Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Restaurant Week

New York Restaurant Week 2010 started yesterday Jan 25 and goes till Feb 7. This two week-long event offers people a three course prix-fixe lunch for $24.07 and dinner for $35. www.nycgo.com gives a bunch of the menus offered. Over 260 restaurants around the city participate in this event allowing diners to experience some of NYCs finest restaurants for a reasonable rate.

After looking at over 30 menus, Stef and I finally came to an agreement that we we're going to Megu. Megu is a modern Japanese restaurant that has two locations in New York and several around the world. Stef and I went to the one in Tribeca because its walking distance from my apartment.

From the moment I walked in I felt good about this place. Decorated in modern and antique designs- this place was stunning. After checking our coats, we walked into the bar/lounge area which held a small bar, but large couches all around. It seemed like we were in a maze getting to our table, but I didn't mind considering the place was designed beautifully. I couldn't decide which was the restaurants most stunning feature: the brightly lit double staircase or the ice sculpted buddha in the middle of the restaurant. I could say the only design aspect I didn't like was the one-armed chairs.

The service at the restaurant had incredible flow. Everything seemed to go seamlessly except for when our appetizers seemed to be wondering around the dining room. I guess the runner didn't know where the food was going, but I'm not going to hold that against anyone because when the food finally got there--it was delicious. Our server, Linda?, was great. She was very knowledgeable about the menu and wasn't pushy about upselling. As I mentioned we went during restaurant week, so I'm sure her check average was down (although her turnover rate was probably better). Linda guided us around the menu after bringing us two little crackers with cream cheese tofu. I never thought I'd ever eat tofu, but I gave it a try and the "replacement bread and butter" was pretty good. I mean its hard to replace bread and butter, but then again it was probably not the scene.

So what did we have for dinner? Stef started off with Red Snapper Oriental Salad with a homemade spicy dressing,vegetables, nuts, and a hot sesame oil. I didn't taste the salad, but I did try the Pinot Blanc wine pairing. We both opted to get beverage pairings with our meals. She got the wine pairing while I took the beer pairing. I don't normally like white wine but this pinot blanc was actually good. I didn't make a weird face after I drink it, something I always seem to do after a Chardonnay. I had a hard time ordering the first course because I couldn't decide whether the crispy shrimp or the scallops in a teriyaki sauce. I decided to with the tempura battered shrimp in a spicy kanzuri sauce. The beer paired with this dish was a light beer that reminded me of a Sam Adam's winter ale or even a blue moon. I forget the name, but it had something to do with the Hamptons. The server told us that all their beer and wine pairings were from within the state. But back to the shrimp! The shrimp were perfectly cooked and were a great way to start the meal. The crispy texture combined with the sweet-spicy sauce made it something to remember.

Next we were served our next drinking pairings. Stef next wine was Pinot Noir, our favorite! I thought the wine was alright, nothing special by any means. It also had a very sharp smell, which turned me off a little. I got a beer that I know nothing about besides that it was delicious. It reminded me of a newcastle. Stef ordered the sushi for dinner, which was a pretty big serving surprisingly. The dish came with five pieces of sushi and 1 roll (which I learned could be 6-8 pieces). I was even schooled on what sushi was compared to sushimi and macki. I ate stef's shrimp sushi because she didn't want it. I can't I liked it, but it was interesting. My quest to like sushi continues! She liked her meal, although admitting Stone House's sushi was the best she ever had. She didn't know what kind of fish the rolls were made out of but she guessed yellow tail. She thought the rolls were alittle fishy which we thought was surprising considering the high cost of the restaurant. I got the kobe beef steak which was presented on this HUGE hot rock. When served I was told to sit back as the backwaiter lit the rock on fire. The steak was served with white rice, which was standard. The beef was very good, especially when dipped in the sauce that accompanied it.

Last and definitely least was the chocolate cake that Stef and I agreed was not made inhouse. The cake was good, but we also agreed that Betty Croker does it better. The petite-sized chocolate layer cake was served with a strawberry and whipped cream. The cake itself was light as was the fillings. Neither the cake or the filling overpowered eachother. I wouldn't be surprised if the same cake was served in a diner down the street from my house in Jersey. But I can't hate, because I finished every bite of it and got to enjoy it with a nice chocolate stout. Stef's last drink was a shot of port which syrupiness (is that a word?) worked well with the chocolate cake.

Stef then ordered a shot for us which actually turned out to be three shots worth. The shots were made with Russian Standard, Yuzu juice, and Triple Sec. I guess it was the Japanese spin on the Kamakazi. The shots came in these huge sugar-rimmed shot glasses and were presented in little wooden boxes that fit the glass perfectly.

On our way out through the maze, we stopped at the bar where we had one more drink before heading home. She ordered the same shot we had before, only in a martini glass. The bartender recommended a drink which I thought was very unusual. It was called the Dolce Vita and was made with Patron silver, Frangellico, fresh raspberries, mint, lime juice, and gomme(which i later learned was simple syrup). The drink was pretty good, but I probably wouldn't order it again.

Overall a great experience! Would definitely go back!

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