Tag Archives: expensive

Hurricane Hole

This is a joint product/service and restaurant review. My buddies and I booked a small charter fishing trip off of Key West. For four hours it cost about $800 all-in (with tip and everything). While this is super expensive, it is worth every penny if you happen to be able to keep and eat everything that you catch.

20160101_135939

We started off catching all the bait we would use on the trip. Captain Brad threw out his net and picked up minnows and shiners. Then we went out about five miles for some yellow fin snapper and yellow jackets. One of my buddies even got a mackerel at this spot. I had a shark hooked at one point, but the fucker bit through the line and took my bait.

After a bit, we went to a second location off the shore where we picked up some bonita and tuna.

20160101_165530

20160101_155806(0)

20160101_160946

Over all we had a really successful day. I caught the most fish, while my buddy got the biggest (a 15lb tuna).

20160101_174025

20160101_173713

20160101_173738

Captain Brad filleted about half of our catch, which came out to roughly 14lbs.

20160101_175031

That’s a lot of fish! We could have packed it on ice and shipped it home, but we figured we may as well gorge on it and give the rest for chum and whoever else wanted the meat. We probably caught over $1000 worth of fish.

The restaurant at the dock will cook up all your food for $12 per person, and you get sides to go with it. We fed our whole gang of eight people with tons to spare.

20160101_190357

They did some fried snapper, tuna tataki, blackened tuna and buffalo mackerel. Everything was really good.

pixlr-01

The conch fritters here were pretty good too, which we ordered in addition to the fish feast.

20160101_181539

Le Cirque & Sirio Ristorante

NOTE: THIS PLACE IS NOW CLOSED

We scored a deal on a three course meal at this famed upscale NYC joint. I was happy to see that there weren’t any restrictions on the deal too: three courses, app, entree and dessert, with no limitations other than paying extra for the super expensive items.

DSC07170

First let me just say that the bread at this joint is really good quality. Those little disc looking things were delicious, and all items were warm and toasty.

DSC07171

We started with the grilled octopus salad and veal carpaccio. I think the winner here was the octo salad. It was a warm salad, but it had great flavor from the olive, potato and tomato mix.

DSC07173

The veal was a bit on the dry side. The anchovy paste sauce was reminiscent of a German style mustard of sorts, so this had an unexpected taste. Caperberries were great though.

DSC07174

For our entrees, we tried the mini burgers and the skirt steak. The skirt steak was probably the best preparation of skirt that I’ve had out at a restaurant. It was charred nicely on the outside, and cooked to a perfect juicy medium rare on the inside. It was sliced nicely on the bias and at a steep angle. Just expertly handled all around. This is a 9 or 10 on flavor.

DSC07175

It came with a pine nut chimichurri type sauce on top, and it sat on a bed of lentils and crispy potato logs. There was even a miniature wedge salad on the side, and some pea puree blobs to boot. Really great composed dish here. I highly recommend.

DSC07179

The mini burgers were a little bit over salted and grainy in texture. They were nicely presented, though, and the abundantly massive side of fries that came with the burgers was a really delicious and near perfect execution of the item.

DSC07176

DSC07177

DSC07182

For dessert, we did the “floating island,” which was creme anglaise with merengue and fruit. Very nice and light. This was my favorite of the two, because each bite was dynamic.

DSC07186

The chocolate soufflé was perfectly executed, uniform thoughout and rich with flavor. I think I just got bored about halfway though. It was very large. I think soufflé fans will really enjoy it.

DSC07183

UPDATE 12/10/16

So it turns out that Le Cirque sectioned off part of its space to create “Sirio Ristorante,” which is, I guess, a more affordable and more casual dining option. My wife and I picked up a flash deal which gave us each a three course meal for $42 total (before tax and tip).

Much of the menu remains the same as above. We started with octopus and baccala.

dsc06326

dsc06336

dsc06317

Both were good but the baccala needed more chips to round out the fish.

For our entrees, we went with salmon in a truffle sauce and spaghetti “frutti di mare.”

dsc06344

dsc06341

dsc06346

The salmon was the big winner here, as it was perfectly cooked and had a great black truffle flavor. The pasta was a bit bland, and the sauce didn’t deliver. Some pieces of seafood were overcooked, while others were undercooked.

For dessert, we went with the creme brûlée and Crepes Suzette.

The crepes were fun. They tasted like a boozed up creamsicle.

dsc06355

Ice cream on top for the win:

dsc06364-edit

The creme brûlée was perfectly done, and I was smiling when I saw the recipe hiding underneath the deliciousness.

dsc06358

dsc06359

dsc06373

RESTAURANT WEEK UPDATE 8/4/17

My wife got us a comped meal for restaurant week due to her photo skills on Instagram.

We started with the endive salad, garganelli pasta primavera and tuna tartare (they brought an extra for us). All were really great, but I think the tartare was the best, followed by the pasta. The tartare had a really nice curry accent to it that popped.

For entrees we tried the branzino and steak. The branzino had a great crispy skin on it, and was nicely cooked.

The steak didn’t come sliced, but it was a small filet of strip loin with fries and a Bernaise sauce. Pretty decent. 7/10.

For dessert, we had the chocolate fondant and another creme brûlée. It was essentially chocolate ganache and chocolate cake covered with a chocolate shell.

LE CIRQUE & SIRIO RISTORANTE
151 E. 58th St.
New York, NY 10065

Prime vs Choice at the Grocery Store

I am a big proponent of getting prime cuts when it makes sense. Generally speaking, the difference in quality is outstanding. However, you have to be careful. Don’t buy blind at the grocery store. Look at the photo below. Choice is $14.99/lb and prime is $21.99/lb. The up-charge is primarily for more and better marbling. But look with your own eyes. Does that boneless prime rib eye on top look any more marbled or better than the bone-in choice rib eye? In this case, I might buy the choice cut, even though the prime cut has a bigger Spinalis / fat cap.

STEAK COMPARISON

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Hmm… what can I say about this place… The food is off the charts good, fresh (obviously), well plated, well executed, clever, fun and inventive. The only negatives I can possibly conceive of are (1); it’s heavy on the vegetables, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but for (2); it is very expensive. When you pay $200 per person before drinks, tax and tip, you sort of expect some serious substance in addition to the superb veggies. The meats consisted of: pig heart pastrami (1 bite), lamb (one small, thin rib chop), a bite of ham (in the tortilla), a slice of speck (ham and cheese sandwich), and a few slices of pork. That’s pretty much it. One of the asparagus dishes (there were several, yet oddly my pee didn’t smell afterward) had shredded chicken wing as garnish, but that doesn’t count. And neither do the few items that contained fish product. The last negative criticism is (3) extreme pretense. You’ll see what I am talking about below. I get that these people are passionate about the farm to table concept, about sustainability, etc. And they are remarkable culinary artists. But fucking come on… Some of this stuff is like candid camera fodder. To sum up: this was a great once-in-a-lifetime experience. I absolutely 100% know that I will never go back, but I’m definitely glad I fought tooth and nail to get a rez here to celebrate our anniversary, even if just to experience this bizarre place.

Scan_Pic0004

Service? Some of the best I’ve ever experienced. Our waiter Christian was amazing and very informative. Waiters and table hawks swooped in and cleaned up after each of our roughly 24 courses. Use a spoon once, put it down for a minute, look at the ceiling, look back down and POOF: it’s gone, with a replacement on the way. Actually when we first sat down, they saw my wife scratch her wine glass to get a spot off and they immediately replaced the glass with a fresh one. Crazy! Too much? Perhaps. At some points we sort of felt awkward.

Blue Hill 036

The ambiance of this place is really amazing. The farm is a beautiful and picturesque location. Nice grounds, with old but modern touches; rustic yet elegant. I could easily see it being some kind of rustic wedding venue. The dining area and centerpiece table is beautiful, and the kitchen is immaculately clean. The food is plated and presented in some of the most artful and beautiful ways I have ever seen.

Scan_Pic0005

Scan_Pic0002

Blue Hill 001_tonemapped

Blue Hill 008

Blue Hill 011

Blue Hill 113

Blue Hill 065 - 070

To start we ordered some drinks. Mine was essentially a gin martini with pickled ramps instead of onion or olive. Ramps are so farm to table and local – way more hipster than onions or olives. My wife’s was a chamomile, gin, honey, and slightly sparkling lemon drink. Delicious. But lemon?!?? That shit doesn’t grow here in NY, as far as I know. So much for the whole LOCAL thing! I want my olive now…

Blue Hill 022

Then the food started coming out. Hold onto your asses because this was a 4 hour meal…

1) Veggies on sticks. Some pickled, some raw, some lightly seasoned or spiced. Nice and refreshing. But, really? I started to wonder whether I’d fallen victim to some social experiment where you put diners into a fancy environment and serve them cat food and they absolutely love it.

Blue Hill 014

Blue Hill 013

IMG_20140609_094353

2) Asparagus soup. This was really great. Hearty, savory. I could easily drain a bowl of this shit. Pay attention to how much fucking asparagus is served here. It is astounding.

Blue Hill 019

3) Pig heart pastrami. This was good! Tasted just like pastrami, wasn’t too chewy. Just right. But give me more. Look at how much you’re charging me and ask if this is enough!

Blue Hill 018

4) First of the Rhubarb. This was essentially just a pickled slice of rhubarb. Simple. “First of the rhubarb” registers at about 11 on a Pretentiousness Scale that goes from 1 to 10. I think it means the first time they were able to pick the rhubarb this season. You know… because rhubarb is WILDLY different in flavor that second time you pick it. Whatever.

Blue Hill 021

5) Pea shoots, baby leeks, weeds, and tarragon pesto. At this point we were looking around for the hidden cameras that were placed to record our reaction to some weird practical joke. Even this was beyond “social experiment” weirdness. I’m a man with testicles. I have a dick, and it still gets hard. Now, this stuff was good (the sauce, anyway), but almost too odd for us. We were literally wiping the leaves of weeds across the sauce. Fun, I guess? But it took us a bit by surprise. We both laughed at this dish.

Blue Hill 023

6) Egg yolk & potato tartlet, spring onion vichysoisse with toasted quinoa, and a fiddle head fern cracker. These were all lovely. Perfect little bites of flavor. I wish we had a whole tray of them.

Blue Hill 025

Blue Hill 026

Blue Hill 027

Blue Hill 028

7) Asparagus burgers. DING! Your asparagus score is now two. These were cute. Tasty too, and Christian came by with an asparagus stalk that had gone wild and grown too large. They are harvested at just the right time, before they start sprouting branches. BHASB <3 Asparagus 4-EVA!

Blue Hill 029

Blue Hill 042

20140608_144432_LLS

8) Asparagus & pancetta. DING! Your asparagus score is now three! A nice asparagus spear on a stick, coated with sesame seeds. Good bacony flavor involved without any actual bacon on the skewer.

Blue Hill 031

9) Ham and cheese sandwiches. These were made with speck and crisped cheese type crackers. Beautiful presentation, and one of the better bites of the meal. Again: give a man with hair on his chest a bit more that a single bite. I understand it is a multi-course feast, but feature the substantive dishes and downplay the “sides.” YEs – a veggie can be a side. But there were like 400 of them here to the handful of meat items. I get it. Veggies are awesome.

Blue Hill 033

Blue Hill 032

10) Pork liver pate & chocolate. This was a great bite as well. The chocolate surprisingly went well the liver.

Blue Hill 035

11) Celtuce in a small soup with pine nuts. Christian gave us a crash course on what celtuce is. Basically similar to romaine but with a heart or root that you can cook up like the stem of broccoli. Delicious in every preparation they served.

Blue Hill 037

Blue Hill 038

12) Greenhouse greens and smoked creamy gouda cheese. A nice salad. Whoa, whoa, WHOA… GREENHOUSE greens?!?? Do you mean to tell me that these items would not otherwise grow in the local climate? Like the lemon above… but not the olive? Pfft…

Blue Hill 039

13) Celtuse heart and spears, caviar and herring cream. This was one of the best courses. The caviar provided a natural salt element to this. Excellent use of vegetables… again.

Blue Hill 041

14) Asparagus with almond saffron sauce, stinging nettle sauce, olive tapenade, rhubarb yogurt, grilled asparagus sauce and crispy chicken wings. DING! Your asparagus score is now four! It was served with asparagus tea, and the sauces were plated tableside. The best sauce here was the asparagus sauce. Asparagus. Asparagus, asparagus, asparagus.

Blue Hill 043

Blue Hill 044

Blue Hill 046

20140608_152304_LLS

15) Whole wheat brioche, escarole and spinach marmalade with fresh ricotta cheese that was strained tableside. This was a nice piece of toast. They had some cracked black pepper on the plate too, and that really made all the flavors pop.

Blue Hill 049

Blue Hill 050

Blue Hill 052

Blue Hill 051

16) Ham, robin fish, mint & peas, creme fraiche and fresh cut herbs on a buckwheat tortilla. We were excited for this one because we were taken back to the chefs table in the kitchen to have it. Awesome!

Blue Hill 087

Blue Hill 088

Blue Hill 086

Blue Hill 091

Umm.. can I please have some of this sausage in my meal? If not.. maybe some more asparagus?

Blue Hill 082

Blue Hill 079

Blue Hill 073

Blue Hill 072

Blue Hill 060

17) Stone barns egg, and everything a chicken eats. This was a really fucking great egg dish. I tasted currants, herbs and seeds, and it was presented while cooking in a cast iron pan. Perfect.

Blue Hill 092

18) Potato onion bread, grass fed butter, lard from their pigs, and carrot salt. Here we’re being prepped for meat courses, so I was getting psyched. FINALLY…

Blue Hill 093

19) Stone barns Berkshire pork with “this mornings peas,” pistachios and chrysanthemum. I had no idea one could eat chrysanthemum. The leaves were very fresh and airy; a perfumed and clean flavor. It went very well with the smokey pig flavor. And this morning’s peas? I’ll never have yesterday’s peas ever again. I wonder though… are tomorrow’s peas any good? Good fucking lord with the pretense.

Blue Hill 094

20) Grass fed lamb, shitake, and bok choy. This was a nice plate. I just wish the lamb was thicker. Perfectly cooked. It was like having a bite of prime rib on a stick.

Blue Hill 095

Blue Hill 096

21) Cheeses … sheep’s milk and cheddar, served with rye pretzels, chutney and cumin spiced pumpkin seeds. The cheese was explained, cut, plated and served tableside, by the amazing Christian, asparagus stalk warrior.

Blue Hill 097

Blue Hill 098

Blue Hill 099

22) Next was a special anniversary cake plate. Pea and carrot cake. Very clever and tasty too! Get it? Have your peas and carrots… but for dessert.

Blue Hill 101

Blue Hill 100

23) Milk ice cream, strawberry sorbet, and clotted cream with dried strawberries, fresh green and red strawberries and hazelnuts. The plating was pretty cool here. These little hexagonal glass plates were all stack-able.

Blue Hill 106

Blue Hill 104

Blue Hill 105

Blue Hill 103

24) Bugs, Dirt, and Twigs. This one is for the kids! Very fun.

Blue Hill 110

Blue Hill 107

Blue Hill 108

Caterpillar = marshmallow

Honey Bee = honey mousse on a graham cracker

Brown dirt clump = chocolate truffle

Green dirt clump = pistachio nut cake ball with a cream type filling

Bird’s egg = herbed cream in a candy shell

Sticks/Twigs = light airy cookie crisps

Even the espresso was nicely plated and presented.

Blue Hill 112

Blue Hill 111

After we paid the bill, we walked out the back to see our car waiting for us at the end of the walkway.

20140608_174926_LLS

Blue Hill 114_tonemapped

I only felt half-raped. Like some HUGE Blood or Crip bent me over the weight lighting bench in the prison yard but got interrupted after his dick tip penetrated my anal sphincter, thus depriving him of full penetration and allowing me to walk away with my dignity still somewhat intact. Overall a really good meal, though. I’ll never go back unless someone else is paying for it. Glad we went. Nice to see veggies in the forefront. Good attitude about food. Incredible use of asparagus. Maybe it was all one big episode of Chopped and that was the secret ingredient for every course?

Final asparagus score: four, not including multiple uses in the same course. Accordingly, I hereby call this restaurant by a new name: Blue Asparagus at Stone Barns.

BLUE HILL AT STONE BARNS
630 Bedford Rd.
Tarrytown, NY 10591

Le Colonial

My wife found this cool article that featured Le Colonial’s foie gras pho. It looked amazing, so we had to try it out.

We went for lunch on a Friday. It wasn’t packed or anything like that: we sat right away. Yet it took us an hour to have three appetizers. The wait time between the first appetizer and the second two appetizers was horrendous. Probably a half hour.

We started with the wok fried monk fish, called ca bam. Though very salty, small, and overpriced ($15) it WAS very tasty. The rice chips were the perfect crunchy vessel to eat the peanutty and lightly spiced fish.

20140425_130445_LLS

Fast forward 30 minutes and our soups FINALLY came to the table. We each ordered the signature pho dish. At $19 a pop I was expecting something at least as filling as a bowl of pho from Chinatown. No such luck. There was about 10-12oz of liquid broth, a few thin slices of the meat, a small handful of noodles, and a small piece of fois gras. The bowl, in all, is a bit smaller than what you’d make with instant ramen or instant pho. While I realize that it is an appetizer portion, I feel that for $19 you should get more substance. At least it was delicious. It was hearty, tasty, and it contained quality ingredients. The foie gras was deliciously fatty and perfectly executed.

20140425_133133_LLS

20140425_133230_LLS

The decor was definitely beautiful. I should have thought to snap a pic of that. It was very reminiscent of real French-Vietnamese structures in Vietnam. Hence the name Le Colonial.

20140425_125408_LLS

But paying $68, tax included for three appetizers to come out over the course of over an hour was fucking absurd. I’ll never eat here again, though I’m glad I got to try the soup. In the future I’ll just stick with the Chinatown pho joints. Only in midtown NYC can you pay $68 for lunch and still be hungry. Fuck that. I guess the good thing is that I got to spend some quality time with my wife in the middle of a work day.

LE COLONIAL
149 E. 57th St.
New York, NY 10022