favorites amongst trustworthy local palates, it was after a somewhat protracted wait that the duo of Leeks in Soybean paste with Cheese and Black Sea Bass Tartare with Mint and Kiwi arrived, the former taking ‘funky’ to an almost David Chang level while still proving balanced while the fish was far too fishy to be enjoyable with the additional ingredients leaving behind a bizarre Mojito-eque finish.

Not particularly thrilled by round one, the second promising to be better based on friend’s assertions that the Corn was a highlight, it was with a small bowl of sweet Kernels again flavored by Doenjang that the meal brightened slightly, the rings of rubbery Calamari stuffed with Squid and Pork Sausage well matched to the flavor of Cilantro, Peppers and Salt though not enough to get two at the table past the texture.

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Setting a stage for the main course with duos of Rice and Kimchi, the $2 upgrade well worth it when comparing saline Seaweed Rice to the standard white stuff, fans of heat will appreciate Chef Park’s resistance to the recent trend of Chefs turning the spice down, the Cabbage actually quite bracing while the Apple was a pleasant palate cleanser between bites of Tempura battered Chicken in Peanut Butter Sauce and crispy skinned bits of Pork Jowl made vibrant by Hot Pepper Paste but kept in check by White Rice, Onions and toasted Barley.

Recently moving Dessert from the three-choice menu and giving it a section all of its own, a choice the server suggested was financial because most patrons did not want to ‘use’ one of their $36 trio on something sweet, the meal ended with a $9 slice of Strawberry Cheesecake, the primary component a lightly whipped Mousse that comes across creamy without being over-sweetened while additional layers include Strawberry Pate de Fruit and a nutty green quarter inch that tastes like a Financier.

http://atoboynyc.com/

Atoboy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Atoboy, Dessert, Food, New York, Pork, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Vaucluse

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Gougere – Mornay, Black Truffle

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Olive Rye, Sourdough, Multigrain Bread – Butter

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Foie Gras Terrine – Rougie Duck Liver, Fruit Confiture, Toasted Brioche

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Epaulettes – Rabbit and Reblochon Cheese Ravioli, Black Truffle Jus

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Duck Confit – Farro Risotto, Green Asparagus Tips, Rhubarb

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Mille Feuille aux Cerises et Abricots – Puff Pastry, Apricot Caramel, Sour Cherry Kirsch Ice Cream

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Paris-Brest – Pate a Choux, Caramelized White Chocolate, Hazelnut Caramel Ice Cream

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Chocolate Sable – Espresso White Chocolate Cream

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First coming across Michael White’s cuisine during a fortuitous meal at Alto in 2009, and since visiting nearly every New York restaurant from Altamarea Group, it was on the word of a Las Vegas Chef that early-Dinner was booked at Vaucluse on the Upper East Side, the upscale Provencal Brasserie from one of America’s most noteworthy Italian Chefs proving to be inspiring in terms of the food, though the clientele leaves a lot to be desired.

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Now heading up eight restaurants including one in London, several fumbled concepts including a Bar and Steakhouse lost along the way, Vaucluse sees White and his team re-interpreting the food of Southern France with a focus on fine dining spun New York, the room both beautiful and light with a Bar featuring live Jazz clearly popular amongst the rich and powerful as Friday came to a close while the dining room slowly filled thereafter with Septuagenarians, many of them with very specific dining demands.

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White washed and elegant, the majority of the patrons suited or luxuriously jeweled and thus giving the room a rather grand feel as servers worked in terms of formality with great poise even as an elderly regular berated three Wines plus the Rack of Lamb, those choosing to dine at Vaucluse will quickly realize that they are not just dining at a Michelin Starred Restaurant from a Famous Chef, but in the rarified air of people to whom this does not even register, a woman to the right later frustrated by the fact that a fish featured on the winter menu was no longer offered in early June.

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Tapping Remy Forgues as Chef de Cusine, the Frenchman’s time at Paris’ L’Ami Jean and subsequent work at Café Boulud clearly evident in his ability to progress from bold Terrines and Pâté en Croûte to Marea-quality Pastas followed by big Steaks and sides, it was with a meal at Ai Fiori in mind that the menu was perused before composing a five-course experience including three savories plus two sweets, a tiny Gougere filled with liquid Black Truffle Mornay both creamy and Fragrant followed up by three Breads and good Butter, the Olive Rye both sweet and salty while the others were pretty standard.

Impressed by Foie Gras every time it has been offered at a Michael White restaurant, this particular version bringing in a truly superior product from Canada that is densely packed, lightly glazed and offered with housemade seasonal Jam and Toasted Brioche for spreading, those looking for something equally rich but a bit lighter are encouraged to request Vaucluse’s signature “Epaulettes,” the ten Rabbit and Reblochon Cheese Ravioli dressed in a buttery pan Sauce laced in Black Truffle shavings.

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Requesting the appetizer portion of the pasta, a larger entrée available for $37, savories would wrap with the daily special of Confit Duck atop slowly cooked Farro finished in Asparagus Tips and poached Rhubarb, the bold smack of acid doing a fine job of balancing out a surprisingly ample piece of Protein offered for just $24, the single-layer “Mille Feuille” from Altamarea executive Pastry Chef Robert Truitt unfortunately neither trying nor succeeding in matching the stellar versions of Chanson or Le Coq Rico, though the Paris Brest was as good as any yet found in France, the Pate a Choux airy but crisp and more than capable of standing up to slowly-melting Hazelnut Caramel Ice Cream served amongst Caramelized White Chocolate filling.

http://vauclusenyc.com

Vaucluse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Coffee, Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Michael White, New York, Truffle, Truffles, Vacation, Vaucluse Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Le Coq Rico, New York NY

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Le Coq Rico

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Firefly Rose – Westermann’s Spiced Vodka, Rhubarb, Strawberry Shrub, Basil

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Asparagus Veloute – Parmesan Chips

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Baguette – Salted Butter

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Leeks Vinaigrette – Hollandaise Sauce

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Seared Duck Foie Gras & Honey Crisp Apple – Cherry Vinegar Reduction, Almonds

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Thomas Farm Squab en Croute – Puff Pastry. Squab Breast, Cabbage Leaf, Duck Foie Gras, Jus Reduction

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120 Day Brune Landaise – Pan Jus

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Seasonal Salad – Vinaigrette

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Golden Yukon Potato Puree

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Macaroni au Gratin

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Double Espresso – Ice

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Madagascar Vanilla, Caramel, Coffee Ice Cream

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L’Ile Flottante – Soft Meringue, Red Praline, Crème Anglaise

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Westermann’s Caramelized Brioche – Beer Ice Cream, Pan Seared Cherries, Kriek Beer

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Vanilla Millefeuille – Pastry Cream, Sweet Brandy Raspberries

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Subtitled “the bistro of beautiful birds,” Le Coq Rico from Antoine Westermann sees the former Michelin Starred Chef bring an entirely new idea to Manhattan, the Restaurant at 30 East 20th Street combining his love of splendid Poultry with locally sourced Produce to create a menu that looks ‘bistro,’ but goes several steps above to become one of New York’s most delicious dining experiences.

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French by birth, a Chef by his late teens and a restaurant owner by the age of twenty-three, Antoine Westermann’s story is a unique one that includes setting aside a pursuit of Red Guide recognition in order to explore new frontiers, a move to America eventually seeing him travel throughout the States before settling in Manhattan, partnership with a longtime friend providing the financial backing to bring his Monmartre concept to the Flatiron in March of 2016.

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Citing influences of The Hudson Valley and his own experiences back home, the far wall of the restaurant and its ceiling decorated in white feathers while an abstract Rooster hangs just before the pass, patrons entering Le Coq Rico NYC are first greeted by a long bar that runs the full length of the kitchen before opening up into the main dining room, and eschewing tablecloths in favor of polished wood the space seems both modern and intimate – a perfect place for a romantic dinner but just as viable for a jovial lunch with friends.

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Hiring a mix of French and American servers while the kitchen is toqued by Daniel-alum Guillaume Ginther and Chef de Cuisine Julien Darcy, lunch at Le Coq Rico sees both the well-lit space and its menu similar to dinner and dining with regulars it was after a bit of debate that the decision was made to order in three courses, a glass of wine for the Gentleman and a refreshing Firefly Rose Cocktail for one other starting things off as the kitchen sent out an amuse of smooth Asparagus Soup and a yeasty, sliced Baguette.

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Offering no less than seven types of bird daily, several of them heritage breeds of Chicken while Duck, Guinea Hen and Squab also made an experience in late-Spring, round one began with the luxurious duo of Seared Duck Liver with Apples and bright Vinaigrette alongside a gently roasted Breast of Squab packed in Puff Pastry with more Foie Gras, Cabbage and Forcemeat, the Chef’s addition of tender Leeks dressed in Hollandaise a gracious bonus that actually showed quite well on its own, though even better as a means to balancing out the richness of the other plates.

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Certainly not your typical ‘Chicken shack,’ the respect for whole-animal butchery paired with using only the best breeds from Free Range farms that Westermann personally visited during his travels evidenced by the list of respected purveyors, it was after perhaps sixty minutes that the 120 Day Brune Landaise was presented before returning to the kitchen for carving, the Lancaster County produced version of Gascony’s noble breed a meaty and delicious specimen that tastes particularly rich thanks to a free-range diet that includes everything from typical grains to Worms, Grass and Insects.

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Pairing the golden-skinned bird with a seasonal salad sourced from the nearby Green Market plus sides of Robuchon-esque Pommes Puree and creamy Mac n’ Cheese topped in a Bread Crumb Crust it was with an iced Americano in hand that Desserts from Chef Matthieu Simon were debated, the only logical order being a flawless $29 a la minute Millefeuille “to share” plus three more items, the French Toast crisp over a pudding-soft center with Ice Cream amongst the creamiest in Manhattan while the celebrated L’Ile Flottante ate halfway between Custard and Marshmallows with a lightly bruleed skin in a pool of Lyon’s favorite Candies and cool Crème Anglaise.

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http://www.lecoqriconyc.com

Le Coq Rico Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Coffee, Coq Rico, Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, Ice Cream, Le Coq Rico, New York, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Patisserie Florentine, New York NY

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Patisserie Florentine

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Almond Croissant

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Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Muffin

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Matin

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Krantz

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A rare case of New York importing a dining concept from New Jersey, the longtime favorite of Englewood setting up shop in the East Village at the very end of 2016, Patisserie Florentine quickly rose to the top of many Manhattanite’s lists of ‘best’ Almond Croissant, though the relative lack of traditional French Pastry found in the Big Apple currently makes this claim a bit less significant than it seems.

Owned by brothers Tomer and Itay Zilkha, the former a Pastry Chef by morning and Professor of Culinary Arts by day while Itay manages the financial end, Patisserie Florentine promises to bring the baking traditions of Northeastern France to the United States by way of items both familiar and somewhat less common, the Garden State location this year celebrating its 4th anniversary.

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Eschewing the warm bistro approach of its original storefront in large part due to Manhattan’s well-publicized property costs, Patisserie Florentine at 280 East 10th Street opens Tuesday through Sunday by 8am with two glass cases well stocked alongside a sizable barista station, the items ranging $2.75 to $4.50 with not one savory among them, perfectly fine for those with a sweet tooth and enough to warrant a sixteen dollar order for four items inclusive of tax.

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Not offering a dine-in option in Manhattan, the selections thus carefully bagged or boxed and taken elsewhere to eat, it was with Coffee from nearby in hand that items were carefully cut and sampled, the “Matin” essentially an Apple Tart made out of laminated Dough that puffs up big, flaky and full of Fruit while the Banana Chocolate Muffin features the dense crumb expected of Whole Wheat without coming across dry, the Bananas intentionally over-ripened and thus becoming pudding-like alongside melted Dark Chocolate chunks.

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Not attached to only selling traditional French pastry, items incorporating Nutella also popular amongst fans, a small loaf titled “Krantz” was tasted to follow-up the Muffin and although the clerk chose to describe the dish as ‘essentially a German Babka’ the dense, buttery crumb made such a claim seem half-hearted as this is more a Coffee Cake that just so happens to be ribboned in Dark Chocolate with softly separating layers while the famed Almond Croissant was the flattened, double-baked style completely devoid of Frangipane and thus crisp, buttery and only as sweet as it should be.

http://www.patisserieflorentine.com

Patisserie Florentine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Croissant, Croissants, Food, New York, Patisserie Florentine, Patisserie Florentine Bakery, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Doughnut Project, New York NY

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The Doughnut Project

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PB+J v2.0 – Blackberry Glaze, Peanut Butter Whip, Housemade Blackberry Jam

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Birthday Cake Mini –Tahitian Vanilla Glaze, Birthday Cake Crumble, Sweet Cream “Funfetti” Filling

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Plain Glaze

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The Everything Doughnut – Sweet Cream Cheese Glaze, Sesame Seeds, Poppy Seeds, Pepita, Garlic, Sea Salt

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Black Gold Texas Tea – Extra Dark Chocolate, Housemade Dark Chocolate Cookie Crumble, Sea Salt

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Espresso Milk Chocolate – Coffee Crunch

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Blueberry & Parsnip

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Bourbon Maple

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Founded by Leslie Polizzotto and Troy Neal, their shop on Morton Street in the West Village generating a crowd since late 2015, The Doughnut Project has picked up where places like Doughnut Plant left off as expansion became more pertinent than creating new flavors, a visit on “National Doughnut Day” showing the shop to be no more or less crowded than usual, a queue of about fifteen present just a few minutes after their 8:00am opening.

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Self labeling themselves as “Mad Scientists,” the small-batch in-house concept similar to that of Portland’s Blue Star or SoCal’s Sidecar Doughnuts, #TDPNYC as they are known on Social Media suggests that their goal is to “go beyond sprinkles and cream cheese frosting” propagated by ‘fad foods’ on Instagram, the focus instead on doing things a little different, treating anything as if it could be a Topping and then tweaking recipes seasonally.

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Taking the Raised approach as Du’s Donuts and Underwest sling Cake, the daily menu offering a Baker’s Dozen or more choices at $3.50-$4.00 each, Friday found The Doughnut Project in between two of their New York inspired “series” that range from Cocktails to those influenced by Broadway, the spread including Doughnuts both sweet and savory with a “Plain Glazed” gifted due to a mistake when boxing the order showing a spongy sort of Brioche base with plenty of yeasty notes and Vanilla perfuming the slick, sugary topping.

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Taking a similar approach to many new-age New York Doughnut shops by only offering one style of dough, those looking for a simple Chocolate Ring, Old-Fashioned or Fritter encouraged to look elsewhere for their fix, tastes of “The Everything Doughnut” saw TDP come out swinging for the fences with a zany combination referencing the Big Apple’s favorite Bagel, the savory notes surprisingly well matched to lightly sweetened Cream Cheese Glaze while Spring’s Blueberry and Parsnip came across fresh and Fruity with a nutty linger, the “PB+J v2.0” tilting far more to the right with the whipped Peanut Butter filling mostly overwhelming the flavor of housemade Blackberry Jelly.

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Baking up a whole bunch of Birthday Cake Doughnuts for a party, the rest of the Dough used to make an off-menu special Birthday Cake Mini sold for just $3 that day, it seems #TDPNYC will occasionally feature the Sprinkles they poke fun at in the form of a creamy filling for this one, the Black Gold Texas Tea that is considered by many to be Polizzotto and Neal’s ‘signature’ a worthy choice for that designation as the nearly Bitter Frosting is sweetened up and made more interesting by a sprinkling of Sea Salt and crumbled Chocolate Cookies.

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Nice to see ownership in house, something a friend who frequents the space says is more common than not, the tasting concluded with a daily special of Bourbon Maple that far outperformed the typical Tim Horton’s Dip thanks to both the booze and pure Maple Syrup while the Espresso Milk Chocolate plays off the familiar flavor of Mocha while dialing up the texture by rolling the ring in Butter Cookie-based “Coffee Crunch”

www.thedoughnutproject.com

The Doughnut Project Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Coffee, Dessert, Doughnut Project, Food, New York, The Doughnut Project, Vacation