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Big C's Profile

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L'effervesence

Thank you for the advice. Can't seem to find much reading (in english) about Reverence. Do you know anything about the Chef? Looks like the crew from Florilege cut their teeth @ Quintessence.

If all else fails, I will probably go back to Quintessence. I had lunch a few months ago and thought it was an excellent meal. Still trying for L'effervescence...and will end up there at some point, but probably for lunch at this point.

Jul 16, 2012
Big C in Japan

L'effervesence

Was planning on a romantic dinner @ L'effervescence on Saturday, but turns out they might be closed for a private party. Was wondering if there was any other contemporary French restaurant in Tokyo that would be similar, as far as the Chef's pedigree and style. Any suggestions?

Jul 15, 2012
Big C in Japan

Back to Tokyo...

Tokyo Chowhounders,

I am making it back to Japan (6 nights Tokyo & 1 night in Sapporo) after an incredible trip in April. Dined at Ryugin, Quintessence, Ginza Okuda, Sant Pau and Ishikawa. An amazing experience, both in terms of food and hospitality, at all of the properties, with Sant Pau was the least impressive. So many lessons learned, in terms of hospitality, that I have taken back with me to San Francisco.

I've got less time and am interested more in casual fare this trip, but am definitely throwing in 1 or 2 big meals. Torn between L'Effervescence, Les Creations Narisawa or Takazawa this time around and another big, more traditional selection (i.e. sushi or kaiseki)...any advice?

Thank You!

Jul 05, 2012
Big C in Japan

Les Creations de Narisawa or Nihonryori Ryugin?

I will be at Ryugin tomorrow....very much looking forward to it. Ended up choosing Ishikawa and will be there on Saturday.

Apr 17, 2012
Big C in Japan

Les Creations de Narisawa or Nihonryori Ryugin?

I had a solid meal @ Bo. It was innovative but not amazing; definitely nobody else doing what he's doing out there w/ some of the Cantonese inspired dishes. Chef Alvin was there and cooked for the group I was in. At the end of the day, it is all about flavor and some of the dishes just didn't come together but I do respect what they are doing from an innovation standpoint.

Apr 17, 2012
Big C in Japan

Les Creations de Narisawa or Nihonryori Ryugin?

So after two Michelin stops in HK...Tim Ho Wan & Ye Shanghai...it's safe to say the standards in HK are nowhere near Western Michelin standards.

Only good thing about Tim Ho Wan was it was cheap (Pork buns where not that great)...and Ye Shanghai was the upscale atmosphere. Still have Bo Innovation & Lung King Heen on the list...along with many casual stops, where I figure I will find more satisfaction. I am expecting a much higher standard for Tokyo....hopefully I will not be disappointed.

Apr 11, 2012
Big C in Japan

2 or 3 star Michelin Kappo

Looking for a 2-3 star Kappo style restaurant for next week....I'm leaning towards Ishikawa but would love some other Chowhounder suggestions for something similar and perhaps not so pricey.

Thanks in advance!

Apr 09, 2012
Big C in Japan

Les Creations de Narisawa or Nihonryori Ryugin?

Actually leaving for HK tomorrow then Taipei...will be in Tokyo by next Tuesday. Cancelled my Narisawa reservation after talking to some Chef friends who've gone. I'm opting to go with something more traditional, but haven't narrowed down my selection yet....looking for something kappo style (i.e. ishikawa)....keeping my Ryugin reservation.

Actually a big fan of your blog...great 411.

Apr 09, 2012
Big C in Japan

Les Creations de Narisawa or Nihonryori Ryugin?

After your reply and further research, I've decided to forget about Narisawa. Any suggestions on a top-tier traditional Japanese spot? Might cancel at Robuchon (Worth it?); very excited about Ryugin & Quintessence....

Mar 12, 2012
Big C in Japan

Michelin Hong Kong

Thank you for the tips!

I've looked into Ming Court and it sounds delicious.

In regards to DN Innovacion, have you been? Is it on the same level as some other molecular driven spots in the world - or gimicky? It sounded interesting, but I have not seen any pictures that have incorporated much local product.

Mar 12, 2012
Big C in China & Southeast Asia

Les Creations de Narisawa or Nihonryori Ryugin?

Chowounds,

I am torn between dinner @ Narisawa or Ryugin? Perhaps Narisawa for lunch? This is my first trip back to Tokyo is a very long time and have been itching to go to Ryugin for quite some time now - however, I understand his food has become more authentic than avante garde. I feel Narisawa is more modern, which I prefer, but can't find a sample menu anywhere.

Currently I have reservations at Quintessence, Restaurant Joel Robuchon & Sant Pau for lunch. Looking to add a big time spot (Narisawa, Ryugin and something much more traditional) to the dinner line-up. Any suggestions???

Thank you in advance!

Mar 05, 2012
Big C in Japan

Michelin Hong Kong

Chowhounders,

Heading to HK, Taipei & Tokyo next month and have three nights in HK. Will be traveling solo and am wondering which Michelin Hong Kong spots are worth it. Im booked for a private dinner at Bo Innovation and and lunch at Robuchon, but am looking for some more authentic and traditional? Any suggestions - I would like to experience what is the Michelin standard of Chinese food worthy of its macaroons. Pointing out the overhyped BS is much welcomed! as well as tips for Taipei!

Thanks!

Mar 04, 2012
Big C in China & Southeast Asia

Short list of MUSTs in Portland

I gave the server the 'I eat anything,' and he gave me, game hen & papaya salad. That says alot about the place from a service perspective, but they did definitely made it right when I said the game hen was dry. I don't want to make it sound like the place was all PR, but my experience was was just nothing remarkable. With that said, I definitely agree that I ordered wrong, but figured the server's suggestion would have at least provided a great pedestrian dish; unfortunately they did not deliver on that.

Nov 08, 2011
Big C in Metro Portland

Short list of MUSTs in Portland

Kind of a mellow day 3...Nong's Khao Mon Gai for lunch; excellent for $6 - we've got an excellent version @ Hawkerfare in Oakland, so I didn't swoon for it. Espresso twice at Barista, once at Coava. Barista is hands down my favorite shot of espresso, 2nd tied between Stumptown & Water Avenue, followed by Ristretto.

Stopped by the NW Olympic Provisions, and did a tasting of all of the dried salumi (they did it special for me, because I was buying multiple salumis togo). Service was very nice, as most places I've experienced in PDX even when asking for something off-menu.

Happy hour at The Bent Brick; cool spot...worth a pop-in if you haven't. Heard they are new...

Did stop by the Japanese and Rose Gardens...both were beautiful. PDXers are lucky to have these scenic gardens. SF's Japanese garden, doesn't compare.

Last dinner was at Castagna...never tried Lightner's food, but the new Chef Justin is making some great food. Very well conceived dishes, some thought provoking...did not see anything else like this in PDX. He's definitely using some modern techniques...and overall I'd say the food was 1-star Michelin quality by Bay Area standards. It was pricey compared to alot of other places in town, but definitely worth it, as its still cheaper than any other 1-star Michelin anywhere.

As for the 6-course tasting...I imagine its basically available upon request, and alot easier when you are a solo, out-of-town diner. If he was cooking multiple tastings, it would kill the efficiency of the restaurant, because the kitchen is SOOO tiny. I'd say, call in advance and ask, and they can probably work something out. My menu was basically slightly scaled down versions of menu items, nothing off-menu. I had a similar experience at Castagna, where I was able to add one an extra savory course (supplemental charge) to their 4-course pre-fix - again, the benefits of being a solo diner, on nights that weren't super crazy busy.

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Stumptown
4525 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206

Castagna
1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

Olympic Provisions
107 SE Washington St, Portland, OR 97214

Nov 05, 2011
Big C in Metro Portland

Short list of MUSTs in Portland

I hear you on Pok Pok...let the bartender know I was from out of town, and this was my first time there, 'What should I order.' I let him do the ordering...papaya salad was solid, well balanced; game hen was dry, and they took it back and I said I'd try the wings. I had a feeling I was ordering wrong...but figured, how bad could it be especially with them ordering for me. I can see how there could be potential, but from my lone experience...it was definitely lackluster.

Will potentially try again, the next time I'm in town.

Nov 05, 2011
Big C in Metro Portland

Short list of MUSTs in Portland

Day 2 in the books...took it alot easier than I did yesterday...feel like I'm kind of running out of spots...

Started with Espresso @ Public Domain -> Charcuterie Plate @ Olympic Provisions -> Espresso @ Oblique -> Ice Cream Waffle Sandwich @ Waffle Window -> Mini baquette @ Little T -> Espresso @ Barista -> Pastrami Reuben @ Kenny & Zukes -> 6 course tasting @ Le Piegon

Day 2 Highlights: Olympic Provisions, Barista, Le Pigeon...All three were outstanding. My Pigeon experience and the perfect shot at Barista were worth the trip to PDX.

Tomorrow will include Bent Brick, Bunk, Coava, Heart, Castagna, Nong's Khao Mon Gai....maybe squeeze in a trip to the Japanese Garden (please stop me if it is not worth it).

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Waffle Window
36th and Hawthorne, Portland, OR

Castagna
1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

Olympic Provisions
107 SE Washington St, Portland, OR 97214

Nov 03, 2011
Big C in Metro Portland

Short list of MUSTs in Portland

I totally agree with you about Pok Pok. It definitely was not mindblowing, but it wasn't bad. My game hen was very dry, and I let them know and they definitely made it right. I got the wings instead, and they were definitely good and slightly different - although I definitely enjoyed them, they weren't mindblowing. Service was not particularly warm, but very attentive and guest oriented; overall, just a good experience.

I've got quite a list for Day 2; as that was all in just Day 1. Especially looking forward to Olympic Provisions, Le Pigeon, and Castagna...I've be leaving on Sat afternoon, so I will for sure be making the Saturday Market my last Portland stop before heading back to the Bay.

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Pok Pok
3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

Le Pigeon
738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

Olympic Provisions
107 SE Washington St, Portland, OR 97214

Nov 03, 2011
Big C in Metro Portland

Short list of MUSTs in Portland

Day 1 in the books...unless I can find somewhere that opens til 12 or later...

Started with Biscuits & Gravy @ Pine State Biscuits -> Bulgogi taco @ Koi Fusion -> Chocolate potato donut + pork cutlet @ Tasty N Sons -> Macaroons @ Pix Patisserie -> Espresso @ Ristretto Roasters -> Espresso @ Water Ave -> Portland Cream @ Voodoo Donuts -> Espresso @ Stumptown (ACE Hotel) -> Wing, Game Hen & Papaya Salad @ Pok Pok -> Poutine @ Potato Champion -> Caramel Apple Fried Pie @ Wiffies Fried Pies

Solid first day...highlights: Pine State Biscuits, Tasty N Sons, Ristretto, Water Ave, Stumptown, Potato Champion, Wiffies

Not much else to do in this town except eat I'm discovering...but getting places and parking is SO easy. Blah on the rain....

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Pok Pok
3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

Stumptown
4525 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206

Pine State Biscuits
3640 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214

Potato Champion
SE 12th and Hawthorne, Portland, OR

Pix Patisserie
3402 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202

Ristretto Roasters
3520 NE 42nd Ave, Portland, OR 97213

Nov 02, 2011
Big C in Metro Portland

Short list of MUSTs in Portland

Thank you everyone for your suggestions! I think I more or less can fill up 3 full days worth of eating. I'm actually traveling from the Bay Area where I live now, and am really looking forward to seeing and experiencing the cart scene. Any more suggestions would be great...but gathering that there really aren't that many AMAZING carts, but plenty of good value/decent ones. I'll definitely post some updates and feedback. Thanks again!

Oct 26, 2011
Big C in Metro Portland

Short list of MUSTs in Portland

Portland Chowhounders,

I'm going to be in town next week and am looking for a few MUST stops in your beautiful city. I currently have Le Pigeon, Olympic Provisions, Voodoo Donuts, Tasty & Son, Pok Pok Thai on my 100% lists. On the fence about Beast, Castagna, Bent Brick for dinner. I plan on hitting at least 5-7 spots a day, and am a eating machine. I will eat anything and money is not a major issue. Food carts...don't even know where to start. I will be traveling alone and will have a car. Would love some local advice!

Also looking for coffee suggestions - Stumptown, Barista are definitely on the list.

Thank You!

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Pok Pok
3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

Le Pigeon
738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

Castagna
1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

Olympic Provisions
107 SE Washington St, Portland, OR 97214

Oct 25, 2011
Big C in Metro Portland

Unusual and un-PC, but I have to know! Ortolan?

i've heard you can get them in Monacco...

Nov 25, 2010
Big C in General Topics

"3rd Wave" coffees in LA

I was waiting when someone was going to chime in on Ritual Coffee Roasters. For those of you who do travel up north and think Blue Bottle is where its at, take a cab to the Mission and you will find chemex and a synesso cyncra in precision action. Their espresso blends are so complex and always stand out from the other NorCal 3rd wavers (Blue Bottle, Four Barrel, Barefoot, etc.). Their espresso pull technique involves 30 steps and when it is done to precision (95% of the time), the cup can be sublime.

I'm from SoCal, but live in Oakland now where Remedy is my regular spot -- they serve Ritual beans. Was just scanning the boards for good places in the LA/OC area. Everyone should continue to grow this thread for coffee drinking references!

Sep 23, 2010
Big C in Los Angeles Area

Graduation dinner in Santa Monica or downtown for 10

Acutally, the prices are Yamato are obscenely reasonable. Almost not ffitting for the decor. I recently went there for lunch and got a 3 item teshoku combo for 12.50 and it there was enough food for two. The quality still remains the highest of the Japanese in Westwood, including Tengu. I checked out their dinner menu and they've included an amazing happy hour. It's only 5 dollars for a few quality rolls, not just bull like california rolls. Plus hot apps, and $5 quality "fusion" cocktails. I was seriously pleasantly surprised, and will be making this a regular spot.

I heard they were gettin a 1000 person post-premiere party, so I'm pretty sure they do events as well. Might be a very cheap new option.

Jun 11, 2008
Big C in Los Angeles Area

La Defence - Koreatown

I found out from a friend in the industry that Chef Yuji Iwasa is no longer with La Defence. His food was what made this restaurant. Does anyone know if this is true? The restaurant has not changed any of promotional information, can anyone confirm?

Mar 25, 2008
Big C in Los Angeles Area

La Defence - Koreatown

Saw a snipet of this place in The Guide last week, so I booked a reservation on Open Table and went tonight.

The food was INCREDIBLE. I really didn't expect a non-Korean restaurant in Koreatown to actually be good. The exec. chef has worked at Koi, Michi, L'Orangerie, and few other places. I definitely taste the fusion concept, and he pulls it off really clean. The menu is designed Tapas style, and are reasonably priced, IMO. They also have private Karaoke rooms, which we didn't get a chance to check out this time. This place is right off Wilshire and Western, near the Wiltern, but it is alittle hard to find.

Started with the Kobe Carpaccio, and it was incredible (they use real Japanese A-5). The Fritto Misto and Rice Pizza were great starters with a nice Japanese taste to it. I really liked the Carbonara, and the Linguine Con Fungi (soy butter sause with mushrooms). Finished off with the Black Cod and Crispy Duck, both of which were outstanding.

All of the desserts are made in house, from what I was told, and weren't too sweet or heavy. My girlfriend and I had the Berry Tobanyaki (cobbler) and the Tiramisu. Our tall server was also very friendy, and very attentive.

Has anyone else been? How is lunch here?

Dec 13, 2007
Big C in Los Angeles Area

MASAMI Pure Japanese Bloodline Wagyu

"Masami grades 12, but cooks up and tastes like a 7. $$$ probably."

what does that mean?

As far as your tasting notes, I definitely agree. It is already all over Northern California, and I believe is more based and marketed out of the Bay Area, due to the closer geography of the ranch to the main distributor than to that of Masami American Headquarters, according to their website. The description is pretty much was just like the steak I got. I'm not exactly sure about cost, because I'm not in that part of the business, but as far as visual description, it isn't as marbled as Japanese Wagyu, but that's simply because its free range, but the flavor is full on Wagyu.

I believe it is being distributed through the Network Resource Group in LA, 213-344-7062. That is the information I got from the Chef who is friends with the vendor. Either way, I loved the steak and the flavor.

Jun 17, 2007
Big C in General Topics

Yoshi's Japanese in Yorba Linda

Have some business near this restaurant, next week and have gotten alot of good word of mouth about the food and quality at this place. Anyone been there?

Jun 17, 2007
Big C in Los Angeles Area

Best Steak in Los Angeles?

There is pretty much NOWHERE that serves a good steak in LA. All of the steakhouses use low quality (high end beef). I've eating everywhere from Morton's to Mastro's, Dal Rae to The Cut, in search of LA's best steak. And I've actually found better beef at non-steakhouses, than actual big LA Steakhouses.

All of the above mentioned served mid-western US Certified Angus. Other than the Cut, probably the best of the afor-mentioned. I'm a Wagyu man, and will always go and search it out if I can. And when I say Wagyu, I mean Wagyu, not "American Kobe Beef" which is an Angus cross-bred with a Japanese Wagyu. The flavor profiles are insanely different. I hate to come accross as an ass for alot of people's recommendations, but I've eating beef from Italy to Kobe, and LA just isn't a quality beef city. The best steak I ate in recent memory was at Abode in SM, and they claim to have the Masami pure Wagyu.

Jun 16, 2007
Big C in Los Angeles Area

Anniversary Dinner In West LA/SaMo Area

abode (french/steak)
josie (french/californian - rising star restaurant)
valentino (italian - old school, consistent, pricey, but authentic and atmosphere)

Jun 15, 2007
Big C in Los Angeles Area

MASAMI Pure Japanese Bloodline Wagyu

I had this last week at Abode in Santa Monica, and thought it was some of the best beef I've had outside of the Kobe region of Japan. Doesn't leave that greasy film in your mouth, just pure beef flavor. I've researched it and was told it is the only pure Wagyu program in the United States, and pretty much everywhere else that sells "American Kobe" is really just an Angus x Wagyu cross.

A few other foodie friends in the area have told me they have seen it around at Michael Mina, and the Clift House in Northern California. And Koi and Sage in Los Angeles and Orange County. Has anyone else seen this beef, it is like butter!!!

Jun 15, 2007
Big C in General Topics