Vernick Food & Drink (Philadelphia, PA)

Vernick Food & Drink
2031 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Dining date: 6/23/17

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Vernick Food & Drink is high on many lists of best restaurants in Philadelphia. It’s been one of the most highly regarded upscale restaurants since opening in 2012, from being named one of the best new restaurants in America by Bon Appetit to its chef, Gregory Vernick, being named ‘Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic’ this year by the James Beard Foundation. As expected, the restaurant is very popular but we were able to squeeze in on a late Friday seating.

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Barbuzzo (Philadelphia, PA)

Barbuzzo
110 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Dining date: 6/21/17

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Barbuzzo is one of the more popular restaurants in Philadelphia. It’s part of a restaurant group that operates a number of other restaurants in the neighborhood, even a chocolate shop and jewelry store. Barbuzzo serves Mediterranean cuisine with a concentration towards Italian, including pastas, pizzas, housemade charcuterie and a variety of both small and large plates. We stopped in for dinner on a busy Wednesday evening – the small restaurant was packed when we got there and packed when we left.

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Per Se (New York, NY) [3]

Per Se
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 6/18/17

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This was my third time dining at Per Se, Thomas Keller’s Michelin three star restaurant in NYC’s Time Warner Center. My last visit was at the restaurant’s lounge having an abbreviated menu, but I returned to the dining room for the formal tasting menu on this visit. The tasting menu is currently priced at $325 (service-included) and we opted for the wine pairing at the $200 level.

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Le Bernardin (New York, NY) [3]

Le Bernardin
155 W 51st St
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 6/19/17

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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.

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Marea (New York, NY) [2]

Marea
240 Central Park S
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 6/9/17

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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.

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Mori Sushi (Los Angeles, CA) [2]

Mori Sushi
11500 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Dining date: 5/29/17

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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.

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