NYC – 4/10/17 – Empellon Midtown

I still remember my first visit to Empellon Taqueria soon after it opened.  It was very quiet.  Just myself and a friend and a food blogger taking a lot of photos.  I continued to go back frequently as well as to Empellon Cocina.  The midtown Empellon is a fantastic next step once you get past the midtown location.  The chopped cabbage salad may be one of my absolute favorites of the year.

guacamole

king salmon ceviche with jicama and hibiscus broth

octopus tacos with celery and savory peanut butter

short rib confit with picadillo garnish

chopped cabbage salad with toasted fave bean dressing

NYC – 3/25/17 – Marea & Momofuku Nishi

Marea
So many years later still a standby and one of my favorite midtown lunch stops.  It is a bit scary to think about how much of the fusilli I have eaten in my lifetime!


polipo – grilled octopus, smoked potatoes, pickled red onion, radish, chilies, tonnato

fusilli – durum wheat pasta, red wine braised octopus, bone marrow

sorbet



Momofuku Nishi

If only I could now transport Nishi to my new neighborhood on the west coast.  It quickly became one of my favorites in NYC.  Service has often been spotty and on this particular visit it took me an entire course to get our server’s attention to order another drink.  But the food somehow always trumps the less than perfect service and I continue to return. Plus finding a penicillin on a cocktail list is reason enough to visit.

penicillin

diver scallops – shio kombu, tiger’s milk, cucumber

romaine – walnut bagna cauda

beets & avocado – shiro shoya, quinoa, chia seeds

squash pancake & onion vinegar

roasted pork – brussels sprouts, barley miso

pound cake

NYC – 3/22/17 – Kristian Baumann x Chef’s Club

In a different setting I think I would have enjoyed this dinner so much more.  Its completely personal preference but for some reason Chef’s Club just didn’t work for me even though I quite like the space.  I also think its difficult to have these dinners in the main dining room.  But still fantastic to have Kristian Baumann in NYC.

little neck claims, rosehip seed oil, salted gooseberries, seaweed

California spot prawn

brown beech mushrooms, fresh goats milk cheese


grilled & glazed squab, nashi pears, arugula, blackberries



rausu combo ice cream, toasted barley, blackcurrant wood oil

NYC – 3/18/17 – n’eat

I have almost blocked it out but of course chose an incredibly cold day to trek far away from the subway to 2nd Avenue.    You have to order a fair number of dishes at n’eat to make a whole meal however it would be a great stop for pre-dinner snacks with more regularity.  I could have eaten several orders of the buckwheat toast and the duck heart tartare was absolutely fantastic.

buckwheat toast, crimini, aged cabot clothbound cheddar

spicy duck heart tartare, huckleberry, almonds

potato pancake, salt pork, pear marmalade

grilled prawns, Myer lemon, chili, egg yolk jam

NYC – 3/7/17 – Loring Place

I loved everything about the food at Loring Place except perhaps the pizza crust, but then there are few that I do like.  However as is the downfall of many restaurants, too many plates were brought at once and they barely fit on the table.  While I have list of dining pet peeves, this one is so irksome because there is just no need for it to happen.  Chef Kluger clearly has the experience to manage pacing of the kitchen. You know how big your dishes are and how large my table was, so at what point do you just tell the customer that they have ordered too much food?  And if you know as a server that the kitchen is going to send everything at once, warn me and don’t make me place my entire order at once.


butternut “fries” with lemon-parmesan dressing

leeks & pears with walnuts, yogurt and sherry vinaigrette

fluke crudo with citrus, chilies and radishes

wood grilled broccoli salad, orange, pistachios and mint

portobello mushroom pizza, ricotta, mozzarella, cherry peppers and oregano

NYC – 2/27/17 – Isaac Toups @ Tasting Table Test Kitchen

I have always loved the guys chef dinners at the Tasting Table test kitchen although it was certainly easier to get reservations years ago.  Isaac Toups is one of my favorites in New Orleans and he brought some great crawfish dishes to NYC.

crawfish roll, brioche, celery hearts, citrus

crawfish bisque, stuffed crawfish heads

Louisiana crawfish pie, potato puree, herb salad

cinnamon and blood orange “Mardi Gras” hand pie