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Jean Philippe (Las Vegas)

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Jean Philippe (Las Vegas)

If you are ever in Las Vegas and want to visit one of the worlds best chocolatiers and pastry chefs you have to visit Jean Philippe in the Bellagio Hotel .  Jean Philippe is a master chocolatier and pastry chef recognized around the world.  In the 90's and  2000's you could find him everywhere on tv, magazines, and all over New York and Europe.  You don't hear so much about him these days because you have younger talent working their way up the ranks but he is world renowned and someone who paved a lot paths for younger chefs.

When you walk by the shop, you can't help but notice the gigantic chocolate fountains that flow like like rivers from the ceiling all the way down to the floor.  As you enter the shop you are overwhelmed with all kinds of chocolates and pastries that fill this small side shop in the Bellagio hotel.  

For my wife and I, we drool walking into a shop like this, because everything looks so great and we really love pastries.  We want to try everything but know we can only stomach a few things; but I guess that is a dilemma we gladly accept.  Living in Austin you don't see a lot of pastry shops with European caliber, although there are a few scattered around the city.

I think my wife and I got two different pastries each and few chocolates.  To say they were delicious was an understatement.  Here are a few images from the shop filled with tarts, flans, opera, Napoleons, and so much more.


Chocolate Eagle made completely out of chocolate.

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L'Atelier Etoile (Paris)

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L'Atelier Etoile (Paris)

Joel Robuchon is an icon in the chef world.  He is a chef who's name has been known around the world for almost 4 decades.  He has more michelin stars than any other chef in the world.  His extensive resume has made him one of the most recognized names in the culinary world despite his age.  Everyone of his restaurants has at least one Michelin star.  He has done extensive travels to Asia looking for new ingredients and teaching his techniques which has extended his knowledge and career.  His L'Atelier restaurant concept has restaurants in multiple countries.  His restaurant in Las vegas is one of the only 3 stars michelin restaurants in the city. He is a guru when it comes to classic french techniques which he has married with some Asian ingredients.  On this occasion I got to try his L'Atelier restaurant in Paris.

 Paris has so many great restaurants that's it is hard to pick just one or two to eat at.  This was my second trip to Paris, on my first trip I had the opportunity to eat at one of the cities oldest restaurants that dates back to the late 1700's Le Grand Vefour with Chef Guy Martin which held 3 stars at the time.  These meals, especially in Paris, are not cheap.  I would love to eat in all the restaurants in Paris but of course that would take years and lots of money that I don't have.   But on this occasion I had the opportunity to try one of Joel Robuchons restaurants in the heart of Paris.  The restaurant brings flair of Asia with cooking that is very French.  A gorgeous dinning room that gives the diner plenty to look at.  The dinning room is filled with glass cases filled with vegetables and ingredients floating in water.  The kitchen is opened so you can see all the work that is going on.  We sat at the "bar" so you could see all the action but there are tables as well.  An excellent meal that I would say was very reasonable priced considering a 2 star michelin restaurant right off the famous street in Paris, Champs-Elysées.  Heres what we had hope you enjoyed as much as us.


Our amouse which is not shown here was port with foie gras and parmesan foam in a little shot glass, it was amazing.  

Next we had more foie gras and hamachi with radish


Next I had an awesome parsnips with parmesan appetizers that I thought was really smart and delicious 

Next we had a mushroom soup with dried beef and egg

I had the baby lamb next that was one of the most tender pieces of meat that I have ever had and was simply prepared on the plancha.

My wife had a wonderful beef and vegetable dish with reduction sauce.  Both were served with a side of Joel's famous 50/50 potatoes.  Its the most creamiest, richest, delicious mashed potatoes you ever had in your life.  He equals the weight of potatoes and butter.  So 1 pound of potatoes 1 pound of butter.  Absolutely melt in your mouth.

Excellent bread service off course and Desserts

We had Claufoutis and a version of cream puffs


They sent us home with a little package of la Madeline's for the next morning.  Overall a really fun night with great food in a beautiful city.

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Per Se (NYC)

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Per Se (NYC)

Per se an absolutely stunning restaurant with even better views over looking central park in the time warner building in New York City.  Thomas keller is one of the worlds most recognized chef's in the world.  He has built an empire starting with French Laundry, Bouchon, Ad hoc, Per Se, and Bouchon Bakeries.  Multiple cookbooks, food product line with william sonoma.  He is also one of the head coaches for the american team in bocuse d'or (biggest chef competition, think oscars or olympics for chefs) which place the highest ever this year at second.  The list I'm sure goes on and on.  He is one of the most respected Chef's in the world not only for his knowledge and technique but overall approach to cooking and beyond.  If there is any advice to a young chef who is looking to gain the tools needed to succeed I would recommend giving the first 5 years or so to working with his restaurant group trying to soak up as much as possible.  If you want to be a serious chef you go work with one of the best, period.   I never did unfortunately, I did almost live and work in the Napa area over 13 years ago but I decided to go live and work in San Francisco instead of Napa.  

Per Se is a 3 star michelin restaurant that has prided itself on perfection (or as close as you can come to in the restaurant world) From the moment you walk in you feel like you are among the elite.  The staff are trained to a tee.  There isn't a thing they miss or wouldn't want to accommodate.  The staff was so nice and pleasant.  Sometimes you think these really nice restaurants are stuffy, (and some can be) but this was not.  Elegant, definitely! Luxurious, absolutely. But I didn't feel like it was stuffy.  Wonderful meal but would love to go back and try it again.  Hopefully some day soon.  Here's what I had.

The iconic salmon cone.  Something French Laundry has been serving for close to 20 years.

The other signature amouse is the gourgeres, that explode in your mouth

First course I had a buckwheat bilini with beet, apple, and horseradish

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Then I had a roasted sunchoke with, matsutake, hearts of palm, komatsuna, and grapefruit.

Next I had the Tuna with bottarga, cranberry beans, aji dulce, and romaine.  The romaine I thought was genius to give a refreshing crunch.

Then I had another signature dish the calotte de beouf by far one of the best pieces of beef I have ever put in my mouth.  Ribeye cap with salsify, and pecans.  Awesome!

Then I had 3 desserts that were all amazing.   This was their version of smores with graham cracker ice cream, marshmallow and chocolate crumbs.

Next I had a version of berries and cream

And then ended with a home made chocolate bar.  Melt in your mouth

They left me with chocolates and shortbread that I took home with me for my wife because she couldn't be there.  They were delicious as well.  First class all the way, I would really recommend anyone trying this in New York.  It was actually a little cheaper than I thought for lunch and gratuity was included in the bill.  Love to go back but will also like to try the French Laundry if I am ever back in the Napa area.  

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Locks Brasserie Restaurant (Dublin)

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Locks Brasserie Restaurant (Dublin)

A few months back we were in Dublin, Ireland having a wonderful time in an absolutely beautiful country.  With a lot of family in town my brother and I wanted to take our whole family out to a nice dinner.  I found Locks Brasserie a small restaurant tucked away in a neighborhood that is off the beaten path in downtown Dublin.  A one star michelin restaurant that served up some great food.  Because we had over 12 people that gave us a private room which was perfect for our family, which tends to be loud.  If your in Dublin I would definitely recommend this restaurant if you want to get off the beaten path.  Here was our private dinner.  We had a set menu so couldn't do the whole menu because of the amount of people we had.  But didn't change the fact that it is a cute little restaurant that serves up tasty food.

Here is just a few dishes we had.  Sorry didn't get all the pictures included

 

My first course was cured duck with celery and apple


Another first course was house smoked salmon

I had the halibut and the other was a steak and frites which isn't pictured.  

Dessert was great but didn't capture it.  Great dinner we had lots of fun.  I hope you enjoyed as much as we did.

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St. John (London, UK)

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St. John (London, UK)

St. John is a great little restaurant on the bottom level of their hotel.  It is a one star michelin restaurant that serves up really straight forward food done perfectly.  You don't see anything you haven't heard of before.  Simply put, St. John is food done right.   We had the opportunity to eat here for lunch and what a pleasant surprise it was.  Clean, small interior that wasn't stuffy at all.  The price point wasn't terrible at all so it really was enjoyable all the way around

Here was the first course,  Roasted carrots with toasted bread crumbs with fresh local farmers cheese and capers  Really a great appetizer.

The next was roasted bone marrow with toasted bread and fresh parsley salad.  Another straight forward but well executed dish.

Meat pie.  One of the best meat pies I have ever had.  A fabulous meat pie that you could tell had been cook in a really great stock that gave it lots of depth and flavor.  Excellent!  Served with buttery mashed potatoes.

Great lunch and I would hight recommend it to anyone in the London area.

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Le Bernardin (NYC)

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Le Bernardin (NYC)

Le Bernardin, I really don't have to say any more than that.  An iconic New york restaurant that has been around for at least 25 years.  Chef Eric Ripert one of the worlds best chefs, has been running it for about the last 20 years or so after Chef co-owner Gilbert Le Coze died at young age.  Chef Eric has continued the tradition taught by his predecessor which has kept the restaurant at the top for many years.  Chef Eric has cook books, tv show, and multiple other endeavors he is involved in.  A true perfectionist in French cuisine that has been offered to open Le Bernadine's in multiple locations but has stuck to his flagship in NYC.  Le Bernadine is known for having "simple" fish dishes executed perfectly.  The truth is, the dishes aren't simple and there is a reason they are zagats top restaurant in NYC, have 3 michelin stars, and are number 19 in the world best restaurant list. They have been at the top for over 25 years.   To say I was really excited to eat here was an understatement.  So much history behind this restaurant and Chef, the highest quality and standard to achieve.  It is always a treat and a bit luxurious to eat in this kind of restaurant.  

Eating in these types of restaurants is more than just getting a meal.  It is a true dining experience, not just all about the food; but where the service is just as an important.  They are trying to leave you with a memory about the whole dinning experience from the time you walk in the door to the time you leave.  Every detail has been thought of and taking care of.  These are things that an average diner isn't thinking about or wants to for that matter.  This is just one factor, of many, why these types of restaurants are "so" expensive.  The average dinner has no idea how much goes into just one dish let alone a whole menu.  That is just the food side.  You have all the other moving parts that I won't go into at this time.  I will say though that Le Bernadine is one of the more reasonably priced 3 star michelins restaurants in the world.   Well worth every penny.  This outing was even a little more exciting because I decided to take my dad out for his 65th birthday.  My dad isn't one for spending a big amounts of money on a meal but he has come to appreciate fine dinning especially with me working in some over the years.  He is always happy to eat it.  Literally everything melted in your mouth and the flavors were very subtle.  Here is what we had for their 7 course lunch.

They started off the meal with a bowl of perfectly smoked salmon with crostini.  We gobbled it up.

Next we both had one of their signature dishes a thinly piece of tuna with a crouton and thin layer of foie gras.  A touch of lemon and olive oil finished with chives.  One word, Perfection!

Next my dad had an artichoke dish with risotto which was good but needed a bit of salt.  I think this was the only complaint if we had one of the whole meal. 

I had the hamachi with puffed rice cracker and ponzu.  Delicious

Next my dad had Olive oil poached escolar with citron and olive.

I had the Steelhead trout with leek sauce and roe

Next my dad had the salmon with lotus root and beech mushrooms.

I had the Wild Striped Bass; Bhutanese Red Rice, Green Papaya Salad, Ginger-Red Wine Sauce

Next we had our pre dessert of citrus.  Candied, sorbet, it was absolutely delicious

Next was dessert, chocolate brownie with caramel, toasted marcona  and some type of bomb.  It was amazing!

A fantastic lunch that we thoroughly enjoyed.  We absolutely would love to go back next time we are in New York City.  Here's to a great 65th Dad.

They sent us home with a few little treats that I brought back for my wife since she had to babysit.  A great meal, great company, and a great restaurant.  Highly recommend to anyone who enjoys a fine meal.  

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Chapter One Restaurant (Dublin)

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Chapter One Restaurant (Dublin)

Here was our last michelin restaurant in Dublin.  Chapter one, a first class restaurant all the way.  A beautiful dinning room and kitchen for that matter.  We called literally 30 minutes before we showed up and they accommodated us wonderfully.  The restaurant manager bent over backwards for us. I was in Ireland almost 2 weeks and I hadn't had an Irish coffee.  That was one of the request from my boss before I left was to try a true authentic Irish coffee.  I have had the famous Irish coffee in San Francisco at Buena Vista  which is really fantastic.   But in general I am not a huge coffee drinker.  Well I waited until the last day to try one.  I couldn't think of a better place to have an irish coffee.  To be honest with you I would go back just for the irish coffee.  That is how good theres was.  By far the best Irish coffee I have ever had.  They actually make it table side and have a certain way of preparing it that I'm sure no one else does.  

If I remember correctly the restaurant sits under the apartment where Jameson (founder of the famous whisky) used to live.   We had limited time but we still managed to squeeze in the 3 course tasting lunch.  I really think this restaurant could get 2 stars but we'll see.  Here's what we had.

First course the ladies had the corn soup which was really loved by everyone

I had the veal breast with mustard.  It was good but something the breading on the breast was a little thick.  

I had the duck breast with ginger crusted carrot and bonito sweet potato.

Most of everyone else had the beef with onions, mushrooms, and cauliflower

Next was an array of desserts. Berries and cream, Fig and pana cotta, Chocolate parfait, and whiskey sorbet with meringue

I couldn't upload the video of the irish coffee because the file was too big so I'll have to resort to a picture

For the Irish coffee they started off by caramelize the sugar table side in a pan and then flambé it.  They let it reduce a bit and then add the coffee.   He cooked it for another minute or two and then poured it in the glass.  The cream is a whole technique in itself. The cream can't be too thick and shouldn't leak into the coffee.  You have to have a spoon in the middle of the glass to catch the cream as you pour it.  The whole process took about 7 minutes or so for him to make it.  But I tell you I would go back just for that.  Awesome lunch.  I would highly recommend it.

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San Miguel de Allende Restaurants

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San Miguel de Allende Restaurants

Well keeping with the theme of the Top Chefs Finale in San Miguel de Allende I thought maybe I would share some of our favorite restaurants we ate at a little over a year ago.  San Miguel is an absolutely beautiful part of Mexico nestled in between farm country and the mountains.  I wished we would of taking more pictures of all the places we ate at but this was our first trip out of the country with our son.  So it wasn't at the top of our list.  We were more concentrated on actually eating without him crying through the meal.  Anyways here was a few of our favorites.  Moxi is probably our number one choice who's chef owner was actually one of the judges on last nights episode of Top Chef.  We actually ate here twice in one week.  The first time we ordered only three or four courses.  The second time we ordered their 7 course tasting.  It was delicious and chef Enrique Olvera is one of Mexico's most revered chefs and his restaurant pujol is on the top 50 list in the world.  Right behind that restaurant I would have to put Calenda Restaurant in Hotel Nena which might actually be closed which would be a sad thing if its true.  The hotel is not closed but the restaurant might have changed.  This place was awesome and the chef, Matteo Salis, was really talented used a lot of modern techniques and the food was delicious.  We ate here twice as well.  I think he might of moved on to Aperi   Next we had a great meal at the beautiful Rosewood property 1826  Wonderful food with even a better setting.  Literally right around the corner from Hotel Nena.  For pastries we had to try Petit Four which has great variety in their offerings although it is more french than mexican.  For churros you can't go to san miguel and not try San Agustin trio of churros.  One of the best ice creams I have ever was in the city square with a guy selling it from his cart.  Absolutely awesome.  We had Italian at Francescos which was great but service is a bit slow but that kind of is the case everywhere.  We tried an Argentinian restaurant that was good and few others that slip my mind at the moment.  One place we ate at on our last day didn't even have a name you just had to know where it was and we had a local take us out there.  All I know is the bread there is amazing every place I went we had different kinds of bread.  One restaurant which I think was called the restaurant  serve us 3 different rolls red wine, herb, and cricket.  Yes ground up crickets.  It was delicious but my wife wouldn't try it.  There is literally a place to eat on every corner.  Prices are very reasonable even at the high end restaurants.  I would love to go back to San miguel de allende, a gorgeous city in a beautfiul part of the country, completely safe, and absolutely great food.  The city is filled with boutique hotels and restaurants.  It is a melting pot for artists and chefs.  If you ever get the chance to visit san miguel de allende I would highly recommend it and who knows maybe you will run into a top chef.


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The Latymer (England)

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The Latymer (England)

Continuing my restaurant "reviews" and taking a little break from my recipe files.  Here is a restaurant, The Latymer, that holds two michelin stars and the only thing I can think of that is holding it back from three would maybe be the dining room. We thought it is a bit stuffy, or least that was our first impression, stuffy might not be the right word.  The dining room is beautiful, romantic, and uniquely British; but it had that English formality to it which I'm not say is bad. Maybe it was because the night we went the dining room wasn't completely full yet and it was probably because we made early reservations. Stuffy is not the word to describe the dining room, I think the word is dark. Dark tones on the wood and decor and don't remember being any windows in the dining room.  Really that is probably the only downfall if any I could see to the whole experience . The hotel, The Penny HIll, is a beautiful spa resort secluded in a gorgeous part of the town, Surrey.  We planned our trip on dinning after we went and toured Windsor castle since it wasn't too far from there (maybe 20 minutes drive).  We are sure glad we did.  Chef Michael Wignall is one of the Europe's best chef's in my opinion.  Very talented and constantly on the fore fronts of modern cuisine.  His food is technical and precise, definitely worthy of 3 stars. I know that he is very revered and respected in a heavily competitive U.K./Europe market.  Lots of very talented British Chef's, again I am a huge fan of chef Michael Wignall, one chef that I would have loved to work under if I could turn back the hands of time.  Next best thing is cookbook, which I hope comes out soon (I don't know if he is even working on one but I can hope).  Another night of dining with just my wife and we had the full tasting, although this time my wife decided to do the vegetarian because she was pregnant at the time and didn't want raw meats.  The meal was absolutely awesome and would love to go back if ever the chance.  I think between the two of us we had close to 20 dishes so this is going to have lots of photos.

The first thing they dropped off was and amouse of the most perfect chicken mousse I have ever had in my life.  It was perfect because it didn't taste like chicken liver(not the biggest fan) and had a little sweet jelly on top.  Absolutely Delicious, light as a cloud. I loved it! They served it with some vegetable chips

Next we both got a carrot and beet dishes with wilted lettuce.  Again the theme of the night was delicious.

Next they dropped off the bread service which was perfect and knowing us we never leave any bread left.

Next my wife had a vegetable ravioli ( I think sunchoke) with chantreles and onions

I had the duck relouade with fried duck tongue and pastrami.  I was happy!

Next my wife had a really playful dish I think they called a Mediterranean salad.  A modern interpretation if you will.  Excellent I really liked this dish.  Thought it was really smart.  He made a thin sheet of red pepper jelly that melted in your mouth when you ate it.  Olive spheres, with feta, and olive crumbs; really a tasty dish.

I had a bass with root vegetables topped with truffle that was really fantastic.

Next my wife had a dish of Onions served multiple ways.  It was good but she's not overly crazy about onions.  I liked it.

Next we both got the mushroom dish with cepes and cous cous.  Good but probably one of the weaker dishes of the evening.

Next was lamb 3 ways with squash puree.

My wife had a delicious squash dish

Both came with sides that were perfect

Next was the cheese course, Blue with, cheese cracker, and shaved local cheese. I remember it being good.

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Next was a modern take on apple and caramel. if you may. Green apple sorbet, caramelized apples, caramel sauce, praline, and a warm doughnut. 

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My wife got the peach dessert with sponge cake and different textures and I had an awesome pistachio and raspberry dessert.  The pistachio cake I can still taste how moist and delicious it was.

great end to a meal and they finished off with little treats at the end which we didn't capture.  Huge fan and would love to go back.

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Jean George Restaurant

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Jean George Restaurant

Jean George is a name that has been around for a long time.  Here I visited his flagship restaurant that holds 3 Michelin stars in the trump towers in NYC.  Great location, beautiful dining room and kitchen,  the food was great too.  Really an overall great dining experience.  What's great is really all of the 3 stars michelin restaurants in NYC that I have noticed really do deliver a difference.  Yes they all offer great meals with great service but they each have their own identity as well. That's something they all work on very hard and to remain cutting edge at the same times is a constant battle.  We did there tasting menu which was great.  Nothing that was over the top but everything was just really well executed.  My boss absolutely loved how the flavors lingered in her mouth.  She really enjoyed the meal.  Here's what we had

The first amouse was kale with wasabi

I enjoyed it

Next was a tempura celery root with spicy aioli.  Very tasty.

The first course was a refreshing mint "soup"  Really refreshing and delicious

Next I had foie gras with granola and cranberries. Sorry but forgot to take a picture before I started eating it.

Next we had a delicious hamachi with avocado mouse, soy gel and radish

Next we had corn ravioli with pesto and tomatoes.  Simple and divine.

Next we had poached halibut with mushrooms and leeks

We also had the black bass with nuts and seeds with sweet and sour sauce.  Good but to be honest not my favorite of the night.

For the meat course I had lamb and my boss had the classic Parmesan chicken which she absolutely loved.

Intermezzo's were really fun sorbets on little cookie shells

Last but not least was dessert.  I have to say it just okay for me.  It was a sponge cake with balsamic, berries, cream with basil, beignets, sorbet.  Lots of different things going on, it wasn't bad but it wasn't memorable.

Overall a great meal and would definitely recommend this to anyone headed to NYC. 







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Le Chambard Restaurant (France)

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Le Chambard Restaurant (France)

It has been a few years but we had dinner at Chambard in Alsace France.  Beautiful part of the country in one of their many wine areas near the German border.  Just like everything in France food is local, very fresh, and full of flavor.  We took out my parents on this occasion and it was nice to have them along.  Fine dining is a luxury and not many people can afford it or want to pay it even if they have it.  My parents are ones that tend not to spend a ton on just a meal.  But the french (and others) will spend money on good food.  This is a 2 star michelin restaurant that was only about 15 minutes from where we were staying in Orbey France.  I think the restaurant has had a renovation and change their format for the tasting menu.  When we were there they only had one menu and that's what you got.  Luckily for us it was dishes that were could eat and really enjoyed.  If I'm ever back in this part of the country definitely would like to try this restaurant out again.  We had four courses.

They started us out with an amouse of oyster leaf with cream and fingerlimes

That was the first time trying oyster leaf and it was very unique.  We all enjoyed the amouse.

Next was a beet dish with a mushroom like soup that had bits of foie gras.  It was a really delicious course

Next we had a bass dish with radish and reduction sauce.  Also was another good dish.

Of course the bread and butter were flawless.

Next we had a whole roasted local chicken that was presented to us first and then served.

Next we had two dessert chocolate fondant and a frozen pear and foam dessert.  Both were perfect.

And if that wasn't enough they rolled out the mignardise cart which I have never seen any restaurant with this many options at the end of the meal.  They let us have as many as we wanted.

Great end to a great night.  I think I tried half of the things on the cart.  All I can say is lots of work for the pastry staff.  And we thank them for it.  If you ever in the Alsace region of France make it a point to stop off in Kayserberg for great food at Chambard.

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Eleven Madison Park

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Eleven Madison Park

Well this was one stop that I was really looking forward to.  Eleven Madison park is ranked number 5 in the worlds best restaurants according to Pellegrino.  I will say as hard is that is to live up to I think they nailed it.  Their service is impeccable, from the moment we walked in the door they new our name and made us feel at home.  I think one of the best services I have ever experienced.  The food was right there as well.  You figure when you have 14-16 courses there will be some great dishes, and some very light and subtle dishes.  Definitely a destination, special occasion restaurant because it is not a cheap meal, but worth it for the people that appreciate this type of meal.  Dinner is roughly 3-4 hours, but doesn't really skip a beat.  You don't really realize until maybe the very end because for us it was very late and we were tired and really full.  Again from the moment you walk in they make you leave everything at the door and your in their hands for the next few hours.  The attention to detail on every level is amazing and that is why they have 3 michelin stars and one of the best in the world.  Chef Daniel Humm is a chef that has really put it all together.  His cookbook is a must in my opinion for every modern chef.  It has a great mix of old and new.  His combinations I think are not only inventive but sound.  The meal starts off with drinks if you so choose.  I think we got two cocktails and sat at our table. There are no menus and you tell them before the meal starts of an allergies or things you don't want to eat.  Then they drop off this little punch out with their logo on it and four flavors.  They said to pick one flavor that you like and they will have a few dishes revolve around the flavor you picked.  After that the meal starts.  I apologize for the poor pictures but it was dark, lighting is low and just couldn't get great pictures for some reason. 

First course they drop of a little box

Savory Black and white cookies.  Cheddar with apple.  Really cool and great

Next we had pear gelee, with walnuts and celery root

Then we had Horseradish with apple snow and water chestnuts

Next was beef dishes in two segments first was an amazing beef tartar with smoked marrow

On the outside was the marrow cream and you dig in and the tartar was inside.  Really cool and delicious.

Next was probably the best pastrami I have ever had in my life.  It was melt in the mouth.  They went to every deli in NYC to try the best pastrami and then talked to the chefs to recreate theirs.  I think they cure it sous vide it, then smoked it.  It was so tender and just delicious.  They served it with rye, mustard gel, black garlic and pickles.  Awesome course wish I had more of the beef but this is only 4 courses in.

Served with a bottle of home made soda pop

Next I had foie gras with sunchokes and hazelnut

My wife had sunchoke with pear, buttermilk and truffle. She loved it.

This is about the time they brought the bread.  They only make one type of bread and its all they need to make.  This was the downfall of our night.  You see my wife and I love bread and we are not scared to eat it. The bread "rolls" they brought we a cross between a croissant and brioche dough.  It was seriously one of the best pieces of bread I have ever had.  They served it with duck butter and regular butter.  I can honestly say I think we both had 5 of them each.  We were a little embarrassed and I say a little because they kept asking if we wanted more and we asked if we could have more.  After 3 I think we slowed down a bit but in between courses its a great snack.  I said this was the downfall because we were so full by the last course or two and if we wouldn't of had so much bread I think we wouldn't have been uncomfortably full.

Next they rolled out a table side waldorf.  They had this antique shredder that the waiter made right in front of us.  The dish was so simple with apple, celery, cranberries, walnut and blue cheese but it was delicious. 

The dish was served on a wooden plate/bowl.  After you ate the waldorf salad, they lifted the plate off of the bowl and underneath was a little yogurt and granola

Next we had Black bass, raw and seared with black radish, daikon, and sesame

Another great round of dishes.  Next was one of the best dishes of the night for me.  Simple in idea.  Celery root and black truffle.  But the flavors and textures were amazing.

underneath the celery puree was an intense black truffle surprise.  Awesome dish!

Next was their signature Roasted Duck with lavender and honey.  Served with rutabaga.  They also serve a consomme and an extremely rich duck leg, mashed potato and reduction sauce.  So rich and flavorful.

not shown is the duck leg and potato puree

After all these courses you need to take a break and have a picnic. Literally

They gave you home made beer, pretzel, onion, and dried fruit.  The plates even looked like paper plates. A really playful course.

The next course was sweet potato curd, with espresso meringue, and orange sorbet

Then another show stopper the baked alaska

Then they gave us a bottle of scotch and chocolate covered pretzels and said we could stay as long as we like. 

at this point we were about done, they gave us another box filled with the black and white cookies except this time they were sweet and not savory.  They gave us a bag with the menus and two of the best jars of granola you have ever had.  Definitely would love to go back but bring your wallet.  Hope you enjoyed as much as we did.

 

 

 

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The Elm Restaurant

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The Elm Restaurant

Continuing with my restaurant experiences and taking a short break on the recipes for now.  My family and I took a trip a few months back to New York City and ate around town.  I also went back even more recently and ate a few more Michelin restaurants.  In the last two trips I've had the opportunity to eat at 4 out of the 6 3 star Michelin restaurants in NYC amongst a few others.  The elm is located in Brooklyn and is where chef Paul Liebrandt works.  I was really interested in trying his food since he has been on the scene for a long time.  I think he was one of the youngest guys to receive 2 stars when he was 24 years old.  Some might say a bit controversial but I am not going to comment on any of those things that I don't have first hand knowledge about.  I was there to try his newest endeavor The Elm .  At the time we had our 1 year old son with us and we took to an early dinner that night.  I don't know if we took pictures of every little thing but I again I'm not here to critique but simply share.  The night started off with an amouse of miso financier with black garlic and it was delicious.  No picture on that one. 

The next course my wife had the "fish and chips" with black lime and root vegetable chips.   It was delicious as well

I had the foie gras torchorn with mushrooms and green apple

Next we had one of the best short rib dishes I have ever had.  I think they sous vide it for 48 hours and then smoked it and then seared and glazed it.  It was very flavorful and memorable.  It was served with smoked carrots and potatoes fondant. 

I had the duck with endive and turnips.  It was also very good

My son by this point was starting to get a little tired so we just ordered one dessert to share.  It was a lemon tart with avocado and coconut sorbet.  Fantastic end to the meal and the avocado was a interesting surprise.

Would definitely recommend the restaurant if you are in Brooklyn.  Also the hotel is a very nice boutique hotel that would be a great place to stay as well.  Hope you enjoyed!

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Patrick Guilbaud Restaurant

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Patrick Guilbaud Restaurant

I want to start doing a few restaurant reviews, since it seems that's what everyone does these days.  I will use the word review very lightly because I am no reviewer but more of a sharing platform than a review.  Reviews to me are just like anything; it all depends on who you ask? on what night they went? who their server was? What they ordered? Etc..  So many opinions and not enough specifics.  It used to be like going to the movie rental store (Blockbuster) and asking the person if the new release was good or not.  They might not have the same taste, likes, dislikes, so your going to get an answer that could be the further from what you were looking to watch or like.  So I'm not going to review restaurants in this section, I'm just going to share some of our experiences.  And I can say that 9 times out of 10 they have all been well worth the trip.  

My family recently went to Ireland for a few weeks and I scoped out some Michelin Starred restaurants I wanted to eat at before I left.  Here is the first one we ate.  Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud which holds 2 stars from Michelin.  We had an absolutely wonder multi course lunch, we had our little 1 1/2 year old with us who they accommodated like one of their own.  Here is the lunch

The amouse started off with a parmesan pana cotta with a parmesan chip with a bit of aged balsamic and micro basil

Great little starter to lunch, which is all an amouse should be

Next I had the Seared Foie with miso ice cream, and Peanut Brittle.  Don't need to say it was awesome but I will.  It was awesome! The foie was very different then Hudson valley foie or even sonoma for that matter.  That was one of the big difference I noticed immediately, Very different texture in the Foie Gras.  It was delicious.

My Wife had a perfectly cooked salmon with a passion fruit sauce with soy beans and sprouts.  She loved it.

The next course for me was sole stuffed with foie gras with gnocchi, celery, and hazelnut.  Again a very good dish.  The gnocchi were like to little pillows. 

My wife had a perfectly cooked halibut with red curry and english peas.  Again another great dish that we destroyed.

On to the meat courses.  I had squab with asparagus, sunflower seeds, and roasted shallot puree. 

My wife had beef with olive crumble, avocado puree and roasted tomato.  Each were served with a side of fluffy mashed potatoes.

Then we had our pre-dessert which was some sort of coffee and cream take.  It was light, crunchy, sweet, salty, and with strong flavor of coffee which I normally don't like but this was absolutely devine.

For dessert my wife went for chocolate torte which was not only beautiful but perfectly delicate with a thin wafer and silky chocolate filling

I had the strawberry's and cream dessert which was absolutely fantastic.  Loved the meringue tube with parfait, macerated strawberries with buttermilk ice cream.  Loved it!

and what would the dinner be without our petite fours or mignardies  Pate fruit, Cannales, Licorice Macaron, Financier, Cake ball, and tartlet

Mr. Guilbaud actually came to our table and said that were giving our son the best experience by taking him there we really appreciated them accommodating us even though we were an hour late.  Dublin isn't the easiest cities to get around in especially with all of their construction downtown.  They showed us their new cookbook and their kitchen and then we were on our way.  I highly recommend Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud if you are ever in Dublin.  Well deserving of the 2 stars they hold and not to mention a gorgeous dinning room.  Hope you enjoyed!

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