Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chicago: Alinea

Pumpkin - curry, sage, coconut
Wine Pairing - Cocktail of Geoffroy Brut Luxardo Bitter and Pommeau de Normandie

Oyster Leaf - mignonette

King Crab - passionfruit, heart of palm, all spice

Mussel - saffron, chorizo, oregano

Razor Clam - carrot, soy, daikon
Wine Pairing - Barth 'Charta' Riesling, Rheingau 2008

Brook Trout - reflections of Steve Stallard

Pheasant - apple, shallot, burning leaves
Wine Pairing - Domaine Raymond Usseglio 'Rousanne Pur' Chateauneuf-de-Pape 2008

Wild Bass - caponata, mint, panella
Wine Pairing - Terre Nere 'Cuvee delle Vigne Niche' Etna Rosso 2009

Woolly Pig - fennel, orange, squid

Wild Mashrooms - pine, sumac, ramp
Wine Pairing- Lignier-Michelot Morey-Saint-Denis 'Aux Charmes' 2006

Hot Potato - cold potato, black truffle, butter

Venison - red cabbage, mustard, paprika
Wine Pairing - Prats & Syminton 'Chrysela', Douro 2007

Black Truffle - explosion, romaine, parmesan

Squab - Inspired by Miro
Wine Pairing - Valpolicella Classico Superiore 'TB' Bussola, Veneto 2006

Chestnut - veal heart, quince, root vegetables
Wine Pairing - The Rare Wine Co 'Boston Bual' Medeira

Snow - yuzu

Anjou Pear - jasmine, basil, balsamic
Wine Pairing - Casa de la Erminta 'Blanco Dulce' Jumilla 2009

Lemongrass - dragonfruit, thai basil, finger lime

Dark Chocolate - butternut squash, lingonberry, stout
Wine Pairing - Domaine Madeloc 'Robert Pages' Banyuls NV


I arrived at Alinea exactly two years to the date from my previous meal in 2009. Coincidence? Maybe. I feel pretty lucky to dine here three times. Getting through the reservation line is not easy but each and every time I called, I had no problem getting a reservation. The key is patience and I hope luck is on my side the next time around.

So was it worth going for a third time? Definitely. The menu changes. There's always weird shit to see and experience. The weirder it is, the better. I never thought I would ever feel the same way as my first time minus the camera malfunctions. I was better prepared this time around, camera-wise, and the slightly deem lighting in the room didn't faze me. I did get annoyed by the couple sitting near me who were ill-prepared when shooting without flash. Plus they had the nerve to ask me to send them MY photos of the meal. I obviously ignored that request and left the restaurant before they could ask me for my email address.

Overall, I'll be back. Not this year but definitely next year.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Singapore: L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

L'Amuse-Bouche - foie gras custard with port wine and parmesan foam

La Langoustine - crispy langoustin fritter with basil pistou

I can't remember the name of this dish

Le Burger - beef and foie gras burger with caramelized bell pepper

L'os A Moelle - bone marrow spiced with a hint of mustard on toast

Pommes Puree - Robuchon's famous mash potatoes, light and creamy.

Le Souffle - hot calvados souffle

Caramel Ice Cream

By far, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Singapore was the most expensive Robuchon outlet I've ever been to. I thought our lunch at Joel Robuchon Monaco burned a hole in my wallet. Nevertheless, we were surely entertained by listening in on the Executive Chef (the only French guy) scolding the all Asian staff. I couldn't help but hold in my laugh when I heard, "Stop, stop! You're burning the foie gras!"

The staff was a little green but that's how it is when you open a new restaurant in another country. But there was a veteran among the staff. The head sommelier from Las Vegas was reassigned here and we got to chat with him for a bit. I actually remembered him from our previous dinners in Las Vegas. Small world!

I had a goal to visit each and every Robuchon restaurant around the world but at this rate, that dream may have ended in Singapore.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Singapore: Waku Ghin

Amuse Bouche - Flan of Hokkaido Salmon Roe

Marinated Botan Ebi with Sea Urchin and Oscietre Caviar

Slow-Cooked Tasmanian Petuna Ocean Trout with Witlof and Yuzu

Tasmanian Abalone with Fregola and Tomato

Braised Canadian Lobster with Tarragon

Sumiyaki of Tasmanian Grass-Fed Beef Steak with Tasmanian Wasabi Mustard

Japanese Ohmi Wagyu Roll from Shiga Prefecture with Maitake, Wasabi and Citrus Soy

Comsomme with Rice and Snapper


A room with a view and a water show.

Granita of Grapefruit with Chartreuse Jelly

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Petit Fours

I asked for more

Waku Ghin is Tetsuya Wakuda's second restaurant outside of Australia. He is a Brand Ambassador of Tasmania which is why some of the products were included in the menu. The restaurant is located at the fabulous Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino in Singapore.

The Layout: Four small rooms with two chefs per room; kitchen bar seating (kinda like Benihana-style); food prepared completely on steel cooking plates; 25 seats for dinner only.

I was in complete awe just watching the chef perpare each course. He explained its components as well as display the ingredients. Very-photo friendly. As each dish was served, it was increasingly progressive in taste. Every detail was also accounted for. The signature dish, Marinated Botan Ebi with Sea Urchin and Oscietre Caviar was served with a mother of pearl spoon which is the most recommended utensil to serve caviar.

After the savory courses, I was lead to another room for dessert and petit fours. The room had a view of the Marina Bay skyline but I was most impressed by the arcing 3,000 bottle wine collection surrounding half of the room. The Marina Bay Sands's water and light show, Wonder Full, was timed perfectly to the dessert course.

I was highly impressed. Was it worth the $450+ price tag? Perhaps. Fine dining in Singapore is expensive in general. I think dining at Joel Robuchon Singapore might be even more expensive than in Las Vegas (and the price went up!). It's probably why Waku Ghin is located a few floors from the casino. Win your way to a meal.

Overall, Waku Ghin redefines dinner theatre, literally.