USA

[NYC] Intersect by Lexus | First Impressions (Jan 2019)

Intersect by Lexus Bar/Lounge

Intersect by Lexus Bar/Lounge

Categories: Café, Bar & Lounge, Restaurant
Date Visited: January 2019
Address: 412 W 14th St, New York, NY 10014
Price:  $$$
Reservations: Yes, though not necessary.

Verdict: 10/10 for décor and ambiance, 7/10 for food. I was drawn on the vision from the second I heard. I’d always been a fan of Danny Meyer and is Union Square Hospitality Group, and the concept of a restaurant with revolving global chef residencies per 4-6 months sounded like an astounding idea—one that would take lot of resources and planning to bring to life.

The first global chef-in-residence happens to be a chef I already knew and had the pleasure to try his food in 2013. Hailing from France, Chef Marchand is the executive chef at Frenchie Rue du Nil in Paris, and author of the book Frenchie, The Book. The meal I had in 2013 was outstanding and one that was remembered for years to come. However, while food at Intersect was far from bad, it was not as memorable as I’d expected.

The décor and service, however, were very impressive. Especially loved the details—black and white marble, perfectly blended with hardwood, stainless steel, bamboo, and leather. Very sleek and modern, but comfortable and inviting. Will be back for coffee and drinks.


“INTERSECT BY LEXUS is a place where creative minds meet and share ideas; where inspired people intersect with sublime expressions of culture to experience amazing.” - Intersect’s official website.

[NYC] Eleven Madison Park | Three Michelin Star Dinner | World's 50 Best

Categories: Fine Dining, Michelin Star, New American
Date Visited: September 2018
Address: 11 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010
Price:  $$$$
Reservations: Yes, must reserve ahead of time! Reservations can be booked here.

Verdict: Check out my newest Youtube video (link below) to take a look at my experience at Eleven Madison Park!

What's it like to eat at one of the world's best restaurant? Eleven Madison Park (EMP) was earned the name of BEST in the world by World's 50 Best Restaurants in 2017 and No.4 in 2018. It has Michelin 3 Stars and has won numerous James Beard Awards.
Happy eating my caviar!

Happy eating my caviar!

[NYC] ABC Kitchen - Jean-Georges Restaurant - Autumn Dinner 2018

Me casually trying to eat this massive piece of fried chicken.

Me casually trying to eat this massive piece of fried chicken.

Categories: New American
Date Visited: October 2018
Address: 35 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003
Price:  $$$ 
Reservations: Yes

Verdict: Yes! Been looking for something like this in NYC for a while now. Surprised a place like this has taken so long to pop up in NYC (given how its popularity on the West Coast, ie. Boiling Point Restaurant Chain). Newly opened and designed for the modern diner, Hot Box offers customized personal pots (everyone gets his/her own). Currently, Hot Box offers 6 basic base pots to pick from, and an extensive list of additional ingredients to personalize your hot from. Each base broth is equally packed with intensity and flavor.

Must Order: Kabocha Squash Toast

Cozy interior of ABC Kitchen

Cozy interior of ABC Kitchen

ROASTED KABOCHA SQUASH TOAST, FRENCH RICOTTA CHEESE, APPLE CIDER VINEGAR ($15)   This was a seasonal special and was my FAVORITE dish of the night! Savory and sweet, this was the perfect embodiment of Autumn. A must order!

ROASTED KABOCHA SQUASH TOAST, FRENCH RICOTTA CHEESE, APPLE CIDER VINEGAR ($15)

This was a seasonal special and was my FAVORITE dish of the night! Savory and sweet, this was the perfect embodiment of Autumn. A must order!

[NYC] Ikinari - Excellent Fast Casual Japanese Steakhouse

Categories: Steakhouse, Japanese, Fast-Casual
Date Visited: March 2018, April 2018
Address: Multiple locations throughout NYC
Price:  $$ 
Reservations: Nope, none needed. Just walk in! 

Ikinari Japanese Steakhouse NYC


About: Ikinari is a famous chain from Japan, best known for its highly affordable but high-quality steaks. You can order, eat, and get out of here in 30 minutes. The menu is very limited as they only serve steaks and selected sides but they do offer a few different cuts priced by the ounce (Ribeyes, Sirloin, Filet). They weigh and cut the steaks in front of you.

There are no servers, no high-end decor, no dessert menu. After ordering, you sit and wait for your steak (takes ~5 minutes) and then pay before you head out the door. 

Clearly, this isn't meant to replace the time-honored, pedigreed steakhouses that run sacred in the New York dining institution. But frequenting old-fashioned dining rooms covered in mahogany and brass for is not exactly realistic for many people as well. Sometimes, you just want a good steak without the dress up and the fancy wines.

Ikinari is a great option for a decent steak without having to cook it yourself. 

Middle Ribeye ~ 11oz Topped with a delicious garlic butter and fried crispy

Middle Ribeye ~11oz
Topped with a delicious garlic butter and fried crispy

All steaks are accompanied by grilled onions, a side of corn, and a garlic paste on top of the steak that's referred to as “magic paste."

Ikinari Pepper Rice - fried rice mixed with corn,

Ikinari Pepper Rice - fried rice mixed with corn,

[NYC] 15 East - Disappointing Michelin Star Omakase Dinner

15 East

Categories: Japanese, Sushi, Omakase
Address: 15 E 15th St, New York, NY 10003
Date Visited: Jan 2018
Price: ~$320-400 for two ($65-140 for omakase sets)
Hours: Thurs-Sat 5:30pm-12:30am, Sun-Wed 5:30pm-11:30pm
Reservations Needed?: Yes

15-east-omakase-sushi

Thoughts: Disappointed. Given their price point and newly "Michelin" one star status, I expected quality on par with some of the other better omakase places around the city. Unfortunately, while ambiance was on point (slightly casual but nice), food was a letdown. Certainly not what you'd expect from one of Manhattan's "best sushi" spots.

We ordered a 15 piece sushi omakase set ($115) and a 15 piece sashimi omakase set ($115). While nothing was "bad," the omakase experience was very boring. There wasn't a single standout dish; nothing on either the sashimi omakase set or sushi omakase set that made me go, "wow, that was amazing. I want it again." Portion sizes were unreasonably TINY and we both left still hungry. For $115 per set, the omakase we got (especially the sashimi - refer to photos below) were underwhelming. 

The fish was not particularly fresh. Both the quality and creativity of here pales in comparison to the other high-end sushi restaurants I've been to in the city (Sushi of Gari, Nakazawa, Gaijin, Sushi Seki, etc.) Honestly, I would've gotten MUCH better sushi and double portions at Tomoe Sushi at 1/3 of the price. 

Just not worth it. Michelin, what were you thinking?

Recommended? No.

THE FOOD

[San Francisco] Fort Funston (ie. Dog's Disneyland)

Who: Humans who like to hike + dogs who love nature/play
What: They say Fort Funston is "Dog's Disneyland." IT'S TRUE.
Where: Fort Funston, San Francisco, California 94101. There is a huge parking lot off of Skyline Blvd. There is a sign that tells you where to go and where to park.
Why: If you love your dog, you must bring him/her here! Your dog will be super happy and therefore make you happy. What used to be a military fort has now become a popular off-leash dog park and beach with a ton of trails. You can stroll on the various trails, meander on the beach, and hike along the cliffs. It is the only park in the GGNRA (Golden Gate National Recreation area) that allows off-leash dogs.

There are typically HUNDREDS (yes I know) of friendly, well-behaved dogs for your dog to play and socialize with.

My dog is normally very happy. But never have I seen him THIS happy. If you love your dog, bring him/her here and he/she will have the best time!

Being next to the Pacific, it can get very windy and cold. Bring a jacket!

Love at first sight with the Ocean!

Love at first sight with the Ocean!