Dovetail

It’s time for Restaurant Week 2014 – Summer Edition! This time around, instead of going for Nobu again, I went straight for lunch reservations at Dovetail, which has been on my list for a while. Nestled in the heart of the Upper West Side, just steps away from Central Park and the American Museum of Natural History, Dovetail has earned a Michelin Star for three consecutive years.

The maître d’ greeted us the moment we walked through the door. We arrived 15 minutes before our reservation time but they seated us right away anyways. The dining room is modern and airy. The seats were so comfy! We were given menus to look over and our orders were taken soon after. Our waiter didn’t even bat an eyelid when we said we wanted to do the Restaurant Week menu – no attitude change at all!

After we ordered we were given the “bread” platter, which consisted of two pieces of a biscuit-like cornbread and two mini riceballs. I’m not normally a huge fan of cornbread or biscuits but this one was pretty good. It was soft and moist and served warm, which I really liked. The mini riceballs were also pretty good – I thought it was more flavorful than the ones at All’onda.

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I decided on the Melon Gazpacho with cucumber, basil, and house made cottage cheese. It was a bit hot outside during our walk to the restaurant so this chilled soup really hit the spot for me. The gazpacho tasted exactly like a melon but the cucumber, basil and cottage cheese helped temper the sweetness. I really liked this dish – I just wish there was more!

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The Boyfriend went with the Steak Tartare with poblano, cured jicama, and tostada. The tostada was basically a flat taco shell, which we thought was a bit odd. The steak tartare isn’t as finely cut as what we’re used to so the texture was definitely a bit weird. It was a good steak tartare, but I don’t think it’s the best one I’ve had to date.

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I went with the Long Island Hake with sweet potato puree, snap peas, and a coconut emulsion for my entree. There aren’t quite words to describe how satisfied I was with my selection. The presentation of the dish was very similar to my gazpacho – the dish with all solid ingredients was placed and then the liquids poured on over it. The hake was cooked perfectly – just a bit of clear in the middle. The sweet potato puree was sweet and paired very well with the simple hake. My favorite part of the dish, however, was the coconut emulsion. It was light, refreshing and super fragrant.

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The Boyfriend decided on the Barbecued Pork Shoulder with summer squash, white bean, and capers. I had a bite of his dish and thought it a was very flavorful. The pork shoulder was tender but a bit on the dry side. There was a strong barbecue taste so it worked very well with the more simpler flavors of the squash and beans.

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I was torn between the three dessert options but I ultimately decided on the Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with cherries, hazelnuts, and buttermilk. I thoroughly enjoyed my dessert. Usually cheesecake is very sweet but the dark chocolate helped even out the sweetness. The cherry sauce went really with the cheesecake because it was a bit tart while the dark chocolate was a bit bitter.

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The Boyfriend went with the “Horchata” or panna cotta with berries and citrus. You can never really go wrong with a panna cotta and that definitely applies here. The berries were nice and tart and mixed with the panna cotta very well.

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Service was prompt and attentive. Our water glasses were refilled frequently and our dishes came in a timely manner. For $25.00, I think it’s well worth it to try out a Michelin starred restaurant that’s normally well over $80 for a regular meal. I definitely enjoyed my meal at Dovetail. Everything tasted great – especially my hake!

Marumi Sushi

Sushi is something that the Boyfriend and I are always up for – it’s refreshing and nothing beats a great piece of salmon in my mind. We’re always on the lookout for affordable and trustworthy sushi places. Our most recent search led us to Marumi Sushi in the West Village. We arrived round lunch time so it was pretty packed. Luckily there were two spaces at the bar and I always love bar seats. You get to see all the chefs in action!

We opted to start off with a Tuna and Uni Roll ($8.00). The Boyfriend also ordered an Ikura (salmon roe) hand roll ($6.00). Both rolls were very fresh and nicely done. I thoroughly enjoyed the Uni. I always want to order Uni but I’m never sure if it’s going to be fresh. The Uni at Marumi is definitely fresh and brightly colored. I could eat four of these rolls!!

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I opted for the Salmon Don ($16.00), which features various salmon sashimi (around 9-10 pieces) over a bed of sushi rice. It also comes with your choice of soup or salad. I opted for the salad, which was a bigger portion size than most other sushi restaurants. The salmon sashimi was so fresh! There were about three different ones and each one was more mouth-melting than the next! They give you a very big bowl of rice too so it really fills you up.

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The Boyfriend went with the Tuna Don ($16.00), which is pretty much the same as the Salmon except with three different Tunas. I had one piece of tuna and it was indeed very fresh and delicious.

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Service was pretty quick and attentive. Our water glasses were almost attended to and our food arrived in a timely manner. I am definitely adding Marumi to my Sushi-Go-To List!

Cafe Asean

When we want Malaysian food, we usually head over to Chinatown to either Nyonya (if we want roti) or New Malaysian (if we want Haianese Chicken). But since we were already in the West Village, a quick Yelp search led us to Cafe Asean. We arrived around 1:00pm and had our pick of tables. It was raining that day so we decided to sit inside instead of the garden.

We started off with the Sotong, or salt & pepper calamari with spicy mango salsa ($7.75). The calamari was crunchy and pretty tasty on its own. But the mango salsa really made them pop. The Boyfriend said the salsa makes him think of Thailand because it was so fresh and light.

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The Boyfriend went with the Nasi Goreng, or Malay-style fried rice with shrimp ($9.00). This was super good! They used a stickier rice, which when fried, has a crunchy texture. It’s kind of like the bottom layer of rice when you cook it with a clay pot. It was flavorful and very delicious.

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I decided on the Kari Kapitan, or Malay coconut curry chicken with potatoes and steamed veggies ($8.25). Boy, was that chicken fragrant! It was a bit spicy, but not overwhelmingly so. I dislike when curry is so spicy that you can’t taste what you’re eating. They definitely do not skimp on the coconut milk here and that’s exactly my favorite way to have curry. The serving size was generous – I actually had to take half of it home with me!

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The prices are higher here than it is in Chinatown – but prices are always higher outside of Chinatown. The food here is super delicious and I think it’s worth the price difference. I’m more partial to the fragrant coconut flavors so the Malay curry here is more to my tastes than the Chinese-Malay curry in Chinatown restaurants. I can’t wait to be back to try out the laksa!

 

 

 

Gottino

The Boyfriend and I originally had plans to have lunch elsewhere in the Village, but since he was a tad late for the original reservation, we decided to wander around and see what else there was to eat. We stumbled upon Gottino after walking around for about ten minutes. They were pretty empty for lunch so we had our choice of seats.

Gottino looks like an amazing place to have drinks with friends and catch up. As it was lunch time, we just ordered a few plates to share. Their wine menu looks pretty extensive though!

We started off with an order of the Prosciutto Di Parma, aged 24 months and shipped in from Italy ($14.00). This was served with a side of bread and olive oil. We both haven’t had prosciutto in a while so this really hit the spot. The Prosciutto was really good – just the right amount of salty.

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We decided to go with two Crostinis ($8.00 each) – Pesto Di Noci, or walnut pesto with parmesan and thyme, and one with goat cheese, fig, honey and crushed almonds. The walnut pesto was okay – it takes a few bites before you get used to the flavor. The goat cheese, however, was super delicious. It was sweet and tart at the same time because of the honey and the fig. The crushed almonds contrasted nicely with the smoother texture of the goat cheese. Definitely give this one a try!

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Our last shared plate was the Steamed Egg served with Smoked Salmon ($10.00). The steamed eggs were nice and hot when they arrived. It tasted pretty good by itself but it tasted even better when put on bread with salmon. The smoked salmon was very flavorful and very fresh.

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We were both pretty full by the time we finished our meal – there was so much bread! But I definitely want to be back to try out their other cheese and meats. They didn’t have waffles that day – but both the waffles and crepes sound really good! Service was attentive and on point. We received our dishes in a stacked manner so we weren’t overwhelmed by food. They don’t have a real kitchen so everything is prepared by the bar area.