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MSP Hound visiting end of June - Rec's needed

One idea is to drive by Ox on the day of arrival. It is a no reservation place, I went with a friend on Friday evening around 8:30 and it was packed, so we decided to dine elsewhere. The receptionist told us on weekdays, it would usually involve only a short wait if you arrive after 8 If you arrive late, you may be lucky to get seated quickly.

Jun 15, 2014
foggy_town in Metro Portland

MSP Hound visiting end of June - Rec's needed

I bookmarked this thread, as OP's interest matches mine. I just got back from my first trip to PDX. You already got good info. The only points that I can add on:

1) Roe is great. They now serve chef's tasting menu for the entire dining room at 6:15pm seating, contrary to what their web site says (as of today). As a bonus, food is light (seafood with Asian influence).
2) Coffee is almost uniformly good. For my taste: I enjoy ed most: cappuccino at Barista, and single-origin pour at Coava.

Jun 08, 2014
foggy_town in Metro Portland

Chef's counter: Roe and Le Pigeon

Reporting back (mainly on Roe):

Although I was unable to book the chef's counter initially, I made reservation for 1 anyway at Roe. Shortly before the trip, they called me: they were changing the policy starting in June to make chef's tasting menu available to everyone (at 6:15 seating only). Would I be interested? Yes and I went.. The format has indeed changed. There is no longer counter seating. Chef's tasting menu is served at all tables. I am not going to detail, suffice to say that my expectation is easily met, and exceeded, truly "worth a journey".

I had to cancel the reservation at Le Pigeon, and cannot comment on the food.

Jun 07, 2014
foggy_town in Metro Portland

Fine Dining Rec for SF Hound

I would recommend Bartolotta: more rustic version of fine dining, excels in Seafood and Italian. Can't find equivalent one in SF.

May 20, 2014
foggy_town in Las Vegas

Chef's counter: Roe and Le Pigeon

Thanks for all the suggestions, I now have a good list to work with (and to trim down). It is indeed high praise for Ox as a steak house to get recommended for seafood/vegetable. Would check it out if not for the long wait. Besides, the menu looks good for sharing. I can wait for next time in PDX when I have a companion. Sushi in SF is actually a step below NY/LA. It is always great for solo dining, and a good addition to the lineup.

May 11, 2014
foggy_town in Metro Portland

Chef's counter: Roe and Le Pigeon

OK, reservations are made at Roe and Le Pigeon. Plan to leave the rest of trip open. I have been browsing this board for the last couple of days. Noticed good discussions on coffee, will definitely seek out when I am in Portland. In addition, I would like to hear some advice on:
* Iconic northwest fish (salmon and halibut) is on menu at almost every restaurant. Where can I find it particularly well prepared?
* Restaurants with good vegetable dishes.
* Restaurants with good cheese plate.

May 08, 2014
foggy_town in Metro Portland

Chef's counter: Roe and Le Pigeon

Thanks, everyone. I made the inquiry at Roe, and they got back to me today. Basically the Chef's counter is reserved for a single party each night, reserved months ahead.

I am a little disappointed. Otherwise it would be perfect setting for a solo diner. If I have a companion on this trip, we could order different dish for each course. There is less desire to go for the long tasting menu.

May 03, 2014
foggy_town in Metro Portland

Chef's counter: Roe and Le Pigeon

I am visiting PDX from San Francisco in May for the first time. After going through some past discussions, I am getting excited about Roe. As a solo diner, ideally would love to sit at the counter for chef’s tasting. The web site says it only takes 1 reservation per night, up to 4 diners. Does that mean a single seating, or a single party?

I am also interested in Le Pigeon. OpenTable says it accepts reservation for communal table, but walk-in for chef’s counter. Is there a requirement for tasting menu at chef’s counter? I do not think I am up to 2 tasting menus in one trip.

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Apr 29, 2014
foggy_town in Metro Portland

an honest look at vegas steak

I still regret not making it to Alex while it is there. Would a solo diner feel welcomed at Twist? I have a business trip coming up, and my wife unfortunately cannot join me this time. I never dined solo at such up-scale places. Well I actually did at equally pricey Bar Charlie a few years ago, but that was perfect setup for a solo diner.

Jan 09, 2014
foggy_town in Las Vegas

an honest look at vegas steak

Nice write up and will keep it for future reference. It is interesting that so many celebrity chefs have a steakhouse in LV, but only the seafood specialists Bartolotta and Moonen settled down. Hope you get around to write up on seafood houses.

Jan 09, 2014
foggy_town in Las Vegas

oysters in vegas

Good to know about Morel's. I will give it a try when I am in Vegas next week. In the past, I was underwhelmed by Bouchon and RM.

Jan 09, 2014
foggy_town in Las Vegas

Birthday dinner for a pescatarian not stuffy atmopshere but money no object

The two places immediately come to mind: Bartolotta and Raku.

Jan 08, 2014
foggy_town in Las Vegas

Raku vs. Lotus of Siam and perhaps a Buffet brunch

For me, Raku's tofu alone is worth a flight to Las Vegas.

May 23, 2013
foggy_town in Las Vegas
1

Trip report: a fish lover's perspective

Fair enough, planning to do omakase at Raku next time we are in Las Vegas. Is it offered every night, or only on weekend?

Dec 15, 2012
foggy_town in Las Vegas

Miki's Farm Fresh Market coming soon in Oct 2012, Palo Alto

Just checked it out. The cheese selection is geat, many of them I never heard of. Just like Cheese Board in Berkeley, you tell them what you like and they pick some for you to taste, and they are happy to cut a smaller piece for you. Definitely a step up from what we had locally.

I did not spend a lot of time browsing the other department, just noticed they have a dozen or so olive oils. That's another area I would like to explore.

Trip report: a fish lover's perspective

I just made a short trip to Las Vegas to catch up with my cousin from Vancouver. While he is a die-hard meat eater, I am 90% pescetarian. We managed to share quite a few meals together and greatly enjoyed the company, without sharing much food :-)

Raku: This is the first time I am in Las Vegas with a car. I always wanted to eat at Raku, and dragged my cousin there on our first evening in Vegas. I wanted to start with sashimi, but was informed that I can get one of the daily special whole fish prepared 2-ways: half sashimi and half grilled. I chose that route and ordered an opal-eye from southern Japan. It was a small white fish, and had the texture between a snapper and bream, really nice. The next comes the half-and-half homemade tofu. It is a great hit, and I preferred it to Napa Morimoto’s version of tofu. Now that foie gras is banned in California, I am happy to get the satisfaction in Las Vegas. We debated as Raku has multiple preparations, and decided on the robata grilled version to share with my cousin. It was excellent and we both liked it. To round it up, I added a couple of skewers of vegetables (asparagus and mushroom), both nicely done. Meanwhile my cousin was having a lot of fun with different parts of kobe beef, and stole a few bites of tofu from me. We both agreed it is worth renting a car just to eat here.

Chada: In addition to Raku, we took the advantage of the car to eat at the new Thai place off strip in the early evening, this time dragged by my cousin. I never liked Thai food, even though I love the neighboring cuisines from China, Vietnam, Burma and India. This is the first time I enjoyed Thai food. The restaurant is still working on the license, but has a nice tea selection. I had 3 dishes to myself: the Shitake and Shimeji mushroom, lettuce wrap with crab, and sea bass tod krueng, all very tasty and balanced. Although it is marketed as small plates, the portion is quite generous.

RM Seafood: One night we decided to dine solo at different restaurants. You can only keep my cousin from a steak house for so long. While he eats at Mina’s Strip Steak, I went to Moonen’s RM downstairs. I started with a sample plate of 6 mixed oysters, 3 from west coast and 3 from east coast. They are carefully selected to provide a nice contrast of different characteristics. It was followed by one of the best composed fish dishes I ever had: Turbot with spaetzle in mustard sauce. As much as I like the food, the service is rather amateurish, albeit friendly. Upon seated, I was given a wine menu but not food menu. Only when the server turned up to take the order, she realized and remedied it immediately. However the situation was repeated for the table next to me a little later. Another issue is wine service. I has a crispy California Albarino with my oyster. It was pretty much gone when the turbot arrived but I was not asked for another wine. I had a bite of the fish and it begs for a nice burgundy. It took a while for me to make eye contact with the server to order a Chablis. The wine arrived when my fish is 50% finished, and it was too cold for my taste. It was actually a very good wine and I enjoyed it later after it warmed up to a nice temperature, but my fish has long gone by then. While I understand this is the more informal (although quite expensive) cousin of his upstairs fine dining room, I expect the staff to be better trained and not all white wines are stored in ice code condition.

Scarpetta: Scott Conrad now has restaurants on both coasts, but not in San Francisco nor Vancouver. For our final evening in Vegas, we took the opportunity to taste some of his signature dishes: polenta, foie gras ravioli, and spaghetti. The pasta dishes are very satisfying, and neither of us had room for secondi. Instead we shared a nice cheese plate to end the meal. For a hotel restaurant, it is quite intimate, a contrast to its neighbors Jaleo and Comme Ca that we walked by. If Chef Conrad expands his empire to San Francisco and maintains the same quality, I will be very happy.

Overall we really enjoyed the trip. I hope my cousin can write a report some day from the meat lover’s perspective.

Nov 10, 2012
foggy_town in Las Vegas

Scarpetta portion size

Thanks for the feedback on the portion. We will keep it in mind and order carefully.

Oct 20, 2012
foggy_town in Las Vegas

Scarpetta portion size

Been to Bartolotta and loved it, but want to try something new. Scarpetta was in the plan the last time we were in NYC but somehow it did not work out.

Oct 19, 2012
foggy_town in Las Vegas

Scarpetta portion size

We will be visiting Vegas, and try to focus on new places since our last visit 2 years ago. Interested in Scarpetta and curious about the portion size. When we dined at B&B, I enjoyed antipasto + pasta + fish secondi (without dessert) and it comes out just the right amount. How does Scarpetta compare? Not a dessert person so there is no need to save room. Some Italian restaurants have huge pasta dish and there is no way to even attempt, let alone enjoy main dish. We would like to sample as many dishes as we can, but do not want to be stuffed.

Oct 17, 2012
foggy_town in Las Vegas

Atelier Crenn--please clarify menu options for me

Quince is sometimes characterized as "frenchfied italian". Our recent experience (3months ago) is that the main dishes outshines pasta. We had a great Dover Sole for two.

After Manresa and French Laundry

The best antidote of fine dining is something rustic yet light. Asian food usually works great.

Going to Plum: amount of food to order

Thanks, 8 plates went perfectly for 3 of us when we dined at Ubuntu. My guess is the portion size would be similar.

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Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

Going to Plum: amount of food to order

We have a reservation later this week at Plum for 3 of us. The menu is simply divided to "To Start", "Vegetables" and "Animal" sections. Are they roughly small-plate portions? If each of us orders a starter and a vegetable (probably their strength), do we still have room to share 1 or 2 animal plates?

Au Pied de Cochon: for occasional meat eaters

Good to hear the overwelmingly positive endorsement. We have made the reservation, along with Lemeac and Le Filet.

Au Pied de Cochon: for occasional meat eaters

My wife and I will be visiting Montreal and Quebec City in October from San Francisco. After the first couple of hours' browsing this board, APdC comes up frequently as the most unique Montreal restaurant. My question is whether it appeals exclusively for meat lovers. These days we eat very little meat, and my wife does not eat pork at all. Their menu does include poisson du jour. Would that be a "wasted restaurant meal" if we do not order what it is best known for?

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Au Pied de Cochon
536 Av Duluth E, Montreal, QC H2L1A9, CA

Hong Kong: Dining with a Small Group

Can I have some idea how much earlier one should make dinner reservation for the likes of The Chairman, Tim's Kitchen and Yan Toh Heen?

Do we need to make reservation for dim sum lunch (say FLM)? We will be in HK on weekdays.

Hong Kong: Dining with a Small Group

Is there a particular reason the IFC location is singled out for Lei Garden? Better food, or better for a couple?

I will keep the fish advice in mind. There is no need for us to seek something rare and exotic for long time HK residents. We will be more interested in fish that is relatively common in HK (and hence likely to be prepared well), but hard to find in San Francisco,

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Lei Garden
IFC Mall, Hong Kong , HK

Hong Kong: Dining with a Small Group

Thanks for the great ideas, and I will definitely look into private kitchens. Do they require reservation many days in advance?

Hong Kong: Dining with a Small Group

My wife and I will be visiting HK in October, after many years’ absence. We are looking forward to the trip, and started browsing this board to get familiar with the current dining landscape. In the past we always dine out with a big group, but this time it will be just 2 of us. These days we avoid eating Chinese food unless there are at least 4 persons to order enough variety of food. I am seeking advice on dining ideas (other than Dim sum and noodles) with a small party of two. I am wondering if some of the favorites on this board (such as Lei Garden, and Fu Sing) is suitable for 2 of us. I would love to hear suggestions.

Two days before we leave HK, a friend will arrive from Japan to join us. While not a Chinese descendant, he is nevertheless a passionate fish lover. We shared many meals in sushi bars, and he also loves Chinese style steamed fish. He did some research and asked us to arrange 2 evening meals:

• A high-end restaurant with good view (his first time in HK) and good food. His initial proposal is Man Wah in Mandarin Orient, with set menu. I am not convinced set menu is the best way, as HK is not omakase kind of place. The online menu does look enticing, but can we do better by asking the restaurant to design a “tasting menu” within a budget? Is Yan Toh Heen a better venue for this purpose?
• A restaurant specializing in fish, preferably steamed. I know steamed fish is on the menu everywhere, but I want to satisfy a fish connoisseur. Any suggestion? At this point I assume money is no object and ambience irrelevant. Just best ingredient and precise execution.

Thanks.

Do I need reservations for these rest in Paris?

I can think of one more event: when the big earthquake hit in 1989, people stop going to restaurant in SF. Otherwise I am with you.

May 16, 2011
foggy_town in France