Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lincoln Ristorante: The Best Volume-Weighted Restaurant in NYC (food)

What I mean is that while the quality of food at Lincoln is on par with the very top tier of restaurants in NYC, what makes it a truly astonishing restaurant is the number of customers. When we went last night, they did 200 covers on what they called "a slow night". The previous night, they did 300 covers. It's easy to have Michelin inspectors fawn over your 10+ canapes and dishes when you're doing 12 to 18 covers a night, but to produce this quality of food for this many people nightly is remarkable. Even more mind blowing is the fact that the open kitchen is not particularly huge, and that they don't have an army of people for their kitchen staff. One fish cook, one meat cook, two pasta cooks, two garde manger, and two saucier/garnish, with head chef Benno and his sous chef running the pass.

Atmosphere: Lincoln is a beautiful, elegant restaurant with extremely tall ceilings. We were seated in one of the dining rooms where the majestic floor-to-ceiling windows overlooked the Juilliard dorms from our view. The lighting is dim without being dark, and the four of us sat at a very comfortable semi-circular banquette. There was a lot of space between tables.

Service: I had emailed the dining room manager Misha prior to our visit about dietary restrictions and everything was taken care of smoothly. He seemed genuinely interested in our passion for the food, and was very friendly. In fact, all the servers were friendly and engaging, with warm smiles. Water and wine glasses were refilled promptly, and while I did ask for more bread once, I did not have to ask for it again.

Food: After looking through the a la carte menu, we decided to opt for a chef's choice tasting menu. The chef was also able to specifically feature any dish that caught our eye from the menu. I pride myself on being able to pick the tastiest dishes off a menu, but this time I had to admit that the chef's choices were probably better than what I would have chosen from the menu.

IL GIORNO DOPO - DIMMI LIQUORE, COCCHI AMERICANO, LEMON JUICE, SPLASH OF ST GEORGE ABSINTHE VERTE I had arrived early and decided to have a drink at the bar. This was exactly along the lines of what I requested. Something vibrant but with a touch of sweetness to get the taste buds going.

Our wine for the evening was the FONTANAFREDDA ‘Vigna La Villa’ 2001 BAROLO D.O.C.G.

MUSHROOM CROSTINI Our amuse for the evening was packed with mushroom flavor.

OLIVE TAPENADE CROSTINI This was for our friend who couldn't eat mushrooms.

Our bread service for the evening featured wheat, rustic Italian white, focaccia brushed with lardo, rosemary, and pepper, and grissini (breadsticks) perked up with chili flakes. The grissini were the most popular, with the heat from the chili flakes making them quite addictive. More important for me was that they were not overly salted like ones I've had at other places. The lardo flavor on the focaccia was not particularly noticeable, which was a little disappointing.

OLIVE OIL with LEMON and WHITE BEAN PUREE with DRIED OLIVE BITS For us to have with our bread. We enjoyed both, although personally I would have preferred the white bean dip to have been a little thicker for the purposes of eating with the grissini.

CRUDO DI TONNO - BLUEFIN TUNA, HEIRLOOM TOMATOES, CELERY, LAMPASCIONI A wonderful dish where, to me, the tuna wasn't even the star. The tuna itself was very good, but more spectacularly it worked beautifully as a fatty, melty, wrap harmonizing the strong celery, onion, and nutty tomato flavors. At first I didn't even think the tuna was necessary, but then I realized that there wasn't much else that could have brought it all together like it did.

INSALATA DI BARBABIETOLE - SALUMERIA BIELLESE BRESAOLA, BEETS, GOAT CHEESE, WALNUTS, WATERCRESS Another dish featuring an amazing job of harmonizing flavors and textures. The sweetness of the beets, the earthiness of the walnut and watercress, the saltiness of the goat cheese and bresaola. The crunch of the walnut, the creaminess of the goat cheese, the tender beets, and the paper thin bresaola. All those things came together, made more incredible by the fact that the individual components are quite strong in their flavors. The thin slice of bresaola really worked here, and was certainly not something I would have thought of beforehand.

MALFATTI DI BIETOLA DA FOGLIA - BEET GREEN GNOCCHI, POPPY SEEDS, ORANGE The only way for me to describe this dish was that it was like a top class dim sum dumpling. The skin was thin and delicate, soft but with give, revealing a packed filling of chopped beet greens that had an almost spinach-like taste. The cheese and butter sauce gave it a nice creaminess and warmth that coated each bite.

AGNOLOTTI DI POLENTA E CODA DI BUE - ANSON MILLS YELLOW POLENTA, RED WINE BRAISED OXTAIL, SPIGARELLO, BEEF SUGO We had specifically requested that this dish be part of the tasting menu. The oxtail was cooked perfectly with strands of wonderful meat in a rich wine and beef jus. I had never heard of spigarello before this dish. It had a slight broccoli taste without the bitterness of broccoli rabe, while the leafy texture paired well with the strands of oxtail meat. We did not feel that the pasta was as successful, however. Using polenta as the pasta filling did not allow either texture to stand out, and the polenta flavor wasn't strong enough to stand toe to toe with the rich oxtail. I think a sweet corn filling for the pasta would have been perfect.

RIGATONI WITH TOMATO SAUCE For our friend who wanted something lighter, he was served something very simple. Perhaps too simple, but the tomato sauce was indeed light and fresh without being overly sweet or acidic or overpowered with herbs. The pasta was cooked perfectly.

MELANZANE ALLA PARMIGIANA We decided to order some sides to go with our main course. The eggplant parmigiana was a sizeable portion that was flavorful and well executed. At the same time, like the rigatoni, it seemed rather pedestrian.

GNOCCHI DI PATATE The gnocchi were soft and pillowy, and came with a rich, thin, creamy sauce.

FUNGHI MISTI A collection of four mushrooms bursting with flavor and warmed by the saute butter. All the mushrooms had a perfect, tender texture similar to that of a perfectly cooked shrimp.

AGNELLO - LAMB LOIN CHOP, FAIRY TALE EGGPLANT, ARTICHOKES, SUGO D'AGNELLO This was an incredible main course. A couple of us thought that it was the best lamb we've ever had. Phenomenal flavor and the most amazing cooking job. Cutting a cross-section of the meat revealed a perfectly consistent gradation of color and texture from the outside char to a mostly pink inside to a small rare center. The meat was juicy throughout and there were a couple of pieces of fat lining the outer edge of the lamb chop. The fat was tender and flavorful, but not necessary if that's not your thing.

For the other three of us, we were eagerly anticipating what would be revealed under the lid.

MAIALE PER DUE - RAVEN & BOAR FARM'S WHEY FED SUCKLING PIG, CRANBERRY BEANS, PEPERONATA, PORK SAUCE The pork shoulder for two is slow cooked and confited with duck fat. The skin is crispy, the meat is fork tender, and the rendered fat is soft and silky. The bean stew is a tasty accompaniment, with a decided spiciness that worked well with the fat and porcine flavor.

SORBETTI For a predessert, we were offered sorbets. Concord grape for the gentlemen, cantaloupe for the ladies. Very refreshing.

BUTTERMILK PANNA COTTA - STRAWBERRIES, RASPBERRIES, BLACKBERRIES, MOSCATO GELEE For the ladies, a fruit-based dessert. I do not know if this is a normal policy to give different desserts to men and women, and I wonder what some customers might think of this.

TORTA CAPRESE - CHOCOLATE AND COFFEE BUDINO, MIRTO HUCKLEBERRY COULIS, CHOCOLATE TORTA, CARDAMOM, COFFEE GELATO My favorite part of this was the coffee gelato, which felt more like ice cream to me, served with cocoa nibs.

Petit fours with chocolate caramels and biscotti.

After the meal, we walked by the open kitchen and got to chat with chef Benno. We discussed the difference between his food here versus his food at Per Se. "When you do 10-12 courses, you can be more subtle. When you only do 5 or 6, you have to pack more of a punch in each course, and the portions are bigger." That's exactly it. His same great flavors are louder here. At first I was worried that 5 courses plus dessert wouldn't be enough for me, but I was completely and happily full by the end. Although I did eat slightly more of the pork and had some of the lamb.

Go to Lincoln and marvel at the refined compositions of antipasti and salads. Then delight in the delicate pastas and be sated by the generous portions of perfectly cooked mains. Benno's vision was to create a restaurant where one could both have a quick meal before the show as well as celebrate a special occasion with a long spectacular meal, and I think he's succeeded.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

NFL Picks Week 3 2011 (sport, gambling)

While the NFL has always strived for parity, there is a pretty big gap this season between the good teams and the bad teams. This week is quite interesting in that many of the games feature even matchups of good teams or bad teams.


Arizona is one of those teams that are really bad. Yet people don't completely see that because they have well-known names from a fantasy football standpoint like Kolb and Fitzgerald. Their defense, especially their secondary, has been dreadful. Not that there's anything really nice to say about the Seattle offense, but you can disregard last week's performance on the road against an angry Steelers team. With the 12th man back on their side for their home opener, I think Seattle will take this one as Arizona won't be able to score enough to overcome their dreadful defense.

Over 45.5

One of the oldest and most storied rivalries in football, these two teams have played under the total in their last 7 games. However, I think this is the game to break that streak. We all know about the Packers' offense, with Rodgers at the helm. But their defense has shown this year that they can be thrown on, and the Bears do love to throw the ball. Chicago has been an abysmal 28.6% in third down conversions so far through two games, but the Packers' defense has also allowed a 55% conversion rate on third downs to opponents. Something's got to give, and I think we're going to see an entertaining game with lots of offense.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Keens Steakhouse: Terrific Mutton Chops. Porterhouse Could Be Better. Now with Bacon! (food)

I love taking people to Keens Steakhouse. It's conveniently located on 36th street and 6th avenue, close to Penn Station and close enough to Times Square. The food is very good, the single malt list is extensive, and the really old school environment is something to behold. I was actually mildly surprised when I took a friend there recently to discover that even a place this old and steeped in history still tries to come up with something new on occasion.

I'm talking about bacon. A slab bacon appetizer was added to the menu about 4 months ago. While it wasn't quite as meaty as the bacon at Luger, it was still plenty flavorful. The accompanying tomatoes and greens went perfectly with the bacon, adding some nuttiness, bitterness, and acidity to counteract the feeling of shoving pure grease into your mouth.

Nice aged Longmorn, neat. The single malt list is truly impressive.

The mutton chop is my favorite thing to get here. Cooked to a perfect medium (it still gets really red next to the bone), the meat is flavorful, the fat from the "chops" is luscious, and the homemade mint jelly goes great with it. As I was splitting this with a friend, they were nice enough to slice it off the bone for us.

This was my first time ordering the porterhouse for two. While the meat flavor was there, there wasn't really enough of a minerally, dry-aged tang to it. Also, serving it sliced and resting on a cutting board allowed it to dry out and get cold quickly. This is significantly inferior to the way Luger serves it, on a super hot plate and resting in its own drippings to stay moist.

While offering a range of steakhouse staples, the desserts manage to be fairly strong here. My friend loved his red berry bibble, shown here without the ice cream that usually accompanies it.

I had to have the coffee cantata. It's basically a sundae with coffee ice cream and some raspberry, and some very good fudge sauce. I mentioned to our server that I used to like their indian pudding, which they took off the menu a while back, and he replied that I was probably one of about five people who did.

I always highly recommend Keens, but I would definitely suggest sticking with the mutton chop over the porterhouse.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

NFL Picks Week 2 2011 (sport, gambling)

There was a lot of scoring in the NFL last week. A lot of quarterbacks had big games, and I think the lines have moved in response to the explosion of offense in the first week. So for this week's picks, I'm taking two unders.

Under 53.5

This line will probably keep going up as game time approaches. How could it not? Two of the most prolific offenses in recent memory going up against each other, and with Monday night's high scoring Pats-Dolphins game fresh in everyone's minds. But are these two teams particularly better now than they were last year? In last year's matchup, they put up 43 total on a 48.5 line. I just think this is one of those lines where the public is one way and the sharps will be going the other.

Under 49.5

The Eagles can certainly be explosive with Vick under center, but a line near or above 50 should almost always be reserved for two passing powerhouses, in my opinion. And that is not what these two teams are. Even if Atlanta is running on all cylinders offensively, they would, in fact, be running. A lot. I see a lot of drives being kept alive, but I don't know that they'll be heading into the endzones particularly frequently.

Dinner at Kin Shop (food)

I'm normally not a fan of Top Chef, but I had read some really good things about this modern Thai restaurant from Harold Dieterle, the first season winner of the popular show. As I was visiting a friend in the West Village, we decided to give it a try. All the photos are courtesy of his camera phone as I was not planning any fancy food excursion.

I cannot speak to its Thai "authenticity" as we did not try any spicy dishes, as well as the fact that the restaurant calls itself a "modern Thai" restaurant. Everything we had was delicious, although we did not have anything that I would call truly spectacular. With its tasty, well-executed food, surprisingly reasonable prices, and interesting interpretations, Kin Shop, in my view, is a wonderful neighborhood restaurant definitely worth a visit.

Our appetizers included grilled prawns and pork and oyster salad.

Fried Pork & Crispy Oyster Salad with celery, peanuts, mint & chili-lime vinaigrette. I enjoyed this dish very much. Pork and oysters go well together, and the crunchy textures throughout livened my appetite. Surprisingly light and fit to be called a salad, despite fried pork and oysters.

Grilled Prawns with fresh lime & "phuket style" black pepper sauce. The prawns cost $4 each and had a wonderful grilled aroma. They're not particularly large for the price, but reasonable and well cooked.

Roasted Duck Breast & Red Curry with crispy roti, green mango, fresh herbs & tamarind water. The duck was cooked well, but the red curry didn't really do anything for me, and it was not a particularly special combination.

Braised Goat & Massaman Curry with fried shallots, purple yams, mustard greens & toasted coconut. I really really enjoyed this dish. The flavorful fork-tender braised goat went well with the comforting massaman curry. The accompaniments all worked well and this is a wonderful dish to eat over white rice.

Duck Confit Fried Rice (Can't find it on the online menu). Rice, however, does not come with entrees, and so I decided to order a side of duck confit fried rice. It was a pleasantly large portion for $10. The duck was rich in flavor and not dry at all, which is something that can easily happen with proteins in fried rice.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

NFL Picks Week 1 2011 (sport, gambling)

It's always hard to gauge how much an injury will affect a team. In the NBA, the line usually moves too much in response to an injury of a star player, and I've read about plenty of systems fading that move. I'm not so sure that's the case in the NFL however, since star players are much harder to replace, and because so many more plays have to be successful just to get a score in the NFL.

Under 44

So for my first pick, I'm going on the assumption that the loss of Peyton Manning and Arian Foster (whether he misses the game or plays in a weakened state) will be worth at least two scores. In their last 10 matchups, the two teams have combined for an average of 54 points while the O/U line has averaged 48. I think 44 represents good value here. Besides the loss in actual scores, every TD that now becomes a FG is a 4 point differential.

Over 36.5

We all know how good both defenses are. But there is plenty of optimism about how good both offenses can be as well. Both teams do execute their gameplans well and tend to be very well prepared. In the end, both defenses are getting older while both offenses have players entering their prime. I think this is a good time to jump aboard both teams' offensive bandwagons before people realize how good they are.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

NFL Regular Season Wins Futures Bet (sport, gambling)

Another NFL season is upon us, and without any major changes like an 18-game schedule. I began looking at regular season wins futures bets last season, when I picked the Chiefs over and the Bills under. I followed that up with an easy Knicks over for the NBA season, and was tempted by the Mariners' low number (60 wins) to take the over, but didn't pull the trigger.

I think a regular season wins futures bet is a terrific way to add interest to the season, especially for someone like me who doesn't follow a specific team, while avoiding the temptation to overbet during the season. Every week I'll have a few teams to specifically root for or against.

First up are the Cincinnati Bengals. The number opened at around 7 wins, and was quickly bet down by smart money to the point where right now it's about 5.5 wins with -165 on the under. The early line was caused by the easy schedule. However, I look at their depth chart and I only recognize Cedric Benson on offense. With the owner willing to pay Palmer $11 million to warm the bench out of spite, I don't see why they wouldn't be aiming for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.

Next, remaining in the same division, are the Pittsburgh Steelers. Some may be worried about the Super Bowl loser's curse, but the team looks a lot healthier and the offense looks like it could do a lot of damage. Then again, everyone knows that and the line is at 10.5 wins with the over at -135. I think it's still worth taking, as they have a comfortable-looking schedule after the bye week, and they will probably need every win they can get to keep up with the Ravens.

Speaking of the Baltimore Ravens, they are my favorite bet by far. The line is 10.5 wins with the over offered at +105. While I do believe that the Steelers are the better team, I think the Ravens have a bit of an edge in their overall schedule. While both teams play the NFC South, the Ravens get the two tougher teams (Indianapolis and Houston) at home while the Steelers get them on the road. The Ravens also get the Jets instead of the Patriots, which I think is an easier match up. This is a team that won 12 games last season, and I see no reason for a 2 game drop off.

My final pick is the New York Giants under 9.5 wins. There's a premium you have to pay to make this bet as the under is -175. The Giants defense has been hit by injuries while I think the offense will suffer with the loss of last year's third receiver and tight end. With three out of division opponents that I think they can't beat (@Patriots, @Saints, and Packers), they will go under the number just by losing all their games against the Eagles and the Cowboys, which I think can very easily happen.

Cincinnati Bengals Under 5.5 -165
Pittsburgh Steelers Over 10.5 -135
New York Giants Under 9.5 -175

5 Star Recommendation:
Baltimore Ravens Over 10.5 +105

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Quick Comment on the US Economy (economics/politics)

I was at the mall a couple of weeks ago doing some shopping and doing my part to stimulate the economy. Actually, I hate that term. Politicians and CNBC talking heads keep going on and on about stimulating the economy. That, to me, implies that the economy is like some stalled car that just needs some minor adjustments. I don't buy that. I think the engine is completely under water and totaled. Even if the original model did work (which I question), I feel that it is certainly broken now by the events of the last five years.

To use another analogy, the current belief is similar to saying the economy is like some dominoes set up where we just need to stimulate it by tipping over that first domino, and the rest will continue falling. My view is that given what has happened, people are far from incentivized to keep those dominoes falling. The setup itself is broken.

Anyway, back to the mall. So I'm in Foot Locker trying to buy a new pair of basketball shoes. I see all these Nikes, classified by LeBrons, Kobes, Jordans, etc. None of them looked like they would actually be great for basketball. Is this what the kids are buying these days at $150 a pop? So I ask one of the salespeople which are the most durable basketball shoes, considering that I actually plan to play in them. Obviously noone has asked such a question before, so he went and asked another salesperson which of the shoes are durable. Her response? "What does that word even mean, durable?"

Which leads me to wonder how we can classify this economy of ours? Are we a service economy? Because such lack of knowledge about the product doesn't feel much like service to me. Are we a manufacturing economy? Seems like the majority of the stuff we manufacture is not practical if the basketball shoes we are selling are not really good for basketball. I guess we're just the economy where we're trying to sell anything we can to the next schmuck (like our debt and money printing). Sooner or later, we're going to run out of schmucks to buy our crap, right?

SHO Shaun Hergatt Review: Exceptional Food To Be "Savored" (food)

First of all, I made my reservation using Savored. Formerly known as VillageVines, it's an interesting restaurant deal concept. Basically, you make your reservation online through their system. The reservation will cost $10, but 30% (40% in Boston) will come off your total bill (including wine!) at the end. Great savings and no commitment to buying something you don't want with a later upsell. No hassle, and the reservation can be cancelled pretty close to reservation time. They have a large number of restaurants on their list so it's worth using even for the occasional dinner out. I definitely suggest checking it out, and if you decide to sign up, please use my referral link here.

I obviously wanted to make sure that it worked, so I visited a couple of weeks before my reservation to see if anything was off limits with the discount. In that regard, SHO's Reservations and Training Manager Heather was extremely pleasant and helpful. I found out that while we could not ask for some specially created extended tasting, the discount would apply to the prix fixe or the tasting menu, and was still applicable when we decided to have the tasting menu and supplement a course from the prix fixe.

As for the rest of this review, I must warn all those readers who really just look at pictures that unfortunately, I forgot my camera due to a hectic day, and the cell phone I used to take some pictures did not have a flash, and ran out of batteries early in the meal.

First, a mention of the service. While the service was not bad, it left much to be desired for a restaurant with food of this caliber. I did not like that some of the people who brought food had accents that made it hard to hear them describe the dish (something that I mentioned back in my 2009 review), and in one case they didn't even bother with the description of the dish. At the end of the meal, we were hoping to get to thank the chef in person and discuss one of the dishes, but he was on the phone, and after we waited for a while, there was no further update. There was definitely a bright point though in Marissa, who was engaging and helped us pick out some wonderful wines. I think she is the co-wine director, as her name is listed on the online wine list. However, I also saw her bringing out dishes to some tables, which kind of muddles her role in my mind. That, in essence, is what I feel is missing about the service at SHO. A sense of order. A hierarchy of server, captain, manager, etc.

The food, most importantly, was exceptional. We had the tomato-centric tasting menu, supplemented a fish course, and replaced a couple of dishes to cater to dietary restrictions. Everything was tasty with some smart and interesting touches.

We started with a selection of canapes. Here was a small shot glass of pea puree with coconut foam. Light and refreshing.

Fried balls of potato and a little foie gras. The foie gras flavor wasn't particularly strong, and overall it had a nice beignet-like taste even though it was savory.

After the canapes, we had a small amuse. It was a sweet prawn with masago and was fresh and light, although not particularly intense in flavor.

The bread selection was quite good, with white, multi-grain, and rosemary olive rolls. My favorite was the multi-grain, which had robust flavor and texture from the seeds on the outside while the inside was soft and warm.

The real winner though, was the truffle butter. Among the best we've ever had with a perfect combination of creaminess and truffle flavor. Notice how much bigger the serving is compared to the regular butter. We ended up having about 5 servings total for the 3 of us.

CARPACCIO OF ROMA TOMATO CONFIT Simple, familiar, tastes were given ingenious textural twists. The tomato confit was peeled and oven-baked, allowing it to have an intensified flavor along the lines of sun-dried tomatoes, while remaining very juicy. Even better, the juices were contained in the bite of the carpaccio itself instead of leaking away. Also on the plate were small mounds of goat cheese panna cotta, which had a smooth, silky texture.

OVEN ROASTED TOMATO AND FENNEL SOUP The soup was fine, but the interesting components of the dish were a tomato gelee underneath the soup and a green basil espuma which combined for an interesting mix of textures. I think another component with a crispy texture would have really completed the dish. In addition, the garnishes on the peeled tomatoes were both very pretty and provided subtle hints of flavor.

TOMATO OIL CONFIT PRAWN The tomato oil and prawn smelled wonderful and was very well cooked. The sweet prawn went well with the warm tomato oil and was livened by a tomato and kaffir lime leaf sambal.

SALT PRESSED PETUNA OCEAN TROUT My friend DC could not have the prawn, so they presented this dish of alternating chilled slices of ocean trout and pear. It was quite good, and an especially fitting cold starter. None of us had tried or even thought of this fish and pear combination before, but it works.

SOUS VIDE EAST COAST HALIBUT Perfectly cooked, this was a robust piece of fish sauced nicely with a black olive oil and a cherry tomato vinaigrette. However, I felt that this was probably the least special of the dishes.

CRISPY DIAMONDS OF BRANZINO This was the dish that we added because that's how we roll. Perfectly cooked with crispy skin and flaky flesh, the accompanying liquid arugula, kalamata olive, and baby cucumbers were a fantastic combination of flavors and textures coming together in harmony in each bite.

UPSTATE NEW YORK QUAIL Absolutely wonderful. For the tomato-centric menu that had been fairly light up to this point, this was the perfect last savory course. The quail flavor was strong yet warm and comforting. The meat was soft and juicy but with a good biting texture that gave way to the foie gras on the inside. The foie gras managed not to dominate the quail flavor, but instead accentuated the flavors by adding a fattiness and a creamy finish to each bite.

CHILLED FINGERLING ESPUMA WITH COLD GNOCCHI, QUAIL EGGS, AND KAVIARI CAVIAR My friend DC couldn't have the quail, and instead went with a cold appetizer to end the savory courses. This was another example of innovative textures with familar flavor combinations. The cold potato and caviar is a classic, and the quail eggs did a nice job of bringing it all together.

SATUR FARMS YELLOW TOMATO SORBET Our pre-dessert was relatively simple and tasted exactly like what it was supposed to be.

TRISTAR STRAWBERRIES, TOMATO ESPUMA, AGED BALSAMIC Again a relatively simple dessert. The strawberries were sweet and went well with the tomato espuma, although I didn't think the balsamic was necessary.

CHOCOLATE CREMEUX WITH HONEYCOMB AND MILK ICE CREAM We were just there to have a good meal, but during our quail course, SC mentioned that we should just consider this meal an early birthday celebration as we had ordered some of her favorite wines. This was just in passing conversation, but they must have overheard and thoughtfully brought this extra dessert with "Happy Birthday" written in chocolate on the plate. This was delicious, with two different textures from the chocolate on top and the honeycomb inside. The milk ice cream was perfect in bridging those two components.


Speaking of wine, SHO has a very impressive high end wine list, including 4 DRCs. And they aren't even the most expensive bottles! Browsing through the list online, they have a bottle listed at $15000. For our meal, we started with a Laurent Perrier Rosé, Tours-Sur-Marne, followed by the Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru, 'Le Grand Maupertuis,' Domaine Anne Gros 2004 for the meal proper, and ended with a Riesling Beerenauslese, H. Boch, 'Trittenheimer Apotheke,' Mosel, which held up well to both the strawberries and the chocolate.

Savored did indeed come through, with over $300 coming off our final bill. Looking back at my 2009 review, the food really has always been exceptional at SHO. Now that there's a 30% discount involved, there's no excuse not to go.