Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Birmingham, MI - Chen Chow Brasserie: Are you at Chen Chow for the atmosphere? How about the flavor and caliber of food? How about for the price of the food? The first yes, two maybe, third no.
I started with the Octopus & Soba Noodles. It's a staple on many sushi menus. It was prepared with the same flavors and texture as any other sushi restaurant, just half the cost. However, it was served with a ginger sauce that isn't usually typical and it was a nice addition, complimenting the flavor. However, it also included a small cube of jello and I'm not sure why it was there. The flavor was extremely subtle to where it didn't have any flavor. It didn't add anything to the octopus and I would go as far as saying it had slightly a bad flavor. I was not a fan of that and it had no place on that plate. If it covered it in the ginger sauce, it could eat it, but what's the good in that?
Moving onto the main course, pork three ways. They redeemed themselves almost. It's served with cinnamon brine tenderloin, pulled shoulder with white kimchi, orange hoisen glazed pork belly, with a side of broccoli. Each one was cooked very well and flavored the same. Each one was unique in its own flavor and you'll want to eat take a bite of each one and change up frequently to capture their flavors. Then tenderloin was cooked very well, nice and pink in the middle, and wonderfully tender. The pulled shoulder was very delicious. The sauce complimented the tender shoulder very well and it was my second favorite of the dish. the pork belly however, stole the show. It had the crispy edge it needed while having the fatty inside capturing all the flavor. It was the home run of the dish. Now I want a whole plate of this dish.
Why include the broccoli on this dish? It's steamed broccoli with very little flavor. It's an after thought. Bad choice on the chef's part.
Lastly the dessert. Make sure you get it. It's another amazing dish that the pastry chef did an amazing job. We had the Molten Chocolate Cake with a ctrus sauce, orange, and powdered sugar. When we cut into it, the chocolate just poured out. It was fantastic, make sure you get it.
The only downside is that it's too expensive. I don't think it's worth the cost of the meal though.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Detroit, MI - Neighborhood Noodle; This is a scene out of Chicago or New York, not expected here in Detroit. Neighborhood Noodle is a traveling food business that operates about once per month by special order only. You place your order in advance and show up at the designated time to pick it up. They use another business' kitchen until they complete their purchase of their own food truck. The last month was in May and it was Korean. Particularly, they prepared bibimbap, carrot soup prepared cold, an apple potato salad, and an almond cookie with a mixed citrus marmalade.
The Bibimbap is a traditional Korean dish and I was surprised to see how good it was. It was prepared very well with rice, tofu, spinach, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, bulgogi (sauteed marinated beef), and a fried egg on top. It is eaten with a wonderful spice sauce that is perfect to bring all the elements of the dish together.
The carrot soup was a fantastic puree of a carrot and curry soup. I didn't expect the curry flavor, giving it an element of surprise and bold flavor.
The apple potato salad is a three-to-four star dish compared to the others. It was ok, not bad, apple slices with red skin potatoes in a light dressing. I didn't think it was spectacular, a little more bland than I would want it. Especially the bold flavors of the other dishes. It didn't seem to match the others. The apples did elevate the flavor of the dish with it's sweet addition.
Lastly, another home run, the almond cookie. It is two cookies held together by a mixed fruit marmalade. Oh my, how goooooood this is. Each cookie probably has a stick of butter in it and why its so good, but who cares. They are very greasy, but if you like soft, very soft, almond cookies and like marmalade, it's worth seeking this place out for just this. I recommend a store just be opened up for these cookies, yes it's that good. I actually took small bites so it would last longer and I could extend the enjoyment.
I'm looking forward to when they have their food truck and on a regular basis. Its an exciting and fun experience to put in your order days in advance and seek them out to pick it up.