Tag Archives: American Restaurant

Momofuku Ssam – Whole Rotisserie Duck

We went to Momofuku Ssam Bar specifically for the rotisserie duck meal.  The trek all the way downtown was well worth it as the meal was amazing and the service and atmosphere were great.

The duck meal is described as one of the “large format” meals, which meant that “the meal includes a whole rotisserie duck, chive pancakes, bibb lettuce, hoisin, duck scallion sauce, crispy shallots and a choice of two sides”.

Not only is this a whole duck, it’s also stuffed with duck sausage under the skin before roasting… so it’s like a duck and a half!  Sides we got were the spicy fingerling potatoes with chilli blackbean sauce and broccoli with xo sauce.

Super yummy, super value, and yes if you try hard enough, 2 people can finish this meal.  However, in the epic battle of duck vs Jaime… the duck won!   Yep, I was unable to eat a meal for the next 3 days.  I’m not sure what I was thinking when I booked this meal for 2 people… but I had to have it!

For more info and reviews:

Momofuku Ssäm Bar on Urbanspoon

Ma Peche: casual cool meets fine dining

Ma Peche was an interesting restaurant… it has a casual atmosphere, but fine dining food. Slight disjoint for me, but the food was delicious.

The fresh seafood available when we were there got us these lovely fresh prawns, served on ice and with a delicious sauce on the side.

Scallops with coffee” sounds unappetising, but was really good! The scallops were coated in coffee and were lightly cooked, and tasted delicate and sweet. As you can see from the picture below, the presentation of the dish was pretty and perfect.

Another strange sounding combination “tetsuta age chicken with watermelon” again was surprisingly good. I was worried that the watermelon would make the diminish the crispiness of the chicken but it was all good. Again, pretty as a picture (sorry about mine, it’s a tad blurry!).

Last dish on the agenda was the acclaimed “steak with rice chips” which were fantastic! Steak was cooked perfectly, chips were thick and crispy. Ordered a side of “corn with seaweed and spring onions” and it was huge! By far the largest dish we had the whole evening and it was a side dish!

Lastly, as Ma Peche is right above the Momofuku Milk Bar, we got a few cookies for dessert! Had the “cornflake, chocolate chip, marshmallow cookie” and it was superb!

Overall, a good dinner but I have to warn you all it was the more expensive of the Momofuku’s. The food was delicious (as expected), my only criticism was that the dishes were not as generous in portion as I’d like. Would I go again? Yup, to try the new menu!

Date of visit: August 2011.

For more info and reviews:

Ma Peche on Urbanspoon

Barbuto… amazing roast chicken!

I loved having lunch here so much that we came here twice during our 11 day stay in NYC.  Barbuto has that perfect mix of casual dining with great fresh food.   Dishes are the old favourites and priced reasonably.  We were there in summer, so it was really lovely sitting there with the blinds up and the cool breeze coming through.

For the tourists (like me!) this was also a great spot to lunch prior to shopping in the East Village!  Also, it’s close to Magnolia cupcakes.

The dish that we had each time we visited was the “pollo al forno” described as roasted JW chicken and salsa verde.  Succulent chicken, crispy skin with herbs.  Yum!

Jonathan Waxman Barbuto roast chicken

The “linguetinne alla carbonara” had pancetta, farmhouse eggs, black pepper and parmesan and was a well done version of the old fav carbonara.  The dish was massive!  I struggled through it for lunch as it was quite rich and salty.

Jonathan Waxman Barbuto

The “insalata di bistecca” was a arugula salad with skirt steak, parmesan and vinegar.  It was a nice fresh salad with nice pieces of steak through it.

Jonathan Waxman Barbuto

The “patate” side dish was fantastic!  The potatoes were super crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.   It was served with pecorino cheese and rosemary.   If anyone knows how they make these potatoes, please let me know!

Last but not least is the dessert.  It was awesome!  Had biscuit bits, banana, cream, chocolate sauce and ice cream.  Great way to end the meal.

I loved everything about this place.  The location, the service, the atmosphere, the layout, and most importantly the food.  I’d happily eat here again and again and again…

For more info and reviews:

Barbuto on Urbanspoon

David Burke at Bloomingdales

During the endless hours of shopping in NYC,  I had to stop at some point to replenish myself for lunch to be able to continue shopping!  Whilst at Bloomingdales, we lunched at David Burke at Bloomingdales.  As we’re from Australia, we have no idea about who David Burke is, but if the food was anything to go by, he must be pretty good.

We had the Shrimp & Lobster Bisque, which was topped with green apple and oyster crackers.  It had a smooth texture, which tasted as it should (like lobster).  The green apple was an interesting addition to cut through the rich creaminess of the soup.   Oyster crackers are essentially mini crackers, which till now I have no idea why they are called oyster crackers (my guess is the size of the cracker).

Next up was the Mac and Cheese which uses cheddar cheese (hence the radioactive yellow colour).  Pretty standard, and tasted good enough (please note, at this point of the holiday I’d had lobster mac and cheese therefore elevating my expectations to unbelievable highs).

The Ultimate Cheeseburger was pretty darn good.  Meat was moist, burger was well constructed and it came with a large serve of fries on the side, served in a cute chef hat box.

For lunch on the go, this was really good.   Items on the menu include soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers.  Conveniently located at Bloomingdales, therefore not taking too much away from the shopping expedition.

For more info and reviews:
David Burke at Bloomingdale's on Urbanspoon

Dos Caminos… awesome Mexican food in New York!

I suffered from extreme jealousy whilst in New York.  They have Dos Caminos.  Melbourne only has one place for delicious Mexican, whilst New Yorkers have numerous Dos Caminos littered all over Manhattan. Not only that, you don’t have to queue up and wait for an obscene amount of time to get a table.  And, the food is fantastic.  And the cost is not ridiculous.

The traditional guacamole made fresh to order was delicious!  The ingredients were fresh and the perfect balance of creamy and tangy.  Came with a mild, medium and hot salsa on the side with crispy tortilla chips.

The Dos Enchiladas consisted of roasted chicken rolled in corn tortillas, chihuahua cheese (it’s what it says on the menu!), mole poblano and tomatillo verde sauces was basically two enchiladas served with two sauces (reminded me of yin and yang).  Flavourful and saucy.

The grilled shrimp quesadilla was so good, we went back for it twice!   An open-faced crispy flour tortilla topped with chile-marinated shrimp, mexican cheeses, smoked wild mushrooms and oven-dried tomatoes.  My darling boyfriend describes it as “almost a pizza”.

A lighter alternative to all the cheesy richness is the Tacos Camarones.  Soft flour tortillas  filled with sautéed shrimp, house hot sauce, pineapple-habanero pico de gallo and avocado.  After eating heavy meals every single day on holidays, this was a tasty light alternative.

Sigh…  I wish we had a Dos Caminos in Melbourne.  I would be having margaritas and tacos all day long…

For more info and reviews:
Dos Caminos Third Avenue on Urbanspoon

Momofuku Noodle Bar

First stop in New York was the original Momofuku Noodle Bar.   After the hype, the raves, the David Chang Melbourne debacle (most will remember it as momofukurage) it was the number one eatery on the list.

We had already had lunch, it was mid afternoon, so we popped in for a mid afternoon snack.   The pork buns with hoisin, scallion, cucumber were fantastic.  The pork was moist and tender, and the buns were the perfect consistency.

The “momofuku ramen – pork belly, pork shoulder, poached egg” did not disappoint.  The soup was a outstanding with smoky stock flavour and it had two different types of pork – a slice of belly and shredded pork shoulder.  Note: I don’t eat eggs hence it’s missing from the picture below.


Last item we had was a potato side dish.   I don’t exactly remember what was in it but it was super delicious and tasty!   The potatoes had been roasted till it was crunchy on the outside and it was topped with a whole lot of tasty ingredients.

Considering the hype, and that it was a fair hike (from where I was staying midtown), it was totally worth it and did not disappoint!   Highly recommended, and if I had more time in NYC, I would have been back for more!

For more info and reviews:

Momofuku Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

Land of celebrity chefs… Las Vegas!

Ahh Vegas…  scorchingly hot days, endless electronic sounds of the pokies machines, cocktails in ridiculous glasses and land of the celebrity chefs!  The selection of restaurants on the strip was endless, and here are ones that I tried out!

Table 10 is Emeril Lagasse’s restaurant located inside the swanky Palazzo.  I’d never heard of Emeril prior to this wow the food was good!  I had a New Orleans Fried Shrimp Po-Boy with Natural Cut Fries whilst my boyfriend had the Angus Ground Beef Burger (grilled to order – sesame seed brioche bun – natural cut fries – choice of bleu or cheddar cheese) along with a side of Truffle Mac-n-Cheese (excessive for lunch, I couldn’t help myself!).  Lunch time prices were very reasonable, and I still have dreams about that Shrimp Po-Boy… it was so good!

Nobhill Tavern is Michael Mina’s restaurant located at the MGM Grand.   The restaurant decor was minimalist and elegant.  I had the Maine Lobster Pot Pie with baby vegetables and truffle cream – which I think may have been the greatest dish I ate during my whole trip to the US.  It had a whole lobster sitting atop crispy fluffy puff pastry in a rich truffle cream – what more could I ask for?   My boyfriend had the special of the day, which was a beef short rib served with mashed potato (which he substituted for fries).  His comments on the short rib:  “promised to be a simple piece off meat of the grill but turned out to be so much more”.   Would so go back again,  as I saw a couple serves of burger sliders go past and I’m desperate to try them!

Would a post about celebrity chefs be complete without Wolfgang Puck?  I think not.  We gave in and went to his restaurant Spago in Ceasar’s Palace.  We were there for lunch and had the Chicken Meatball Sandwich, soup du jour (Clam Chowder) and Tuna Sashimi on crispy rice cakes.  The food was good, and the restaurant was bustling as we sat “outdoors” under the blue sky (ceiling).

All up, Vegas had some of the most spectacular food I’d had.  In the land of excessiveness, it seems natural to eat excessively also!

For more info and reviews on Table 10:
Table 10 (Palazzo) on Urbanspoon

For more info and reviews on Nobhill Tavern:
Nobhill (MGM Grand) on Urbanspoon

For more info and reviews on Spago:
Spago (Caesars Palace) on Urbanspoon

San Francisco: Crab House and Dottie’s True Blue Cafe

This is my post on “touristy” food in San Fran.   As it was my first time in San Fran, I had to have something that was popular to SF… and lo and behold, we have the dungeness crab! If you walk along the pier, you’ll notice scores of restaurants serving crabs right outside, ready to be cooked and served with an ice cold beer.

We decided to stop at Crab House, in the heart of the touristy area.  It was a really nice looking restaurant, and the service was good.   Started with a  crab chowder, which was creamy and delicious!  There were other restaurants around that were serving the chowder in a big sourdough bun, but to my disappointment, this came in a bowl.

Following that we ordered a serve of the “Killer Crab Roasted in Our Secret Garlic Sauce”  to share between the two of us. It was covered in garlic buttery goodness and was cooked perfectly.  Good thing they gave us bibs, as this was messy eating.

The 2nd touristy place we went to was highlighted in our tour book as having exceptional breakfast.  We queued for 30 mins to get a table at Dottie’s True Blue Cafe and when we finally got our food, I could see what the fuss was all about – it was awesome!  Have to put a warning in here that the location is a bit dodgy, and doesn’t feel like the safest neighbourhood, but given it’s breakfast, it’s unlikely you’ll get mugged at that time of the day.

My partner stuck to his business as usual breakfast, which was scrambled eggs on toast with a side of bacon.  This also came with a side of home fries.  When the dish came out, I thought to myself “looks pretty good, but looks like you could get it any old place”… how wrong I was!  The winner on the plate was the toast!  It was the one of the most delicious slices of toast I’d ever had!  It was tasty, and lightly browned and had a hint of herb (dill?) running through it.

Being the more adventurous of the duo, I decided to try the Southwestern – andouille sausage, mushroom, onions, peppers & jack cheese in an open-faced omelet with home fries with salsa and tortillas.   It is the biggest plate of breakfast I’ve ever come across.  And all this for $13.95!  Crazy!  It was super tasty, but I struggled to get through half of it.

Would I go back to these two places?  Crab House, maybe.  There’s plenty of other restaurants in that area that serve crabs and I’d like to try the others.  Dotties, yes.  That toast was phenomenal, and I’d like to try the pancakes and other breakfast items (at the expense of waiting in line for 30 mins!).

More info and reviews on Crab House:

Crab House on Urbanspoon

More info and reviews on Dottie’s True Blue Cafe:

Dottie's True Blue Cafe on Urbanspoon

Love affair with Hubert Keller…

There was only one place I wanted to go to in San Fran, and that was Fleur de Lys.  And I wanted to go because I love Hubert Keller.  Hubert is another Top Chef Masters contestant that I fell in love with during the first season.

The restaurant was beautiful and the service was imppecable.   It was like a well oiled machine, even down to the coordinated direction in which the waiters/waitresses would walk.  We had the 5 course degustation, and it was spectacular.  Given the dim lighting, my pictures didn’t turn out too well.  Needless to say, most dishes came with foie gras and truffle!  The top dish of the evening was the “seared fillet mignon with a lobstered truffled mac and cheese en brioche“.  As you can see from the pic below, the dish was pretty as a picture.  That’s the perfectly cooked piece of beef on the left, with a lobster tail on top of it, and the truffle infused mac and cheese (with lobster chunks mixed through) on the right.  Excessive, yes.  Delicious, yes.

Mr.Keller also has another restaurant in the city of San Fran – Burger Bar.  I decided to have the most epic burger available, which was “Hubert Keller Burger” consisting of buffalo, caramelised onions, baby spinach, blue cheese on a ciabata bun with a red wine shallot reduction.  It was divine!  Blue cheese and buffalo?  Love it!   Perfectly rounded off with a side of fries, onion rings and beer!

Oh Hubert, my love for you only increased during my dining experiences!  Till next time mon cheri!

More info and reviews on Fleur de Lys:
Fleur de Lys on Urbanspoon
More info and reviews on Burger Bar: 

Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

Eat at Street

Whilst in LA, we popped into Susan Feniger’s Street, which has an interesting concept:  street food from around the world in one restaurant.  Most Aussies won’t have heard of Susan, but I saw the first season of Top Chef Masters and she left quite an impression!  She was such a lovely lady, and her food philosophy of simple easy food resonated with me.

So we visited the restaurant on a perfect warm evening, and were seated outside in the courtyard, next to an open fire.

Perusing the menu was quite an experience – it had a bit of this and a bit of that.  Where else would you see tatsutage fried chicken on the same menu as cheese and grits?  This made it really tough for me to decide on what to have!  The dishes we decided on were a strange combination…

FIrst thing to appear was the complimentary…. appetiser?  It was puffed rice bound by some sweet sticky substance with raisins running through it.  Nice gesture, but it was a bit odd…

The first dish to arrive was their infamous “kaya toast”.  Kaya is a Malaysian coconut paste which is sweet – very delightful.  The kaya was creamy and came sandwiched in toasted white bread.  On the side was a fried egg in soy sauce.  I was concerned that the dish would be overwhelmingly rich but surprisingly, all the elements worked well together and it was delicious!

The tempura mushroom were battered and fried to perfection.  Light and juicy, it was divine.  This was followed by a superb kingfish sashimi, covered in pink peppercorns.  (sorry, the pic looks a bit sad with only 2 mushrooms but it was really a portion of 4 – we scoffed them down faster than I could take the pic!)

We ended the meal with the tatsutage fried chicken atop soba noodles and with a side of pickled vege, and cheese and grits.  The chicken tasted good (but really, how often does fried chicken not taste good?) and went perfectly with the pickled vege but the soba noodles may not have been necessary.  This was my first cheese and grits experience… and unfortunately, it’s not for me!  It was mushy and looked like clag… ugh.  I have to state that my partner LOVED the cheese and grits and lapped it up.  So it may just be a preference/mushy tolerance thing…

So overall, it was awesome – strange delicious food combo’s, LA cool on a warm summer night!

Susan Feniger's Street on Urbanspoon