merluza @ le bernardin
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Le Bernardin (New York, NY) [3]

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.

SEMIFREDDO TROPICALE coconut semifreddo, passion fruit, kiwi, mango, basil
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Marea (New York, NY) [2]

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.

uni nigiri @ mori
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Mori Sushi (Los Angeles, CA) [2]

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 steak
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Bazaar Meat (Las Vegas, NV) [3]

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.

rossoblu
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Rossoblu (Los Angeles, CA)

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.

shrimp toast lukshon
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Lukshon (Culver City, CA) [2]

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.

momofuku pork buns
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Momofuku (Las Vegas, NV)

Momofuku Las Vegas opened earlier this year, sure to be one of the most notable openings of 2017. This is David Chang’s first foray west of the Mississippi, a huge restaurant at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. The restaurant doesn’t duplicate any singular concept in his empire; rather, it’s a mash-up of a few of his concepts, particularly Momofuku Noodle Bar and Ssam Bar. The famous Milk Bar has also opened next door and provides the desserts for the restaurant.

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