Nomad

I have heard so much about Nomad that I knew I had to put them on my list of restaurants to try. Nomad, which is located inside of its namesake, the Nomad Hotel, is located in Chelsea on 28th street. After months of just sitting on my list, I finally found an occasion that would justify spending so much on a piece of chicken – my college graduation.

As per suggestions, I made my reservation a month in advance on OpenTable. And even doing so, I was only able to snag a 6pm reservation on a Saturday. I would’ve preferred a 7:00pm or 7:30pm reservation but I’ll take what I can get. We arrived around 5:30 since we came straight from the graduation ceremony and was seated right away. They were also very nice about adding another seat since my good friend also joined us for dinner.

After ordering, we were given a mini loaf of freshly baked bread. The bread consisted of chickpeas and rosemary, which were both scattered throughout the loaf. I have to say, this was one of the nicest complimentary breads I have ever been given in a restaurant. We were given one loaf before appetizers and then another loaf while we were waiting on our entrees. I really appreciated this because it gave us hungry people something to nibble on while we waited on our entrees.

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We opted for appetizers to share since we were all starving from skipping lunch that day. First, we have the King Crab Tagliatelle ($28 for large portion). This is cooked with meyer lemon and black pepper and you can really taste the lemon in it. The king crab was served hot and buttered, which mixed wonderfully with the al dente pasta. It was one of my favorites during the night. I highly recommend ordering this dish to share.

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Next up is the Lamb Neck appetizer, which was served with glazed lettuce hearts. There weren’t many pieces of lamb in the dish but from the two pieces that I had, the lamb was very tender and didn’t have that smelly-lamb taste. The glazed lettuce was also quite delicious and flavorful.

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Our last appetizer was the White Fish Carpaccio. We were a bit taken back by the appearance of the dish but do not let the oddness fool you. The fish was very fresh and had a very crisp taste to it. This was a serious contender for appetizer of the night because it’s simple and clean taste was extremely refreshing. I really recommend this dish as well. But make sure you get your own because it is really that good!

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As we were munching on our second loaf of bread and chatting, our waitress brought over my Roasted Chicken ($78 for two). I had managed to swindle my mother into sharing the chicken with me. They present the whole chicken to you tableside first. They then take it back for around 15 minutes as they cut up the white meat and cook the dark meat with mushrooms.

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The Roast Chicken breast is sliced into two portions and served on separate plates. It sounds extremely plain and mundane but it’s really not ordinary at all. Underneath the crispy chicken skin is a layer of black truffle, foie gras, and brioche that seals in all the juices of the chicken. The mixture brought a slight saltiness to the chicken. The chicken itself is also very moist and succulent. It is definitely the most perfectly cooked piece of chicken breast that I have ever eaten in my life.

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The dark meat of the chicken is sliced into slivers and cooked in a ranch-cheese sauce along with mushrooms. The dark meat portion was pretty good but it wasn’t as good as the breast of the chicken. I felt that the ranch-cheese sauce overpowered the taste of the chicken a bit too much.

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My friend ordered the Duck, which is roasted and served with beets, pistachio and coriander ($34.00). The duck was very tender and flavorful. It’s definitely one of the best duck dishes that I have ever had (with the first obviously being Peking Duck). I’m usually not a fan of beets but I thought it mixed very well with the duck. The portion size was also fairly generous, considering this is a higher-end restaurant.

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For dessert, we decided to share the highly recommended Milk and Honey ($13.00), which is three scoops of vanilla ice cream served with crumbled oat biscuit shortbread and dehydrated milk flakes and drizzled with honey. I didn’t really care for the dehydrated milk flakes but I enjoyed the combination of shortbread, honey and ice cream. The crunchiness of the shortbread meshed really well with the smoothness of the ice cream.

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We also shared the Chocolate ($14.00), which is sort of a deconstructed chocolate tart served with caramel, hazelnut and fleur de sel. I loved the deconstructed nature of this dessert because it allowed me to combine whichever parts I wanted. The chocolate chunks almost melted in my mouth and meshed really well with the tiny scoop of ice cream in the middle of the dish.

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I opted for an Affogato ($8.00), which is basically a scoop of vanilla ice cream that is topped with a shot of hot espresso. Our waiter presented the combination to me separately and then helped me pour the espresso into the ice cream. The bowl was really cute and came with two tiny biscotti pieces. I had started getting really sleepy during our meal because I had been up super early for graduation services that day but the espresso kept me up far into the night.

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Their cocktail and wine list is very extensive – to the point that I didn’t know what to order at all. I asked our waitress for her recommendation and she was spot on. I requested something on the sweet side and she recommended a cocktail with a rhubarb base and a hint of strawberry.  It was a pleasant pink color and tasted just the way it tastes. I love it and extremely appreciate it when a waitress or waiter knows their menus – both drink and food. Our service was impeccable and there was not a single complaint that night. This was one of the best meals I have ever had in my life and I’m glad I decided to spend my graduation celebration at Nomad.

Ihawan

Dinner Outing time! This time we ventured to Woodside in Queens for some authentic Filipino food. A Filipino friend suggested Ihawan instead of Maharlika in Manhattan because it’s a lot cheaper and a lot more authentic. I can’t attest to the authenticity because I have nothing to compare it to but Ihawan is definitely a lot cheaper!

We were seated right away and given menus to look over. Since it’s a club-sponsored dinner outing, we each had $20 to order food and I took complete advantage of it. I know the ices are usually eaten as dessert but I got an Avocado Milk Ice ($5.00). It sounds and looks kind of weird but when mixed thoroughly, it is delicious! The avocado is very buttery and when mixed with the milk, it is absolutely divine! If you don’t want it for your main drink, definitely try it for dessert!

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I ordered the Lechon Kawali ($7.75), which is served with liver sauce and rice. Lechon is pork chunks that are deep fried until it’s super crispy. It tastes a bit like Chinese Roast Pig but a lot crispier. The liver sauce that you dunk it in is sweet and tangy, which makes for a nice combination with the salty pork. I got my Lechon as an appetizer but it’s definitely a big enough portion for an entrée.

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My entrée was the BBQ Pork Skewers ($7.75), which comes two to an order with rice. I wish I could be more eloquent in describing these but I really only have two words – so good! I’ve never had barbeque like this before. The pork was cut thinly and very well seasoned. Most of the time, I don’t like barbeque pork because it tends to be dry but this was not the case at all. They sell the skewers at $2.50 each so if you don’t want to commit to an entire meal, try one out!

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Everything at Ihawan was absolutely delicious! The food was all very well seasoned. For my first time trying Filipino food, I was not disappointed. If you’re in the area or just looking for an adventure, definitely try out Ihawan!

Yuji Ramen

The Boyfriend and I have known about the Smorgasburg inside the 2nd floor of Whole Foods Market on Bowery Street for a while but we haven’t gotten a chance to try them out until now. Basically, every month they feature a new pop-up restaurant that will serve up something unique to customers. Yuji Ramen has been extended until the end of August. They specialize in Mazemen, which is a new style of broth-less ramen that are served with a variety of toppings. IMG_3690 I decided to try their Salmon & Cheese Mazemen ($9.00), which features cured salmon, cheese and lemon. The combination sounds a little gross but I can assure you that it was one of the best ramen dishes I have ever had. The noodles were bouncy and chewy. The cheese sauce had an Alfredo pasta sauce consistency and mixed very well with the ramen. The salmon portion was also generous and mixed very well with the melted cheese. It was so delicious! IMG_3692 The Boyfriend opted for their Daily Shoyu Ramen ($9.00), which has a different broth everyday since they source their bones from the Whole Foods Market. I had a quick bite of the ramen, which had a very nice tasting broth and bouncy ramen noodles. The Boyfriend absolutely loved the broth. He even drank the entire bowl of broth, which he didn’t even do at Ippudo. IMG_3691 The portion sizes aren’t really enough to fill you up for lunch or dinner. But we were looking for a semi-filling snack since we skipped lunch but was eating dinner a about three hours. It was absolutely perfect for our snack! I left pleasantly full without being too full for dinner later on in the night. I loved my ramen dish and will definitely be back before May is over to have it again!

Dokebi

After watching Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown episode on California’s Korea Town, I was craving some good old Korean food. The Boyfriend’s parents have had Dokebi in Williamsburg before so we decided to go there. The parentals like Dokebi because, unlike K-Town in Manhattan, there’s always space for parking and the service is always better.

We arrived around 6:30 and were seated right away. Our waitress brought over a series of banchans – including kimchi, pickled radish, potato salad, bean spouts, spinach and fish cake. We finished our first set pretty quickly since we had 5 people and they were really nice about bringing over a second set. I love it when a Korean restaurant doesn’t huff-and-puff about bringing over more banchans.

It’s not on their official menu but they do have Happy Hour from 5-7pm and it features $4 drafts and $5 well drinks. The best part is that they have Stella Artois on draft! I don’t often see Stella on draft at a restaurant and when they do have it, it’s not often part of Happy Hour specials. Another extra point for Dokebi!

We opted to start with two seafood pancakes ($7.00 each). The pancakes are smaller than those you’d get at a typical Korean restaurant but they were pretty good. Both pancakes weren’t as crispy as I like them but they do satisfy the craving.

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Since everyone raves about the tacos here, I opted to try their Short Rib taco ($4.00 each). The taco is stopped with short rib sautéed in their Korean BBQ sauce and served on two soft corn tortillas. It was absolutely delicious! After watching the show and seeing the Korean tacos served on the famous Koji Korean-Taco truck, I was really craving tacos and this one definitely hit the spot. I can see why some of the other tables only ordered tacos and nothing else. The short rib was so tender and flavorful that I didn’t even need to add hot sauce (but it did taste extra good with some hot sauce). I can definitely see myself coming back just to eat the tacos.

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We decided to order one Soondobu ($12.00) to share since we also wanted some other things on the menu.  Their soondobu comes with purple rice, which is a lot healthier for you than the traditional white rice. I also really like the taste of the purple rice because it has a different texture than the traditional white. And now onto the soondobu, which was super spicy. I’ve had my share of soondobu before but this one was extremely spicy! It’s definitely best to mix it with some purple rice before eating.

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We ordered two Bibimbaps – the Pork Bibimbap ($13.00) and the Mushroom Bibimbap ($12.00). Their bibimbap comes in a hot iron bowl, which causes the rice on the sides to get hard and crunchy. Best part of bibimbap! I was the designated mixer since I bibimbap is my usual go-to-order when it comes to Korean food. I noticed that were was very fair ratio between ingredients and rice in each bowl. Sometimes, when I’m mixing, I notice that there is too much rice in comparison to vegetables or meat. This was not the case here. I thoroughly enjoyed the bibimbap at Dokebi because I had a spoonful of veggies and rice with each bite.

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We also ordered one Japchae ($12.00) for the table. We often get Japchae in other Korean restaurants and we wanted to see how Dokebi was compared to the others. I thought Dokebi did a fairly good job. It wasn’t the best Japchae I have ever eaten but it was definitely pretty good. The big issue with the dish was the usage of cabbage. I don’t often see cabbage in Japchae and I actually love cabbage. But they severely undercooked the cabbage in this dish and it gave off a very bitter aftertaste.

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They don’t have any special desserts here but they do have some tongue-soothing gelatos and sorbets. I opted to share the Passion Fruit sorbet ($4.00) with the Boyfriend so we could cool down our tongues after the spicy dinner. The sorbet was very smooth and the semi-sweet and sour taste worked very well after the heavy salt and spice in our dinner.

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All in all, Dokebi provided us with a very good dinner. It’s definitely not as authentic as the restaurants in Manhattan or Queens but it definitely hit the spot. Dokebi will satisfy your Korean food cravings and give you something new to try