TheDegustationAsian's Profile

Title Last Reply

Australia Honeymoon - Sydney

Glad my reports could be of some help. We like a lot of the same restaurants in NYC and you seem pretty well informed of current food news. I know they are both degustations but I think either Sixpenny or Cafe Paci would be perfect compliments to Quay. Both are emerging talents with serious fine dining pedigrees, utilize modern technique but manage not to overwhelm the ingredients. While there aren't any direct NYC comparisons, I liken both to the food behind Contra, Estela and Semilla.

As for Melbourne, very glad to hear you are visiting Brae. I agree with kersizm about the drive, but feel the bread they are making in the outdoor bread oven is the best I had during my entire trip, and the cultured butter from Jersey cream, while no Bordier, is better than about anything I've had state side.

Also really enjoyed Town Mouse. Felt the service and food was punching way above it's weight, a la Estela. Looks like you'll be eating very well on your honeymoon, congrats!

Australia Honeymoon - Sydney

cubicles, sounds like you have a great itinerary so far! As a fellow New Yorker (Brooklyn), my wife and I spent two weeks between Sydney and Melbourne eating our way through both last year. We visited a number of the restaurants you listed (Quay, Sepia, Billy Kwong, Sixpenny) and you might enjoy reading about our experiences that can be found on this board. Also, it might be of some value to name some of your favorite restaurants in NYC to get a better idea of the type of restaurants you enjoy, after all, this is your honeymoon. Your dining preferences (classic/modern or formal/casual) could be useful for others offering suggestions. Being from NYC do enjoy certain types of cuisines over others? While Australia has better Thai food than NYC, Japanese is much better here than Sydney and Melbourne.

My wife and I really enjoyed Quay, but we went for lunch. The textures as well as Australian ingredients chef Gilmore incorporates into his menues (we did the degustation), were a fantastic example of Australian fine dining. If you care about the view, do contact the restaurant to see if a cruise ship will be docked.

While Sepia was good, I feel we were both underwhelmed from our experience given all of the praise surrounding the restaurant. However, It was most likely just an off night and I should note that the night we ate there, neither chef Benn nor his wife were in the restaurant. However, that should hardly be an excuse for a restaurant of this caliber. Interestingly enough, chef Benn was recently invited to NYC to cook a lunch at Le Bernardin as Eric Ripert was imoressed with his food. The degustation was largely seafood-centric with many Japanese accents. You can see chef Benn on season 3 of Avec Eric.

In terms of a more casual second restaurant I highly recommend Sixpenny. This was one of the most exciting restaurants of our trip, with two very up and coming chefs. We found many of the flavors to be very clean with an emphasis on pristine seasonal produce (backyard garden) and modern technique/plating. The restaurant is in Stanmore, and we took the train for an enjoyable lunch. The restaurant has a casual feel but with knowledgeable servers and many of the chefs will present courses throughout the meal.

I should note that most restaurants are far more casual in Australia than NYC. This isn't meant as a comment on service as both cities offer fine service, however, I never felt pressure to wear a suite anywhere even though I did.

As for other suggestions, I'd suggest at least one Thai meal. We ate at Chaat Thai and Spice I Am. We thought both were better than what we have in NYC, even the more popular restaurants in Queens and Brooklyn.

I liked Billy Kwong but would hesitate to suggest visiting since you are from NYC and have many good Chinese restaurants. Flour and Drum is a very high end Cantonese restaurant but does not seem too different than many of the high end restaurants in Hong Kong. Spice Temple pays homage to many of the regional Chinese cuisines, but the prices might be a bit shocking compared to what you can find in Queens. That being said, I found Rockpool to be a very good experience. Phil Wood is doing the best "fusion" I've had and would be my suggestion for Chinese-inflected fine dining. We also considered Tetsuya's but chose to pass considering the stagnant menu and multiple reports on him focusing on Waku Ginn. We did really enjoy a Friday lunch at Marque if you like modern cuisine. I had a great solo meal at Cafe Paci but the food had a new Nordic feel. Also I believe Nathan Sassi has left Nomad.

In terms of coffee and pastry, you have many of the best already identified. Additionally, I'd listen to Mr Gimlet and PhilD as they provided me with excellent suggestions. I would add Flour and Stone as a bakery to consider, especially for their panna cotta lamington which is very Australian. I visited Gumption almost daily, but we were also staying less than three blocks away. We liked both Messina and N2 and both can be found in Melbourne and Sydney. If you like soft serve, Aqua S is making interesting sea salt flavored soft serve and has been clogging my Instagram feed lately.

Any ideas what you are considering for Melbourne? I'd highly recommend Brae, but two days might make it rather limiting.

Brae [Birregurra, about 90 mins west of melbourne]

Glad to hear that you enjoyed your meal. Brae was definately among the highlights of our trip. Definately detected some subtle (and some not so) nods to chef Hunter's time at Mugaritz.

I might add that, even as a tourist, the "hassle" of hiring a car and making the drive to Birregurra was well worth the effort considering the experience. While I feel more frequent trains would make the restaurant more accessible, I end to agree with kersizm and feel it's location adds to that "sense of place" (food wankery or not).

As an fyi, although we weren't able to partake in full beverage pairing due to having to make the drive back to Melbourne, the restaurant does offer half pours which we enjoyed.

Hard to say whether we felt it was better/worse than Attica. IMO they are both excellent restaurants doing exciting things.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

According to a lunch menu posted on his facebook page on Feb 18th it looks like you can order his famous pot de creme and vert dessert.

Rochester - anything great?

Yeah, it seems Rochester (and the rest of Western New York) is lacking many good ethnic options, which is strange with so many international and foreign students in the area...That being said, my wife's family lives in Toronto which has some of the best Cantonese food outside Hong Kong.

I'd love for Rochester to get some regional Chinese (Dongbei, Sichuan, Hunan, Shanghainese) restaurants but understand this may take some time. That's why I was curious about Butapub since they are riffing on Asian flavor profiles but presenting them in an acessible form of bar/izakaya foods. Personally, I think a dumpling place selling steamed and pan fried varities would do very good business. But maybe this is just wishful thinking on my behalf as I often crave xiao long bao!

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

I do like cook books. Aside from food, I try to limit my discrectional income purchases for myself but often splurge on cookbooks. I'll be sure to check one out, especially for the selections I'm less likely to come across back home.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

That's an ambitious dining strategy. I've done something similar whenever I return home to visit family during the holidays.

When visiting a fine dining restaurant on vacation I often struggle with the a la carte vs tasting option. I'm more prone to order a la carte at restaurant's in NYC or Brooklyn since I can visit mmore frequently. The other reason for ordering a la carte IMO, is if you want a proper sized entree and main compared to small bites of multiple courses. The current trend in NYC fine dining are tasting only bars where a select group of guests eat 20 or so courses (Atera, Momofuku Ko, Brooklyn Fare, Blanca). I'm currently discussing Toque! with my wife and will be sure to report back whatever we decide.

Thanks for the coffee info. Recently, I've been drinking more espresso based drinks (thanks Australia for your flat whites) but if really interested in tasting various coffees, will often order an americano and an espresso. I'm not too worried about coffee, seems like there are a number of good options near where we will be staying.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

I enjoy them and asked since there is a strong Montreal pastry scene. I'm also not a fan of the ones at DA. Balthazar can be hit or miss. The best I've had in the USA were from Boulette's Larder at the ferry building in San Francisco. They produce a limited quanitity each day and usually run out.

Pretty much everything I've seen at Patrice looks delicious. I'm saddened by the fact that no longer serve evenings since I'm more interested in experiencing some of his more composed desserts.

Rochester - anything great?

Indy67 is totally correct. Please take the reports in the link I provided with a grain of salt. I've only visited Cure and Aunt Rosie's once, so my poor experiences hopefully were not the norm. I have heard nothing but great reports about Aunt Rosie's from another trusted Rochester hound. Ruth Reichl also ate at Cure when she visited Rochester on a recent speaking engagement and the current menu looks better than when we visited.

I have a number of good meals at Good Luck and to be fair, I've not been impressed with the charcuterie there either. The cocktails have always been spot on as well as any of the pastas

I have avoided Asian food in Rochester, but mainly because I live in Brooklyn and have access to some very good Asian food and haven't felt the need, or read anything promising enough to for me to seek out. My sister who still lives in the area likes Plum Garden for Japanese, Sodam for Korean, SEA for Vietnamese and Han Noodle Bar for Chinese noodle soups. I'll defer to Indy67's Thai rec. Unfortunately, I'd just go to Toronto for Cantonese and dim sum.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

Oh, I've heard about Bête a Pain, especially for their brunch and canales!

Great news regarding Chloe. Will be a priority during our visit.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

No worries, I think I understood what you meant by your comments regarding L'Express. From what I've gathered (and locals please correct me if I'm wrong) is that while not spectacular food by any means, L'Express represents a dependable and not too expensive option for bistro/brasserie classics. I wanted a location where I can get some proper marrow bones, rillets, steak frites, etc. with good wine at any hour.

Your favorite metro in the world? Interesting, I'm pretty partial to the efficient/dependable ones in Japan...but it certainly seems better than our horrible system.

Thanks for the coffee info. I think/thought Myriade uses 49th Parallel? But am interested in Kittle if local to Montreal.

So now I'm actually reconsidering visiting Toqué. We do enjoy fine dining and bumping La Banquise to a late night snack may create an opportunity. During your visit/s did you decide on the tasting or go a la carte? We'd probably just go with the tasting, but I actually prefer a la carte to the tastings at some of NYC's best restaurants.

Also, thanks for the heads up regarding the Quebecoise-French distinction. I was aware of this in Spain when we visited San Sebastian and Barcelona.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

I had known about Dieu du Ciel as a place for great beer. A friend told me about Pullman, which makes sense since he is a wine buff. In any event, both are good to know.

I tend to prefer many of the third wave places in NYC/Brooklyn but will probably end up trying a few due to many being located nearby.

I'll be sure to check out the ice cider. Definately something a bit different and would probably make for a nice gift for family.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

Thanks. Heard the ones at La Bete a Pain are good but it seems pretty far out.

Rochester - anything great?

Hi gretchenohar, sorry I didn't see your post sooner. As Indy stated Good Luck and Lento are very close to one another and easily walkable.

It has been awhile since I wrote my last post here, but a more recent report can be found here:

Cure is located in the Public Market and is pretty quiet at night. During our visit, it touted itself as more French leaning than Good Luck which has a slight Italian feel. That being said, I was not a fan. The menu seemed strangely Asian with a Thai papaya salad and no real nod to Vietnamese food. Cocktails were mediocre and the house made charcuterie was way too salty. That being said, it hopefully has improved. Good Luck remains a favorite, but reservations are recommended.

I sadly have also backed away from Lento. Aside from their cocktails and $1 oyster nights I've experienced two underwhelming meals and am in no rush to return. This is despite Art Rogers recently being a semi finalist for a James Beard Award.

If you can, I would go to the Public Market and head straight to Flour City Baking Company. Get a breakfast sandwich made with Swan meats, a pastry or two and a coffee before walking the market.

Swan Market for lunch is a favorite some hearty German fare.

Since my last post here it seems like The Revelry (Low Country/Southern) and Branca (Neapolitan Pizzas/Pastas) seem to be pretty popular.

Cocktails at Cheshire (upstairs inside Solera) are my current favorite but it is popular and fills quickly.

Ice cream at Hedonists just down the street in the South Wedge is always a must visit. Especially for their salted caramel or vegan chocolate sorbet.

A newish Asian themed gastropub opened called Butapub recently opened and I'm very intrigued.

Dogtown remains a solid lunch place for upscale hot dogs. SEA is my go to spot for pho. And if you are in Webster I highly recommend BC's Chicken Coop for fried chicken (free delivery in the area).

Joe Bean and Fuego are both excellent third wave coffee spots for your caffeine fix.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

Thanks for the rec. Are they known for any particularly pastry or do you have favorites from there.

I was wondering if you guys had any suggestions as to where to find a good canales de bordeaux.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

Haha. Plan on walking and using the subway for the most part. We may drive, as the parking doesn't charge an exit fee, but wanted to avoid the parking situation if possible. Also feel that taxi is an option, especially if we encounter lots of rain.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

Another amazing post. Thanks so much. I doubt we'll do anything on quite that scale, but it provides some excellent information which we may use to break into several smaller walking routes.

We both really like natas. Although niether of us have been to Portugal, we've enjoyed them in Macau and some of the Chinese bakeries here in NYC that carry them.

Also, we wanted to stop by Dieu du Ciel and/or Pullman for a drink or two.

In terms of coffee, I was hoping to try a few. I know that Olimpico is a classic and known for their frappe. But heard Myriade has a multiple locations. Any thoughts on Flocon, Pikolo or Kitsune?

Definately will try some ice cider. The few I like are more funky (French/Basque) but willing to try more.

Thought about trying to bring back some chocolates from Chloe, any thoughts?

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

No disability. Enjoy walking, especially when visiting another city and even more so with good weather. In addition to getting better acquainted with various neighborhoods, it helps create a little space between meals.

I am curious for suggestions for food related souvenirs to bring back to friends and family. Obviously, maple related items as well as ice wines and perhaps a dozen bagels.

Also, we may have to get our raw milk cheese cravings satisfied during our visit.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

Thanks for pointing that out. I read about awful news regarding Damas and hope they re-open quickly.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

Thanks for the thorough response. I think you're pretty spot on regarding visitors not necessarily seeking out high end French if they have something comparable back home.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

Frencheetoast, thanks for your input. Visiting from NYC, we seek local foods/specialties, especially ones we cannot easily find back home. L'Express, Lemeac and Laloux all represent solid French food in the brasserie/bistro tradition that NYC lacks. We do fine dining (most of it French or at least French influenced) well but less so on the mid to high end.

If we end up in the Plateau we will be in walking distance to La Banquise, and can grab it as late night snack thus freeing up another meal.

I've considered Le Filet and Le CCeV but unfortunately, we only have so many available meals. If only we were staying a few more days...or perhaps for the next visit.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

Thank you CaptCrunch for all the good info. The hotel we are considering is a little further than a block from Station Sherbrooke which should be ideal for getting around.

Good to know that I'll be well served with either Nora Gray or Impasto. I think I agree with your advice and may wait to make a decision based on our experience at Joe Beef.

Thanks for explaining in more detail the differences between Lawrence and Maison Publique. Both were highly endorsed as brunch destinations. I think they sound different enough to try each. I will hopefully stop by Rhubarbe either before or after Maison Publique to grab a slice of the mille feuille.

Do you think we are missing out much if we don't plan on visiting Toque!? We like fine dining, but get a sense that Montreal really excels at the mid-high end casual (please correct me if I'm wrong). I only question this because I know that Normand Laprise is the seminal figure in the Montreal dining scene with a who's-who of great cooks coming from his kitchen.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

Having never eaten KA in France, I can only speak from my limited experience here in the US where it has quickly become the "trendy" pastry of late. Dominique Ansel sells individual KA sort of similar to the pictures I looked at LaRuche. Kouign Amann offers a very different, albeit still delicious looking version and I'll be interested in comparing the two.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

Thanks for all of your feedback petek. I'll be sure to look for your advice when we visit Toronto. Although, I'll probably be focusing on Chinese food and visiting extended family.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

Thanks for the advice MGino. That is actually very tempting, especially if I'm able to grab a Joe Beef reservation around 6-7ish. To say I'm intrigued by the vegetable plates and wines at Vin Papillon is an understatement. Plus, it may help balance our overall meal if we do indeed end up visiting Joe Beef afterwards.

Do you have any opinions regarding Nora Gray or Impasto? Both seem to get good reviews. I understand that Nora Gray was started by three former Joe Beef employees and have heard that while their antipasti can be very simple (but often good), they really excel with their primi and secondi. I thought perhaps one Italian meal might a nice break to all of the Quebecois and Frenchish food we will be eating.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

Petek, don't mind at all. Thanks for the report on 400 Coups. From what I've been able to read, although the departures were big, the restaurant has been able to transition fairly well and remains a good option.

My only "hesitation" regarding Le Filet, is that we are already planning on visiting CCeP and it is from the same restaurant family.

Our plan is to arrive at Lawrence a few minutes before 10 am as to avoid/mitigate the wait.

I sort of feel that any food-centric trip to Montreal would feel sort of empty without visiting Joe Beef or APDC. Ironically, it's the vegetable focused menu at Vin Papillon that sound as intriguing, if not more, than the hearty plates at Joe Beef. Unfortunately, they don't accept reservations which is less than optimal when vacationing. Perhaps an early visit is the key?

I've heard that APDC has slipped a bit. However, considering our trip is towards the end of May, I'm hoping for those epic seafood platters to be available. That and a "little" foie gras sounds ideal to me.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

The hotel does offer valet parking for $20/day which is a major plus. I'm confident that if we stay in the Plateau we should be just fine between walking and public transportation.

Despite not buying anything to actually cook with, we wanted to visit one, if not both, of the markets. We love visiting local markets when visiting foreign cities (La Boqueria in BCN, Nishiki Market in Kyoto, etc.) and hope it will be in full swing during that time of year.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

Good to know about Les Givres. Both are very walkable from the hotel, which could fast become a dangerous habit...

One of the advantages of a five day trip (instead of a weekend) is that we don't feel forced to cram as much into our schedule which hopefully translates into trying more places. I'm excited about Kouign Amann and have heard from multiple sources that the Montreal version is superior to the one Dominique Ansel produces here in NYC.

Thanks for the heads up regarding The Main. Especially if they are in flux with their meat sourcing. As big of fans as we are of Katz's, part of the appeal for Montreal smoked meat is the superior product. Ironically, after multiple experiences with the smoked meat at Mile End, I have yet to be impressed, finding the meat over smoked and stringy. But we plan on sticking to script at Schwartz's: medium fat sandwich, fries and a cherry soda.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

Stak, thanks for the Hof Kelsten rec. I've read plenty of positive reports and I'll be sure to make it a priority seeing how it's located in the Plateau. The babka and rugelach look great.

Montreal Advice - 5 Days

Thanks JerkPork. I take it from your comment that you are a fan of Kem CoBa.

Hopefully, I'll be able to visit both Rhubarbe and Patrice Patissier (though, for different reasons). If time allows, I'll be able to sample kougin amann and far breton from KA, croissants from Fous Desserts, mille feuille from Rhubarbe and a Russian chocolate babka from Cheskie.

Will be driving to Montreal and will thus have access to a car, but planned on valeting it with the hotel. Tempted to visit Schwartz's and maybe Main to compare/contrast. I enjoy the pastrami in NYC and would like to compare, even if not the "best" in Montreal.