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Everything posted by Escoffier

  1. Sea snail is quite common (well, not every day but now and then) in Korean cuisine. If you'd like to pick some up, H-Mart has Bai Top on the shelf.
  2. A quick decision to visit Incheon a couple of weeks ago. Impressions from the dinner. Seven courses: Different takes on traditional Korean food. Some were quite good (Haemul) made with (Bai Top) sea snail. Not traditional, but very tasty. Most interesting course: NY Strip steak nicely rare and very tender with goguma puree. Totally unexpected and almost mee-guk in presentation. Came late in the dinner courses which was a shame because we couldn't finish it. We left pondering;, "how long can you serve the same menu before running out of clientele?" We asked the chef how often the menu would change but really didn't get a definite answer. Venue is nicely done and the graphics projected on the walls was interesting but I'm not sure exactly why it was done. Overall impression: Depending on how often the menu changes (or is modified to offer ala carte options in addition to the tasting menu) will receive another visit.
  3. I go to Cucina 24 on my way to Tail of the Dragon twice a year. I sometimes put together a group (not lately for some reason) and pick one of those 4 restaurants. There's also Capells on 9 near the center of town (and Curate actually) but it was somewhat disappointing. I really like the Asheville variety of food. If you're a BBQ fan, try Luella's on Merrimon St or 12 Bones Smokehouse on Foundy St. Never disappointed with either of them when I'm in that BBQ mood.
  4. Zynodoa is excellent and now they have opened a seafood restaurant on the main street. Blue Point Seafood. Excellent food and service. The next time you're in Asheville, try both Table and Cucina 24. One is new American and the other Italian and not difficult to determine which is which. I get to that area at least twice a year and have never been disappointed at either. Curate and Tupelo Honey are both excellent. Asheville's a small town with a huge restaurant scene.
  5. Since we moved about 6 years ago, we don't get to Atlantis much any more. It was once our Friday night "let's get something to eat because it's been a long day" restaurant. One time I could have named all of the servers for you and would probably still recognize the Friday night regulars by sight. After the move, it just sort of fell by the wayside.
  6. Generally I call ahead, ask if Jonathan is in the kitchen and is so, then go. After being seated, I ask for 4 courses with paired wines. I don't look at the menu, I simply ask that the courses Jonathan would feed his mother if she were to be dining be served. Hasn't failed yet.
  7. Over the last 5 or so days, we have managed to eat in the following: 1. My Fucking Restaurant: don’t be put off by the name. The chef/owner worked at a lot of restaurants until he could open his own a, thus the name. One of the absolute best restaurants we’ve dined. Small on the outside and buried away in Calle Nou la Rambla and only open Thursday to Sunday and only for dinner. Food is fresh every day and very well done. We had toast with cheese rubbed with tomato, Iberico ham, burrata with iberico ham, and shrimp with potato. 2. The La Boqueria Bar: in the heart of La Boqueria market. Great and very friendly service. We liked it so much that we took some people we met on a tour to dinner there. The squid ink croquette, the king prawns, the razor clams all amazing. BOQUERIA MARKET, Stall 218-223 & 282-287, Aisle 9. 3. Agua: we celebrated our anniversary here. We were very happy we did more to come including pix.
  8. We ate at Choong Man Sunday evening for Red Hot whole chicken. Great radish, excellent chicken. (I know this sounds like a commercial for Choong Man, but it is really good).
  9. Our current favorite is Choong Man chicken located behind Gom Ba Woo. We generally do the spicy whole chicken which is cut in that peculiar Asian way (watch for bones in strange places) and served with copious amounts of napkins. It's damn fine chicken. For a bit more casual (if that's possible with KFC ), try Cheogajip on Evergreen Lane. Tucked away in a office building and a bit hidden, the spicy popcorn chicken is one of our favorites as well. (Note the "spicy" trend here). I prefer my spicy a bit more spicy than Grover but the spicy here is a fair compromise.
  10. Nasime for Japanese but make sure you have reservations. 8 seats at the open kitchen, tables for about 10 (better be friendly) and one private room that will seat 8 in a pinch). Menu varies every day so I have no idea what you'd eat. Prix fixe of $55/per person for 4 courses one of which will be sashimi. Excellent food.
  11. I'd check with my network people first. They will sometimes block websites "accidentally". Because WaPo is now using Amazon Web Services (AWS) along with about 300 million spammers, they may have blocked the IP address block for AWS. (incidentally, policy at most Fed agencies (not that you necessarily work at one) is that internet access can be blocked for any reason at any time Your firm (or the network people) may feel they have the same right).
  12. It's definitely a crap shoot. Surprisingly, some of the best kimchi we've bought and eaten was made by a Latina lady at Super-H in Fairfax. It might be that she had a 할머니 (Korean grandmother) to show her how it was done initially. We found a kimchi we really liked at Lotte on Braddock Rd. Unfortunately, my Korean comprehension is limited to verbal so I couldn't (can't) read the label to tell you who made it, but it's exceptional. Nice crunchy pieces of Napa cabbage, excellent sauce preparation. Sometimes it pays to take a chance and pay a few bucks if you end up with something you really like.
  13. Try Jinga brand. The radish is good, my personal favorite is the cucumber kimchi and of course Napa cabbage. Not sure what particular "flavor" you're looking for (or missing) but kimchi as a rule is not overly spicy but a good blend of tastes with some heat. You should be able to find Jinga in almost any Korean market but I know for sure it's at Super H-Mart in Fairfax and Lotte on Braddock Rd (outside the beltway) and H-Mart on Heritage Drive in Annandale. Kimchi is a lot like drinking coffee. After 4 or 5 days, the one you bought is the one you prefer. 😀
  14. The end of an era. I ate at the first Ray's the Steaks two days after it opened. Landrum was (is?) a man who had a vision. He had one hell of a good run. Thank you Michael for all the years of RTS, it will be missed.
  15. After what seems like an interminable wait, Whiskey & Oyster has opened in the John Carlyle neighborhood in Alexandria. Grover and I have now made two visits and, after a bit of a shaky start has now become much more organized. A large room separated by large dividers into three distinct areas. The bar is large, well organized and has a "booze conveyor" over head with lots of selections of various liquor. The second and third sections are a somewhat private area with one section in front of the open kitchen and the third section close to the seafood is prepared. Speaking of seafood... the first visit: A Carlyle Seafood Tower: A whole lobster, shrimp, clams, oysters, and more (food fog prevents more details) in three large, iced round trays. Not only was the seafood extremely tasty, it was fresh and presented well. it served three of us with no problem and lots of words of great satisfaction. Okay, it was delicious and we really liked it. The second visit: I had two dozen oysters. The server will tell you which varieties are available. California, Maine, PEI were all available when we were there. Other than the food coma I left with, I'd love to tell you what I had but there was nothing left but empty shells. Grover had a seafood cobb salad. She didn't want a lot of food...she's going to finish the salad for lunch. Lots of seafood, crunchy lettuce, bacon..what more could you ask for? Whiskey & Oyster seems to be off to a really good start. Dinner for the three of us for the first dinner was around $200, for the second dinner, around $100 with a bottle of wine at the first dinner and a glass of Albarino at the second . Well worth the expense if you're a seafood fan (and if not, there are chicken and beef dishes but why would you want to do that?)
  16. I've taken a number of out-of-town guests to Vermilion and they have raved about the food and the service. You might have been there during the transition but the food (and the menu) are all Thomas's now and quite good.
  17. Grover and I went last weekend. We walked over and entered from the Duke Street side. This is a very long, somewhat narrow entrance that is used as a Gallery to highlight art. From cursory glance, mostly portraiture. There is a private dining room on the left as you go towards the Hostess stand. Entering from the Duke Street side you get to tour the whole restaurant. Very nice room but somewhat confusing from that entry point. From memory, the food: Appetizer Me: Fois Gras terrine - Interesting but layers of Foir Gras and, I believe duck confit. The accompanying baguette slices were more like soft bread with no crusty crunch. Again interesting. Wrapped with leek which added color but a not of flavor, red wine gelee and pickled veggies. Grover: Onion soup. The standard that sets the tone for the rest of the meal. Nice presentation, salty soup. If you could overlook the overly-generous use of salt, the broth was nice. Doesn't rise to the level of the Onion soup at Del Ray Cafe, but (minus excess salt), acceptable. Mains Me: Wagyu beef Ordered "rare towards medium rare" and delivered as ordered. Good pink to red center and well cooked. That's the good part. The not-good part was the "sauce" which had a tendency to overpower the taste of the beef. Accompanied by an interesting stack of shredded cabbage and mushroom on a pastry circle. Grover: Pan roasted Monkfish. Bone-in Monkfish was very well done (no, not overcooked, prepared very well). I didn't manage a taste but Grover did a commendable job of demolishing it. Accompanied by a similar stack of veggies on the above described pastry circle. Mostly ignored but the carrots that topped it were interesting. Dessert Grover had the Lemon cake(?). This was a number of cubes of lemon cake and a scoop of lemon sorbet. Actually quite good. General observations: The staff is a mix of new-to-dining and seasoned servers. At times it felt as if we were at a soft opening. Used utensils and glassware were removed promptly but the pacing was somewhat erratic. I'm not sure I'd call this a bistro, the menu reads more new American rather than French bistro. Incidentally, the host/manager spoke impeccable French (possibly the most authentic French item in the house) . We both had a glass of Prosecco and I had appropriate wine for the terrine (a Sauterne) and beef (a California red). The bill before tip was $170. Will we go back? Certainly. One visit does not make a reliable opinion, it's only a fleeting impression. I would like to see Bistro Sancerre succeed because I personally see the promise of some good things coming. Not quite there yet, but (I hope) just over the horizon.
  18. We were there about a month ago. Service and SoonDooBoo were as good as always. We had to help the two nice ladies who were sitting beside us through proper preparation but once they got the idea, they were off and running.
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