NYC – 7/3/16 – Clocktower and Le Coucou

Clocktower
It has been quite a while since I have dined at Clocktower so I was looking forward to the opportunity for a return visit.  My last few times were for drinks only as there is no dining allowed at the bar (which I still do not understand).  While the cherry tomato salad was very good, and I can’t believe I am about to complain about a portion size being too large, I was suffering from tomato fatigue by the time I finished.  Of course avocado toast is overdone, but its so good when done well and I rarely have the willpower to pass it up on a menu.  But in a city awash in much better versions, this one was anemic and overall quite sad.  Thank god for the brittle and shortbread that appeared with the check.  Two of my favorite sweets of all time.

Heirloom cherry tomato, Brooklyn burrata, sourdough, basil

Avocado on toast, poached eggs

Le Coucou
Le Coucou may very well be my favorite restaurant opening of 2016 thus far.  Impeccable but incredibly friendly service.  Gorgeous dining room.  Properly spaced tables.  Energetic yet you are easily able to carry on conversation without yelling or struggling to hear.  Perhaps the first NY restaurant in ages that I would take my parents to.  And really really great food.  In a day of double Stephen Starr an experience worlds away from brunch.  The rabbit could easily be for 2 and the proper cheese course impossible to turn down.


Salade de homard, sauce lauris
lobster tail, basil, tomato, sauce lauris

Quenelle de brochet, sauce americaine
pike quenelle, lobster sauce


Tout le lapin
all of the rabbit



Cheese (obviously)

NYC – 7/2/16 – Nomad Bar, Olmsted and Grand Army

Nomad Bar
Of course there had to be pre-dinner snacks at Nomad Bar. For once I exhibited a bit of willpower and did not have the hotdog so I could chalk this up as a success or a failure.


Beef and tuna tartares

Olmsted
I followed Olmsted pre-opening as I tend to do every time a chef who has spent time at Alinea opens their own place.  A very solid market driven menu and I assume that by now the menu has changed several times over.  My favorites were the fried fiddleheads and the snap pea sushi (and no I have never met a pea dish that I didn’t love).  If I had one small complaint it would be the 5 pieces of the pretzel puffs for a party of 3.  I understand if the serving cannot be adjusted based on the amount of food prepped but if possible I wish we could have the option of paying more to even out the serving size when dishes are pretty much impossible to split up.  Well that and that I never saw the awesome Santimetre studio glasses that Chef Achatz had a day later, although other items were fantastic.  I’m very much looking forward to a return visit and it takes a lot for me to go to certain neighborhoods.  Congrats on all of the recent great press.  Extremely well deserved!

Charcuterie Pretzel Puffs

Fried Fiddlehead Ferns

Snap Pea Sushi

Crawfish Boil Crackers

Thai Beet Salad

Grilled Hake, Rhubarb, Brown Butter, Bok Choy

Harbison “Fondue”

Old School Chocolate Mousse, Vanilla Creme Fraiche

Grand Army

I have been meaning to get to Grand Army since it opened and happy to now have another reason to get back to this part of Brooklyn.

NYC – 6/24/16 – Nomad Bar & Tuome

Nomad Bar

It wouldn’t be my birthday month without at least one Humm dog would it?

Tuome 
Very happy to put Tuome back on my radar after too many months.  The dishes that I have had before (Egg and Pig Out) are still outstanding and the watermelon salad had me at farro.

Egg – deviled, crispy, chili

Watermelon – ricotta, farro, chrysanthemum

Tartare – wagu beef, three hour yolk, lemongrass

Snow crab – noodle, summer squash, dashi butter

Pig Out – berkshire pork, spicy peanut noodle

And of course another birthday dessert

NYC – 6/22/16 – Alon Shaya @ Chef’s Club

Shaya was one of my favorite meals of 2015 so I obviously could not miss the opportunity to have some of Alon Shaya’s food closer to home.  It was fantastic although with a limited menu I couldn’t help but feeling that I just wanted to get back to NOLA.

Salatim served with pita bread – Louisiana crab tabouleh, bulgur, mint, tomato; Labneh, hold land trinity; Blackened eggplant salad, tahini, pine nuts

Fried oyster hummus, pecan brown butter

Cochon de lait shakshouka – slow roasted pork, stewed tomatoes, green chili zhoug

Louisiana shrimp – okra, paprikash, jasmine rice

Continuing the month long birthday celebration

NYC – 6/20/16 – Gramercy Tavern

I put Gramercy Tavern on the shelf for a few too many years always chasing something new and never going back to too many of the tried and true classics.  I’ve recently put it back into rotation although only in the Tavern room.  Such was planned for this particular night but when there was a long wait vs. no wait for the dining room my date chose the later.  We quickly decided to do the tasting menu and then somehow got to talking and I never even looked at the menu let alone remembered to take a photo.  So unfortunately no descriptions.  However if Gramercy Tavern has fallen off of your to-do list as well, do yourself a favor and go back asap because it is as fantastic as ever and holds up to anything we are all so intent on booking as soon as it opens.


NYC – 6/16/16 – Sadelle’s

Sadelle’s is one of my absolute favorite brunch and lunch spots despite the iffy service and hordes of people. But I put off dinner for some time based on the early poor reviews. I went in with low expectations and so was actually pleasantly surprised. The prices seem high especially for presentations that aren’t even worth commenting on. But portion sizes were large and all of the dishes quite good. Unfortunately the large plates and portion sizes do not work with the table sizes and I found myself having to rearrange the entire table quite a few times which has become one of my biggest pet peeves. The twice baked potato was perhaps the best possible version of this classic and may be reason enough for a return dinner visit.

Tuna tartare

Salad

“Kaspia” baked potato

Roumanian steak

Scallops

NYC – 6/15/16 – Contra & Restaurant Andre

Yet another great Contra collaboration dinner, this time with Andre Chiang of Restaurant Andre in Singapore.  He is fantastic as is his food and I hope to someday make it to Singapore!

Baby mushroom croque en bouche

Oyster, lapsong gelee, peas

Rose champagne, heirloom tomatoes, poisson de roche

King crab, celery sabyon, capers

Elysian fields lamb, scallop lasagna, cresson-wasabe

Quail, fava, cherries

Camembert