The Meals of Others

I’ve begun 2008 in a dining lull but some meal reports should start appearing within the next few weeks. Meanwhile, I’ll highlight some recent meals of other bloggers below.

If you’ve seen other great meals recently, please share them with everyone in the comments below.

Ryu-Gin (Tokyo, Japan)
Ryu-Gin looks to be a very intriguing restaurant, albeit one I may not be able to completely appreciate. It starts with traditional Japanese cuisine and then departs on an experimental node of its own. The difference, here, from some of those other restaurants, might be the chef’s fanatical obsession over ingredient quality. One of the main complaints against chefs practicing molecular gastronomy is their insistence on technique over ingredient quality. Seiji Yamamoto might bridge that chasm.

The Japanese Food Report’s overview with some pictures.

Aragawa (Tokyo, Japan)
I’m sure Tokyo has a multitude of restaurants that could proclaim to be the most expensive on any given day, but Forbes picked this restaurant to top their 2006 list. The list is random and silly, but Aragawa has a reputation for serving some of the city’s best beef, thanks to operating their own farm.

A Life Worth Eating had great beef but a mediocre meal. I’ve been there – extraordinary ingredients at more extraordinary prices – you leave wondering if you’ve been had. Perhaps this is why some of the best Tokyo restaurants only want locals? It’s the same excuse used by my favorite place for raw fish – Sawa.

Alinea (Chicago)
My first, and only, meal was marred by an excessive amount of Beligan beer earlier that afternoon. If some have complained about blurry pictures in the past, the photographs that night would have been more DeKooning than Achatz. Nonetheless, it was a remarkable meal that clearly exceeded my expectations. Some experiments did not work but, overall, I felt the extended tasting menu was a solid piece of work with great ingredients – probably a top 5 restaurant in this country.

Sous Survivor took a one night trip to Alinea and rekindled my interest to try the food again – later this year, when the weather warms up.

Jean Georges (New York)
Jean Georges was the first grand restaurant meal I ate, five years ago. It clearly stood above other restaurants I had visited at that time – notably, French Laundry and Masa’s (Ron Siegel in San Francisco.) The execution and clarity of flavors were instrumental in developing my obsession for fine dining. I was afraid of returning. My fears were realized when I had lunch last year at Jean Georges for the first time since that first meal.

The Wandering Eater had lunch and his post has convinced me to try it again. Lunch is priced too aggressively not to give it another shot.

As for me, I will start posting reviews beginning next week.

- chuck

  • Val

    so you thought Jean Georges was better than the French Laundry?

  • ChuckEats

    at the time, yes. my last meal at French Laundry was definitely superior to my last meal at Jean Georges.


    … you boys are so silly arguing that either Jean Georges or the French Laundry is/was better than the other at any given moment.

    How about realizing how privileged you are to eat at either.

    It’s like arguing that you prefer a, definitely superior, 911 GT2 Porsche going down Neuschwanstein, but coming up A7 into Innsbruck, “YOUR” Ferrari 360 Modena has more Zugspitze torque, which then is also definitely superior. hehehe

    - and here “we” are eating our PBJs and driving VWs to Mickey D’s –LOL–

  • Adam

    hey chuck — when you have more details about your upcoming japan trip, let me know the dates. i might be there again later this year. i tried so hard to get a reservation at ryugin; but it was only open for one night while i was there (christmas vacation). that place is definitely at the top of my list right now for japan. thanks for sharing !

  • patrick

    just a note to say thanks again for gettin the word out about my alinea trip. Cant wait to hear about your trip in the spring! I might be working there!