665 Townsend St
San Francisco, CA 94103
Dining date: 12/27/15
San Francisco has seen a lot of growth in its sushi scene in recent years, particularly in the high end segment. Michelin-starred sushi restaurants Maruya, Kusakabe, and Wako opened in 2013-2014; Omakase opened in 2015 joining that group with a Michelin star of its own. I’ve yet to go to one of those other restaurants, but was able to squeeze in Omakase as my last dinner in San Francisco over the Christmas holiday.
Two fixed menus are available each evening, one at the $150 level and one at $200. From what I could tell, the higher level offered a couple more pieces of sushi and a beef course towards the end of the meal (at least on this evening). We went for the $200 level.
55 Cyril Magnin St
San Francisco, CA 94102
Dining date: 12/23/15
Kin Khao is blogger Pim Techamuanvivit’s first restaurant, opened in early 2014. Here, Techamuanvivit shares the flavors of her Thai homeland with a slightly modernized take. The restaurant has received generally positive reviews including a Michelin star in the 2015 guide.
Kin Khao is certainly a bit ‘expensive’ for Thai cuisine, but I stopped in for a spontaneous weekday lunch to try a few items. The pricing is slightly more approachable at lunch, however the menu offers significantly less options.
1701 Octavia St
San Francisco, CA 94109
Dining date: 11/28/15
Octavia is Melissa Perello’s second restaurant following the success of Michelin-starred Frances. Frances has been consistently popular since opening in 2009, so it was no surprise to hear Perello would open this sequel six years later. Opened in April, Octavia’s garnered mostly positive reviews including its very own Michelin star this year.
I stopped in for a late, rather spontaneous dinner over the Thanksgiving holiday. Pictures were taken with my phone for this post.
60 E 65th St.
New York, NY 10065
Dining date: 9/10/15
Daniel Boulud is one of America’s most notable chef/restaurateurs with 16 restaurants in 4 countries around the world. I’ve tried a few of his restaurants with mixed thoughts, feeling like he’s spread himself fairly thin. However, I’ve always wanted to try Restaurant Daniel – Boulud’s flagship restaurant in New York City.
Since opening in 1993, Daniel has been regarded as one of the top restaurants in the city. Recently, the restaurant has lost some of its top accolades. It started in 2013 with a downgrade in the NY Times from four stars to three. Food critic Pete Wells cited very different dining experiences between the restaurant’s regulars/VIPs and other customers. Last year, Michelin dropped Daniel from the three-star ranks to two, something it re-affirmed in the latest 2015 guide. Michelin referred to inconsistency and a decline in food quality. Less importantly, the restaurant also dropped for the fifth straight year in the world’s best restaurants list, a precipitous drop of 40 spots down to #80 in 2015.
I was very indecisive on whether to invest a meal at Daniel. Would I be trying a restaurant on the downhill? Or a restaurant with a renewed focus on its food and service?
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 9/8/15
While traveling in New York, a few coworkers and I had one free night to have a dinner together. They left it up to me to choose a restaurant for the four of us. It didn’t take too much deliberation to pick Per Se. This would be my first time dining here and the first Thomas Keller restaurant for the rest of the party.
Generally regarded as one of the best restaurants in the city (America and the world), Per Se holds three Michelin stars, is rated 4 stars by the New York Times, and is ranked #40 in the latest best restaurants in the world list (holding a top 10 spot for an impressive 8-year streak from 2005 to 2012).
New York, NY 10001
Dining date: 9/10/15
While traveling in New York City for business, I took a couple of days off to explore the city. That meant a few open meals to plan in town and a dizzying array of options. After plenty of deliberation, I decided on The NoMad for a solo lunch.
The NoMad, inside the hotel of the same name, is the second restaurant from the Eleven Madison Park team of Daniel Humm and Will Guidara. The food and vibe here is much more casual than its highly-acclaimed sibling, but The NoMad has plenty of accolades in its own right. It currently holds one Michelin star and is ranked #67 on Pellegrino’s world’s best restaurant’s list.