Tag: fine dining

Marea: One of New York's Finest (And a Crudo Recipe)

There are so many choices in NYC for fine dining, and it seems that bar gets raised higher and higher as new restaurants open, new concepts explored, new trends established.  Marea is not so new (opened in 2009), relatively speaking, but it is still “young” – and still has the feel of youthful exuberance in its atmosphere, service, and menu.  It’s hard to believe that an Italian seafood-oriented restaurant can rival the great Le Bernardin, but Marea is at the same level. From start (amuse bouche) to finish (house-made mini chocolate cake), we were “wowed,” which is no small feat.  Highest quality crudo in the city, done with elegance & creativity.  And probably one of the best pasta dishes in the world (octopus & bone marrow – simply amazing!).  Worth the trip, and worth the price.   We also want to greatly complement the wait staff.  We were there the day before the Super Bowl, with every football dignitary in town. A well-known group from the Washington, DC area requested a last minute change – from a table of six to twelve.  The wait staff performed an incredible ballet to accommodate, orchestrated by Maitre d’ George, which minimized any inconvenience […]

Husk in Charleston – Turning a Sow's Ear Into a Silk Purse

The DinnerDoctor and I had heard a lot about Chef Sean Brock, and heard from so many sources that his food was tops in a town that is now high on the foodies’ radar screen.  In fact, it’s hard to find a (credible foodies) bad review on Husk.  We were certainly astonished by the laid-back, but attentive service, and the rustic atmosphere that somehow still expressed quality.  When you walk into the reception area, you are immediately overwhelmed by the list of almost every purveyor of a major ingredient at Husk scrolled on a huge blackboard.  This is an amazing attention to detail for a farm to table restaurant. The wine list is well-balanced between New World and Old World – but, on this rarest occasions, we skipped wine, and focused on the bourbon list – and what a list!  We did not see Pappy Van Winkle on the list, but many other fine, rare bourbons were there.  We tried a Jefferson Presidential 21, and their special barrel-aged Manhattan – both outstanding. Chef Sean’s signature dish seems to be the “Buffalo” Glazed Pig Ear Lettuce Wraps, which was on the menu the night we visited.  Pig ear might sound weird […]

A January Foodie Road Trip

There is no better time to take a foodie road trip than the dead of winter – most people are recovering from holiday over-eating so there is no problem getting into most any restaurant. And with the temperatures in the Northeast in single digits, most people in their right mind were not out and about.  But we’re not in our right minds. Besides all of these reasons, we were looking for a good way to break all of our New Year’s resolution in one fell swoop. We started in NYC, when the temperatures hit record lows – it actually was painful to walk the streets.  Over the course of 10 days, we made our way through six cities, ending in our sunny home environs of Bradenton, FL.  We went to a number of fine dining restaurants, and some fun dives including a good sampling of  barbeque. Here are the restaurants we visited (links provided to the reviews on each restaurant): NYC: Barbournia, Hill Country Barbeque Market Philadelphia: Serpico Stafford, VA: Zibibbo Smithfield, NC: White Swan Barbeque Charleston, SC: Peninsula Grill, Husk, Rue de Jean Ellenton, FL:  Hickory Hollow Barbeque Sarasota, FL: Louie’s Modern  

A Night to Remember: Norman's 10th Anniverary Party

Norman’s in Orlando is one of the most highly touted restaurants in this land of mouse ears and roller coaster rides.  Norman Van Aken is a self-trained, world renowned, James Beard Award winning chef – and we were wondering, during a recent trip, if all the fuss was worthwhile. Indeed it was worthy of the hype – the DinnerDoctor and our special guest RobinD enjoyed a praise-worthy tasting menu dinner, with wine.  There were many noteworthy moments – including the best version of shrimp and grits that we’ve ever tasted – but it all pales by the fact that we stumbled onto Norman’s 10th anniversary gala, which was happening the next night.  This was a black tie affair, and quite pricey – but it was a once in a lifetime happening.  We ordered the tickets, and back we were for the next night. The thirteen chefs were a who’s who of the culinary world, including Emeril Lagasse, Jeremiah Tower, Charlie Trotter (who couldn’t attend personally because of health issues), Dean Fearing, and many others including one of the largest gathering of master sommeliers. Some of the highlights of the evening: Poached Maine Lobster with hearts of palm salad (left) and […]

Never Blue at the Blue Bottle

First and foremost – Congratulations to the owners on their newest “staff” member! There are so many wonderful experiences that MrSeriousFoodie has had at the Blue Bottle, many with his wife the DinnerDoctor. We wish we could still walk to our favorite place – the “Cheers” of restaurants, where everyone knows our name.  My latest experience with four other close friends shows that Chef Aaron continues to raise the bar on exceptional food, and reasonable prices. Four of the us had the hoisin glazed pork belly with homemade kimchi to start,. The pork belly is somewhat of a hold-over from the previous menu, and thankfully so – it was done perfectly, with the right amount of sweetness on the pork belly matched with the salty-spicy kimchi. We all shared the homemade pasta “carbonara,” a playful combination created by Chef Aaron, which included an amazing deep fried egg yolk. The main course was maybe the best dish I’ve had in years – a quail and lobster combination. The lobster was butter poached – sweet and succulent – and the quail was perfectly done. The sauce brought the two proteins in harmony, with the dish separated by wonderful duck-fat cooked potato slices. […]

Fond Memories of Restaurants That Are No More

The last week of February, MrSeriousFoodie and the DinnerDoctor paid a visit to NYC to have a long weekend on the town.  We strolled down 58th Street, and walked into the Four Seasons Hotel to get out of the cold for a few minutes.  We walked to the back of the hotel to see what was happening at one of our favorite restaurants, only to find that Joel Robuchon’s L’Atelier was closed.  We sat for a few minutes in the hotel lobby, talking about some of our great dining experiences in restaurants that are no more: La Chanterelle in NYC (the NYTimes said, “I can easily and confidently say that Chanterelle was not only one of the best, obviously, but also in its own class of for great food and service.”), The Ryland Inn in White House Station, NJ (when it was run by Craig Shelton), Specchio by Luke Palladino, and Le Bec Fin when it was run by Chef George Perrier.  We’re sure that there are many more – so, we’re looking for feedback.  What were some of your favorite experiences in restaurants that are no more? We’ll be doing a little homage to the restaurants mentioned above, providing […]

David Burke – in the House

MrSeriousFoodie and wife DinnerDoctor, along with MsL-Foodie, checked out David Burke’s Townhouse for Sunday Brunch.  MsL-Foodie was there recently for dinner, and is a big fan of Chef Burke’s restaurants.  MrSeriousFoodie and DinnerDoctor have tried his Rumson, NJ restaurant Fromagerie, and were delighted with the food.  The Townhouse was better – more fun, great atmosphere, high-end food that’s approachable & beautiful, and, most importantly, it was delicious.  This was definitely an experience worthy of waking up early for on Sunday. Nice wines by the glass, especially a great selection of sparkling varieties made for the Sunday brunch experience – kudos to the sommelier.  MsL-Foodie had her usual Bloody Mary, done the way she likes it.  It went well with her beginning course, the salmon and tuna tartare parfait – a beautiful starter. The DinnerDoctor had the goat cheese souffle – it was good, but the duck prosciutto that came along for the ride was delightful. Mr SeriousFoodie went for the pretzel crusted crab cake.  It wasn’t the best crab cake we ever had (the inside was a bit dry, and not real flavorful), but it was definitely the most creative preparation and presentation. The main courses were truly wonderful – […]

Three Coins, at Least, in This Fountain (Restaurant)

This photo of Fountain Restaurant is courtesy of TripAdvisor There are many times that MrSeriousFoodie and wife DinnerDoctor go out to fancy restaurants, only to be disappointed. This was no tone of them. In fact, they hit the proverbial home run. The food all was exquisitely balanced in flavor and texture, with some playful surprises in the use of ingredients and combination of flavors. We were steered to the al la carte menu, and had two outstanding appetizers and main courses. DinnerDoctor had her favorite:  oysters.  But these were magnificent:  chilled Cape May Oysters On The Half Shell; Three Ways – Bloody Mary Geleé, Radish, Celery Salt, Lime, Wild Trout Roe, Yuzu and Soy, Pickled Fennel, Red Onion, Mirliton Mignonette.  Each oyster was perfect, and the added sauces were spot on – matching the succulent shell fish, without overpowering the delicate flavors.  The Bloody Mary Geleé was my favorite.  MrSeriousFoodie had the amazing chilled Sweet and Spicy Alaskan King Crab Cocktail”  dressed with citrus celeriac chiboust, pok choy, pea shoots and watermelon radish, perfectly dressed with sesame soy and green apple dressing.  Do I have your attention yet?  It was the second time within three nights that I had a […]

Felidia's – Meraviglioso!

Everything about Felidia’s is spot on, including service, food, and wine. And, at the end of the meal, we feel we got our money’s worth. MrSeriousFoodie and wife DinnerDoctor celebrated with two of our regular tasters, MsL-Foodie and MrSignificantOther. Top notch pasta as always, especially the spinach tagliatelle with duck ragout. MrSignificantOther had the long-time favorite of Cacio E Pere (pear and fresh pecorino-filled ravioli, aged pecorino, crushed black pepper).  DinnerDoctor had a simple pasta dish with fresh black truffles, and it was simply delicious. Both dishes were so subtle, the pasta is so light, and the sauces were simple but elegant – truly Italian perfection. Andrew the sommelier served us a great Pignolo, which was a revelations for us. The wine had just the right notes of pepper and spice – it was med-full bodied but had sensational aromatics, with a nice after-taste of raspberry.  It paired beautifully with all the food. Felidia’s – our longtime go-to NYC restaurant – is just like my Mom would have made – if she ran a professional kitchen.

Maritana Grill at at Loews Don CeSar Hotel

One of the busiest days at any good restaurant is Valehttp://theseriousfoodie.net/wp-admin/post.php?post=25&action=edit#ntine’s Day – which we always avoid. But the day after is my wife’s birthday, which we can’t avoid. The Maritana Grille was still packed, and they were offering their Valentine’s Day tasting menu. It looked wonderful, and it met our expectations. This is one of the few restaurants in the Tampa – Sarasota corridor that meets our standards of fine dinning, matching some of the best in NYC, Chicago, New Orleans, and San Fran. Kudos to the chef, the wait staff, and the sommelier (who has brought some really interesting wines to the list).  My hat is off to any wine guy who knows that New Zealand is about more than Sauvignon blanc, and in fact has some great Bordeaux blends from the Hawkes Bay region.  The sommelier had a cab/merlot blend from Craggy Range (2008) which was outstanding.