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
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
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
As I dine out a fair amount, sometimes the meals tend to run together. And when it takes me months to complete a blog post, it is not unheard of that I can’t remember anything about it. Chef Christophe Hardiquest’s Bon Bon was a truly memorable experience. I had what I thought was the best seat in the house at the chef’s counter which was so close that my bread is literally on top of a ticket in one of my photos. Dinner started with a long serious of snacks. They aren’t on my typed menu and I can’t remember all of the ingredients of each, but many are at least partially self explanatory and all were delicious. There were many great touches in dinnerware such as the egg cup and the multitude of amazing knife handles. Its funny that I will probably remember those knives forever. I have a weakness for a cheese cart of any sort, let alone one with this many selections, but a macaroon cart? Brilliant. Highly recommend.
Saint-Jacques de Dieppe – Finement tranchees, Chantilly d’echalote, Gaspacho d’huitres
Moules parquees 2016 – A la marollienne
Raviole – A la truffe blanche d’Alba
Coeur de cabillaud – Broccoli, emulsion chaude aux huitres
Caille farcie – Racine de persil, Jus de caille, genevrier-gin
Incredible knife handles. Each one in the block was different.
Assortiment de fromages
Il n’y a pas d’omelette sans casser des oeufs
Truffe – Mousse de lait cru a la truffe blanche, Opaline de chocolat, Poire pochee
Of course now that United’s fares from EWR to ORD have been cut in half there is talk of Au Cheval coming to New York. This burger was my reward for the dozens and dozens of trips I have made to Chicago, especially those early morning flights to be there by 11am when it opens for lunch.
A seat at the hearth at Roister may be my new favorite place in Chicago. In a way the plating is deceiving as some of these dishes are dark and are not necessarily made for today’s instagram age. And while looks can be deceiving, menu descriptions can be as well. Oysters are one of the very few foods that I genuinely dislike. I have been trying to train myself to like them for 2 years now but was set back by an unfortunate episode of food poisoning. When Chef Brochu kindly sent out a gift of the smoked oysters my stomach sank. I was dining with my mother, the only person I know who dislikes oysters more than I do, and who would be of no help in eating these. I made her try one and she admitted it wasn’t bad at all (which is a very high compliment). I happily ate the rest as they were completely delicious. I love having my mind changed about an ingredient. The fries I likely would not have ordered myself as bonito and tofu are not ingredients I particularly enjoy but a friend ordered them on a previous visit and I had to have them again. Then there is the chicken that I still think about. The leftovers are the first thing I have ever taken in a doggie bag from any meal while traveling. I cleaned out half of the hotel mini bar and we ate the rest for breakfast. It may have been even better.
Tomato bread – mayo, shallot, pecan oil
Aged cheddar rillettes – truffle, cauliflower, fry bread
Chow chow mein – aged cabbage, noodles, relish
Cucumber – melon, smoked creme fraiche
Smoked oysters – garlic butter, breadcrumbs
Yukon fries – soy dusted, bonito flakes, tofu mayo
Whole chicken & chamomile – braised, poached, fried with sunchokes
Hushpuppies – corn crema, sour corn, manchego