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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.

Nov 11, 2012
foggy_town in San Francisco Bay Area

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.

Jun 23, 2012
foggy_town in San Francisco Bay Area

After Manresa and French Laundry

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

May 15, 2012
foggy_town in San Francisco Bay Area

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

Nov 16, 2011
foggy_town in San Francisco Bay Area

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?

Nov 15, 2011
foggy_town in San Francisco Bay Area

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.

Sep 24, 2011
foggy_town in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

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

Sep 21, 2011
foggy_town in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

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.

Aug 04, 2011
foggy_town in China & Southeast Asia

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

Jul 31, 2011
foggy_town in China & Southeast Asia

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?

Jul 31, 2011
foggy_town in China & Southeast Asia

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.

Jul 29, 2011
foggy_town in China & Southeast Asia

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

uhockey's thoughts on Paris Restaurants - Part 2 - l'Arpege, Ledoyen, Jean-Francois Piege, Cafe Constant, L'Astrance,

Great review! What are part of the prix fixe lunch menu, and what are your supplement?

May 11, 2011
foggy_town in France

a funny thing happened on the way to the bistro...

Could it be a reaction to the super-size portion of typical American restaurant? It’s interesting many have mentioned Asian dining culture. I live in San Francisco Bay Area and frequently host guests from Asia. Most of the time, they would request me to take them to the old fashioned American steak house, and share a steak. I do not blame them as the portion is overwhelming in this type of establishments. We have reached a point not to visit this type of restaurant ourselves. When American visit France for the first time, they probably want to sample the traditional French restaurant. But the reputation of rich French food precedes it…

Last time we were in Paris, we dined with an Asian friend who happens to visit France at the same time. She told us she was pleasantly surprised the French restaurants offer more sensible portions, and she can actually finish enjoy a 3-course meal. Well, I suppose she did not go to Chez Denise 

May 11, 2011
foggy_town in France

Etiquette for 3 star restaurants eg Ledoyen

I understand Ledoyen has a "specialty" menu of E199, with the chef's classic signature dishes. I assume it cannot be split either. Can one of us order the specialty menu, and the other order prix fixe lunch (if we go for lunch)? The number of courses will not match.

May 05, 2011
foggy_town in France

Le Regalade or Chez Denise

May I hijack the thread to query about traditional restaurants with strong seafood offerings? We went to La Grille last trip based on recommendation in this board and had a great time. That was before it changed hand (and apparently not for better). I was under the impression the board favorites for traditional restaurants (such as Josephine, Chez Denise) and bistos (CAJ, Regalade) are best for meat lovers.

May 05, 2011
foggy_town in France

Providence: ALC or Tasting Menu

Per their website: $160, or $245 with wine pairing.

Jan 05, 2011
foggy_town in Los Angeles Area

Providence: ALC or Tasting Menu

I am visiting my daughter who is attending college in LA, and planning to take her to Providence. The online menu looks great, and I am debating between ordering a la carte vs tasting menu.

• The tasting menu gives us a chance to try many different dishes. But I read from this board that it has too much food. Do you know if we can do 9-course for one, and 5-course for the other? Also can we substitute course? 1 meal dish is too many for me, although my daughter would welcome a taste of meat by that point.
• Another option is to go a la carte. Turbot for 2 is enticing. Last time I had Turbot was in Southern France many years ago. Anyone experience that at Providence? We can follow that with a dessert tasting.

Thanks.

Jan 03, 2011
foggy_town in Los Angeles Area

Specical Occasion in Holiday Season: Dining Room or La Folie?

I am planning to celebrate our 25th anniversary with the family (wife and I, plus 2 college-aged daughters). For this special occasion, we are looking for somewhere quiet, relaxed, and of course with great food. We are currently debating between the Dining Room and La Folie.

Like many on this board, I think the strength of Bay Area dining is the mid-range places. Among the board favorites, we like Piperade, La Ciccia, Bar Crudo, Koi Palace, Sakae, and Ubuntu. However Aziza, Incanto, Zuni, Slanted Door and Boulevard just did not work for us. My wife and I have only been to a couple of fine dinging places in the Bay Area, and we have never been to either the Dining Room or La Folie. I have a hard time to decide between the two.

• Our daughter’s colleges have different winter break dates. The only overlapping period when both are with us will be between Dec. 20 and Jan 2. Is it a good time to go? Is either chef likely to be in the kitchen during the holiday?
• I understand the Dining Room does a parallel tasting menu. This seems to be a great format for 4 of us (and a great introduction to fine dining for the girls). However we could not find it on their web site. Are they continuing this practice?
* La Folie is known for large portions. If each of us orders 4 courses, there will be 16 between us. It's actually a customized tasting menu. Are the dishes conducive to sharing?

Thanks in advance, I know the toppic hascome up numerous times.

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

Slanted Door
Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Koi Palace Restaurant
365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

La Ciccia
291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

La Folie
2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

Piperade
1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

Bar Crudo
655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

Nov 29, 2010
foggy_town in San Francisco Bay Area

Walking distance restaurants recs? Staying at California and Powell

If you like raw seafood, try Swell on Bush near Stockton.

Oct 26, 2010
foggy_town in San Francisco Bay Area