Birthday at Prime & Provisions

 

Booked a reservation here for a birthday dinner. Great service, our waiter was awesome – prepped a birthday cake without us even asking! I loved the garlic that came with the meat. The filet was most tender. Tried their dry aged because everyone always makes such a big deal out of it but really was more into the filet. The maple bacon appetizer was fantastic, the fried chicken wasn’t bad either. Overall a nice classic steakhouse with nice service; watch out for the bill though!

Check them out on Yelp or at their website.

Anniversary at Everest 1M

We celebrated our anniversary at Everest. I actually went here a long time ago when I was just a little undergrad, too young to even drink, and actually hated it. I found it stuffy, overpriced, and our waiter was not very nice. Things are better now – not sure if because I’m older and know what to expect at these fancy french restaurants, or if the restaurant itself as changed.

We got the tasting menu $160/person requiring entire table participation. Best was the foie gras, although I also really liked the cheeses and the souffle. Our cocktails were good – Yuzu Collins and Monk’s paradise. Waiters seemed nicer this time around as well, and we got to see the great JJ himself.

A bunch of the Yelp low reviews are for not getting a window seat, which I think is silly. Anyway, it was cloudy and raining so no one could see anything anyways.

It’s cool that you have to take a special elevator to the restaurant. They gave us a nice little chocolate mousse for our anniversary. Also nice to have some amuse bouches – joking called ‘courses 1, 2, and 3’ by one of our servers. The petit fours are always nice as well. They kept trying to take away my bread and butter though I enjoy nibbling on this throughout the meal. Also left us without silverware during one course, oops.

Overall, a nice expensive dining experience, good for special occasions or if you’re trying to impress a date. One Michelin star. Fancy and quite French.

Check them out on Yelp or at their website.

Everest Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Just opened: omakase and warmth at Otaru in New Haven

I go through sushi kicks once in a while, spending time watching those lovely Youtube videos and daydreaming about toro, perfect rice, and Jiro. I was delighted to hear that a new sushi joint had opened up in New Haven, and rumored to host an omakase to rival those of NYC. Of course, we had to check it out. We thought a snow day would be our best bet of getting seats, and everything from the warm welcome we received to the humor and playfulness and genuine welcome we felt from the restaurant was amazing. The sushi bar is small, seating about ten, and three chefs stand solemnly, a collection of incredibly fish before them. The hot sake was cheap ($5) and the ginger is real and the wasabi is actually ground from the root. Classic renditions of pop songs echoed through the background. Chef, who has worked at Nobu in NYC and other fancy places, joked that he got everything ‘from Costco’ and while serious about his craft, had a friendly demeanor that is often lacking in high end dining. Every piece was perfection. Octopus, which I don’t normally like (was very chewy at Sushi Seki in NYC), was the most tender I had ever had. The scallops shocked me with how delicious they were, and I was speechless. Of course, toro is always amazing, but what really elevated the omakase was Chef’s use of a blow-torch to highlight smoky characteristics and fascinating topping choices such as banana pepper puree. Tomato dessert was delightfully refreshing (though I’d not complain if it were tamago). Overall, a hidden gem in New Haven and probably better than the city deserves. I can’t wait to come back. Check them out on Yelp or at their website.

NOLO in New Haven

 

I’ve been here already several times since it’s been open the last few months. I really like the spacious parking lot and the large inner space; we’ve had large groups here without feeling crowded and the upper level has a lounge space. We got pizza the first few times but where I think Nolo really shines is its pasta – made from scratch, this is my favorite bucatini cacio e pepe in New Haven. It’s got amazing texture. The pizza is also good, similar to Da Legna, given the owner. I also enjoy the sour Watermelon on the Streets in the Town of New Haven beer. I’ve also heard good things about the burgers. The catch of the day was great the first time but kind of fishy and less fresh the second time, but still okay.  Servers always really nice, though sometimes things are a bit slow.  Overall, a tasty new place in New Haven; it’s a pizza town but try the menu beyond the pizza here. Check them out on Yelp or at their website!

Just opened, Hamilton Park in New Haven, Michelin star chef

We made a reservation because it was the weekend, but we needn’t have because it was pretty empty. Our server was very nice, and the cocktails were good. He forgot one of our sides though, but we didn’t want to say anything. The tuna appetizer was not very good. The entrees were tasty, but I expected better from a chef with a Michelin star. Overall, nice, but not worth the $100 price tag. Check them out on Yelp or at their website.

Just opened! T-Swirl Crepe in New Haven!

We waited with bated breath for Bonchon earlier this year, and now, just down the street, we have been lucky enough to get our very own T-Swirl Crepe!

I first tried this in Philly and also in NYC. There’s something so fun about the cone shape, the portability, the nice “peel here” design. These crepes are light and fluffy, with a perfect crisp. Savory and sweet are both good, and not too heavy or dense as crepes can sometimes be.  Our favorites so far are the spicy crab crepe for savory and wild berry for sweet!

They’re also very friendly and welcoming. I look forward to many delicious crepes here! Now if only they’d get on Uber Eats!

Check them out on Yelp or at their website!

An experience: Alinea in Chicago; 3M

Everyone has seen Youtube videos of the dramatic dessert presentations at Alinea, Grant Achatz’s Chicago masterpiece.  We’ve been dreaming of going here for years, and finally saved up enough of our moonlighting money to make it there.

First, booking it was a feat – we set a timer for the exact time that the reservation website would open, but watched as the two-table seats disappeared before our eyes. Fortunately, we were able to snag a four-person reservation, and we found two foodie friends up for the experience.

Warning – Alinea is more of a show than a meal, and there are spoilers ahead. We tried to go in without doing too much reading beforehand, so as not to ruin the surprise. If you don’t mind, then read onwards!

We started the meal with ‘Communal’ – everyone was at a giant table where you could barely hear the person across from you.  It was uncomfortable and there was weird music in the background. Our friend with a seafood allergy was taken to a special seat and after that, everyone knew who to bring the non-fish dish to. Smoked dishes were brought out and then we were taken into the kitchen for a treat! We got to see our cocktails get shaken up in an interesting wheeled contraption, and when we returned to our seats, to our shock the room had been completely rearranged – gone was the giant rectangle table and instead we were at small circle tables for each of our parties. Much better! The painting banners had all been switched as well, from a dark painting to a light painting.  What a surprise!

I enjoyed how the courses flowed – one dish came out with a centerpiece that was lit on fire. Next, a juniper branch was placed over the fire to give scent; there were little ‘eggs’ of lamb beignets. After that, a surprise potato was dug out of the fire material, dusted off with a brush, and then mashed into a clam chowder soup! I also loved the oranges that had dry ice poured over them to fill the air with a citrus scent.  All our senses were engaged – the dessert was carried out to a smoke machine and music by Childish Gambino.

Some people pay hundreds of dollars to go to the theater, others pay for concert tickets or the opera. For us, Alinea is an experience, where the servers are friendly and playful, yet disciplined and attentive. Definitely my favorite wait staff of the Michelin restaurants we’ve been to.  They were knowledgeable, and answered our questions, explaining some of the mysteries.  There was humor in the meal – green apple taffy balloons filled with just a little bit of helium – we were encouraged to inhale and talk to our table in hilarious high-pitched voices, giggles filled the room.  While the food was fascinating – so much use of the distiller! – I actually wasn’t too huge a fan of the taste. Nothing was bad, exactly, but I didn’t find anything amazingly delicious either.

Was it an amazing experience? Am I glad I had the privilege of going and the joy of sharing such an interesting time with friends? Certainly.  But honestly, I was more impressed with the food at Per Se or EMP.  Really loved the playfulness of the staff though; had a great time. Photos definitely don’t capture the experience. Check them out on Yelp or at their website!

Alinea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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