Thursday, March 31, 2011

Soho's New Kitchen

I had the most interesting Saturday last weekend. I starting chatting with these three older Italians on the subway and they invited me to join them for a most lovely and leisurely lunch in Soho. They took me to David Burke's new restaurant in Soho called Kitchen. The space was nice enough although surprisingly it wasn't very busy. The building itself is really nice and stands out on the corner of Grand and 6th avenue.

I think these italians are big in the art world here because even though it was their first time there, the staff seemed to know who they were. They frequent David Burke's other restaurant on the regular. As soon as we sat down we were presented with flutes of Prosecco. We then ordered bloody mary's and a great bottle of vino from California. It was probably the best bloody mary i've ever had. It had roasted okra in it and the flavour was awesome! There were these lovely starters, one was duck paté and the other a ricotta eggplant spread. For my main I had this very pretty crab cake dish. It tasted really fresh and had a lovely flavour. There were these cold poached prawns on the side that would really light and refreshing. I really enjoyed the food.

The service however was not good. The italians were not impressed since they are used to superb service and dine exclusively at some of the top restaurants in New York. The one woman's food got mixed up and the espressos arrived late and not up to their taste. So we decided to go to their friend Emilio's restaurant after to have a proper espresso with grappa!

It was nice to meet new people and to dine in such a civilized way. The experience took place completely in (broken) italian (mixed with french) It was a fun challenge for me. It was a really nice treat on a lovely Saturday afternoon.

23 Grand Street ( + 6th Ave)
New York, NY
(212) 201-9119

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What Happens When

What happens when a restaurant pops up in Nolita and changes chef and outfit every month? My first gut thought was probably bad food... how can I restaurant get up and running and serve good food? How can it stay consistent and just as is builds momentum switch... well the crew at What Happens When is doing... and doing is well enough. As far as the interior goes, it's not my cup of tea The space is trying to stay minimal but cluttered with hanging pieces of wood and random graphics on the walls. I don't get it. It's like a bad graphic designer is trying to realize their dream of being an interior designer. Luckily the room stays dimly lit for dinner so it's less irritating. The place was packed with a very random crowd, they didn't even seem to be foodies nor people that would frequent that neighbourhood.

The food however was interesting and very good overall. The prix fixe is well-priced at $55, for an appetiser, a main and a dessert. Their drinks and alocohol is way over-priced which is how they get you. We tried the tempura frog legs and the venision tartare as starters, then the braised short ribs over polenta and the trout as mains. All was tasty. The frog legs where tasted and fried, can't go wrong ;) but my raw venison was actually really interesting with hints of curry and a lovely cracker to scoop up the morsels of dark red meat. Although I do have to say I'm not a fan of the smeared food presentation. All the sauces on the food and desserts where smeared on the plate. In my opinion brown sauce smeared never looks appetizing. There was also a little starter thing before the appertisers, pictured here but I can't remember what it was now...not really a good sign. I remember there was a cheesy homemade bun that was delicious!

This all being said, I do really like the concept as a whole. A theme, a story, a soundtrack and most importantly a unique menu. The idea of collaborating with an interior designer and a chef for each iteration of the restaurant is a lovely idea. The beauty in this is who you chose to collaborate with and now I'm really curious to see what happens next.

What Happens When
25 Cleveland Place
New York, NY
(212) 925-8310

Magical Moroccan Mix

I usually start off my weekend with a classic Bloody Mary at Mogador but this morning I was feeling especially hungover and needed something stronger yet refreshing. Our favourite server Luke recommended this drink, which has hints of ginger, St Germaine and topped with anise, which are some of my favourite flavours. It was the perfect start to a nice restful weekend.

Cafe Mogador
101 Saint Marks Pl
New York, NY
(212) 677-2226

Dessert Szchewan Style

Szechuan Gourmet is one of my favourite restaurants these days. We've been doing these epic group dinners there all through the winter. The food is fantastic and super spicy... and was voted to have the best MaPo Tofu in the city! This time we decided to try dessert which turned out to completely different than we expected. These soft mochi-like rice balls are filled with black sesame (my favourite!) and served warm in water. They were delicious!

Szechuan Gourmet
21 W 39th St
New York, NY
(212) 921-0233

Friday, March 25, 2011

Support Japan

All these great restaurants are participating in this program! You can visit the website to find out more. A great way to help out and support.