Happy Hour at Home!
All You Can Eat Sushi!
Last week, my block (yay Block 3) at Stern got together to share food, drinks and fun. Last year, we had a really great time at Kumo Sushi in the West Village (http://www.yelp.com/biz/kumo-sushi-new-york-2) so we went back there!
The all-you-can-eat deal is either ~$25 for just the food or ~$35 for food AND sake/beer. Be forewarned that although the sushi is good (it isn't Nobu quality but you also won't get sick) the beer and sake sort of suck. Also, the sake is served in a massive pitcher, so if you don't pay attention, you MAY think it is water and chug it. Again, that may be part of your strategy, so you do you.
Some of my favorite things to order include: the miso soup, avocado salad, spicy girl roll and sexy roll. This place is a such a deal - I've gone here 3x and haven't gotten sick. Also, the sushi tastes very fresh, which is almost surprising giving the low price point; must be a volume play!
I recommend checking this place out if you're down going somewhere that can get noisy/rowdy, especially on the weekend. This is directly correlated to the unlimited alcohol!
An Awesome Setting for an Incredible Feast
After our fun day, Courtney and I met up with my brother for dinner at Tao Downtown (http://taorestaurant.com/downtown/). As I guessed, even though we had 8:15pm reservations, we were given a buzzer and told we would be notified when our table was ready. We walked through the main dining hall to the bar.
After looking at the cocktail menu, we all ordered a drink. I chose the Ruby Red Dragon, made with Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka, Yuzu Citrus and a Hint of Pomegranate.
The backdrop of the bar is beautiful. I think I will come back here just for drinks sometime - a new date location!
We ordered a bunch of plates to share among us. My favorite was one of the small plates, Satay of Chilean Sea Bass with a Miso Glaze. I loved it SO MUCH that I found a recipe online and recreated it (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/miso-and-soy-chilean-sea-bass/) - it is spot on! Anyway, back to Tao!
Our next course that came out was another small plate, Rock Shrimp Lettuce Cups with spicy mayo and jalapeno lime. I was SO DISAPPOINTED with this choice! Normally I love dishes like this but it really lacked flavor - which is shocking given the spicy mayo! Thumbs down. Boo.
Courtney ordered the small plate, Crispy Rice Tuna served with spicy mayo and kabayaki sauce (whatever that is) - SHE LOVED IT! I didn't try it since I was too busy with my Sea Bass.
She also got the Pork Potstickers served with gochujang and sesame. She enjoyed it and I tried one. They were good. It is sort of hard to mess up potstickers!
Since I figured many of the small plates would be SMALL, I ordered a Chicken Pad Thai for the table. It was really yummy and a big serving, even for a fancy spot like this! It was served with a pair of wooden tongs - cute touch!
My brother decided to order several pieces of sashimi. It is served in a beautiful bowl on a bed of ice. Great Presentation!
After I finished my first cocktail, I ordered the drink Courtney first ordered: The Thai Basil Smash, made with Stoli Citrus, Thai Basil and (fresh!) Mandarin Orange. It was fantastic! The fruit was fresh (not canned) and the cocktail was very refreshing.
This is definitely a happening spot. I would recommend visiting for the cocktails and the ambiance. The food is fairly expensive for what it is, you're paying to eat at a trendy spot not necessarily to have a food-gasm.
If it is Happy Hour, of course you can!
After our wine happy hour at 8th Street Wine Cellar , Melissa and I were still hungry. Melissa suggested heading to Sushi Samba West Village (http://sushisamba.com/location/new-york/nyc-7). This restaurant has "SambaHour" which is a Happy Hour from 4-7pm and 11pm to close.
Naturally, we started with a cocktail. We both ordered the Nina Fresa. It is made with vodka, strawberry, grapefruit and guava shaken with rhubarb bitters, lime and sugar. Normally, it is $14 - on happy hour, it is $7!!
Although we had the cheese plate at 8th Street Wine Cellar, we were still a little hungry. We each ordered one of the Happy Hour rolls. The Ezo roll is made with soy-marinated salmon, asparagus, sesame, tempura flake, and served with some yummy wasabi mayo on the side. Normally, it is $12.50 and I believe it was $6. It was really yummy although the ratio of salmon to wrapping was a bit unfavorable.
This is now a favorite spot for Happy Hour! I can't wait to return.
Dinner with Famous People
This past Thursday, I had a truly special evening. In my Digital Media Innovation class, a classmate and I won the opportunity to have dinner with several heavyweights in the digital/tech industry. I knew that my professor (Greg Coleman) and the CEO of LinkedIn (Jeff Weiner) would attend. I didn't know that one of the largest investors in Twitter (Fred Wilson) and basketball legend Dr J (Julius Erving) would be there as well!
I tried to remain calm and not embarrass my professor and his super important (and rich) friends. We dined at EN Japanese Brasserie (http://www.enjb.com/). I only took *one* picture. Naturally, it was of the super swanky drink I ordered: The Local Honey.
This cocktail is made with Yamazaki 12 whisky. local honey with wasabi, Beefeater gin and royal bee pollen. It was DELICIOUS!
Our meal was INCREDIBLE. It was a pre-set menu and we dined on the following items:
Edamame - soaked in dashi (pretty basic, yet the addition was welcome)
Freshly Made Scooped Tofu - served warm with wari-joyu (not sure what the sauce is, but this was one of the highlights of the meal. It was so interesting and the texture was super creamy/soft. Also, it is made hourly!)
O-Tsukuri - chef's sashimi selection (definitely some of the best raw fish I've had in a long time!)
Oysters with Ponzu - chef's selection (these were ok, I had one that was a bit "fishy" and it made me have to chug my lovely cocktail. Eek)
Lobster Ishiyaki - stone grilled lobster with a butter miso sauce (yum city, loved this)
Stone Grilled Kuroge Washugyu Ribeye - with ponzu and arajio (the marbling on this was insane, I can only imagine it was expensive)
Sushi Rolls - chef's selection (basic but nom. I tried an eel roll, I am so adventurous...it tasted like chicken, sort of?)
Seasonal Panna Cotta - with a hojicha cookie (the seasonal selection was chestnut, really lovely)
This restaurant is expensive and certainty worth it. I hope to return soon with friends, even if only for the drinks!