155 W 51st St
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 6/19/17
For a weekday lunch in midtown, I stopped into Eric Ripert’s flagship restaurant. This was my third time dining at the restaurant and second time for lunch.
The restaurant’s lounge offers a prix fixe menu of 3 courses for $55 with two options for each course. $5 of each purchase goes straight to City Harvest, a local organization that “rescues” excess food from local restaurants, grocery stores and farms and distributes this food to community programs to provide meals to underserved populations.
240 Central Park S
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 6/9/17
I’ve been to Michael White’s seafood-focused Italian restaurant once a couple of years ago. I recall having a good meal there; in particular, there were some memorable pastas. The restaurant is known to have some of the best pastas in town, which was one of the primary reasons for returning (another was that it was so close to the hotel on an evening with scattered thunderstorms). The restaurant still holds two Michelin stars and is still one of the busiest fine dining establishments in the city.
While a la carte and custom tasting menus are an option, I imagine most people go with the 4-course prix fixe at $102 for dinner. That menu offers a lot of variety – diners can choose from almost any appetizer, pasta, main and dessert for that price. That’s exactly what we did here.
11500 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Dining date: 5/29/17
This was my second time to Mori; my first visit was over six years ago. The restaurant appears to still be going strong after all these years, although it’s certainly changed. Chef Mori Onodera, who earned a Michelin star for his namesake restaurant, is long gone. He sold the restaurant in 2011 to a longtime employee, but the restaurant still carries his name.
A few different menus are available. A nigiri omakase runs $110 while an omakase featuring some small plates/appetizers runs $140. Coming here primarily for sushi, we opted for the base nigiri omakase.
Bazaar Meat by José Andrés
SLS Las Vegas
2535 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 5/27/17
This was my third visit to Jose Andres’ Bazaar Meat with my last visit being over two years ago (when the restaurant first opened). I’ve been able to try a pretty wide variety of food items in my first two visits, from a couple different cuts of steaks to the lamb chops to the suckling pig. I was part of some larger party sizes for those meals, which really allowed us to try quite a bit of the menu. Some of the meats here tend to be very large portions, so it can be challenging to try a lot with a party of two. Given that, we decided to go with a tasting menu. The restaurant offers three tiers of tasting menus ($125, $185, $225) – we went with the middle tier for this meal.
1124 San Julian St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Dining date: 5/21/17
Rossoblu opened last month, Steve Samson’s second restaurant after opening Sotto six years ago. Like Sotto, Rossoblu is serving Italian cuisine but the menu and style is a bit different. For example, much was made about Sotto’s pizza oven (imported from Italy brick-by-brick) and the pizzas have been a cornerstone on Sotto’s menu. However, there there are no pizzas here. There are pastas are on the menu though, accompanied by a number of small plate antipasti and large format protein-heavy dishes.
Rossoblu’s space is beautiful with an open kitchen and huge windows bringing in plenty of natural light. On this evening, the doors were wide open letting in a slight breeze (although it was still way too hot and stuffy inside). Rossoblu is one of the first businesses to open in downtown’s City Market South development, which is also slated to house a location of San Francisco’s popular Slanted Door.
3239 Helms Ave
Culver City, CA 90232
Dining date: 5/13/17
It’s been over five years since I’ve been to Lukshon, Sang Yoon’s modernized Asian concept a few doors down from his ever-popular Father’s Office. Lukshon seems to still be doing well (it was just about full on this Saturday night), and I was able to grab a spot at the communal table for dinner on the way home from the airport. The menu here is small plates-based, featuring a wide variety of foods from across Southeast Asia.