La Carniceria, Buenos Aires, 5/25/19

building
building

La Carniceria is a small place with about 10 small bare wood tables and a few counter stools.  Tables are placed fairly close together and a mural of hanging meat fills the back wall.  Opposite that is the cooking area behind the bar.   The chairs are a comfortable wire mesh and the floor is a lovely terrazzo.  Music plays in the background and windows look out onto the street.  It looks relatively new and is a comfortable ambiance.  It filled up quickly and the noise level rose with that, but it workable.  Our server was helpful and friendly and spoke great English. The menu is small and is heavy on the grilled meat.  Portions are generous and the food is simple and straightforward but seriously delicious.  Doing something simple really well can often dwarf the frilly, less flavorful options.  This place is highly recommended by me to visit. Continue reading

Cafe Tortoni, Buenos Aires, 5/25/19

line to get in
line to get in

Cafe Tortoni dates back to 1858 and moved to its present location in 1880 but has long been a part of Buenos Aires history.  A French style place where artists and scholars visited in the early 1920s it now hosts regular tango shows as well as serving up coffee, alcohol and a good variety of fresh pastries and snacks.  But this did not seem to be a place to have a meal, more just a drink and snack and people watch or to absorb some of the atmosphere.   It is typical to find a line to get in but the line moved quickly and we were in soon.  I read about a large basement room but didn’t get to see it.  There was a room more like a library filled with books and mementos.  The whole place was filled with stuff – photos, trophies, books, stained glass lamps, art and small marble tables.  There is a Tiffany glass ceiling and a collection of Tiffany lamps on top of the service area.  If you need to take some of the place with you there is a large number of souvenirs for sale. Continue reading

Tegui, Buenos Aires, 5/24/19

entrance
entrance

Tegui is a medium sized place that is a surprise inside as its building is covered with graffiti and the entrance is marked only on the door.  The well spaced tables are set with nice white tableclothes and huge napkins.  A bench seat provides the seating along one wall for the smaller tables where as the 4-tops are next to large windows looking out to an area of lighted plants.  One end of the room is a wall of glassed in wine bottles and the other the open kitchen, highlighted by a huge stainless steel bull head on the end of the vent hood.  The lighting was mostly provided by candles and pop music played in the background.  The ceiling was a shiny black wood and the wood floor was painted gray.  They have been here 10 years.  The staff was all friendly, helpful and conversant in English.  They only offer a tasting menu, for which the course listing was at the table, and wine pairings are available, however we chose to order our own wines.  They featured a number of local items in their dishes. Continue reading

Elena Restaurante, Buenos Aires, 5/24/19

door sign
door sign

Elena is a huge restaurant located in the Four Seasons Hotel.  Even with all the space, the small wood tables are placed closed together.  They are set with small square leather placemats and napkins embossed with their logo.  Bench seating lines several walls and there were a couple rounded booths on one side.  There was a staircase in the room and windows to rooms upstairs but I saw no one eating up there.  However there was a dumb waiter in the room that seemed to be carrying things up and down.  It is a striking room with a black and white tile floor, tons of wood and tile on the walls with metal accents.  A large open kitchen is on one end of the room across from the glassed in cabinets of meat. You could see the flames from the gas grill around the meats that were cooking.  A large domed skylight is in the center of the room and provided a ton of light during the day.  There was music in the background.  The menu was in Spanish and English and they did offer a lunch special.  Service was poor with long waits between server check-ins and they forgot to bring the potatoes with our meat.  I finally was able to flag down a manager type, as the server was not to be found, and she got them out asap.  However she also managed to splatter the wine when she poured it  and tried to charge more for the wine than was printed.   There seemed to be as many locals as tourists there but the ambiance was weird and the food average at best. Continue reading

CHILA – Relais & Chateaux, Buenos Aires, 5/23/19

entrance
entrance

CHILA is a larger place that offers only a tasting menu, but they do have a vegetarian option for it.  The night we were there they also offered an additional caviar option. Wine pairings (8 glasses for about 15 courses) are available and we opted for them this evening.  Pacing of the meal was fairly quick and portion control was good.  The staff were all very friendly.  It is a place with a modern look, bare wood tables set with huge linen napkins and comfortable stuffed arm chairs, and lowered lighting.  There is a wonderful view of the city through their windows. Continue reading

Roux Resto, Buenos Aires, 5/23/19

entrance
entrance

Roux is casual medium sized place with white clothes and napkins.  There is a bar at one end of the room with a pass through window to the kitchen but no seating at the bar.  The small tables are fairly closely set and windows to the street are on two sides of the room.  The other walls are painted and decorated with art and mirrors;  the floor is a natural wood.  At lunch is was a light and airy feeling room.  American music plays in the background but sound tiles in the ceiling keep the noise level good.  The day we were there they offered a special Anniversary tasting menu but normally the menu is all a la carte.  Chef Martin Rebaudino was in the house and came out to visit with his guests.   All the staff were attentive and friendly although some had limited ability to speak English.  The portions were generous and the pacing good.  I did see an amuse bouche being served to other tables but it missed us. Continue reading

El Baqueano – Cocina Autóctona Contemporánea, Buenos Aires, 5/22/19

building
building

El Baqueano is a small place with about 6 tables, 8 seats at the counter and an open kitchen.  They have been open 11 years.  You must ring the bell to have them confirm your reservation through the grating before you gain entry.  Windows to the street are on 2 walls as it sits on a corner and comfortable armchairs are at the tables set with elegant clothes and napkins.  Instrumental music played in the background and the overall lighting was low, but each table had a spot light.  An enclosed wall of wine separated the main dining room from a room with a larger table.  Everyone is served the same tasting menu and no printed version is available.  It was an odd meal, made odder in that the place was empty except for us and one other table.  Pacing was really fast and portions too large for a tasting.  With little information about the upcoming food we chose to try their wine pairings with the meal.  They served many local items which the server had difficulty translating for us.  Continue reading

Don Julio, Buenos Aires, 5/22/19

building
building

Don Julio is a good sized place with additonal seating on a second level and outdoor tables also available.  The small tables are fairly close but nicely covered with white clothes with brown runners and white napkins.  Small service tables help with overflow on the smaller tables.  Wine bottles consumed from their cellar of over 14,000 bottles are signed by their drinkers and displayed on the walls.  The ceiling is made of bricks and old tile decorates the floor.  The open grill area is filled with grilling meats as several cooks man the fire and grill.  Windows to the street and patio area are on two sides as the building sits on a street corner. The place was packed with people but noise did not seems to be a problem at lunch.  It is a very well known place so reservations are a must but for those who have to wait for a table they offer champagne and empanadas to make the wait easier.  They offer a large menu but this place is about beef.  The cozy feel of the place is helped by the excellent, welcoming staff.  When they found we were “foodies” they offered us a tour of the kitchen and wine cellars.  This is significant in that the kitchen is down the street and the manager walked down with us to meet the chef and see some of the preparations of the kitchen that makes everything served – from charcuterie to bread to vinegars and they age their own meat.  The wine cellar was impressive with its huge collection of bottles and also had a table for special parties there.  Plates are filled with generous portions and sharing is fine. Continue reading

Aramburu, Buenos Aires, 5/21/19

entry
entry

Aramburu was a medium sized modern looking place that had been in this location just 3 weeks when we ate there.  The bare tables are of stone or wood and accompanied by different chairs.  The large open kitchen takes up one long side of the room which is opposite windows, to the alley/street, that were covered with blinds.  The painted walls are topped with a brick ceiling and hanging light fixtures.  The light fixtures are minimal as the place is fairly dark.  It has a casual feel but you have to ring the bell to get inside.  There are just 12 tables and some music plays in the background.  The staff were super friendly and welcoming and spoke great English.  They serve only a tasting menu and wine pairings are available.  There is no printed version of the menu handed out, however they volunteer to email it and they actually did.  Pacing started out quite rapid but then allowed more time between courses and portion control was good.  We ordered our own wines from the recommendations by the excellent sommelier. Continue reading

Parrilla Peña, Buenos Aires, 5/21/19

building
building

Parrilla Peña is a small place with closely spaced small tables covered with white clothes and napkins.  Windows look out on to the street but have drapes to partially cover them.  The menu is large and most plates are enough for two.  It accepts only VISA or cash.  The staff are friendly and helpful but the English is limited.  Wines line the upper parts of the walls and they have a long pole to grab yours and bring it down.  You enter into an area that separates the kitchen by a low bar and looks like a takeout area.  The other end of the kitchen is open to the back part of the dining room.  It lent a small amount of noise to the dining room but mostly it was banter of the regular customers.  This place felt “old school” serving simple but real local flavors, in huge portions.  It is not creative or the best but a perfect example of what you might eat on a regular basis if you lived here.  It was good, satisfying and an overall fun experience. Continue reading

Delta Diner (update), Delta, 7/13/19

exterior
exterior

It’s been 3 years since Frankie and I wrote up some visits to the Delta Diner in the “middle of nowhere” Delta, Wisconsin.  The Chequamegon National Forest is another draw for this area but the Diner, a real draw, can commonly have a wait for seating in the summer months. Now you have an alternate dining option with The Tin Taphouse and the Chicken Shack – a bit of Jamaica in the middle of the Northwoods.  It’s only open on weekends and probably will close in October, as it is open air and it starts to get cold up there about that time.  But during the warmer months there could be no better way to enjoy the weather than at one of the picnic tables in the back (overlooking the White River) or on one of the stools at the bar enjoying the fun people manning the taps for locally brewed Earth Rider beers.  The place is composed from two railroad containers joined with an arch of metal.  Bright murals are painted on the outside walls and lots of plants bring the essence of a lush island setting.  Owners of the Delta Diner, Todd and Nina Bucher, are grilling up the jerk chicken and making the sides that will help absorb the quantities of beer you’ll want to consume.   There’s lots of parking and then you can walk into Island time.  For additional details check their website <deltadiner.com>. Continue reading

Scenic Drive Resort, Delta, 6/15/19 & 7/13/19

Builbing
Building

Scenic Drive Resort is in the Chequamegon National Forest, on Lake Delta.  The owners, Terry and Patty Pajtash, bought the resort in 1990 and built the new lodge building in 2000.   Their two children, Arianna and Wyatt are often seen in the bar helping out.  Terry is the main cook but Patty is equally at home on the charbroil grill.  They have rental cabins in addition to the restaurant in the main lodge building.  It serves food year round as well as having a full bar but in the summer months they offer a Saturday night special of Steak Kabobs, and thus I am putting out this write-up promptly so you have a chance to get up there and have one.  (Another note is that the owners have the place for sale, so we don’t know how long this will go on).  They start serving at 6:00 pm and it’s first come, first served so don’t be late because there are no reservations for kabobs.  There are other things if you come another night that I can vouch for, including Terry’s ribs that are award winning and a good ribeye steak sandwich.  For additional details about the place, they have a website at <scenicdrive.com>. Continue reading

Good Thyme Restaurant and Catering, Washburn, 6/14/19

building
building

Good Thyme Restaurant is in a 100 year old yellow house on Highway 13. It also does catering in the area and is run and staffed by mostly women.  It is a large place with a porch outside equipped with lots of furniture to enjoy the weather.  A fireplace is in the middle of the first floor where you enter and is surrounded by rooms full of copper tables and comfortable seating.  Windows look out on the grounds and the walls are decorated with art, much of which is for sale.  In the back is a copper bar incircling a mountain of liquor bottles.  Some people chose to eat at the bar as well as the many stopping there for a cocktail before dinner.  It was packed with people and reservations are a must.  They are only open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday during the summer.  Service was friendly, helpful and efficient.   It is not a large menu but there is good variety and they do have the Friday Fish Fry which is common in the area.  We were there to try that. Continue reading

Momofuku Ko (update), New York City, 5/4/19

open kitchen
open kitchen

We visited Ko one year ago and the entrance changed positions but not much else has changed significantly.   The seats at the counter seemed better spaced but the loud music still makes conversation difficult.  They offer 2 seatings in a night and they are staggered slightly so waiting wasn’t a problem.  They offer only the same tasting menu to all and it was surprisingly similar to what we were served a year ago.  They probably offer wine pairings but we chose to order our own wines.  They do have a couple tables for larger groups but everyone else is seated at the wood bar in acceptable but not super comfy seats.  They have purse hooks under the counter but it was so far under you’d never be able to retrieve your purse if you need anything.  Pacing was uneven and portion control was on the light side.  You do receive a menu at the end but many of the things I well recognized from our last visit.  I mentioned this to the chef who was a bit defensive that they’d made changes but they were minor to the diner.  Unfortunately this similarity made the meal less exciting to me. Continue reading

Frenchette, New York City, 5/4/19

building
building

We visited Frenchette for a Saturday lunch, where they also offer brunch foods.  They opened about a year ago.  You enter into a good sized bar area that is comfortable and friendly and you can also snag a seat there to eat without a reservation.   The large dining room held closely set tables some of which were matched to booth seating along a mid-room dividing wall.  Service was friendly and efficient.  The menu is not large but offers a number of tasty options.  Eclectic music played in the background, the yellowish lights were lowered and the place was packed.  They make their own charcuterie in house as well as pretzel rolls.   Continue reading

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (update), New York City, 5/3/19

building
building

We were at Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare in the fall of 2015, back when it was in Brooklyn.  It has since moved into the city and relaxed a few of the rules.  Chef César Ramirez now allows note taking and photos but still does not permit jeans and requires coats for men in the dining room.  I was not a fan of such policies back then and still am not but was willing to try the new location that was more under my terms.  The new place in still in the back of a grocery store but the room is beautiful, softer than the old one with a lot less stainless steel and more woods.  It is also much larger with 20 seats at the counter and 20 at tables around the perimeter.  This allows larger parties to attend and the comfortable counter seats have backs and are now spaced between parties.  Shining copper pots hang above the large open kitchen that has lots of people making preparations.  The rock music in the background was a bit jarring for the otherwise elegant setting.  It still is a surprise tasting menu only but they do give you a copy of what you had at the end of the meal.  Pairings are available.  Pacing was good but portions tend to the large size and are fairly rich. Continue reading

Marea (update), New York City, 5/3/19

entry
entry

It’s been 4 years since we ate at Marea, a 2 star Michelin restaurant that specializes in seafood with an Italian influence.  The food here is all very flavorful with out dots or smears – just plain good and fresh.  It is a huge place, elegantly appointed but with closely set tables and some noise issues when it is full.  At lunch it was packed.  There is a lot of art on the walls and windows to the street on two sides of the large dining area.  They also have a long bar area with a beautiful yellow glass wall running behind the bar.  The wood on the walls is polished to a high sheen and you’re likely to spot some bold name people dining with you or in passage from one of the private dining rooms.  (I spotted Michael Douglas as he exited).  At lunch they offer a selection of primi and secondi courses with a fixed price of $63 for the two of your choice, however some selections will have a supplemental charge and a 5 course tasting menu for $99 with optional wine pairings offered.  The tasting includes dessert and although the menu is already set they were willing to make some changes for us and we did not have to get the same things, so that is the deal to get.  We ordered our own bottle of wine and had a cocktail and still beat the cost of buying the pairings, but just barely.  Service was excellent, friendly and efficient.  Put this place on your list if you can. Continue reading

Bozar Restaurant, Brussels, 4/27/19

one entrance
one entrance

Bozar is the one star Michelin restaurant in the Palais des Beaux Arts Museum.  Chef Karen Torosyan, the ‘Pie King’,  is noted for his pâté en croûte and in 2015 he was named the World Champion of Pâté en Croûte.  However be warned, if you want to try any of his crusts they must be order about a week ahead of time.  We ordered a Pithiviers a week before and tried to order a Millefeuille that evening and were told it was not possible.  They also offer 3 and 5 course tasting menus with wine pairings available.  It is a large place on multiple levels with bare marble tables closely set and appointed with bare wood armless chairs.  One end of the longer room is the open kitchen where there is a always a flurry of activity.  Karen Torosyan was there and very busy in the kitchen, with his name etched on the end of the huge stainless steel cooktop.   Lights are dimmed and the noise level is high.  Service was friendly, spoke good English and reasonably attentive.   Continue reading

Restaurant De Jonkman, Brugge, 4/27/19

entering
entering

De Jonkman was started in 2006 by Chef Filip Claeys and his wife Sandra Claeys.  It is a short train ride from Brussels to a shrubbery surrounded modern house in Brugge.   There are colorful and whimsical animals outside the windows and in some of the several dining rooms. Detailing of the interior and exterior design is lovely and lots of large windows to the lush grounds serve as walls for the dining rooms.  Art by Belgian artists and mirrors adorn other walls and the large white cloth covered tables are well spaced and fitted with comfortable chairs.  They have 2 Michelin stars and chef Claeys was on hand the day we were there to produce some wonderful dishes for us to enjoy.  He really stresses sustainable food sourcing and works to highlight local products that are not usually on menus, especially fish that would often be thrown back and he finds a way to turn them into something delicious.  It is worth a trip to Brugge; the food is outstanding.  The staff were all friendly and spoke great English.  The menu offered a la carte options as well as 5, 6 and 7 course tastings.  Working with the chef we were able to select a la carte options that would highlight what he thought looked best that day. Continue reading

La Paix (update), Brussels, 4/26/19

building
building

We last visited La Paix 2 years ago.  Since then they have been elevated to a 2 star Michelin rating.  The beautiful origami bird sculpture still graces the 1892 dining room built in a retired bank that processed the money from the meat slaughterhouses across the street.  Chef David Martin was in the kitchen and while he has changed the hours and days the food is still of great quality and flavor.  I recommend you visit here if you can.  The tasting menu changes every couple months but individual dishes  change with availability and seasons.  His staff, along with his partner Nathalie Obbiet, could not have made us feel more welcome.  They offer a 6 course tasting only on Thursday and Friday evenings and lunch Tuesday through Friday.  The large open kitchen is at the back of the room and one side is filled with an old bar that serves as a service area, not for seating, and stocks a full bar.  The large fish tanks have moved into the center of the room for all to easily admire the size of the crabs and lobsters.  The bare wood tables are nicely spaced and most include a side service table so crowding is not an issue.  The old wood floor is gorgeous and the lighting is lowered but far from dim.  Pacing was great as was the portion control of the tasting. Continue reading

Friterie, Brussels, 4/26/19

place
exterior

Friterie is a small sliver of a shop tucked away but they are worth mentioning because they do serve some of the better fresh hand cooked fries.  They are double cooked to get a good crisp outside the soft potato.  There is always a line and this trip I found they were selling snacks in addition to well done fries.  Orders of fries are in 3 sizes that come in the usual paper cone.  An assortment of toppings are also available but my favorite is to just get the fries with a little extra salt.  They do have the little forks to keep it a bit less messy if you want toppings.  On the largest order it looked like they put some topping in the middle as well as on the top.  There are a few tables to eat at out front or you can just munch on them as you walk or stand around with all the other people eating fries.  They also have added a cool payment machine that takes cards.  It’s a snack you have to try when in Brussels but one that the quality varies greatly on, so start small and don’t be afraid to toss. Continue reading

L’air du temps, Liernu, 4/26/19

building
restaurant building

L’air du temps is in an old farm house about an hour train ride from Brussels and then a 30 minute cab ride from Namur station.   The good sized dining room is in one of the many buildings on the compound and had floor to ceiling windows on three sides that overlook some of the gardens.  I understand that some of the other buildings offer lodging if you want to stay out there.  The restaurant has a 2 star Michelin rating and the room has a contemporary feel with swirling wood decorations covering the ceiling and low pile gray carpeting, both of which dampen sound.  They had upholstered chairs that I did not find particularly comfortable – they felt too hard.  The good sized, white cloth covered tables are widely set and minimally decorated.  The back wall is mostly cabinets except for the glassed in passage to the kitchen.  Piped in bird sounds are in the background.  They offered 2 tasting menus and an a la carte menu.  There was a special smaller option for lunch only.  Pacing was pretty good and portion control was excellent.  Alcoholic and non-alcoholic pairings are offered.  We chose the smaller tasting and ordered our own wine.   Chef Sang-Hoon Degiembre was in house and came out to chat with guests as well as present some of the dishes.  He is from South Korea but is now a Belgian citizen.  The Korean letter that seems to be a symbol of the place is the first letter of his name and also the world for world in the Japanese alphabet. Continue reading

The Jane, Antwerp, 4/25/19

building
building

The Jane opened in 2014 in the former chapel of an old military hospital complex.  The building is well restored and already has 2 Michelin stars, however they did have a fire a few months ago and much of the kitchen had to be replaced.  It is a large dining room with one end being the open kitchen.  The balcony above is a bar and it gives a visitor a spectacular view of the room below as well as many seats at the bar to lounge and get ready for the meal.  It also serves an a la carte menu of bites to be shared.  The coved ceiling of the building has been restored to look old with a distressed paint treatment.   Stained glass windows have whimsical designs in them.  New age music plays in the background of the large white cloth covered tables which are closely spaced. Bench seating with lots of pillows is along some of the walls and the middle tables are outfitted with 4 chairs, but some are worked into built in partitions.  A huge overhead light fixture as well as a sculpture over the kitchen are centerpieces of the stylish design. Continue reading

Bon Bon (update), Brussels, 4/25/19

building
building

We last visited Bon Bon, a 2 star Michelin restaurant, 2 years ago.  The interior decorations of the old mansion haven’t changed much but now the whimsical sheep are also by the front door to greet you.  The white painted tree branch still extends into the room and the lovely old wood floors have nice rugs that provide sound absorption.  Tables are well spaced and with the ceiling sound panels, noise level is really not a problem, even with soft music playing in the background.  The large open kitchen is still humming and there are some counter seats for those who want an even closer view.  Windows around the perimeter look over the lush gardens outside.   They now offer a 6 course surprise tasting as well as a 5 course vegetarian one, in addition to an a la carte menu.  After a heavy lunch we chose the vegetarian option and ordered our own wine.  Pacing of the meal was good as was portion control.  Chef Christophe Hardiquest was in the kitchen and cam out to speak with each of the tables. Continue reading

Chambre Séparée, Ghent, 4/24/19

exterior
exterior

Chambre Séparée is a u-shaped counter for 16 around a large open kitchen dominated by wood fired grills, which do all the cooking.   There is a comfortable space out front where you wait for your seat at the counter.  They invite you to come early to enjoy the space and a cocktail.  Our reservation ran a little late so they started with the snacks out there.  I don’t know if this was usual or not. Two seatings fill the spaces for this surprise tasting menu.  Wine pairings are available but we chose our own bottles of wine to accompany dinner.  Vintage rock records are played on a turntable, smoke fills the air ( which will also permeate your clothes by the time you leave) and lighting is pretty dim at the counter.  They have been in this location for two and a half years and hope to move the restaurant to the country in another year and a half when it would be time to remodel the building.  It is a several hour meal with good pacing, no lags, and great portion control.  At the end of the evening they have a written copy of the menu for you as well as a parting gift of housemade bread and butter.  Kobe Desramaults is the chef and he and the other chefs presented the food and described it well.  They were all very friendly, spoke good English and didn’t mind questions. Continue reading

Sea Grill (update), Brussels, 4/24/19

entrane
entrance

We were last at the Sea Grill in November of 2013, a 2 star Michelin restaurant in the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel.  The elegant dining room is located below the hotel lobby with widely spaced large tables set with lovely clothes and napkins.  The lighting is lowered but there are spots directed to each table so it’s good lighting for photos.  There were 2 adjoining rooms with larger tables for bigger parties. Wood walls are on either end with art on the other walls and music plays in the background.  The excellent service was provided by a staff that all conversed well in English.  An old school atmosphere did not provide my menu with prices but did provide a purse stool.   The menu offered a la carte options as well as a 4 course tasting, for which they were willing to do some substitutions (we substituted the Sole for the Sea Bass). Pacing of the meal was on the slow side but portion control was very good.  They did provide us with a printed menu of our meal however it was not exactly what we had. Continue reading

La table d’Aki, Paris, 4/13/19

buidling
building

We last visited La table d’Aki in February 2013, before I started this blog.  It’s a tiny place with about 8 tables for 2.  They do 2 seatings each night.  Classical music plays in the background and the small tables are very closely placed.  They are set with white tableclothes and nice sized cloth napkins.   The end of the room is the small kitchen where chef prepares all the food and cleans up too.  Each table has its own little light on it.  Near where the wall hit the floor was a piece of wood to prevent chairs from backing up too far and dinging the wall behind them. Chef is very particular and you can see him re-arrange things to his liking.  No tweezer action here but the food is precise yet simple.  It is good food but not earth shattering.  It is honest, clean tasting without dots, smears or 15 ingredients on one plate. It is only seafood and there are no amuse bouche or final treats.  The room has little ambiance and the staff spoke fairly poor English.  Everyone in the restaurant has the same tasting menu.  Pacing is rapid and portions size is on the small end of the scale. Continue reading

Coretta, Paris, 4/13/19

building
building

Coretta is a medium sized restaurant located near Martin Luther King Park, thus the name.  Two sides of the room are large windows to the outside.  The modern room has lots of wood accents and the small tables are of wood based with a metal tops set with leather chairs.  Some of the tables are high top and there is outdoor seating.  It was nice looking but not the most comfortable the way the legs on the table hit your legs.  Modern music plays in the background and an opening on one wall looks into the kitchen.  The menu is a la carte or sold with a 3 course or 2 course price.  Certain picks do have a surcharge for this method.  Some of the food was quite good but none of it great, however it is a very pleasant place for lunch.  Service was friendly, efficient and they spoke great English. Continue reading

Restaurant Alliance (update), Paris, 4/12/19

building
building (you can see chef through the window)

It’s been 2 years since we visited Restaurant Alliance, a small one star Michelin restaurant with Chef Toshitaka Omiya at the helm – someone who seriously knows how to cook.  If you have the opportunity to get there, do.  I give it solid thumbs way up.   The food is wonderful combinations of really flavorful ingredients that will leave you wanting more and then they’ll bring the next course that is just as good or better.  They offer 2 tasting menus, one a 7 course surprise menu selected by the chef or a Harmony Menu of set courses.  They do offer a smaller tasting menu at lunch but go at dinner if you can because you don’t want to miss any of the dishes this chef turns out.  Pacing is good, no lags and portion control great.  There are only around 7 tables in between the windows to the street and the large window looking into the kitchen.  Shades of gray and cream along with lower lighting provide a peaceful, cozy ambiance along with some cool circular overhead light fixtures.  Service is stellar, with welcoming and helpful staff that all spoke great English.  We were warmly greeted by  the chef and manager Shawn Joyeux, who is great at finding you a fun wine at your chosen price point. Continue reading

La Condesa (update), Paris, 4/12/19

building
building

It’s been just over a year since we visited La Condesa and this trip we tried lunch instead of dinner.  It is a really small one star Michelin restaurant that has been open about a year and a half.  There are about 8 closely set small bare wood tables.  The use of mirrors helps make the place seem bigger but it has a cozy atmosphere.  Music is in the background and the chef Indra Carrillo is in the kitchen but makes frequent trips to the dining room to bring food and check on diners.  The menu offers tastings of 3, 4, or 6 courses and wine pairings are available.  We chose the 6 course menu and ordered our own wine.  Portion control and pacing are both good and the staff is all super friendly, helpful and speak great English.   Continue reading