China Chilcano

Was able to dine at a restaurant I had not yet checked out awhile back — China Chilcano in the Gallery Place/Chinatown/Judiciary Square area of Washington, DC. I had heard rave reviews about it so couldn’t wait to check it off my list.

It is one of Jose Andres’ places and it brings together Peruvian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. And their feature cocktail – Pisco Sours.

img_7037

I went on a Wednesday night. Made a reservations so the table was all set. The tables were at a very low level (from the ground) so you really have to bend over/down to eat. The light was very yellow-y, too. Not sure why. Hence why the picture all have an odd light to them.

The service was very slow, as in it took a long time to get our waiter. Once he finally arrived, we had to make the required order at such a restaurant — pisco sours! And they also bring you these little nibbles — pepitas.

Once we received the pisco sours (that also took awhile), cheers! Very nice.

The menu is tapas-style, so most of the dishes are small and meant to be shared. The choices were almost overwhelming. But we finally decided on:

Ensalada de Chonta — Hearts of palm, tamarind, avocado, tomato, kiwicha seed, sweet plantain

Ceviche Clásico La Mar — Red snapper, leche de tigre, sweet potato, red onion, cancha, cilantro

California (Roll) — Potato causa, jumbo lump crab, spicy mayo, cucumber, avocado, tobiko, huancaína sauce

HaKao — Steamed glass dumpling, shrimp, pork, ají rocoto-soy sauce

Yàn Wõ “Birds Nest” Soup — Coconut “Birds Nest” soup, pink grapefruit sorbet, mint, sesame, ginger

Like a typical tapas restaurant, these orders came out randomly. Some within a minute then others about 15 minutes later.

The hearts of palm salad was by far my favorite. Could have ordered several of those. The ceviche wasn’t quite what I was expecting because it was ‘soupy’. I could have used a spoon to eat it (picture below, top row, right). Unique and tasty, nonetheless.

The other dishes were very good, as well. The others at the table enjoyed the dessert and said they’ll have to pass next time. I had a small bite of the sorbet and it was interesting. I’ll stick with just the citrus itself.

Very glad I checked the place out, would totally go again.

 

Fuga Japanese Brasserie, Auckland, NZ

On the second night in Auckland, opted to go for some Japanese fare.  Found a place right around the corner from the hotel, Fuga Japanese Brasserie, that wasn’t busy.  It was also pretty hidden/subtle.  When we walked in, we were definitely in the minority, which likely meant it was not common for tourists to check this place out.  Makes it all the better.

IMG_5605

The table opted for some sake and Japanese brew.

IMG_5595

Went for some pretty basic food options that night.  Some nice soup (it was cold out that day), fresh salad, sashimi and nigiri.

IMG_5603

Pretty good, though the fish didn’t have any outstanding flavor.  The service was a bit slow, but very nice.  Good choice overall.

 

 

 

Daikaya

Checked out a new restaurant in DC the other night after various suggestions and trying not to go for the tried and true that I’ve had.  So, I have now check Daikaya in Gallery Place-Chinatown off my list.

I was told that it has two levels and be sure to go upstairs.  I naturally picked the wrong place to go at first.  Their lower level is a noodles restaurant for quick, easy meals.  It’s perfect to grab before a game (this place is right next to the Verizon Center, so ideal for Caps or Wizards game night) or at lunch.  So, I had to ask where to go.  An obvious common question based on the quick answer.  Immediately next to the bright-light was a hidden black door with the Daikaya name on it.  Upstairs we go.

IMG_1270[1]This non-ramen portion of the restaurant is based on how “the cuisine is freestyle and adaptive in nature and each izakaya in Japan puts its own touch to their menu items. In this spirit, we also like to put our twist on our dishes and drinks and embrace our role as an izakaya in DC, with international and American influences as we feel inspired.”

It’s very similar to a tapas restaurant.  Everything on the menu was small plates and you might need 3-4 per person, if not more.  They also had quite the drink menu, from beer to sake.

For the drink, I opted for a red beer, in a bottle — Echigo Red Ale.  It was hilarious because they bring you a glass that is the size of a juice glass at breakfast.  I guess it makes you feel like you’re drinking a lot from the 12oz bottle.  Very unique and nice beer.

IMG_1274[1]For food, opted for a few different tastes.  There were so many choices on the menu, it was honestly hard to pick!

-fried garlic
-grilled avocado
-tuna poke
-cold steamed chicken breast

IMG_1272[1]This picture doesn’t do the food any justice.  The flavors were incredible!  I wish I had room for more food to taste for options from the menu.  Will definitely have to go back again.  If you live in DC or are visiting, definitely add it to your list!