Tag Archives: colicchio and sons

Top Noms of 2013

13 Jan

2013 was truly the best year of my life.  And most of my best memories of the year include (or entirely revolve around) amazing meals.

It was really tough to narrow it down to the top 10 this year with so many amazing meals, so I’m cheating a bit.  (To see the Top Noms of years past, check these links: 201220112010, and 2009)

Second Runner Up: After a lot of buzz and rumors of impossible reservations, we were lucky enough to walk in and get a seat at the bar at Chez Sardine.  This sticks out in my memory both for the amazing, creative food and for the fun of watching them construct it while peering directly into the kitchen from our bar seats.

Chez Sardine

First Runner Up: After two amazing meals at WD-50 (still in the top 3 of all time meals) we were excited to try Chef Wylie Dufresne’s more casual new restaurant, Alder.  Our entire meal was creative and great, but the chicken liver toast was a huge stand out that I still think about all these months later.

Alder: Chicken Liver Toast

#10: Our honeymoon was filled with a bunch of absolutely amazing meals, but our meal at Le Pigeon in Portland, OR really stood out for its freshness and unique use of ingredients. The trout lox paired so incredibly well with the raspberries. An unexpected match made in heaven.

Le Pigeon: Trout Lox

#9: We couldn’t wait to try Betony when it opened since it was from alumni of one of our absolute favorite restaurants, Eleven Madison Park.   We fell in love with the “Tuna Melt” with melted fontina cheese and there was sculptural beauty (and flavorful beauty) in the Marinated Trout Roe. Any other year this could be a #1 restaurant, but not in 2013.

Betony: Marinated Trout Roe on a puffed rice cracker with cucumber

#8: While we couldn’t take pictures of the Brooklyn Fare Chef’s Tasting menu, you will have to trust me that it all looked and tasted delicious.  We were very excited when they opened up a grocery store near our apartment in Manhattan and can’t wait to try their restaurant.  The Uni with White Truffle was so incredibly amazing and made me fall in love with uni (after a lot of “what’s the big deal?” in the past).

Brooklyn Fare Chef's Tasting

#7: For our date anniversary dinner, Mike took us to Del Posto, where we enjoyed the beautiful place almost as much as we enjoyed the near flawless meal.  It has certainly earned its stellar reputation as being a top restaurant in New York.

Del Posto: Lobster

#6: In what world does The French Laundry in Napa Valley, CA come in as #6 for the year?  I still am in a bit of disbelief that we didn’t love this famous restaurant even more.  In the end, it was probably one of the most perfect meals I’ve ever had, but it just wasn’t surprising.  But the oysters and pearls have truly earned their place in culinary history.

The French Laundry: Oysters and Pearls


#5: Coming back from the honeymoon, we had one last hurrah at The NoMad in NYC.  We tried the famous chicken, which had the audacity to not just be perfectly cooked with impeccably crispy skin, but also stuffed with foie gras and black truffle.  It was every bit as good as I hoped it would be, as was the rest of the meal.

The Nomad: Roasted Chicken

#4: Blanca was another Chef’s Tasting menu that didn’t allow us to take pictures of the meal (bummer), but this private room behind Roberta’s Pizza in Bushwick, Brooklyn offered surprises around every corner. There were more than 25 meticulous courses, including a stand-out king crab with plankton butter sauce and not a single bad dish in all 25.

Blanca: Chef's Tasting

#3: Anytime someone asks where they should go in NYC if they want a nice meal, I recommend Colicchio and Sons.  It never fails to impress and we went back to see if the Tasting Menu could live up to our opinion from the previous time.  Each dish built upon the last and they were all expertly crafted. I have especially fond memories about the uniqueness of the potato bavarois dome with Hackeback caviar and vodka cream with homemade potato chips.

Colicchio & Sons:  Tasting Menu


#2: A huge surprise was how much we fell in absolute love with Canlis in Seattle, WA during our honeymoon.  Every dish was great and service was so warm and so welcome.  It’s hard to pick a favorite part of this meal, but I still remember how much I enjoyed their preparation of foie gras with homemade brioche to spread it on.

Canlis: Foie Gras

#1 (THE #1): I was so excited to finally try Chef Grant Achatz’s Alinea in Chicago, IL at the very end of the year.  Every moment of this meal was special and fun and incredibly delicious. Even if it hadn’t been as entertaining and creative, the taste of the food alone would have made this the meal of the year.  The rest, and especially the cleverness, made this the meal of a lifetime.  The best meal we have ever, ever had.  The white truffle risotto that they brought out as a special treat was hands down the most amazing thing I have ever eaten.  It is worth a special trip to Chicago just to have the good fortune of eating here.

Alinea: White Truffle Risotto


Alinea: Scallop


We are so incredibly fortunate.  Thank you, 2013.



Colicchio and Sons Dining Room: Chef’s Seasonal Tasting Menu Revisited

26 Feb

As is our annual tradition, we went to a surprise Valentine’s Day dinner again this year. This time, it was Mike’s turn to come up with the location. He told me a few months before that he wanted to return to one of our favorites, to see if it could remain in the top.

So we set off on the Saturday after Valentine’s Day and the cab turned uptown, then west, then downtown. And suddenly I found myself in front of one of my all-time favorite places, Colicchio and Sons. We were returning to the dining room to try the Chef’s Seasonal Tasting Menu once again.  The last time we were there, it registered just behind our awesome meal at WD-50, and only barely. With the new reigning champ of Eleven Madison Park, it brought our last C&S Tasting meal down to spot #3 on the all-time best Noms of our lives list.

Could it hold on to this coveted Top 3 spot?

This time we went with the Tasting Menu but decided that the wine pairing might be overkill, so we started with cocktails before moving onto wine (and then dessert wine…)


We started with a trio for our amuse bouche.

A cauliflower puree on the left, a small jar of cucumber mousse in the center, and brussels sprouts with candied bacon on the right.

The tiny nibble of brussels sprout was perfect with the crisp of the candied bacon.

 And the little jar of cucumber with some roe was just perfect. A great way to start the meal.


 Then the famous Parker House rolls came out. They are buttery and soft and warm and sprinkled with salt. AKA heaven in bread form.


And then another little amuse bouche came out.   It was a hearts of palm puree with a dash of oil. While I think hearts of palm is fine in a salad, I have never thought of it as a main attraction. This was a great use of hearts of palm, however, and I really enjoyed it.




Our first course came and it was potato bavarois (which was like a whipped potato dome) with Hackeback caviar and vodka cream.  There were also homemade potato chips on the plate. This was perfect. Light and delicious with a great combination of flavors. The vodka was ever so subtle but added great depth. 


And the caviar inside was a great fishy taste without being too fishy.

There was nothing extra on this plate. Nothing that didn’t have to be there. And everything was perfectly balanced.


Our next course was Barolo spaghetti with coddled egg and guanciale. The pasta had a beautiful burgundy hue from cooking in the Barolo wine. The egg made for an amazing sauce (that was great to dip the Parker House rolls in) and the flavors of the sauce with the guanciale was perfect. Incredible pasta dish.


Our next course was a roasted scallop with hearts of palm and blood orange.  Wow. Again, hearts of palm at the center of the dish was very enjoyable. The scallop was perfectly cooked and just the slightest bit caramelized. And then the blood orange added a perfect sweet and tangy citrus to the scallop and hearts of palm.  Very, very good. 


Our next dish was a show stopper.  Duck breast with wheat berries, farro, and huckleberry jus.  Awesome. The duck breast was cooked to perfection with tons of flavor. The edge was spiced kind of like pastrami and the mushrooms (hen of the woods maybe?) were fantastic. And that huckleberry jus added the perfect touch of sweet. Yet another example of not an extra ingredient on the plate and everything coming together perfectly.  


Our final savory course was a 30-day dry-aged sirloin with butternut squash, salsify, and tuscan kale. The steak had a lovely char with just a touch of salty goodness.  It was aged and cooked perfectly and I even enjoyed the kale on this plate. 


Our first “sweet” course was the most perfect transition course. It was Époisses creme brulee with huckleberry and pecan-fennel shortbread.  I didn’t know what Époisses was, but our waiter described it as a very “barn yardy” cheese. A perfect description.  


They put just a touch of sugar on top to brulee it.


And inside was the most divine stinky, creamy, delicious cheese with huckleberry on the bottom.  The shortbread cookies with the fennel went perfectly with this and it really was the perfect segue from savory to sweet on the menu. I absolutely LOVED this dish. This was nearly as memorable and unique as the confit gizzard dish we had during the last tasting menu.


Our final tasting dish was a brown sugar cake with pineapple, macadamia nut, and milk chocolate ice cream.  Yup. This was fantastic. It had some strudel on the bottom and everything just went together with perfection.


The brown sugar cake looked simple but had a deep, rich flavor that was perfectly balanced by the pineapple.


And then out came the petit fours.


This was an almond nougat (very good).


And grapefruit jellies. Yum!


And then, as if they hadn’t already secured their place in my food heart, they sent us home with a corn muffin for the morning. (I’m such a sucker for this!)


By the end of the meal, both Mike and I were as impressed as the last time, if not more so.  From start to finish, this meal just continued to build and get better and better. I loved so many things and was constantly impressed by the perfect restraint and balance in each dish.  I have been recommending Colicchio and Sons to NYC visitors for a long time now, and I’m glad to see it lived up to all those expectations. We actually debated if this Tasting Menu beat out WD-50, but I argued that WD-50 slightly edged this out due to its cleverness and the entertainment factor. I’m pretty sure Mike was on the fence, and may have even voted for Colicchio and Sons over WD-50 if I hadn’t chimed in.

That, in and of itself, is impressive.

Total Nom Points: 9.5 out of 10


nomscale- 09.5

Top Noms of 2012


2012 was an amazing year. We went to some incredibly restaurants this year, so narrowing it down to 10 will be very tough.  It was also an amazing year personally, since Mr. and Ms. Nom Nom got engaged in Maine (where we had quite a few of our Top Noms this year!)

For the Top Noms of years past, check out the posts from 2011, 2010, and 2009.

The Top Noms really comes down to the meals that we found most memorable and enjoyable when we reflect on the past year. It’s hard to compare brunch to dinner in a ranking, but I always think about this as what I would recommend to my friends when they ask me the best places we ate this year, overall.

Away we go:

#10 – Gabrielle Hamilton’s Prune was an awesome brunch.  I was dying to go after reading her book, and it lived up to all the expectations and hype (and totally worth the wait). We really need to get back there for dinner.

#9 – Gramercy Tavern was a really great experience. It is known as a top place in New York and it did not disappoint. It didn’t have a dish that really wowed me, but it was a totally solid and great meal.

#8 – Our meal at Sublime in Gladstone, NJ was incredibly surprising.  The apple crisp was out of this world.

#7 – Hugo’s in Portland, Maine was an awesome meal. The tasting menu with the wine pairings really made for a special birthday treat.

#6 – We had a great meal at Boulud Sud while trying to make our way through the Platt 101 of top restaurants in NYC. Everything was memorable, but I can’t stop thinking about the grapefruit dessert that was unlike anything else I have ever had.

#5– While we can’t remember every detail of our meal at Girl & the Goat, it made enough of an impression on us that we had to include it. That Pig Face alone was Top 10 material, maybe of all time!

#4 – Arrows in Ogunquit, Maine was an amazing dining experience. We went because we enjoyed watching the two chefs cook on Top Chef Masters and wound up thoroughly enjoying our meal.  We were impressed with the creative dishes and great flavors.

#3– Anita Lo’s Annisa was a long anticipated meal that lived up to everything we hoped it would be. The dishes tasted so rich and were made with such love, it was hard not to enjoy every single bite.

#2 – Michael White’s Ai Fiori was our first Valentine’s Day stop this year. The pasta was out of this world, and can you really top scallops and bone marrow? Two of my favorite things in one dish.

#1 – Our meal at Eleven Madison Park (Part 1 and Part 2!) was the best one we have ever had ever! It was an adventure, a journey, an experience, and one delicious meal. I can’t imagine anything better. And it got the one and only 10 out of 10 Nom Points in NYC Nom Nom history.


Special mentions go out to Cannibal for the awesome Pig’s Head, Smush for a great take on dessert, the pasta with the roast drippings (Tajarin with Sugo d’Arrosto) from Manzo, Eventide in Portland Maine for the awesome new take on the lobster roll, and the Tap Room at Colicchio and Sons for continuing to impress everyone we bring there. We also had quite an amazing time at our “secret” Chef’s Table at SD26, since we got to watch them cook while having a chef’s selected meal. I went back with coworkers a few months later, and it managed to impress the hell out of them, too.

What a year!