NYC – 11/18/16 – Marta

I enjoy all of the USHG restaurants for different reasons but what they have in common is that they are always solid and safe choices in a very good way.  The pizza at Marta may not have my favorite crust, but it is still very good and I can polish off one by myself quite easily.  I’m glad I didn’t give up on Marta after the early days when the service was almost dreadful.  A for improvement!

insalata di farro – farro piccolo, grilled brussels sprouts, honeycrisp applies, plave vecchio

suppli al telefono – tomato risotto croquettes, mozzarella

capesante – grilled scallops, romanesco cauliflower, pine nuts

funghi – fontina, mozzarella, hen of the woods, chanterelles, red onion, thyme
salsiccia – pork sausage, cremini mushrooms, pecorino

cookie plate

NYC – 11/16/16 – La Sirena

I went to La Sirena soon after it opened for drinks and was hoping to have dinner at the bar.  But one rude bartender later I found out that food was not yet being served at the bar and I left hungry and cranky.  I probably should have given up on La Sirena after this experience but gave it another try in the dining room.  The NY Strip was fantastic and perfectly cooked.  But the other dishes we ordered were average at best and not at all worth the inflated meatpacking prices.

Tuna crudo, pickled leeks, finger limes, habanero
Wild striped bass in scapece, grapes & mint

Roasted acorn squash, cacio di uova & smoked ricotta

Lardo crusted dry age bone0in NY strip with potato bombolini

A dessert that I unfortunately cannot remember

Washington, D.C. – 11/14/16 – Maketto

As much as my dear friends in DC may dispute it, the food scene is really turning around.  When we couldn’t fathom waiting in line at Bad Saint in the rain, we ended up at Maketto and it was hardly a consolation prize.  A mashup of Cambodian and Taiwanese which results in some delicious dishes in a funky, casual space that is not DC in a great way.  And in the year of fried chicken, another great addition with this fantastic five spice caramel version.

braised pork steamed bao, braised pork, hoisin sauce

crispy gruyere dumplings, chinese beef chili, fermented mustard greens

spicy laab and bone marrow, mixed herbs, spicy ground pork, chilis

wok fried rice noodles, mushroom sauce, local vegetables

maketto fried chicken, five spice caramel, housemade bread

Washington, D.C. – 11/13/16 – Momofuku CCDC & the Dabney

Momofuku CCDC
Much of the improvement in the DC dining scene can be attributed to the opening of branches of restaurants from elsewhere.  And while I try to avoid places that I can find at home, in this case having a Momofuku only a short walk from the convention center was pretty fantastic.

Brisket buns

Momo bap

The Dabney
Once again Bon Appetit’s best new restaurants list has not lead me astray.  The influence of Chef Langhorne’s time at McCrady’s is definitely apparent.  Such a cozy vibe just perfect for a place with only a wood fire.  Everything was wonderful and a repeat visit will certainly be made my next time in DC.

18 month broadbent’s country ham, biscuit & house condiments

Pork rillette, grilled ciabatta, mustard seed, ramps, fennel & herbs

Maryland blue crab, sunchokes, bearnaise & aleppo

Winter squash cooked in the fire, goat feta, walnuts, mustard greens & fresh horseradish

Confit potato salad, broadbent’s bacon, parsley, pickled mustard seed & cured egg yolk

Whistle pig farm pork cabbage wraps – pork loin and shoulder, roasted cauliflower, fermented chili, apple, peanuts, pickles, herbs

Fruit crumble

NYC – 11/10/16 – Grand Gelinaz Shuffle @ Luskus

For the second year, for one night only chefs from across the world switch kitchens.  You buy tickets for a specific location but have no idea who will be cooking until you arrive (or hours earlier if you do enough digging online).  The unknown is incredibly fun and often allows you to have food from a chef whose restaurant may have never been able to visit based on geography, in this case Manu Buffara of Curitiba, Brazil.

Oysters, green strawberry, lime

Leeks, tucupi, chickpeas

Spinach, radish

Sourdough bread and brazil nut butter
Scallops, aspargos, coconut cheese

Cauliflower, nut milk, bottarga


Chicken liver, beans, potato

Lamb, parsnip, mostard

Watermelon, yogurt, celery

Princeton, NJ – 11/8/16 – elements

I am completely embarrassed that it took me so long to get to elements.  I have visited Mistral downstairs numerous times for drinks and for dinner and have been impressed each time.  I thus went into this dinner with high expectations and they were actually exceeded.  I somewhat still can’t believe that I had this meal in the suburban town where I spend far too much of my life working.  I am looking forward to a return visit as soon as I can talk another colleague into going!

Fluke – horseradish and lemon balm

Spanish mackerel – sunchoke, pickled ginger, mizuna

Lobster – chive, trout roe, parker house roll

Foie gras – brussels sprouts, apple, bacon, acorn squash

Squab – huckleberry, pine mushroom, potato

Ostrich – cumin, shallot, pork jus

Ribeye – hickory smoked, NJ rice, shiso

Wintergreen – custard and berries

Farmers cheese – caramel, hemlock, hazelnut