Her Name is Han


We found Han on a quiet block away from the neon light signage and crowd in Korean town. Away from limelights, in exchange for a little quiet and homey. Han give us a modern take of Korean home cooking. The long shape room is filled with shades of grey. Little wood table bouncing off fresnel lights. It is rustic, warm, and welcoming. No one yelling out “annyeinghaseyo”‘upon entering; no layers of smoke boasting from table top stove, or oily smell that smoke us into a walking Galbi; no one rushing our orders and hurrying our meal; it is laid back. It is homey. The one thing resemble of a typical Korean restaurant is the menu. The picture curated menu, like any other Korean restaurant, is extensive, covers everything from tapas, mains, pots, bbq, rice dishes and noodle.

 

no confusion here, you know exactly what you are ordering




Sowuju -grapefruit

Fire- grilled baby octopus with soy & apple-vinegar sauce

Seafood & hot pepper pancake (L); Bulgogi Hot pot: Bulgogi (center); Fire- grilled beef with onion and mesclun salad (R)

Country fried chicken with radish pickles

 

The grapefruit Sowuju is light and refreshing. I love the grilled baby octopus. My friends were a little turned- away by the wholesome of the octopus. But i love it. The chewiness was just right, with its apple vinegar soy dressing on the of the charred edges, it was just lovely. The seafood and hot pepper pancake is one of the best I have had in New York, plenty of seafood in the mix. The hot pepper was still perfectly crisp and crunchy. The tabletop stove cook bulgogi hot pot taste more like a Japanese Sukiyaki. I’d say it was a little on the sweet side. So was the grilled beef, it leans towards the sweet side. But outstanding is the K.F.C aka Korean fried chicken, it is crispy on the outside, sweet , tender and juicy on inside. No excessive oil, and just right amount of spice. It is wonderful. A little weak on the dessert menu. But no one judge a Korean restaurant by the dessert. It is not like we still have room, but we ordered one anyway.

Petite green tea cheesecake

 

Her Name is Han | 17 E 31st ST. | Nov, 2017

World 50 Best Restaurants 2017

Congratulation to EMP, becoming the World’s Best Restaurant in 2017. We have 4 New York area restaurants making the Top 50 this year. Le Bernardin raised up to #17; Blue Hill at Stone Barns received the Highest Climber Award; and Cosme, making it’s first appearance at #40. Aside from the Top 50 list, Dominique Ansel, aka “inventor” of Cronut among many other sweet delicacies, is OFFICALLY The World’s Best Pastry Chef (2017).
Congratulations!!!

Eleven Madison Park

Blue Hill at Stone Barn

Cosme

Cronut at Dominique Ansel Bakery

 

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list is compiled from the votes of The Diners Club® World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy. The Academy divide the world into regions, with a chairperson in each region appointed for their knowledge of their part of the restaurant world. These chairs each selected a voting panel, who cast a total of 6,552 votes. Here is the 2017 list, revealed on April 5th in Melbourne, Australia.

1. Eleven Madison Park (New York, USA) 
2. Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy) 
3. El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain) 
4. Mirazur (Mention, France)
5. Central (Lima, Peru) 
6. Asador Etxebarri (Atxondo, Spain)
7. Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand)
8. Maido (Lima, Peru)
9. Mugaritz (San Sabastian, Spain)
10. Steirereck (Vienna, Austria) 
11. Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Pocantico Hills, USA) 
12. Arpége (Paris, France) 
13. Alain Ducasse Au Plaza Athenee (Paris, France)
14. Restaurant Andre (Singapore) 
15. Piazza Duomo (Alba, Italy)
16. D.O.M. (São Paulo, Brazil)
17. Le Bernardin (New York, USA)
18. Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan) 
19. Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark) 
20. Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)
21. Alinea (Chicago, USA)
22. Quintonil(Mexico City, Mexico)
23. White Rabbit (Moscow, Russia)
24. Amber (Hong Kong, China)
25. Tickets (Barcelona, Spain)
26. The Clove Club (London, U.K.) 
27. The Ledbury (London, U.K.) 
28. Nahm (Bangkok, Thailand)
29. Le Calandre (Rubano, Italy)
30. Arzak (San Sebastian, Spain)
31. Alleno Paris Au Pavillon Ledoyen (Paris, France)
32. Attica (Melbourne, Australia) 
33. Astrid Y Gastion (Lima, Peru)
34. De Librije (Zwolle, Netherlands) 
35. Septime (Paris, France)
36. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (London, UK)
37. Saison (San Francisco)
38. Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Spain)
39. Relae (Copenhagen, Denmark)
40. Cosme (New York, USA)
41. Ultraviolet (Shanghai, China) 
42. Borago (Santiago, Chile)
43. Reale (Castel Di Sangro, Italy)
44. Brae (Birregurra, Australia)
45. Den (Toyko, Japan)
46. L’Astrance (Paris, France)
47. Vendome (Bergisch Gladbach, Germany)
48. Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany)
49. Tegui (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
50. Hof Van Cleve (Kruishoutem, Belgium)

Fish Cheeks

Fish Cheeks– My new fav Thai in town, and we don’t have to go to the outerborough.

The less than a year old restaurant is hidden on the quiet street in NOHO. It offers simple traditional Thai fare, nothing too crazy, just simple, fresh, authentic Thai dishes, that make us feel at home. Before our visit to Fish Cheeks, Sripraphai in Woodside holds a dear place in my heart. There were a few Thai places popping on and off our “go to” list, but none make us feel complete. Fish Cheeks might come close.



The long shape dinning room is gently lit by the bamboo bended lamp hanging over head. The bar, awkwardly is tucked away in the end of the dinning hall, overlooking the semi-open kitchen, which is also the “waiting” area. Thanks to the new era of online reservation, otherwise waiting for a table would have been a torture. Passing through all the happy people having a nice meal and looking at all the fresh seafood getting prepped; what a way to make hungry customers to drool even more. The bar look like a fishing boat to me. The light above are pairs of fishes caught on line, and the tiles underneath the white bar top are colorful waves or fish-scale. A couple drinks down, we might actually feel floating at sea, although the cocktail list might need some work. There are only 5 listed, but you can always spike up a Thai Ice Tea.


Aside from the gigantic “bird cage” lamps, the place feel modern. But do not judge it by it’s cover, the food is petty authentic.
The menu is only one page, consider very short comparing to other Thai places in town, which often hand over a 2lbs booklet filled with pictures. Sorry, this menu offers no pictures. And don’t expect to see pad Thai, pad see ew or drunken noodle. Not that pad Thai is not good, but that’s all most people associate with when they think of Thai food, and seriously, we need to change that. There are so much more than pad Thai in the Thai culinary world. The spice, the fresh seafood, the balance flavor of salty and sour, are what we crave for in Thai. The dishes are family style. Like most Asian cuisine, it is meant to be shared. And like many other Asian restaurants, we only wish we have the whole gang here.

We are greet by a bowl of shrimp crackers and red chiles dipping sauce. Oh!!!! I love shrimp cracker!!! The best snacks!!! Go easy on the chiles sauce, spread it out. As they might choke you to tears… HOT!!!



There is also a special menu. A little white broad hanging on the side, declaring “no Pad Thai zone”. Only a couple items on special. We order the Prik Pao (strip Loin) off the special menu. The grill pork came with a bed of mint and cilantro in a pool of sauce. It is sweet and spicy. I wish the grill strip loin would have the same charred as Kor Moo Yang.


Then we moved on to the Shrimp in 3 crabs sauce (raw shrimp with lime juice, garlic, bird’s eye chili & mint). Fresh is the keyword here. The heat level is rather mild. But the lime brighten my palette. And those shrimps are sweet!!! #YUM
I love carb, and I love coconut. I should love coconut crab curry. The plating of it is not very consistent, I did a quick search on Instagram. Some pictures has more crab than the others. Some has scallions on it, with a little swirl of coconut milk, but ours didn’t. On this night we were there, it was just a pool of yellow sauce. It still tastes great, may be need a more heat.



We also have the steam blue fish with Thai herbs with a side of watercress. The blue fish is serve on a fish sharpe pot with a little stove fire under to continue the bubbling. It disappointed me a little as it is a filet with no skin… i love steam fish, and skin is essential. It traps the fat and oil of the fish and make the fish even more silky. Especially for this version, as it continue the cooking with the bubbling broth, over time, the fish easily become overcooked. I actually prefer it doesn’t come with the hot plate. The broth is a great mixture of nam jim sauce, rather mild, and there are fresh bird’s-eye chiles sprinkled over the top. And be mindful of those little chiles, the carry great punches. One of us had a big bite, and immediately started tearing up. Luckily, Thai ice tea was there to rescue.
It is not mind blowing, just genuinely great Thai home cooking. We would definitely come back, and also wish there was mango sticky rice to end the night.

Fish Cheeks | 55 Bond St | December, 2017

Gabriel Kreuther

I always feel very fortunate to be living in/ close to NYC, one of the best gourmet cities in the world. There are so many talented chefs here; new restaurants popping up every day, offering a wide range of varieties and options. However, the price may be steep.
An average cost at the city’s most prestige restaurant- Per Se would cost at least $600 per person (which I have yet loaded enough to pay a visit). With all the supplement, it would easily gone over 1200 for a night for two. The cost of fine dining tasting menu keeps getting higher and higher. However-much I would love to get a taste at these luxury establishments, the $$$ and opportunity cost had me pause and stunt. Once in a while (maybe more), we put on our fancy pants, dole out, and allow ourselves to be indulged. Our latest “guilt” meal was at Gabriel Kreuther.
If Gabriel Kreuther is not a household name for you, it should be. Sure, he is not as big a star as Thomas Keller; doesn’t have as many restaurants as Jean George; may not be as “hip” and popular as David Chang; all the restaurants he ever had his magically touch on are a huge success. His first solo venture The Ritz Carlton earned him a 3 stars review from New York Times. The Modern (@MOMA), one of my favorite restaurants in NY, was wildly praised and landed 2 Michelin stars. his one year old namesake restaurant already got a Star from the “tire man”, and recently Chef Kreuther even opens a chocolate specialty outpost to feature his sweet delicacy. if it was fame and fortune Gabriel seeks when he came to New York, he has found it.
We love the simple elegance at The Modern. It is bright and sleek, but of course the space was designed to fit the museum. And it did just that. With Gabriel Kreuther (the restaurant), we learn the true color of Chef Kreuther. This is his house, and it is more luxury with extravagant details. And I think Chef Kreuther is obsessed with cranes.

Prior entering the restaurant, we were first greeted by a façade of golden cranes. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought this is a Japanese or Chinese restaurant rather than contemporary French. In Asian culture, cranes are often refer as the bird of happiness. They are mythological creatures representing food fortune and longevity. As we sat down at the comfortable coach (overcrowded by cushions), we found more cranes. There is a crystal/glass cranes chandelier hanging from the ceiling over the center piece of the main dining room. Once we settle down and look closely, we realized that the logo for Gabriel Kreuther is actually a his signature’s letter G drew as a crane. Lots of crane here, plenty of luck to go around, and we feel very lucky, as we are fortunate to be here, to enjoy this extraordinary meal presented to us in the most aesthetic way.

 

We had the Chef’s tasting menu. It seems only fit since we were at Chef Kreuther’s house, we should have his vision of a meal, in the way he thought could be best presented, bringing out the ingredient’s best quality. The nine courses tasting menu lasted about 3 hours. We started with some very fluffy, pillow soft bread. The scallion chive bread along side with herb whipped butter, by itself, could be a meal already. Then there came these bite size mozzarella cheese balls. Dusted with tomato powder, I feel like we need at least a dozen of them, but then I might not have room for all the exquisite plates that follows.
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Salt Lick (Austin)


I felt a little unsettling without having good BBQ in Austin. We did go to more price friendly BBQ joint, but still found unsatisfied. I heard that Kreuz Market is great but it is an hour out of my way; Black’s does not open on Monday and I am out of time, my friend shared my disappointment with Franklin’s and decided to take me to Salt Lick, I finally found a bit comfort in ribs and briskets.
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