Archive for us – new york

Rosanjin (NYC) – Undiscovered Gem?

Before this latest trip, I would have said that I was tired of eating high-end cuisine in New York City – expensive meals and lackluster results. But something nearly miraculous happened this past weekend: I ate four very good meals, the only clunker being the cheaper Momofuku (still a favorite of mine.) When was the last time you, dear reader, will have read four sequential good reviews? A kinder, gentler ChuckEats or a satisfied one?

Rosanjin was suggested nearly a year ago as a possibility for “off the map” dining possibilities. Interestingly, the reviews were, and still are, scarce. Country Epicure has been twice, impressed with both visits. The New York Journal gave it a very favorable review. The New York Times, New York Magazine, and New York Sun all reviewed it, but focused more on the kaiseki experience instead of the food. Otherwise, reviews are hard to come by.

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Le Bernardin (NY) – A Michelin One Star Meal

Eating out at the haute level, and then reading/writing about it, can sometimes invoke a Schopenhauer-ian perspective on the hobby – life is suffering because our desires can never be fulfilled. Le Bernardin has its critics who argue that a restaurant focused on fish should not be awarded three Michelin stars; others argue the food is just plain ordinary. Based on my one and only visit, the ingredients were sashimi-quality, the execution flawless, and the conception perfect. It still ranks as one of my favorite meals. But this was the “re-visitation” New York trip, where Jean Georges got knocked out of my Top 5 US earlier in the day. Would Le Bernardin suffer the same fate?

This was more of a social meal so I didn’t take notes. The pictures, while not as good as the last few posts, did turn out ok once I got done with Photoshop.

1. Progressive Tasting of Marinated Fluke

This dish has garnered a fair amount of hype but it’s lost on me. The tasting starts with a simpler citrus-based marinade and progressively gets more “complicated” – more ingredients and stronger flavors. All of the marinades have a bit of heat but I found the last two too strong for the fish. Good.
Le Bernardin (New York) - Progressive tasting of fluke

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Kuruma Zushi (NY) – The Wrong Quadrant

As I stated in the Sushi Yasuda thread, NY’s big three sushi players have done a fine job segmenting themselves in the market. Take Masa, Sushi Yasuda, and Kuruma Zushi; add in Urasawa (LA) and Sawa (Bay Area); and you’ve got the best raw fish in America on any given day. The beauty of the system is that there isn’t much overlap – each has a niche that it dominates.

Kuruma’s niche was serving the best raw fish on the East Coast (with Sawa being its equal on the West Coast.) One went to indulge in a hedonistic feast of sashimi, unrelenting even when the sub-standard rice made its way into the meal. Push on, get past the rice, and begin with the seconds of sashimi. It’s an approach that has left the chef, Toshihiro Uezu, befuddled in the past – how do they eat so much?

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Jean Georges (NY) – Unbalanced Lunch

“I found it absolutely dreadful. Unbalanced flavours, dreadful conception in some dishes, good conception but dreadful execution in others. Some average ingredients.” – Moby

These words, from a comment in a previous post, echoed in my head the day leading up to my Jean Georges lunch. JG was my first “high end” meal five years ago and it stood head and shoulders above everything else for some time (French Laundry, Ron Siegel’s Masa’s, La Folie, and others.) I remembered a nuanced and subtle cuisine permeated by ginger, lemon, and lemongrass essences. The memory of that meal was so positive I found myself reluctant to return on subsequent visits to New York. Well, it was time to brave those waters again.

I met Alex and Aki from Ideas in Food, two of my favorite chefs in this country (see my previous Keyah Grande reports.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Sushi Yasuda (NY) – Supersonic Sushi

The top sushi players of Manhattan have done a nice job positioning themselves in the market – Masa for the over-the-top-price-is-no-issue annual or bi-annual outings; Kuruma Zushi for a slightly less expensive fish-is-the-only-thing-that-matters meal; and Sushi Yasuda for a quick, informal, and far less expensive rice-is-king stop.

Lunch was no different than usual Read the rest of this entry »

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