Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Restaurant Story, London: Fat Duck Who?

Restaurant Story Restaurant Story, London A Story in Story Snacks at Story A Lovely Bite Not an Oreo Chicken Treat Treat at Story Wonderful Little Bites Story Snacks Soup at Story Pork at Story Theatre at Story Sea Delight Story Stamp Parcel of Fish Oysters at Story Veal Tongue Beef Dripping Beef Dripping Candle Scooping up Beef Dripping Onion, Apple, Old Tom Scallops, Cucumber, Dill Ash Brioche Triple Layered Butter Mash, Asparagus, Coal Lamb at Story Lemon, Lemon and Lemon Pumpkin Different Ways Almond and Dill Tea Cakes Tea Cake at Story
Normally I cannot wait to write the text for this blog. It's one of the ways I express myself and, especially with great restaurants, the text is almost as important to me as the photos. However, in the case of Restaurant Story, I am going to do something I've never done before. I'm going to let the photos speak for themselves and I'm going to say very little.

As you scroll up and down looking at the photos of this incredible restaurant, I'll just say this; for the money, Restaurant Story is the best restaurant I've ever been to. What did he just say? What about The Fat Duck? What about Gavroche? Surely The French Laundry is the best? No. For the money, Story beats them all. Every restaurant in my top 5 leaves you feeling amazing, no doubt. But it also leaves you several hundred Pounds, or Dollars poorer. The full tasting menu above can be had for £80. It was £75 when I went on April 1st 2015. And for that, you get one of the greatest food experiences you'll likely have in your life.

The highlights for me are: The Beef Dripping Candle with Bread, Brioche and Triple Layered Butter (hello Foie Gras!), Onion Apple and Old Tom, Lamb Served Four Ways, Lemon Dessert Served Several Ways and Tea Cakes to top it all off. Incredible quality, amazing theatre and wonderful food!

Stop reading this and get on the phone to them and make a reservation. You won't regret it.

My highest recommendation.

Restaurant Story on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 6, 2015

Z Grille, St. Petersburg: $22 Hamburger

Outside Z-Grill Z-Grill Menu, Tampa Deviled Eggs Guacamole Deviled Egg Z-Grill Foie Gras Burger Foie Gras Burger
I was attracted to Z Grille for one reason, the $22 Burger. I don't generally like restaurants in the Tampa Bay area, the exception being several Mexican restaurants and a handful of Steak/Burger joints. I find the food very, meh, and uninspiring. So when I heard of a $22 Burger in St. Pete I had to try it.

Z Grille has been on my radar for a while now. Every time I search the inter web, Z Grille pops up on at least a few respected websites. The menu is pretty wild, as is the head chef and owner Zack. I went on a Tuesday as their website advertised a $15 Foie Gras Burger, normally $22, only to be told that it was only $15 at dinner. Checking the website right now it doesn't specifically give a time the deal is on, but it does say under their Events Page, "Don't Miss Out and Make it a Night Out With Friends". I guess the key word there is "Night Out." Still, I hate that type of misleading marketing.

Regardless, we were there and both my uncle and I wanted to sink our teeth into, what Z Grille touts as, "The Best Burger in The World." Seriously, that's what they say on their website. First up was some very creative Deviled Eggs. I'm not normally a fan of Deviled Eggs, but I did really enjoy the Avocado, Bacon and JalapeƱo one. Although all three were given a heavy treatment of Garlic, that left me not being able to taste much else for the rest of the day.

Next up, the main attraction. The most expensive Burger I have ever tried and, apparently, "The Best Burger in The World." The Foie Gras and Steak Burger with a Half-Pound of House-Ground Ribeye and Brisket, with Grilled Onions, Nueske Bacon, La Belle Farms Foie Gras, Roasted Garlic Tomatoes, Mayo and all served between a Brioche Bun with Truffle Fries piled on the side.

I'm sure the only question you're asking yourself is, "was it the World's best burger?" No, of course not. If it was we'd all have heard about it a long time ago and it wouldn't have taken me so long to try it. But, I did really enjoy it. I thought the meat was delicious, the bun was perfect and everything went together extremely well. But, it was a monster of a Burger and if you're going to have Foie Gras on a Burger that's a half-pound, I think it could do without the Bacon. If you have to have Bacon, I think all that fat needs to be offset by something fresh and acidic like Kimchi, or Slaw. It was just way too much Burger for this foodie.

However, I'm glad I tried it. It's not everyday you get to taste a $22 Burger. If you want to try it, go at night when it's $15 and make sure you have something fresh with it, or you'll be stuck in a coma on your sofa for the rest of the day like I was.

Z Grille on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Graze, Winchester: Local KY

Graze Restaurant, Lexington Side Salad Filet Mignon with Penne Osso Bucco Pork Udon Baby Foodie
On a recent trip to visit our good friends in Lexington, Kentucky (Picky Foodie and her husband) my wife and I were taken to a really interesting restaurant called Graze. Although it looks more like a little house in the middle of behemoth farms smack in the middle of Winchester countryside. If there wasn't a sign outside you'd drive by and think it was a local villager who wasn't lucky enough to own one of the beautiful farms in the area. Instead, it's something much better. A dinky restaurant based on serving only the freshest, most local food that Kentucky has to offer.

If you're thinking of Googling it and checking out the menu, don't. They change the menu constantly and it is all based around the local, seasonal philosophy. Something that is dear to my heart. Having an organic farm not even a mile from my house in England and doing my best to live my life around this philosophy, restaurants like Graze really strike a chord with me.

On this occasion it was Pasta night. And I have to be honest, before I arrived I was slightly apprehensive. Pasta is not something Americans do very well, (sorry Jersey but it's true) and I imagined Pasta in Kentucky to be about as far removed from authentic as Southern Fried Chicken would be if eating it in Birmingham, or Leeds. But, I was pleasantly surprised as soon as I saw the menu.

Not long after we ordered the mains a Side Salad with a Balsamic Dressing and Pine Nuts was brought out to us. If I was paying for it I might have been disappointed, but it was a nice little Salad to get you warmed up for the main course and it was free. So I won't complain. For mains, we had: Pork Udon in a Miso Broth, Filet Mignon with Penne and Blue Cheese, and Osso Bucco, which was served with Potato Mash instead of pasta. Every single dish was well executed and extremely flavorful. In fact, it was one of the nicest meals I had on my recent trip to the States. The Filet Mignon with Penne was beautifully cooked and presented. The Blue Cheese, although quite chunky didn't take away from the lovely meat flavors.

My Pork with Udon Noodles was brilliantly done. It was gorgeously spicy due to the Kimchi and the noodles were cooked perfectly. However, my only critique would be that the seasoning was slightly off. The Osso Bucco was also over seasoned. But they clearly like their salt in Kentucky. Every restaurant we went to seemed to employ the, "more salt is better" philosophy. That's obviously the preference there, so who am I to grumble? It only affected me as I got to the end of my dish. My Miso began to taste more like Sea Water than fermented Rice and Soy and I just couldn't finish it.

We had a new diner with us, Baby Foodie, daughter of Picky Foodie, pictured above. I didn't review her meal because, well, she still has a limited palate and her Pasta was made quite plain for her. :)

All in all I was very impressed with Graze. And despite the hefty price tag on each dish, which was between $25-26, I walked away happy. It's good to see that even in rural Kentucky there are people dedicated to bringing fresh, local food to people. Well done!

Graze Market and Cafe on Urbanspoon