A Respite with Restaurant Week: Ibiza

Last week was New Haven Restaurant Week. I saw the week-long event as an opportunity to try out some of the restaurants in New Haven, where fine dining has blossomed in recent years. On a Wednesday night, I tried Ibiza with a bunch of girl friends. The restaurant is extremely close to campus, and I have passed by Ibiza on many occasions. The restaurant is always crowded late into the night, and I was excited to finally try it.

Dinner was delicious and filling. The menu provided a variety of dishes ranging from those tastefully simple (say mushroom risotto) to those more complex in flavor and concept (the lobster with caramelized endive foam). All in all, the consensus was that the meal was an overwhelmingly positive experience – it was especially nice to taste fresh seafood as opposed to whatever sea-faring animals they serve us in the dining hall.

Here’s what we had:

Ensalada de gamba y aguacate – Grilled shrimp and avocado mixed green salad

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Ensalada de pulpo – Grilled ocotpus salad

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Trio de tapas – Codfish mousse, Boquerón, avocado and cilaniro purée, Grill chorizo sausage and green lentil salad

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Langosta – Steaed Maine lobster off the shell, carmelized endive foam, sautéed oyster and shiitake mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, lobster oil

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Arroz de setas – Mushroom risotto, tetilla cheese, truffle oil

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Raya – grilled skate fish and polenta-cauliflower cake

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Lemon bavaroise with fresh fruit salad

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It’s Always Yummy in Philadelphia: Tria and Morimoto

I spent a few days last week in Philadelphia with my sister. Although the city may be known for its Philly cheese steaks, the City of Brotherly Love also has plenty of gourmet food to offer. I let my sister take me around town to try some of Philly’s finest (or phinest?) foods.

I was excited to be back with my sister, and more specifically, back eating with my sister. We make quite the dining pair, and I can’t quite perfectly order, enjoy, and critique a meal with anyone like I can with my sister. The one unfortunate part of this trip is that I forgot my SLR camera. But alas, the iPhone photos will have to do.

For a shopping break, my sister and I stepped into Tria, my mother’s favorite wine bar in Philadelphia. I love the simple decor and intimate ambiance of restaurants like Tria. My sister and I chose a few delectable dishes and had an enjoyable and relatively inexpensive afternoon snack.

Warm Poached Black Mission Figs with Gorgonzola and Prosciutto di Parma

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Warm Tuscan White Bean Spread with Paprika Toast

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Truffled Egg Toast with Fontina Fontal. Although this dish was quite simple (basically a croque-madame without the ham), it was one of the tastiest snacks I have ever had in my life.

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That night, we went to Morimoto. Coming from New Haven, I was excited at the prospect of some good sushi. Morimoto did not let me down.

The design of Morimoto in Philadelphia is quite bazaar. The lighting is minimal and the white furniture and walls of the room are tinted by purple light. I told my sister, “I feel like I’m in the stomach of a whale.” That’s all I have to say.

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In addition, each table had the most phallic lighting object (candle alternative) built in to the table. I was not a huge fan, especially because it hindered my direct access to all of the dishes on the table.

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Always judge a restaurant by its bathroom décor.

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The food, however, was amazing. We started with the whitefish carpaccio – thinly sliced with yuzu soy, hot oil, and mitsuba leaf.

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For the main part of our meal, my sister and I shared the $85 chef’s combination. The highlights on the platter included the Shrimp Tempura Roll (seen farthest left), which had the best flavor and texture out of any tempura roll I have ever had. The addition of a crisp stalk of asparagus in the roll was surprisingly perfect. The kasetura, or shrimp pound cake, (at the top right of the platter) was also surprisingly amazing, and had a melt-in-your-mouth light texture that was delightful. The sushi all tasted quite fresh as expected.

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For dessert, we had the black sesame mousse cake and yuzu meringue tart. Both were quite good. The taste of the black sesame cake was akin to a peanut butter-chocolate mixture. The yuzu meringue tart had a delightfully original taste.

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Until I’m reunited with my BFF (Best Food Friend) again!

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