A satisyfing wonton noodle soup at Sam Hop (across from Pacific/Thai Bien Market). Homey and fairly generous mix of shrimp and pork in the wontons. Ultra minor nitpick: wished there was more of a "tail" to the wontons -- the part that's just thin dough -- I love the flutter of that tail when youslurp downa wonton.
Bright-lit Shabu Zen was a very comfortable place for competent hotpot. Fine basic broth, fresh tasting ingredients (except maybe the very faintly fishy cod) and lamb that's sliced to order - fairly thin but would have loved it even thinner. The sauces are acceptable -- there's a good fragrant toasty shrimp paste that's slightly spicy, and garlic, scallions and minced chilli that one adds to the main soy based dip. Bonus: they open fairly late.
Pho Hoa offered an perfectly decent bun (rice vermicelli) with grilled pork, spring rolls (I still prefer the blistery imperial rolls) and a shredded pork that's nicely sandy. Just noticed that they now serve beef 7 ways -- anyone tried it?
The South Indian Thali at Passage to Indian was generous and more than passable. I loved the uttapam - a rice "pancake" nicely crisped on one side and a light spongy texture juxtaposed to that. Good touches of peppers and onions; also an ok coconut chutney. Idli Sambhar (a rice cake in a light curried vegetable broth) was dull and I wanted more depth in the sauce. Sambhar Vada was better: warm fried dough with a cool yogurt sauce.
Went back to Sage. They will do a multicourse tasting dinner if you request one, even though it's not on the menu.
Soup of pureed chestnut with truffle oil. (Simply the best soup I've had in ages. Only a half a notch behind the artichoke soup at Guy Savoy.)
Seared scallop, braised baby fennel, bearnaise sauce
venison, apple fritters and ginger crema
pasta duo: utterly amazing gnocchi with pinenuts and sage brown butter sauce (truly tender but texturally substantial gnocchi), duck tortellini with onion crema
double entree: sauteed snapper with chinese sausage, vegetables and oven dried olives, braised lamb with parsnip puree and kale
double dessert: blinis with sauterne poached pears and vanilla ice cream, chocolate chestnut (!!) fritters
The food was $65, a bargain for something so labor intensive (it was really 9 items -- several plates did double duty). It's less than the total of the cost of each item on the menu, even after scaling for portions.
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