Marcos is one of my best friends in New York. He’s a Managing Director of a bank on Wall Street and every so often we will hang out to either celebrate our birthdays by watching a football game at Yale (we’re both Libras), art stalk Genesis P-Orridge or enjoy some other cultural event.
Before Marcos’s one month business trip to India, we decided to meet up and dine at Red Rooster in Harlem. I’m surprised that I managed to get reservations for two this past President’s weekend. If you’ve been keeping up with the internet blow up on this new restaurant then you know what I’m talking about; 3+ weeks for a reservation!
Red Rooster is what some might call Scandinavian/Soul food. The cuisine is a fusion of sorts: fine dining meets comfort. The chef is Ethiopian-born, Marcus Samuelsson who was formally the chef at the Scandinavian restaurant Aquavit. The space is dressed up with tastefully chosen art pieces by local artists and feels somewhat like a speakeasy. On some nights there are live performances by jazz musicians, DJs, or Gospel Singers.
Marcos and I started off our dinner with a couple of appetizers:
CORN BREAD Honey Butter & Tomato Jam
DIRTY RICE & SHRIMP Aged Basmati, Curry Leaves, Almond
Both dishes were exceptional. The corn bread was super moist inside and perfectly crisp on the outside. It was an ideal combination that was accompanied with great condiments- especially the tomato jam!
Our Main Entrees:
RED SNAPPER Okra, Broken Rice, Chilies
FRIED YARD BIRD Dark Meat, White Mace Gravy, Mashed Potatoes
Marcos had the Snapper and I had the Fried Yard Bird (aka Chicken), of course. I’d go back there again just for that bird! YUM!!!
Above is a glimpse of the pass through…. the kitchen with the view.
We ended our meal with the following desserts:
APPLE CARAMEL SUNDAE Apple Sorbet, Bourbon Caramel, Cinnamon Cream
WHISKEY FUDGE Macadamia Nuts
Yummy desserts to end a satisfying meal.
Oh… & Cappuccinos!
I normally do not hang out that far up town. But Red Rooster is definitely worth the subway trek from Brooklyn to Lenox & 125th!
Side note: We were seated across January Jones with her baby and family.
What better way to start the New Year than to dine at a fine establishment like Eleven Madison Park?
That’s precisely what Lily and I did on January, Friday the 13th!
When we first started the Michelin Star Challenge back last Fall, we wanted the first restaurant to be Eleven Madison Park. Boy… was I overzealous. It took me nearly 3 months to get a reservation for 2 at the newly donned 3 Michelin Star rated restaurant.
And it was well worth the wait!
Before the big day we had already agreed that we would go all out and order their dinner tasting menu. We wanted to start off 2012 with a bang and little did we know what more was in store for us…
The restaurant itself is located on the ground floor of an art deco building right across from the famous Madison Square Park. As soon as you enter through the revolving doors it feels a bit like you’re going into a train station. But once you are on the other side you’re overcome by an impressive and grand space. In the middle of the dining area you immediately take notice of the white bouquet, center piece.
When we sat down we were greeted by Kevin, our main man, who along with a team of 5 others took care of us the whole evening. The staff was not pretentious and all were warm and friendly. The sommelier was cheerful and made suggestions on what to pair with what. Our dishes were brought to us in a timely manner and they gave us detailed information on each dish. For a couple of the entrees, a story was even included (clambake, egg cream, etc.). Being such a prestigious restaurant you would think that the service would be stuffy. But it was anything but that; extremely attentive but not over bearing, and charming at times.
Each entree was creatively plated and perfectly delicious. It was as if we were eating works of art. Lily and I both agreed that the squab was the best piece of foul that we had ever tasted in our lives! Everything was flavorful and was exquisite. The meal was a sensory over load in the most positive sense… just looking at the plates, hearing what each dish was made of, consuming the savory, sweet, multi-layered tastes; it was all mind blowing.
Click below to see the Tasting Menu
*** TASTING MENU ***
CHICKEN Velouté with Parsley Oil, Liver Mousse and Brioche
HAMACHI AND SCALLOP Pickled Ginger and Lemon; Ceviche with Tangerine
YOGURT AND CHICKPEAS Lollipops with Curry; Panisse with Yogurt
APPLE Gelée with Sea Urchin, Caviar, and Foie Gras
CLAM Clambake with Chorizo, Apple, and Potato
PUNTARELLA Salad with Tardivo, Anchovies, and Garlic
FOIE GRAS Smoked Terrine with Black Truffle, Potato, and Rye
CAULIFLOWER Roasted with Raisins, Brown Butter, and Madras Curry
LOBSTER Poached with Meyer Lemon, Burnt Leeks, and Shellfish Bisque
SQUAB Roasted with Beets, Onions, and Chocolate Jus
TRIPLE CREME With Pumpkin, Apple, and Rye Crisps
EGG CREAM Orange, Cocoa Nib, and Seltzer
CHEESECAKE Goat Cheese, Cranberry, and Lime
CHOCOLATE Mousse with Malt Sorbet, Olive Oil, and Meyer Lemon
Our enthusiasm regarding the food must have been obvious. Towards the end of our meal we were greeted by Daniel, the restaurant manager. He asked us how our evening was going and invited us to tour the kitchen! We were excited and felt as if we won some fine dining lottery.
The tour was like a field trip! The pastry chef made us special apple cocktails that were made from pomegranate syrup, diced apples, liquid nitrogen frozen apple brandy and foam.
The kitchen was spacious and immaculate. Everyone was wearing their chef whites and there were no stains on the uniforms; spotless! The kitchen was like a well-functioning time piece; huge, pristine with everything in order.
We got to meet James Kent, the chef de cuisine and signed their guest book!
Afterwards, Daniel led us to the VIP guest/lounge where we were served a complimentary bottle of cognac champagne along with more delicious desserts.
Before we left, we parted with gifts. A card with listing all the entrees from the tasting menu, complimentary homemade granola, magazines. They really thought of every little thing!
The whole experience was truly magical. I’m not sure if any other dining experience will compare to this one.
Thank you Eleven Madison Park for kicking off 2012 to a great start!
I’m used to eating at Mom and Pop Filipino restaurants in the suburbs of Northern California and most recently, the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens. However, now it seems that Filipino cuisine is making its mark in Manhattan. Sure… there was Elvie’s and there’s still Grill 21, Sa Aming Nayon etc… but Maharlika, like Kuma Inn, is paving a way for popularizing Filipino food in a sort of posh, if not trendy, fashion.
I’ve been meaning to dine at Maharlika back in the summer when it first opened but those plans weren’t realized until this past Friday. The restaurant is located on 1st Ave between 6th & 7th Street (formerly La Vie Boheme and before that Absinthe) in the East Village. The space fits about 40 patrons. Unlike the other Filipino restaurants I’ve been to, you can tell that Maharlika was decorated by someone with style and a fresh sense of design; modern mixing it up with vintage photos. I was pretty impressed with the young and hip feel to the place.
On to the food…
Don’t be mistaken by the subtext “Filipino Moderno”. It is in no way Asian fusion. The dishes are very traditional but with a modern twist. For instance… spam fries. Yes… SPAM fries! Though spam is not traditionally from the Philippines, it is pretty common for Filipino Americans to eat it as part of breakfast. Maharlika transforms this all Filipino American snack by slicing it up into long pieces, frying it with tempura batter and there you have it… fries!
Then there is the Chicharon Manok (fried chicken skin). The more traditional version is pig skin.
These are complimentary and you can eat these and the other appetizers with the typical Filipino condiments: Calamansi seasoning (much like soy sauce), Jufran (banana ketchup) and/or suka (garlic, chili/pepper infused vinegar).
Because I love all things pork, I had to get the Lechon Kawali appetizer, which is deep fried pork belly. This was incredibly delicious and served over a bed of spinach.
One of Maharlika’s popular dishes is Sizzling Sisig. This dish contains pig ears, snout, belly which is broiled, grilled and sauteed with garlic. Talk about a feast of pigs! This was hog heaven served in a skillet!
Usually served for brunch but also on the dinner menu was their iLog breakfast. They have a few of these dishes all ending with iLog (which means with egg). I had their Tapsilog- which is tapa, shirt steak marinated with garlic rice, sunny side egg, and a veggie side. This dish totally reminded me of growing up and eating at the local Filipino restaurants around the suburbia of the East Bay.
Last but not least was the flan dessert. A traditional coconut leche flan with blue berry garnish. Yummy!
Being new and trendy, you can expect the menu to be a bit pricey. Considering that I’m used to paying much less for Filipino food, in comparison, Maharlika is somewhat overpriced. Having stated that, I will more than likely go here again because the food, ambiance and service was stellar and worth another taste.
If any of you noticed the recent posts and photos… then you’ll know it was recently my 33rd Birthday. I can go on and on about what I want to improve for my next year of life and what I want to achieve but I’ll spare you, dear reader. I will, however, share with you what I want to accomplish in terms of dining.
As I was sitting around Ralf’s kitchen table discussing the recently rated Michelin restaurants with Lily, I came up with the idea of the Michelin Star Challenge. I will “attempt” to dine at the 12 restaurants listed below over the course of 12 months. Lily will be joining me on this journey and all are welcome to partake in the adventure with us.
Here is the Michelin Star Challenge list (in no particular order except by * rank):
1. Eleven Madison Park
2. Per Se
3. Le Bernardin
10. The Modern @ the MOMA
12. Ai Fiori
Be prepared to feast your eyes on a yakitori meal of delectable proportions!
The feast continues…. on to birthday dinner at Sake Bar Hagi in Midtown…
According to Anthony Bourdain, who did a feature on No Reservations, this izakaya is where sushi chefs go to eat when they finish work.
This place is pretty non-descript. You can easily walk pass this hidden gem if you’re not too careful. Sake Bar Hagi is a subterranean sake bar where the wait can be pretty long (1 hour + and they do not take reservations); patrons can be found waiting on the ascending steps towards the street. We were lucky enough to be seated under 20 minutes! As soon as you enter the place you’ll notice that it’s small and the tables are sort of crammed but it is very well lit throughout the restaurant and well worth the wait.
If you want to try out most of their tapa style dishes it’s best to go with a group of 3 or more. This was our meal for the evening.
Sake for 3…
Gobou Chips w Spicy Cod Roe Mayonaise…
Yakitori set: Garlic, Pork Belly, Duck, Chicken, Chicken Meat Balls, Washiu Gyu (Beef)…
Takoyaki (Octopus Balls)…
Sweet Fatty Pork…
We saved the wasabi shumai for last. As you can see… this is the common reaction when eating wasabi shumai :)
Thanks Jenna & Tboy for a great Birthday Dinner :)