For its next Late Night Dinner, Momofuku Ssam Bar looked to the Midwest and invited James Beard nominee and Best New Chef Jonathon Sawyer.  Mr. Sawyer has been a great proponent of the Rustbelt Revolution ever since he opened his flagship restaurant The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland in 2009, tirelessly supporting local businesses and using locally sourced ingredients and foodstuffs in all his restaurants.  The Greenhouse Tavern has been lauded for its French-influenced upscale gastropub fare, earning it a Best New Restaurant in America nod from Food & Wine Magazine in 2009.

The evening's menu consisted of previous dishes and present offerings at the Greenhouse Tavern, and it was divided into three sections: "small bites" (firsts), "bigger bites" (seconds), and the main plates (thirds).

It all started with a visit to a nutritionist.

Five years ago, chef Marco Canora was not feeling well.  He could not pinpoint what was making him feel ill, but he knew something was wrong.  Then came that fateful trip to the nutritionist, and the verdict came in: he had pre-diabetes, gout and hyperlipidemia.  He decided to eschew processed sugars, flour and oils, and ate more vegetables, proteins and "good fats".  He started feeling better and losing weight, and his numbers began to improve.

Just as the hype around Fuku and Fuku+ was dying down, David Chang set the culinary world a-tremble with the stealth opening of his newest restaurant Momofuku Nishi during the weekend.  Since late last year, when it was discovered that Mr. Chang had purchased a storefront along 8th Avenue in Chelsea, interest in this project has been steadily growing, as foodies and industry folks speculated what kind of food was to be served at the restaurant.  Mr.

It has become sort of a tradition of mine to dine at two different restaurants during New Year's Eve.  This New Year's Eve was no exception: the night began at Major Food Group's Saddle's and ended at my old stand-by Momofuku Ssam Bar.  The two restaurants could not be more different -- Sadelle's is the Jewish delicatessen re-imagined, while Ssam Bar deals with Asian-inflected cuisine -- but both represent the diversity and history of food in New York City.

It had become a tradition for me during the past few years to spend both Christmas night and Super Bowl Sunday at Momofuku Ko: such occasions are spent with family and friends, and the staff at Momofuku Ko has always been family to me.  So imagine my delight when, after a brief respite, the restaurant offered Christmas lunch and dinner this year.

Raw venison, pickled girolles and wet walnuts

Buttermilk scone, smoked mackerel and horseradish

Grilled ox tongue, beet root, anchovy and crispy onions

Brown sugar meringue, hazelnuts and raspberries

Breaking the meringue reveals a vanilla parfait

After a particularly long day sightseeing along the River Thames, I found myself at the foot of the Tower Bridge, tired and somewhat hungry.

My first night in London ended on a very good note, with dinner at the renowned restaurant Lyle's.  The food was quite outstanding: each dish was composed of five or so disparate ingredients, each simply prepared, which work harmoniously together to produce creative and delicious dishes.  It is a set menu costing 44 pounds Sterling, with a cheese course costing about 9 pounds Sterling, practically a steal.

Two months ago, Pegu Club veteran mixologist Kenta Goto decided to venture out on his own and open a bar that focused on his Japanese heritage.  Since then, his eponymous establishment has garnered much positive buzz from bargoers, who appreciate his Asian-influenced libations and the Japanese-style bar snacks created by chef Kiyo Shinoki.

Clockwise, from upper left: Cucumber-Apple Collins; Umami Mary; Sakura Martini; Improved Shochu Cocktail; Plum Sazerac; and Yuzu-Calpico Fizz

Mr.

It's a tale straight out of a movie: two classically trained chefs turn their backs on fine dining to find success and contentment in a lowly pizza parlor.

A week ago, with little advance notice, Momofuku impresario David Chang unleashed Fuku+ on an unsuspecting populace.  The big brother of Fuku, Fuku+ offers most of the same food items available

at the East Village outpost, plus a few items unique to the Midtown location, as well as large format packages for groups of 2 to 8.  Located at what was once the lobby bar of Momofuku Ma Peche, the crowds soon came to sample the newest culinary creations from Mr. Chang and company.
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