Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Last Supper...(at 5 Ninth)

5 Ninth
5 9th Ave
New York, NY 10014
(212) 929-9460

This was the only restaurant that had availability for reservations on a Friday night, and you would think that raised a red flag. Unfortunately, it didn't. The service was impersonal and the food for the most part, was lousy. Initially, the service was fine...until I was forced into ordering a rose champagne that I didn't even want!

The appetizers were good, but then again, who goes wrong with hummus and pita bread? The oysters could've been bigger too. We felt completely cheated when we saw two raw oysters the size of a quarter. Our third appetizer, "Pig's Tail" was interesting. I've never had pig's tail before so I couldn't make any comparisons, but it tasted like regular pork so no surprises nor complaints there.
There were mixed feelings about the entrees, the pork shank and strip steak were appetizing, but we couldn't say the same for the other entrees that my cousins ordered. The sea bass was gamy, bland, and uninspiring. The haddock entree was way too small to be called an "entree" and furthermore, a chunk of fish meat was undercooked. Regrettably, this was only the tip of the iceberg until we found out that the chicken was undercooked, too! Undercooked fish? Fine, we can overlook that as sashimi (actually, not really...), but undercooked chicken?! We're looking to have a happy stomach, not an upset one! Shocked, we called our waiter over, who then gave us a lame apology, followed by the most ridiculous question, "Would you like something else? Perhaps a burger?" Er, no...we did not come here for burger. That's what Shake Shack is for! In the end, we spent a couple of Benjamins w/ no discounts whatsoever off the chicken entree. I guess they never took Marketing 101 on "How to Retain Customers".
5 ninth needs to work on their menu as the choices on it were pretty limited. We had eight people and everyone ended up getting similar entrees! It's too bad the food wasn't up to par because the place itself was cute, romantic, and cozy!

Overall: 2/5

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Spot Dessert Bar

13 St. Mark's Pl
Manhattan, NY 10003
(212) 677-5670

Not a bad place to relax and catch up. While there were a good variety of desserts to choose from, my friend and I settled on the 'seasonal dessert tapas' - where we chose three desserts to share. We ordered the soft cheesecake, white miso semifreddo, and chocolate marquis. Don't be fooled by the word 'tapas', the portions were generous! The simplicity and serenity of the restaurant makes it a good spot for a date and a fun place to hang out.

The Soft Cheesecake was unconventionally presented, but I loved it! The cup thing didn't last long, though. We ended up pouring the entire thing out of the cup since it was way too inconvenient to eat. The cheescake was good - not too thick; and paired with the right amount of walnut cookie crumbs.

Next, we had the White Miso Semifreddo w/ olive oil cake raspberries and candied sesame. This was probably my favorite dessert out of the three - the cake and frozen custard was delicious. The cake wasn't dry at all and the sorbet on the side was refreshing.

For our last dish, we got the Chocolate Marquis w/ alfonso mango tapioca and yakult ice-cream. I was really excited when I saw the yakult ice-cream (for those who don't know what it is - the taste is similar to pinkberry frozen yogurt). The presentation was nicely done - I liked the contrast of the black plate and red/gold flakes sprinkled on top of the cake and plate.

As for drinks, I got the 'Homemade Raspberry Soda' and my friend got the 'Hot Thai Milk Tea'. I'll be back to try their cupcakes!

Overall: 3/5

Thursday, May 13, 2010

When Disney meets Food

Came across these charmingly baked sweets inspired by Disney characters. I've been collecting them on my computer desktop for quite some time now but never had the chance to share them! Interestingly enough as I was surfing today, I randomly landed on this website: The Disney Food Blog . The blog is great in that it offers comprehensive reviews and photographs of Disney restaurants and dishes, along with news and information about anything food-related in Disney parks, resorts, movies, and other events! The blogger not only informs the readers about food and wine festivals that are held at Disneyworld, but also cites the "Best Disney World Restaurants", which are categorized into various occasions (my favorite one being the "Best Disney World Restaurants for Romance"). I strongly recommend those who haven't to check out the website!

And now from my own collection...
This one makes me so happy :)
brand image is very important, huh? Amazing how one can tell them apart even without the heads! @_@
*Please note: I did not make any of these, nor do I own these photos. These photos are simply used for your viewing pleasure.

Monday, May 10, 2010

44 & X

44 & X
622 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
(212) 977-1170

School's out and summer is here! While strolling along Hell's Kitchen, we came across this casual, but spiffy looking eatery. The high ceilings and white colors of the restaurant made the entire place feel expansive and serene. The restaurant was like a huge sun room in itself, the natural lighting created a pleasant atmosphere and dining experience. Not to mention, a GREAT way to reduce energy consumption. I wouldn't say that the food was equivalent to its price, but this is Manhattan - the city of lavish extravaganza! Ironically, everyone in the restaurant was in business casual except for the waiters, who were wearing these cutsie (and might I add, TIGHT) "Heaven & Hell" T-Shirts. Our waiter, was quite the man, he looked and sounded like he came straight out of the military, reciting the menu specials as if it were written on the back of his hand. After much contemplation, we happily settled on the Maine lobster taco, crispy sea bass, and filet mignon.

The lobster taco was mixed with charred tomato salsa, cilantro and herb salad. On top of the taco was a whole spoonful of avocado relish..oh yes, one cannot eat a taco without avocado!! The dish was good, but it wasn't precious enough - in other words, I wasn't daydreaming about it after dinner.

The crispy sea bass was light and simple. A simple vegetarian would love this dish, but it is not suited for those who have a taste for strong flavors. The chanterelle mushrooms were well-cooked and I loved the greens (braised asparagus and artichokes) which complemented very well with the fish. The saffron mussel broth helped with flavor but did not overpower the original taste of the fish and veggies.

The filet mignon was..well, your average filet mignon, but the potatoes were better! They were like Mille Crêpe -- "a thousand of layers" -- of thinly sliced potatoes! The layers definitely added a nice texture to the taste of the potatoe.

I know this is silly, but I must make an ending comment on the bathroom. The lightly dimmed lights, candles, flower petals scattered across counter tops, and nice Victorian seat was the perfect sanctuary for every girly girls. I didn't take any pics of the bathroom so use your imaginations and go experience it for yourself!

Overall: 3/5

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pearl Oyster Bar

Pearl Oyster Bar
18 Cornelia St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 691-8211

Come before 6:30pm and you might get lucky with a table, come after 7:00pm and you'll find yourself waiting 20+ minutes. Having lived in Boston for 5 years, it's impossible not to form an opinion about CHOWDA! I am a fan of New England chowder, but have always been suspicious about chowda outside of Boston..nevertheless, I think I might have discovered the secret place - Pearl Oyster Bar! This cute little restaurant in West Village has one of the best clam chowder and fried oysters I've tried in Manhattan. I can't say the same about their raw oysters though - very fresh but nothing special; it's their fried oysters that enlightened my appetite. The tartar sauce combined with perfectly fried and flavorful oysters tasted heavenly and guilty all at the same time. There is also a TON of hype about their lobster roll, but I just can't get myself to love it. Their shoestring fries are addictive though..*NOM NOM NOM*

The service here is great - waiters are friendly, attentive, and quick with the food. The restaurant is cute and cozy, great for small gatherings/dates. Cornelia St. itself reminds me of an alleyway in romantic!

Overall: 3.5/5

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Seafood done RIGHT!

155 W 51st St
The Equitable Building
New York, NY 10019
Went to Le Bernadin a few months back and left fully content and happy. Being probably the only asian on earth who doesn't go all gaga over her seafood...I was truly satisfied with our meal. The place was not at all what I had expected. The restaurant didn't have an uptight feel, everyone was very casual (in terms of their conversations) I didn't feel like I had to pull a "I am Miss Plastic" kind of attitude; and the dining experience was fantastic. Which other restaurant offers six selections of complimentary bread?? There were a lot of "asian inspired" dishes which I thought were interesting. My favorite dishes were the Tuna w/ foie gras, the Surf and Turf, and the Pear cinnamon caramel parfait - a job well done, Chef Ripert!

Below is Le Bernadin's Tasting Menu:
An interesting dish to start off with -- truffle foam w/ an edible leaf on top.
This one was my favorite -- raw tuna pounded to a thin layer atop a crunchy baguette with creamy foie gras w/ shaved chives and extra virgin olive oil. DELISH!
Charred Octopus w/ Fermented Black Bean and Pear Sauce Vierge; Ink - Miso Vinaigrette; and Purple Basil. When I saw this dish, my teeth were totally prepared for some grinding action. I never liked octopus and its rubbery texture, but of course, I was Le Bernadin, the Octopus served are soft and flavorful...even old people can eat this!
 Our next dish was the Nori Crusted Skate w/ Poached Oysters; Braised Winter Lettuce; and Ponzu Vinaigrette. Maybe it's the nori and the flavor of the fish, but this dish really reminded me of my grandma's fish..I guess my grandma can open a michelin restaurant too :)

Baked Wild Striped Bass; Corn "Cannelloni"; Light Perigord Sauce. Nothing too special about this dish. (Except for the truffles on top, hehe)
The Surf and Turf: Escolar and Seared Kobe Beef; Sea Bean Salad and Eggplant Fries; Mr. Kaufman's Pesto and Anchovy Sauce...When I saw the meat on this dish, I immediately knew I could never become a vegeterian - I am a faithful carnivore! The Kobe beef was so tender and juicy, I wanted to trade my seafood for more beef!

Mascarpone Cream in a Crisp Coffee Shell, Almond - Cocoa Pain de Genes. I was slightly disappointed at the flavor of this dessert. The dessert was tastless, and poorly presented. Just, bleh.
This last dish surely put the previous dessert dish to shame - Cinnamon Caramel Parfait, Liquid Pear, Smoked Sea Salt, and Fromage Blanc Sorbet. Can I just say that one CAN play with her food? Andy and I had the funnest time juggling the liquid pear in our mouths and then popping them. It's the most entertaining thing..ever!

Overall: 4/5
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