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Summer '09 Restaurant Week - plans and reviews

I am rarely moved enough to post a restaurant week review, because most places deliver SOMETHING, but it's usually mid-range and nothing hair-blowingly good. Tosca was good...but not memorable enough to write about it, and we were there last night.
Volt, however, has moved me. I remember reading a poster rave about, going on a diatribe about how table 21 will someday be the equivalent of the french laundrey and el bulli. Bold words, but he certainly had me excited. Now, we were no where near Table 21 tonight, but if they even come close to what they achieved during a restaurant week, then i need to get in line for a seat.
The amuse was this peculiarly clever little "beet macaroon", delivering quality beet flavor, "merengue" texture, and an injection (not a "burst") of foie gras. It set the tone for an inventive yet fulfilling meal. And I dont even like beets.
Then my s.o. got the corn chowder. In credibly consistent throughout, with an "every once in a while" textural piece of happiness with the "popcorn" element. Avocado ice cream mixed in to provide impressive flavors.
I had the yellowfin tartare with lulu avocado, yuzu vinaigrette, chili oil, culantro, soy air, sesame lavash. I didnt expect the chili to be so present...it was...but every other flavor still found a way to make itself known, and balanced! A very generous portion, to boot.
Next up was the pork belly...and I know no 2 pork bellies are alike. this was cooked for 48 hours and mixed well with the moustarda that came with it...it also had citrus elements. It was good, but i prefer my p.b. to have the m&m quality a tad more (melt in mouth...)
For the 3rd course, we both had the flat iron steak. Cooked perfectly medium rare, the steak alone would have been splendid. but it was seasoned so darn well...add to that a distinct tomatillo sauce lining the plate beautifully, with whipped garlic on the side and what seemed to be mini onion strings on top to add the crunch and onion. All of this on top of a gorgeously creamy polenta....the kind with corn chunks mixed throughout it. It was a perfect example of good food that got inventive and really gave me some tastes and combinations i have not had ever or in a long time.
Dessert was the peach tart, which was delish and simple, and I had the chocolate 4 ways. I have a weak spot for white chocolate, so the mousse never had a chance of surviving on the plate. It was good. Dessert is usually dessert for me, and i think i have rarely been slapped-in-the-face-amazed by a desssert (although citronelle's apple concoction was pretty memorable).

I know volt was the late horse in making its RW presence known, but i got lucky in more ways than just the reservation tonight. volt is worth a trip(s), and for me, worth the hype. hop on the bandwagon, or leave more for me...

stick a fork in me....im done.

Aug 29, 2009
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

cafe divan

The Doner Kebab, hands down. That meat can't be cooked any better.

Aug 02, 2009
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

ATTN: Asheville Foodies - 2 questions

Oh, I almost forgot!! Went to Ultimate Ice Cream, and I tried the mocha stout... it was good...kind of like eating the ice cream and cone without the cone. But I eventually went for their mystic chai, and i am happy to say it was some of the best ice cream i have ever had. That flavor seems to be a no brainer...Im surprised I dont see it more often. It was really worth checking out.

Aug 02, 2009
foie grasias in General South Archive

ATTN: Asheville Foodies - 2 questions

Well thanks to all who added above. We are back from your lovely town and are not disappointed. Heres a breakdown of what went down...

Tuesday dinner: Tupelo Honey
I had the pork tenderloin with root beer molasses and jalapeno bbq sauce with mashed cualiflower. Being a pork and root beer nut, I would say that my own personal hype let me down...I was hoping for a more magical yet present flavor of root beer in the dish. Instead, the bbq sauce overpowered an only "decent" piece of tenderloin. The mash was tasty. My wife had the grill cheese and soup combo...tomato soup was the way tomato soup SHOULD taste, and due to being pregnant, she couldn;t have any of the gooey white rind cheeses that probably make the grill cheese phenom. It was still good...cant beat buttered texas toast....

I start a new paragraph to proclaim our love for dessert....the sweet potato pancake. I dont like pancakes. But this....sigh.... was like nothing else. We talked about this dish the rest of the trip and it took a lot to hold us back from getting another while there. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Wednesday night: NOVA
I liked Nova. Had a delicious gin "novation" drink with fresh basil and a whole other cavalcade of ingredients, all blended perfectly. Then I had the special, pork belly on custard grits and cherry mustard. It was good...but I have had much pork belly. It was a tad overcooked and the flavors did blend well, but nothing transcendental. I also had the proscuitto-wrapped scallops, which feels like cheating as a chef. They were good, and I slightly regret not getting a little more adventurous. Overall, and hindsight is 20/20, Table and Zambra could have been a better choice, but no regrets.

Thursday lunch:
12 Bones. 12. Bones. The hounds who have praised this place...well, let me join your ranks. Ribs...delicious. The sauce is understated but a great compliment. The other sauces, while not used on the meat, was thoroughly enjoyed with plenty of finger-dipping.
I had the sandwich that a few on this board have described as the best thing they have ever eaten... and I again, can empathize. Maybe not agree as the BEST, but the pulled turkey with brie and sugar bacon is truly an amazing piece of work....with this caveat. The first few bites were brie-heavy, and it's tough to get any other tastes through it. But once things "settled"..juices, flavors, etc. It really was heavenly bit after heavenly bite. My wife commented on my "emoting while eating". Words were few and far between.
The 2 sides. the grits and corn pudding were simply the icing on the...er...meat(?). While I am no expert on either, I really really really enjoyed them. I can walk away saying they are the best of their kind on my palette.

Dinner Thursday: Salsa's
I stuck to it....and.....I am glad I did. Despite all the back and forth on this place, I very much liked what they have going on. I had the ever-popular spliff roll, and have this to say: without the saffron sauce, I "got" the roll. The flavor combinations were tasty, and the "egg roll" was fresh and crunchy. When the saffron sauce was used, it took front and center. I eventually just ate the rolls and then the sauce. God bless saffron.
Dinner was a daily special. the Lisa Kudrow Enchilada...salmon, cilantro-lime crema, black beans, etc. It was good, and well balanced. Oh, my wife also had the fried plantains, which were deeeelicious with the garlic and oil playing with the sweetness.

Finally, we ate breakfast as sunny pointe. It was very good. Huevos Rancheros were delicious... not mind-blowingly spectacular, but very good. I will say that those biscuits are worth some hype. The sugar on top is just too genius to go overlooked. The bacon, while good, was a tad cold and soggy. Good thing for me, that's just how I like it.

So, that's my report. Thanks to everyone who replied on this board, and also to those who have consistently posted on the Asheville "board". You help make CHowhound my one-stop shop for reliable goodness.

Jul 31, 2009
foie grasias in General South Archive

ATTN: Asheville Foodies - 2 questions

Hello all
In preparation for our trip, I have done extreme amounts of reading in hopes of getting great, unique food in Asheville.

My first question is about Tupelo Honey. I know everyone says to go for breakfast, and I have read very little (and what I have read has not been great) about TH for dinner. But to be honest, the menu posted looks really delicious. The pork tenderloin with a root beer molasses and jalapeno bbq sauce?? It might seem like a trainwreck, but it sounds inventive and worth a try.
Am I crazy for going to this place for dinner??

Second, I am between 3 places that seem to get all amazing reviews for dinner another night.

Table
Nova
Zambra

I know they aren;t all the same cuisine, but I am looking for the best taste experience. Here is one caveat: We are coming from DC, which has the full gamut of restaurants. So if you could keep that in mind, that would be great.

Finally, so I don't get any recs for these, we already plan on going to... Sunny Pointe, Salsa's (I know it's mixed review-wise, but it looks really creative), 12 Bones, and the above mentioned Tupelo Honey.

Thanks in advance. I have already read all of your good taste!

Jul 27, 2009
foie grasias in General South Archive

Most UNIQUE dish in d.c.?

Ooh...where and what is that??

Jul 22, 2009
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

Best Onion Rings

I second Bourbon. Dee-lish. And I might get chastised a bit here, but i do love the onion rings at Good Stuff Eatery. They use chili of some sort to get this very incredible flavor. It;s not for everyone, but it's for me.

Jul 22, 2009
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

Anyone been to J & G Steakhouse at W Hotel?

Got reviews?

Jul 21, 2009
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

Most UNIQUE dish in d.c.?

Something that was puzzling you on the plate with taste to boot...

Jul 21, 2009
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

Serve only amuse bouche - does it exist?

P.S. just booked this place for their deal! it looks like a perfect match to what i was asking for. Thanks city kid

Jan 05, 2009
foie grasias in Manhattan

Serve only amuse bouche - does it exist?

I would have agreed with you a year ago, but we dined at Spago in LA and recieved at LEAST 8 amuse. Now, whether or not we can define them as being free or part of the menu is a different story. There is a fine line between "amuse on the menu" and a tapas. I am looking for a meal that consists of 1-2 bite dishes. call it small plates, call it amuse, call it afraid of commitment. i rule out tapas because to most, this signifies (by 'definition") spanish-influenced, which is not necessarily what we're after.

Jan 05, 2009
foie grasias in Manhattan

Sunday Lunch RW Rec??

Already headed to the modern for sunday dinner, and EMP for lunch on monday (we're out of towners).

My thoughts for Sunday lunch are chinatown brasserie, brasserie 8 1/2, mia dona, butter, or perry st.

Looking for either strong recs from those or another wild card (that is actually doing sunday lunch).
Thanks

Jan 05, 2009
foie grasias in Manhattan

Serve only amuse bouche - does it exist?

My wife and I are insanely excited about hitting the big apple this month, and are wondering if there exists a restaurant where all or the majority of food served is prix fixe amuse bouche/ We realize that with many restaurants, the prix fixe menu is typically wrought with them already, but looking for a place the emphasizes them. Not tapas or sushi...specifically amuse bouche. Thanks in advance!

Jan 04, 2009
foie grasias in Manhattan

Made to order: BBQ chicken pizza and milshakes

Hi there. I need a place that can satisfy both of the above cravings with medium high to high satisfaction. I know that these are by no means culinary masterpieces, but I know there's a heirarchy for everything. Thanks!

Sep 17, 2008
foie grasias in Chicago Area

Jacksonville to Charleston: Foodie teachers need spring break sustenance!

long titles explain it all. we want to spoil ourselves after hearing pre-pubescent whiny sixth graders all year (we love 'em anyways).

looking for food that reflects the region: both upscale and dives. done research on both savannah and charleston, but variety is the spice of life, so do share! thanks in advance....

Mar 13, 2008
foie grasias in General South Archive

3 cheers for beer (iyho)

yah, i think it's just called the saloon. it was raining and we were meeting a friend for dinner at etete, and we haphazardly snuck in. nothing mind-blowing, but there was a beer on tap called...hmm, you're testing my memory here..."eggerbach"? they had an impressive bottle list (i mean, lets not compare to places like the brickskellar) and other drafts looked good. they have some usual suspects like spaten and some others.
and call it blasphemy, but i really like leinie's sunset wheat, which was on draft and deelish. lienenkugel was my first sip of beer ever (and successive buzz, of course), so its "branded" into my heart.

ps thanks to all for the suggestions. we might hit up rustico, but i think beck might be the place. he was all ga-ga when i said there was a "beer sommolier" there. despite novelty, i have no probelms drinking there. draak on draft...mmmmmmmmmm

Mar 13, 2008
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

3 cheers for beer (iyho)

So I lived in LA and chicago. the former was a weak beer town, the latter did pretty well. but in general, i have been impressed by dc (in the short time i have lived here).

so i pose the question: i want to show a chicago friend of mine coming to visit how dc eclipses beer-cago. where to?

my limited thoughts thusfar: beck, paradiso, and this saloon i just went to next to bens chili bowl....i was happily impressed.

so, fire away...and thanks in advance

Mar 10, 2008
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

Red Ginger (Caribbean) in Georgetown...insert cricket chirps

Wow. Seriously, I don't know what the deal is. It always seems to be empty. The chef is the owner and was our server. Seemed like a great guy and he is, like I said, opening up another on in Dupont.

Alas, thanks for the info and the Island Caribbean tip. Until next time!

Dec 15, 2007
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

Red Ginger (Caribbean) in Georgetown...insert cricket chirps

I don't know if it's my palette or simply that no one is going there, but Red Ginger for Caribbean food is Georgetown is some pretty good fare. I am no expert on Caribbean, but I loved all the tastes that came my way. But no one has posted on it, nor was anyone else in the restaurant.

The Jerk Chicken lollipops were surprisingly delicious, with multiple yet distinct flavors and spices coming forefront. My wife had the "fried red tomatoes", which were equally good.

My entree was the pork in a sugar whiskey sauce with greens and mashed sweet potatoes. While none of those 3 elements blew me away, I was certainly satisfied and happy with my meal, especially when I am not eating Caribbean frequently.

Is anyone out there? Are you eating Caribbean? Thoughts? Bueller?

They must be doing something right if they are opening a caribbean-french place in Dupont next month.

Dec 14, 2007
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

Bebo - never mind the service, gimmie recs!

I'm off soon. Quick recs??

Sep 29, 2007
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

Makoto: worth it?

How much does kaiseki run>? typically...i know it changes

Sep 02, 2007
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

Makoto: worth it?

I am heading there tonight. I am expecting a unique dining experience with top notch food and sushi that is on par with kaz s.b. I am expecting to be slightly uncomfortable seeing as i cant cross my legs. I dont know how much i will be spending....

Thoughts?

Sep 01, 2007
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

mwm seeks pte (pliny the elder)

does anyone know a bar, or better yet, a store, that has russian river's pliny the elder? i know this is chowhound, but beerhounds: sound off!!

Sep 01, 2007
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

brasserie beck: a humble review

Oooh that rochefort 8 is indeed something else....spot on.

Sep 01, 2007
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

brasserie beck: a humble review

so we hit the beck last night. good atmosphere, not too loud, and nice tall booths. started with the mussels in curry and apple. delicious! perfect to share for 4, and enough bread to sop up the best part in the pan. our server showed us that the best way to get the mussel out was to use a shell itself. nice.
the beer....my oh my....complex? subtle? amazing? yes, yes, and yes. we learned that the beer "sommolier"(?) would be knighted in brussels next week. after the nights drinking, we knew why. i know that everyone pumps up this list, but it truly is a tasteful list. and our server knew what brew went with what food. spot on.
main courses were the duck congolese, and my party had the beef carbonnade and the pork dish en croute.
the duck was delicious. every flavor our server described was present, and the cous cous was a perfect compliment. i highly recommend.
the beef carbonnade (from the bite or two that i had) was tasty, but came out more like a glorified beef stew....which i have no problem with :)
finally, the pork dish failed i.m.h.o. really lacking any "prescence" in the taste category, this dish may as well have offered a crescent roll and saved any other complication.

i was slightly surprised by the portion sizes. the mussels surely were not much of a filler, but the entrees were hefty in size. i am not complaining at all, but when it came time for dessert, it was a difficult choice.

but one that had to be made. two of got the pear tarte with cinammon ice cream. MARVELOUS. my favorite part was the way some of the elements had carmelized, giving an almost candy feel to it. overall, it was silly good.
the gataeu chocolate piece was, well, dense, they arent messing around there, and its going to take you a couple bites before its too much, aside from the true chocolate believers.
the special were the waffles, with some fresh fruit/jam on top. to be honest, after my dessert, trying them was an afterthought, although fresh fruit and fresh waffles are difficult to destroy. decent to pretty good. but get the pear.....

i post this part to give my 2 cents, and part because i am hoping others post a follow up. i tried to do some chow reading before going, and i couldnt find much. anyone out there....

Aug 26, 2007
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

Amazing foodie happy hour. STAT!!!

thanks elyssa and sorry to aussie. i forget that this board is multi-city. i was looking for dc. we went to cap city, which was more for novelty and ease of location than anything else rather than food, but the fuel beer there was spectacular. food was sub par, though i hear they giev you soft pretzels in place of bread rolls. mmmm. thanks again, and if anyone out there is still interested in posting about killer food happy hours in dc, hit me.

Aug 26, 2007
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

Amazing foodie happy hour. STAT!!!

friday. 2:30. need some options. help a brother out.

Aug 24, 2007
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

Cross Country and hungry

I posted this under the title "The "ultimate" of DC/Baltimore/VA", but it was late and i didn't get any replies...either that or no one likes me :) or my questions. Throw me any bones (or rather threads) that might help me out here....

So I am new in town via LA, and I am looking forward to getting the skinny on this board on the "other coast". As silly as superlatives are, there was a bloke in LA who put together an "Ultimate" LA eats list. Based solely on Chowhounders voting, he tallied up the results and shared them. It was based on how many #1 votes the restaurant got. Search for it on the LA board if you are culi-curious.

Alas, I am wondering if anyone has a thread link somewhere to something like this, or if someone has done something similar (that's a lot of 'some's).

I also hope I have not been too spoiled with year-round fresh ingredients.

Because after all, I heart eating. (not to be confused with "i eat hearts")

Aug 04, 2007
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore

The "ultimate" of DC/Baltimore/VA

So I am new in town via LA, and I am looking forward to getting the skinny on this board on the "other coast". As silly as superlatives are, there was a bloke in LA who put together an "Ultimate" LA eats list. Based solely on Chowhounders voting, he tallied up the results and shared them. It was based on how many #1 votes the restaurant got. Search for it on the LA board if you are culi-curious.

Alas, I am wondering if anyone has a thread link somewhere to something like this, or if someone has done something similar (that's a lot of 'some's).

I also hope I have not been too spoiled with year-round fresh ingredients.

Because after all, I heart eating. (not to be confused with "i eat hearts")

Aug 03, 2007
foie grasias in Washington DC & Baltimore