Jean Georges

Overall taste: 7/10 | 2016 | 1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

Jean Georges is a 3-michelin starred restaurant in New York as well as the most disappointing restaurant we’ve been to. We spent over $300 here (with no alcohol), and we expect the taste rating to be at least a 8/10 for this kind of price.

+++ = highly recommend | – – – = do not recommend

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– – – Amuse bouche

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+++ Toasted egg yolk, caviar and herbs ($69) [We felt that this was the only amazing dish. It literally tasted perfect; the salty caviar went really well with the  lightly-seasoned soft yolk and buttered toast…. but look at the price for a two-bite appetizer.]
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Sea trout & oyster tartar, chive, lemon, horseradish ($29) [Lynn liked it but Jeff found the oyster to be too fishy]
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Yellowfin tuna ribbons, avocado and spicy radish, ginger marinade ($29) [Average. The sauce was on the sour side.]
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– – – Foie Gras terrine, strawberry granola, aged balsamic ($37) [We are huge foie gras fans and this is the worst foie gras dish we’ve had. Every part of it is infused with sweet strawberry.  If you like your foie gras as a dessert, this might be for you.]
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+++ Diver scallops, caramelized cauliflower, caper-raisin emulsion ($37) [This was great, and is what we expect from a 3-michelin starred restaurant. The scallops had a crispy golden crust. The caramelized cauliflower was delicious and didn’t have much of a burnt taste.]
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– – – Tenderloin of beef, heirloom carrots and fingerling potatoes, hibiscus mustard ($54) [We’re trying not to exaggerate here, but we believe most people that cook at home can make better steak than this. It’s ironic how chewy this tenderloin was and the flavour was simply not there. The steak also wasn’t meaty enough and tasted like those cheap $10 steak diners serve.]
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Salt and pepper sweetbreads, sweet chili emulsion, pea shoots, golden garlic ($29) [This was well fried, but we prefer our sweetbreads pan-fried so that we can actually taste it.]
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Chocolate – dark chocolate mousse, milk chocolate ganache, passion fruit gelee, mini chocolate cake, hibiscus sorbet, crystallized rose, peanut caramel, olive oil powder, fraises des bois and macadamia nut milk ($12) [Average]
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– – – Strawberry – vanilla tapioca pudding, strawberry sorbet, enchanced strawberries, gelee and crisps ($12) [This is undoubtedly one of the prettiest desserts we’ve had, but also one of the worst in terms of taste. The so-called “enhanced strawberries” were soaked in sauces that simply do not go well with strawberries, unless black pepper strawberry is your thing.]
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Complimentary chocolate [Average]
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Complimentary desserts [Average]

Cochon555 Boston

April 9, 2017 | 540 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02118

We received complimentary tickets to attend this event, but we remain objective in our review.

What is Cochon555? In short, it’s a pork-themed feast with free-flowing cocktail, spirits, and wine. Regular tickets are priced at $125pp and VIP tickets are priced at $200pp. We personally do not recommend the VIP tickets. It’s a lot more expensive and the only difference  is you get to go in one hour early. A lot of the stations were also not ready at that time.

There were a lot less pork than we expected. We felt that it was more of a cocktail heaven. There were a lot of selections and efforts were made to make it fun . There were dry ice, test tubes, pipettes, neon light, & for one of our drinks, they let a burnt wood sit in the cup for a few second to create a smokey flavour. We’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

As for their food selection, not only were there less pork than we expected, the variety was also lacking. There were simply so much pulled pork. We would prefer if they had more interesting cuts of pork (e.g. tail, feet, ear, pork jowl) and more creative preparation methods. Here’s some of the food selection: (from top left to bottom right) head cheese (one of our favourites), deviled egg, soup with pulled pork, pulled pork on bread, pulled pork taco, pulled pork burger, accompaniments (tomato, artichoke, toast), cured meat (salami, prosciutto), chocolate.

Quality-wise, there’s definitely room for improvement. For example, some of the bread was rock hard. As for the burger, the buns were straight out of the fridge,

Here’s our highlight of the day: (from left to right) foie gras pate, pork skewer and truffle butter (and no, we’re not referring to the urban dictionary definition). The foie gras pate was amazing and it was comparable to the ones served in expensive french restaurants. The pork skewer was moist and meaty and was very similar to Chinese char-siu. We also loved the truffle butter! It was silky smooth and had the perfect amount of truffle and salt.

All in all, it’s a very fun event to attend. However, we think it’s more suitable for alcohol lovers than pork lovers.

L’Espalier

Overall taste: 9/10 | 2017 | 774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

+++ = highly recommend | – – – = do not recommend

We really like L’Espalier and would probably go more often if it’s cheaper. We got their 3-course brunch for $65pp (served on Saturdays and Sundays). On Wednesday to Friday, they serve their 5-course lunch for $68pp and you also have the option of ordering from their a la carte menu. If you ever go, remember to take their 20% off coupon on your way out for your next visit.

We find a lot of food (especially in the U.S.) to be either too salty or sweet to the extent that we can’t appreciate the taste of the dish. This is one of the rare places where we find food seasoned to our liking, which is why we gave it such a high rating. We generally liked all their dishes except one of the desserts (see below).

Brunch:
Amuse Bouche, Chef Jacob’s smoothe, First, Main, Dessert ($65pp. some selections require a $10 supplement)

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Flavoured butter (amuse-bouche) [The flavour was extremely subtle and it tasted like regular butter.]
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Cranberry muffin & thyme scone (amuse-bouche) [We liked both their muffin and scone. Jeff prefers the muffin while Lynn prefers the scone. We weren’t sure if the butter (above) was meant for these since they were already quite buttery.]
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Chef Jacob’s smoothie – banana, pineapple & clementine [Jeff found it a little weird while Lynn liked it. We are not sure what they put in it but Lynn tasted a cheesy flavour while Jeff tasted some sort of herb.]
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+++ Lobster bisque – maine lobster / melted leeks [It was on the sour side, but it tasted really good. Jeff’s only complaint is that there was too little lobster meat.]
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+++ Roasted hudson valley foie gras – bitter almond pancake / roasted pear ($10 supplement) [We are both big foie gras fans and we really liked everything about this dish. The pancake and pear were not overly sweet or strong and they complemented the perfectly seared foie gras really well.]
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+++ Roasted loch etive trout – spring peas / fried capers / asparagus [If you’ve never had trout, it tastes and look very similar to salmon. The trout was cooked to our preference where the middle was a little rare. It also went extremely well with their sauce.] 
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+++ Ribeye – truffled eggs / sunchoke / roasted salsify ($10 supplement) [Our favourite part of ribeye is actually the ribeye cap, but this ribeye didn’t have a cap.. Apart from that, everything tasted really good. It almost seemed like the chef made sure every single ingredient was there for a reason, and at the perfect proportion.]
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– – – Jelly donut – filled cranberry-orange jam / ricotta ice-cream [The ricotta icecream was good, but their donut was a huge disappointment. It tasted like donut that was fried and left out on the table for 2 days. The exterior was not crispy and the dough was hard. We noticed several people who also did not finish their donuts.]
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Chocolate pot de creme – shortbread cookie / vanilla ice cream [We requested to have their chai spice icecream substituted with something else. We forgot to confirm what they substitute it with but we think it’s vanilla. We have to say this is a very unique chocolate pot de creme. It was more savoury than sweet. Jeff liked it but Lynn prefers her chocolate sweet.]
 

 

Russell House Tavern

Overall taste: 7.75/10 | 2017 | 14 John F. Kennedy St, Cambridge, MA 02138

+++ = highly recommend | – – – = do not recommend

Pictured above:  Lobster slider – pickled watermelon rind, arugula, buttered old bay brioche ($6) [lobster salad was good, but the buns could be more toasted and have more butter]

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Torchon of foie gras – boston brown bread, pickled sour cherries ($14) [we really liked the foie gras itself, but not a fan of the brown bread and pickled sour cherries]
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+++Steak tartare – crispy-fried egg, black garlic, truffle oil ($12) [The crispy-fried egg is really good. We recommend eating it by itself. We read a yelp review about the beef chunks being too chewy and we agree. It’s the chewiest beef tartare we had. While Lynn find this average, Jeff really likes it because there wasn’t much seasoning that would distract you from the taste of the beef.
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– – – Leek and mushroom pizza – melted leek, vermont goat cheese, wild mushroom, white truffle oil ($13) [This was extremely salty and greasy, and could definitely use more leek and mushrooms]
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+++Red wine-braised shortrib – oxtail pot au feu, roasted bone marrow ($28) [The shortrib was extremely tender. The oxtail was on the salty side, but it’s fine if you eat it with the potatoes and carrots. Overall, this is a very heavy dish. Jeff found it average but Lynn really liked it]
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Chocolate ganache tart – kumquat marmalade ($8) [this is probably one of the heaviest chocolate dessert out there; it was so chocolatey that it’s difficult to cut through it. We both really liked it but we recommend one portion for 2 people since it’s so thick]

Toro

Overall taste: 7.5/10 | 2016 | 1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

+++ = highly recommend | – – – = do not recommend

Toro is a hit and miss for us. There are some dishes we really like, and some we dislike.

Pictured above:  Paella valenciana – mussels, shrimp, spanish pork sausage, chicken and calasparra rice (half portion for $26)

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– – – Erizos con caviar – caviar, uni, quail egg spoon with iberico ($15) [expensive spoonful, yet not that tasty. The caviar completely overwhelms the taste of uni.]
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+++ Asado de huesos – roasted bone marrow with radish citrus salad and oxtail marmalade ($14) [love everything about this dish! The oxtail marmalade goes so well with the bone marrow underneath. It’s so fatty, yet sooooo good. It’s one of those dish you’d feel guilty eating]
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– – – Lengua de cordero – seared lamb tongue,muhammara, seville orange marmalade and puffed quinoa ($14) [They still have this dish, but they have modified it slightly since we last visited. We felt that the lamb tongue lacked flavour. It almost tasted like it was boiled in water]
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– – – Corazon – grilled archer angus beef heart and romesco ($9) [We ordered this because we wanted to try beef heart, but we didn’t know it will be smoked and sliced thinly. It tasted just like regular ham.]
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+++ Foie gras a la plancha – seared foie gras, roasted beets, plum-rhubarb compote, za’atar spiced cracker ($14) [Current dish has changed since we last visited, it uses more orange flavours. Foie gras is one of our favourite foods and the foie gras here is definitely well-seared!]
 

 

Barcelona Wine Bar

Overall taste: 8/10 | 2016 | 525 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

+++ = highly recommend | – – – = do not recommend

One of our favourite restaurants in Boston! For the last 2 dishes (paella mariscos, squid ink fideos), the menu indicates “To Share. Two or more”. However, you can actually order a one-person portion.

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Chicken liver mousse – blackberry compote ($5.50) [I prefer their foie gras torchon but this is only half the price and is really good as well]
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+++Foie gras torchon – rhubard preserves ($11.50)

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+++Seared scallops – mojo de cilantro ($13.50) [We are very picky about scallops and these were perfectly seared. Lynn loved every single drop of their cilantro sauce while Jeff is an avid hater of cilantro and believes it should disappear off the face of the Earth] 
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– – – Eva’s duck egg – gem lettuce, trout roe, crispy serrano ($8.50) [we ordered this because we never had duck eggs, but it tasted just like chicken egg. definitely not worth your $8.50.]
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Grilled hanger steak – truffle vinaigrette ($11.50) [we’ve ordered this 3 times and they don’t cook it very consistently; it ranges from medium rare to medium well. make sure to inform your server how you prefer your meat]
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– – – Grilled broccolini – truffle honey, chili flakes ($7.50) [the vegetable/honey combo is weird and unappetizing to us; not a fan]

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Cod a la plancha – salsa verde ($9.50)
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Steak tartare – fingerling chips, quail egg ($8.50)
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Grilled lamp chops – eva’s greens, mint chimichurri ($15)
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Paella mariscos – shrimps, mussels, clams, squid, saffron rice ($24.50 pp)

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+++ Squid ink fideos – calamari, garilic aioli, scallions ($14.50 pp) [this is our favourite dish in the restaurant. exercise caution ordering this if you’re dining with someone you don’t want to show your black teeth to.]
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Parrillada – ny strip, chicken, pork loin, caucho ($26.50 pp) [This was alright, a bit on the greasy side. Not something we’ll order again]