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gvaz28's Profile

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Kyoto Kaiseki Mastery: Hyotei (Honten) [Review] w/ Pics!

Hi,

Thanks for the recommedation of Sushi Mizutani! That was the greatest meal of my life. The food was so incredible--I guess I have never had sushi before. Although its going to be hard to go back to NY sushi after this. Not only was the food was incredible, but the service, the ambiance, and just the generally welcoming feeling was amazing. In the beginning I was quite intimidated given that none of us spoke japanese...and the whole place was quiet in reverence of the master. But soon everyone became a bit more comfortable and more talkative and the jokiningness--the attempts at translation all began. It was quite comical as there was a Parsian at dinner as well who barely spoke any english--so there was quite a bit of three way translations going on...anyway the whole thing was very amusing. After dinner Chef Mizutani walked us out, and noticing that we had a camera bag in our hands asked one of the servers to come out and take a picture of us standing with him. He also amused himself by rubbing by big pot belly after dinner! All in stark contrast to the seriousness of eating the food. It was amazing--a truly memorable experience and one that will likely never be topped again. Thank you so much for your recommendation--I would never have tried this place otherwise. Oh total price--in case people are interested came out to 790k for 3 people sushi and sashimi course with 3 bottles of sake.

Jul 02, 2009
gvaz28 in Japan

Kyoto Kaiseki Mastery: Hyotei (Honten) [Review] w/ Pics!

Hi. No worries about the late reply--the post was last minute, as has been everything on our trip. I enjoyed our experiences in some ways, but not in others. First of all---the room, the garden, and the service is just unbelievable. Even your high praise of it couldn't capture how amazing those aspects were. It really felt like you were transported to a different world--just spectacular. The presentation of the food was also remarkable. Furthermore, they were amazingly accommodating! The woman who was serving us--did everything in japanese but then immeditaley seeing that we did not understand any of it--brought another younger woman in who then translated everything into english. After that, for every course the woman would do the japanese and then the english---all this without making us feel out of place at all--a truly remarkable feat. It truly was one of the most relaxing meals of my life. Having said that--and this maybe just my poor palate--I did not think the food was too amazing. Our meal was slightly different than yours--seasonal I guess---but overall I just didn't think it was stunning. The pricetag came to 881k yen for 3 of us (and 3 carafes of sake). Overall the meal was great on every front--but the food was a bit disappointing for me. But I am very glad I did it. Taking on your other recommendation we are eating at Sushi Mizutani tomorrow and am hoping that will be a spectacular meal. Thanks again.

Jul 01, 2009
gvaz28 in Japan

Kyoto Kaiseki Mastery: Hyotei (Honten) [Review] w/ Pics!

Hi exilekiss,

thank you for your amazing report and reviews of your trip in japan. Reading through the chowhound blogs on japan is somewhat overwhelming almost to the point of being arresting (at least for my personality). So stumbling across your rankings and reviews was remarkably helpful. We made reservations for 3 at Hontei for tomorrow, I hope our meal is as memorable as yours was. We have never had a kaseki before (and never been to japan either) so we are quite excited and nervous about our experience. There are three of us in the party and none of us speak anything but english. Do you think we will be able to manage here? Are there any tips you might have regarding our experience (for example the kowtowing experience?). Any information you might have would be wonderful. We are going to tokyo next and planning on using your guide as our meal plan. Thanks for all the research and reviews it has truly made our lives much easier. And I suspect that it will make our meals in japan our most memorable yet!

Jun 27, 2009
gvaz28 in Japan

First time in Tokyo/Hong Kong/Beijing/Macau/Xi'an--Excited and Overwhelmed

Hi,

My partner and I are planning a 35 day excursion to asia. Our plans are as follows: Beijing & Xi'an for 7 days, Hong Kong and Macau for 6 days, Singapore, Melaka and KL for 8 days, Tokyo/Kyoto and near by for 9 days. We are both students, but big foodies. And would love to try the local foods. We have a friend showing us around Singapore and Malaysia but are on our own for the rest of the trip. It's our first time there and none of us speak any of the languages.

We would love to hear any recommendations that you have. Money is an issue but a couple of nice dinners in each place would be doable. Except Japan where I guess 350 US a head might happen--we can't afford that.

A couple of expensive meals that totaled 100-120 a person would be doable. We aren't drinkers so we will save money on that.

We would really like to try local foods, hole the walls, and just anything good. We have been looking on all the boards and have gathered a lot of information but it is quite overwhelming. Also for many people on chowhound price is not an issue. We would love for that to be the case for us, but we are unfortunately constrained.

Any help you could offer would be wonderful!

We are traveling from June 3rd-July 6th.

Also--I am posting this in the Japan board as well. Hope that is alright.

Thanks a million in advance!

May 14, 2009
gvaz28 in Japan

First time in Hong Kong/Beijing/Macau/Xi'an/Tokyo--Excited and Overwhelmed

Hi,

My partner and I are planning a 35 day excursion to asia. Our plans are as follows: Beijing & Xi'an for 7 days, Hong Kong and Macau for 6 days, Singapore, Melaka and KL for 8 days, Tokyo/Kyoto and near by for 9 days. We are both students, but big foodies. And would love to try the local foods. We have a friend showing us around Singapore and Malaysia but are on our own for the rest of the trip. It's our first time there and none of us speak any of the languages.

We would love to hear any recommendations that you have. Money is an issue but a couple of nice dinners in each place would be doable. Except Japan where I guess 350 US a head might happen--we can't afford that.

A couple of expensive meals that totaled 100-120 a person would be doable. We aren't drinkers so we will save money on that.

We would really like to try local foods, hole the walls, and just anything good. We have been looking on all the boards and have gathered a lot of information but it is quite overwhelming. Also for many people on chowhound price is not an issue. We would love for that to be the case for us, but we are unfortunately constrained.

Any help you could offer would be wonderful!

We are traveling from June 3rd-July 6th.

Also--I am posting this in the Japan board as well. Hope that is alright.

Thanks a million in advance!

May 14, 2009
gvaz28 in China & Southeast Asia

Shang, in Thompson LES

Hi,

I tried Shang on opening night (not sure if that should matter one way or the other?), but Susur Lee was in the restaurant and came into the dining room and spent some time walking around thanking people for coming, etc which I thought was quite nice. Anyway, the space was quite nice. Dark, red, pretty much what you would expect from a nice place in NY these days. Our service was fantastic. Our waitress had plenty of recommendations, etc. so on that front the restaurant did not disappoint.

The food however was a different story, and it might have been our own fault. We had the pleasure of having eaten at Susur in Toronto and it was definitely the best meal of our life. The service and the food there was just incredible and unfortunately for us it set our expectations (perhaps unreasonably?) high.

We had:
Steamed And Crusted Dim Sum Vegetable Potato Dumplings
Lobster And Shrimp Croquettes
Shaved Choi Siu Pork Loin
Mongolian Lamb Chops
Warm Chocolate Cake

Unfortunately, I can't comment too specifically as I don't remember the food too well at this point. However, I do remember that the Shaved Choi Siu Pork Loin might be the worst thing I have ever eaten. It literally tasted like deli meat with some honey mustard sauce (like a really bad ham sandwich). And the Warm cake was absolutely terrible. I've had better chocolate cake at Fridays. However, the lamb and the potato weren't too bad. The potato dish was effectively a bad rip off of a basic indian dish but done worse, but compared to the rest of the food it actually stood out. The croquettes I thought were bland but my girlfriend quite liked it so I might be wrong on that one. And the lamb was perfectly cooked--but nothing special.

To echo the sentiment above--save your money and go to Chinatown instead.

However, unlike the person above I promise you Susur Lee's cooking is superb. Or I used to think that, maybe I should tone down my excitement as well. Perhaps these are just the opening kinks of a restaurant and in a few months things will get better?

Dec 17, 2008
gvaz28 in Manhattan

Need help entertaining first time NY visitors!

Just booked it, thank you very much. The current game plan is: 7:00 pm-Pegu Club for drinks (they changed their hotel to 60 thompson so that worked out well). Dinner at Convivo-8:45. Dessert at wd-50 at 11. Drinks maybe maybe meatpacking or w. village. It seems like overkill but it should be fun and they def. shouldn't have complaints! Thanks for all your help.

Nov 15, 2008
gvaz28 in Manhattan

Need help entertaining first time NY visitors!

Update on Degustation. The only times they take a reservation for 4 or more is at 6:30 or 10 pm. So I'm back to the drawing board. And Allen & D is booked up for all times except 6:30. Anymore thoughts?

Nov 15, 2008
gvaz28 in Manhattan

Need help entertaining first time NY visitors!

The menu for Degustation looks fantastic. But I couldn't tell if 4 people would be able to engage in a good conversation around the bar. For those of you that have been there--any thoughts on that?

Nov 14, 2008
gvaz28 in Manhattan

Need help entertaining first time NY visitors!

Thanks for the suggestions! I was actually thinking Pastis for sunday so am glad you guys also thought of that (although--that food tour sounds great--I may have to indulge in it myself one of these days). I had not thought of wd-50, just saw the dessert menu and it looks fantastic so will def. go for that. The menu for allen and delancey looked interesting, so ill have to look into that. Any other thoughts on dinner though?

Any thoughts on bars with views? That seemed like a great idea.

Nov 13, 2008
gvaz28 in Manhattan

Need help entertaining first time NY visitors!

Hi guys,

I was hoping I could get some help. A couple is visiting us from australia (their first time in NY) and I would like to show them a good time on saturday (11/22). Dinner, drinks and all that. Unfortunately, they are not offering any suggestions on types of food etc, so they are leaving it completely open to me. Thus me pleading to you!

It's their first time in ny so I want them to be impressed. So ideally both the food and the scene will be amazing. We are all late 20's--2 couples, if that helps. And since i'll be picking up the tab I don't want a prix fix place (or a place where I couldn't get recommendations this late). Entrees going up to 35 or so, is perfectly fine though. I would also like some drink recommendations for that night--multiple would also work we can do something before dinner and then after. I currently had the Brandy Library for pre dinner and the Pegu Club for post dinner in mind. The locations aren't too big of a deal since we want to show them the different parts of the city anyway, so if we need to move around that although not optimal is perfectly fine.

Also a dessert place recommendation would be great. I have only tried Room 4 Dessert (possibly still closed?) and POng, both of those were great so if there is something like that it would be wonderful.

And just in general if you guys have any thoughts (food/beverage related obviously) about what I should do with them I would love the help. The are staying at the Alex hotel on the east side, and we will have about 2 days in ny together.

A ton of questions, and clearly me passing on my responsibilities and for both of those I am sorry but THANK YOU a ton in advance!

Nov 12, 2008
gvaz28 in Manhattan

MERMAID INN or AQUAGRILL??

I think Aquagrill is better than Blue Water. Although, I love blue water, and if you do go there the Chilean Sea Bass is amazing.

Apr 11, 2008
gvaz28 in Manhattan

A good steak for my man.

I'd like to also recommend Strip House. I think the steaks are fantastic and the ambiance is also quite nice. With our steaks, we had the seafood sampler and it was amazing. Beyond that, no one has recommended the Post House yet. That might because of the amount of suits in the house, but their rib-eye is just amazing. I'd also like to throw out Macelleria. The steaks there are really good, but it is an italian place.

Apr 11, 2008
gvaz28 in Manhattan

All-you-can-eat Sushi in New Haven, CT

Hi,

There is an all you can eat place sushi place (and I think its 7 days a week) in Hamden (1473 Dixwell Ave. Hamden, CT 06514). It is called Sushi palace (www.sushipalace.us). I have been there several times and the food is pretty good. There all-you-can-eat menu is quite extensive and the prices aren't too expensive. About 16-18 bucks depending on if you go on a weekday or weekend.

Hope that helps.