LA: The Bazaar by José Andrés (Feb. 2014)

February 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Authors: Victor and Simon
Restaurant: The Bazaar by José Andrés
Exec Chef: José Andrés
Chef de Cuisine: Holly Jivin

Date: February 17, 2014

The Bazaar is one of our favorite restaurants in LA, and I try to visit occasionally when I’m in town. I’m always curious to see what new dishes appear on the menu, but we always make sure to order a few of our old favorites. We were pleased to learn that they now have some daily specials. We ordered a few (the “Secreto”, tomahawk steak, and black truffle tortilla de patatas) and also ordered some of our old favorites (and a few new things).

The food here is generally consistently good, and it’s kind of amazing that they can produce such a wide variety of delicious dishes. If you haven’t been here, you should definitely check it out!

Click here to see the food!

OC: Playground (Feb. 2014)

February 10, 2014 Leave a comment

Author: Victor, David, and Simon
Restaurant: The Playground
Exec Chef: Jason Quinn

February 7, 2014

General Notes:

This gastropub is really casual and laid-back, but the food is exceptional. Most of the menu changes a bit each day depending on fresh ingredients, but the maple-glazed pork chop and Black Mission fig dessert seem to be permanent.

The kitchen really seems to enjoy cooking, and it kind of shows in the experimentation of both the food and meals. They do special event meals at their sister restaurant, Playground 2.0 (from pop-ups to invitation-only tasting menus), and they also have some fun with Sunday suppers.

Regarding the meal, it was generally really good. There were some dishes that were outstanding, but there were also some that were merely good (they were simply outshone by the amazing ones). All the flavor combinations worked very well, but two dishes were way too salty (the wild mushrooms and broccolini). I’d come back just to eat the rich, indulgent pork chop or the intensely flavorful mazemen, though; they were that amazing! I really have to applaud Chef Quinn. This place is exciting!

Click here to see pictures of our meal!

NYC: Juni (Jan. 2014)

February 7, 2014 2 comments

Authors: Monte and Tad
Exec Chef: Shaun Hergatt

January 20, 2014

Monte: I had tried SHO downtown when Chef Shaun Hergatt was still working there and thought it was great. I had been wondering what he had been up to when I randomly saw that Juni had reservations on OpenTable and I decided to google it since I had never heard of it. Surprise, it’s Shaun Hergatt’s restaurant. The lunch deal of 3 courses for $35 (or 2 courses for $30) looked accessible so Tad and I jumped on it (Tad edit: for the record, I would have jumped on it if it was $100 for three courses).

Tad: It’s been a while since I’ve written on Noms, mostly because I spent the last few months finding myself. After over two decades of schooling, I finally had to face the “real” world (or at least father threatened to cut me off unless I got a real job). So I guess this is my job for now…I will keep writing until I get bored.
I guessed that Shaun left SHO because catering Wall Street business lunches wasn’t what a chef of his caliber deserved (you can’t BUY discerning taste, to paraphrase the old adage). The new restaurant is a way for him to showcase his cuisine at a more centralized location, however icky the new location may be: Jungsik aside, it’s hard to think of Korean food, especially of the type in Koreatown, as anything but what you eat to demonstrate your worldliness in ethnic foods.

Click here to see pictures.