Food & Wine

A Great Evening at Sen NYC with Warm Apple Sake…Greetings Hamptons Mouthpiece readers…I love good food, it makes me so happy. I love when I go out to eat and everything is right, the ambiance, the service, the drinks, the appetizers, the main course and finally… the dessert. I leave there wanting more, dreaming of my next visit as I am walking out of the door, not focusing on the cost only wanting the experience again. Do you know what I am talking about?
Friday I had the extreme pleasure of dining at Sen in NYC and it left me DSC00932wanting more. Jeffrey Resnick, Toranosuke Matsuoka & Jesse Matsuoka have brought their very popular restaurant in Sag Harbor to Manhattan, with Chef Bryan S. Emperor behind the stove and Head Sushi chef Hiro Sawatari. This location opened in Mid September and is centrally located in Chelsea & Flat Iron district but also easily assessable to both uptown and downtown residents.

I arrived around 6pm and was pleasantly pleased with the ambiance of the place, the colors are warm and intimate.  Jesse greeted me and gave me a tour of the place as I waited for my cousin Deidre to join me. Located in the front is a lounge area that is very spacious and definitely inviting for an after work crowd who would like to just have drinks and socialize. If the bar scene is your thing than you would love this is the dominant focal point of the restaurant. It is a beautiful wrap around with real oak on the bottom that are also equipped with hooks for women to hang their bags. The back of the bar is a sushi bar, much larger than the Sag Harbor location, it reminded me of the Benihana’s restaurant. The bartenders are very good looking and for that reason alone is why I will be back. I loved the attention to detail in the design of the place, like the warm colors, the oak wood on the bar and the bark on the walls in the back of the restaurant. I personally found it extremely alluring.

As I continued my wait for my cousin to arrive, Jesse suggested that I try the Warm Warm Apple SakeApple Cider sake, I did and it was delicious. I was happy to hear that they were using products from Long Island, like the the Apple Cider, it also included cinnamon cloves, lemon & orange peel but the kicker was the spiked Brazilian rum…..YUMMMMMMMY…this totally warmed me up.

Dee finally arrived and we were seated at our table…our evening was going to consist of a variety of sampler dishes from the menu. There were items that I liked more than others and some that I personally did not care for, not that these dishes were not delicious my pallets just did not care for them.
Tuna Tar Tar We started our 1st course  with Edamame & Tuna Tar Tar…I really liked the takuan pickle shallot & the spicy yuzu dressing in the Tar Tar.
Jesse decided to bring us a sampler of 3 different Sake drinks….The 1st one was a traditional Sake..2nd one was a sweeter Plum Sake and the 3rd one was a more mature Sake with a definite hit….I went with the 2nd choice a more sweeter Sake….Dee went with the more traditional Sake.
Our 2nd course was a Salad with Daikon Sprout, Spanish onion & Sour plum sauce…I alad with Daikon Sprout, have to admit it was my least favorite because it contained a bitter taste but it was very tasty and one that many might like.

3rd Course: We were brought a sampler tray of various items from the starter menu….Tatsuta, marinated chicken wings, Wagyu Croquette, “Japanese Meat Balls” with Katsu sauce, & Kinchaku “Miso marinated cheese with sweet red crab.  It was delicious, I thoroughly enjoyed everything, it satisfied everyone of my taste buds. Unfortunately for you my readers this sampler dish is not on the menu, you would need to order every item individually. I recommend ordering all 3.

Tatsuta, marinated chicken wings, Wagyu Croquette, "Japanese Meat Balls" with Katsu sauce, & Kinchaku "Miso marinated cheese with sweet red crab


Our 4th course was a surprise array of sushi by the piece. I warned Jesse that I did not like raw food and I have to admit I was so scared of what would be brought out for us to sample, but to my delight it was rather good. Being the adventurous person that I am I tried everything. It included raw fluke, raw King salmon, BBQ Eel, cooked shrimp & Japanese egg…I did not care for the egg but that is because I really do not like eggs anymore, I was not in love with the Fluke either but Dee loved the fluke. I was surprised that I loved the salmon, it had a buttery taste and it just melted in my mouth, who knew this would be the night that I embraced sushi…I also liked the shrimp and the BBQ Eel, it was an interesting taste and one that I would experience again.
fluke, King salmon, BBQ Eel,  shrimp & Japanese egg
Hawaiian Blue PrawnsOur 5th Sampler was the Hawaiian Blue Prawns…these prawns are shipped overnight from Hawaii and I will say I loved it. The heads were included in this selection and this was my first time having the courage to taste one. It always felt creepy eating anything where the eyes were staring back at you. It was delightful and I think I enjoyed the head of the shrimp more so than the shrimp itself because it was full of amazing juices that captivated my taste buds. Dee was being a coward and refused to taste, but lucky for me I ate hers…yum yum
Our 6th course was from Chef Emperor’s Specialty selection…Gyu Negima “Stone-fired Gyu Negima "Stone-fired dry-aged Prime Fillet Mignon dry-aged Prime Fillet Mignon cooked in Kani Miso Butter and mitsuba cress. I am not a red meat fan, but this presentation was so amazing and it smelled so wonderful. The flame was still burning under the pot as it was brought to the table, and you were in control of how you preferred your steak to be cooked.  Our mouths were watering with anticipation of our first bite, and to our delight it did not disappoint. It felt like we were taking a bite of heaven, it was so succulent, juicy, seasoned to perfection, tender and I know I am saying it again but it really did melt in my mouth. I could taste the miso butter in every bite and I was in my fantasy world of food.
Wow we were in overload and everyone of our taste buds were definitely being fulfilled. I thought our meal was coming to an end but Jesse came over and spoke to us about the tradition of a Japanese Restaurant and how the rice and soup are typically served at the end of a meal. I guess the best are saved for last and maybe this metaphor might make sense, at the beginning of an exercise regime you start with the warm-up, then you transition into a more aerobic high impact exercise and at the end you finish with a warm-down. Such is the case with my meal…we started with appetizers*salad*sushi*main course*rice*soup…..
 Shoyu Truffle Butter rice with mixed mushroom

It was suggested that we try the Shoyu Truffle Butter rice with mixed mushroom, soy sauce & truffle butter. The rice is cooked per order in a cedar box and I was anxious to taste it. This was different for me, I was not use to eating the rice at the end of a meal. Rice by itself is very filling and to wait until the end to have the rice is a new and interesting concept for most Americans. I have to tell you my friends, I loved it.

Red miso soup with mushroom aWe ended our meal slightly nontraditional for me, instead of dessert and coffee we had a red miso soup with mushroom and tofu topped with a umami foam. I have to admit the presentation looked like a cup of cappuccino so it was a little weird. If you are a creature of visual presentation and prefer your soup in a bowl then you might be somewhat turned off. As for me I base my decisions on taste, and that is what this entire evening was for me, taking risks and trying new things. I loved it, the tofu was delicious and being in a cup was not a deterrence for me.
In Japanese tradition the evening ended as it began with Sake…but not just any Sake DSC00958the “creme de sole”…The Japanese rendition of an after dinner cognac…it warmed my body as the warm sake at the beginning had warmed me.
Hamptons MouthPiece readers, as you can see I enjoyed my Sen NYC dining experience and I recommend this place the next time you visit the city or if you live there. They will be looking to add some entertainment to the place, I personally think that would be a really nice touch. The restaurant is moderately priced, they are located at 12 west 21st Street, between 5 & 6th avenues. I would suggest calling for reservations.
Don’t forget to visit their Sag Harbor location next time you are in Hamptons..As always Hamptons MouthPiece keeping you in the know!!!!!

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Rockefeller Center 2012Greetings Hamptons MouthPiece Readers….Earlier this week my lovely daughter and I drove into Manhattan, saw the tree at Rockefeller Center and had lunch at Bobby Van’s…we were anxious to visit because we enjoyed the food at the Bridgehampton location. The traffic was horrible going into the city but 3 hours later we arrived and parked on the East side and walked over to the West Side. We arrived around 130pm and the place was fully occupied with a lunch crowd. Everyone was smartly dressed in business attire and although every seat in the restaurant was occupied the acoustics in the restaurant were not so over-whelming. It felt private and you were able to hold a conversation within your party.
Dani LeggardWe checked our coats which was very nice to not be tied down to big bulky coats at the table, and we were seated immediately even though we were nearly an hour late from our reserved time. Our waiter Mike introduced himself and asked for our drink order, Dani settled for water and I ordered my usual Seltzer with a splash of cranberry and lime. Soon after bread was delivered, a nice variety, but I wish it was warm, however had it been I would have devoured it so maybe that was a blessing for my waist side.

Lump crab cake.Bobby VansWe placed our orders and I chose to start with an appetizer…I ordered the lump crab cake. It was delectable and melted in my mouth. It made me excited about the next dish. Dani decided not to have an appetizer since she was having a very heavy lunch she wanted to savor her taste buds for her meal.

It was time for our main dish, I chose to order the Lemon & Pepper Shrimp and Danielle ordered the Petite Lemon Pepper shrimpFilet Mignon, each dish came with a side order of hash browns. My dish was pleasantly delicious although the first bite was a bit over-whelming with the zest of the lemon but after that I really enjoyed the meal and cleared the plate.

Danielle loved her steak, it was juicy & succulent, melted in your mouth. The dipping sauce on the side was ridiculously amazing and the hash browns just completed the meal. The petite size was a perfect serving size for her.Petite Filet MignonWe both cleared our plates and decided to complete our dining experience we needed desert. Mike our waiter came over and we asked him for some recommendations we completely appreciated his honesty and his recommendations were right on target. Danielle ordered the Creme Brûlée and I ordered the Chocolate Truffle Cake with Homemade Whipped Creme e. OMG….DELICIOUS!!!!

Overall we had a pleasant dining experience. The place was lively, the service was wonderful, the food was amazing. I found the place to be a perfect choice for groups because they seem to specialize in group style portions; we saw many tables sharing a meal. Next time I am NYC I plan on visiting in the evening to check out the bar scene because I bet that is awesome. This is a restaurant to add to your list of NYC places to visit, especially if you are in the mood for steak.Creme Brûlée

Bobby Van’s Grill will be open for New Year’s Eve offering a premier of traditional American Grill fare, classics steakhouse favorites, fresh seafood and wood-fired pizza. Bobby Van’s is at 135 west 50th Street (bet: 6 &7th ave ) Price is expensive, but worth it. I said today I would rather spend $150 and enjoy my meal than $30 and walk away feel incomplete….
If you are in the Hamptons be sure to stop by their Hamptons place on Main Street in Bridgehampton, NY

As Always Hamptons MouthPiece keeping you in the know!!!!

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Sotto Sopra….A Pleasant Dining Experience…..Greeting Hamptons MouthPiece Readers… Hope all of you are doing well…This has been a very relaxing summer Living Life how I want to live it…not by how other people think you should…Live, Laugh and Love are 3 words that I live by.  I have worked for various Media organizations and recently I worked for an online publication that typically did Food Write-ups.. They would write glowing reviews for any restaurant regardless of how the food tasted because of the fear that if you wrote something negative that restaurant would not spend any advertising dollars with you.
I really do not care and I am not in the business of destroying anyone’s life dream but I also am not in the business of sugar coating the truth. I have taken the stand that I will only write about restaurants that I really liked. I let others bring the negative as I only will bring the positive. If I don’t like it then I won’t talk about it, I want you my readers to know that what I write is my absolutely and VERY honest opinion. You can feel confident that I am speaking from the heart, but realize that this is my opinion and you may think differently.
This week I had the pleasure of visiting a new restaurant in Amagansett called Sotto Sopra…an Italian Cuisine located on MainSotto Sopra Street that once housed Exile Restaurant. My friend Cindy and I dined there on Tuesday, August 14th for dinner. I liked that parking was accessible and that was a welcome. When you walk in the bar is at the front with the doors open, the tables to dine are further back, I liked that the bar is far enough away from the dining area but still close. I also liked that the place is not to spacious, rather intimate, but don’t expect to have a private conversation, tables are a little close to each other. Our hostess greeted us so warm and friendly it immediately made us feel comfortable. We were asked if we would prefer to sit inside of outside, we sat outside because the weather was so pleasant. The lights were slightly dimmed but not to dimmed where you could not see your food and more impressive were the lights on the table for those who really do like a well lit table to see the food.
The outside was like a secret little garden beautifully manicured and so casually fit for a dinner out with the family.  Our waiter was very knowledgeable and quite attentive, but not smothering and that was appreciated. We started with two of the house special appetizers…Sotto Sopra
I had the lump crab on Parmesan toast..drizzled with tarragon white wine butter sauce and Cindy had the chilled Melon soup….I loved the Lump Crab…it was so delectable, I can taste it in my mouth as I am writing at this moment. I personally did not care for the Melon soup but that is because I like hot soup and not chilled soup, but Cindy liked it.Sotto Sopra

For an entree I had the Swordfish and Cindy had the steak. I liked the swordfish it was pan-fried and flaky and very filling…I however LOVED the steak it was so succulent and juicy and I was so envious that Cindy ordered and I had not. I never order steak when I go out to eat because I rarely eat red meat, but I will definitely be back just to order the steak. The waiter came over to remove our finished dishes I think secretly Cindy wanted to clean her plate…OMG it was just that good. Rose Evangelista the owner stopped by to chat with us and tell us some preliminary plans for the Fall and winter season. She told us that the restaurant will be open year-round for dinner during the week and lunch on the weekends. Rose indicated that the restaurant would be hosting a weekly Mah-Jongg dinner. Apparently Mah-Jongg is a new trend played among women…The game is played with a set of 136 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols, although some regional variations use a different number of tiles.Sotto Sopra

I look forward to seeing what new and exciting things Rose will bring to the restaurant after the summer. I trust that this will be one of the happening spots in the off season because Rose was so exuberant and her passion is so infectious. Sotto Sopra

We of course had to end the evening with dessert for the full dining experience. Our waiter memorized the dessert menu and I was completely sold on the 21 layer crepe cake which is an Italian dessert and Cindy had the chocolate ice cream with chucks of chocolate. I was so anxious to taste my dessert I drove in before I could take the picture. It was delicious and highly recommended.

Sotto SopraWe had a very nice evening, the food was delicious the service was wonderful and the atmosphere was comfortable. The price range is moderately expensive. I look forward to returning in the Fall, maybe on a Mah-jongg night. I have never played the game and I would like to experience this new trend.
As always, Hamptons Mouthpiece keeping you in the know!

smtot-bloodGreetings Hamptons Mouthpiece Readers….my goal is to keep you in the know with what’s happening in the Hamptons, new business in the Hamptons, and new products you can find in the Hamptons.  Today I introduce a product to you that you can find in the Hamptons..DIRTY BLONDE Sparkling Wine Cocktails..

When I first heard of the name I could not imagine how they would taste and I admit I was definitely skeptical and somewhat leery to take the plunge and taste. I finally had the opportunity to taste this delicious blended bubbly white wine with effervescent fruit infusions.  Both Kurt and I decided to have a mid-morning cocktail today and we were pleasantly surprised on how good they were. We tasted both the Raspberry Flirtini and the Blood Orange Mimosa…we both preferred the Blood Orange Mimosa, although the Raspberry was good if you like raspberry. These cocktails come in 3 flavors with the last flavor being Peach Passion Bellini. You can choose to drink it with a straw as pictured above, I however prefer my cocktail to be poured in a glass.

This drink is definitely going to be the featured drink at my next Girls Night Out…It’s fun, flirty and yummy. These clear, sleek bottles with simple screw caps are ideal to grab and go. This drink does contain 12% alcohol…so make sure you drink responsible. IMG_0782

You can find Dirty Blonde at any Target store and selected retailers throughout the Hamptons…I was able to find them at Race Lane Liquors..21 Race Lane  East Hampton, (631) 324-4595…..Perfect Hamptons summer Breeze!
As Always Hamptons Mouthpiece keeping you in the know!!!