Archive for the ‘michelin star restaurant’ Category

***René Redzepi’s restaurant, Noma, is moving to Japan  for 2 months in 2015 http://noma.dk/japan/

***The revenge of the Sriracha sauce…- The Sriracha sauce, that sauce we thought condemned to humble oriental eateries…well, guess what..it seems to be the new trendy ingredient at many  restaurants   in town …  omg, who would have predicted that one? Next, I hope that the piri piri enjoys such fame too, lol. Anyways,  it is not my type to overlook /under-estimate  anything so I am not too surprised by the the Sriracha’s  rise to fame

***The Cabane à sucre of Chef Martin Picard‘s team continues to be an exciting of its genre. Many Chefs are now mimicking Chef Picard’s initiative but  whatever this man does …simply stands head and shoulders above anyone else’s actions because he is not interested to act different for the sake of being different, he is just different for real and this transpires in the very inspired form that his initiatives take. Any country needs a Chef like Martin Picard!

***Kyo maintains the bar high in regards to quality isakaya by Montreal standards, a surprise for me given that they do not benefit from the incredible popularity that some other restaurants are enjoying. My last meal there (click here) was another successful performance and their Chef, Chef Ding, is clearly one of the few genuine talents of this city.

***Another visit at Gourmet Burger on Bishop street (in Montreal)  and the Burger is still as delicious as I remember it from last time. Clearly my favourite burger in town. It’s a bit pricier than the average burger you’ll find in town, it is NOT t going to decrown any of the finest burgers that our US neighbors are munching on,  but it is certainly a burger that Montreal can be proud of.  My review of that  first burger there can be found here.

***Went back to my favourite ramen-ya in Montreal, Ramen Misoya and … this time the performance was inferior to what I’ve experienced on the last 3 visits, the ramen simply less pronounced in flavor and the texture less remarkable. Despite the less than impressive bowl, they remain, in my opinion, Montreal’s best bowl of Japanese ramen.

 

***Brazilian Chef Helena Rizzo named World’s Best Female Chef for 2014 . Chef Rizzo used to be a model and architect. She is currently at the helm of restaurant Mani Manioca in Sao Paulo, a restaurant balancing  contemporary innovative Brazilian fares with a deep respect of its traditions.  http://www.manimanioca.com.br/index.html

***World star Chef/restaurateur  Alain Ducasse has published a book on his favourite food destinations in London, UK . See here.  Monaco, Paris and New York also have also been covered by Chef Ducasse in other books already available in stores.

***A book on wines is making the headlines these days,  revealing lots of gory details about the wine industryIsabelle’s Saporta Vino Business.  Clearly the most controversial book (about wine)  since a long time. Check that out.

***Chef Gordon Ramsay’s kitchen nightmare  TV program is going to focus on UK Chefs around Europe. Click here, for more.

***Omnivore is a true revolutionary initiative  with fresh approaches/views on  the worldwide food /restaurant scene. Check out their latest publication.

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Event: Dinner at Peter Luger
Addr: 178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211-6131
Phone: (718) 387-7400
Type of cuisine: American Steakhouse
Time/Date: Saturday Febr 23rd 2014, 18:00
URL: http://www.peterluger.com
Michelin star: 1

***NOTE – This meal at Peter Luger is listed on the left side of this blog among the other reviewed Michelin starred meals, since it is a Michelin starred restaurant at the moment of writing/posting this review. It goes without saying that the score that I did assign to it IS NOT to be compared with the score of the reviewed meals that  you’ll find there (PL is not a fine dining destination). That score reflects my appreciation of  PL  as a steakhouse delivering a North American Porterhouse steak of  world class standard, nothing  more, nothing less.  And in case you are the kind to believe that it is crazy to praise a place that  specialises in just one sort of  steak, then you are running straight into an instance where we’ll have to agree to ….disagree: for me, if  one thing is done better than anywhere else  (the North American Porterhouse cut of PL, in this case), then it deserves to be considered as highly as you’ll consider any other favourite food destination. Japanese people have got this since a long time (a specialist of pork cutlet, specialist of tempura, etc) and I’d rather admire a ‘specialist’ that does its craft beautifully rather than  … ‘a jack of all trades” playing it safely.

***Sorry, no pics – Just wanted to eat quietly with no hassle / distraction of photo nor note taking. After all, it’s a steakhouse, so the 1000th picture of their steaks or 3000th picture of their side of spinach won’t make those items look nor taste any better ;p

NY is not far from Montreal, so I recently spent a weekend in  NY to  see if  Peter Luger is still doing great especially after reports from some food journalists about PL losing a bit of its past glory (my 3rd visit here in 6 yrs).

Picked:
-The Porterhouse steak: The succulent beef flavor that shone through is a reminder that Peter Luger has mastered, for so long, the art of delivering the perfect North American porterhouse steak: this is one of the few great American steakhouses which dry aging technique of the meat is rarely paralleled. But there’s much more, of course: the right grade and the right cooking degree for the right cut. It’s a breeze to appreciate that they are genuinely obsessive about where that beef grew up, how well did it live, what was it fed with, how great and knowledgeable was the butcher behind that cut, how properly aged and hanged was the cut, etc. One of the few benchmark aged USDA prime Porterhouse (some complain about the sauce that’s underneath the steak…well, this adds to the character of that Porterhouse. If you can’t take it, simply ask them to serve it aside). 10/10
-Their legendary creamed spinach: deliciously rich as usual, though hardly something that anyone behind a kitchen should miss. Still, they do it well, it tastes good and it’s a perfect logical match to that Porterhouse steak 7/10
-Their old fashioned sauce: not too sure how that fares with their patrons, but their old fashioned sauce is not to my taste (I do not find that it pairs well with meat). Of course, a question of personal preference (anyways, the only time I am fine with sauce over my steak is when I eat it French-style as with steak au poivre) , especially since the sauce that’s underneath that Porterhouse largely suffices for me. I won’t score that sauce since this boils down to a matter of personal taste only (I am just not used to pair my steak with the flavor profile of this kind of sauce – a mix of sweet and savoury flavors which, for my palate, had following dominating aromas: horseradish/ tamarind/vinegar/molasse. There are, of course, more ingredients to the recipe, but those were the ones that my palate has primarily detected). I did replicate that sauce at home and after several tries, it now tastes almost like theirs, so that my palate gets used to it.  Yep, that is how food works lol: you do not like it, do not  ive up on it, just accompany your palate in gradually appreciating it and there will be more power to you ;p
-The fabled side of beacon, which I finally got to try this time (kept skipping that one on the past 2 visits): Decent thick slabs of porky meatyness, but beacon abound in North America, its preparation varying widely in quality and depth of deliciousness from one place to another, so it is hard for me to get excited over  their beacon. Certainly not bad, but there are definitely better beacon to be enjoyed across North America 6/10
-The dessert list here features typical classic American steakhouse dessert items (Ice cream, pecan pie, cheese cake, etc). This time, I tried  their Cheese cake (7/10) which was as classically well executed as it gets (as expected, New York style cheesecake that was and as I wrote, in its classic version), the schlag that I also tried being just Ok.

PL is what it is, not what you want it to be, which is exactly how things should work: it has its charms (the classic setting), its relative weaknesses (obviously, not a modern trendy fancy steakhouse so  if that’s what you are looking for, you’ve knocked at the wrong door + it’s not cheap) , its own character (old world charm). You learn to know what they are, if that pleases you, you go, if that does not fit, then you look elsewhere. I am delighted  to observe that  PL  remains as it is, which means at it has always been, regardless of the pressure that new trends put on our perceptions/appreciations: a classic house with personality.
I have read online arguments about PL being a tourist trap to some (100% pure BS! IMHO) , that they have suffered at some point from a shortage of Porterhouse, that they once had a matriarch who was second to none when it comes to selecting the finest meat and that perhaps her successors are not as diligent as she used to, but I have also spent 15 years in North America, enough time to familiarize myself  with most major NYC’s and USA’s steakhouses and came to the conclusion that if PL is a tourist trap, then the definition of tourist trap has evolved into a compliment. There’s no way a serious steak connoisseur  would confuse PL with a tourist trap. Has PL delivered the perfect Porterhouse steak on each of my 3 visits (I took the Porterhouse everytime I went there)? The answer is NO. On one particular visit, I could easily name  plenty of American steakhouses which Porterhouse was superior. But it’s naïve to attempt to convince oneself  about the definitive appreciation  to have of a  restaurant based on just one meal. You can judge the meal, which I do too and that is  fine, but not a restaurant. Which leads me to where I am getting at: on the two other visits, their Porterhouse outshone their major competitors by leaps with effective superior aging technique and far better sourcing of the meat. Are there steakhouses in NYC where I had more fun? Of course Yes. Are there better cost performance steakhouses?  Absolutely.  But again, ambience and better value have nothing to do with why I like Peter Luger: the quality of its Porterhouse!
Overall food rating: 8/10 I was impressed to see that PL continues to deliver some of this globe’s finest American Porterhouse steaks. The Porterhouse steak, their star item, remaining as glorious as ever.

Recommended: This  great article on America’s current finest steakhouses

I can’t manage — because of a lack of time —  the ‘comments’ section in timely manner. So, I’ll publish questions received by emails and that I found interesting to share with you.  Off topic comments will be discarded.

Q&A – Peter R says that if PL is a 1 star Michelin Steakouse, then Carnevino in Las Vegas is a 3 star  Answer: Peter, I never went to Carnevino but heard that it’s highly regarded in  Las Vegas as one of their finest Steakhouses alongside Cut.  It’s on my TDL,  for sure (there’s also Raku in LV that I would like to dine at).   That said,  are we comparing apples to apples here:  do they serve the Porterhouse cut at  Carnevino? Did you try it? As you’ll see in my food report, I was floored by the Porterhouse steak, not by the rest (side, desserts, etc) and it is  a fact that as an all-rounder steakhouse (for eg, with not just one type of steak but a variety of them being great, better sides, better ambience, etc ) , there is no shortage of superior steakhouses in the US.  But based on the quality of its Porterhouse,  I find PL to be deserving of its accolades. Furthermore, PL is not influenced by trends and that, for me, is the  key for a restaurant to keep its own character intact. It might not please hipsters, but it adds a lot to my appreciation of a food destination.

For a long time, I thought Montreal could not resume back with its once exciting restaurant/bar scene (remember when the London bar/Altitude 737/Dome  were hot spots, the amazing food destinations like Le Cube,Bronté etc), but the city seems to be back on track with some latest remarkable openings:

***Restaurant Le Serpent seems to be a popular choice in  your Mtl restaurant searches. In one week alone, 152 people were looking for it on current web blog (see below table from the visitor logs  on my site).  For sure, most foodie web sites attract thousands of searches, but those are backed by money, agressive advertisements  and close relationship to the restaurant world. The most genuine  feel is always to be found on  a blog that advertises nowhere,  backed by no one, which is the case of this   unassuming blog of mine which only intent is to share with close friends/relatives.

STATS

***Montreal has now a new hip place in the form of Bier Markt (same location where la Queue de Cheval used to be, on René Levesque). Went there recently and I thought I was in New York or any big city with an exciting nightlife scene. The atmosphere there is second to none in town, at this moment: incredibly fun, full of people. I haven’t tried the food yet, but the bar offerings are top class and the quality of the beer simply exemplary. BM sets the bar in Montreal for this genre of destinations (bar/5 to 7 gatherings, etc).

***Chef Junichi Ikematsu of Montreal’s number 1 Sushiya (Jun I, that I have reviewed here) has  now opened Saka -Ba, a ramen bar on Le Plateau.  Here, for more infos.  Saka-Ba! 1279 Mont-Royal East, Montréal – Tél. 514-507-9885

***Remember Chef Joe Mercuri (from Ex-Bronté – Bronté used to be, easily, among Montreal’s top 3 finest food destinations)? He made his return recently and has opened restaurant Mercuri in the Vieux Port. Another stellar addition after the return of Joe’s cousin, Chef Michelle Mercuri (see my review of Le Serpent). Restaurant Mercuri 1279 Mont-Royal East, Montréal Tél. 514-507-9885

***Marchand du Bourg‘s  Maitre boucher Marc Bourg continues his impressive rise to stardom with now plenty of restaurants using his steaks and a huge demand coming from all parts of the globe (Las Vegas, the Middle East, etc). Mr Bourg’s initiatives are one of the latest most exciting success stories of Quebec and this is well deserved from a man whose exceptional   dedication to the best steaks possible is matched only by few  Maitre boucher around the globe.  I already wrote about this great artisan here.  Simply the best steak in town at this moment.

***New York: NY is not far from Montreal, so I recently spent a weekend in  NY and see if  Peter Luger is still doing great especially after reports from some food journalists about PL losing a bit of its past glory. I was impressed to see that PL continues to deliver some of this globe’s finest steaks. The Porterhouse steak, their star item, remaining as glorious as ever. PL is what it is, not what you want it to be, which is exactly how things should work: it has its charms, its weaknesses, its own character. You learn to know what they are, if that pleases you, you go, if that does not fit, there you look elsewhere. I want PL to remain as it is regardless of the pressure that new trends put on our perceptions/appreciations.

***Michelin France 2014: It’s published and France has a new 3 star Michelin, L’Assiette Champenoise in Reims. There are changes that I  did not quite understand like the 1 star assignment of Septime in Paris, which I did visit on past  trips in Paris and was so unimpressed that I did not even bother writing about, the demotion of Apicius, Auberge de l’Ill, Stella Maris. Anyways, there are always going to be happy and unhappy ones, so I won’t lose time on trying to convince why those places should not have lost their stars. I just hope that we find a way to avoid  turning the back to the past (classic cooking should not be overlooked just because new generations of diners find new-gen flavors more exciting).

***Legendary  French Chef Marc Veyrat becomes the first triple-starred Michelin Chef to launch a food truck initiativehttp://www.mesbocaux.fr/

***Catalan celebrity Chef Ferran Adria is back in  the news with a  new  restaurant (named ElBulli 1846??)  in 2016 – Click here to learn more.

***Restaurant Pastis,  almost an institution of New York has sadly just closed recently. You can read more about that,  here.

***Legendary 3 star Michelin Maison Troisgros in Roanne, France will move to a new location (still in Roanne) in  2017.  Here, for more.

Major changes in today’s  Michelin France 2014 publication (plenty of action) :

***Following  ‘big names’ of France’s haute dining scene were demoted of their 2 stars:
Auberge de l’Ile (Lyon), Alain Senderens, Apicius (both in Paris) and Hostellerie Jérôme (La Turbie)

***Plaza Athénée (Paris) lost its 3 stars. Ok, this is not a shock per se, since they’ve closed it temporarily (will re-open in Spring)

***Stella Maris (Paris) lost its sole star. I know very well SM and actually ate there last year during my last visit to Paris.
All I can say is that the meal I had was of same level as plenty of 1 star Michelin in France that have retained their 1 star.  Other major restaurants that lost their 1 star: La Bigarrade (Paris), Michel del Burgo (Carcassonne), Le Divellec (Paris)

*** A new  three star (there are 27 in France): Assiette Champenoise (Reims) – Chef Lallement is also Gault et Millau France’s Chef the  year.

***Akrame (Paris) has now gained a second star.

***Es and Septime have now 1 star

My thoughts: Wow, that was an exciting publication. I am actually not surprised since new Michelin Director Michael Ellis has clearly opted for  fresh new views/approaches of the fine dining scene (such as encouraging younger Chefs). Michelin clearly adapting to new generations of diners (who would have thought that one day Auberge de l’Ile or Hostellerie Jérôme would have lost their stars??), the  newer  3 star  Chefs embodying the will of Michelin  to bring young Chefs to the forefront of France haute dining (Chef Lallement is 39, last year’s newer 3 star Chef Donckele is 36 ) .  As ever, the ‘existentialist’ character of what needs to be underlined or not remains a daunting task  doomed to be divisive: should we forget the highlights of the past?  If Yes, then we are wiping off an important part of our culinary traditions. Many might not care, but I do: what is life with no memory?  What is food if we do not know how it’s supposed to taste like?   What is running if we don’t take time to understand how to walk?  I am all for new discoveries, new talents, and there’s no need to panic for now (it’s not as if half of the classic French  restaurants have lost their stars and the latest young triple-starred Chefs have a solid base of classic French cooking backing their cuisine), but we shall never forget that food with no reference is like life with no soul.

Tokyo’s legendary steakhouse presented to us by Bianca

In 2006, Forbes.com listed Aragawa as one of the most expensive restaurants in the world. It probably still is. So naturally I was excited to try this restaurant  and see what all the hype was about.

The high cost of the meal definitely doesn’t show in the decor. I found the interior of the small restaurant with about 5 tables to be rather outdated, but some might call it vintage. Wooden walls and ceilings, classic wallpaper and red velvet chairs dominate the scene.

Our enquiry to bring our own bottle of wine was declined by the restaurant, yet when we asked for some wine that we wanted, they were out of stock. Twice. They had our third choice.

Our first course was some beluga caviar with some crispy toast and celery on the side.

Then came the home-made smoked salmon which was exquisite, unlike any smoked salmon I’ve tasted before.

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KAM FUNG,  DUMPLINGS 01Kam Fung http://www.restaurantlamaisonkamfung.com/  (1111 Rue St-Urbain  (514) 878-2888 ) is widely known as offering Montreal very best dim sums. It’s being a while that I haven’t re-visited KF. I went back for  lunch on Febr 7th 2014.  What  a breeze to see a place with such successful business turnaround: the room is large, almost like a football stadium (just kidding, well almost…), and yet it was packed and people kept getting in and out.

I will save you from the depicting of each of my bites, there are plenty of food bloggers doing that for you on the web, and I shall go straight to what I believe to matter most:  does Kam Fung really has the best dim sums in Montreal?

Regarding dim sum food, there’s definitely no clear winner among the good dim sum places of Montreal (Le Cristal Chinois, Ruby Rouge, Tong Por, etc) . But it’s a fact that, with an eye for details, you’ll notice that they, at KF,  do slightly better execute the textures of their dim sums (none of the dim sums fell apart as it’s common at most of the lesser dim sum places in town), but the quality of ingredients to be found in Montreal make those dim sums quite ordinary (though, still as good as you’ll get in town). For eg, I’d close my eyes and would not really realize that the filling of  shrimp was shrimp, the filling of squid was squid, etc. It could have been anything else. And NO…this is not because of the cooking technique (steaming). I have not started sampling dim sums  an hour ago, lol, and even without going too far (no need to go to Asia for this — I have not visited the entire globe, for sure, lol, but I know China and its various cuisines very well, and I’ll  still spare you that episode…), I had better tasting dim sums in New York and Vancouver and even Toronto. I am not saying this to try comparing the incomparable, rather to underline the fact that a dim sum can and should taste profoundly of its fillings. This problem applies to ALL the other good dim sum places of Montreal, not just Kam Fung and that is why most people who have tried the finest dim sums of NYC/Toronto/vancouver would expect a bit more from what count, admittedly, among the finest dim sums of Montreal.

KAM FUNG, STICKY RICEOverall verdict: 7/10 Good, by Montreal dim sum standards, there’s no denying it and please keep any comparison to Asia away from any discussion about Chinese food in Montreal.  When it comes to Chinese food, Montreal  is not as bad as some might think (take that sticky rice you see on your left…although it’s true that it won’t set any bar on a worldwide perspective, it remains a well seasoned and properly executed one as you’d get from a respectable classic Chinese venture that’s not in Asia) , unless you start unreasonable comparisons to what is done in China or elsewhere. So to wrap it up, they do dim sums as good as you’ll get in town, though hardly the best per se (there’s not an ocean of difference in between Le Cristal Chinois Vs Ruby Rouge Vs Tong Por Vs Kam Fung cooking levels), and the average ingredients (the technique is there, make no mistake about that ) we have in Mtl can certainly leave the right impression that those could have been way better dim sums. The one in Brossard is a tad better, imho.

FireGrill, Montreal

Posted: February 4, 2014 in michelin star restaurant

FireGrill (1490 Stanley, Montreal; dinner there on Sunday febr 2nd 2014, 19:30) is a chain of steakhouse that has been around for a while, but it’s just on this evening that I got a chance to try it.

ImageI ordered the 18oz  rib eye steak $33.50 (montreal cut), which came cooked at exact requested doneness (as it’s the case for most, medium rare is my preference),  the grill marks achieved beautifully.  I can’t fault the quality of the meat: what I was having on this evening was without a doubt  of good quality (Sterling Silver Premium Beef See here: http://www.sterlingsilvermeats.com/PremiumBeef.asp ) and they barely season it so that you fully appreciate the beef flavor. All of that is highly appreciated,  but I did not find it as beefily exciting in mouth as some dry-aged corn fed cuts of Black Angus or USDA prime beef I had elsewhere. Scoring   that steak  would have no meaning  here since  this is truly a matter of personal preference (think of colors: is blue better than yellow? Lol )

ImageThe lobster tail ($13) was sizeable when compared to its equivalent versions in town, its texture appealing as it was properly broiled, but sadly no lobster flavor came through. 3/10

Mushrooms sautéed ($7.50)  as it should, but here limited by the average quality of mushroom we mostly find in Mtl, though, for the price, you obviously can’t expect miracles neither from standard all-season mushrooms. 5/10

There  was plenty of food and the portions are not meager: I  literally had a plate of mushrooms (as opposed to just couple of mushrooms accompanying the steaks),  a plate of salad (plenty of salad), etc.

All in all, this was a 5/10 overall food performance for me, but they have plenty of other food items, so I am confident your experience can be better. Regardless of my low score for the meal I was having on this evening, I could sense a desire to do well, here, as the service was  very attentive on this evening (the service here is better than at some other steakhouse chains I know), and they seemed genuinely interested in customizing the dining experience.