All posts filed under: Review

Review: The new “affordable” omakase at Sushi Ishikawa (NYC)

The Upper east side of Manhattan is going through a culinary resurgence with millennials moving into the neighborhood and the opening of the Q subway extension that now connects the area to the rest of Manhattan. Part of this change is the opening of Sushi Ishikawa, a 23-seat restaurant helmed by executive chef, Don Pham.  Chef Pham’s sushi pedigree includes positions as the former executive sushi chef at O Ya, executive chef at Geisha, sushi chef at Morimoto and head chef at Kitaro. Sushi Ishikawa offers two omakase menu priced at $85 for 12 courses and $125 for 15 courses. The restaurant has a lot of buzz as the hot new “affordable” omakase in Manhattan. Did the restaurant live up to the hype? I made a reservation for two through Resy, their online reservation system. A credit card was required to confirm the booking as the restaurant has a very strict cancellation policy. You have until two days prior to the reservation to cancel without incurring a $85 per person fee. Upon entering a simply …

Review: Geranium (3 Michelin Stars) in Copenhagen, Denmark

As soon as I booked my flight to Copenhagen, I was ready to splurge on a gastronomic experience. At the top of my list was Noma and, unfortunately, it was closed during my visit. A good friend recommended Geranium, the only three Michelin star restaurant in Denmark. It was one of the best meals that she had eaten and that was good enough for me. I managed to book a reservation for our group of six for lunch and eagerly anticipated the feast. The cuisine at Geranium is modern Nordic with international influences. Lunch and dinner set menu at Geranium costs 2,000 DKK per person (approximately $320) and requires a deposit of 750 DKK per person (approximately $120). I also selected the juice pairing, which was something I had not seen before. With tip and tax, the meal came out to approximately $400 per person. It was a very expensive meal…but the inventiveness of the cuisine and the experience were worth every penny. Upon entering Geranium, the interiors projected a cool Nordic vibe with its …

Review: Tim Ho Wan – NYC Location

Tim Ho Wan (“THW”) is a Hong Kong dim sum destination that was awarded a Michelin star in 2010 for its Mongkok (HK) location and aptly named the “cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world”. Earlier this year, THW opened its first US location in Manhattan East Village to a lot of buzz and corresponding crazy lines. One Sunday, my group of six ventured to this NY location to see what the hype was all about. My first impression of dim sum at THW was that it was a tamer and more Americanized experience. The restaurant has only 60 seats in a small space so dim sum carts are not a viable option. For me, the fun part is seeing dim sum carts whizzed around a banquet room tempting  diners to flag them down. At THW, the menu has been stripped down to essential dishes. Getting a table at the restaurant was an experience in itself. We arrived late around 12:00pm assuming that the wait would be 1 to 1.5 hours. The wait turned out …

Lounge Review: No. 1 Lounge in Gatwick South Terminal

On our way back to NY from Copenhagen, we had a stopover at Gatwick South Terminal for 5 hours. The South Terminal is small and dated and also serves as a hub for British Airways at Gatwick Airport. The terminal has two levels with the usual shops and fast food restaurants…nothing particularly outstanding. There is a small Harrods’s gift shop at the terminal for last minute British gifts. The terminal itself is overcrowded. When I was there in March, it was hard to find a seat anywhere. Luckily for me, I had access to the No. 1 Lounge at the terminal. Besides the No. 1 Lounge, there is only a British Airways Lounge, thus making both venues busy like the terminal. The No 1 Lounge’s entrance is on the second floor and located between Dixons and JD Sports. I walked through a nondescript entrance that resembled a service entrance to another set of double doors where I was greeted with a representative who was tougher than a NYC bouncer. Apparently the lounge was full around …

Restaurant Review: Pagu – Japanese Spanish Fusion (Boston,MA)

I had an opportunity to visit Boston for the weekend and Pagu was on the top of my list for dinner. Boston has recently seen a surge in restaurants exploring fusion cuisine and Pagu is a promising star. My friends and I made a reservation for Friday and were asked to put a deposit of $25 per person for the reservation. This was something new to me, as a required deposit was more prevalent at ultra-exclusive restaurant where a meal can easily costs a few hundred dollars. Pagu has average pricing, which made this policy a bit perplexing. Once we arrived, we were quickly seated at a table far removed from the kitchen bar that we had requested. After speaking with the host, we were promptly moved to the kitchen counter. This is a seating area surrounding the beautiful open kitchen where one can watch the magic happen. For our meal, we selected a few different tapas to share and they were either hit or miss. The service was attentive overall and the staff tried …

Lounge Review: Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge – Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Concourse F with Vietnam Airlines

I had the opportunity to fly business class from Bangkok, Thailand to Hanoi, Vietnam on Vietnam Airlines. With a premium ticket, I received access to the Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport. The lounge is located air side in Concourse F, Level 3 (West Side). This is a small lounge that is open 24 hours. The lounge was not crowded when I arrived and there were limited food, beverages and amenities. I received a piece of paper with the internet login upon arrival. This may be one of the most limited business class lounge that I visited in Asia. This lounge reminded me of a US domestic lounge, but it was still adequate for a brief rest before boarding my flight. There are also restrooms available at this lounge. I researched online for other Louis’ Tavern lounges in the airport and this may be the smallest one available. You can pay to enter the lounge if you do not have a premium ticket, but I do not think this was a good deal unless you wanted a quiet …

Boston Spotlight: Finding Hidden Sushi Gems

After getting a thorough education on sushi during my time in Japan and my 8 years living in NYC, I considered myself knowledgeable enough on quality sushi.  Ever since I moved to Boston three years ago, I have been on a mission to find quality sushi around the Boston area. My definition of quality includes freshness, authenticity and creativity. I am a purist so I generally stick to only sushi or sashimi and always try to go for an Omakase.  Boston doesn’t lack the abundance of sushi restaurants, but good quality sushi is hard to come by.  I spent hours trying to find the “hidden gems” and scouring “Eaters Boston” and “Yelp” for recommendations and coming back a little disappointed each time.  The sushi god has  finally led me to 2  worthy restaurants that can go “toe to toe” with the best of them.  They have the killer combo of amazing sushi or sashimi and a reasonable price point. Cafe Sushi (1105 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138; Cafe Sushsi Website) After eyeing this restaurant for quite some time, …