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Chubo on the LES -- Fantastic and in Desperate Need of PR

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Chubo on the LES -- Fantastic and in Desperate Need of PR

(mp) | Mar 25, 2006 05:18 PM

After reading some "death watch" coverage of Chubo on eater.curbed.com, I decided to check it out for dinner last night. My meal was so good and the restaurant was so empty that I feel compelled to review it here in the hopes that some fellow chowhounds will stop by.

Here's the blow by blow:

Appetizers

Scallops with Chili Sauce -- 3 perfectly seared scallops coated but not covered in a nicely spicy chili sauce. The scallops were plump and their slightly sweet flavor was well-complemented by the chili sauce. They were served on a bed of very small vermicelli noodles that soaked up the flavors of the scallop and sauce nicely.

Two Mushroom Bi Bim Bop -- I love Korean food and am usually somewhat averse to fusionized versions, but this dish was outstanding. The rice was slightly crispy and the flavors were very similar to a traditional bibimbop. The presentation was also very visually arresting with the flying saucer-like egg balanced atop the cylindrically-shaped rice.

Mains

Vegetarian Risotto -- Risotto is easy to screw up, and I was skeptical about the addition of tofu because I feared that something so soft would make this dish a textural glopfest. Instead, the risotto was more subtle and creamy than your ordinary italian version and was accompanied by an interesting veggie souffle and a very small amount of miso-doused greens.

"Surf and Turf" -- Chubo's version consists of tuna steak with truffled oxtail ravioli. This was wonderful, hearty, and overall a much more compelling rendition of this dish than the lobster and steak variety. The juice from the oxtail ravioli gave the tuna that extra umami dimension. Yum.

Desserts

Azuki Bean Pancake with Butterscotch Sauce and Red Curry Ice Cream -- I am not usually a dessert person, but holy cow, this was amazing. It's difficult to describe but will certainly have some recognizable flavors to those who are familiar with the way that red beans are used in asian desserts. The whole was certainly way more delicious than the simple sum of it's parts. This is a must try.

Lemon Poppy Seed Souffle -- Souffle requires a keen sense of timing and this one was executed perfectly. Light and lemontastic.

We also took advantage of the 3 wine tasting and I enjoyed the selections (although I was not familiar with any of the wines that we were served).

All of this came to about $130 before tip. My dinner at Chubo was one of the most consistent meals that I have had in the past year -- everything was excellent and there were no weak links.

Chubo is worth a visit, although from the lack of patronage -- even at 9:00 on a Friday -- it doesn't seem like it will be around much longer.

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