5/20/15 Saikai (West Village, NY)

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Saikai Dining Bar, a self-proclaimed modern day izakaya. I just came here for the uni.

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Uni Toast. Similar to what I’ve had at Salt & Fat (Astoria, NY).

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Truffle Chawanmushi – egg custard with uni, ikura, kani and truffle sauce. You can really taste the truffle in this.

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Our waiter’s favorite — miso black cod. I loved it but my dining companion thought it was just okay.

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Smoked duck breast with foie gras. I loved lifting the glass off to reveal the smoky aroma.

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You are to combine the 3 together. The foie gras was not too overwhelming.

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Uni pasta. I liked the chewy texture of the Inaniwa udon. However, I still like Basta Pasta’s version better.

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The best part of the meal was dessert. I enjoyed both tremendously. Ginger creme brulee and ume shiso ice cream. Ume shiso?! I couldn’t imagine it, so I had to have it.

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It was quite interesting… and I still can’t figure out if I loved it or not. I think I did.

Overall, I enjoyed the meal and appreciate the modern twist. But many of the dishes have already been done (i.e. Salt & Fat, Basta Pasta, Dieci, etc) and I feel like I’m still waiting for something truly creative and tasty. I definitely see their potential to grow.

Easy to make reservations via Opentable.

Saikai 
24 Greenwich Ave
New York, NY 10011
(646) 838–5599

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Japanese lunch in Midtown NYC (Sakagura & Ippodo)

My mom loves everything Japanese. So on my day off, I took her out to eat lunch at Sakagura.

Sakagura
211 E 43rd St
New York, NY 10017
b/t 3rd Ave & 2nd Ave

It certainly adds a sense of mystery having to walk into a mundane office building and directed to stairs that led to the basement.

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You walk into this small space that transports you to a street in Japan (or what you would imagine it to be like)

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Special of the day (Thursday) $11.50: Bara Chirashi Don / raw fish and dried squash over rice + hot/cold soba

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I opted for the “Lunch Tasting Course” $33, which includes:

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Sashimi / scallop was my favorite.

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Mini cold handmade soba / It tasted so fresh and had a hint of wasabi!

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Plus 3 main dishes on a 3 tiered stand.

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Tempura (shrimp, white fish and jalapeño)

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Grilled miso black cod.

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Beef fillet steak.

Everything was tasty and so fresh! My lunch tasting course also included a dessert, and my mom also ordered an additional sorbet:

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Lychee sorbet / my mom didn’t care for this because it was too syrupy tasting

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Sake panna cotta / I liked my dessert better…

With tax and tips, it came out to $60 for 2 people. Not bad for midtown lunch.

After that, we walked a few blocks to Ippodo. No, NOT Ippudo the ramen place.

Ippodo 
125 E 39th St
New York, NY 10016
b/t Park Ave & Lexington Ave

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Don’t be fooled by the tables in the back; that’s for the restaurant Kajitsu. Ippodo takes up the front where they serve matcha in front of you for you to take to-go…

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They have so many different green teas! I had the light matcha, usucha.

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They sell these too.

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They have stamp cards which I was very excited about… definitely coming back to try them all!

Bohemian Restaurant (NYC)

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A long hallway next to a Japanese butcher shop begins our adventure tonight.

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The restaurant’s allure draws upon having to find out the phone number to call (only by word of mouth), making the reservations (you have to know a previous diner’s full name), and making your way to this — with no sign except the number “57”.

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Ringing the doorbell, it feels like you are entering someone’s residential apartment. And that’s how they want you to feel: like going to a friend’s house for dinner.

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There are only 6 tables and a few bar seats. No wonder seating is so exclusive and limited.

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The three of us went with the $58 tasting menu.

Farmer’s Fresh Vegetables Fondue: the cheese stole the show. The vegetables were just vehicles for the fondue.
Uni Croquette: I’m a big uni fan, so this was exciting to me. Uni on top of a warm, crispy croquette with some creamy mushroom filling. I devoured this in about 3 seconds.
Washu-Beef Short Rib Sashimi: This was one of my favorites of the night. With just a flake of garlic, a dab of wasabi, a drop of the sauce they provided, this dish becomes something that you dream about for days after consuming it.
Pan Roasted Branzino: I loved the roasted vegetables! Brussel sprouts, potatoes, mushrooms, rosemary stalks, and a whole fish.
Washu-Beef Mixed Burger
Assorted Sashimi

 

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My favorite of the night: yuzu panna cotta. I’m also a big time yuzu fan, and I loved the little pieces of yuzu zest throughout this dessert.
Check for three.

Bohemian Restaurant 
57 Great Jones St, New York 10012
Phone: xxx-xxx-xxxx
ny-info@playearth.jp

 

 

Travelogue: Maine Day 4 (hiking & eating)

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We start the day off with breakfast in Bar Harbor. 2 Cats, a cute brunch place with bright decor.

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I was looking forward to their lobster benedict (above) and lobster omelette (below), but their strawberry butter turned out to be the best thing there.

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Inside the omelette were big chunks of lobster meat. The egg was a strange texture though, so I didn’t care much for it. After fueling up, we were ready for another day of hiking.

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We planned to hike up to the Cadillac Mountain this time, but one section of the trail was closed so we took a detour.

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Lots of blueberries on the way.

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We went up Dorr Mountain and it was pretty fun; lots of scrambling and big rocks to climb. We reached the Cadillac and went back the long route.

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It took us about 5-6 hours to complete the hike this time, and after that we looked for food on Route 3 again. But everything was closed except…

Shinbashi.

I know. Japanese food in Maine of all places?! It was pretty good!

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Lobster tempura!

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Sashimi was super fresh. Thumbs up for sushi in Maine!