42 grams (formerly Sous Rising) — Chicago (1/2014)


42 grams is the newly-opened brick and mortar version of Sous Rising.  As soon as they announced when they would be opening, I worked in a trip to Chicago so I could see the new place.  I did not plan it to be their very first meal in the new establishment, but given the weather happenings of that past week and other things, I was part of the first eight to dine at the new restaurant.  They plan for two seatings, and I had signed up for the later one at 8:30, which is the one they ended up having anyway.

The restaurant is actually just downstairs from where they used to serve.  The opening configuration looks very nice – homey and welcoming.  In addition to a large dining table, there is a counter for the second seating overlooking the kitchen area.

 As tradition goes, the centerpiece provides the opening crispy snacks.  At the counter, each pair of seats had a presentation.  The snacks included Vidalia onion paper, flax seed puffed chip dusted with kale and togarashi, and salmon skin fried and dusted with potato powder (like fish and chips).

For the full write-up, click here.

Rogue 24 — Washington DC (1/2014)


I came upon this restaurant by accident.  In the past, when I have searched for molecular cuisine restaurants in DC, only minibarDC came up.  I had not visited DC in a while, but I did not do a search.  Instead, I was looking through OpenTable.com for a restaurant to reserve for a planned dinner with some friends.  While I was scrolling through the choices, the Rogue24 listing caught my attention.  There were no reviews, the price was listed at a $$$$ rating, and the tagline seemed to indicate some innovative preparation techniques.  When I checked out the website, it sounded exactly like a place I would need to try.  They serve either a 4-, 16, or 24-course menu.  There were no sample menus on the website, just pictures of some of the food.  Unlike many restaurants of this type, there were no specific sittings – you reserved a time slot like any other restaurant.  During one of the coldest weeks ever in DC, it was easy to get a reservation.

The restaurant is located halfway up a “historic” alley near the Washington Convention Center.  It was only a 5-minute walk from the nearest Metro stop.

For the full write-up, click here.

View 62 — Hong Kong (12/2013)


I had not looked before for a molecular cuisine restaurant in Hong Kong.  I had not visited Hong Kong for a couple of years and that was before I really started to seek out these types of restaurants.  So, with a trip planned, I ran a search, and a couple of places showed up.  View 62 was one, and I secured a reservation.  The chef, Paco Roncero, is from Spain and earned two Michelin stars for innovative cuisine at a restaurant in Madrid.  I set my expectations high.

The restaurant is located on a high floor (62) in a building called the Hopewell Center in central Hong Kong.  It is the city’s only revolving restaurant, taking about two hours to make one complete revolution.  From the street, you have to take an escalator up to the third floor and then take an elevator to the 56th floor.  From there, you are greeted and your reservation checked before they escort you up to the 62nd floor and directly to your table.

One is immediately stunned by the view, if you are pointed in the right direction.  I was there on a very clear night.  There is always a light show with Hong Kong buildings, but they were especially dressed up for the Christmas season.

The dining room itself is pretty simple, except it is a ring and the floor moves.  The ceiling, with thousands of rounded pegs embedded in it, and the lights do not move.  But the table lighting remained pretty consistent throughout the revolution.

For the full write-up, click here.

Recette — New York City (12/2013)


When I go back to a city, I will re-run searches to see if anything new shows up in line with my dining interests.  When I ran a recent search on New York, the restaurant Recette came up.  I looked at their menu, which listed several small plates that they offer as their dining options.  I could make reservations via Opentable.com, so I set the meal up for my Saturday night in New York.

The restaurant is prominently located on a corner in an area which seems a little more residential than commercial.  There were about 20 tables or so packed into single medium-sized room with a casual atmosphere.

 I ordered a glass of the German Riesling, which they let me taste before pouring my glass.  It was the right balance of dry and sweet, so it was a good choice for me.

I liked that they had a choice on the tasting menu length that could be selected.  Of course, I went with the 10-course selection.  But since everything is in small-plate format, you could just pick a few courses a la carte and be set with that.

For the full write-up. click here.

JungSik — New York City (12/2013)


I ran across the website for JungSik when I was researching restaurants for an upcoming return trip to Seoul.  The original JungSik restaurant (called Jung Sik Dang in Seoul) came up as a result. Within the same website, there was mention of a sister restaurant in TriBeCa.  Since I had plans to be in New York, I checked out trying to get reservations at the TriBeCa location.  It turned out they are on OpenTable.com and it was pretty easy to get a weeknight reservation.  The menus between the restaurants looked to be the same, so I thought it would be a good strategy to try the Tribeca branch and leave myself more options for Seoul.

When I booked the restaurant, I did not know that JungSik in NY was recently awarded two stars by Michelin.  It is located in a relatively quiet part of TriBeCa not far from the Franklin St. subway station.

The dining room is very nice, with modern and formal touches.  There is a smaller dining area attached to the main one.

For the full write-up, click here.