Close this search box.


February 14, 2024


To say that today has been hectic is an understatement. I had been running around with errands up to my eyeballs. Then I had to take Jade, my kitten to the vet. I received some bad news on that front but thankfully there is treatment for her condition. After that visit, I was stuck in a Uber that I had to get out of because I was running late, then I got on the subway … in the wrong direction and was supremely hangry as I came in late to my reservation. I hate being late to anything as I feel it is disrespectful. After stating my deepest apologies, I was quickly shown to my seat where I went straight for a cognac cocktail, Vieux carré. I would have gone for my standard Negroni but they only had a white one and it had licorice which I detest. While I waited, I reviewed and was impressed by the tasting menu that was thankfully not seafood heavy as I was starving. I thought I would have a couple glasses of wine after my cocktail but they offered a beverage pairing which I opted for instead. My cocktail came out at this point and it was reminiscent on flavors of an old fashioned but a light and yet still regal one. All hangry disappeared after one sip as I settled into my seat for what I was sure would be a phenomenal evening.

My first pairing of the night was a rice wine and upon tasting, I found there was something musty about it… in a good way of course. It seemed to be playing the part of interesting pairing but making itself known that it will play. backseat to the flavors of the dishes to come. The first bite was a truffle mushroom pancake and I found this to be absolutely divine on flavors. The choice to use shiitake mushrooms was perfect and there was a finishing sweetness that I could not quite decipher the ingredient. The truffle played the part of opening up and filling up my palate with full savory flavors, enhancing the umami of the mushrooms. Upon sipping the rice wine, the flavor of the pancake brought brightness and clean crispness to the formers  flavors thereby rounding out the experience of this dish. This was a perfect start to the meal.

The next dish was pork belly wrapped in Napa cabbage to be paired with the same pour as the first. Since I had such a marvelous transformation with the first dish, I was looking forward to what would happen here. I appreciated the presentation and the portion of this dish because most times when I order pork belly, there is just too much to eat. Here you have a piece that has been transformed to the point where you only get that natural fattiness of the cut at the end of your taste. The flavor profile of the rice wine became one that was light with floral notes this time around. I think it is the gewurztraminer wine that comes closest on the description of flavors here. This was magical.

The next dish was a beauty to behold with the eyes so I did take my time enjoying the view. This dish was the Dungeness crab mixed with crème fraiche in a tart shell. Atop it lay a ring of trout roe and a savagely sized piece of uni. To pair, I was poured a glass of Blanc de Blanc champagne. I enjoyed this in one bite and to say that it was an explosion of flavors is an understatement. The full richness of the crème fraiche and uni was tempered by the freshness of the crab. Pairing it with the champagne was a very welcome taste to my palate as the bone dry aspect was an absolute necessity to cut through all the richness. Delightful.

I had a huge internal cringe when I heard that my next wine would be a natural wine. However, this one is from Sicily which would be a first for me and I had just visited Foxface Natural a few days ago so I was willing to give this a chance. This was a rose and on flavors, it did not give the natural funky flavor that you get with typical  natural wines. The next dish was the hamachi with gochujang and caviar. There is way more to the dish but those are the three ingredients that stood out to me. I was told to mix it all together and enjoy this dish and I must say that is the absolute perfect direction to give for this. The umami of the gochujang with the saltiness of the caviar and the somewhat firmness of the hamachi was heaven beyond words. The shaved ice atop was also a fabulous touch. A delicacy indeed.

I danced in my seat when I realized that the next dish was eel. I love eel and can never get enough. It brought me even more joy to learn that this would be a risotto with butter foam. Having just had left over duck risotto for lunch from Marea, my craving was at a height. This risotto was barley risotto though which be a first for me. It was also topped with hen of the woods mushrooms which I knew would be fabulous. The eel was grilled and placed at the bottom of the plate with the risotto placed atop. All the flavors were battling for my attention and I just could not figure out which one I wanted to settle in on to have my food orgasm with on first. So I quite simply stopped trying to decipher and process. I merely sat back and took all the flavors in. The fact that this was barley risotto was not a standout for me, in truth I barely noticed which is a good thing. Now the butter foam though was absolute decadence. The rice wine this was paired with, a different one, turned milky on flavor with the combination. This was just all positive words you can think of.

The next pairing was a red from Beaujolais which had natural scents on the nose but delicious bright and clean cherry flavors on the palate. It was paired with the grilled duck with honey glaze, duck pate, sunchokes and caramel sauce. I thought to myself that there are quite a few sweet components on this plate but everything else had been so perfect so I will not start doubting chef now. I was right not to doubt as I screamed a lot of profanity in my head when I tasted the duck. This has to be the best duck I have ever tasted. The caramel sauce accentuated the honey glaze without giving that sickly sweet flavor that you can sometimes get with honey. I found the duck pate to be interesting as it did not have that bold flavor that is normal for this item. Now since chef has done the same calming trick with the pork belly early in the tasting menu, I took this to be a skill that he had mastered and a technique that I believe he should teach others. The wine paired here became somewhat muted but that was a good thing of the fruity flavors being tempered a bit. Fantastic.

Cornish hen noodle soup was next with ginseng and the same wine pairing as the prior dish. This dish also came with abalone which I thought in that moment, if my memory serves me correctly is a VERY firm fish. I was starting to feel full at this point but there were three more courses to go after this one so I put my big girl panties on and dug in. The first thing I went to taste was the abalone and while it was naturally firm, I think it may have been sous-vide as there was present that characteristic moist and juiciness. The Cornish hen was interesting but seemed to be the secondary flavor to the broth. This was enjoyable.

I have to say that I love the sommelier here. He is bright, cheery and passionate about his role. He just made me smile the entire time.

The next dish was the short rib wagyu with roasted eggplant. It was paired with a Napa Cabernet so I had immediate fear course through my veins. American wines, especially California wines, make me nauseous and more often than not I regurgitate them so I stay away. However I did have a tasteful Burgundian Pinot from Williamette valley in Oregon at a James Beard event recently which was delightful. I closed my eyes and held my breath as I took a sip and it was… just okay. I was expecting fatty and tender beef since this was Wagyu but it was quite firm actually. This was the first time that I have had short rib Wagyu so I guess this is just what its texture is to be. The flavors were still there though as I was getting smoky and roasted flavors on my palate. An interesting plate.

The final of the savory courses was the uni bapsang. It is uni rice with pickled ramp. It came with dry seaweed and non-spicy kimchi on the side. The flavors of the mixed in rice gave smoky richness on flavor. I was far too full at this point so I knew it would just be a few bites of this and I would be done.

Finally, I landed on the last dish which was the dessert. It was a semifreddo with chestnut ice cream and white chocolate. Earthiness is the overall grounding flavor here with sweetness popping out in a reassuring manner as evidence that you are having dessert. This was a welcome end to my meal.

I was so full and swollen at the end of my meal so my advice to you is come here hungry… hungrier than I was when I came in because this is A LOT of food.

Enjoy eating


previous arrow
next arrow