Archive for the 'Pastry Chef Felenciana' Category

22
Aug
13

The New… Prime Grill – Elegance par Excellence


I knew I was in for serious trouble when walking back to our cozy, ellipsoidal, tufted leather booth with a bite size bread squarely in my mouth – from the washing station – I ached to skirt a bee-line for seconds of the freshly brick oven baked flatbread pieces. Good thing I didn’t, because Chef David Kolotkin prepared CS, myself and my son, a feast of heavenly scope and perfection… it will take days to walk off and countless years to forget. kosher-scene-copyright-copy22

A Partial view of the main floor.

A partial view of the main floor at opening time for dinner – 5:00pm

The place is the new Prime Grill (25 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019 – 212.692.9292) surrounded with neighbors on par like: Henri BendelGucciAbercrombie & Fitch, and the Consulate General of Argentina. The venue is elegant, Great Gatsby meets luxury cruise liner enormous, yet sedate and optimally planned to seat all dining scenarios in shades of warm beige to deep teal. Beyond the reception and a welcoming long marble appointed rectangular bar, accented by the most ‘fabulous darling’ huge black crystal chandeliers that made my Hungarian heart sing. There is seating for up to 350 persons; with intimate balcony seating for two or for large private parties. The layout is so well done, it flows unobtrusively at near full capacity with the soft low hum of a well tuned engine. Our meal was nothing short of spectacular! New distinct flavors from the charcuterie board that tasted totally traif; I’ll be adding ‘al chets‘ for the Pepperoni and the Spicy Beef Prosciutto Cotto this Yom Kippur, that served along with thinly sliced Salami, cured Bresaola, and Spicy Smoked Beef Coppa became nothing short of ‘blonde svelt shiksa, you can’t possibly be Jewish’ when condimented with Prime Grill‘s Whole Grain French Mustard & the toasted flatbread. I’ve skipped ahead, sorry, premature palate excitation…

Hard to believe, it's actually all deliciously kosher!

Hard to believe, it’s actually all deliciously kosher!

Chef David said: “G-d will forgive me for introducing my people to the real tastes of the world.” We started our meal with three sushi appetizers, all superbly fresh, tasty, well sauced & beautifully served: Prime Grill Roll – with grilled yuzu-miso glazed black cod, cucumber, sesame-teriyaki sauce, topped with tuna & avocado; Fire Dragon Roll, consisting of spicy tuna wrapped in avocado; and a Spicy Tuna on crispy rice served with jalapeno aioli sauce, teriyaki & julienne tri-colored peppers – my personal sushi favorite, it’s that coalesced well blended harmony so reminiscent of Prime Ko‘s similarly named dish. Then it was all mouths on zest deck for a Merlin the Magician’s feast set for kings, queens, knights, and… can this round table get any larger? The Crackling Duck Salad leads the appetizer queue because it too had that artfully fused flavor that is so signature Chef David; duck confit and cracklings, arugula, frisee, tomato, red onion, poached egg and champagne vinaigrette. That champagne vinaigrette tied the flavors together in such a wonderful way – the duck confit was sublime, I do hope the dressing is included in Chef David‘s new cookbook – set to appear on September 15th and available at amazon.com. If not, we’ll try to squeeze Chef David for the recipe. It was a delightful marriage of flavors. Next came the Crispy Veal Sweetbreads – a light tempura based coating served with fennel puree, fennel fronds, enoki mushrooms, cipollini onions & pomegranate port sauce – a tad saliferous as is the tendency with sweetbreads, but lovely and light. The Classic Beef Tartar served over beef carpaccio with citrus-caper vinaigrette, sun dried tomatoes & pistachio baked crostini –was excellent. My intent was to sample lightly; who makes a meal of beef tartar? I couldn’t stop forking it – the fresh robust meat flavor vibrated with the citrusy capers and the pistachio crostini; oh my, I shamelessly kept eating. My son, a basic meat and potatoes kind of guy, recently has been expanding his palate; he couldn’t have been in better culinary hands as he explored Chef David’s taste odyssey taking him around the au couture comestible world in 80 minutes. Literally every single dish & accoutrement of the many consumed, possessed unique noble flavors artfully combined in what I’ll acronym as QTTP (Quality, Taste, Texture and august Presentation). CS tried a new Wood Grilled Veal Chop served with cipolline onions, peppers, vine ripened tomatoes, haricot vert, grilled radish, arugula with that marvelous whole grain mustard vinaigrette. The sliced Prime Grill Filet on garlic toast w/ crispy onions & horseradish sauce drew big yummms from my budding gourmand. Prime Grill‘s beef whether aged, cured, marinaded, reserve or Wagyu are all unrivaled and delectably supreme. Every sauce is well thought out – marrying components so brilliantly executed.

Prime Reserve Cut steak

Prime Reserve Cut steak

We all three salivated over the Prime Reserve Cut – I was at my happy zenith savoring my slices [cut with their fabulous steak knives], when CS insisted I taint perfection with some Béarnaise Sauce. Again, a shiksa moment of exotic buttery steakiness that was exquisite. We munched on brick oven Bresaola Flatbread seasoned with light bean puree and drizzled with truffle oil, as we reveled in entrees of Long Island Breast of Duck served with the most adorable quarter sized medallions ‘you can’t believe it’s made of quinoa’ pancakes – topped with a cranberry relish that was a lingua zoetic burst of flavor.

Long Island Breast of Duck...

Long Island Breast of Duck…

CS savored a Veal Chop with peach fritters, porcine mushrooms, infused whipped potatoes & apple brandy sauce; ahhh, King Arthur was reborn – smiling with Guineverian pleasure. Who did have room for dessert? None of us did, but gluttony prevailed after a short interludatory walk. The place was packed with that eclectic mix of clientele that gathers together over the shared commonality of a superlative dining experience. Three spanking new Escalades lined the near exterior with a bevy of well dressed chauffeurs in luxury cars in tow. I was totally out of time and place, enjoying every extravagant moment of gashmiut physicality, knowing I’d have to pay the price for my body stoops to conquer mind jaunt.

A potpourri of luscious, scrumptious, desserts

A potpourri of luscious, scrumptious, desserts

But Chef Felenciana‘s desserts were about to be served. I have adored this woman through her cakes and desserts ever since I first met her in person at Sòlo many years back, over a Tiramisu, what an extraordinary talent. I have kept up correspondence with her through the years via her pastries. The latest having been her Hazelnut Roche, of which I’ve had several deliveries through CS from the Prime Baker Butcher shop on 2nd ave. This night too, she did not disappoint. How amazing was the Bourbon and real Vanilla Bean non-dairy ice creams that tasted totally milk real, beside Whipped Cream drizzled with rich chocolate sauce, Chocolate Bread Pudding, Molten Chocolate Cake, and the exquisitely ethereal Tiramisu… nobody does it better! Felenciana – you are the Queen of Sweets. How can I go home again and cook for my family? Saving grace is Chef David himself, if you haven’t met him, he is an unpretentious, soft- spoken tender bubbale, who has every right to be proud of his monumental achievements on a personal and professional level. The Prime Grill Cookbook – Redefining the Kosher Experience, the Chef’s first published effort, co-authored with Joey Allaham - fourth generation butcher extraordinaire and CEO of The Prime Hospitality Group – will be on a shelf near you in September, or at amazon.com. Chef David has kindly chosen around 250 carefully explained recipes that will require some skill and time but not keep you in the kitchen for weeks trying to recreate the Prime Grill experience. I want to personally thank Chef David, our waiter Tony and all the superb servers, as well as the entire Prime Grill family for a delightful evening. A happy and healthy new year to you all! SYR

19
Jul
12

Revisiting Sòlo


When you have a meeting, date or get together over food that needs to go flawlessly, Sòlo (550 Madison Avenue; New York, NY 10022; Telephone: 212.833.7800 – in the atrium of the SONY building) is the place to be. A swank counterpart to the high tech-upscale Sony building and atrium it’s located in, Sòlo is what contemporary high class chic tastes like. From its sleek artsy glass exterior wall – flanked through by oil with infused vegetables – down to its impeccably styled up-scale food presentation, Sòlo defines high quality cuisine; the fact that it’s under strict kosher supervision is sub-rosa fringe to its superb fare and service.

Chef-de-cuisine Guillermo Quiroz, trained by Chef David Kolotkin was just a delightful; the look of pride as he brought and explained each dish, knowing without a doubt we would be as pleased to eat as he was to present it, added to the experience.

We stated our feast with a Big Eye Tuna Tartar accompanied by avocado, citrus, mango and chips. It was very fresh, succulent, and not in the least bit fishy tasting (a great start to a great meal!).

We followed with another appetizer, Crispy Veal Sweetbreads, it came with celery root and Bosc pear puree, Swiss chard in a pomegranate reduction. Since I do not – on principle – eat veal, CS had it all to himself. Considering he cleaned the plate, I believed him when he described it as “superbly spiced, and absolutely delicious.”

Beef Carpaccio with spinach and grilled endive salad in a mustard and lemon vinaigrette came next. Well seasoned, beautifully presented, just perfect.

Next, came the pièce de résistance. We got the Roasted BBQ Short Ribs, sides were German potato salad and cauliflower puree. They reminded me of Mike’s Bistro‘s ribs. Sauce and flavors were excellent, the beef superbly tender, yet not overcooked.

Typical Uruguayan that he is, CS preferred the 8 oz Black Angus Steak au Poivre (available in 16 oz. as well), with caramelized onion puree, basil mash potatoes, and grilled asparagus in a red wine sauce. It was very flavorful, the crisp pepper top was just right, I just loved the wine sauce and onion puree combo. It’s hard to believe that in spite of its flavor, in spite of its tenderness, it was not aged meat.

The last main was a Pan Seared Black Angus Filet with turnip puree, mushroom ragout and fingerling potatoes in red wine sauce. Superb fare!

We washed it all down with a very good Binyamina Shiraz 2007, served to us by our favorite waiter, the multi-talented Eka Halim (he’s a professional photographer, as comfortable on a fashion shoot as on a bar mitzvah!). CS described the wine thus, “Deep garnet in color, medium bodied with soft tannins and a gentle wood influence. Smooth, round wine with blackberry and plum notes, with hints of tar and licorice.”

For dessert we shared two incredible creations by Pastry Chef Felencia Darius, now at Prime Butcher Baker. Warm Chocolate Cake with gingerbread ice cream and espresso sauce, the molten chocolate cake was superb and so was the sauce, but I expected more from the ice cream.

The evening’s crown, however, belongs to the Hazelnut Rocher, a hazelnut mousse with vanilla cream and a candied nut shell. Take my advise, folks, do not even think of leaving Sòlo without trying this one!

We had reservations for 6:00pm, by the time we finished at around 7:30pm there was not a single free table, not even in the private alcove we were in. People obviously know what’s good.

Though it was a superb dinner, and one that guarantees we’ll keep on revisiting again and again, we do have a minor criticism. We wish the presentations, as beautiful as they were, showed less repetitiveness.

SYR

Both Sòlo and its sister restaurant Prime Grill have a

Nine Day Menu.

04
Mar
12

Prime Butcher Baker


Butcher shops have never been the type of store one cares to linger in any longer than necessary to do one’s shopping, but that has suddenly changed!  Having heard so much about Joey Allaham‘s brand new venture, I felt compelled to visit his Prime Butcher Baker (1572 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028 – Tel: 212.616.1502) this past Thursday afternoon. Clean, very upscale looking, competitively priced, it offers everything you need for a take out or do it yourself meal, except for fruits and vegetables.

A partial view of the store...

This 3000 square ft. establishment combines a meat aging room (facing the street), a full butcher shop with fresh and aged meats, salads, prepared Ashkenazi and Sephardic dishes (cooked to perfection!), a bakery and freezer shelves laden with soups, sushi, sauces, salads and more! Above all, the staff is courteous, knowledgeable and very helpful with hints and full explanations on what and how to cook.

One of the shelves laden with meat cuts in the aging room...

Meat is tastefully presented, in fact, just looking at it makes your mouth water as you envision the possibilities…

Crown of lamb...

As for the bakery… let me warn you! If you are a cake lover, or an unrepentant chocoholic like I am, you are for a incredible feast for both your eyes and your palate…

I had to really restrain SYR and myself, else this mini chocolate cakes would never have lasted long enough to be photographed...

Prime Hospitality Group‘s Corporate Chef David Kolotkin repeats his stellar performance at Prime Grill, by preparing Ashkenazic cuisine favorites. Chef Souad Nigri, a Lebanese caterer prepares the Sephardi delicacies (her Lahmadjine is incredible!); Chef Makoto – from Prime Ko – makes the sushi and the Japanese dishes; Solo’s Pastry Chef Felenciana, makes the most decadent, tempting looking, succulent confections adorning the bakery showcase. If you want a butcher shop like you’ve never seen before, Prime Butcher Baker is the place to go to; if you want a bakery like you’ve never seen or tasted before Prime Butcher Baker is the place to go to!

What are you waiting for?!?

CS




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