Saturday, January 31, 2015

La Sirene

La Sirene is a small French restaurant located at Tribeca that have garnered more than 1k Yelp reviews. I first came to know about this restaurant when my friend wanted to try it out all the way from Singapore. It wasn't too memorable for me but it left a very good impression with my friend that he insisted to try it again (twice in the same week) before he went back to Singapore. I decided to try again as Groupon was offering a deal $65 for $49 (more detail below).

Anyway after much contemplation, we decided to get the same popular dishes that we tried before and oh boy, it was much better this time.

Escargots à la BourguignoneRoasted Escargots  - $13.95
(1/2 dozen in the Shell) with Butter and Garlic sauce

Although I don't remember my past experience, the thought of eating escargots was mouth watering enough to tempt us in ordering it again. Indeed, it was a very enjoyable meal. After we were done, seeing that we still want to keep the plate because of the sauce (yes it was buttery good), the waiter offered us some breads which we gladly accepted. We completely wiped out the plate!

Tournedos Rossini $36.
Seared Filet Mignon Topped With Foie Gras (Pate Style), Shallots, Port and Red Wine Truffles Sauce. 

Long story short, the filet mignon was ok. It wasn't memorable. It was lukewarm either because (1) I took too long for pictures or (2) cause I saw they completed the dishes before we were done with the escargot (not sure if they attempt to keep it warm while waiting). On another note, the foie gras was really good. I preferred to eat it separately in order to maximize its flavor profile.

The restaurant provided this complimentary dish when entree was ordered- a set of 4 vegetables for every two person. Can't complain for free dish.

Kassulet Toulousain de la Maison $32.50

The menu describe the dish as follow: "Cassoulet Toulouse’s Style (Cannellini Beans, Carrots, Tomato, Garlic Duck Confit, Slab Bacon and Pork Sausage all Braised with Noble Duck fat, White Stock and Foie Gras Jus) This is a Very Rich Dish which was served for Warriors to defend their Village! Don’t take it if you can’t bear it."

Interesting caption to describe the dish. I do call myself food warrior, so I must try this dish again. Yes, it was indeed a rich dish cause of all the fat (oh glorious fat!). The dish consisted mainly of beans (70%) so you might have excessive bad gas (aka fart) once you are done. I was a little disappointed with the portion of the bacon as there were probably 2~3 slabs. It wasn't too sinfully fatty as what I hoped, which left me wanting more. The duck confit and sausage was nicely cooked and the crustiness of the top layer made the meal enjoyable, much better than my previous experience. We didn't finish the meal and brought it home. It seemed to taste much better the next day.

Final cost of the meal is $85 (tax + tips included), a saving of $16. Next time, we might want to try the $35 three course prefix meal (only in certain time period and for non-signature dishes).

Note about Groupon deal: The reservation process through Groupon was a little annoying as the restaurant decided to end the promotion earlier (we weren't informed) and they canceled most of our February reservations without reason. After talking with the owner, we managed to secure our reservation at the end of January. Else, we need to request Groupon for a refund.

#french #duck #bacon #foiegras #beans #nyc #manhattan #cuisine #filetmignon #tribeca 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Marea - 2 Michelin Stars

Marea is a two Michelin stars restaurant located near columbus circle. Tasting menu for lunch has a better value as it costs $80 each for five course. However, since there are several mention of popular dishes (fusilli and ricci) that are not part of the tasting menu, we decided to get the two course menu at $47 each and ordered a separate appetizer for $18.

Overall, experience is 3.8. Some dishes live up to their reputation but some do not.

POLIPO (grilled octopus, smoked potatoes, pickled red onion, radish, chilies, tonnato)

Best dish of the day. Octopus is flavorful and tender. Even the vegetable tasted good.

ASTICE (nova scotia lobster, burrata, eggplant, basil)

There is an additional $7 price tag on top of the two course menu. It is fresh but not memorable.

Ricci (Sea Urchin, lardo, sea salt) $18

Many people raved about this dish. It's only offered during dinner but we managed to order it during lunch. I have high expectation about this dish but alas, I think it is overhyped. Yes, the sea urchin is fresh and not pungent but I don't see how the lard helped to alleviate the sea urchin. Overall, it tasted like a sea urchin on top of a toasted bread. Not memorable.

It may also cause stomach ache.

Home made pistachio and olive bread. 
You can see the olive in this picture. Pretty good.

FUSILLI (durum wheat pasta, red wine braised octopus, bone marrow)

This is another popular dish in the restaurant which offers a generous portion of octopus and bone marrow. We both enjoyed the meal very much. Octopus is of the same quality as the appetizer, but bone marrow could be more enjoyable if the it is more rendered or roasted. So far, most memorable bone marrow is from +Minetta Tavern.

Our table overlooking the dining room.

#FoodAndDrink #restaurant #nyc #manhattan #food #foodie #michelinstarrestaurant #michelinguide #MichelinStar #FineDining #MichelinGuide