Wednesday, April 9, 2014

$28 Prix Fixe Lunch at Perry Street

I'm such a big fan of Jean-Georges Vongerichten's restaurants (in order of favorites-- Jean Georges, Perry St, ABC Cocina, ABC Kitchen, Mercer Kitchen). They're innovative, beautifully decorated, and most importantly, delicious. Even better is the fact that many of these restaurants offer prix-fixe lunch deals (even on weekends) that are quite a steal.

During the most recent NYC Restaurant Week, the restaurants I cared most about visiting on the list were Il Mulino and Perry St. Both of which I'd been to before, and absolutely loved. The problem with Il Mulino was that they were only offering the restaurant week menu for weekday lunch. Since shooting back and forth between Times Square and the West Village didn't seem practical, I had to cross that off the list. Perry St had both lunch and dinner options, but after reading through the menu, there wasn't really anything on the restaurant week menu that stood out as particularly appealing. I decided to cancel our dinner ($38 per person) reservation and we visited for their regular prix fixe lunch ($28 per person) on a Saturday instead. Surprisingly, it looks like the prix fixe price has come down from a few years ago.

The entrance faces the west side highway, and although watching cars zoom by isn't that interesting, the inside of the restaurant is bright and peaceful.

There are round table booth options as well as long tables. 

Homemade sodas, $5 each: Hisbiscus on the left, and ginger-lime on the right.
Neither of us were in the mood for alcohol, but do know that for lunch there is a $20/bottle or $6/glass wine special. It's not written on the menu, but ask for it.
Jean-Georges is known for these amazing homemade sodas. They are incredibly flavorful while not overly sweet. These drinks even manage to taste fresh even though they are sodas... 

Perry St. Steak Tartare with crispy quail egg, parmesan cheese and basil
This beef tartare is definitely on par with the one I had in Barcelona at Restaurant 7 Portes. So very delicious, and even more so with the quail egg mixed in, and the spice from the red chili. 

Perry St. Fried Chicken with brussel sprouts and scotch bonnet sauce
The only reason I did not order the famously good fried chicken at Perry St was because we had just returned from Nashville, where I left feeling fried chickened out from Hattie B's. That did not stop me however, from taking a bite of this one. Of course not. It was as delicious as I remembered, and this time I was happy to find that the scotch sauce wasn't as spicy as when I had it on my last visit. The breading of the fried chicken was superb. The texture was very light and tempura-like.

Grilled Yellowfin Tuna Burger with bonita mayonnaise, shiso, yuzu pickles
My "healthy" entree choice. My mom ordered this when I brought her to Perry St, and she had commented on how terrific it was. I loved how tender the tuna was. I find that raw tuna often tastes quite bland, but this one was perfectly seared and tasty.

Seasonal dessert: Pastry-less apple tart with green apple sorbet and pound cake
Magical. So magical. It turns out, an apple tart can still taste good without the thick pastry to balance out the sweet fruit toppings. The sorbet was a beautiful complement to the dessert, and the pound cake was moist and not overly sweet. I would order this again and again, but unfortunately it's not on the current menu.

Chocolate molten lava cake with vanilla bean ice cream
Of course chocolate is a must. This cake is always so decadent and comforting. A wonderful way to end a perfect meal.

176 Perry Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 352-1900

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Perry Street on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Angus Club Steakhouse

Last week I attended a press dinner at Angus Club Steakhouse. Besides having a great time catching up with Nisha, I enjoyed the dinner immensely. This midtown steakhouse is quite different from any other steakhouse I've been to. The interior is beautifully modern, devoid of plush carpeting and a stuffy atmosphere. The wood walls give off a very unique look, and there are many different nooks with curtains that make perfect spaces for more intimate group dinner options.

Angus Club Steakhouse offers USDA prime black Angus beef steaks-- all of which are dry aged on-site for 30-35 days. The restaurant also stands out in that although their side dishes are typical for a steakhouse, they are prepared more uniquely. I found them to actually be more impressive than the main dishes.

The majority of the tables in this restaurant are on the lower floor. I liked the traditional antique-looking lights paired with the modern decor.

One of several dining nooks, great for a birthday or business meal.

Warm bread basket
The onion roll was soft and fluffy, it was hard to stop myself from finishing two. (I needed to save room for everything else!) The thin baguette was a little too hard, but went better with butter.

Canadian Bacon
I personally don't see the appeal in thick cut bacon. I love bacon thin and crispy! Although this was on the chewy side, I did really enjoy the charred flavors. 

Rib Eye Steak, Bone In
My favorite entree of the night! Incredibly well-seasoned and cooked just right. It's taken me a while to start enjoying medium rare steak. My bf and sister are always pushing me to do so because it's the "right" way, but I'm slowly changing my ways, and becoming more okay with it because fine, it is more juicy and delicious that way.  

Porterhouse Steak for two
I admit I've never been to Peter Luger's, but I do know that this is how the steak there is served. It's a great idea, serving the steak on a hot plate so that it may continue to cook a little longer if one prefers that. Beautifully presented, but I found the steak to be too tough overall. I prefer not to have to chew until my jaw gets tired.

Grilled Norwegian Salmon
Cooked perfectly, but tasted slightly too fishy.

Home fries 
If every other steakhouse and brunch spot could copy these amazing home fries, it would make me very, very happy. I especially loved the crispiness and the abundance of caramelized onions scattered between pieces. Truly the best dish to accompany steak.

I'm not sure how Angus Club Steakhouse prepares this, but there was something about it that made it so much better than how I've ever cooked it at home.

Not pictured here, but the creamed spinach was also unbelievable. It wasn't your usual buttery, rich, heavy creamed spinach. It tasted like simple, clean spinach with a touch of salt. Delicious.

Crème brûlée
(The restaurant makes a few of their desserts in-house, including this creme brulee and the following coconut tiramisu.)
This is likely the best crème brûlée I've ever had. It really stood out because of how custard-y it was. I'm not sure if more egg was used, but it made the dessert feel lighter and more decadent all at once. 

Coconut Tiramisu 
My first time trying a coconut tiramisu, and I must say, it's one of the most amazing desserts ever. 

135 East 55th Street
New York, NY 10022
(212) 588-1585

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*This meal was complimentary, hosted by the restaurant as part of a press dinner.

Angus Club Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 24, 2014

Carmel, CA: Quail Lodge Golf Club Resort

A main reason for my trip out west was to celebrate my high school reunion in Monterey. My best friend and I had a terrific stay at the Quail Lodge Golf Club, where we had our very own photo-shoots on the golf course, and wandered around just enjoying all the green.

Pretty, well-lit lobby complete with a skylight and fireplace. The hotel offers complimentary breakfast buffet with a room booking. It's simple but decent-- bread, yoghurt, fruits, juices, and hard boiled eggs. Nothing like my beloved Asian hotel breakfasts, but good enough for our needs.

Quite a spacious double bed room. We found out our friend's room had a fireplace (for the same rate), so make sure to ask about that when booking!

The room also includes a nice little sitting area as well as outdoor chairs and a table.

View from our room.

Taking pictures on the golf course at sunset.

Char wanted to climb this tree, and in the process scraped up her arm. 

I definitely recommend this hotel for a romantic getaway, or some quality time with girlfriends! Beautiful rooms and settings.

Quail Lodge Golf Club
8205 Valley Greens Drive 
Carmel, CA 93923
(831) 624-2888

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

San Francisco: Lunch at Tacolicious

Mexican food in California is a must! After my sister and I got our haircuts at Addison Salon (the very best), we headed over to the Marina to catch up with our aunt over some tacos. The weather was so nice that we opted to sit outside. I really cannot wait until this becomes an option again in NYC. Outdoor dining just makes me happy.

Complimentary chips and salsa
Not too spicy, and freshly fried chips that were constantly refilled. 

Chili con Queso, $7.50
We love cheese. Any cheese. 

Salsa served with the queso: (L-R) Avocado, chipotle, habanero.
From mild to spicy, the habanero was so spicy but really tasty. 

Grilled Squid Veracruz, $9.95: Tomato-caper sauce, olives, garbanzo beans, jalapeño, cilantro
So much flavor from the squid, with just the right amount of subtle sauces. I was pleasantly surprised with how generous this portion size was too. Perfect for sharing.

Pacific rock cod and braised beef short rib tacos (4 for $14)
The tacos here are so delicious. I couldn't even pick a favorite between these two flavors. Get these!

2031 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 346-1966
*no reservations

(Also locations in the mission, north beach, and palo alto).

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Tacolicious on Urbanspoon

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