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Ming Court & Seventh Son dim sum vs. dinner?

I've tried to search through the board to get an answer to these questions, but I'm hoping to go to Ming Court and Seventh Son at some point April 1-7. I'm coming from the San Francisco Bay Area, and I haven't been able to explore the HK restaurant scene in a while.

I've heard the dim sum at Ming Court is very good, but should I even consider the dinner instead? Or do both? Also, is the dim sum better or is there more variety on the weekend?

Similarly, how's the dim sum at Seventh Son stack up to Ming Court or Tin Lung Heen/Lung King Heen?

Or would I still be better off at one of the old Fook Lam Moon locations for dim sum or dinner? I've heard about the family split/lawsuit, but Seventh Son seems to be getting better reviews recently—though I acknowledge that it could just be the 'hot new place.'

Also, any recommendations on particularly unique private kitchens/clubs? I've been able to eat out in Europe and Chicago/New York a fair bit, so I would be more interested in chefs who are doing something more Chinese (modernist is ok, though I haven't heard good things about Bo Innovation/London).

Feb 26, 2014
W42 in China & Southeast Asia

Marea and Babbo and Le Bernardin and Jungsik?

There are a lot of accounts about Babbo, but I think most would agree that you can be pretty casually dressed there and the vibe is casual too (I noticed the same about most everyone at Jungsik, though the decor is very nice in a modernish way).

Le Bernadin does have the usual wine pairings for the tasting menus, though the sommeliers should work with you for anything that you choose to eat. As for my own recent interaction with the junior sommelier: I think she instantly knew she screwed up and thus lost a customer (for the wine, not the food).

Oct 17, 2013
W42 in Manhattan

Marea and Babbo and Le Bernardin and Jungsik?

FWIW, Jungsik was one of the best dinners I had in New York in the past couple of weeks, just as good as Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernadin, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, all over the same time period. I wouldn't skip any of these places, unless you were able to go to Brooklyn Fare instead.

Jungsik was slightly better than my lunch at Momofuku Ko too (which was great on the whole, but not every course was as consistently delicious as Jungsik, though I know Ko's dinner menu is entirely different save one course).

Based on what I had last week, I would make Babbo a lunch if you can get reservations, since many of their famous courses can be had then.

Oct 16, 2013
W42 in Manhattan

Marea and Babbo and Le Bernardin and Jungsik?

The wines did look very fairly priced, but I went with their one sake with the tasting menu and thought it all was fantastic.

Oct 16, 2013
W42 in Manhattan

Marea and Babbo and Le Bernardin and Jungsik?

I dunno, I'd rather experience at least one of their great dishes rather than none at all.

Oct 16, 2013
W42 in Manhattan

Marea and Babbo and Le Bernardin and Jungsik?

I just did all four of those restaurants in about a one week span, with other comparable places packed in for lunch and dinner in between. Babbo is pretty casual, and of those, only Marea made me feel overstuffed (and that may be because my friends and I ordered over half the menu to share). Thus, I also can't promise you could spend under $150 for 2 w/tip, but I can say they were really good about us sharing dishes.

I didn't drink alcohol at any of those places—for some reason I wasn't even asked about wine at Marea—and I really didn't get the sense anyone cared. One of the junior sommeliers at Le Bernadin may have been put off by the fact that I didn't like any of her recommendations or the kinds of wines she was suggesting, and thus I told her I'd settle for just sparkling water, but she didn't have to come around our table much again.

I thought the food at Le Bernadin was much, much more special than Marea—which was good, but only one dish, the snail appetizer, is something I would really want to taste again out of all the things we tried.

Oct 16, 2013
W42 in Manhattan

Jai Yun overpriced, overhyped [San Francisco]

Uh, ok, you need to vent and blame someone else for making a recommendation that you feel bad about. But I have to agree with bobabear and ask, did you really read much about Jai Yun on this board, or do your homework elsewhere?

I can't check every post here about Jai Yun, but I'm pretty sure all of them, including the ones I have written, are all clear about the fact that the decor and service are bare bones at best. I think others have also written about the fact that the longest tasting menu does include some duplication of flavors and sauces. I know I have stated that while it is some of the highest quality Chinese food, Jai Yun may struggle in comparison to the competition of the high-end places in the Bay Area.

I also have to wonder whether your bad experience with the food was biased by your initial interaction with the hostess and your shock at the decor. There are plenty of psychology studies that go into how a bad mood can change your perceptions, and I know I've had several meals ruined by what was going through my head beforehand or at the start (if anything my first meal at Alinea was even more impressive given the argument I had been having with my guests all day).

Again, for $120 I know I might recommend other places before Jai Yun, but I certainly remember a lot of the dishes for being savory with sauces and combinations that are a class above other well-known Chinese places in the Bay Area (and yes, I've been to Hong Kong, Singapore etc. and my grandfather was a Chinese chef and the investor behind the first high-end Chinese place in Manhattan). While I wouldn't say Jai Yun's abalone was the best preparation in memory, but given the portion size and raw cost of abalone, it goes a long way to explaining the total price tag. Robert Lauriston is right about the price—$120 is definitely not the most expensive menu—so I'm guessing you went on a Monday-Wednesday, when they don't offer their longest menus (and arguably some of the better dishes, though, there is some confusion about what is offered when you pay more).

And yes, there is a reason why it is important to know if you have a reservation at Jai Yun even if the rest of the tables are empty: Chef Nei is a one man show so he only does prep work all day for just the people who have reservations.

Finally, I'm also going to go out on a limb and guess that you and probably most of your associates don't speak Mandarin, or even Cantonese. Unfortunately, as at many ethnic cheap eats and also really high end places in France and Japan, I do think that interactions with staff are at least friendlier, and that you can get overall better treatment when there is no language barrier. When I started speaking Mandarin to Chef Nei over the phone, he quickly suggested to me that I come on another day when he could do something more special and later took $100 off my bill. Not saying this is right or anything, but it's been discussed here before, and I think about Jai Yun in particular.

Oct 16, 2013
W42 in San Francisco Bay Area
2

Torrisi no longer offers the extended 20 course tasting menu? Are the lunch and dinner menus now just as good?

Okay, to report back briefly: I went to Torrisi for dinner and was happy with their $100 menu. Simply put, every course was pretty tasty. The vitello tonnato was not as good as the Del Posto version I had for lunch that same day, but I like the Torrisi version much better than the one at Lincoln later in the week.

Not the best meal I had in New York in the past couple of weeks (that would be Brooklyn Fare), but I thought $100 was a fair price. For what it's worth, I was told that they will be a launching another much longer tasting menu option, probably about a week from now or so.

As for Marea, my friends and I covered over half of the menu by sharing, including all the suggestions above. The general sense ranged around "fine but forgettable" (crudos) and "good but not great." I don't mean to sound down on Marea, to be honest it was probably as good as Torrisi, and I could see it being a reliable option if I had a guest who liked Italian, but it wouldn't be my top choice (I think that would probably be Del Posto maybe followed by Babbo).

In particular, I wasn't as wowed by the fusilli with octopus and bone marrow given how high my expectations were, but like everything else, it was satisfying. The salt cod for two wasn't noticeably better than much cheaper versions I've had in fishing villages from Turkey to Malaysia. Similarly, there was nothing wrong with bistecca from Creekstone Farms but it was nowhere near the best bistecca in Tuscany or other great steaks I've had. If anything, we all agreed the best dish was the snails appetizer.

Oct 14, 2013
W42 in Manhattan

I'm sorry...I think I jumped the dining shark

I felt that way about Atelier Crenn and The French Laundry, but I don't think it's that I'm burned out after years of destination dining. Just last week I was wowed by the Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare, and to a slightly lesser degree at Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernadin.

I'm sure my standards have changed: I thought my first experience at Alinea, when I hadn't been to as many Michelin starred places, was much more amazing than the meal I had a few months ago. But there's always something new that surprises me: like the underground Sous Rising dinner I had the night after Alinea (soon to become a full restaurant). More likely is just that we enjoy some places more than others.

Oct 14, 2013
W42 in San Francisco Bay Area

Heading to Manhattan in 2 days

Big Wong used to be really good, like 10 years ago, before the brothers who ran it split up. I don't know anyone who is Chinese in the greater New York area who still thinks anything on the menu is even close to the standard of what it once was (except maybe the rice porridge).

Oct 14, 2013
W42 in Manhattan

Coming to town for a couple of nights

I've gotten from the Hyatt on Wacker to the Girl and the Goat in 20 min on the green line, and it might be even quicker if you're willing to take a bus.

Oct 01, 2013
W42 in Chicago Area

San Francisco & Napa Trip

I know there' a lot, but besides "doesn't break the bank," and "done better in Cali," there's not a lot for us to specifically respond to. Your questions get asked all the time, so search the board for recs that are unique to SF and browse the eater 38 etc.

Also, for what it's worth, there are places I would much rather splurge at than The French Laundry (Benu, Saison, Meadowwood, Manresa).

Sep 30, 2013
W42 in San Francisco Bay Area

Kale Salad?

Trick Dog bar's comes to mind and has a lot of accolades, but there are a lot of places.

Sep 28, 2013
W42 in San Francisco Bay Area

Great baguettes, croissant in the Loop?

For pancakes, there is a location of the local Bongo Room on S. Wabash, but it is about a mile south of where you are staying.

Sep 25, 2013
W42 in Chicago Area

Akira Uesugi soba outside Ishikawa?

Wow, you two are awesome. I do think it was the "just outside Ishikawa prefecture" that was messing up my google searches.

Those Tabelog reviews aren't exactly raves or what Brock described, but I'll keep it on my radar in case someone else can confirm that it is the place being mentioned and is worth a trip.

Sep 24, 2013
W42 in Japan

Akira Uesugi soba outside Ishikawa?

Does anyone know anything more about a soba place run by a master Akira Uesugi, somewhere outside Ishikawa prefecture? Sean Brock mentioned it and, after searching this board and the broader internet, I found the soba maker's name on the Cook it Raw homepage. My one year of Japanese is pretty limited, but I can't find any other reference to the place on the web, much less a location or contact information.

http://firstwefeast.com/eat/sean-broc...

http://www.cookitraw.org/?page_id=415

Sep 23, 2013
W42 in Japan

Jai Yun ???? [San Francisco]

Abalone is what I recall.

Sep 18, 2013
W42 in San Francisco Bay Area

Jai Yun ???? [San Francisco]

Um...no. Maybe you have Jai Yun confused with another place? I don't think there was any sashimi or cuts of raw fish...it's not a Japanese place.

Jai Yun is basically a one man show where Chef Nei himself produces a tasting menu series of courses (20-30 plates if you go for the most expensive menu). The first dishes are cold, but many are cooked with fairly elaborate combinations and ingredients. It's much more like a traditional Chinese version of Michelin starred tasting menu experience.

Here's a decent recap with photos:
http://www.cookingforengineers.com/ar...

Sep 18, 2013
W42 in San Francisco Bay Area

Back for trip #? - New ideas for great meals. [San Francisco]

I think that makes sense. There are better places for food and you can get great beer at Monk's Kettle, or elsewhere.

Sep 18, 2013
W42 in San Francisco Bay Area

Back for trip #? - New ideas for great meals. [San Francisco]

Good picks for this time.

Sep 17, 2013
W42 in San Francisco Bay Area

Jai Yun ???? [San Francisco]

I haven't been since earlier this year, but I thought it was still impressive (we had the longest tasting menu). That said, at the highest price point, we did say afterwards that it wasn't significantly better than the other high-end options in the Bay Area, hence probably why I haven't been back more recently.

Sep 16, 2013
W42 in San Francisco Bay Area

Squash Blossoms

Yerena Farms at the Ferry Building Farmer's market and others often has squash blossoms for much less than rainbow (I don't remember the exact price, but I was shocked when I compared the difference). Chue's Farm, also at the Ferry Building, sometimes has them.

Sep 15, 2013
W42 in San Francisco Bay Area

Tasting menu, brunch, bakeries, coffee [San Francisco]

I much prefer the food at AQ to SPQR—the latter was much too reliant on fats and butter (which can be ok, if there is some other spark too).

Sep 12, 2013
W42 in San Francisco Bay Area

Torrisi no longer offers the extended 20 course tasting menu? Are the lunch and dinner menus now just as good?

Apparently changes at Torrisi are effective immediately. $100 for lunch and dinner and a receptionist just told me there is now no choice on the menu and "an extra amuse-bouche" (though the link below claims there will be 1-3 more "courses").

http://thepricehike.com/post/60732589...

I have a reservation in a month and will report back afterwards and about Marea.

Sep 09, 2013
W42 in Manhattan

Where to buy pork back fat?

4505 at least used to always have some when they were at the Ferry Building Farmer's Market. I'm not sure I've seen it recently in their display case in the Mission, though.

Sep 08, 2013
W42 in San Francisco Bay Area

In search of awesome lunch options

Given the places you are going for dinner, I'm assuming that by "amazing" you mean you want lunches that are also really memorable, if cheaper/lighter. So, I don't want to set your expectations too high for the Chinese and Mexican choices here, and I should start by saying that I think other cities do both these cuisines better (LA or Hong Kong for Chinese, Chicago or Oaxaca for Mexican).

But if you aren't going to those cities any time soon, then Yank Sing is my usual recommendation for high-end dim sum (plenty of threads here recently). Nopalito is probably the best in San Francisco for Mexican.

You can search for some recent opinions on the Slanted Door, but, basically, it's reviews are mixed.

I wouldn't say Cotogna is particularly "light" and it's not my favorite Italian place in the Bay Area. Given the places you are going for dinner, I know I wouldn't go there for lunch, if I even had any lunch at all. When I plan trips to famous restaurants with long tasting menus, I usually skip lunch unless the reservation is very late (and I say this as someone with a high metabolism and who works out with a backpack full of bricks and sand for 24+ hours).

All that said, I think there are a lot of other more "amazing" options in this city for lunch. I'm not sure exactly what kind of restaurants you are looking besides some being "light", so search this board and see what comes up for lunch favorites.

Sep 07, 2013
W42 in San Francisco Bay Area

Yank Sing -- Anyone have an opinion on this? [San Francisco]

I actually haven't noticed any difference and I've been many times with groups both Chinese—both by birth and by descent—and many other ethnicities. There's no harm in market research and collective demographic data on your customers, but I do think this could at least appear discriminatory, and thus shouldn't be done.

That said, I've been to other Chinese restaurants and restaurants of just about every other cuisine where I have noticed or overheard different treatment for folks who were not of the local race (I studied Cantonese and Mandarin, and speak enough Italian and a bit of Japanese and Spanish). Discriminating against foreigners or giving better treatment to locals are two sides of an equally bad coin in my mind.

I don't think Yank Sing could get away with any real discrimination given the diversity of their downtown clientele. But I have seen such discrimination occur everywhere from cheap ethnic joints to places overrun by tourists in Italy to really expensive famous places (see L'Ambroisie, Paris, which I liked but...or any number of high-end places in Japan).

Sep 07, 2013
W42 in San Francisco Bay Area

20th Anniv. Scrapped the Italian idea and still need a romantic restaurant but not French [San Francisco]

Commonwealth is another one of those tasting menus, but regardless I like it the most out of that lot. Also. Frascati is kind of in the same vein as those Italian places you were considering earlier, but not as good (it's one of the better places in my neighborhood—it just used to be better). I haven't been to La Traviata in years, but I similarly would wonder if you excluded Delfina etc.

Sep 06, 2013
W42 in San Francisco Bay Area

20th Anniv. Scrapped the Italian idea and still need a romantic restaurant but not French [San Francisco]

I think Quince is out of the OP's $35/entree price range now that they have gone exclusively to tasting menus (started Aug 1 IIRC), all of which are well over $100. Their next door casual place, Cotogna, has already been suggested and is in the right price range, but I've always thought it was way overrated and too reliant on butter in their cooking.

Also, for the OP's information, I really do think NYC has much better high end Italian than Quince. I live just up the street and my most recent visit was also a few weeks ago, but probably the worst. All four of us thought the food was forgettable outside of the amuses.

I normally don't care at all the about the service at restaurants, but this time it literally caused problems with the food: they forgot to bring a whole course, mixed up drinks a couple of times even pouring red wine into a half full glass of white, serving another course to only 3 out of the 4 of us and never brought the dish for the 4th (our food got pretty cold while we awkwardly hoped it was coming eventually). Again I'm willing to cut the staff a lot of slack as I've been before and I can't imagine my most recent experience being at all representative. But course after course made us whisper in disappointment with the taste—though I've never had anything there that was so good I wanted it again.

Sep 06, 2013
W42 in San Francisco Bay Area

Input on SF Restaurant itinerary

I think all three of those are great. Yes, you could throw in something totally different, but I wouldn't necessarily see a reason to swap out any.

Sep 06, 2013
W42 in San Francisco Bay Area