Hamachi Crudo

The Pig & The Pearl – Smoke & Finesse

I will admit that I was skeptical about a raw bar/BBQ concept having success, as these two specialties require different skill sets and at first glance don’t seem to compliment each other. I will also admit that I was completely wrong and that The Pig & The Pearl appear to have gotten it right. They…

Assorted tacos

Bar Taco – Yankee Tacos on the Westside

The Bar Taco craze moved south a few months back and set up shop near Bocado on the west side of town. Mainly located in the Connecticut area, Bartaco is selling more of a lifestyle than just a style of food; think toes in the sand,  a drink in your hand and waves lapping at your feet.…

Smoked bluefish pate with hardtack crackers

Puritan & Co. – Boston (Cambridge)

If you follow the restaurant scene in Boston, it’s hard to miss the explosion of new, high quality spots just across the river in Cambridge. It’s no longer just for fancy academics, wannabe start-ups and trust fund babies…see Alden& Harlow. Puritan & Co. is another great spot serving up modern American fare with a nod…

Final dish - watch out Blais!

Molecular Gastronomy 101

In certain circles molecular gastronomy is a four letter word; form over substance they say…too fussy. For the most part I agree, but when a chef can make the meal fun, challenge and entertain you, and the food tastes good, the experience can be magical (see the former El Bulli, Tickets, Alder and even the…

Braised lamb and blackened shrimp tacos

Red Pepper Taqueria – Tasty Tacos

The proliferation of taco joints in Atlanta over the past few years has been largely disappointing and devoid of much creativity or originality. Since branching out to Buckhead in the old La Forchette location, Red Pepper has received several accolades and recommendations from the media and my followers alike. Being the skeptic I am, I decided…

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Girl & The Goat – Chicago

On my latest jaunt to Chicago I popped into the wildly successful Girl and the Goat, which is just west of the river in an area I would equate to West Midtown. They take reservations so try and book far in advance for a prime time slot or try and get lucky (tisk,tisk) at the…

Fritters

Negril Village – Confusion Abounds

Atlanta has some really good Caribbean spots (see Tasa Roti Shop), but Negril Village is not one of them. To be fair, the food was pretty good; nice spice on the jerk chicken and pretty solid conch fritters, but at price points approaching the obscene I have to balk. $12 for 1/4 a chicken and…

Margherita

Varuni Napoli – Antico Part Duex?

Varuni Napoli opened a few short months back in the Morningside/Lenox Park area of midtown and appropriately draws considerable comparisons to Antico; this of course is completely logical since Varuni himself used to be Antico’s pizzaiolo. At first smell and taste one need just close their eyes to be confused…the only thing missing would be…

Signs of Spring

Cocktail Nirvana – Aviary

I’ve traveled all over the world and have experienced a ton of amazing things, including cocktail bars with jaw-dropping views and mind blowing presentations, but Aviary in Chicago took the cake and has forever spoiled me. From the moment you walk in and get a brief view of the magic in action, to the second…

Finished dish - take that P.F. Changes!

Chinese Stir Fry w/ Chicken and Mushrooms

As most people know, I’m a sucker for Asian fare and have often tried to master the techniques and flavors with varied outcomes. One thing that was always perplexing was the silkiness of the chicken and pork, to which I have deployed various brine and marinating combinations…to no avail. I finally sucked it up and asked…