Lure Fishbar

September 6, 2017 § Leave a comment

It’d been years since I last visited Lure Fishbar, the yacht-looking, below-street-level seafood restaurant in SoHo right under the Prada store, but after a random visit with Jackie early in the summer, it’s become a favorite yet again. Twice we sat at the sushi bar for an impromptu seafood meal and once we sat in one of the really cushy banquettes for a Father’s Day and belated Mama Quan’s birthday dinner and each time, had a really enjoyable experience.

At the sushi bar in the back of the restaurant, a typical dinner starts with just-out-of-the-fryer salt & vinegar chips and a glass of bubbly

One reason we preferred the sushi bar when it was just the two of us were the complimentary little bites the sushi chefs would send over. Here, a refreshing kanpachi crudo with yuzu and ponzo sauce

More free bites – this one, a much more substantial bite of spicy tuna and avocado over scaldingly hot crispy rice. Certainly not traditional in any sense but damn, it tasted good.

The Dynamite roll of spicy scallop topped with spicy tuna, yellowtail and tobiko and the Shazam roll of yellowtail, salmon, avocado and kewpie topped with tuna. Despite lately favoring more traditional omakase-style dinners with an emphasis on nigiri, I really enjoyed the freshness and wackiness of the rolls at Lure Fishbar. The Dynamite was particularly good given the sweetness of the scallop against the spicy mayo (of which there wasn’t an overwhelming amount) and fresh fish on top. Plus, they’re pretty stunning to look at.

Oyster sampler – Beau Soleils with pineapple relish; Blue Points with caviar and creme fraiche; Kushi with jalapeno ponzu; and Kumamoto with wasabi leaf. I didn’t care for the Blue Points – they were a bit too big for me personally and something about the creme fraiche didn’t sit great with me – but the Beau Soleils and Kushi were dressed beautifully and not too large.

If I see anything with sea urchin on the menu, odds are I’ll try it at least once. Here, sea urchin bucatini with blue crab, garlic, crushed red pepper and breadcrumbs. Nicely executed and appreciated the kick from the red pepper and the generous amount of garlic, neither of which overpowered the substantial amount of buttery uni. Delicious.

For our Father’s Day and Mom’s birthday dinner, we ordered the whole stuffed lobster with seafood stuff, garlic-chili butter and grilled lemon; tempura shrimp with spicy sesame mayo and grilled octopus with chickpea puree, celery and lime-Aleppo pepper dressing. Not a dud in the mix. We especially liked the super tender octopus for its Mediterranean flavors.

For Jackie’s last dinner in NYC this summer, we stopped by the sushi bar again, this time starting with a salad of field greens with pickled peaches, goat cheese, chicory and poppy seed vinaigrette. I don’t usually like fruit in savory foods but the peaches were tart and still firm to give an interesting texture to the dish.

A generous crab cake with fresh corn and tomato salad and lime aioli. Flavors of summer in one dish.

Kenai roll of spicy wild king salmon, cucumber, scallions and fried shallot and the Shazam roll again.

A classic lobster roll with warm chips and coleslaw to round out the summer. Appreciated that it was an overflowing amount of sweet, perfectly cooked lobster that was barely dressed in mayo and garnished with chives.

I think sometimes Lure Fishbar can be a bit of a scene and the prices are certainly pretty steep for it to be a casual haunt, but given my past few visits and the surprisingly high calibre of seafood and service each time, it’s definitely worth the occasional splurge.

Misc. Eats

June 19, 2016 § Leave a comment

Remembering when I still had it easy at work and weekends were free…just need to make it through June 30. Here – a lazy Sunday lunch at the Via Carota bar, starting with fried green olives with pork sausage and a superb negroni

A huge, hands-only kamayan feast featuring banana ketchup ribs, longanisa sausage, whole head-on shrimp, braised lamb, etc. at Filipino gastropub, Jeepney, in East Village with Cahill friends. Total gut bomb.

The Macho Man sandwich from a new favorite, Court Street Grocers – heritage pork shoulder, cabot cheddar, coleslaw, pickled jalapenos and duck sauce on garlic bread. Between this, the Delight and the Cubano, I can order from here about 4 times a week. So dangerous.

Dinner with Artemis at Mario Batali’s new restaurant, La Sirena, in the Meatpacking District. Bucatini with braised octopus in spicy pomodoro sauce and then ravioli all’amatriciana with spring onion butter…quite tasty but wasn’t crazy about the atmosphere, the service or the scene

Lunch at Legend near Washington Square Park with the family. We ordered our usual dishes – spicy lamb with cumin, spicy beef tendon with chili vinaigrette and a seriously delicious whole braised fish with spicy bean sauce – and went for a really long walk afterwards to recover

Sunday night shellfish bake at North End Grill – half a Maine lobster, head-on prawns, clams, new potatoes and corn in an addictive garlic butter and then sweet gem lettuce and blue cheese dressing on the side. Not pictured: duck fat fries and a lot of white wine.

The famous, substantial duck carnitas at Cosme…’nuff said.

Late night eats at Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken…my ultimate weakness.

Out and about

October 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

Family dim sum at Chinatown classic, Jing Fong:

Drinks at Dead Rabbit right by the office:

More dim sum, this time while working from home and ordered from Nom Wah:

A lunch of white wine and fresh, grilled seafood at Via Carota before my trip to Croatia:

Square pizza at Harry’s Italian as my first meal back in the U.S. after Yacht Week:

Simple summer meal at home with tomatoes and basil from the Union Square Greenmarket, Murray’s Cheese ricotta and Blue Ribbon country bread:

Late-night drunken eats at Crif Dogs on St. Mark’s:

Ordering in Xi’an Famous Foods for Laura’s birthday meal:

The #1 at Black Seed Bagels in Nolita (so good):

Via Carota in Late Summer

September 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

From an impromptu dinner at the Via Carota bar sometime in late summer:

Juicy, fresh heirloom tomatoes with bottarga and scallions; thinly sliced beef carpaccio with porcini mushrooms, sharp parmesan and black truffles

Garlic scapes with grilled polenta and pancetta, something that would be equally great for breakfast (maybe with the addition of a fried egg)

Two classics – the fried rabbit with rosemary and garlic and the pappardelle with wild boar ragu, a killer pasta dish

Beautifully set panna cotta with olive oil, sea salt and macerated sour cherries – a perfect dessert with great texture and not too much sugar

Our view from the beautiful bar

 

Food of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast

August 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

I spent my first week of August in what seemed to be a sun-soaked dream – sailing, swimming, eating and drinking along the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. My co-workers, Alice and Meredith, two chill and super nice Canadian girls we met via an online forum called crewfinder, Brooke and Shay, and our awesome (and cute) skipper, Ivan, spent 7 days living on our boat, the beautiful Violeta, as part of The Yacht Week, an organized event that took us to various locations, from busier ports to smaller fishing villages, and held huge parties at designated beach clubs or venues each night. We got to meet awesome people from all over the world and somewhere in between all the heavy alcohol consumption and dancing, we took in the natural beauty, culture and of course, food, that Croatia had to offer. I took so many photos during the trip but this post is just on the food, which for the most part was very simply prepared but because of the higher quality of produce/ingredient compared to what we get in the States, tasted absolutely phenomenal. Even the locally produced wines were on point and paired perfectly with the food.

A good number of the restaurants we visited during our trip were recommended by Ivan, who took such great care of us and made sure we never went hungry (which was super hard to do despite us being five girls!), so I actually don’t know some of the names but from what I could tell, most of the restaurants in the places where we stopped were mom-and-pop run eateries that focused on local specialties.

First stop – Split, Croatia. Meredith, Alice and I had dinner at a spot right by our hotel called Poseidon and dug into some local cheeses, olives and fruit to start. For our main, we split an enormous “Poseidon” platter that featured shrimp, large langoustine (think almost miniature lobsters), mussels, whole grilled fish, the whole shebang. Drizzle over a bunch of peppery olive oil, fleck with some extra salt and we were in seafood heaven.

The daily catch, we soon discovered was a normal thing. Typically, in NYC, being able to order a fish that just came off the boat that day is pretty rare but in Croatia, it’s totally expected for the server to bring you to a cooler full of sea critters caught just a couple hours ago and for you to pick whatever looks best to you. I absolutely loved it. We had these two grilled fish as part of our first official crew dinner in Milna.

I was also completely addicted to the langoustine, which are nosebleed expensive and usually offered by the piece at restaurants in NYC. The version below was at a restaurant in Hvar and came in some ridiculously tasty garlic, boozy sauce. Don’t be grossed out but it was so much fun to suck the innards out of the heads (as Mark Bittman of New York Times calls it, “god’s soup”).

My favorite stop by far though was Vis and the dinner we had the first night there was spectacular. We started with this enormous platter of cheese, tuna prosciutto (almost like smoked salmon), mussels and roasted vegetables and then moved on to the freshly grilled sea bream with roasted peppers, french fries and salsa verde. Again, so simple but so good (especially with copious amounts of EVOO drizzled all over). Something about the potatoes in Croatia made us keep ordering them – somehow they tasted so much more spud-y than those in the U.S.

My favorite dinner took place at Konoba Magic, a hidden gem in Vis that also had a vineyard on the premises. Per usual, we had dinner late at night so I would’ve loved to have seen the property during the day but one thing we noticed immediately when we arrived were these giant clay pots sitting right by a hot, hot fire.

We started our meal with the usual – cheese with homemade marmalade,  tuna prosciutto with arugula, anchovies with capers in (you guessed it) more olive oil. Is it possible to ever get bored of this kind of food? I don’t think so.

Ivan also recommended these insane fried zucchini blossoms stuffed with farmer’s cheese and anchovies, which was probably my favorite bite of the entire meal. They came with something very similar to tartar sauce and there was a collective moan of delight as we all bit into these clouds of awesomeness.

But turns out the real showstopper was being hidden in those large clay pots all along – behold peka, a local specialty of stewed veal shank, the creamiest potatoes and sweetest carrots you’ll ever have in your ENTIRE LIFE. Those damn potatoes, man. Oh yeah, and we finally managed to get a photo of our crew, about five days into the trip…

After Yacht Week ended (tears), Alice and I stayed an extra day in Split to decompress and take in some of the sights that we might have missed the first day, including the fresh market filled with beautiful looking fruit and vegetables. Loved seeing old ladies haggle for produce.

The second half of the afternoon was admittedly spent with me either passed out in one of the world’s most comfortable beds or under the giant shower head in our beautiful room at Palace Judita, one of the prettiest hotels I’ve had the pleasure to stay at (the receptionist was a frikkin’ hoot as well). Seven days of sleeping (or not) in a stuffy, tiny cabin and showering either off the side of a boat or in a public marina rest room with a queue of women waiting impatiently behind you will take inevitably take its toll after all. And they had AC! Such a luxury.

Luckily, even though Yacht Week was over, we were able to meet Shay and Brooke for one final (albeit incomplete) crew dinner at local restaurant Apetit before they departed for Italy and we headed back to the U.S. We pulled out all the stops and ordered grilled langoustine, grilled lamb with roasted potatoes, homemade tagliatelle with black truffle (apparently a big thing in Croatia) and small prawns and octopus carpaccio. A perfect meal with a little bit of everything to end one of the best vacations of my life.

Needless to say, I was kind of a wreck inside when it finally came for us to leave this beautiful country the next morning. Alice and I had a layover in Frankfurt and were feeling pretty glum, but a surprise and complimentary upgrade to business class certainly brightened things up a bit! Here’s one last shot of me almost fully reclined while eating some smoked duck salad with a glass of Bordeaux and watching Carey Mulligan being ridiculously gorgeous in Far from the Madding Crowd before dozing off for the next four hours (and I can never fall asleep on flights).

All I can really say now is thank you to everyone – Ivan, our awesome crew of Alice, Meredith, Shay and Brooke, all the super fun people we met on Yacht Week, the staff at Hotel Slavija and Palace Judita, Lufthansa, the locals, Croatia itself for being so goddamn beautiful, the universe for giving us all those free upgrades – for making it a trip to remember forever. I can’t wait to go back!

Big Star Chicago

June 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

After so many years of saying that I’d visit, I finally took a trip to the Windy City as a short break before bar review began. Much eating and touristy activities ensued, including an inaugural meal with Esther (who, together with her husband Bryan, graciously housed Jee and me during our stay) at Paul Kahan’s super chill restaurant Big Star in the hipster-ish Wicker Park neighborhood, where we indulged in Palomas, margaritas, and an assortment of tacos.

My favorite dishes were definitely the queso fundido, a molten mixture of queso Chihuahua with poblanos, and housemade chorizo generously smeared on warm corn tortillas, and the fish tacos with beer battered tilapia, chipotle mayonnaise, cabbage, lime, and cilantro.

Classic margarita and La Paloma

Tacos de panza with crispy braised pork belly, tomato guajillo sauce, queso fresco, onion, and cilantro

Tacos al pastor – marinated spit-roasted pork shoulder, grilled pineapple, grilled onion, cilantro

Queso fundido – my favorite

Tacos de pescado

 

Big Star
1531 N. Damen Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60622
773.235.4039

 

Happy place

June 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

From a recent visit to Ithaca Farmers’ Market (Macro Mamas always a must) at Steamboat landing + Taughannock Falls. Sometimes a retreat to nature is the perfect cure for stress.

 

Summer RW meals at Nougatine and Colicchio and Sons

May 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

Better late than never, right?

The last week of work, Alice, Komal and I had a lovely dinner at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Nougatine at Columbus Circle. Beautiful interiors, great service, and delicious and surprisingly light food. I really loved the tomato and avocado gazpacho (even though I don’t tend to like cold soups) and the salmon entree I had.

A bottle of Morgon 2010

Corn cucumber shooter

Tomato and avocado gazpacho

Roasted salmon, greens and sweet chili vinaigrette

Roast chicken dish

Summer dessert and poached fruit

The classic Jean-Georges molten chocolate cake

Cindy, Beth, and I also snuck out of the office during one of the last couple days of work to have a long, leisurely lunch at the Tap Room at Colicchio & Sons. Again, a great cold, corn vichyssoise, a wonderful meaty entree, and heavenly beignets to top off the meal. If only work life could always be like this.

Inside the Tap Room

Cold corn vichyssoise

Steak tartare and chips

Panzanella with burrata cheese

Steak with bone marrow butter, greens, and horseradish cream

Chicken with farro and mushrooms

Heavenly beignets

Think that finally might be the last of the summer 2012 posts. Now to get through Winter and Spring 2013!

Nougatine
Trump Hotel Central Park
1 Central Park West
New York, NY 10023
212.299.3900

Colicchio & Sons
85 Tenth Avenue
New York, NY 10011
212.400.6699

A Day in Newport, RI

March 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

The weather in Ithaca has been especially miserable lately, not extremely cold or anything but just disgusting and sloshy. Also, I feel like I haven’t seen the sun in ages, so these photos from a family day trip to Newport, RI are a welcome reprieve.

We left home early in the morning and arrived in Newport at around 9:30 in the morning. We spent some time just driving around a beautiful, secluded Hampton-ish neighborhood with shingle style homes and private coves before doing the requisite Newport Mansions tour of the Breakers, Elms, and Marble House, dug into some delicious seafood (lobster mac ‘n’ cheese anyone?) at Brick Alley Pub downtown, took a detour at a local farm stand, and then ended our day with a scenic stroll on the Cliff Walk. After years of practice, I’d say our family has become seasoned pros at the jam-packed day trip.

 

Brick Alley Pub
140 Thames Street
Newport, RI 02840
401.849.6334

Dos Caminos and Tertulia (again)

May 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s been a whirlwind first week at work (in only a very good way), and between all the firm lunches and receptions, I still managed to explore some restaurants in the Greenwich Village neighborhood.

First, YJC and I dined al fresco at Dos Caminos on W. Houston Street after she had a long day at work. We weren’t too hungry since it was pretty late, so we shared a huge bowl of guacamole, a trio of salsas ranging from mild to scorchingly hot, and freshly-fried tortilla chips and a side of crispy sweet potato fries (though I’m still partial to the ones at Maxie’s Supper Club in Ithaca).

Dining al fresco at Dos Caminos Soho

I also ordered the chicken taquitos – pulled chicken rolled in crispy corn tortillas with shaved lettuce, queso fresco, and a tomatillo-avocado sauce and YJC got the Mexican chopped salad with a heap of tasty things like grilled corn, poblano chiles, green olives, and toasted cumin vinaigrette. No complaints – I like to think that I make a pretty mean guacamole and the version at Dos Caminos hit all the right notes of creamy from the avocado, sharp acid from the lime, and pungency from the onion with a good seasoning of salt. My taquitos, though on the small side, were filled with tender spicy chicken and the fried tortillas were fresh as can be. We’ll have to go back soon for their margaritas…the frozen prickly pear rendition sounds particularly intriguing.

While walking up 6th Avenue the next day, I happily discovered that Tertulia, Spanish tapas heaven, is only a couple blocks down the street from my summer apartment, so I rounded together some other food-obsessed summers for a dinner because I figured the more people we had, the more dishes we could try.

Radish salad and grilled prawns

We ordered my favorites from the last time I visited – the brussel sprouts with pork belly and mojo picon, the flash-fried shishito peppers and sea salt, and my favorite, the roasted potatoes with pimenton and garlic all i oli, and rounded out the meal with the radish salad with baby rainbow carrots and anchovy vinaigrette and grilled Mediterranean prawns.

Forever favorite dishes at Tertulia

Everything was insanely delicious, from the super crispy taters to the acidic and pork-coated brussel sprouts to the prawn heads, out of which we enthusiastically sucked out the brain juices. I was reminded of Mark Bittman’s quote, “the juice in the head of the shrimp can only be described as God’s soup.” Add two bottles of the house red wine (we are still law students after all) and great conversation, and it was a pretty awesome, noisy night.

The next day, while work was slow, we created a huge Excel spreadsheet of all the NYC restaurants (I think the current tally is around 80) we wanted to visit, so prepare yourselves for a summer of epic eating and good company.

Dos Caminos Soho
475 W. Broadway at Houston Street
New York, NY 10012
212.277.4300

Tertulia
359 6th Avenue
New York, NY
646.559.9909

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