The Big Mac is to McDonald’s as the Black Label Burger is to Minetta Tavern. It’s the crown jewel of the menu, the draw of the crowd, the classic dish. The Black Label Burger at Minetta is no doubt outstanding, but what we’ve discovered time after time is that the rest of the menu also holds its own and is definitely worth the trip.
The drinks, like the decor, are old-fashioned and sophisticated. Above is the Rhubarb Sophie with tito’s vodka, cucumber, agave nectar, rhubarb bitters and fresh lime. Sweet, tart, cool and refreshing. I heart cucumber drinks in summer!
We ordered the special appetizer for the night: white asparagus salad with mache, hazelnuts, asparagus flan and pickled namiko. Fresh and bright. The flan was especially delicious and indulgent, and was countered perfectly by the citrusy and pickled notes of the dish, as well as by the slightly bitter greens.
We also shared an order of the roast baby beets with leeks, french walnuts and vermont chevre. Very standard dish with quality ingredients. Tasty.
Bonus: complimentary cheesy poof bread bites! Hot, fluffy, and cheeeesy.
To accompany our mains, we chose a side of the champignons poêlés. You might think it’s completely ridiculous to order a side of mushrooms for $14, but you would be mistaken. These mushrooms were fantastic: meaty, earthy and succulent.
Oh man, I’m dying just looking at this picture. Above is the lamb saddle. Wow. Seriously, an amazing specimen of dry-aged lamb. Had just the right amount of that peety, mossy tang peeking through each bite, and a hot, seared, crisp top, sealing in all the wonderful juices in the medium rare center. The polenta blocks with tomato jam had me hooked…. I told ATO I would only take half and then gobbled down an entire one when he wasn’t paying attention. He he.
And of course, the highly acclaimed and renowned Black Label Burger, made of a selection of prime dry-aged beef cuts (all the meat is from the devoutly worshipped Pat LaFrieda) and topped with caramelized onions. Pommes frites served on the side. You won’t find another burger in the city that exudes such confidence or funk. It is unmistakably dry-aged meat, and it is excellent. The only condiments allowed: sweet, caramelized onions. Adding cheese is sacrilege in this burger temple. The waiters honestly don’t even let you do it; if you ask, they shake their heads at you, disapprovingly, and sternly reply “no”. I love cheese more than the next guy (it makes everything better!) and even I forgo my favorite topping on this burger. It really doesn’t need it. Lettuce and tomato is served on the side, to be used (or not - if you look around at the cleared plates, you’ll notice most people don’t use them) as you please. This $26 burger is worth every penny.
Here’s my burger, all built-up and ready to be eaten! CHOMP.
Advice: this place, even after a few years, can still be a wreck at dinner. We love going for brunch, when reservations are easy to come by and the vibe is more relaxed. The burger is still available, as well as some very fun brunch items! The slow-baked ham in hay is great. The many varieties of Bloody Marys are also worth trying. Just be prepared to lie around useless in a happy food coma for the rest of the day!
There’s not much Austrian (or German) food in this city. This didn’t bother me until a recent meal at Seäsonal, in Midtown West. I generally classified this genre of cuisine as heavy and coarse bar food, only palatable when washed down with a sh*t ton of beer. Now I just want more! Despite its coveted Michelin Star and rave reviews, Seäsonal flies under the radar. Even Wallsé, its Austrian downtown counterpart (which in my opinion is like 10% as good) gets more play. I can’t explain it. But I can highly recommend that you all go to experience it for yourselves!
Even the starter spreads were unique and yummy, although after some research it turns out they are quite common starters in an Austrian meal. Left: pumpkin seed spread. Right: a paprika based spread.
For just $53 per person, sample the “Taste of Austria”: a traditional 3-course meal (with several choices for each appetizer, entree and dessert) complete with amuse and petite fours. The amuse, above: a frothy and delightful shot of pumpkin puree soup.
It’s a good thing this blog is written, not oral. Because I definitely butchered the names of each dish I ordered. Above was ATO’s first course: fruhlings zwiebel suppe. You get the point? A light, and a bit bland, spring onion soup garnished with chives, a thin terrine-style guinea hen (that lacked a meaty goodness) and lemon. Our least favorite dish of the night.
The pochierte ei, otherwise known as the soft poached egg with lobster, hen of the woods and pumpernickel was super tasty and texturally satisfying. And very generous on the soft sweet lobster. Yum.
The tafelspitz: flat iron steak stewing in oxtail consommé, this meat defied the bounds of tenderness. Like butter. Wow. A subtle dish, but sizeable and delicious.
Fish the beef out of the consomme and set it on your plate. Then dress it to your heart’s desire: you’ve got a mild sweet apple sauce, a nice and creamy horseradish sauce and the most pureed creamed spinach you’ll ever meet to work with. The spinach was ridiculous. Like baby food on steroids. I mean that in a most flattering way.
Fried, crisp potato rösti to perfectly round out the entree. So good.
But after just one bite I knew I should have ordered the classic wiener schnitzel. F*ck. It was pounded thin and fried in that airy, “greaseless” way. The potato salad, which wasn’t weighed down with mayo, was fantastic. The lingonberry sauce served on the side was tangy and vibrant. But the best part…
The very fresh and verdant cucumber salad, rolled in a tight little ball, added just the right amount of crispness to each bite and took this dish over the edge.
The desserts, while good, generally lacked excitement. Above left: the apple strudel with raisins and cinnamon. Above right: the chocolate pudding with cherries, more chocolate and cream. I did appreciate the tartness of the cherries against the richness of the chocolate.
The only dessert really worth the calories: the kaiserschmarrn. Whaa?? Just think of it as exploded bread pudding (aka the stars aligning). Crumbled caramelized pancakes, burnt and sticky and chewy on the outside, hot and gushy on the inside, served with apple compote. Heavenly.
So what are you waiting for?? GO!!!
And in the words of Heidi Klum, auf wiedersehen!
David Toutain (of Agape Substance Restaurant in Paris) at Atera
I think my two favorite dining-out experiences in life have been at Atera. I’ve already raved so much about this place in my prior post (http://photo-hungry.com/post/30114656593/atera) and in all my conversations since that you’d think I was hired to be their promoter. And I’ve gotta do it again, because our recent meal there was epic! But this time, Atera and Mr. Lightner don’t deserve all (or most) of the credit.
Atera announced at the end of last year that it would be hosting two guest chefs to benefit Sandy relief: David Toutain, who had recently left his highly acclaimed restaurant in Paris, Agape Substance, and Rafael Costa e Silva, current head chef at Mugaritz. Each guest chef would put on a collaborative dinner with Atera for four nights only, and a portion of the proceeds would be donated to Sandy relief. OMG, OF COURSE WE HAD TO GO! ATO eagerly snagged a reservation for the Friday night of MLK weekend when David Toutain would be the captain of the kitchen.
From beginning to end Chef Toutain and Atera treated us to, and wowed us with, a cornucopia of edible delights that excited our palates and stretched the bounds of our culinary imaginations. This meal was definitely one of the (or maybe THE) best we’ve ever had!
When our waiter set this plate in front of us he jested, “Guess what is edible?” Take a look - it’s not an easy question to answer! Answer: the two lime green sponges in the picture above are verbena lemon sponges with verbena lemon cream. So airy, fluffy and wonderfully moist in texture (like eating a rain cloud!) and so incredibly and immensely flavorful. This dish had it all: it was citrusy and sweet but also surprisingly savory and complex. One of the most impactful first bites I can remember!
Next up: the crispy but light pig trotters paired beautifully with the salty pop of the trout roe and the sharp bright notes of the sorrel. Crunch!
This one is really fun: a smooth and velvety white chocolate, parsnip and garlic mustard dip. But where’s the dipping utensil?
What was placed on the counter as a centerpiece all along turned out to be one of our edible courses! The thickest stick in this jar (far left) was actually a camouflaged meaty and tender slice of dried salsify (a root vegetable), meant to be dipped in the white chocolate concoction above. All of the natural flavor of the salsify was so concentrated in that one fantastic stick - we loved it! Best preparation of salsify yet.
Seasonal vegetables with red miso and wild lettuce. Reminiscent of a certain amazing raw veggie course we had at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. The veggies were so simple yet so delightfully fresh, and the red miso lent just the right amount of richness. And I’m always a sucker for a pretty plate.
Here’s the show-stopper, my favorite dish of the night (and seriously, maybe my entire life, NO JOKE). Above we have the test tubes filled with a fragrant potato skin consomme. This consomme was off the wall. If you like potato skins generally, you’ll go crazy for this. It was incredible to us that this thin liquid absorbed such a strong potatoey, smoky flavor.
Said intoxicating consomme is poured tableside over the most delicate seared foie gras I’ve ever had, served with potato gnocchi and emerald ice lettuce. This dish is mind-blowing; I could barely keep me sh*t together after the first bite. The foie gras fell apart in our mouths like soft fresh-made tofu (no chewing required!), the ridiculously decadent and luscious potato gnocchi burst as it hit our tongues and the lettuce brought the perfect amount of clean herbaceousness. LEGEN…. wait for it………… DARY.
I felt bad for the dish that had to follow the foie gras, but this pretty egg with corn foam and cumin caramel, dressed with primrose, definitely held its own. The highlight: the corn foam. Between each bite, I had flashes of me running happily barefoot in a corn field somewhere in the Midwest on a sunny summer day (I don’t actually think I’ve ever been on a corn field so I’m sure my flashes were inaccurate).
The normal Atera bread was still served at this meal. And by “normal” I mean the bread they serve at all other Atera meals, and not “ordinary”. The bread here is nothing less than extraordinary. I do have to say the butter cured with wash rind cheese was a little less impressive than what I had remembered, but the buns drizzled and fried in pork fat blew away my prior recollection of that bun.
Here’s the gorgeous slow-cooked scallop in a shell with sunchoke skin consommé, lemon zest, caviar and bergamot oil. Wow. I have never in my life had a scallop like this. It was consistently about 3/4th raw and 1/4th cooked, and had the most crazy dense heavy texture I’ve ever tasted. A very musky, oceanic quality rang throughout the whole dish.
A little vegetarian course followed: roasted sunchokes were served with cippolini onions, hazelnuts, sunchoke chips and red watercress. I loved the terroir essence of this dish and gobbled it down. ATO was not as fascinated with it.
ATO’s favorite dish of the night came next: uni in a coffee sabayon. I know, this sounds very weird. But even I, an uni-hater, have to admit that this dish was nothing short of genius. Somehow the unlikely pairing of these two very distinct and distinctive flavors balanced each other out in a very vibrant harmony. The uni was sensual, magnificent and briny and the sabayon slightly sweet but bitter and nutty and the combination of the two lingered on (and pleasantly haunted) your palate well after the dish was done.
Torched eel with black sesame foam and green apple. Another dish that ATO went wild over! The eel was nicely charred on the edges and the black sesame was silky and sweet but the key to the success of this dish was really the crisp green apple that lay beneath those layers. It brightened and freshened this course and steered it away from the trap of sugary sweetness that degrades eel at most sushi restaurants.
Our last fish course of the night: supple folds of cuttlefish served with charred baby leeks, squid ink, miner’s lettuce and kaffir lime fume, all sprinkled with the charcoal of charred dehydrated leeks. I LOVED the leeks in this dish. That fresh, herby, oniony flavor really shined through.
We ended our savory courses with tender chunks of veal sweetbreads tossed with seasonal mushrooms, porcini foam, hazelnut crumble and arugula pesto. A very subtle, earthy dish. It really did grow on me bite after bite. There was also an option to add fresh black truffles, which probably would have made this dish insane, but we opted against it (the surcharge was a bit ridiculous). And so our last course was good, but not amazing.
A welcome palate cleanser of buttermilk cream with apple vinegar and bergamot ice - ooh ooh tart! Zing!
And finally, a commis pear with raw milk ice cream and fudge caramel. I loved the texture of this pear. Toothy but not too dry, and a bit gritty like a good pear should be. A very clean and simple presentation, but delicious nonetheless.
We ended with the classic Atera petite fours: hazelnut chocolate truffles and dark chocolate walnut truffles (I’m a bigger fan of the hazelnut, so save that one for last!).
Perhaps the best part of this meal was that we didn’t even see the check ;-). Penalty dinner! Thank you BW for your generosity and for one of the best meals of our lives!
PS - this time we got to sit at the large counter surrounding the grand open kitchen. The close-up view of all the crazy activity going on back there made it a much cooler eating spot than the sole table by the living wall of plants tucked in the back of the restaurant. I was totally mesmerized watching Chef Toutain and the Atera team operate that kitchen like some kooky scientific lab, with its various test tubes, measuring cups, white coats, puffs of smoke, large machinery, tweezers, steady hands and all! WE LOVE THIS PLACE TO PIECES!
The NoMad (for brunch)
Since it opened last year, I’ve loved The NoMad for dinner (see prior post: http://photo-hungry.com/post/21274114610/the-nomad) and for cocktails and bar snacks. But I only recently discovered that I also really love The NoMad for brunch. While the space is dark and hip and sexy by night, it’s nice and bright and happy by day. I kinda prefer the latter. The vibe is definitely slower and more relaxed - I felt like I could sit back (the big cushy chairs are super comfy), take a deep breath, do my own thing and enjoy the wonderful food and drink coming my way. New favorite brunch spot? Perhaps.
If you’re feeling too hungover to “hair-of-the-dog” it, start with one of their non-alcoholic “soft cocktails.” They are delicious! Above is my Orange Julius, which is apparently a real thing and not just a made-up word in a Modest Mouse lyric to fit the rhythm of the song, as I had previously believed. Orange juice with cream -what a smart and tasty idea - and of course The Nomad had to one-up it with orange blossom water as well!
Basil-fennel soda with lemon and sparkling mineral water. It’s like drinking a refreshing and invigorating hike. Ahhhhh…..
We all went for the “lunch” portion of the brunch menu (i.e., the non eggs and pancakes). Above is TC’s scallops seared with acorn squash, brown butter and sage. “Ohhh, a fall harvest!” he exclaimed as he gulped it all down. We sure do love The NoMad’s scallops… always cooked to perfection.
ATO ordered the duck roasted with cranberries, celery and orange. Definitely reminiscent of a Thanksgiving feast. The duck was expertly cooked to medium rare - I’m totally drooling again just looking at that pretty blushing pink hue!
I went for the ultimate gut bomb: the chicken sandwich on brioche with black truffles and foie gras. The NoMad is known for the chicken for two on their dinner menu, and this is their lunch version. It’s like all of the most decadent flavors in life, piled high onto one naughty, indulgent sandwich. It’s almost too much…. almost. Both JC and I ordered this dish. She finished about 1/4th of her sandwich (granted she was hungover), but I finish my whole thing with minimal assistance from ATO. Food coma can be so sweet…
The chicken sandwich also comes with a little crunch and freshness on the side: a beautiful and bright raddichio salad with crispy crackly chicken skin. Totally great side to balance the rich chicken sandwich.
Oh and of course we ordered a side of shoe string fries! After all, brunch is not brunch without some form of fried potatoes. These were particularly delightful: garnished and elevated with fried herbs and lemon rind. Zesty!
The 12 Best Things I Ate in 2012
It’s that time of year…. when every food blog and website revisits the culinary delights of the past year, and neatly organizes them into a top-something list for your ultimate edification and enjoyment. Below is Photo Hungry!’s attempt to do just that, in a list of the 12 best things I ate in 2012. (Fine, I cheated and put some ties in there!).
Let’s start with the honorable mentions. Below left is the soft scrambled eggs with smoked sable, trout roe and a toasted bagel from The Dutch. A delectable brunch item. Below right is the warm lobster and truffle “en brioche” from Le Bernardin. A scrumptious little bar snack.
Bottom left we have the raw foie gras and langoustine with white walnuts and burnt lemon from Acme. ATO thought this was an unforgettable starter. Bottom right is the blackened wagyu flatiron beef with burnt eggplant, olive and aligot from Corton. A testament that wagyu beef does reign supreme.
And now for the actual winners….
(12) Frutti Di Mare from Roberta’s.
A flavorful medley of aquatic wonders.
From the review: “The Frutti Di Mare, with octopus, diver scallop, sea urchin and razor clams served 2 ways (which isn’t listed on the menu!), was, according to RP and ATO, the best plate of the day (well, *spoiler*, not including dessert). I tried the scallop; very umami.”
Full review: http://photo-hungry.com/post/19406202946/robertas
(11) Pappardelle with duck bolognese, oregano and pecorino di noce from Ciano.
A comforting dish that could be a culinary cure for loneliness…. it fills up your soul and satisfies your heart!
From the review: “Mmmm…. the pappardelle with duck bolognese, oregano and pecorino di noce. The description sounds plain vanilla, but nothing could be farther from the truth. So much is happening, so many stories to tell, in the large folds of this pappardelle! There are layer upon layer of flavors: the meat itself is smoky, savory and all-out decadent, the herbs are fragrant and fresh and the pecorino brings a wonderful sharp and nutty punch to the plate. Fantastic.”
Full review: http://photo-hungry.com/post/31926177016/ciano
(10) Fluke with strawberries, rhubarb and sesame and basil seeds from Son of a Gun (LA).
A beautiful watercolor of crudo. And it had the fresh vibrant taste to match.
From the review: “After scraping our starter plates clean, we were happily surprised by our first raw fish plate: fluke with strawberries, rhubarb and sesame and basil seeds. How pretty is this dish?? Amazingly fresh and bright with only a hint of sweetness from the fruit. At this point, I knew I wasn’t in “The Bazaar”-o land anymore (sorry, another dig on Jose Andres!).”
(9) TIE: Foie gras de torchon with tete de cochon, radishes and nasturtium from The NoMad and foie gras with chestnut poblano cream from Corton.
I know, I know… just cos they are both foie gras dishes doesn’t mean they should tie. Well, they do. Cos it’s my blog and for the life of me I can’t decide which was better. Both made me want to pinch myself for I might have died and gone to foie gras heaven.
From the review: “…the best appetizer was the foie gras de torchon with tete de cochon (pig’s head), radishes and nasturtium (wild flowers). The foie gras is smooth, creamy and completely crazy decadent. The minced greens bring a brightness to the dish and the tete de cochon compliments with a savoriness and meaty texture. Serving it with the slightly bitter leaves and pickled radishes was an inspired turn from the classic sweet pairing. All spread on some nice buttered-up crusty bread. HEAVEN.”
Full review: http://photo-hungry.com/post/21274114610/the-nomad
From the review: “The foie gras at Corton is out of this world and I think they’ve served the top 2 foie gras I’ve ever had (pictured above, with chestnut poblano cream).”
Full review: http://photo-hungry.com/post/19358336522/corton
(8) Red Wattle country chop with cheddar grits from Vinegar Hill House.
This was a fat jubilant pig. It danced about, frolicked through fields, had many friends and ate very well. Cos how else does pork taste so d*mn good?
From the review: “The Red Wattle country chop with cheddar grits (those grits also packed a nice punch that I think came from jalapenos). It might have been the quality of the pork itself, or maybe how they cooked it (probably both), but this pork was absolutely freakin ridiculous. Such a nice, deep, smokey flavor. And it was cooked to perfection: the tender, juicy and fatty meat just melted in your mouth, but the skin remained charred and super flavorful. The grits were the perfect accoutrement. It was all just phenomenal; really quite indescribable, something you just need to try for yourself. On Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”, Frank Bruni recommended this dish. It was most certainly the best pork dish I’ve ever eaten. It was also featured on Eater’s “The Untouchables” (see link below for the video on how they make it!). Trek to Brooklyn and order this dish, and then thank me later ;-).”
(7) Beef with grilled onions, roasted parsnip, parsnip puree and garlic mustard, drizzled in a beer and smoked hay jus from Frej.
I felt like I took a big bite of the earth, and I loved it.
From the review: “Fifth course: This one took my breath away. It was love at first bite. Beef served with grilled onions, roasted parsnip, parsnip puree and garlic mustard, all drizzled in a beer and smoked hay jus. Phenomenally good. This is the kind of food that makes me want to spend all my free time researching restaurants, eating at restaurants, blowing all my money at restaurants and blogging about restaurants….cos every once in a while you might stumble across that unexpected but stunning find.”
Full review: http://photo-hungry.com/post/23044904789/frej
(6) Dry-aged Guinea hen with black truffles, anise potatoes and boudin blanc sausage from Torrisi Italian Specialty’s Tasting Menu.
A totally rich and decadent gut bomb (in a good way, of course). And the dry-aging only made it that much better….
From the review: “The highlight of the night, the grand finale: dry-aged Guinea hen with black truffles (they’re even baked beneath the skin!), anise potatoes and boudin blanc sausage. Insanely good, but also insanely heavy. Might have made the whole tasting menu worth it! Maybe….”
(5) Golden crab chawan-mushi egg custard with truffle ankake sauce from Brushstroke.
Elegant, delicate and just freakin dead on! A love affair begins…
From the review: “Golden crab ‘chawan-mushi’ egg custard with truffle ankake sauce. Obviously this was one of my meat substitutes. It was PHENOMENAL. My favorite dish of the night. The crab was succulent and sweet, the custard milky and delicate, the truffle sauce reserved but distinct and fragrant, and the scallions brought a crisp freshness to the dish. I may be spoiled for life on chawan-mushi!”
Full review: http://photo-hungry.com/post/38208308866/brushstroke
(4) TIE: Sauteed langoustine with shaved truffle, chanterelles and aged balsamic vinaigrette from Le Bernardin and medley of caviar and shellfish, served over a yuzu-scented custard in a smoked bonito broth from Le Bernardin.
Melt in mouth good. I think about this dish constantly. I am obsessed. The sea medley, below, is for ATO, who just closed his eyes and smiled when he took a bite of that divine brewing cup of ocean.
From the review: “…. my personal favorite was my 2nd dish, the sauteed langoustine, embraced by shaved truffle and chanterelles and surrounded by aged balsamic vinaigrette. Now this is 3 star Michelin food!! Best langoustine of my life. I’ve never had langoustine that just melted in your mouth like butter… seriously, I probably didn’t even need my teeth! The truffles weren’t overwhelming and the heavenly cream sauce paired with the balsamic was out of this world!”
From the review: “But perhaps the most resplendent 2nd course goes to AU, who took a chance and ordered the medley of caviar and shellfish, served over a yuzu-scented custard and sitting in a smoked bonito broth. Holy moly. Mesmerizing. AU hit it dead on when she remarked, what’s great about this quality of restaurant is that you’ll always find a dish that will just be absolutely unforgettable. This dish was the star of the night…well, for my 3 dining companions at least….”
(3) Dried beet “ember” set beside beet greens, trout roe and bull’s blood, drizzled in crustacean and sea urchin sauce from Atera.
Certainly the most beautiful dish of the year. A reminder that food can be visually and technically stunning, as well as just plain jump-up-and-down delicious.
From the review: “This, to me, was the most impressive dish of the night, and my very favorite. Dried beet “ember” set beside beet greens, trout roe and bull’s blood (the deep burgundy foliage in the picture above), drizzled in crustacean and sea urchin sauce. When I see sea urchins and trout roe in a dish, I usually run for my life. But here they only evoked subtle hints of the ocean and were just plate-lickingly delicious! The beet, cooked in ash, was the single most amazing component of the night. It was tender and sweet like the perfectly cooked root vegetable that it was, yet it was juicy, meaty and smoky like a good piece of steak. The beet flavor was just so focused, it just hits you right in the mouth and takes your breath away. Chef Lightner, how about I trade you my first born for another plate of this?”
Full review: http://photo-hungry.com/post/30114656593/atera
(2) 85-day dry aged beef sirloin with sungold tomatoes, hearts of palm and vin cotto from Blanca.
There’s nothing like this. It’s confusing, a tad disgusting and just utterly unbelievably amazing. Long-aged meat. It’s the new thing, yo! Try it.
From the review: “Finally, the meat courses. And there seemed to be a common theme. Dry-age the sh*t out of everything!!! In a good way of course. Each course was more intense than the last…. Finally, the craziest dish of all (picture above): the 85-day dry aged beef sirloin with sungold tomatoes, hearts of palm and vin cotto. WTF. Funkiest, stankiest piece of meat I’ve ever had. I took my first bite and thought I might have thrown up in my mouth a little bit, and then happily swallowed it. It’s a mind f*ck. It’s soooo bad and soooo good. Am I eating rancid meat, or is this the most delicious hunk of sirloin I’ve ever had?? I’m just so confused! And I can’t stop eating! Agh!!”
Full review: http://photo-hungry.com/post/31068215047/blanca
(1) 14-day dry-aged Muscovy duck polished with a lavender and honey marinade with Szechuan peppercorns, served with poached rhubarb, celery root and a skin and shallot crumble from Eleven Madison Park.
While the highly inventive and unique beet ember and 85-day dry aged steak gave this little ducky a run for its money, in the end this apiary came out on top in taste. It was absolutely mind-blowingly good, and it is Photo Hungry!’s #1 dish of 2012! Congrats Daniel Humm!
From the review: “This dish might make you want to jump in a spaceship. Because it is out of this world! Ha ha - I crack me up. Seriously, this one is to die for. Or at least to kill a duck for. It isn’t actually one of the 4 meat options listed on the menu, but my dad, crazy like me (that’s where I got it!) did some research before our dinner. This was the one dish that people consistently lost their minds over. He asked, “no duck tonight?” The waitress smiled knowingly and assured us, “oh, there’s always the duck” - the catch? It was an entire duck, and the whole table had to get it. And so we bet all of our money on this one horse. And it freakin WON. Blew every other horse out of the race, knocked them all down on the racetrack (fine, this analogy is getting away from me). So get this: 14-day dry aged Muscovy duck polished with a lavender and honey marinade with Szechuan peppercorns, served with poached rhubarb, celery root and a skin and shallot crumble. By far the best duck I’ve ever had in my life! Soooo much flavor, so tender, so absolutely scrumptious and divine in every way.”
Day-drinking is not my forte nowadays, so I settled on a non-alcoholic beverage: fresh-made cherry-yuzu herbal soda. Refreshing and delicious!
All the plates at Jean-Georges are small plates, of which you order 2 or more. I’ll go in the order they were listed on the menu (from lightest to heaviest). Above is the Japanese snapper carpaccio with ginger, white radish and olive oil. Despite its monotone appearance, the dish was quite multi-dimensional. Hints of ginger ran throughout the dish without overpowering the carpaccio and the slices of white radish gave it a nice textural boost.
Yellowfin tuna ribbons sitting atop avocado with spicy radish and ginger marinade. The 1980’s are calling to ask for their tuna dish back: perhaps ground-breaking then, but just boring now (altho still pretty tasty).
This was ATO’s favorite dish of the day. Raw Nantucket bay scallops with cranberry jus and wasabi. Very unique. The tartness of the cranberry jus perfectly complimented the spicy sharpness of the wasabi, and the scallops added just a touch of oceanic sweetness.
Foie gras brule, dried sour cherries, candied pistachios and white port gelee. Texturally amazing. Melt-in-your-mouth goodness, with a crispy caramelized top. Flavor-wise, nothing special. I’d take the foie gras at NoMad, Eleven Madison or Corton over this any day. Just a typical sweet, unoriginal preparation.
Sesame crab toast with miso-mustard, Asian pear and shiso. Really good. In that Asian-fusion Buddakan type of way. Not necessarily a bad thing, but kinda a cop-out: super bold and in-your-face instead of nuanced and intricate. In the end, I gobbled it down, so no complaints here.
Pan roasted sweetbreads with licorice, pear and lemon. The sweetbreads were tender, flavorful and flawlessly fried (crisp and hot on the outside while soft and buttery on the inside); however, the licorice wasn’t really edible as advertised (it was dry and gummy and impossible to chew) and the over-sized grilled pear was out of proportion to the rest of the plate.
Black sea bass, roasted brussel sprouts and spiced apple jus. The apple jus was a welcome surprise that really elevated this dish. The brussel sprouts were a bit uninspired, but the bass was fresh and perfectly flaky.
Crispy confit of suckling pig, rutabaga puree and smoked bacon marmalade. Hmmm…. where was that hot crackly skin that made it a “crispy” confit? MIA. It was only 50% there. The meat itself wasn’t even decadent, moist and fatty. Disappointing. Nothing compared to NoMad or even Tia Pol.
Caramelized wagyu beef tenderloin, delicata squash confit, mole and sherry vinegar. The wagyu-ness of this beef was lost on me. Why was there a $15 extra surcharge for this dish? And the mole paled in comparison to that divine mole I’ve had the honor to try at Topolobampo (it’s ruined me for life on mole). Still yummy, just forgettable.
Petite fours. So pretty! We especially loved the pumpkin spice macaroons (and asked for extras). Dreamy.
And we end the meal with the famous marshmallows; the flavor for this day, classic vanilla bean. Fluffy little clouds. I always love their marshmallows!
The drinks. Well, they were worth the wait. On the left was my choice: rice vodka with fresh grapefruit and sencha green tea syrup. One the right was ATO’s pick: Japanese cucumber with gin, lime and coarse ground roasted almond. Both were pleasantly sweet and refreshing. Great cocktails for starting off a meal!
Veggie 4: Crispy murasaki imo (purple yam) dumpling in chrysanthemum petal sauce. Slightly sweet and starchy but light and soothing. I don’t think I’ve had anything quite like it. I overheard MF commenting that this was her favorite dish of the night!
Kaiseki 6 and Veggie 5: Blended essence of butternut and kabocha squash with smoked paprika. There were ooh’s and aahh’s around the table as people took their first spoonfuls of this earthy, luscious bowl of soup. I was excited. Unfortunately, I did not fall for its charms. It was one slightly discordant note for me. I’m starting to realize kabocha is not my favorite ingredient, as I’ve turned my nose up at it in our last few encounters. ATO benefited.
Kaiseki 8: In a traditional Japanese kaiseki meal, you end with rice, to fill up those remaining empty crevices in your stomach (if any!). Below is the winter mushrooms in ankake sauce over rice. Filling but surprisingly light and full of umami (aka addictively tasty).
Desserts: to be perfectly honest, at this point, I was spinning from sake and happiness. I don’t know exactly what we had for dessert (if any of my dinner companions would like to comment and enlighten us all, please do!). Both contained that ingredient that most makes you feel as if you’re just eating away your money: gold leaf. Both were soft, custard/pudding/jello like consistencies. One was better than the other (right side). And that is my very sophisticated dessert description!
Last bite: the rice paper. Thin and crackly, they dissolved immediately in your mouth, leaving behind only the slight aftertaste of the green tea or shiso powder.
An exquisite meal. I’m just mad I waited this long to come!
PS - be sure to check out the bathrooms, with the modern, multi-functional Japanese toilets (Japanese people are so quirky)!
Torrisi Italian Specialties (the Tasting Menu)
It was ATO’s 30th birthday, and I wanted to take him somewhere super special. Torrisi Italian Specialities is one of his favorites generally, and we had never tried their tasting menu, so exactly 30 days prior to the reservation date, at 9am on the dot, I started calling. And luckily, I secured a spot for the tasting menu on October 18th! Whooohooo!
I had every intention to completely, thoroughly enjoy this meal. I really really wanted to love it!! Unfortunately, I did not. And I really can’t even put my finger on exactly why. It might have been partly our fault: maybe we weren’t completely mentally or physically prepared for the onslaught of food. But in all honestly, we can’t take all of the blame; the restaurant didn’t make things easier on us. While Torrisi is a super chill and cozy spot for the normal 4-course prix fix, its space and ambiance does not lend itself well to a tasting menu format. We were packed into our table like sardines, basically dining with the strangers on either side of us and fully surrounded by their conversation. And in the small claustrophobic space, there was just too much movement going on, especially when serving a tasting menu: at all times a waiter was either reaching over us, setting down a plate, clearing a plate, explaining a dish, filling a water glass or filling a wine glass while the diners next to us were seated, finished and leaving, new diners were seated …. it was really quite dizzying and distracting. And maybe they’ve put on new airs after receiving their 1st Michelin star, but I really did find the staff a little unnecessarily snooty and cold (which I don’t remember in previous visits).
And while certain courses were definitely total knock-outs that have been imprinted in my food memory for years, the overall pace of the meal felt like watching a movie in fast-forward: you have an idea, but aren’t quite sure, what’s going on… it’s all just a bit too quick. I was left with the overall impression that I had been assaulted with dish after dish of good, but mostly undistinguished, food. Towards the middle of the meal, I also started to feel sick: it was like someone had taken a stick of butter and directly injected it into my bloodstream. If you read this blog, you’ll know that we can definitely take down our fair share of tasting menus, but this one was too gluttonous, even for us! I don’t want to sound too downer. The fact is, we’re super spoiled, and really, this was a great meal; it just wasn’t the amazing dining experience that I was hoping for!
A nice little mocktail to start: the Torrisi Americano, made with a grapefruit-infused soda and a delicious blend of various bitters. A testament to the strength of the mind: I thought it was alcoholic and started feeling a bit tipsy 10 minutes in… yeeeeaahhhh….
Olive-brined, poached quail eggs. One of the best bites of the night. The egg literally popped in your mouth, revealing a wonderful but subtle briny olive essence. Warning: it turned your entire mouth and tongue black tho!
A delicious bar snack: soft pretzel nuggets dusted in golden mustard and caraway. Warm, airy, salty pretzel pillows!
Cigarettes made with smoked sable, poppy seeds and roe. Spectacular looking, but just tasty in a plain Jane way.
Oysters in a mignonette with fermented ginger, topped with diced jingle bell peppers. Slurp!
Lightly baked little neck clam with uni. Tasted like it was plucked right out of the ocean!
Rabbit terrine with sour cherry jam and house made semolina. Bunnies are tasty.
Caviar on potato and leek buckwheat knishes. YUM. The caviar was incredibly unfishy and just a load of salty goodness!
Fried chicken oyster with candied cashews. Tasted like upscale Chinese food!
Figs wrapped in cured dehydrated watermelon and bush basil. What a mind f*ck. I thought I was eating prosciutto. Crazy good.
Barbecued eggplant with ricotta ice cream and a cold raw caponata. Whereas I was more impressed with the last dish’s ability to imitate meat, ATO found this eggplant to be super trippy: I admit, if you closed your eyes, it could have been a big fatty piece of pork belly. The sides and the hot/cold temperature made this my least favorite dish of the night tho.
Mackerel, in a cucumber broth with raw and pickled cucumbers, showered with dill. ATO loved this dish.
Foie gras paired with super savory, tart lobster mushrooms. Egh, this foie gras was not impressive: great texture, but lacked any real taste.
Delmonico steak tartare with bearnaise sauce, disguised as an egg yolk. Meant to be scooped up with the home-made thrice-cooked potato chips served on the side! Nothing special though.
The pasta courses started with sheep’s milk ricotta gnocchi and corn. Ridiculously soft and amazing texture, but this buttery dish did not wow on taste.
The spaghetti di mare with clams, shrimp, octopus, crab and braised cuttlefish, did, however, satisfy our picky taste buds. The rich and densely flavorful aquatic notes were absolutely stellar.
The final pasta: one giant cappellaci stuffed with braised lamb, served with artichoke and mint. Unmemorable but pleasant.
The highlight of the night, the grand finale: dry-aged Guinea hen with black truffles (they’re even baked beneath the skin!), anise potatoes and boudin blanc sausage. Insanely good, but also insanely heavy. Might have made the whole tasting menu worth it! Maybe….
The cheese course! Goat cheese on a poppyseed danish with onion relish. Unfortunately, at this point I felt like death and couldn’t even eat this little bite. I also turned down my 2nd portion of it (they give each person 2)! Did you register that?? I TURNED DOWN PART OF MY CHEESE COURSE. You know I had to be feeling terribly awfully baaaddd….
Palate cleanser: a very tart and effective lemon ginger Italian ice.
Dessert! A cute little maraschino cherry float, with maraschino cherry soda and an edible straw, root beer candy bar and cherry ice cream. So 1950’s!
Finally, at my weakest moment, when I could barely see straight from fullness…. Torrisi’s dessert platter. Geeez. I sucked it up and continued to eat ;-). My favorites: the classic fresh ricotta cannolis with orange zest and fennel, and the mint truffles (they tasted like Junior Mints!). ATO preferred the more unique concoctions: nori salt water taffy and mini parsley cakes!
And finally, a little piece of dinner to take home with us, packed in a very cute to-go box: rainbow cookies!
As soon as we got home, we cancelled all reservations for the next 2 days. My body was rebelling. No. More. Food!!!
ATO’s sister and brother-in-law were coming to town, and they were looking for some R&R and some delicious NY food (with a 3- and 1-year old at home, it’s hard to enjoy a nice meal out!). No matter how hot and bothered New Yorkers have become over certain new, hip places, only certain tried and true classics hold that same kind of cache and pull for out-of-towners. Le Bernardin is certainly one of them. It was on AU and TU’s shortlist, and so we happily accompanied them last Friday evening.
Le Bernardin is obviously an old fashioned New York classic. I had benefited from working within a 2 block radius for 6 years, and so had frequented Le Bernardin for closing, partner and summer lunches. And despite the fact that seafood is not my forte, I have to admit that even after all of these years, this establishment still has that golden touch (unlike stuffy old places like Le Cirque or La Grenouille who had clearly fallen from their high pedestals). And to support my feelings, Michelin Guide again reaffirmed Le Bernardin’s 3-star Michelin status just last week. Perhaps the recent renovations and facelift have prevented this place from feeling dated and stodgy. I actually found myself thinking in awe at dinner: “this place isn’t really stuffy at all!” Sure, there’s a jacket requirement for men, but other than that, the dining room was full of movement, a not-so-low buzz of conversation filled the air (at one point a table even broke out into singing happy birthday) and the atmosphere was much more relaxed than I expected from the dinner crowd. It was surely less intimidating and stiff than Daniel, Jean-Georges, or even Corton, and certainly Picholine (the most stuffy restaurant I’ve ever been to by far far far - yuck!). I was definitely comfortable here using the wrong silverware, cleaning my plates with bread and taking lots of pics ;-).
Let’s start with the complimentary bread, which arrived first. Their bread offerings included very unique pretzel rolls. Awesome! In an effort to carb load for the next day’s long run, I took down 3 (ATO had 5, although he sampled from a more varied assortment of breads). Getting our money’s worth! The butter they bring out is perfectly soft and spreadable. They even replace it halfway through the night when it starts getting a little too melty. Now that’s 3 Michelin star attention to detail!
For the amuses, from bottom to top: (1) cured salmon with honey mustard on pumpernickel toast (this is also on their bar menu), (2) uni with togarashi and caviar and (3) celery root soup garnished with a parmesan crisp. Of these, the uni stood out the most. AU proclaimed it the best uni she’d ever had. Even I had to admit that it was way less fishy and more enjoyable than most uni’s.
A sampling of our dishes. The regular menu is broken out into 3 savory courses and 1 dessert. You chose 1 from each category of “Almost Raw”, “Barely Touched” and “Lightly Cooked,” although they let me chose 2 from “Barely Touched” since raw fish generally grosses me out. Or, if you’re looking for some non-seafood fare, there’s a section of “Upon Request” (but why would you do that at Le Bernardin?). Above, from the ”Almost Raw” section, is the wild striped bass tartare, dressed with baby fennel, zucchini, crispy artichoke and a parmesan sauce vierge. Nothing special but tasty nonetheless.
From the “Barely Touched” section, this was my first course: a chilled peekytoe crab salad topped with baby radish and avocado, sitting in an unexpected but wonderful green apple-lemongrass nage. Fantastic. This dish exemplifies what I love best about Le Bernardin: the subtlety of their flavors, the lightness of their touch, the quality of their product and the precision of their execution.
ATO’s 2nd course, also from the “Barely Touched” section: an interesting warm scallop carpaccio garnished with snowpeas and shiitakes, in a lime-shiso broth. Again, an excellent dish: each ingredient struck a different note but together weaved a beautiful harmony. And the scallops were so silky smooth amazing.
But perhaps the most resplendent 2nd course goes to AU, who took a chance and ordered the medley of caviar and shellfish, served over a yuzu-scented custard and sitting in a smoked bonito broth. Holy moly. Mesmerizing. AU hit it dead on when she remarked, what’s great about this quality of restaurant is that you’ll always find a dish that will just be absolutely unforgettable. This dish was the star of the night…well, for my 3 dining companions at least….
Cos my personal favorite was my 2nd dish, the sauteed langoustine, embraced by shaved truffle and chanterelles and surrounded by aged balsamic vinaigrette. Now this is 3 star Michelin food!! Best langoustine of my life. I’ve never had langoustine that just melted in your mouth like butter… seriously, I probably didn’t even need my teeth! The truffles weren’t overwhelming and the heavenly cream sauce paired with the balsamic was out of this world!
However, the intense fun seemed to have stopped at the entrees. They were mostly still delicious, but just not as wildly successful. Above is ATO’s entree: the roasted monkfish with a wilted mustard greens-daikon sandwich in adobo sauce. His fish was awesome: nice, crisp, flavorful skin and light, tender fish cooked to perfection with not a hint of fishiness. This was probably the best entree of the night.
Unfortunately, AU’s fish was not as great. Above was her sautéed sole, drowned in a brown-butter tamarind vinaigrette and served alongside an “almond-pistachio-barberry” golden basmati rice. Perhaps the most disappointing thing about this dish was the fact that it required an $18 supplement, which only set expectations that much higher. While I kinda liked it all cos it tasted like chicken and gravy, it was a fail for anyone who likes fish and actually wants to taste it. And the heavy-handedness was so un-Le Bernardin like.
Maybe the $18 was to cover the actual gold leaf used in the rice…. does gold leaf ever even taste good, or is it just a luxury that makes rich people feel that much richer?
Finally, above is my baked lobster served with a stuffed zucchini flower, in a sake-miso sauce. That little lobster sure was tough! I almost sent it back cos I thought it was over-cooked. Although the more you chewed it, the more flavor you got. Maybe it was intentional?
Which reminds me…. we actually did have to send back TU’s fish because it actually was over-cooked. Not good. As ATO stated, “when you go to Le Bernardin, you don’t expect to be blown away by new, crazy flavors, but you do expect amazing product that is perfectly executed.” So it was particularly troublesome to receive such a clearly over-cooked piece of fish!
Desserts - all tasty, but none too memorable. Top left we have the plum parfait with ginger foam and shiso and sake sorbet. I have to say, I think shiso always kinda tastes like soap…. Top right we have the banana bread drizzled in caramel sauce with chocolate mousse and a scoop of Vietnamese cinnamon ice cream.
Top left is the dark chocolate cremeux with kirsch bavaroise and Belgian kriek beer sorbet. Finally, as a consolation for bringing out a f*cked up piece of fish…. a free dessert. Madagascan chocolate ganache with candied peanuts and popcorn ice cream! That one hit the spot in terms of pure gluttonous fun.
And to end the night, our pretty little petite fours: a ginger chocolate truffle, lemon poppy seed cake topped with gelee, hibiscus macaron and a pear financier.
Overall, a wonderful evening (especially the company!). But if you ask me, next time I’d rather spend that $500+ on another tasting menu meal at a chef’s open kitchen!
In the backyard of the hipster foodie haven, Roberta’s (see prior Photo Hungry! post), is a new chic and sophisticated boutique-sized tasting-menu-only room, Blanca. Although Blanca only officially opened this summer, it’s already made quite a splash. Bon Appetit just named it 2nd on its list of “America’s Best New Restaurants” in 2012. It’s location in the remote edges of Bushwick, Brooklyn may be a bit off the beaten path, but that hasn’t hindered its (or Roberta’s) popularity; reservations can be made on the first of each month but they’ve flown so quickly that within a day or two, they stop taking reservations until the first of the next month. It really is quite difficult to snag a seat! Dinner is served at 6pm from Wednesday through Saturday and there is only 1 seating a night for 12 lucky diners. Carlo Mirarchi (who also oversees the kitchen at Roberta’s) is always cooking in the kitchen.
To enter, you have to walk through the Christmas lights, large wooden tables, dim lighting and loud chatter that is Roberta’s, past the tented patio and garden filled with skinny jean/artsy/random piercing/tattoo types and down some steps. Suddenly you arrive at this very serene and exquisite separate loft space; it’s light, bright and airy, and the diners are perched at the white counter surrounding the large, stainless steel open kitchen. There’s a record player and old vinyls set on a nearby table where diners can choose their own tunes to accompany their dinner.
To prepare for this marathon-length meal, I had a bagel at 8am, ran about 16 miles that afternoon, and showed up ready to pass out from hunger. Which was good because our meal at Blanca consisted of 30 courses. I’m pretty sure that’s an all-time record for me! But don’t worry, we won’t go through each course. While Blanca (unlike Brooklyn Fare) allows pictures, they request that pictures not be published, so as not to ruin the “surprise” for later diners. Well…. since Time Out, NYTimes and Bon Appetit have already published pictures of certain dishes, I took the liberty to post pics of the same ones. No surprises ruined there! I’m pretty sure all of their readerships are bigger than mine ;-).
The meal commenced with several one-bite dishes (starting a bit lighter and progressing in richness), including the above: glass shrimp in celery juice, garnished with poppy seeds. Wow. Light but flavorful, with the poppy seeds adding such a nice little pop to the shrimp that could otherwise just slide down your throat.
The next course: geoduck with Tuscan melon and sea lettuce. This packed a bit more chew than the last bite, although remained consistent with the clean, vibrant tones.
It was followed directly by a tempura-style soft-shell crab claw served atop smoked paprika aioli. Holy sh*t. Is this what all soft-shell crab tastes like? I think not. This one little bite was ridiculous! Fried and crackly on the outside, but so sweet, tender and juicy on the inside. The crab flavor itself was so pure and unadulterated; paired with the creamy, smoky aioli, it was heaven.
Skip three courses forward to another standout bite (maybe in my devastatingly hungry state, any form of fried food was divine): fried veal sweetbread with cracked pepper and lime cream. I usually find sweetbreads a little too chewy, but this serving just melted in your mouth like butter. Delicious!
Immediately following was a little “salad” course: celtuce (a stem lettuce) with clementine, goat kefir, kumquat, almonds and tuna flakes. Fresh and bright.
And a couple bites later we came across the uni with house-made tofu, taro, yuba gremolata and cucumber flower. I decided I would try uni again. And yes, it was still too fishy for me. But ATO gobbled it up!
An aside: during the meal, the raw proteins that comprise the upcoming main meat dishes sit out in the kitchen in clear view. For ATO, this was super distracting. He could barely contain his excitement, constantly checking on the status of the ingredient and gibbering on about what might be made with it. Above is a dead duck, waiting to be prepared.
On to the more substantive dishes. Not pictured are the oysters and squid, both surprisingly delightful. And then there was an unforgettable Wagyu carpaccio, splattered on the plate with sunchokes, duck yolk and large disks of summer truffles. One of the best dishes of the night; I’m sad I can’t post the pic!
It was followed by 3 solid pasta courses. My personal favorite was the corn ravioli in sungold tomato broth, seasoned with savory (an herb in the mint family). Actually it might just be the bestest corn dish I’ve ever had! ATO agreed that this was the best pasta of the night, and has brought it up in multiple conversations since. SS and JM, however, both proclaimed the garganelli with braised goat ragu and nasturtium (pictured above) the pasta winner of the night. To each his own. Really, we all won when it came to the pastas.
A couple of courses later came the most amazing snow crab served with an ugly green mess of a sauce made with crab brain, uni and sake (not pictured); well, you definitely can’t judge a sauce by its looks, because this sauce was incredible. One bite and I got over my squeamishness in eating crab brain. And just as I started complaining about needing carbs, here comes the bread with fresh house-made butter with cultured yogurt. In the battle of me versus butter, I won. I took down that huge wad.
Finally, the meat courses. And there seemed to be a common theme. Dry-age the sh*t out of everything!!! In a good way of course. Each course was more intense than the last….
We started with the month-aged lamb with mint jelly, rat tail radish and ground cherries. Well executed and served on the rare side of medium rare - you could cut it with a fork. The mint jelly was a very nice touch.
We moved on to the duck, aged with innards intact (but not served with innards!), and served with sucrine, blackberries and pickled chanterelles. Mmmmm definitely getting more musky. Aging a duck with the innards is rare (even Eleven Madison Park doesn’t do it, see previous post) but definitely gives it that extra funk. The skin of this duck was cooked to absolute perfection. I have to say though, I thought the pickling of the chanterelles was a bit too tangy and distracting (ATO disagrees).
Finally, the craziest dish of all (picture above): the 85-day dry aged beef sirloin with sungold tomatoes, hearts of palm and vin cotto. WTF. Funkiest, stankiest piece of meat I’ve ever had. I took my first bite and thought I might have thrown up in my mouth a little bit, and then happily swallowed it. It’s a mind f*ck. It’s soooo bad and soooo good. Am I eating rancid meat, or is this the most delicious hunk of sirloin I’ve ever had?? I’m just so confused! And I can’t stop eating! Agh!!
The desserts continued to enthrall us: we had (1) a pungent wash rind cheese course with apples, radishes, Romano beans and honey from their roof, (2) a beach rose gelato with strawberry and chickpea crumble, (3) blueberry soup with cherry sorbet, coconut cream, shiso granita and tomatillos and (4) most interestingly, a watermelon radish gelato with macadamia nut crumble, sour watermelon gummies and condensed watermelon (above). The radish flavor in the gelato was very apparent, and honestly threw me for a loop. In the end I decided I didn’t like it. And the sour gummies were an amusing twist, but also a tad too weird.
But, we finished on a high for me: carrot gum. I mean, c’mon, where else will you be served this stuff? And it didn’t taste half bad either….
So start trying to make a rez, and hopefully within 6 months, you’ll be able to try this all for yourself! Warning: this meal doesn’t come cheap. $180 per person with an $85 wine pairing, plus tax and tip. I’d do it again in a heartbeat though!