Thursday, July 24, 2014

Trois Mec

Trois Mec, run by the infamous Ludo Lefebvre, is probably one of the hottest restaurant in Los Angeles / US. It has garnered multiple awards, named as one of the best tasting under $100 and was one of the hottest restaurant in the world. I've wanted to try it for awhile but my schedule just wouldn't work (not to mention that I don't live in LA any more). So I'm pretty excited when I finally made the time and got a reservation here.

Amuse - Buckwheat Popcorn

To start off the night, we were offered some buckwheat popcorn. I like their little crunch and it's a good way to start.

Amuse - Herb Salad Tart with Pistachio and Gravy

Our second amuse is a little salad tart. It's a refreshing little bite, with a well dressed salad to go along with a crunchy skin. 

Amuse - Crispy Tapioca & Parmesan

This is one surprising little cube. The skin of the tapioca is nice and crunchy, while the inside ooze of cheese.

Amuse - "Garlic Bread"

This home made garlic bread is nearly heavenly and was one of my favorite bite of the night. The toast is roasted perfectly, with savory butter and a little herb on top. I can eat a ton of these

Amuse - Mustard Cream Brulee

This is an interesting little bite as the cream brulee is entirely flavored with mustard. Creamy and savory, the custard is nicely cooked. As always, my favorite part of a cream brulee is always the sugar and it was a job well done.

Avocado, Citrus, Crab Ceviche, Buckwheat Popcorn

Our first course is a California style dish. The crab is refreshing and sweet while the avocado add a bit of creaminess to the dish. I like the little extra buckwheat popcorn for the crunch as well.   

Tomato Pulp, Charred Eggplant, Jamon Iberico De Bellota, Smoked Tomato

An interesting take on eating the Ham. I wasn't particularly interested in the tomato as it was a bit blend for me, but it does balance out the ham and charred eggplant, which were quite excellent by itself.

Radish, Burnt Bread, Fromage Blanc, Furikake

I am not a huge radish person but this dish is such an interesting way of eating it. The burnt brioche sauce and the fromage blanc offers a nice earthy and cheesy flavor, which go really well with the radish. 

Confit Squid, White Asparagus, Caper Puree, Mascarpone

The squid is perfectly cooked. It was juicy, flavorful and tasty. Along with the mascarpone and white asparagus, this is definitely one of the better squid preparation I've eaten.

Veal Belly, Crispy Artichoke, Parmesan

This is actually my first time eating a veal belly, so I was pretty excited. The belly itself is juicy and not as fatty compared to a pork belly but offer the same texture. The artichoke offers a nice little crunch to the dish. 

Strawberry Cake, Meringue, Chantilly

Our final course is a nice little strawberry cake. It was light, and mildly sweet. I like the Chantilly as it adds that extra spike to the dish


Overall, I liked my meal here. Alot of original flavors and it wasn't a boring meal. Some dishes definitely stand out more than others (the crab, squid and dessert). Maybe it's just me, I feel that there's a lot of restrain in Ludo's menu. Nevertheless, since Ludo has finally settled down at a restaurant, I'm sure he can go as wild as he wanted if the wind blows the right way.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Grace (2)

It's been awhile since I've visited  Grace. I was there shortly after it was opened. Since then, Grace has been named in multiple awards, including getting two Michelin stars. Hence, a revisit has to take place.

Amuse - Baby Banana, Green Apple Watermelon Radish with Jamon De Verde

We start off the night with a little amuse, the banana is coated with sugar, reminds me of a cream brulee, mildly sweet and appetizing. The Ham is a delicious buttery delicate. I couldn't taste the watermelon/green apple, but the ham itself is great so I didn't mind.

Amuse - Quinoa Chip, Dehydrated Date

The Quinoa chip is delicious with a little cheese flavor. The dehydrated date is like a candy, mildly sweet. All in all, the amuse are a great start to our night.

Atlantic Cod - Osetra Caviar, Lychee, Chive, Mushroom Vinaigrette, Yuzu 

For our first course, we're instructed to open up the lid and lick it. There's a little yuzu puree on the lid to lighten our pallet. The fish is nicely cooked and it's smooth, buttery and sweet. The caviar adds a little brininess to the dish. What's more is the broth that goes with this dish, it's earthly, flavorful and a little smokey. 

Alaskan King Crab - Kalamansi, Cucumber, Lemon Mint, Golden Roe, Thai Chili

For our second course, we are instructed to crack the coated sugar, which holds the roe and Thai chili, and eat it along with the king crab and cucumber juice beneath. The resulting mixture is a combination of alot of flavor. The crab is perfectly cooked and its sweetness is magnified by the refreshing cucumber juice. The combination of roes, chili and cucumber juice make this a nice, yet, refreshing bite.

6-Herb butter and Rosemary Bread

Our first round of bread is a rosemary bread and we were offered a herb butter. These two goes really well with together as they are both quite "herby".

Scallop - Tamarind, smoke, Flavors of Licorice, Coconut cream, "Scallop Chip"

The scallop is superbly cooked as it's sweet, light and flavorful. It goes well with the tamarind, which tastes like the licorice flavor (think black jelly beans). The licorice flavor is quite strong and not very attractive by itself. However, it goes well with the creamy coconut. The coconut is sweet, milky, creamy and carries a nice dose of coconut flavor. There's also a scallop chip, which is actually the skin of the scallop and it's quite tasty.

Fennel Seed French Rolls

Lamb - Artichoke, Smoked Paprika, Frisee, White Anchovy 

The lamb is juicy, flavorful and carries a bit of the gaminess from the lamb. The anchovy is a nice little addition it adds a little crunch and carries a bit of brininess. The artichoke is fun to eat as it's crunchy but not necessary for this dish. My only complain to this dish is that there's too much going on and my brain is getting confused by all the different element. 

Another bread we were offered

Sweetbreads - Ten Grains, Caperberry, Sage, Veal sauce

The sweet bread is smooth, flavorful and tender. I like the veal sauce here as it's a little hearty and goes really well with the grains. The fun part is all the crunchiness that comes with the grain combined with the mushiness of the sweetbreads turns into a hearty, flavorful, fun bite.

Miyazaki Beef - Romaine, Peanut, Vietnamese Herbs, Rice Puff, Tom Yum soup

There's two ways of eating the wagyu beef, pan seared and sashimi style. The wagyu sashimi is flavorful and buttery, which goes really well with the crunchy rice crispy. The pan seared wagyu beef is also flavorful and buttery, in more of a cooked beef way. The Tom Yum soup is actually all flavor and no heat, which I like as it can be very spicy. It's got a nice lemon grass kick to the soup, which provide a nice round up for this dish.  

Whole Wheat Waffle with Wagyu Beef Fat butter

Passionfruit - Pomelo, Prune, Lavender cake, Grapefruit, Cocoa Butter

Our first dessert course & pallet cleanser comes with alot of fruit. We were instructed to crack the sphere in the center to let the juice runs through the dish. The juice is actually a prune juice, which is quite citrusy and strong, but goes really well with the grapefruit. My favorite part is the combination of the juice, grapefruit and a bit of the cocoa butter. It's sweet, refreshing and light. 

Rhubarb - Red wine, Cream Cheese, Lemon Verbena, Lime Ice

Our second dessert course is a play of a deconstructed cheese cake. The lime ice is a bit refreshing, while the cream cheese ice cream and the lemon cake offers a nice textural bite. When everything is eaten together, it really reminds me of a nice cheese cake though it's a much lighter and "cleaner" version than the original.

Chocolate - Huckleberry, Whisky, Bergamot, Chocolate Cake, Sunflower Seeds

The Chocolate shell actually holds all the bourbon cream, which is smooth but quite strong. It reminds me of  whisky infused chocolate. The chocolate cake is light and dense, which goes well with the bourbon cream. I do like the chocolate as it's not too sweet.


A little sweets to end our dinner.

My trip this time to Grace is definitely interesting. Chef Curtis Duffy's dishes definitely has progressed. Dishes are more creative and, at times, aggressive. I do like alot of the flavor combination here, such as the Cod, King Crab, Sweetbread and the Beef. They're quite original and fun to eat. However, I have to say, at times, my pallet is being too worked up because there's too many component in each dish. It's fun to have so many different flavor, but at times, it overwhelms me. I would've preferred less components and just really focus on specific flavor. All in all, I enjoyed my visit and will look forward in coming back in the future.

Friday, May 16, 2014

42 Grams (2)

It's abnormal for me to return to the same restaurant in such a short time when it comes to pre-fixed menu. However, a friend of mine organized a dinner. So I decided to go again.

Since the first time I visited 42 Grams, there has been a few positive reviews. Hence, my return is totally justified (aside the fact that I really enjoyed the food last time).

Just a little background: 42 Grams was originally started as an underground dinner as Sous Rising with Jake Bickelhaupt after his time with Schwa and Alinea and Charlie Trotter.

Crispy Snacks - Vidalia Onion Parchment, Fish-n-Chips, Flax Crisp & Kale dust

We begin the night with a few crunchy snack. The onion chip is packed with the sweet onion flavor. The Fish-n-Chips is extraordinary as it brings in the nice salmon skin flavor, while the Flax Crisp brings in the simple nutty flavor. 

Juniper Jump - Hendricks Gin, Cucumber, Lime, Rosewater, Hibiscus, Orchid

One of my favorites from my last visit. The sweetness from the Hendrick's Gin cube, the floral Rosewater snow and the Lime cube turn this into a fine, sweet and floral "cocktail". In addition, the hibiscus flavor lingers after consumption, giving you a nice floral breath.

Soup - Osetra Caviar, Fingerling Potato, Tomato, Chips, Green Pea, Milk, Pollen

Another favorite from my last trip here. This "cheesy" potato soup delivers the creaminess and flavor that you would crave for more. The simple greens is a great addition to the soup as it balance out the saltiness from the soup. My favorite is the tomato chips, it's exquisitely flavorful and tasty while retaining a hint of tomato flavor.

Salad - Beetroot Macaroon, Shallot, Quail Yolk, Fromage Blanc, Lettuce & Herbs

The fromage cheese puree provides a nice "dressing" for the lettuce, along with the beet flavored Macaroon, turned this dish into a refreshing salad after the soup. The quail yolk is always fun to have as you can pop it in your mouth like a cherry tomato.

Coconut - Tom Yum, Lime, Cilantro

Another one of my favorite from my last trip. This deconstructed Coconut Tom Yum bite makes you think of a tom yum, with all the coconut flavor.

Flavors of the Sea - Scallop, Razor Clam, Shellfish Broth Foam, Phytoplankton, Trout Roe, Sea Grape, Oyster Leaf

This course is a tribute to Charlie Trotter. The scallop and Clam were both cooked perfectly. I especially liked the scallop as it exude the scallop's sweetness. The trout roe adds in a nice poppy crunch to the dish while the oyster leaf adds in the brininess. The combination of all of these ingredients turn this dish into a symphony of the sea.

Peekytoe Crab - Avocado, Tomatillo, Tequila, Jicama, Tostada, Osyter Blossom

The crab is sweet, tasty and quite "meaty" and meshed really well with the avocado. Yet, the broth is the essence of this dish. It's clean, flavorful and packed quite a punch. Maybe it's just me, but this dish reminds me of a really flavorful but clean fish taco, but far more tasty. 

Veal Sweetbread - Creme Fraiche Horseradish, Pomegranate, Oxalis, Dried Green Apple

The sweetbread is flavorful, tender and "buttery". I also tasted a hint of peanut in the sweetbread. The pomegranate and green apple provides a nice balance with the heaviness from the sweetbread.

4 ways Duck - Duck Breast, Duck Tongue, Crumble Duck Skin, Duck Juice, Umeboshi, Long Bean, Ash-Baked Eggplant, Red Shiso foam

I mentioned that I didn't enjoy the duck last time, however, the duck this time is perfectly cooked. Flavorful and succulent, the duck breast is cooked to perfection. I also enjoyed the duck skin powder as you can really taste the crispy skin while the duck tongue offers a nice crunchy bite. The bean is also quite flavorful along with the egg plant, which offers a nice contrast to the meaty and "heavier" duck.

Hudson Valley Foie Gras - Pear, Cipollini Onion, Daikon, Mustard, Blis Elixer

The seared foie is creamy, butter and flavorful. It's richness is nicely balanced by the pear puree and the cooked pear. The addition of onion adds in a mild sweetness, which elevate this dish to a creamy blitz.  

Tart - Rhubarb, White Chocolate, Cherry Chief Blossom

This is a fun little bite before our dessert. It pops in your mouth as a mildly sweet "cream" with clean rhubarb flavor. I especially like the white chocolate shell though, as it's not too sweet. 

Sweets - House-made Root Beer, Bourbon Maple, Galangal cake, Buble Gum Hyssop

Our dessert is a home made "root beer" float. The root beer "skin" offers a nice root beer flavor and meshed really well with the bourbon maple ice cream. The ice cream offers a nice maple syrup sweetness while not drowning out the root beer flavor. The Galangal cake is a bit gingery but mildly sweet, which goes well with the entire dish as it offers a substance to bite. I have to say, I do want another serving of this, or two.

Salty - Pecorino Cheese 3 ways - Crisp, Foam and Fondue

A nice little bite to wrap up the evening is a home made style "Cheetos". The crisp is made with the cheese eaten with cheesy foam and fondue. The saltiness and cheesiness from the crisp make this a nice little bite. 

Caffinee - Sparrow's 42 grams Blend, Cardamom cream

To wrap up our evening, we have a coffee moose made with Sparrow's coffee. It's airy, creamy but light. I like the hazelnut and cardamom spice as it gives off the nutty, earthy flavor.

During this visit of 42 grams, I can really taste Jake's improvement on all his dishes. His dishes are more refined while keeping the playfulness of the dishes. Also, the timing of dishes has also become better, at times I have to eat faster to accommodate picture taking and eating. I did worry before the dinner because there wasn't that much gap between my last dinner but I'm glad I did come back. I have to say, 42 Grams can marvel at the Chicago food scene, with ease.