NYC – 12/30/17 – Atla and Momofuku Ko

Deserted on a frigid and snowy morning but excellent as always and worth making the trek for.

arctic char and farmers cheese tostada

ranchero eggs

Very belated and a bit sad in retrospect as this was my last visit to the Ko bar before the space was renovated.  I will eventually catch up to the new space and menu (which is awesome) but I loved the old one as well.

NYC – 12/29/17 – Flora Bar

The first time I tried to visit Flora Bar was unfortunately Super Bowl sunday and it was closed.  It obviously took me a long time to make a second attempt but was certainly worth the effort.

snow crab with miso mayonnaise

tuna tartare, sunflower, and hijiki
sea bream crudo with pomelo and chrysanthemum

chicories with pears, hazelnuts and Bayley Hazen Blue

potato and raclette croquettes

Futsu squash and black truffle tart

lobster and crab dumplings in yuzu broth

NYC – 12/28/17 – Ferris

It is fantastic to see more cool places move into the Nomad area of NYC.  Ferris makes the best of below street level location and overdelivers for its modest setting.  A definite must visit.

chips & dip – chicharrones, chicken liver mousse

blood sausage – grilled dates, toasted seeds

(I discovered I am missing a page of the menu and consequently descriptions for a few courses.)

octopus – egg custard, confit potato, pedro ximinez

beets – black sesame tahini, young coconut

carrot agnolotti – lamb neck, pickled squash

NYC – 11/11/17 – Momofuku Ko

Perhaps I avoid getting caught up on this blog because revisiting my favorite places in NYC just makes me too sad.  Yet another fantastic dinner at my favorite spot topped off by a perfect chocolate fernet dessert.

black bass, rye bonji, perilla

sea urchin, chickpea, hozon

ko egg, caviar

beef au poivre

razor clam, pineapple, basil

striped bass, eggplant, tomato

lamb, radish

foie gras, lychee, pine nut, riesling jelly


foie gras, lychee, pine nut, riesling jelly

chocolate, mint, fernet branca

NYC – 11/10/17 – Atoboy and Aviary

Yet another place that I have missed terribly since I moved.  So much so that I ate so quickly I forgot to photograph several dishes.

lotus root, dubu, seaweed, chili oil

beef tartare, nooruk, mustard green, myungran

sunchoke, oyster mushroom, black truffle, orange

octopus, kimchi, chorizo, parsley

So much about the reviews is accurate and so much is not accurate at all.  I am certainly biased.  For me it will never be the same as Chicago, but the views sure do help compensate.

Up the Ice Ante – oat, marcona almond, white peach, horchata


Heart of Stone – pistachio, peach, fresno, lapsang, bourbon

Loaded to the Gunwalls – mace, pineapple, hazelnut, batavia arrack

NYC – 11/17 – Mondrian Hotel

The Mondrian recently opened before this stay and was still working out a few kinks. This room was definitely tiny. I loved the decor but it was very poorly designed for a trip that involved the need to work. There was no desk and only a small table however no outlet anywhere near the table and thus impossible to plug in my laptop. After a day of puzzling water in the bathroom I figured out that the toilet was leaking. And housekeeping neglected my room for an entire day. Despite these issues the staff was well intentioned and I actually booked a follow up visit (with different issues but promptly addressed).

NYC – 8/19/17 – Blue Hill at Stone Barns

There are certainly no better vegetables out there than those grown at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Course after course somebody at the table said “this is the best [insert type of vegetable] that I have ever had.”  And thank goodness there were so many vegetables otherwise I would have been struggling with this very long menu long before the last two courses.  This is certainly a must-do if you haven’t been, in which case go early to walk around the farm a bit.  Be forewarned, especially if you have arranged a car service back to NYC, that this is a very long menu.

NYC – 8/18/17 – The Office

The Office NYC will likely always feel a bit strange to me having spent so much time in the original.  But the amazing friends I met there and all of the memories just can’t be replicated.  So I am trying hard to think of it as something entirely new and not compare.  At this point I have had several great experiences in this space.  The food is gorgeous and with the expanded size comes an expanded menu plus some of my all time favorites the tartare and ice cream sundae.  I wish I could write this with no prior history because I am just so curious what I would think.  But mostly I am just bummed beyond belief that the minute my favorite place opened in NYC, I left town.

NYC – 7/16/17 – Momofuku Ko

Yet another fantastic meal at one of my favorites, Momofuku Ko.  This was actually my first visit for lunch and I especially loved the new-to-me pork and squash dish. I’m missing a few photos but I overcast about Ko anyway!

chicken oyster

black bass, rye bonji, perilla

sea urchin, chickpea, hozon

ko egg, caviar

beef, au poivre

lobster, lobster mushroom

pork, squash

foie gras, lychee, pine nut, riesling jelly

strawberry, vanilla

NYC – 7/15/17 – the Breslin

I really cannot say enough good things about the large format fried chicken dinner at the Breslin.  I was skeptical as nothing for a group ever seems to be as good as individual.  My pictures do not at all convey how much food there was.  We could have easily fed twice as many people.  Everything was absolutely delicious and I could not stop eating.  And for NYC this was an absolutely incredible value.


NYC – 5/30/17 – Per Se

This post begins my short farewell to NYC tour.  These will be many of my favorite places in NYC so I won’t be writing much because I’ve said it all before and I can’t recommend them highly enough.

oysters and pearls

salad of greenmarket squash, jingle bell peppers, picholine olive tapenade, aged parmesan and romesco

butter poached maine lobster, forest mushroom “tortellini,” green asparagus and sauce americaine

herb roasted elysian fields farm lamb, ruby beets, hakurei turnips, marcona almonds, and green peppercorn jus

“velvet elvis,” banana creme fraiche sherbet, peanut butter sabayon, and TKO crumble

NYC – 5/17/17 – Sunday’s in Brooklyn

While I had wanted to make a trip to Sunday’s in Brooklyn, this visit happened by chance when the spot we intended to visit was closed for a private event.  Lucky there was a table and we very much enjoyed our contingency dinner.

deviled eggs, smoked paprika

garden pickles

black sea bass crude, sunchoke, meyer lemon, pickled chili, fresh cream

toasted buns, green garlic, raclette cheese

chicken drumsticks, house togarashi, spring alliums, buttermilk

roasted cabbage, fermented black trumpet mushrooms, hazelnuts

burnt honey tart, sheep’s cream, mandarinquat

NYC – 5/6/17 – Bouchon Bakery

I don’t mind the food court feel of Bouchon Bakery at the Time Warner Center as it somehow then seems appropriate to visit post-gym still wearing workout clothes.  Consistently perfect. And I would love the recipe for the piquillo marmalade which elevated this avocado toast.

Deviled eggs

avocado toast, piquillo marmalade, pickled red onion, radish, feta, pain de campagne

NYC – 5/2/17 – Per Se 

The only place where side-by-side sitting is acceptable is at the table in front of the window in the Per Se salon. Its one of my favorite views in NYC. Per Se is always a perfect experience and the Salon makes it so easy when you haven’t planned ahead and do not necessarily want a very large meal.

Oysters and Pearls – sabayon of pearl tapioca with island creek oysters

Hudson valley foulard duck foie gras – assaisonne au confit de canard, champagne gelée, brook cherries, and cocoa-hazelnut streusel

Herb-roasted elysian fields farm lamb – merguez sausage, chickpea hummus, shishito peppers, and meyer lemon jus

Velvet Elvis – banana-creme fraiche sherbet, peanut butter sabayon, and TKO crumble

NYC – 4/29/17 – Wildair

Sadly this ended up being my last dinner at Wildair before moving.  It is definitely one of the places that I miss the most and if I had lived in the neighborhood I would have been here every single night (and would have overdosed on tartare).  Love you Wildair!

beef tartare, smoked cheddar, horseradish, brazil nuts

fried shrimp, lemon, herb mayonnaise

tete de cochon on toast, ndjua, nettles

chocolate hazelnut tart

NYC – 4/27/17 – Jeremy Fox @ Momofuku Ko

One never knows about these visiting chef dinners. Often with great chefs they are not that successful due to just being out of their element, having to source different ingredients, or a kitchen staff that they don’t know.  But when the rare one works it can be fantastic.  I’ve been trying to come up with something that tops this but haven’t been able to so far.  Perhaps because while I would not have mistaken this menu for a Ko dinner (ok maybe I would have if I went less), it still felt just like Ko.

peas, white chocolate & macadamia

radish, chevre, sea moss & mustard

sunchoke, grapefruit, fennel, uni & shoyu

beets, berries, avocado & pistachio

pappa al pomodoro, ramp kimchi & burrata

fava bean & sorrel cacio e pepe

morels en papillote, foie gras & egg yolk

strawberry with polenta soffits

pork, kumquat, kohlrabi & dill

beef, brassicas, green peanut miso & marrow

lavender almonds

fresh ricotta & strawberries

bread au chocolat

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.


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

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


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.


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

NYC – 2/26/17 – ALT x Atoboy

The trio of Laurent Gras, Alex Leonard and Tim Dornon, have been doing a series of pop-up dinners in NYC restaurants and have coined the endeavor ALT based on their first initials.  This particular installment was at Atoboy and the menu titled “La Riviera.” This menu was highs and lows with not much middle ground.  The crudo was beautiful and delicious and the nougat one of my favorite desserts in recent history.  But the steamed grains were bland and as if they were missing a multitude of ingredients and the much of the feet, neck and tripe dish I couldn’t even chew.  This was also one of the few times that I was starving after dinner and actually needed second dinner.

soupe de poisson a la niçoise, rouille a l’oursin – saffron fish soup, sea urchin’s rouille

fish crudo, lemon, olive oil, basil

steamed wheat & barley, fermented vegetables with olives

lamb feet, neck, tripe

almond milk, sea salt

frozen nougat

NYC – 2/7/17 – 4 Charles Prime Rib

I first went to 4 Charles specifically for the burger but was so envious of those around me and their amazing looking dishes of prime rib.  So of course I immediately booked a return visit.  Many many years ago I was a big fan of steakhouses but after one too many overcooked pricey pieces of meat I largely stopped trying.  It was lovely to have a fond reminder of why I loved this genre in the first place.  I think I had meat sweats all night and barely slept but it was completely worth it.

Shrimp cocktail
4 Charles house salad

Brussel sprouts

Chicago cut

Lemon meringue pie

NYC – 2/5/17 – Fowler and Wells

I thought that Super Bowl Sunday was the perfect day to get into an otherwise perpetually crowded restaurant.  But after criss crossing the city from White Gold and Flora, both of which were closed, I realized we would have to resort to a hotel restaurant.  [Side note that if you are randomly closing post it on your website or social media!]  So we headed downtown for drinks in the beautiful lobby of the Beekman and dinner at Fowler and Wells.  It was absolutely delicious and an easy choice over Augustine next door for future visits to this area.

marinated fluke with radishes and finger limes

chestnut agnolotti with celery root and black truffles

Embarrassingly I cannot remember entree descriptions!


NYC – 2/2/17 – Upland

After having a terrible service experience at Upland soon after it opened I vowed not to visit again.  But needing something in the area with last minute availability I gave it a second chance.  The second time was a charm and it couldn’t have been better.

hamachi crudo, radish, yuzu kosho vinaigrette & red sorrel

beef tartare, black trumpet mushroom, puffed farro, anchovy & egg yolk

sausage & kale pizza

little gem salad, avocado, cucumber, ricotta salata & walnut vinaigrette

NYC – 1/13/17 – Leuca

I have yet to meet an Andrew Carmellini restaurant that I didn’t like.  This is a very large space but is very warm and inviting and the design makes it feel more intimate.  Perhaps one of my favorite spaces so far this year.  If I lived in Williamsburg I would be a regular at the large bar.  As I don’t this may become a regular stop before shows at Brooklyn Bowl.

Italian butter bean dip with wild mushroom sott’aceto

Mussels & clams, italian beer, pepperoni

Smoked beets, pistachio, ricotta salata

Artichokes alla gricia, duck egg, guanciale

18th avenue – mushrooms, parmigiano-reggiano, basil

Penne pugliese, rabbit, black kale, chickpea


Sicilian pistachio cake, olive oil ice cream

NYC – 1/11/17 – Nix

Its nice to see a vegetarian spot doing so well as I lean this direction for most of the week (until the meat cravings hit).  There are vegan choices as well but I honestly ignored them.  The spreads were quite good and the gnocchi the definite winner of the dishes we ordered.  I read many positive reviews of the cauliflower tempura but I just didn’t get it as the cauliflower was lost and the sauce was a bit overwhelming.

avocado, mint & curry
red pepper & walnut

shaved brussels sprouts, gran queso & almonds

potato gnocchi, celery root, chestnuts & truffle butter

cauliflower tempura with steamed buns & house pickles

NYC – 1/8/17 – Pondicheri

Unfortunately this was one of the coldest nights of the winter and the back of the restaurant apparently has no heat or insulation.  In fairness we were offered a choice of tables and were warned of the temperature issue.  We definitely did not appreciate how bad it was but why not space heaters?   The food was delicious but my enjoyment was somewhat limited.  Everything arrived at once even though it could barely fit on the table and obviously got cold very quickly.  I am looking forward to a return visit but will wait until the temperature warms up.  And a few visits to the bakery case in the front until then.

E100 sour

complimentary ‘chips’

Roghan josh lamb – lamb & root vegetables stewed with coconut, almonds, yogurt, cardamom & Kashmiri red chili; carrot roti & saffron cucumber raita

chicken cooked in 25 spices & masalas with tomato, fenugreek & white poppy seeds

pistachio apricot naan with cilantro chutney
goat & lentil masala samosa

NYC – 1/7/17 – Sugarfish

I arrived at Sugarfish a bit oblivious as to how ridiculous the lines are.  But luckily it was snowing and I joined the line about 10 min prior to opening and made the first round of seating.  I appreciate Sugarfish as a good stop for lunch after a workout when I am still in gym clothes and want a relatively light lunch.  It is essentially the fast casual version of sushi.  But to wait an hour plus for a text when your table is available, I am baffled.

tuna sashimi

salmon sushi

albacore sushi

yellowtail and hirame sushi

toro hand roll

blue crab hand roll

NYC – 12/30/16 – Momofuku Ko truffle dinner

One of my earliest NYC food memories is of the wonderful truffle tasting menu at old Alain Ducasse at the Essex House.  At the time I couldn’t afford these types of experiences.  But I am blessed to have an aunt & uncle who prefer French restaurants and every time they came to town would invite me to dinner.  I am often asked how I got so into food.  I attribute it partially to the endless hours that I watched the Food Network in its early years.   But my love for fine dining came from these visits to places like Alain Ducasse, Bouley, and Daniel.

Anyway I have been a complete sucker for truffles ever since.  So there is just no way this could have been anything other than fantastic.  It is difficult to pick favorite courses in this amazing menu by Sean Gray (but I would certainly love if the honeynut squash made a reappearance next winter).  Excellent wine pairings from Chase Sinzer and service from the rest of the Ko team.  I wish I could do this one all over again. ❤

chicken oyster – montepulciano white

lobster – mornay, aragon black

otoro – scallion, dashi

scallop – sunchoke, aragon black

honeynut squash – benton’s ham, aragon black

royale – foie gras, naked pruner, montepulciano white

king crab – tofu, montepulciano white

madai – sweetbreads, aragon black, shellfish

dry aged beef – aragon black, lettuce


buckwheat waffle – montepulciano white, vanilla ice cream

Hozon blondie to go

NYC – 12/27/16 – Atoboy

It took me far too long to get to Atoboy but in my defense I knew I would be able to try much more if not dining alone.  Each orders 3 dishes for $36/person which has to be one of the absolute best deals in Manhattan and additional dishes may be added.  Looking back through my pictures I really loved everything.  There has been so much great tartare in the past year and this version certainly goes on the list.  And I can’t even look at the corn photo without getting serious cravings.  If you haven’t been, do not wait as long as I did.

Tartare – beef, oyster, potato

Leek – doenjang, cheddar, walnut

Fluke – moo radish, pomerol, sesame seed

Squid – pork, shrimp, salsa verde

Sunchoke – oyster mushroom, black truffle, orange

Corn – taleggio, bacon, doenjang

Octopus – kimchi, chorizo, parsley

Chicken – spicy peanut butter, garlic

Pork jowl – barley, ssamjang, romaine

Brisket – foie gras, ginger, garlic

NYC – 12/19/17 – Augustine

I had high hopes for the whisky burger at Augustine based on other reviews but found it to be oddly flavorless which was completely disappointing considering the very high $27 price point.  Thankfully the fries were quite good.  I also did not get the accompanying shot of whiskey that I thought came with it and others at the bar were served.  Such likely would have helped!  The waldorf salad was a bit basic and nothing I would order again considering I have made many far better versions at home.  I love the space and the energy was fantastic.  But in the future I will stick to the lobby at the Beekman (which is gorgeous) or Fowler & Wells.

Waldorf salad – honeycrisp apples, toasted walnuts, celery hearts, Greek yogurt dressing

Whisky burger with single malt scotch braised onions, Comte cheese and pommes frites

NYC – 12/17/16 – Momofuku Nishi

If only it was easier to find the Penicillin in bars.  It is one of my absolute favorite cocktails and is so hard to find that I have made them at home several times (but once I make a batch of ginger syrup I feel obligated to drink them exclusively).  So when there is a Penicillin on the menu the evening is off to a perfect start.

Everything we had I could eat with great regularity.  In fact at a subsequent visit it was difficult to force myself to order different things.  Looking at these photos I am having cravings for the romaine salad and am going to have to go back asap.

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

Raw beef – watermelon radish, dashi ponzu

Romaine – walnut bagna cauda

Butter noodle – chickpea hozon, black pepper

Fried potato & smoked yolk
Jajangmyeon – pork sausage, chili pan mee, fried egg

Bunt cake

NYC – 12/10/16 – Chaan Teng

On the occasions when I have tickets to a show the acceptable options for a pre-theatre dinner are slim.  So I was excited by this new entry (on 48th and 9th) from Pichet Ong who has perhaps been better known for his time as pastry chef at the former Spice Market.  Perhaps too excited as I did not realize that they were still awaiting a liquor license.  An unacceptable error on my part, especially when celebrating a friend’s birthday, but luckily there was a liquor store a few doors down.  Service was a bit spotty but I have to excuse it so close to opening.  And while everything was very good, the General Tso fried chicken was the standout with its super crunchy coating.  I have had a lot of great fried chicken this year and this may have been the best.  I also ranked it in my favorite dishes of 2016.  Next time I may just eat the entire order myself.

Walnut shrimp in lettuce – wild shrimp, honey walnuts, sesame, sweet mayo, bibb lettuce

Charred lo mein with egg and chicken – wok charred egg noodle, cabbage, mushroom soy, Cantonese spices

Dry fry long beans & peanuts – long Chinese green beans, Nyonya caramelized shallots, daikon preserve

Half General Tso fried chicken -with broccoli and ChaanTeng original sauce

Port Chester, NY – 12/28/16 – Tarry Lodge

Since my family left Westchester I haven’t had a reason to head back to Tarry Lodge.  But one of our favorite bands playing in Port Chester gave us a perfect excuse.  There were some definite service issues but it brought back good family memories.

Crab with piquillo

Beets agrodolce

Burrata with butternut squash & walnut pesto

Goat cheese with pistacios, red onion & truffle honey

Gnocchi with braised shortribs & pecorino

NYC – 12/7/16 – Momofuku Ko

Ko continues to be my favorite restaurant in New York and the one always at the top of my list of recommendations for foodie friends from out of town.  I have stopped including in this blog my many visits for the shorter bar menu otherwise you may tire of these posts, but this trip was for the full menu.  I am still trying to figure out why I like the sea urchin-chickpea dish so much considering I dislike urchin and have texture issues so that this dish on paper is something I wouldn’t even want to try.  After much contemplation I think that the olive oil is the magic component.  The ko egg will never ever get old.  Of the new-to-me dishes on this menu it was a tie for my favorite between the sweet potato-brown butter and beef-au poivre.  If you haven’t been yet, GO.

pomme souffle

lobster paloise

chicken oyster

blackfish – barrel aged bonji

sea urchin – chickpea, hozon

ko egg – caviar

sweet potato – brown butter

beef – au poivre

razor clam – pineapple, basil

bouillabaisse – potato, saffron

duck – squash

foie gras – lychee, pine nut, riesling jelly

wild rice – kombu

melon – honey, mint

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

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

NYC – 10/17/16 – Cafe Boulud

Cafe Boulud seems to have become the place for the most frequent family dinners on the UES.  It was one of the first places I dined when I moved to NYC longer ago than I care to admit, and is just as solid as it was back then.

seafood ceviche – shrimp, scallop, tomato, yucca

beef duo “makgalbijjim” – braised shortrib, wagyu bavette, housemade kimchee

Running right off of the plate….


NYC – 9/27/16 – Wildair

If there wasn’t always a wait I would be at Wildair every night.  Actually even if I just lived in the neighborhood I would be here every night regardless.  I am pretty sure I could never get tired of the spicy tuna toast which was one of my favorite dishes of 2016.  A previous iteration I reordered for dessert.  Yes it is that good.  I just wish the secret wasn’t out.

Potato darphin, maine uni, jalapeno

Breakfast radishes, seaweed butter

Fluke crudo, pineapple, ‘nduja

Beef tartare, smoked cheddar, brazil nuts

Spicy tuna toast, tomato, scallion

Crispy grain salad, hearts of palm, tarragon

NYC – 9/23/16 – High Street on Hudson

For some reason I don’t think I had the same experience at High Street on Hudson that many others have had. My appetizer of smoked bluefish on toast was quite tasty but I couldn’t detect even a hint of horseradish, which is why I had ordered the dish. And while the happy valley beef was a great piece of meat, the promised chilies were also undetectable. The desert I ordered seemed so promising as how could anything with a snickerdoodle be less than amazing? Yet it was underwhelming as well. I would certainly give it another shot but with so many choices in NY perhaps my expectations are always too high and this just seemed average.

Smoked bluefish on toast – cucumber, radish, horseradish cream cheese

Happy valley beef – late summer squash, chilies

Peaches pecan – snickerdoodle, buttermilk ice cream

Favorite dishes of 2016

I started with more than 60 and have narrowed it down as much as possible. In no particular order here are my top dishes of 2016, whatever ‘top’ means on any such lists. Largely these dishes are not representative of my favorite meals of 2016 and many are from what I would consider casual restaurants. They may not all be the best dishes technically but are the dishes that I could eat every day and often have cravings for. In the interest of fairness of I have disqualified the Au Cheval burger, the Humm Dog, Black Truffle Explosion, and Oysters & Pearls as well as all bread courses.

balsamic, truffle, artichoke
Luskus with Kitchen Table @ Bubbledogs
New York

osetra – plantain, papaya, rum

elvis tartine
Eating House

beef crudo
Momofuku Nishi
New York

farm egg baked in celery cream
Miller Union

foie gras and truffle macaroon
Osteria Francescana

sheep’s milk gnocchi
Jockey Hollow
Morristown, NJ

passionfruit semifreddo
Contra @ Gramercy Tavern
New York

carolina gold rice

Xiao Bao Biscuit

snap pea sushi
New York
pike quenelle

nam tok beans
Kin Khao
San Francisco

spicy tuna toast
New York

ko egg
Momofuku Ko
New York

general tso fried chicken
Chaan Teng
New York

NYC – 8/31/16 – Mimi

I may have gotten to Mimi too late.  Not because I didn’t want to visit but I just hadn’t been able to find a date that worked.  Perhaps I waited too long.  There is much to love about Mimi.  In my case the veal and the souffle that I can’t stop thinking about.  Unfortunately those thoughts came in retrospect as while at Mimi the noise was so deafening that I had thoughts of just abandoning the whole thing.  It wouldn’t have mattered who my dining companion was as it was impossible to carry on a conversation.  The table spacing takes NYC to a new extreme and makes using the restroom nearly impossible for half of the party.  We ordered much more than the tables on either side of us but before we hit the 2 hour mark were being given not so subtle ‘time to leave’ looks by our server.  I so want to return for the food but I’m not sure yet if I can do it.

Casco bay scallops

Tuna Ventreche

Gnocchi Parisian

Veal Chop


NYC – 8/18/16 – Bar Gato

I really wish that I had discovered Bar Gato before everybody else. It completely stands out in NYC and just happened to be the perfect antidote to this less than perfect day.  The cocktails were thoughtful and delicious.  And the okonomi-yaki was completely different from the last version of this I had elsewhere but good enough that I ate the whole thing myself.

Far East Side – sake, tequila, shiso, elderflower, lemon, yuzu bitters

Goto pickles – house pickled local vegetables, yuzu-green chili paste

Gobo french fries – fried japanese burdock roots, red chili salt & wasabi salt