Atera 4th Visit — New York City (1/2017)


A restaurant I had planned to dine at for the first time cancelled my reservation a day in advance due to unforeseen circumstances.  I managed to secure a last-minute reservation at Atera.  It had been about 18 months since my last visit.  It was a Saturday night, so I was a little surprised that a spot was available for the early seating.  But it was there on, so I took it.  Once I booked it, I was committed, since they have a 48-hour cancellation policy.

I was seated soon after arriving.  It looked like there were a few staff changes, but also some familiar faces.  They did remember that I had been there before.  I had a side seat this time (despite what they said about solo diner placement the last time). We started with a hot towel to freshen up.

The wine list by the glass seemed longer than the last time.  They also offered both a standard pairing and premium pairing (but no explicit premium by the glass offerings).  I went with a glass of the Puligny-Montrachet (from a magnum), which was premium enough.

We started the menu off with a beverage of lime snow and warm juniper foam.

Fermented mushrooms and burgundy truffle were served on a crispy waffle as the next small bite.

For the full write-up, click here.



Teisui 2nd Visit — New York City (10/2016)


A week-long work trip provided ample opportunity to pay a second visit to Teisui.  My first visit was in early spring, so I wanted to see what they would do with the seasonal ingredients of the fall.   It was easy to secure a mid-week reservation via OpenTable.  Also, the late hour I had selected for dining  meant a quiet evening at the restaurant, as there were only a few other guests dining when I arrived.

In general, the primary ingredients for the courses were very similar to what I had in the spring.  There were some changes to the supporting ingredients, as well as a few totally different presentations.

The amuse bouche was totally different than the prior visit.  It was a fried chicken sandwich with a very light bread, served with some sweet sake on the side.  The garnishes included daikon radish, carrot and homemade mayonnaise, and Japanese pickle.  And to start off, my opening drink was a sparkling matcha beverage.

The first presentation from the menu featured a little liquid nitrogen volcano carrying a green tea aroma.  With that, there was a selection of several small appetizers:  Hokkaido uni served with junsai (a vegetable also called water shield) and a little wasabi, Hamachi sashimi with ponzu, Matsukaze paté and water octopus with sumiso (Japanese mustard, vinegar and miso).  This had a nice variety of textures.

For the full write-up, click here.

Gunther Seeger — New York City (9/2016)


This new restaurant is named for the chef. Friends had recommended that I try the place out, as the quality of the ingredients and flavors seemed high, with the tasting menu taking advantage of what the daily markets had to offer. The restaurant was bookable on, and it was relatively easy for me to reserve a Saturday night slot in advance.

The wines-by-glass were all a little younger than I wanted. The bottle menu was pretty extensive.

One whole side was devoted to German wine. So, I asked if they offered pairings, if it was possible to find out the offerings, and perhaps order a glass from the pairings instead. They said they only offer them in the context of having the pairings and there were no white Burgundies on the list anyway (which I had asked). I settled for the young white Burgundy after that since there was no further inquiry about what offerings may suit my tastes.

The menu is a set tasting menu. There were no unlisted courses.

The evening started with a Kabocha squash soup. Suspended with the spoon was a piece of pickled squash with Sicilian pistachios as garnish.

The salad course featured buttered lettuce with a Sauvignon Blanc emulsion and Parmesan sauce, topped with chives and grated Parmesan. This was served with a slice of brioche bread. The salad was pretty plain-tasting. I had wished the brioche was toasted to give some nice texture contrast (it was not even served warm).

For the full write-up, click here.  Note that since this visit, Gunther Seeger received a Michelin star.

Blue Hill — New York City (9/2016)


I hadn’t heard of Blue Hill before.  Chef Dan Barber was the subject of the second episode of the Chef’s table documentary series on Netflix.  I became intrigued about the beginnings of the farm-to-table movement and how this was trying to work at Blue Hill.  Though the episode was already a couple of years old, it was still a little tough getting a reservation on a weekend.  I did manage to book a late evening table on a Friday night via  Blue Hill has one Michelin star.

They offer three choices for food options.  There is the regular tasting menu of the listed items (on the left), an extended menu with additional unlisted items, and a 4+ course menu with selections to choose from for three of the courses.  I chose the extended Farmer’s Feast option for maximum sampling.

The wine list was nicely arranged with a wide selection of wine with many French wine choices.  They had a white Burgundy by the glass, which was my selection.  The bottles of white were sub-categorized by characteristics.  There were several Mersaults with quite a range of prices.

The first bite was a whole habanero pepper.  It was special in that it was bred not to be spicy hot to let the true flavor come though.  There were no seeds inside and only a hint of spiciness when tasting the part closest to the stem.

The next plate was a plate painted with a vinaigrette to use a kind of flavoring to go with the fresh summer vegetables.

The next small bite was a tomato and corn tart.  This was followed by a grilled fruit that looked like a fig, but wasn’t called that.

For the full write-up, click here.

momofuku ko 14th Visit — New York City (9/2016)


I wasn’t sure what to expect from my late-summer visit.  I did know that they had been closed and on vacation and that this was going to be their first weekend back after the time off.  I already saw some different things as soon as I sat down (large round eggplants on the grill).

After looking over the wine list, I decided to go with some Champagne that looked particularly nice.

We started off with the very familiar pommes soufflé.  This time, they were filled with herbed crème fraiche and dusted with green garlic powder.  The lobster roll that came after was the same as before – made with Thai basil and mint sabayon.

Next up was the always-good chicken oyster with white kimchi granita. This was followed by black bass tartare with fish consommé gel, shiso, finger chilies and finger limes for light flavors and nice texture changes.

The next presentation was the Hokkaido uni with chickpea purée, chickpea hozon and Sicilian olive oil.

For the full write-up, click here.

Momofuku ko 11th Visit — New York City (7/2016)


My last visit was in the late spring, so I was looking forward to the mid-summer menu experience.  I know they were still experimenting with changes, and with more choices to choose from during the summer as far as ingredients go, I was anticipating having some really nice food.

The wine list had a new white listed.  It was a three-year-old white Burgundy from Mâcon. Having just returned from France, I knew the wine was from the area just south of where I had toured.  Because of that familiarity, I decided it would be worth a try.  I ended up liking it, preferring it to a lot of Chablis wines that I have tried.

The snacks that started off the evening had a familiar look.  The pomme soufflés were filled with herb ricotta and grilled spring onion powder this time and very tasty.  The lobster roll with Thai basil and mint sabayon was the same.

The chicken oyster with kimchi granita shooter was also the same as the prior visit and just as good.

For the full write-up, click here.

Momofuku nishi 3rd visit — New York City (7/2016)


This visit to nishi was again on a Sunday evening.  As expected, there were changes to the menu.  And Chef Josh was again in charge of figuring out to eat.  This was also different in that I dined with a friend this time.  This meant there was actually more food to have, or at least it seemed so, even though we didn’t have either of the larger dishes.

We both went with the French Chardonnay for wine with the meal.

We started with a little bite:  caramelized chicken kara-age with some Thai chili flakes for slight spiciness.  This was a very tasty start to dinner. The breading was gluten-free, made with potato and rice flour.

Next up was a dish that wasn’t on the menu yet since it was new.  The chilled soba noodles were in a dashi broth with uni, scallions and rye bonji (a David Chang liquid seasoning).  This had nice flavor and textures.

For the full write-up, click here.