Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Wokuni: Great Value Splurge Lunch (food)

It's hard to call a lunch that costs $31 ($24+t/t) a great value, so I'll classify it as a "splurge" lunch. But the Wokuni-don at Wokuni is definitely a great value for the quality and quantity of ingredients you get. It is also not prohibitively expensive, which would be the case for say, the $150 omakase lunch at Sushi Ginza Onodera (At some point I'll give that a try and write about it).

The lunch sets at Wokuni tend to come with a fresh, crisp salad and some edamame.

The Wokuni-don also comes with miso soup and a nice thick yet fluffy piece of dashimaki (rolled omelette).

A close up of the Wokuni-don. Two large, freshly fried shrimp tempura. A slice of eggplant tempura hidden behind the shrimp. Three slices of yellowtail sashimi. Three slices each of two kinds of white-fleshed fish, which change each day based on what's fresh. The suzuki I had that day was especially good, with a nice firm, crisp texture. Three slices of salmon wrapped into a rose around some ikura. A very tasty slightly spicy salmon tartare. A few small dices of bright red tuna. A couple small slices of tamago. All over a bed of delicious rice.

I've been to Wokuni twice for lunch, and the quality of the fish makes me interested in going back for dinner. Their main selling point is that their prices are reasonable because they own the fish farm in Japan that supplies the restaurant with fresh fish flown in frequently.

As for the Wokuni-don itself, there are only a limited number of servings of the Wokuni-don each day. But basically, if you arrive before 12:30, you should be able to get it unless some large group came in earlier that day with everyone ordering it. However, even if you miss the Wokuni-don, the kaisen-don ($18+t/t) is also wonderful, with many slices of sashimi, including tuna, yellowtail, and salmon, along with ikura and the spicy salmon tartare over rice. The restaurant itself is a nice modern izakaya with a classy feel to it yet quite comfortable.

327 Lexington Avenue (39th Street)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Borgata in Atlantic City (gambling, entertainment)

I haven't been to Atlantic City in years, but since I've been going to casinos more frequently these days, decided to give it a chance as they're comping me rooms during the summer. Went for a quick one night stay with a friend.

The nice view from the 43rd (top) floor

The view from our room on the top floor was about the only thing I liked about my visit. And it wasn't even that I'm pissed that I lost money or something like that, I was actually up slightly for the trip.

One of my main complaints is that I just don't like all the little charges here and there. I don't know if this has always been a Borgata thing, or if it's basically just an MGM thing that happens at all their properties. Let's start from the beginning. Parking is not free. At least I have a comp for free parking. I get to my room and I see that the wifi password was written on my room number packet. I'm about to sign on when I decide, "let me just look through the terms of service". There it is, wifi charge. Screw that. I'm barely in the room, not paying for wifi. Then when I check out, it turns out that my room comp does not cover resort fees. So I use my express comps to pay for it. Honestly all of this is bullshit. I've been getting comped to nearby casinos all summer, and NONE of them have charged for parking, wifi, or resorts fees (although this last one may be a NJ thing).

Well, if the casino is a good time, a few extra charges here and there isn't a deal breaker. Except the casino wasn't great either. First of all, the place is big, not well-organized, and not well-labeled. I spent a lot of time getting lost and just walking. The seats felt old and even where there wasn't any smoking that stench was still hanging around. One thing I found really annoying was that I couldn't even play one hand without them taking my player's card and logging it. All I wanted to do was play one hand and use up my match play before dinner, and it ended up taking like 5 minutes.

This whole bigger, older, and slower thing was evident in the poker room too. The poker room is huge, but with primarily open seating, felt a bit chaotic. The tables and chairs felt old and worn, while none of the USB chargers I tried at my table worked. There is no rake here, players pay for time. While to a lot of players that sounds great, what happens is there is no incentive on the casino's end to speed up the pace of the game. I was there for probably 7 hours and in that entire time there was only one dealer who dealt at a speed equivalent to the other casino poker rooms I've played at the past couple of months. Sure, I probably paid less in time than I would have in rake, but not getting as many hands in makes the game a lot less enjoyable (and profitable).

The sports/racebook was super crowded, practically standing room only as all the main sitting areas (with personal TVs) were filled with old men and their daily racing forms. It's clearly designed (the way it looked that day anyway) as a racebook and I can't imagine it being a good place to watch big sporting events. Although if you're a horse racing degen who's betting 10 races per track across 5 tracks it's probably a really good time.

Again, a large part of my dissatisfaction is probably just personal preference. I view gambling as an entertainment/service industry and I feel smaller, more local businesses are better at that. I'm not thrilled with MGM buying more and more properties and their corporate nature, although they do send me plenty of comp offers now and then.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

What Have I Been Up To? (rambling)

Hello to anyone who still visits this blog or stumbled onto this blog!

Noticed that I haven't made a post in over a year, so let's do a quick catch up. I hope to get back into writing a bit more, but I don't eat out as much as I used to, and those food posts really were the main driver of the blog.

I've cycled through a few hobbies over the last 5 years.

At one point I was watching every new season of anime (averaging 6+ shows per season, 4 seasons a year), but I've cut down to about 2-3 per season now. This season I'm watching Hinamatsuri (I started with the manga, it's fantastic) and Uma Musume (I'm really not into idol shows or [insert fetish/animal] girls, but I have fond memories of the racehorses named, and PA Works has managed to turn a throwaway game adaptation into a decent anime)

In 2015 I discovered the fighting game community, and have been watching the majors regularly on Twitch. The scene is getting more and more exposure, with the last two EVO main events being broadcast on ESPN2. A huge tournament (Combo Breaker) just passed, and there's two more major events in the near future (CEO in July and EVO in August) that I'm looking forward to watching. I'm just a stream monster and don't actually play the games, and currently I enjoy watching King of Fighters, NRS games (Mortal Kombat and Injustice), DragonBallFighterZ, and occasionally some Street Fighter V.

I no longer work in Manhattan, so I find myself less often in the city. This has also meant that I've eaten out less, but I do plan on picking that back up a bit, especially for nice fine dining restaurants, and maybe that will get me more motivated to post reviews again. In fact, there will be a food post on Le Coq Rico accompanying this post!

I've also gotten back into watching wrestling (WWE). I grew up watching it, although I was never a huge fan. I remember watching it in college during the height of the attitude era. But I find the product much more compelling now, especially the in-ring product. While it's not a competitive sport, the athleticism on display is often astounding, and much more entertaining than watching Stephen Curry jack threes. I'm a WWE Network subscriber and watch every PayPerView now. They also have some decent original programming.

I still play very little bridge, although I've been getting a bit of an itch to get back into it more. It's difficult since you still have to find a good partner. However, more recently I have been getting back into playing poker. I was always an online player back in the day, but I've recently found live poker cash games (low stakes, no pressure) to be quite enjoyable. Between playing poker and the occasional stint at the table games, a few of the local casinos have been sending me comped room offers, so I expect to be playing even more in the near future.

Speaking of comps, I was invited to the VIP Grand Opening of Resorts World Catskills. They threw a welcome party and had Jerry Seinfeld as their opening weekend headliner. Here are some pics from the welcome party

They even had celebrities, and apparently I missed Neil Patrick Harris. But I did catch LT and Phil Simms telling gambling stories while smoking cigars out on the balcony, so that was cool. Jerry Seinfeld was enjoyable. I really liked his opening act, Mario Joyner. Jerry mixed in some old guy curmudgeonly complaining in with observational stuff, all in that whiny voice of his. His energy was really good. Overall a good show and the place was packed. In the end, Jerry Seinfeld will always be a New York legend and fans still flock to him.

I've Been to Le Coq Rico A Few Times (food)

I don't eat out much in the city any more, but the last few times that I have done so have been at Le Coq Rico. It's a very nice fine-dining lite restaurant that costs a good amount more than your typical NYC neighborhood French restaurant, but a bit less than a restaurant like the NoMad (which I need to revisit although there's less of a draw now that James Kent has left the kitchen). The owner/chef Antoine Westermann is a former 3 Michelin Star holder who gave back his stars, did some consulting, then opened Le Coq Rico in Paris focusing on quality poultry. It's been 2 years since he opened the NYC branch of this wonderful restaurant. Everything I've had has been very good, though some dishes are better than others. Highly recommended. Here are some dishes from multiple visits.

A beautiful mix of warm salad, cold leeks, a nice Hollandaise sauce, and some (not overpowering) acidity from the vinaigrette. Simple yet tasty starter.

Probably the best value on the menu, with two of everything so you can share. I love offal and giblets so this was perfect for me.

Probably my favorite thing on the menu, a phenomenal dish that is classic French cooking at its core. Tender, flavorful squab meat accompanied by some force meat, foie gras, wrapped in cabbage and cooked in pastry. Absolutely rich and delicious.

If you're questioning whether one chicken will feed 4, please note that the restaurant focuses on older birds and their chickens probably average near 7lbs. This was a nice dish and very homey. However, I don't think it's special enough that I would order it again at the price.

Very delicious duck. The only thing that's missing for me is crispy skin. I prefer duck skin that's crispy to the point of being lacquered, and this didn't have that. But it's not a deal breaker since the meat had great flavor.

Another signature of the restaurant, and another French classic. Here the meringue is one huge fluffy ball that's extremely light and airy, surrounded by a rich creme anglaise and dotted with candied almonds for crunch. I've gotten it every visit and it wows.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare is No Longer in Brooklyn (food)

Without too much fanfare, the Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare, the only three Michelin star restaurant in Brooklyn, moved to Manhattan earlier this year. Along with the move, the dining room has been upgraded and there are now several tables (2-tops and 4-tops) in addition to the main chef's table. This was the perfect opportunity for my friend and mentor, who's eaten at more 3 Michelin star restaurants than I can name, to finish his list of 3 Michelin star restaurants in NYC now that he doesn't have to endure sitting on barstools for the duration of the meal.

The Chef's Table does not have it's own private entrance. You have to walk through the Brooklyn Fare market to get to the restaurant. But when you do get there, the elegant wood-accented dining room is lovely and inviting. The chef's table is no longer a semicircular metal counter, but a large rectangular bar. However, you can still get the feel of the old Brooklyn Fare as chef Cesar Ramirez brought over his row of copper pots and pans hanging over his kitchen. I highly recommend sitting at a table. Chef Ramirez goes to each of the tables throughout the night to shake hands and introduce himself, and the room is cozy enough that you don't feel like you're missing out on any of the action in the open kitchen.

Comfort and Service
One of the most important things to know is that there are no substitutions. If there are any dietary restrictions such as allergies, they will remove the offending item from the dish, but they will not make a different dish to replace it. The bathroom is also in the Brooklyn Fare market, and going there involves having one of the employees accompany you with the bathroom key. I did not experience this myself, but one of my dining companions said that it felt awkward and uncomfortable. On the bright side, the banquettes at the table were pretty comfortable and service was good. The sommeliers did a good job, and the wine list (I'd been told) had enough reasonable selections to not feel like you were getting gouged (ahem::Per Se::ahem).


A wonderful start to the meal, with a smokiness and saltiness that whets the appetite while the fish itself comes through in the creamy finish.

Just as good as when I had it three years ago. A wonderful combination of earth and sea without any component overpowering the others.

This was cooked so perfectly I dare say it was cooked better than any langoustine I've had at Le Bernardin (and I've had quite a few). This was also the first of a few dishes where the plates were very warm to the touch, which probably helped the dish to maintain at the chef's desired temperature.

I don't quite know what fish this was, but it was extremely meaty and satisfying and not what I would typically associate as fluke. What I really appreciated about this dish was that the fish was cooked through to take advantage of that meatiness. The crispy kelp strands added a nice texture component, and is a technique that I remember was on quite a few dishes during that meal 3 years ago.

Buri is essentially a large yellowtail. In contrast to the previous dish, this was much less cooked, almost as if done in a shabu shabu manner. This preparation suited the fish well, although the ginger and sansho pepper felt a bit more muted than I would have expected.

I've read a few different translations for akamutsu, although the most consistent seems to be black throat sea perch. The sauce underneath was probably an emulsion of some sort, and the creaminess was nice with the fish. However, this was probably the least remarkable of the dishes that night.

For this dish, chef Cesar himself came to the table to finish the plating by scooping out large amounts of caviar.

I believe the potatoes were of the Carola variety, and a great vehicle for the caviar. What really stood out to me was the delicious sour cream. I feel like it's one of those food items where people often don't realize how much better freshly prepared versions are from the generic versions they buy in a supermarket, like real hot fudge sauce or schlag.

I thought this was the best and most interesting dish of the night in terms of a composed dish of balanced flavor combinations. The crab was sweet, but not overpoweringly so where other items were just accents to the crab. There was nice contrast with the apple which provided a slight tartness and crisp texture. Rounding it all out was a wonderfully subdued shiso emulsion that gave it an earthy tone and lingering taste on the tongue, matching well with the warm temperature at which the dish was served. The emulsion reminded me of the chive oil in Eleven Madison Park's sturgeon sabayon.

This was actually pretty good, except that it didn't really work for me on a personal (completely subjective) level. As someone who grew up eating a good amount of abalone in Chinese cooking, I prefer abalone that is tender but still with bite. Al dente, if you will. This abalone was too tender, and had almost no give. The abalone liver flavor was very strong, which while I can appreciate, is also not the flavor from the abalone that the Chinese prefer to highlight. The foie gras rice with dashi froth was magnificent though.

While I love Kinmedai, also known as alfonsino golden eye snapper, my favorite preparation will always be seared as sushi at 15 East before the chef left. I think that kind of semi-raw preparation is best for this fish, and I'm still not quite sure why this dish was served after the strongly flavored abalone foie gras rice.

Simple and delicious, truly highlighting the fine quality of the ingredients. What I appreciated most was that this was beautifully cooked to start bringing out the flavor of the melting fat, whereas I've had Miyazaki wagyu at other places where they just did a mindless sear and left the rest practically raw.

At first I found it interesting that the duck came after the beef, but it all made sense as the sauce was much richer here. Despite just a tiny sliver of skin on the slice of duck, it managed to still be crispy which was quite a feat.

Nice simple palate cleanser.

This was quite good, with the buckwheat flavor coming through nicely. However, in comparison to other similar Japanese fusion desserts I've had, this didn't stand out.

The highest praise I can give is that this really, really worked. It's not even about the flavor, which was great as I love almonds and the puffed almonds were delicious. It was that the flash frozen souffle worked beautifully in both temperature and texture to close the meal. After a long meal such as this, a frozen dessert that was denser that this light souffle would have been too much, while a more traditional souffle served warm would have dulled the senses at the very end. Ingenious conclusion to a wonderful meal.

A couple petit fours, nothing crazy fancy.


I expected no less than phenomenal food given my last visit over three years ago. The overall experience was significantly better, and my main takeaway from this meal is "refinement". The dishes have been refined over the years and form a purposeful menu from start to finish. The dining room, the tables, and other FOH additions also solidify it as a grand restaurant experience, not just a chef's counter where you are at the whim of the chef's experiments. There are still some kinks to be worked out, but I have no doubt that with this move and the overall growth that this restaurant has experienced and will continue to go through, it will not only maintain its 3 Michelin Stars easily, but will also start climbing the World's 50 Best list where it was ranked 81st in 2016.

While Brooklyn Fare does not have or give out menus at the end of the meal, the fact that photos and notes are now allowed means that I can make and print my own menu cards for myself. The full sized version of this is here at

Monday, February 6, 2017

Of Course It Went to OT: What Happened to the Superbowl at the Turn of the Millennium? (sport, gambling)

There's really not much point to studying stats and trends with very few data points. But when it comes to the NFL and the Superbowl, it's fun to think about. Here were some stats I was looking at before tonight's amazing game.

Did you know that before the 21st Century, favorites covered 23 of 34 (68%) Superbowls while favorites have only covered 4 of 15 (27%) Superbowls since the turn of the millennium? Superbowl XXXIV played in the year 2000 was a push and Superbowl XLIX in 2015 was a pick'em.

What about the fact that in the 2000's, of the 7 times a regular season MVP played in the Superbowl, none of them won or even covered the spread? The list includes Cam Newton, Peyton Manning (x2), Tom Brady, Shaun Alexander, Rich Gannon, Marshall Faulk/Kurt Warner depending on AP or PFWA. Before 2000? AP MVPs covered 9 of 16 times.

Between the underdog trend and the 0-for MVP trend, of course it went to OT.

Obviously, choosing 2000 as the divide is also completely random. But it's interesting to wonder if something actually changed in the league, considering the 2001 Superbowl was the first Brady Belichick Superbowl as well as the biggest upset in Superbowl history.

In the end, I took the Pats. The idea that regular season MVPs are 0-8 against the spread in the Superbowl amused me.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Significant Implication of Belichick's 4th Down Call (sport)

Over the years, Bill Belichick has gone for many 4th downs with the game on the line, so it isn't that big a surprise that there hasn't been a ton of media coverage about his call to go for it on 4th and 1 with 6 minutes to go in the game. It wasn't a clear cut decision by any means, and there were certainly plenty of arguments both in support of and against his decision. In fact, I'm pretty sure that both Andy Reid and Mike McCarthy would have kicked the field goal in that same situation, given their play-calling history. But I do think the decision itself has a pretty significant implication that's hasn't been broadly discussed.

Down 8 points with 6 minutes to go in the game, the Patriots had 4th and 1 at the Denver 16 yard line. I'm sure there are plenty of people who, probably in hindsight, thought that it was a terrible decision to go for it, so let's look at the reasons to kick the field goal. First of all, even with a touchdown, the Patriots would still need a 2 point conversion just to tie the game. A field goal would remove the need for a 2 point conversion if the Patriots scored a subsequent touchdown after stopping Denver. Secondly, the Patriots defense had been doing a very good job stopping Denver, having only given up one field goal in the second half up to that point. While it was unlikely the Patriots would be able to march down the field two more times (as actually happened) for two more field goals to win the game, it was certainly not unlikely for them to get the ball back with the chance to win it with a touchdown.

So why didn't they kick the field goal? Well, the Denver defense had been smothering them all game, and their receiving corps was looking a little banged up. Let's assume that they stop Denver after kicking the field goal. Where would they start the next drive? Best guess for average field position would probably be around their own 30 yard line. Given how hard it had been to score against the Denver defense up to that point, was it really more likely that they could orchestrate a 70 yard touchdown drive versus making a 4th and 1 while already in the red zone? In terms of playing to one's strengths, New England was one of the 5 best teams in the league at red zone conversion rate this season. And even if they missed the two point conversion, one of their other strengths was Gostkowski's leg as he was 4-5 from 50+ during the season, including a long of 57.

I also want to point out that I found it hilarious that Phil Simms, one of the absolute worst and most conservative NFL analysts on TV, agreed with the decision to go for it. I firmly believe that had it been a different coach and not Belichick making the decision, Simms would have mentioned how he would have chosen to kick the field goal instead.

So what is this "significant implication" that I'm getting at? Well, I truly believe that Belichick's decision to go for it was based on not believing they could march down the field again and score a touchdown if they kicked the field goal there. Yes, they were clearly not at full health and Denver's defense was spectacular, but this would mark the FIRST time in the Belichick/Brady era that he doubted his OFFENSE. Think about all those other 4th downs they've attempted over the years. It was usually because he was confident in his offense converting for a first down, or because he was not confident enough in his defense that he could afford to give the ball to the other team. I think this speaks volumes regarding the end of the Patriots dynasty, even with Brady still on contract through the 2017 season.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Quick Trip To Boston (food, travel)

Wanted to highlight a few things from a quick one day trip to Boston a couple of weeks back.

First, I booked my hotel through Hotwire. For $210 total (including all taxes and fees) for a Thursday night in early November, I ended up at the Westin Copley Place. This was quite a deal for any upscale hotel, but even more so when you consider the Westin's prime Back Bay location, connected to the Copley Square Mall and steps from Newbury Street.

I also ended up in a room that was easily large enough to sleep 4+ people, and included a large sofa as well as a full dining table.

Not only was the room super spacious, check out the tremendous view from the two windows!

Next was a quick lunch, as I reminisced about where I used to work a decade ago. There are now 4 Al's across greater Boston, but nothing has changed in the 10 years since I last went to the one on State Street, except for an increase in prices. The subs are still big and delicious, with my go-to being chicken salad with lettuce, tomato, and hots. The sub pictured cost $9 + tax.

Finally, it was time to try a New England classic.
One of the most popular raw bar/restaurants in Boston, this 40-seat eatery had me wait half an hour for one seat at 3:45pm in the afternoon! But it was definitely worth the wait as I got my hands on both versions of their lobster roll. While the first bite of the buttery hot lobster roll was amazing, I actually preferred the cold prep, as it felt less dense and heavy by the end of the meal. This is quite important considering each lobster roll ($29+t/t) had a full 7 ounces of meat and comes with a large mound of fries!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Breeders' Cup 2015 (horseracing, sport, gambling)

Did you know the Breeders' Cup was happening this weekend?

I didn't, until I came across a brief mention of it on one of the sports forums that I read.

After all, American Pharoah turned out to not be the superhorse the media hyped him up to be, and so the mainstream media is off to chase whatever other fad might get them pageviews and clicks. Which is a bit of a shame since the field for this year's Classic is actually relatively weak, and could easily have served as a great coronation for American Pharoah. Regardless, American Pharoah will probably still dominate whatever media coverage remains, even though he shouldn't.

For what will probably be the same price payout, any money you want to bet on American Pharoah to win should be spent on Golden Horn. If American Pharoah were to win the Breeders' Cup Classic and Golden Horn were to have retired after the L'Arc de Triomphe, Golden Horn would still have my vote for horse of the year. That's how much this horse has accomplished this year. After winning the Epsom Derby in June, Golden Horn has taken on Group One horses of all ages, unlike American Pharoah who has yet to run against older horses. Like American Pharoah, Golden Horn also suffered an upset defeat in August. But since then, the horse has already won two more Group One races, including what is arguably Europe's biggest weight-for-age race in the L'Arc de Triomphe.

Of course there are risks. This will be his 8th race of the year, and the last time an Arc winner came to run in the Breeders' Cup, Dylan Thomas disappointed. But given that both American Pharoah and Golden Horn will be heavy odds-on favorites, I'd rather have my money on the truly proven champion.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Eleven Madison Park: Late Summer 2015 Tasting Menu (food)

I write a good amount about Eleven Madison Park. After all, it has been and still is my favorite restaurant in NYC. Does that make my reviews biased? Yes and no. When I go to EMP, I don't necessarily have my "critic's hat" on, trying to analyze every dish. I go in expecting and looking to have a good time. While some may view this as self-fulfilling, I think this is a very important part of making the most of the EMP experience.

Take, for example, Pete Wells' 4 star review of Eleven Madison Park in the New York Times. That was the worst-sounding 4 star review i've ever read. There were clearly many things about EMP's approach that he vehemently disagreed with, from "dopey speeches" and "clunky, humorless history lesson[s]" to "entry-level locavorism" that "only underlines the shallowness of Eleven Madison Park’s approach to it." Yet, the end result was a 4 star review due to the sheer enjoyment being had by everyone around him: "a roomful of people almost goofy with happiness." In his own words: "Under the restaurant’s relentless, skillful campaign to spread joy, I gave in."

That campaign to spread joy was also successful when we dined at Eleven Madison Park earlier this month to celebrate last year's win in our bridge league. A grand time was had by all. I was especially excited to see what was on the late summer menu, as I'd only eaten at EMP during Spring and Winter the past few years. Some of the dishes are now staples of the tasting menu, so please refer to my previous review for photos and comments.

Similar to prior visits.

An interesting and refreshing take on a combination that's not new by any means. The marinade really came through strongly, and cucumber ended up being more of the focus in this dish than the tuna.

The mint provided a nice refreshing touch, allowing the eggplant to work as an early course even though it had a hearty taste.

Similar to the tuna course, the vegetables were the focus of the dish, with the squid providing a nice contrast in flavor and texture.

A delicious tomato salad, simple yet refined.

Absolutely amazing and vastly superior to a previous version of eggs benedict that they did with asparagus. The rich and satisfying nature of eggs benedict comes through without the heaviness of the common brunch version. The presence of corn and caviar provided a great sweet and salty contrast that took the whole thing to another level.

Butters flavored with the fat of our chosen main course proteins. The duck was great but the pork was outrageous and a sign of what was to come later that evening.

I often end up choosing the cold foie gras prep for the sake of completeness and photos, but EMP continues to serve the best hot foie gras prep in New York hands down.

How many 3 Michelin Star restaurants (or even 2 Michelin Star ones for that matter) encourage you to use your hands in a communal dish? Once again, it's all about a warm, fun, collective dining experience. The seafood is delicious and cooked perfectly, with the crab stuffed tomatoes providing a nice textural component to the dish. While the broth is not served with the dish, you can request it and it's not to be missed if you like tomatoes and seafood.

This was more of an interesting dish than a tasty dish, but a big part of it is that I still don't know how best to describe the flavor of the sunflower and the dish as a whole. It wasn't bad by any means, and how often do you get to say that you ate cooked sunflower?

The duck was excellent as always, but as my friend put it, "The duck was fantastic, but that pork was something special." Grilling over binchotan imparted a fantastic, deep flavor that really highlighted the flavor of the meat, and not just the fat as is often the case.

An ingenious DIY cheese course that showcased why cheese is used as a bridge from savory to sweet. Loved the different ways to go about it, and the choice of cheese was great. Strong for a cow's milk cheese, but milder than goat cheese so it catered to everyone.

Similar to last time, delicious but not particularly memorable.

While I enjoyed the cheesecake, the sorbet, and the vinegar, the dessert felt disjointed. The berries were not really highlighted by the other components while the cheesecake could be enjoyed without the berries. Their desserts have not been particularly novel or daring in combining flavors and textures ever since their previous pastry chef left.

A great way to wrap up the night. Four different chocolate bars are presented, and the game is to figure out the animal milk used to make that chocolate. The foodies/gourmands can take the challenge seriously while more casual diners can just enjoy different chocolates.
SPOILERS: highlight to read: Of the four choices, the cow's milk chocolate and the buffalo milk chocolate should stand out the most, being the most common tasting and the fattiest tasting respectively. Of the remaining two, there was one with a decidedly grassy flavor which I assigned to sheep's milk while the other was mild with a faint tang, which reminded me of goat cheese. However, it turned out that I got those two mixed up.

Similar to prior visits.

Look, if you go to Eleven Madison Park with the mindset of "this is so expensive/this is a 3 Michelin star restaurant, every dish must blow me away", you're missing the point. But if you're going to celebrate something or looking to enjoy the whole experience of a night out, EMP will rarely disappoint.