Studio at the Standard 2nd Visit — Copenhagen (2/2016)

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I was looking forward to returning to Studio.  Not only did I find the food interesting last summer, but I wanted to see what premium pour wines they would have that I might be interested to try this time.  They seated me at the exact same spot at the counter where I had sat in June, so I had a nice view of the kitchen and dish preparation area.  I showed up a little early, but they were happy to seat me.

Upon seating, they offered some champagne, either complimentary or with a charge, depending upon the label you select.  Since I was going to focus on wine, I skipped the champagne this time and went for a non-alcoholic opener – hay lemonade.  This went well with the opening snacks that started to arrive soon after my drink was served.

The first presentation was a cold gooseberry broth with pine to cleanse and awaken the palate. This also started off my experience in June.

The next snack was a sandwich of fried shredded potatoes with cod roe. This was seasoned with salt and vinegar and included fried leeks.  When served in June, they used potato chips to make the sandwich.

For the full write-up, click here.

Relae 3rd Visit — Copenhagen (2/2016)

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I wasn’t sure what a wintertime visit to Copenhagen would be like on the food front.  But I was betting it still had to be really good.  Relӕ was my first stop on my visit.  My prior visits had been in the summer and fall.  I again went with the longer, 7-course menu.

Even before I had made my menu choice, they came out with this warm bite.  It was a buckwheat pancake filled with pistachio cream and fresh herbs.  It was a nice savory start to the meal.

For the wine choice, they offered a nice Austrian wine, made with the fruit of old vines in a national park.  They also soon served warm sourdough bread and olive oil after serving the wine.

For the full write-up, click here.

Kitchen Table 12th Visit — London (2/2016)

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Even in mid-winter, I can never predict what will appear on the ingredients list at Kitchen Table.  With the reliance on what’s good from the local purveyors, plus what might have been harvested or preserved from their farm, different ingredients may show up in the dishes for the evening.

We started off with the first bite featuring golden and purple beet root both cooked, with marigold apple, bergamot granita, and wild fennel pollen.  This was earthy but light and tasty.

Next up was the familiar potato starch crisp with smoked salmon, brown sugar and chives.  It was a nice way to ratchet up the flavor and texture intensity from the first dish.

Next up was the signature crispy chicken skin with rosemary mascarpone and bacon jam.

For this course, the Parker House roll was accompanied by salted and smoked cod roe whipped brown butter and lemon zest.

For the full write-up, click here.

42 grams 7th Visit — Chicago (1/2016)

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One of the times I like to come back to 42 grams is just after they take some time off.  I’m just interested to see what Chef Jake comes up with to start off the year and the new season’s menu.  I had time to go wine shopping before dinner, so I picked out another Meursault, a Roulot this time, which I don’t usually have access to.  But this one was from a recently-purchased vineyard in the village and not the main Roulot acreage.  But they finished and bottled the wine under the Roulot name.

The first snack was the same as in the fall, where we were introduced to African snail caviar.  It has a cucumber taste, so the other ingredients play off that, including lacto-fermented and charred Korean cucumber (for a little tartness and flavor enhancement), viola flowers, avocado and buckwheat blinis.

The next course featured several new ingredients for the restaurant.  The bottom had a kombucha (fermented) tea made into a gel form.  This was topped by diced carabinero (Spanish scarlet prawn), citrus caviar (finger limes), prawn froth, and crispy rice noodles seasoned with phytoplankton.  This was intensely good and well-balanced, with bright flavors and lots of texture variations. Bright, sharp flavors perfectly complemented the savory shrimp flavor, nicely enhanced by the foam.

For the full write-up, click here.

Morimoto 2nd Visit — Maui (1/2016)

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A quick visit to Maui gave me a chance to test out whether Morimoto would indeed prepare me a different Omakase menu upon my return.  It was actually my choice, so I made sure they knew I wanted to give me a different lineup and that I was selecting the upgraded menu.

They didn’t have a Meursault as a special reserve pour this time (only a bottle), so I went with the Puligny-Montrachet.

With the upgraded menu, you receive an amuse bouche.  For this visit, it was crab wrapped with local mango, citrus slices, chili oil and some shiso leaves.  It had a nice crab flavor.

Next up was the same modernist presentation of sashimi.  Last time, it was otoro (tuna belly).  This time it was hamachi (collar and loin of the yellowtail).  The sauces/accoutrements were the same:  nori paste, wasabi, sour cream, guacamole, Maui onion and rice crackers. In the cup was a bit of soy sauce dashi, and to the left of it was a small Japanese fruit called a yamamomo (red bayberry) to have afterwards as a palate refresher.

The next course was scallop carpaccio, served slightly warmed by the hot oil in a ginger garlic yuzu sauce.  On top were some sliced kabocha and mushrooms.  This was sealed with hot olive and sesame oil.

For the full write-up, click here.

momofuku ko 8th Visit — New York City (1/2016)

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This marked the one year anniversary of when I started coming to the new location.  There’s not much more I need to say by way of introduction given how often I visit except that I still write it up because there are differences that come up.  For example, this was the first time that they provided all the small bite snacks on one plate at one time.

I started out the meal with a glass of Champagne.

I have had most of the snacks served on this first plate.  Lobster salad roll with mint sabayon, pomme soufflé with caramelized onion, rye millefeuille with trout roe and matcha powder, potato waffle with caviar and tarragon. Everything had a crispness to it to open up the meal.

Next up was the madai (Japanese sea bream) tartare with fish consommé gel, finger limes and shiso.

I then was served the Hokkaido uni with fermented chickpea hozon, olive oil and lemon.

The sawarazushi with Spanish mackerel was served this time with an accompaniment of mackerel bone broth. The flavors were nice as usual and it was also good to have something on the warm side at this point.

For the full write-up, click here.

Eleven Madison Park — New York City (1/2016)

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I hadn’t been to Eleven Madison Park for several years. I missed a couple of iterations, so I wanted to give it another try. The restaurant is still in the same beautiful Art Deco room. It’s very easy to get to via subway. Reservations can be difficult to get, but I had American Express help me out to secure a spot. It currently holds 3 Michelin stars.

As soon as I sat down, I was asked about champagne or cocktails. I passed on both. They did have a roving cart to make various types of Manhattans. That was an indicator of the theme of the meal – New York. I was also soon presented with a box holding a classic‐looking black and white cookie. This was savory though, with apples and cheddar cheese.

For the full write-up, click here.