Restaurant Week Part 3 - Telepan


72 West 69 Street, New York, NY

Phone: 212-580-4300

Telepan must have been the hottest restaurant at Upper West Side when it opened four years ago. But with more exciting/high caliber restaurants such as Dovetail, Salumeria Rosi, Shake Shack entering the UWS food scene recently, I can only imagine it's been tougher for Telepan to compete. And downtown diners don't normally make a trip uptown for Telepan.

There really aren't a lot of exciting things to write about the restaurant; the food is good but not memorable, the decor is outdated and service was only so-so (in fact, the maître d’ was very cranky!). Perhaps it's time for a makeover?

SUNNYSIDE EGG with fried green tomato, clothbound cheddar & baby onion

WILD KING SALMON with early summer green gazpacho

BUCATINI WITH CHERRY TOMATOES with amatriciana-style, house-cured pork, red onion & garlic -- this dish was actually pretty good. I like the fried reg onions on the pasta, it has a somewhat Asian taste to it.

LOBSTER BOLOGNESE with spaghetti, light herbs & shallot-garlic-tomato broth

WILD STRIPED BASS with wax beans, crushed new potatoes & lobster mariniere

HANGER STEAK with spinach, garlic potatoes & oxtail bone-marrow glaze


ASSORTED PLATE of Selected Artisanal American Cheeses (4 cheeses)

Telepan on Urbanspoon

Momofuku Fried Chicken Dinner


: 171 First Ave, New York

Phone: none

David Chang is always making headlines with his food/restaurant ideas. His latest talk of the town dinner concept is the fried chicken dinner at momofuku noodle bar. Just like at Momofuku Ko, you need to make online reservation in order to have the fried chicken dinner and the reservation is only available for 4-8 people at specific lunch/dinner time.

The process of getting a reservation at momofuku Ko was too much for me, so you can't pay me enough to go through the same reservation process for fried chicken dinner. But since our friend Nick is obsessed with fried chicken (he actually forewarned us NOT to go eat momofuku fried chicken dinner without him), we let him take care of the reservation. He managed to score a table for 8 people at 12am last week so good job Nick!

chicken man nick

The $100 fried chicken dinner comes with two whole fried chickens, one southern style and one korean style. The southern style chicken is fried with a buttermilk and old bay batter while the korean style chicken is triple fried and served with a light spicy glaze. The fried chicken meal also came with mu shu pancakes, long spicy peppers, baby carrots, red ball radishes, shiso leaves, bibb lettuce, four sauces and an assortment of herbs. The four sauces are ginger and scallion, jalapeno in soy sauce, hoisin sauce and bibim sauce.

The mu shu pancakes are used as wraps, to be eaten with slices of fried chicken or fried chicken skin, Peking duck style. Some of us liked the southern style better, while the rest preferred the korean style. I personally liked the korean style fried chicken better, with jalapeno and soy sauce and ginger and scallion sauces.

I wished I can just go into momofuku and order fried chicken anytime I want. But I guess that's not what David Chang can offer. He actually told GQ blogger Alan Richman to “Why don’t you open up your own fucking restaurant? How about that?” after Alan Richman suggested that he should retire his online reservations system and make fried chicken available to everyone. Whether Alan Richman deserved that type of response after badgering David Chang and comparing his chicken dinner to KFC, I'm not sure. But David should know better that there will be people who will read that and find out about David's temper. Momo fried chicken is delicious, but a little bit of humility to pare down his bigger than life personality would be a nice gesture to the people who truly appreciate what he has done to the NYC food scene, and specifically the asian fusion movement. People should be talking about his food, not his antics.

pigtails! -- roasted and surprisingly good. Tasted somewhat like pork feet.

Spicy rice cake

happy yaokuis!

Saving some fried chicken dinner for Gan, who was working and couldn't make it to the dinner

Momofuku Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon



233 Clinton Street, Hoboken, New Jersey

Phone: 201-420-1700

My co-worker Bernie accused me of discriminating against New Jersey food. "Sarah, you don't eat in New Jersey enough! You only eat in New York City!", he complains all the time about my preference for NYC food. It's not that I don't eat in New Jersey area, it's just that most of my friends live in NYC and we usually eat out in the city together. But Bernie is right. I should really spend more time exploring good food in New Jersey - Hoboken, Red Banks, Short Hills and Fort Lee all have really awesome restaurants. We have tried some pretty impressive food in Hoboken, ie La Isla (a cuban restaurant) and The Dining Room at Anthony David's. And on Thursday night, we had dinner at Cucharamama a Latin Bistro in Hoboken, and it totally blew us away!

So I found out about Cucharamama from The Best New Jersey Restaurant issue of New Jersey magazine. We have been loyal customers of La Isla, so we were not interested in trying out other Spanish restaurants in the area. But we'll be going to Cucharamama more often now!

The chef/co-owner, Marciel Priscella picked Cucharamama (CU-CHAH-RAH-MAM-AH) as the restaurant name because it means "Mother Spoon" in Spanish, and the word symbolizes strong women who rules the kitchen with their good cooking. Speaking about strong woman, I also found out that the chef/owner Marciel is also a Spanish culinary historian and a Doctor of Medieval Spanish History. I would be worried if other restaurants try to serve dishes from Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and other countries in South America all at the same time, but Marciel knows her Spanish/South American food. I felt like I've been to South America after eating her food. Another wonderful thing about the restaurant is its cocktail list. Mango Batisdos and Morrir Sonando cocktail?? I'm totally sold!

We would have ordered dessert if not because of Ida Maria's concert. But we were perfectly happy with our orders. We had Choritos en Salsa "Cuzquena" (mussels), Arepas de Choclo (sweet corn arepas) with salmon roe and Venezuelan Crème Fraîche, Crema de fijoles y tomate sazonada (corn and tomato soup) and Bandejita Palsa (for meat lover, a Colombian Highland classic). The Arepas de Choclo was made fresh from the restaurant's wood burning oven, one of the best we've eaten and it goes well with salmon roe. Better than The Arepa Lady's arepas but more pricey. The pork cracklings in Bandejita Palsa dish was freaking amazing. The complimentary flat bread and honey butter itself is worth going to the restaurant. Gan and I will going back to Cucharamama for more deliciuos Spanish/South American food very soon!

(From left) Mango Batidos -- Brazilian tropical fruit milk shake spiked with cachaça or rum. Morir Sonando cocktail

Flatbread with honey butter

Arepas De Choco - Cachapa -- fresh corn cake served with salmon roe and venezuelan creme fraiche - nata

Crema de Frijoles Blancos Y Tomate Sazonada con Merken De Chillan Y Albahaca -- white bean and tomato cream perfumed with chilean merken and fresh basil

Choritos - Mejillones en Salsa Cuzqueña -- mussels in a spicy sauce of panca peppers, garlic, cilantro, and peruvian dark beer

Bandejita Paisa for meat lovers, Cucharamama's version of the colombian highland classic from antioquia - skirt steak, pork cracklings, colombian sausage, arepa, rice and red beans, ripe plantains, and colombian hot pique sauce

Cucharamama on Urbanspoon

Locanda Verde


379 Greenwich Street, New York

Phone: 212-925-3797

Gan and I are not that difficult to please when it comes to brunch, but we just get disappointed by many of the brunch places in New York City. More than often, we get over cooked steak & egg, lousy coffee, extremely oily fried eggs when all we want is just something decent. That's why we love Locanda Verde's brunch so much, the dishes are different, hearty and so darn delicious.Where else in New York City can you find sheeps milk ricotta truffle honey and burnt orange toast and lemon ricotta pancakes for breakfast/brunch? And instead of the usual fried organic egg, they have fried organic egg with tripe! Even the Cappuccino here taste better here. Good job Robert DeNiro for partnering with the very talented Andrew Carmellini, this guy can cook! Locanda Verde is our new favorite breakfast/brunch place in New York City!


Sheep’s’ Milk Ricotta truffle honey and burnt orange toast - A MUST TRY!

Toasted Hazelnut French Toast citrus salad

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes fresh blueberries and meyer lemon curd -- my favorite!

8 Hour Tripe with a fried organic egg - also on the dinner menu

Uova Modenese cotechino hash, spinach, tomato hollandaise

Fire-roasted Garlic Chicken

Locanda Verde on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Week Part 2 -- Nougatine


1 Central Park West, New York, NY

Phone: 212-299-3900

I'm not the biggest fan of Jean Georges restaurants but I have to admit, Jean Georges is a very savvy businessman! While most top rated/high end restaurants chose not to participate in NYC restaurant week even during recession times like this, and especially for dinner, Jean Georges offered New Yorkers and visitors some of his best restaurants (ie JoJo, Perry Street, Nougatine) for the restaurant week line up. Gan and myself would probably not give Nougatine a chance if given a choice since we have been to a few of JG's restaurants already, and there are simply too many other interesting places to eat in the city. Their participation in Restaurant week is certainly the main reason Nougatine made it into our culinary resume.

Nougatine is the bar room and less formal dining room of Jean Georges restaurant at the Trump Plaza International. I usually find these bar room restaurants more worth it since you always get the food from the same kitchen as the more expensive dining room but for less money. I was pretty impressed with the restaurant week menu served at Nougatine, despite its limited choices. There's no options as in many other restaurants, which makes it easy for the diners but puts more pressure on the kitchen staffs for its execution. All the dishes were executed flawlessly; slowly cooked salmon was done perfectly on the slightly rare side as should be with fish dishes, roasted organic chicken was amazing as the main highlight of the line up and warm Valrhona chocolate cake was delicious. The chicken dish was so surprisingly good that I am still thinking about it. It's a perfect hint to restaurants who aim to impress that sometimes exotic ingredient and complicated preparation takes away focus from the main criteria people choose to eat at one place over another - taste.

Amuse bouche -- salmon sashimi with pickled cherry vinaigrette, toasted sourdough, chilled tomato gazpacho. This was ok, thought the amuse bouche could do without the toasted sourdough.

RESTAURANT WEEK MENU -- Watermelon and Goat Cheese. This appetizer was pretty refreshing, though the temperature should've been chilled lower prior to serving for better effect. I think I'll try making it at home next time

RESTAURANT WEEK MENU -- Slowly Cooked Salmon with Corn Pudding and Tomato Salad. The color pallette matches the flavor profile. Vibrant!

RESTAURANT WEEK MENU -- Roasted Organic Chicken with Green Bean and New Onion Compote, Spice Jus. surprisingly amazing. One of the best chicken dishes I have had.

RESTAURANT WEEK MENU -- Warm Valrhona Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Gan ordered the 5 course tasting menu which included Tuna Tartare, foie gras brule (not quite sure whether it was intentionally spelled this way but that's what's on their menu), red snapper, grilled beef tenderloin and dessert tasting. Everything was adequate but the grilled beef was slightly disappointing. We weren't impressed by the grilled beef at Nougatine. A high caliber with aspirations of Michelin stars restaurant should be able to cook red meat properly!

Overall, the $35 restaurant week menu were amazing value and the $68 tasting menu were sufficiently pleasing. Because of restaurant week, we now have experienced Nougatine and think it's worthy of us going back there again to try their other regular menu!

TASTING MENU -- Tuna Tartare, Avocado, Spicy Radish, Ginger Marinade

TASTING MENU -- Foie Gras Brule, Cherry Yuzu Compote -- this was excellent. I wanted more!

TASTING MENU -- Red Snapper, Lily-Bulb Radish Salad, White Sesame and Lavender

TASTING MENU -- Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Garlic, Parsley and Chili

TASTING MENU -- Dessert Tasting

Happy Yaokuis!!

Nougatine on Urbanspoon