Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Post #409: Supper at Lucques (Los Angeles)

It's not Sunday, but the supper is no less delicious on the very adorable back patio.

My lamb.
His ribs.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Post #408: This is more like Batali - Restaurant: B&B Ristorante

After that mediocre meal at San Marco, I wasn't expecting much from B&B. But the wait was short and the room looked inviting.
So I sat, got a glass of wine and relaxed. Then came my amuse of rustic chickpeas on toast. The brown color looked rather unattractive I must say. The taste, however, got me to sit up a little straighter. Perky vinegary and refreshingly green from the olive oil, the peas softened quickly on the tongue, a lovely contrast to the toast.
What followed was one of the best grilled octopus I've ever eaten. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that before grilling, the octopus enjoyed quite some time in the braising pot. The result is something that is incredibly soft in the meaty middle yet nicely charred towards the ends. The watermelon radish didn't do much for the taste, but it sure was pretty as a garnish.
The beef cheek ravioli were of slim constructing out of house made pasta and had a nice chew. The beef checking filling was intensely savory, but just a tiny bit too minced for my taste.
I took my server's suggestion and ordered the lemon tart. Then I wondered why all lemon tarts don't come with the crunchy pecan bits on top. So lovely with the sweet tartness.

  • B&B Ristorante
  • The Venetian
    3355 Las Vegas Boulevard South
    Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
    702- 266 -9977

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Post #407: Basic nice fries - Restaurant: Thumbs Up Diner

Before I go back to finish up Vegas, let me share with you a quick but satisfying lunch I had recently at the Thumbs Up Diner in Roswell. Unlike the Edgewood Ave. location near my condo where there is always a line out the door during the weekend, this place was sufficiently filled, but not full.

My turkey melt and fries were the kind of no frill classics one hopes to find at a place like this. The fries had a very pleasant light crunch and were devoid of mealy centers that I hate.

Thumbs Up Diner
1140 Alpharetta Street
Roswell, Ga 30075
(770) 642-8980

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Post #406: Not quite Otto - Restaurant: Enoteca San Marco (Las Vegas)

Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich have quite a little empire going in Vegas. On the casual end, there is Enoteca San Marco, where the menu is similar to that of Otto, one of my favorite places for pizza and gelato in nyc. So it was with a bit more expectation than I normally harbor for a casual Vegas restaurant that I sat down for an early business dinner.

A salad started things off strong. Other than the messy appearance, the fresh greens and tangy dressing set off the salty prosciutto rather nicely.

The pizza is where things went off course. While this pie's view from top resembles its cousin from Otto (see here), we soon figured out that it definitely didn't come from the same mother. First, the outer crust was dense and hard like one of those breadsticks served inside plastic wrapping at second rate Italian joints. Second, the underside was one uniform colored plane with no bubble or char. Other than the fact that the cheese was high quality and the sauce was bright, the pie tasted like it was made of a dough board. Major disappointment.

The gelato saved the day though. I guess frozen concoctions travel much better. My olive oil gelatio tasted just like I remembered, faintly green, grassy, a little salty, and very creamy.

Enoteca San Marco
3355 Las Vegas Boulevard South (Venetian shops)
Las Vegas, NV 89109-8941
(702) 266-9969

Monday, March 01, 2010

Post #405: Vegas is for eating - Restaurant: L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon

I am no gambler. I consider myself too lucky in life to also be good at cards. As such, Vegas for me is about work and food. Assuming no one is interested in hearing about work, let's talk food.

The first night after work, I hit up L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon solo. Cheerfully red, the chic inside transported one away from the gambling floor right outside.
I spent the next couple of hours facing this view into the open kitchen. Behind the wheat grass and hanging apples, chefs busied quietly assembling salads and broiling fish.

That's a lot of bread for one, I thought. I needn't have worried. They were all so excellent, I downed half quickly with the nutty Brittany butter.
This amuse set the tone for the dinner (rich and decadent) right off the bat. It looks like a shot, but actually is a pretty dense warm foie mousse that needed a spoon for scraping the bottom. Faintly sweet and super smooth, this was one heck of a bite.
After the rich foie, came the rich mussel soup. Despite the smallish bowl, there were about a dozen plump mussels floating underneath the ample cream soup. My favorite things were the crunchy croutons that were crispy and yet melty.
This was the best bite of the evening, a supple and sweet piece of fresh langoustine flash fried inside a whisper of a rice wrapper. It was the perfect balance of crunch and soft.
The main course, a salmon, was the weakest link. It simply wasn't special enough to follow the progression of the meal. The lattice potato pieces on top were tasty in the way only potato chip products can be.
Of course dinner isn't complete without the restaurant's famous mashed potato. Despite the countless breathless reviews I've read about the to die for butteriness of this dish, I wasn't prepared for the saturating amount of butter. Really, it was hard to tell if there were any potato products in there at all. My lips were coated by the buttery fume before they ever touched the stuff. In all honesty, it was all a bit too much... Maybe the few weeks in Asia had taken my tolerance for richness down a few notches.
Before dessert, there were cheeses. Once again, the breads were awesome, especially the walnut raisin one with its faintly moist sweetness. It paired particularly well with an aged Comte. It recalled a similar one I had at l'Arpege in Paris back in November.
When I ordered tarts, I didn't expect this! Every single piece was meticulously made and was as tasty as they were pretty. Best of all was the butterscotch one in the middle. Intensely stick and toffee like, it was worth all the effort trying to get it off my teeth. :)