Archive for April, 2013

LA Sushi: Sushi Zo (Apr. 2013)

April 22, 2013 2 comments

Author: Victor
Restaurant: Sushi Zo
Chef: Keizo Seki

Date: April 19, 2013
Dinner #1


(I really should not have eaten here hahaha. I made a reservation for 5:30 p.m., two hours before my Yamakase reservation at 7:30 p.m., and I ended up eating 38 pieces of sushi here… somehow. I’m faaaaaaaat.)

Sushi Zo is often a contender for second-best sushi in LA; other contenders include Mori Sushi, Kiriko, and so on. (Urasawa is pretty much first in my book and many others’ books.)

Sushi Notes:

Chef Seki is known for his warm rice, and it reminded me a lot of Sasabune’s rice. It was REALLY soft and fluffy—I think Chef Seki’s philosophy is that warm rice helps you focus on the taste and texture of the fish more. (However, there’s that whole controversy where people are against warm rice and so on. Oh well.) Anyway, the rice wasn’t quite as warm as Sasabune’s, and it broke apart less (as a result of that, I think). Also, the nigiri pieces were smaller, so the warmth of the rice wasn’t as big of a deal to me.

The fish was very fresh, and there was a decent selection of the normal fish you see as well as fish from Japan. I kind of wish they used less condiments, but that’s entirely up to the restaurant and chef, and I enjoyed the sushi regardless. Still… it would have been nice to be able to taste and focus on the fish by itself, free from condiments such as sea salt or yuzu.

Click here to see pictures of the food!

NYC: Per Se (Apr. 2013 #1): Canard à la Presse!

April 21, 2013 5 comments

Author: Victor and Tad
Restaurant: Per Se
Exec Chef: Thomas Keller
Chef de Cuisine: Eli Kaimeh

Date: April 8, 2013
Dinner: Mom’s Visit Meal #4!

Victor’s Notes:

As some of you know, my mom and my cousin visited me last weekend, and I decided to show her some of my favorite fine dining restaurants in the city. This is stop #4 of 4: Per Se!

This was an amazing meal, and pretty much everything was impressive. My mom, cousin, and friends had a fantastic time, and it really was a wonderful experience that I will never forget. I really have to give my thanks to the staff at Per Se for making this meal possible!

P.S. We had “canard à la presse” during this meal! My life is now complete. (That is all haha.)

Tad’s Notes:

Make no mistake: Per Se is so highly lauded for very good reasons. In addition to the impeccable service, the food this time reached hitherto untouched heights. Victor and I have often discussed our favorite restaurant in New York; he loves the consistency and quality of Per Se, while I prefer the sometimes (literally) magical experience at Eleven Madison. Today, however, I can say with very little reservation that I have had the best entrees I’ve ever tasted in New York. We will gush more about these later; suffice to say that you owe it to yourself to experience this at least once in your life.

At the same time, there were a couple of stumbles here today that I didn’t expect from Per Se. These were small errors that may have had more to do with my personal preferences than any actual mistake by the kitchen. They were also quickly overwhelmed by the highlights so it didn’t take away too much from the overall experience. At the same time, in the interest of fairness, they must be mentioned, so you don’t think that Victor and I are actually on the TKeller payroll.

Click here to see pictures of the meal!

NYC: Gordon Ramsay at The London (Feb. 2013)

April 20, 2013 1 comment

Authors: Victor and Monty
Restaurant: Gordon Ramsay at The London
Exec Chef: Markus Glocker

Date: February 20, 2013

1 Restaurant

Victor’s Notes:

(Gordon Ramsay actually sold his share in this restaurant due to financial problems in November 2009. You can read about it here.)

I’ve been holding off on trying Gordon Ramsey’s NYC fine-dining restaurant for a while now because I’ve heard that the London one is really similar but better. A third friend wanted to try this, though, so we just went ahead and tried it.

Matt and I got the normal tasting menu, while Monty got the vegetable tasting menu. I don’t really have pictures of the vegetable tasting, but he can provide some general comments on it.

There were a few service issues. First, the waiters at times looked like they were struggling to remember the ingredients; one waiter even said that she had to go back to check. Second, there were two times when they gave us the food and described it while a friend was in the restroom. Third, the staff rarely smiled—they looked like they disliked their job.

I saw a proposal for the second time in a week! (I saw one six days ago at Per Se.) The guy basically went around and got on one knee to ask, and it was superrrrrr cute!

Anyway, Monty’s got a bunch of thoughts about this experience and the restaurant, and I’ll let him go into detail on that. I generally agree with his thoughts here.

Monty’s Notes: My only real note about this restaurant is that the bathroom doors are tricky to lock. Make sure they’re locked. Our friend won the second most-unfortunate-event award by walking in on someone in the bathroom (the most-unfortunate-event award goes to the person he walked in on). So lock the door carefully. Onto my general thoughts….

I really love food in general. If you’re familiar with my thoughts on this blog, you know that it’s easy for me to enjoy a dish because I just love food that much. Here though, I didn’t love it. In fact, I disliked it – mainly because of the price factor.

I don’t want to get all Tad-like but when you really splurge, you want to preferably be treated like royalty (burger king gives out the paper crowns) and be fed like royalty. For me, if the service is less than par, that’s ok if the food is amazing – food comes first. Here, most unfortunately, both failed. The food is uninspiring, boring, and forgettable. The ambience of the restaurant was quite stuffy and the waitstaff had the outward appearance of someone doing a chore – I’ve seen much warmer smiles from people at Chilis. Btw, people at Chilis or Chevys or other chain restaurants generally have a fat smile plastered on their face. It’s quite welcoming :)

SO I’m going to channel a more critical persona, as much as I hate speaking ill about food. It’s just nefarious to charge people an entire paycheck for mediocre food. Do NOT charge $30/dish and have one of those dishes be a “potato rosti.” I can go to McDonalds and get a hashbrown of comparable quality but twice the size for 99 cents.

Click here to see pictures of our meal.