Restaurant Review: Prince Noodle and Cafe

Details: Located at 4009 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354. I couldn’t find an official site so here’s the Yelp page: https://www.yelp.com/biz/prince-noodle-and-cafe-queens

A friend recommended I try this place and it was exactly what I thought it was going to be. It was fine.

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Restaurant Review: Sakagura

Details: Located at 211 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017. The official site is http://www.sakagura.com/

I’ve never walked out of a tapas place completely satisfied. Not European tapas, American tapas, Asian tapas, or any kind of tapas. It’s mostly because tapas — at least in New York City — generally cost a lot of money for a little bit of food. I always walk out of tapas restaurants with an empty wallet and mostly empty stomach. The same was true of Sakagura.

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Restaurant Review: Taipan Bakery

Details: Two locations in Flushing and in Chinatown. The official site is http://www.taipanbakery.com/

Taipan Bakery is a Taiwanese bakery that’s been around a very long time. There used to be more locations, but there are only two now.

You can get a variety of things here. There are the many  breads and pastries, such as egg tarts, hot dog buns, shredded pork and mayo bun, corn bun, etc. There are too many to name. You can also get coffee or tea. They also do cakes, which I haven’t had for while so I can’t speak as to their quality.

Breads range from around a dollar to a few dollars. Usually, I get a Danish hot dog bun, a curry beef pie, and a corn bun with a hot milk tea. The one thing that this place has that other Taiwanese bakeries don’t have (I’m looking at you Fay Da) is the Danish hot dog bun. It’s just a hot dog bun wrapped in a croissant instead of the normal squishy bun. I much prefer this type of hot dog bun though. The curry beef pie is simply wrapped in puff pastry. The corn bun has corn and ham mixed with mayo sitting on regular bun.

People… are pretty rude here. They don’t really have a grasp of the concept of queuing or respecting others’ personal space. I’ll leave it at that.

Overall, if you’re looking to try some baked goods from an Asian (or more specifically Taiwanese) bakery, Taipan Bakery is a good choice with some relatively unique options.

Score: 6.2/10

Restaurant Review: Le Parisien

Details: Located at 163 East 33rd St., New York, NY 10016. Official site is http://www.leparisiennyc.com/.

I found this place through a quick internet search for relatively cheap French food (within the $20-$30 range) and I am so glad I did.

Le Parisien is a small, French restaurant in Midtown Manhattan that seeks to replicate the feel of a small French bistro. Although I’ve only been here for dinner, their brunch looks pretty good.

The space is small. Around fifteen seats. However, this only helps add to the feel and ambiance. It’s the perfect blend of casual yet romantic. A perfect date spot and a great place to bring your friends. Service was good, too. Charming staff.

In regards to food, the menu is as small as the space. Around a ten appetizers and ten entrees, with some off menu specials that change periodically. With that said, the food is fantastic.

I’ve been here twice. The first time I ordered the filet mignon carpaccio as an appetizer, followed by the steak tartare (raw beef) as an entree. My friends ordered the rainbow trout almondine and the bistrot steak frites (steak and french fries). My second time I ordered the duck confit.

For my first time eating steak tartare, it actually wasn’t bad. I’m probably never going to order it again. Its just chopped raw beef without that much preparation. Not exactly something to pay money for in my opinion unless something is added.

The filet mignon carpacciao was very good. So was the duck confit, where the only real downside was that after finishing the dish, I wanted even more. My friend said the trout was also very good.

However, the bistrot steak frites was by far the best thing out of all the above. Its cooked in a sauce of wine, thyme and onions which yields an extraordinarily tender, tasty steak. If I go back — and I will — then I will undoubtedly order that.

Score: 8/10 Loved the food. Loved the ambiance. The small menu and small space actually add to the experience instead of detract. Definitely coming back.

As a side note, the steak tartare was no longer on the menu as of my last visit.

Restaurant Review: Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

 

Details: Located at 200 Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn, NY 11201. The food is a combination of French, American, and Asian influences.

After reading an article on how incredibly racist Cesar Ramirez at Chef’s table is toward Chinese people, I thought to offer testimony as to my experience at the restaurant.

For those unfamiliar, Chef’s Table is (at the time I wrote this) one of only a handful of three-starred Michelin restaurants in the United States (there are around ten in the country), one of seven of such restaurants in New York City, and the only one in Brooklyn. The Michelin star is currently the gold standard in restaurant reviews and three stars is the most anyone can get.

Of note is the set up. The restaurant only seats around eighteen people with nine people per serving (Momofuku Ko has a similar set up, but has since lost its three star rating). Reservations are taken at least thirty days in advance (and only on Mondays) unless there are vacancies. The reservation system is somewhat standard for restaurants of this type and cost. Speaking of costs, everything is paid before the meal with total costs being around 300 US dollars (at the time of my meal).

The food is a combination of French haute and Japanese, a fusion. Dishes range from roast squab and truffles to sea urchin and Wagyu beef. They only serve dinner ( and only a couple of servings per  night). Dinner consists of fifteen to twenty relatively small dishes meant to showcase the Chef’s ability. The menu changes periodically depending on what chef Ramirez wants to do.

Now for my experience.

Arrival was fine and the staff was nice. The setting is intimate as you can see the kitchen and all food being prepared. What was disheartening was the rule against note taking and pictures. Afterwards, chef Ramirez would tell us that pictures were banned because of an unfavorable article written about him using a picture. I read somewhere else that note taking was to prevent people stealing his recipes. It sort of felt like being in kindergarten.

The food was very good, and may be the best meal I’ve ever had. Everything was delicious, but a few dishes were especially noteworthy.

The imported uni on toasted brioche with truffle sauce and a slice of truffle on top is something I will never forget. It was my favorite thing on the menu. I could have eaten twenty of those. Maybe more.

The chawanmushi with foie gras was interesting. The soup was almost entirely clarified butter.

The truffle cream risotto was the most comforting dish I’ve ever had.

The shiso sorbet was refreshing.

The wagyu beef… tasted like a very tasty sponge. With citrus.

In regards to who our fellow eaters were, seven out of the nine people on my side of the table were of Asian descent, likely Chinese. Two seemed to be fellow chef friends. Two others were regulars who were on their fifth visit to Chef’s Table. If Chef Ramirez hates the Chinese, he certainly didn’t show it then. He was reserved, but courteous.

Even more surprising, treatment of another class of individual was also  fairly respectful: VEGETARIANS. From what I observed, their food was also delicious (Chef’s Table accommodates vegetarians; don’t know about complete vegans) and they were treated no different from other customers.

Score: 8.8/10 Great meal, but I doubt I will ever return. There are other Michelin starred restaurants to visit.

Edit: Here’s a fast and dirty list of dishes, not in any order. It was written down from memory.

Uni with black truffle on brioche, chawanmushi with foie gras and seafood, oyster with truffle (mushroom gravy), Shiso ice cream, wagyu with daikon, turbo with green pea, koti kashi (rice) with black truffle, two sashimi dishes, two cooked dishes, caviar with cauliflower, lobster (not so good), soba tea ice cream, spiced iced cream with sugar globe, petite fours, and squab.