Tag Archives: uni

Restaurant Week – Winter 2015: all’onda

6 Apr

I somehow forgot to post this during Restaurant Week (I blame baby brain), but I couldn’t leave out our fantastic dinner at all’onda! We had gone to all’onda once before right when it opened and loved it, and I’ve recommended it ever since.  While I kept saying we had to go back, their participation in Restaurant Week inspired me to make that reservation first.

Here was the Restaurant Week Winter 2015 Menu:


And the regular menu that night:


I was impressed that the Restaurant Week menu listed both the Short Ribs (for 2) and the Bucatini with smoked uni.  Though both had an up charge, since both dishes are some of the best on the restaurant’s menu, it’s great to see there was the option to include them in a Restaurant Week tasting and the total cost was still a bargain.

We started off the menu and split the arancini. These were different from the squid ink ones we had last time, and instead came with black truffle and parmesan.


Very good, but not quite as original as the squid ink ones. (Nor as beautiful)


Back to the Restaurant Week menu, Mike went for the kale salad, which I thought was an odd choice from the other delicious things on the menu, but he enjoyed it.


One of our friends went for the scallop crudo which was fresh and delicious.  Great combination of flavors.


I got the grilled treviso with kobocha squash and aged balsamic.  (Looked it up: Treviso is a red radicchio)

It was packed with flavor and tasted just like the end of winter.


Our meal was quite the spread when it all came out.


We made fun of Mike for his entree choice as well… he got… the chicken. Now I love me a good chicken, but with all the amazing things on the menu, who gets the chicken?  He seemed very satisfied with his selection and the skin was quite crispy and it was well flavored (sorry for picking on you, honey!)


Our friends split the short rib for two.


Which could not have been more perfectly cooked. It was so tender on the inside with a great, slow cooked flavor and nicely charred outside.  A fantastic short rib.


I got the skate, which was awesome.  Cooked so the ends were crispy, the inside tender, and the light sauce brightening.


We added some sides we loved last time to split for the table, including the brussels sprouts.  The flavor of these sprouts is just fantastic.  All the right sweet, savory, and crunchiness.  Probably some of my favorite brussels in the city.


And then the polenta with miso cured egg yolk and wild mushrooms. Every bite was sensational and it was hard to not dip back in for more and more.


If the meal above was by itself, it would already be fantastic, but add on our favorite dish from the last time, the bucatini with smoked uni, and it rose itself back to star quality.  This dish is just so fantastic.  We got it without the spicy breadcrumbs and no one missed them.  The uni with the exquisitely cooked pasta and the sauce… it’s just one of the best flavor combinations ever.  I love this dish.


We were full… but never too full for dessert.

The olive oil cake with lemon and basil was moist and scrumptious.


But most of the table chose the hazelnut mousse with chocolate crumble and candied orange.  A perfect way to end the meal with a bit of sweet and excellent execution.


all’onda was one of our favorite meals in 2014 (#4 on the list to be exact) and we left this meal equally, if not more impressed.  If they participate in Restaurant Week in Summer 2015, make this your first reservation!  And if you’re looking for a great restaurant to have a really great meal, you can’t go wrong here.

Total Nom Points: 8.5 out of 10

nomscale- 08.5

Decoy: Peking Duck Dinner

10 Sep

One of my all time favorite things to eat is a Peking Duck meal.  Especially when I get to share it with friends. When that duck is cooked especially well, and the skin is crispy and the meat is succulent, and the hoisin sauce and pancakes and scallions and cucumbers all do the dance of love in my mouth… that’s heaven. I really enjoyed our meal at Peking Duck House in Chinatown a few years ago.

We have a friend who enjoyed Peking Duck as much as I do (maybe even more?) so when I saw that The Infatuation wrote very favorably about Decoy, a place I had been wanting to try, I quickly emailed my Peking Duck-loving friend and we made ourselves a double-date for the following weekend.



The Peking Duck Dinner is a wee bit on the pricey side at first blush at $65 (woah… just went to the website and looks like they upped it to $78!). But let me tell you… if I could get that much flavor and food and awesomeness out of every $65 (or $78) I spent, I’d be a happy (and stuffed) person.

The Duck Dinner came with 4 small plates, 2 main dishes, and 1 fried rice or side dish.  Plus the duck, which came with duck consomme shots, 10 pancakes, and 3 sauces. And it all came with homemade pickles, decoy chips, and a few extra holes on your belt.


The chips came out first. I am pretty sure they were fried fish skin of some kind but I don’t remember exactly. I just remember eating them and enjoying them. (And the restaurant was great about avoiding my allergy, peppers, throughout the whole meal)


Then the pickles, which had a number of different items to choose from, including pickled pineapple.


Our first selected small plate was Katz’s pastrami triangles.  Very enjoyable, but when you have something like Katz’s pastrami sandwich already being at the pinnacle of the dish, I say don’t mess with it.


We then had dumplings, though for the life of me I cannot remember which kind they were!  They were good.


And then the meal began to really ramp up. This was Sweet Potato Noodle Salad topped with Uni (it came with a $12 supplement charge).


I loved this dish. And this was a few weeks before I had the epic uni experience of Nakazawa.  Usually restaurants are stingy with the uni, but Decoy piled it on and it was deeeelicious. The sweet potato noodles had a nice chew to them that gave the uni something a bit more dense to play off of.



Our final small plate was the grilled wagyu beef pieces, marinated with fresh washabi. Now I don’t really love wasabit… but this steak was one of the best pieces of meat I have ever put in my mouth (yup… I said it).  It was tender and flavorful and just all over spectacular.  This was one of those dishes that as each of the 4 of us split it, I silently wished I were selfish enough to just pick up the entire dish and run down the street with it in hand just to make sure I got to eat every last morsel. (I didn’t… I could not deprive my friends and husband of such awesomeness)


And then… out came the duck



With 3 dipping sauces.


And you think I remember what they were? HA!  Though I kept going back to the more classic hoisin.


And an incredible picture of the pancakes.


And lest we forget about the duck consomme shot!  We started with this as a palette cleanser, of sorts, to get us ready for the big duck adventure that awaited us.


And then we dug in.  Each component of the dish was perfect, with the addition of crispy leaks and some lovely pearl onions to add to the classic other components.


For our side, we went with soft and crunch vegetable fried rice.  It had goji berries on top!  A really, really great side that went quite well with the duck.


And as if that was not enough, we still had 2 main entrees to go!


First, lobster with wide rice noodles ($10 supplement).   This was very delicious, however, it was covered in sauce which made for the most impossible shelling of the lobster.  We were at a communal table and I was really expecting to launch my lobster claw across the table in an effort to get out every morsel.


And our last dish of the evening, the marinated and grilled Creekstone rib steak ($10 supplement).  Another amazing fete in beefery.  This melted in my mouth.  Not QUITE as good as the appetizer steak, but still an excellent execution of an excellent dish.


I was really impressed with our meal at Decoy.  I felt like we absolutely got our money’s worth (even with those supplements and even with the increased cost on the new menu) and it was a great, fun meal to share with 3 other food lovers.  I think I may just need to take a trip back to get my hands on that steak appetizer again though.

Total Nom Points: 8.5 out of 10

nomscale- 08.5


Surprise Birthday Dinner 2014: Sushi Nakazawa

4 Sep

For all our couple holidays (birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentine’s Day), we trade off booking a surprise dinner to celebrate.  Over the past few years, Mike has surprised me with meals at Brooklyn Fare (amazing), Jean Georges (disappointing), Daniel (very good), Le Bernardin (great), and (our now #3 restaurant of all time and #2 in NYC) WD-50.

This year, we walked around the corner and we were standing in front of Sushi Nakazawa.


There is a documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, that follows the story of Jiro Ono, who is an 85-year-old sushi chef in Japan who is considered one of the world’s greatest.  His sushi restaurant is, curiously, in a subway station and yet it has a 3-star Michelin rating.  The documentary is amazing and it’s incredible to watch the detail that goes into that restaurant.  In the documentary, Daisuke Nakazawa is an apprentice who makes Jiro’s famous egg custard (the signature dish) for months and months to get it right.  They mention that most apprenticeships last 10 years. I had been hearing about this documentary, and the amazing restaurant that Chef Nakazawa opened this past June, for a long time. Just a few days prior to my birthday, I was also reading that the restaurant was nominated as one of the best new restaurants of the year by Bon Appetit.

The restaurant is clean and elegant with a beautiful sushi counter.  I was jealous of those that were able to sit and watch these magicians at work. (Sadly, this was another place with not enough light for photos to be as elegant as they actually looked, so please forgive the so-so photos).


We were set up with house-pickled ginger and a finger pinch cleaner.


What followed were 20 courses, plated two or three at a time, of some of the absolute best fish I have ever had.  Most pieces were just very, very good, while some were so stand-out and so unique that I just had to pause and take a moment of respect for just how damn good it was.

Our first plate had one of those.

Pink Salmon (right) and Smoked Chinook Salmon (left). That smoked salmon was absolutely incredible.  Full of flavor and it just popped in my mouth.  I was so incredibly impressed and I knew we were in for a wild ride if this was bite #2!


Then Sea Scallop (right) and Giant Glam (left). Both great.


Then Blue Emperor Fish (right) and Summer Flounder (left).


The pictures get a little confused, I’ll just lit the next few with our highlights:

Butterfish (OH that butterfish was good! )
Horse Mackerel
Aged Japanese Mackerel
Spearhead Squid


Then Amber Shrimp (closest) and Golden Striped Yellowtail (further away).  This shrimp tasted like lobster. I didn’t know that was possible. It was unbelievably good.


My list then says we had Smoked Japanese Bonito, which, like the other smoked dish, was amazing.  Sadly, I have 3 fish in this next picture, which makes me think that this photo belongs above. At this point, however, it’s all pretty much looking the same to you, dear readers, so just go with it? (thanks)


We were then served a fun selection of tuna. From right to left: Lean Bluefin Tuna, Soy Marinated Lean Bluefin Tuna, and Fatty Bluefin Tuna.  I had trouble deciding which one I liked most, but I think the fatty one won in the end.


And then… it happened.  On the right, Sea Urchin Santa Barbara (which had truffle on it) and Soy Marinated King Salmon Roe.


That sea urchin… WOW.  I will be chasing that Uni dragon for the rest of my life.  I usually could take or leave it, but this was out of this world.  I was blown away.


Then sea eel (right) and Nakazawa’s version of the infamous egg omelette (left).




We then stopped to take an annual birthday photo before deciding on just one more bite…


It was back to the uni. This was a slightly different version, and not quite as good, but still incredible.


Then we ended with a very nice birthday treat of shiso leaf sorbet with raspberries.  A lovely final touch.


This meal seems so simple, yet it was so incredibly good.  I have had a number of great omikase meals, but this one was absolutely special.  The smoked salmon, the butterfish, the amber shrimp, the smoked bonito, and then that uni… wow.  All of those packed such an amazing amount of flavor and originality that they really soared this meal to a whole different planet.

More please.

Total Nom Points: 8.5 out of 10

nomscale- 08.5