Reuben Egg Rolls

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

At least, that’s how I hope the folks at Red Farm take it.

Though I haven’t yet eaten at the highly acclaimed Chinese restaurant, I have heard much about their acclaimed pastrami egg rolls. That’s right, egg rolls filled with luscious Katz’s pastrami, fresh vegetables, and sauerkraut.

This is the perfect Hanukkah food, right?  Fried AND pastrami!

Well, it is almost perfect. It needs some cheese and a little Russian dressing to really make it the ultimate Chewish Hanukkah food.  Be aware that this recipe take forever to make – it’s a lot of prepping, rolling, and frying. It takes a few hours from start to finish, but it isn’t complicated, just time-consuming. That’s why you see my sister’s fingers in all the pictures – this is a recipe that should really be made in tandem.

Reuben Egg Rolls (inspired by An Immovable Feast)

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. wiss cheese, shredded

1/2 lb. sauerkraut, squeezed in a towel to drain it of all moisture

1/2 lb. pastrami, thin cut and finely shredded

2 -3 cups oil in which to fry

bowl of water for sealing egg rolls.

Russian dressing to serve alongside

1. Make sure that when you are wrapping, you cover the wonton wrappers with a damp paper towel, or they will dry out and rip when you start to roll them. Trust me, this is an all important step.

2. Now, it’s time to roll. Take your time and while keeping the rolling tight, try not to make any tears or holes. If you do, it’s ok – just keep frying them. Put a teaspoon sized combo of meat, cheese, and kraut, in the corner of your wrapper facing you. Then…

start to roll, until you roll up to the next 2 corners.

Like this!

3. Then, squeeze your filling into the middle, and fold in each corner of the wrapper to make a little packet.

4. Now, continue to roll, until you almost reach the end of the wrapper, and then…

ta da! Simply moisten along the “envelope flap” with water until the edges are sealed and you are good to go! Now, this is gonna take you a good, long time. Just grab your child, your younger sister (some young person who can’t run away) to do these with you, then you can even store them overnight in plastic containers. That’s what we did, with wet paper towels in between each layer, and they turned out perfectly crisp.

5. Now, in a large and heavy stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil to at least 350F (you know it is good to go when you drop a piece of bread in and it instantly fries). Then fry the egg rolls for about 5 minutes, until they are deeply golden brown on both sides.  Don’t put more than 5 egg rolls or so in the pot at a time, to ensure that they don’t lower the temperature of the oil.

Make sure that you keep the pile of egg rolls under a damp paper towel while you fry. If there are a few little tears that develop, don’t worry about it. Just keep frying and it will all work out.

Pastrami tends to soothe all wounds.

When you have a pile of gorgeous, crispy crunchy egg rolls, you are done!

6. Dip in russian dressing and serve.

THIS is how you make a pastrami egg roll. You fill it with fatty, peppery pastrami and load it with tangy sauerkraut. you throw in some tangy swiss cheese that melts and oozes with each bite through warm, crispy wrapper. You dip it in savory Russian dressing and you feel oddly that you are both at dim sum and the deli.

And you also kick the ass of everyone else’s same old, same old latkes and donuts Hanukkah party.

I might have started out imitating Red Farm, but the truth is…the chefs there might want to take a page from my book.

I won’t be mad. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Grand Sichuan UWS Delivers on Flavor, Fails on Spice

Another day, another reason to barrage my tastebuds with foods so spicy that I grand start to see double. 
Grand Sichuan is one of the most famous Sichuan restaurant chains in the city, the other being Szechuan Gorumet. Being a HUGE fan of Szechuan Gourmet, I figured I would hit up the competition and see what they had to offer. 
We headed to the Upper West side location of the restaurant. Be forewarned: You don’t need to wear a tie here. You might not even need to wear shoes here. Not dingy or dirty at all, just totally casual and appropriate for families.

Cucumber with Garlic

We wanted to order the Cold Cucumber with Scallion Sauce that I had read so much about. But, it was nowhere to be seen. Even when I described it to our incredibly helpful and efficient server, he didn’t seem to have ever heard of it. So we went with this, and it was excellent. Crisp cucumber was liberally sprinkled with deep, nutty sesame oil and the garlic was a faint bite in the background instead of an overpowering flavor. It was refreshing and whet the appetite, although I was quite disappointed not to try the original cucumber dish.

 Shrimp and Pork Crab Dumplings

Oh yes. These were not perfect, but they were excellent. The skin on the dumpling was rather thick, but the filling was outstanding – sweet, salty, meaty, fresh, and perfectly moist and soft within. They arrive at the table piping hot and you bite off the top of the dumpling dough, then fill the cavity with some of the vinegar-ginger sauce. Then, you pop the whole thing in your mouth, letting the pork and crab broth and meat fill your mouth and invade your nostrils. There can be no better way to commit two Kosher dietary sins at once.

 MaPo Tofu

One of my favorite dishes at any Szechuan restaurant is the MaPo Tofu. Spicy, garlicky, salty sauce with Szechuan peppercorns, chili oil, ground pork and cubes of silky tofu. Usually MaPo tofu is hot enough to make my nose run but this time…it was barely spicy enough to remind me I was alive. Really. This did allow me to focus on the slightly sour taste of the fermented black beans, the pungent taste of the garlic and the buzzy, lip biting taste of the chili oil. But…sorry…I want some pain when I order my MaPo Tofu!

Gui Zhou Spicy Chicken

Highly recommended by our server, I had high hopes that this would compete with the Wok Tossed Chicken with chiles from Szechuan Gourmet. It was delicious in its own right, but it lacked that lip tingling, tongue numbing, ear buzzing spice that I crave out of that dish. The chicken was tender, in fried nuggets interspersed with slivers of caramelized garlic and crunchy dried red chiles that certainly brought the heat but…I don’t know. It lacked the nuances I crave in Szechuan food. 
That was the overlying theme of Grand Sichuan. It was good. It was flavorful. It was certainly a great value for the money, but it was not nuanced or layered the way that I expect Szechuan food to be prepared. I would go back for the soup dumplings, and if I were in the neighborhood I would absolutely eat there, but I wouldn’t dine here over other Szechuan restaurants in NYC.
After all, I like to feel a little pain.
Grand Sichuan 74 on Urbanspoon

Pork and Chicken Shumai

Because woman does not live on shrimp toast alone, we figured we might as well try our hand at shumai, as well! Using Yan Can Cook, and the blog Tasty Eating as rough guides, we hit the ground running and set in for a long, long time of folding and stuffing.

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb. ground chicken
1 lb. ground pork
1 package wonton wrappers
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, made into a paste
1/2 Tbsp. minced or grated ginger
2 cups cleaned cilantro leaves
1 bunch scallions, white parts only, sliced into thin rounds
2 tsp. Chinese 5 spice
2 Tbsp. each of sesame oil and soy sauce
Enough lettuce or cabbage to cover the bottom of your steamer
PLUS vegetable oil for sauteing and steaming  -about 1/2 cup total

1)Place onions and garlic on the stove to sautee until they turn lightly golden, about 10 minutes.

2)In the meantime, grate your peeled ginger on a microplane,

chop the white part of the scallions

and add them and the 5 spice to the pan.

3)Add soy

and sesame oil.

4)Add a small piece of pork or chicken and fry it with the veggies to taste for seasoning. Thank you, Tasty Eating! This would NEVER have occurred to me, and may well be the most important step of the cooking process. Brilliant.

5)Add the meat and cilantro and mix well

6)Add the sauteed vegetables

7)Mix well

8)Assemble your steamer (Or one of those collapsible veggie steamers), fill the bottom with water

and line it with lettuce.

9)Now take a wonton wrapper and place it over your hand, where you have made a very loose fist, with air in the middle.

10)Poke the airspace, forming a wonton cup

11)Fill the wrapper with about a teaspoon of filling – it can be mounded up over the top, but you don’t want it to be bursting at the seams.

12)Form creases around the outside of the meat so all the edges are touching the meat.

TA DA!!! Your shumai!

13)Repeat steps 9 – 12 until all meat and wrappers are used up. It will take a long time. This is a GREAT time to start using children or the elderly as forced labor.

By now, the lettuce will look translucent and wilted from the steam.

14)Add the dumplings to the steamer. They can touch on the sides, but they can’t overlap

15)Now put the lid on the steamer

and in about 20 minutes (Or when you cut into a dumpling and the pork is no longer pink)

16)Serve. These dumplings may be the best you have ever tasted. None of that greasy, bland saltiness that comes from so many sub-par dumpling places in the city. Fresh, fragrant cilantro mixing with pungent garlic, sweet sauteed onions, and the strange but wonderful Chinese 5 spice that makes ANYTHING taste Chinese. The pork adds fat and texture and the chicken absorbs all of the seasonings flavors.

Dipped in some Sriracha and soy, I couldn’t imagine a better meal. Unless you threw some shrimp toast in there. Cause in this case, more is more. 

Shrimp Toast Recipe

Have you ever had shrimp toast? If you never have, or if you are scared of shrimp – HELLO! This is the dish for YOU! Because, what is more delicious than shrimp? FRIED shrimp. Especially fried shrimp mixed with garlic and ginger on top of crunchy toast. It is a great way to use up stale bread, and to make a little bit of shrimp stretch a long way. You can include water chestnuts or bamboo shoots if you like them, but they aren’t  necessary for a delicious dish. This Chinese dim-sum dish in shockingly easy to make – all you need is a food processor and an affinity for frying things.
And if you read this blog…you probably have an affinity for frying things.

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 Lbs. Shrimp, cleaned and de-veined
1/2 loaf white bread (stale or lightly toasted)
1/2 onion, chopped into large chunks
1 clove garlic
1 small piece ginger, peeled
4 cups vegetable or peanut oil
1 egg white (don’t forget how to separate the eggs)
1 cup cilantro, cleaned
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. lime zest

 1)Cut off crusts of bread.

2)Cut bread slices into triangles. Set aside.

 3)Throw the onions, garlic, ginger…

Cilantro and shrimp into the food processor.
4)Pulse until it is a pretty smooth paste
5)Add soy sauce, lime zest and
egg white.

 6)Spread mixture on bread in about 1/8 inch thickness

 7)Place bread on spatula, shrimp side down.

 8)Slide bread into boiling oil CAREFULLY (it will splatter if you drop it from too high).

 9)Cook 2 minutes per side, or until lightly golden, then drain on paper towel.

10)Eat this golden piece of toast, incredibly crunchy but not at all hard. Topped with a springy, firm layer of sweet and salty shrimp, laced with the heat of ginger, the fragrance of cilantro and the zing of garlic, this is might be my new favorite way to eat shrimp. I like mine with a dipping sauce made of 1/2 soy, 1/2 rice wine vinegar and a few diced Serrano chiles, but you might like yours plain. Or you might like yours with a spritz of lime and a few water chestnuts.  And if you don’t like yours…
send them to me.
And I’m sorry you have no taste buds. 

Chinese Chicken Salad Wraps

Inspired by my awesome salad at Wolfgang Puck’s, I knew that I would have to enjoy it at home. 
I mean, I’m not saying I’m as great as Wolfgang, but I can hold my own at copying or adapting a recipe. 
Just look at these Chinese Chicken Salad Wraps.
First step – let’s poach that chicken! I used chicken thighs and breasts, but you can use one or the other if you prefer. Just make sure that the chicken is bone in, which will result in the most flavorful chicken.

I started with 1 carton of beef broth, because I love the deep, iron-y umami taste of beef. Feel free to use whatever stock you have on hand. Add about 1/2 a cup of soy sauce to the liquid. Set that to boil along with…

 A few cloves of fragrant star anise (do NOT leave this out – it lends an unmistakably Chinese taste to the chicken),

a pinch of ground ginger (or knob of fresh, if you have it),

 1 quartered onion, a few smashed cloves of garlic, and the (cleaned) stems of cilantro, whose leaves you will use later.

 Just set this pot to boil for at least 30 minutes, though an hour is better – the flavors will just intensify as it boils. When you are ready, just plop the chicken in and turn the heat down until the broth is just simmering, NOT boiling. This will ensure that the chicken cooks slowly and evenly. Poaching results in incredibly juicy and tender chicken, and boiling often renders it too tough.

It is done when the juices run clear when pierced with the fork – probably not more than 20 minutes, if you have a great stove, longer if you have a worse one (oh, New York kitchens…we all hate you). Strain the soup so all you have is the broth. You can toss the veggies, but SAVE THE BROTH! You will use it momentarily!
Set the chicken aside to cool momentarily while you make the dressing:

 You want to use whatever citrus you have lying around, but you at least need a lime. Lime has a certain acidity that really brings this salad to life. Use oranges, tangerines, clementines for the rest of the juice, but you need at least one lime. We used tangelos – they are sweet like tangerines but as big as oranges and with less seeds.

 So yes…you will need 2 cups total of citrus juice.

 Add to that about 1/2 a cup of rice wine vinegar,

 1 cup of sesame oil (not the hot kind, this time…the heat comes later),

 about a tablespoon of ponzu flavored soy sauce (it’s worth it to buy this citrus flavored soy if you haven’t yet. It will absolutely CHANGE YOUR LIFE),

 and  about 3 Tbls. of Hoisin sauce. This is a sweet, thick Chinese condiment that is the equivalent of Chinese BBQ sauce. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t become an instant fan of it. Whisk the dressing until smooth, then take the skin off the cooled chicken and shred it off the bone.

Let the chicken absorb the marinade – while it is warm or room temperature, the meat will absorb the most flavor.

 Now, take your package of rice noodles. These are the things that pad thai are made out of, and though you could use cappellini or bean thread noodles, these have the nicest, springy texture. You could even use fried wontons if you want, but, what the heck…I love a noodle!

 Here is where the broth comes into play. Boil the noodles until al dente, and they will absorb all the deep, salty, fragrant flavors of the broth.

Then drain ’em and then you can throw the broth if you want (but I never would! That makes for some great eating!!)

I know it’s been awhile, but lunch is almost ready!

 Now you just cut up a couple of bell peppers. Any color will do, just be sure that you get a pepper that is shiny, smells fresh and a bit fruity and is firm with no wrinkles.

 Lop of the top and bottom,

 cut off the walls of the pepper, and slice them into thin strips. Be sure to only get the colored parts of the pepper, none of the white membrane.

 And then just prepare the other veggies and herbs. We used cukes, scallions, peppers, cilantro, bean sprouts and pea shoots. Use whatever you want, but these are the best ones. Trust me.
My blog, my rules.

Now make your wraps! The chicken is moist and fragrant, the noodles are chewy and bouncy and the vegetables add crunch while the cilantro adds that hit of freshness. Topped off with the garlicky tingle of Sriracha and another dollop of that sweet Hoisin sauce, and this is a meal that anyone would enjoy. 
Even Wolfgang Puck. 

Chinese Mirch – Fusion Flare

Chinese Mirch is unusual. It is a strand of Chinese cuisine that is fused with Indian flavors. 
I like Chinese food.
I like Indian food.
Did I like Chinese Mirch?
I liked how casual but still elegant it looked.

I liked the soy, samabl olek and pickled chilis at the table.

I mean, I REALLY liked those pickled chilis. Tangy, crisp, and spicy enough to bring a tear to my eye, but not incendiary enough to make me cry. Perfect.

Gobi Manchurian – cauliflower florets tossed in fresh ginger, 
garlic, onion seasoning.
Well, this is just the BEST DAMN CAULIFLOWER ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET. And I know, because I have tried almost every cauliflower on the face of the planet. Perfectly coked cauliflower, tender but not mushy, with a crisp, greasless exterior, laced with sweet onions, bracing ginger and the spiciest chilis imaginable. A bit of fragrant cilantro added an almost gentle freshness to it. The amazing thing is how unsalty this was – there was nothing heavy or sodium laden about it. It was just crispy, tender, spicy, herby goodness. I liked it.
 Honestly…my dining mate, Sarah, almost wouldn’t let me order this, because she “doesn’t like cauliflower.”
Well then how come, after she tasted it, she offered to PAY me if she could take the extra cauliflower home???
Don’t worry…I totally made her pay me for 

Chicken lollipop, spicy pulled back winglets .
These were like less salty versions of Bon Chon. Crisp, fatty, juicy, with spicy and sweet sauces for dipping. Not too spicy for those who don’t like heat, and for those who do, those pickled chilis really enhance the chicken’s natural sweetness and taste. 
I liked them. 

Mirch 65 – chicken spiked with curry leaves and red hot chilies.
Now, this got the spiciest level of heat warning on the menu…I was really expecting to have my face blown off. But…meh. It was good, don’t get me wrong – tender chicken, sweet peppers and caramelized onions. IT was salty with soy, pungent with garlic and fragrant with curry leaves. But did you see what I was missing there? HEAT. That lip blistering, brow sweating, I think I am going to die right here HEAT! 
So…even though I liked it…for the purposes of this review…
I didn’t like it.
But, see, I hate to end the review that way! Because, really, I did like the restaurant! The chicken wings were delicious and the cauliflower BLEW my MIND. Even the chicken was really quite good, just not quite what I wanted. I like Chinese Mirch enough to go back and try something else – making sure it is REALLY spicy.
Because, when it comes to Chinese Mirch…
I like it! 
Chinese Mirch on Urbanspoon

Szechuan Gourmet-It’s Getting Hot in Here!

The definition of a masochist is someone who enjoys being punished.  Though I don’t go in for the whips and ball gags, there is a certain part of me that enjoys being in pain.  That seeks out  an activity that makes me cry a little.  That longs for the euphoric high that only a true, deep hurt brings.
Yes, folks, I am talking about super spicy food.  Like the kind brought on from the divinely spicy Szechuan cuisine served at Szechuan Gourmet.  This isn’t the Americanized broccoli beef you get elsewhere.  It isn’t even Cantonese.  No, this is the real McCoy tongue tingling, nose running, mouth on fire Szechuan cuisine that sends me through the roof.  And the stuff served at Szechuan Gourmet is WAY above par.

Hot and Sour soup.  This was the only let down of the meal.  Not particularly hot or sour, and with a slightly viscous texture that reminded me of mucus, this soup really had nothing to to lend to the palate.

Spicy cucumber salad.  Oh Creator of All That is Holy, this is the most insanely delicious cucumber dish I have ever had in my LIFE!!! Thickly cut cukes, marinated in  chili oil that was to create a dish that was warming, deep, only vaguely spicy, and refreshing.  You might think this would be oily, but it instead came off as light.  Even people wary of spice could enjoy this-and ONLY this.  Because coming up next…

is the Stir Fried Fresh Pork Belly with Leeks and Chili.  Is there anything lovelier to read on a menu than “pork belly”?  Oh yes…pork belly with leeks and chili.  Yeah  that’s better.  Fatty, unctuous pork belly that seeped sweet porcine fat tempered by meltingly tender leeks and a few spicy chilis.  This dish was spicy enough to get my lips tingling but not enough to make my eyes tear.

Wok Fried Chicken with Green and Dried Chiles.  Ok, this is where the LOOOOVE started.  Smokey, garlicky, greaseless chicken mixed with lightly spicy green chiles, and red chiles so hot that when I popped them in my mouth, the corners of my lips turned red and raw.  The combination of meat and earth, of smokey and spicy, of hot and pungent, was more than I could bear.  Even as my nose ran and my eyes teared, I ate piece after piece of burning hot protein, tearing into the sweet green and hot red chiles.  This was an incendiary and outstanding dish.

We also tried the Shredded Chicken with Spicy Garlic Sauce.  The chicken cut with a spoon-it was almost velvety in texture.  The sauce was thick but not gloopy, strewn with sharp scallions and those hellacious, wonderful peppers.  The garlic sauce was extraordinary-sweet instead of bracing, with a soft and umami filled taste.  It contrasted so well with the spicy peppers and that  tender chicken.  It was my favorite dish of the day.

As my dad would say: “They don’t have to run this one through the dishwasher”.  
Szechuan Gourmet is really a heck of a restaurant.  It’s cheap, it’s fast, and the food is freakin’ amazing.  What can I say?  The more it hurts…the more I want it.
Szechuan Gourmet on Urbanspoon

Annisa Review

I had a really great date the other night.  It was so easy to just start up a conversation, we laughed all night, ate wonderful food in a beautiful restaurant…it honestly made me fall in love with the city all over again! I was in Sex and the City!

Mostly because, just like Sex and the City, this was a gal date.  Not the kind of date where you spend hours getting your smoky eye just right, buy a new push up bra so you can rest your chin on your boobs, and order a tiny salad so you look like a dainty eater.

 

That girl is a liar.

 

 

No, this was a date where i slapped on some lip gloss, threw on some super comfortable leggings, and knew that I would be in for a totally gluttonous dining experience!

 

 

 

 

 

I met up with Grace of Gracenotesnyc.com for dinner at Anissa.  She is doing this totally kick ass thing of touring all the Michelin starred restaurants in NYC…basically, the eating equivalent of the tour de France.  So meeting her was kinda like meeting Lance Armstrong…except i can do what she does 🙂

 

 

 

Anissa is the rebirth of Anita Lo’s Chinese influenced restaurants-the first location burned down.   This time around, Lo hired a feng shui expert to ensure the restaurant’s luck and prosperity.  The room is small-it only seats about 50 diners-with a bar in front overlooking Barrow Street.  The room itself is done in tans and creams-very soothing, and with the candles, very romantic.

 

 

 

 

As Grace and I sat down , we got bread and butter.  The bread was sadly-eh.  Not warm, and though the texture was good-very doughy and crusty-the taste was kinda blah. The butter-now THAT was good stuff!  unsalted, room temperature, just reminding me how much I loooove dairy!

 

Our amuse bouche was an escargot in a pastry shell.  This was my FIRST TIME eating escargots!  Yep…I was a snail virgin…touched for the very first tiiiiiime…

…ANYWAY…

 

 

 

This was FAB! I was scared that it might be rubbery or bland, but it was totally tender, and reminded me of a clam.  It was very mild tasting and just blended perfectly with the lightly garlicky butter and the crisp, flaky pastry shell.  It was delish!  Next time I am in Paris-I am TOTALLY ordering a whole plate of these suckas and a big ole baguette to mop up the sauce!!

 

Grace and I ordered a la carte because we both wanted to try this dish:

 

 

 

Seared Foie Gras with soup dumplings and jicama

 

Upon arrival, this dish looked like a little piece of seared foie on top of regular old dumplings, filled with pork or veggies or whatever.  Not that insanely impressive.

 

Then I put a dumpling in my mouth.

 

HOLY HEAVEN AND EARTH!

 

 

 

Thin and stretchy skin broke, giving way to an explosion of the most insanely foie-gras-y sensation I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.  It was fatty in a not unpleasant way, and a little bit sweet and deeply meaty.  I really didn’t taste the jicama, but the fact that the foie gras taste was not overpowering must have been due to the use of the light and somewhat bland jicama.  The balsamic sauce decorating the plate and the perfectly seared foie on top (crusty outside, meltingly tender within) completed this dish.  Was it a soup dumpling?  No-not really brothy enough.  Was it amazing? Um YES!  GET THIS!!!

 

We also split the Barbecued Squid with Thai Basil and Fresh Peanuts.

 

 

 

 

The first thing I popped into my mouth was a brown thing that looked like edamame.  There was edamame on the plate, so I figured this was just a different breed or something.  But no, this was sweet and meaty, and salty, and…soft!  Grace assured me that these were boiled peanuts!!  PEANUTS?!  They were so delicious and salty but in no way tasted like peanuts.  Whatevs.  They were gently spicy and fragrant with the Thai basil…Grace just decided to let me have these.  She didn’t want to gt into a fight.  Smart girl 😉

 

The squid was delish but kinda lukewarm.  At a Michelin restaurant, there really shouldnt’ be any mistakes like temperature, right?  The squid was very tender, tasted of the sea and the bbq, and was really nice with those light, fresh edamame.  The touches of hoisin and sriracha really elevated the dish. This was a great preparation of squid!

 

While we waited for our mains, we discussed Mad Men, sample sales, and people who overshare on facebook.  Yeah, I was definitely having an AWESOME first date!

 

 

 

Our first main course was the Veal Tenderloin and Sweetbread with Artichokes, Oyster and Black Truffle Sauces.

 

 

This was outstanding.  The veal was cooked perfectly, and was tender, mild, and rich.  The sweetbread was crisp and iron-y in the way only offal is.  The artichokes and black truffle were so perfectly matched-light and dark tastes, bright and deep.  The oysters were not particularly noticeable, but he whole dish was so buttery and well salted, that they must have figured in there.  This was a totally wonderful dish.  The meat and mushrooms were so wonderfully mated-the truffle scent just hung in the air as we ate the dish.  Grace and I both loved this dish and I would DEF order it again.

 

We also split the scallops with sea urchin sauce, cucumber, and loofah.

 

 

 

Delish.  cooked just until done, with a salty, crispy crust and a sweet, soft center.  They were so sweet, and the urchin was buttery and tasted freshly of the sea.  Some peopleomg cream of the sea…I think I just became sea urchin’s press agent…

 

…ANYWAY…

 

Though the scallops and urchin were excellent, this was not my favorite dish of the night. It had some squid ink that I found sort of offputtingly bitter, and the cooked cucumbers were mushy and distracting from the scallops’ lovely texture.  The loofah did not look like a sponge at all-it looked and tasted like glass noodles!  For my enjoyment of the scallops, the price was a bit high.  I definitely thought the veal was a better thought out dish.

 

For dessert…cause ANY great date ends with dessert…we got the Pecan and Salted Butterscotch Beignets with Bourbon Milk Ice

 

 

 

WOWOWOWOWOOW

these were so great.  Warm, dense little bombs of sugar coated, lightly salted, pecan filled goodness.  The bourbon milk ice had the texture of a rock and the alcohol content of Lindsay Lohan…

 

 

I was not feeling it.

 

 

 

But those doughnuts…so  incredibly comforting and Delicious.  Like dinner at Grandma’s…if your grandma were a top rated chef with a Michelin star.

 

Grace wasn’t too keen on these, so you know what I say…MORE FOR ME!

 

We finished with these mignardises from the chef:

 

 

from right to left we have a

 

guava popsicle (naturally sweet, guava licious, could have eaten about 15 of these)

candied ginger(WAAAY too strong)

mint chocolate truffle(like a very decadent thin mint cookie…i liked it real good, yessiree i did)

 

 

The bill was about 120, which was a little bit pricey given the ingredients-while foie and veal are expensive, squid and sweetbreads are certainly not. There were a few missteps in the meal (bourbon ice milk, candied ginger, cooked cucumber), but far more hits (veal, doughnuts, squid, foie gras DUMPLINGS!!!)  This place seems to have gone a little markup happy, but you know what?  The food really was wonderful.  Refined, well portioned, beautifully plated, with sophisticated Asian flavors melding with classical techniques.  It was a great first date place, which is why even though Grace and I went home separately after dinner…I definitely felt like I got lucky 😉

 

Annisa on Urbanspoon