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 – 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 – 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 – 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

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 – 5/7/16 – Four Horsemen

I’m trying very hard to cross everything off of my Brooklyn to-do list before the L shutdown.  I’m so glad that I finally made it to Four Horsemen and all of the great things I had heard from many friends were completely accurate.  Really great food but perhaps more importantly an absolutely fantastic staff.  Not pictured are the many wines that we tried representing all spot-on suggestions from our server.  I feel like I was the last person I know to make it here but if you haven’t been, go!

warm house bread, cultured butter

black bass crudo, carrot dashi, puffed rice, cilantro

beef tartare, seeds, buttermilk, sesame cracker

snap pea salad, calabrian chili, cashews, mint, ricottaa salata

grilled bavette steak, ramps, asparagus, cress

NYC – 2/15/16 – Luskus (w/ Kitchen Table)

A terrible snowy night to trek to Brooklyn and on the walk from the subway I was wondering what the heck I was thinking.  But I absolutely loved my visit to the Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs last year and was quite excited for this collaboration dinner.  Plus it has been far too long since I have been to Luskus.  I could have eaten a complete meal of the chicken skin and was thrilled to have it again.  It was an utter surprise that my favorite dish of the night was the one I thought I would hate – balsamic, truffle, artichoke.  All individual components that I love, but cold the thought was immediately terrible.  It somehow took me back many many years to when I first had the olive oil gelato at Otto.  I would love to do this entire dinner over again.
 beetroot, salsify, dulse
 razor clam, blood orange, fennel

beef tartare, purple daikon, laver
 chicken skin, rosemary mascarpone, bacon

sea scallop, ginger

Ryan and the Gosling – Evid Twin/Crooked Stave

shrimp, walnut, tarragon
 Sasuga – Oxbow

roasted sunchoke, rye, dulse
 sea bass, onion, nettle
 squab, damson, hay, rye
 lamb breast, salted plum, rutabaga
 balsamic, truffle, artichoke

 carrot, bay leaf, licorice

NYC – 9/12/15 – Semilla

Semilla had been on my to-do list for a while but as several rave reviews rolled in I was afraid that it might be overhyped and so I just kept putting it off.  A month later I am sure this menu is completely outdated but the seasonal tomato dishes were outstanding, especially the perfect tomato tart (they should have sold extras!).  Just like a pan con tomate the comparative simplicity of tomatoes and pastry or bread is one of my favorite things when done well.  I have never had a chawanmushi that I enjoyed prior to this dinner as I suffer from texture issues with certain dishes such as this.  But I am still shocked that I loved this one.   And it was the same story with the roasted eggplant course.  While I don’t have many dislikes, I think its very special for a dinner to be able to completely change my opinion on more than one of them.  I enjoyed this dinner so much that my only complaint is that the experience felt very rushed.  I was at the end of the first seating but as people began to finish and leave I felt a bit like the store was closing and I needed to hurry up and complete my purchase.

Tomato gazpacho with peaches, rat tail radishes & black olives
 Roasted tomato with corn
 Corn chawanmushi with matsutake mushrooms & ham 
Roasted eggplant with pepper leaves & grapes

Tomato salad with cucumbers & scallops

Tomato tart
Chicken of the woods mushrooms with corn & mole
 Peaches, saffron & bitter almond
 Tarragon profiterole with wild blueberry & buttermilk