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August 21, 2012

Pen shell crudo with red curry cabbage, lime, and coconut — the first course at Um Segredo's recent seafood-focused dinners.

I’m not going to bother trying to describe what this tasted like. I will only say I would be floored if this was served to me at the freaking French Laundry (and it would cost 10x as much). The value for your money is insanely high; the love and good humor Dave puts into the food is matched only by his deep understanding of ingredients and technique. Plus you get to bring your own wine, the holy grail for those who like to experiment with interesting or rare bottles but would rather not pay restaurant markups. 
This is why Dave Santos is the most exciting thing in underground dining right now, and why you need to join his mailing list.

Pen shell crudo with red curry cabbage, lime, and coconut — the first course at Um Segredo's recent seafood-focused dinners.

I’m not going to bother trying to describe what this tasted like. I will only say I would be floored if this was served to me at the freaking French Laundry (and it would cost 10x as much). The value for your money is insanely high; the love and good humor Dave puts into the food is matched only by his deep understanding of ingredients and technique. Plus you get to bring your own wine, the holy grail for those who like to experiment with interesting or rare bottles but would rather not pay restaurant markups. 

This is why Dave Santos is the most exciting thing in underground dining right now, and why you need to join his mailing list.

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August 6, 2012

Not bad for a Monday….
Though sadly it’s Jane’s last. :(

Not bad for a Monday….

Though sadly it’s Jane’s last. :(

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July 23, 2012

Eight of eleven gorgeous courses at Chez Jose, a pop-up restaurant that offers two seatings every Tuesday night in a tiny coffee shop in Williamsburg. The cuisine is driven by whatever produce Chef Jose Ramirez, formerly of Issa, gets from his farmers; we had just one animal protein — shrimp — and we didn’t miss it. He very cleverly moves from fruit to vegetable to grain, ending where you might not expect it: a creamy and cold malt-based dessert, inspired by something Jose had as a child in Puerto Rico. Imaginative, exciting, go.

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April 27, 2012

Making pizza in a top knot & favorite apron (that says Whisk & Ladle, if you can’t tell). 

Making pizza in a top knot & favorite apron (that says Whisk & Ladle, if you can’t tell). 

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April 24, 2012

A wise woman once said ”give me my bad news with a side of uni.” (I’m paraphrasing, but spoiler alert — it was me, and I can do that.)

It’s almost a pity I didn’t have anything to mope about on Friday, ‘cause Dave Santos' five-course homage to the great urchin of the sea would have kicked even the biggest bummer in the bum. (Dave, you may recall, is the genius chef behind Um Segredo, a supper club he runs out of his Roosevelt Island apartment.)

We ate uni with truffle and uni with branzino, uni delicately layered with crab and tomato marmalade and uni lolling about in a bowl of carrot foam and risotto, uni with medallions of pork (I gave mine to M.) and uni with a towering fluff of lemon meringue (just kidding, no uni there). We had more uni than I’ve ever had, and yet I could have kept on eating it, course after course, for several days at least. And I’ve concluded: while it goes well with bad news, it goes even better with good news — or good wine. Whatever you got. Just hand over the uni.

To sign up for the Um Segredo mailing list, like the page on Facebook. And for those who would prefer to enjoy Dave’s food Manhattan-side, he frequently partners with City Grit

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April 1, 2012

City Grit and Um Segredo's Veggie Tales dinner. Five exquisite courses, each an elegant expression of the late-winter/early-spring earth.

I was especially enamored of the artichoke carpaccio, artichoke puree held together with agar — the texture so silky and satisfying you wouldn’t spare a thought for that other carpaccio — topped with spicy mizuna, tender fava beans, and sweet slices of fresh artichoke.

But then there was the soup! Curried and creamy and punctuated with the prettiest, plumpest, freshest green peas, it was all I could do not to tip my bowl and take it down in one hungry swoop.

And the risotto. Oh — the risotto. I have never had risotto so good, and that is point of fact. Tiny slices of asparagus in perfect harmony with each al dente grain, all held aloft with a foam of the subtlest asparagus flavor. (This is why it’s stupid to mock the use of foams outright. In the right, intelligent hands, they are heavenly.)

I’d be remiss if I did not praise the wild mushroom cassoulet, so thick with hearty, stewy broth that I could have sworn there was a little veal stock in there somewhere — but no, just a bounty of beans and a single poached egg, punctured at the last minute with a fork, yellow and runny and elemental.

And finally, the dessert: a thick square of cake, assertively corn-y, accessorized with bits of pineapple, a drizzle of nutmeg caramel, and decadent rum gelato (see its creation in action here).

I have long felt that the mark of a great chef is what he or she can do with vegetables. Lord knows Dave Santos (proprietor of Um Segredo) can make lamb sing and pork shine. But I don’t think I’ve been quite as impressed with him as I was Friday night. 

Hats.

Off.

Update: Check out Annie’s gorgeous behind-the-scene shots of the dinner.

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March 29, 2012

homecooksuperstar:

Inside an artichoke. @umsegredony prepping for tomorrow’s “Veggie Tales” (Taken with instagram)

Gorgeous! Really looking forward to it.

homecooksuperstar:

Inside an artichoke. @umsegredony prepping for tomorrow’s “Veggie Tales” (Taken with instagram)

Gorgeous! Really looking forward to it.

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March 9, 2012

Chef at City Grit

I can’t believe I missed this homage to my home state. I mean there was even hot dish on a stick! On a stick I tell you! (And you know how M. and I feel about food on a stick.)

Also, this Minnesota State Fair Affair for homesick Minnesotans in New York?? Sign me up!! Like every good St. Paul girl, I love The Great Minnesota Get Together and am bummed every year that I miss it. If they host another food-on-stick contest we are ready. M. has been threatening to throw a modernist-cuisine-meets-State-Fair dinner party for years now.

fritesandfries:

Last night, Chef brought Minnesota to New York for the Explore Minnesota dinner at City Grit; five dishes representative of Midwest Modern cuisine (er, Minnesotan inspired cuisine) were served. I was really happy to have my best buddy Harold with me as my dining companion since I was sitting down, eating, and not (really) taking pictures! Everything turned out great and I’m quite proud of him — the food was fantastic (in my non-biased opinion).

The amuse was “Green Bean Casserole” on a stick. I want to say that this dish was inspired by me and perfected by him; last year, I made Green Bean Casserole Hot Dish on a stick for a food-on-a-stick contest at the Minnesota State Fair Affair (an annual event put together by homesick Minnesotans in New York). It turned out to be more like a meatball because I couldn’t fry it properly. It tasted okay and it was also weird enough to be mentioned on Fox News and Serious Eats though.

For the first course, we had a pickled mushroom salad with asparagus, mizuna, and a poached egg…

Read More

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March 2, 2012

"I had such crazy dreams last night," Andrea said to me when she woke up this morning. (She stayed over after we had a little too much wine at City Grit/Chef Dave SantosMarch Madness dinner.)

"Oh my gosh," I said, "Me too!"

Blue cheese is said to cause wild dreams. Looks like Dave’s Stilton tortelloni did exactly what it was intended to do. (See all the photos — with descriptions — here, if you’re so inclined.)

The whole meal was really extraordinary. Dave is one of New York’s greatest working chefs — and he’s so young, I can’t wait to see where he goes.

Sign up for the Um Segredo mailing list here (that’s Dave’s Roosevelt Island supper club — remember the truffle extravaganza?). And get a little taste of the magic at his upcoming City Grit dinners:

March 8th — Dave is teaming up with his good friend Andrew Kraft for a menu inspired by Minnesota comfort foods (I kinda have to go, don’t I?). Sample course: walleye with wild rice risotto, hazelnut foam.

March 9th — an "ode to the oyster houses." This is something he explored to great acclaim when he was at Hotel Griffou. Sample course: pickled oyster and pork belly salad, onion fondue, arugula.

March 10th — Dave and our dear friend (and bo ssam guruAkiko are creating a “Japaquese” menu that celebrates their respective heritages: Portuguese and Japanese. It’s an actual cuisine in Hawaii (did not know that). Sample course: "Kale Soup": kale, potatoes, chourico, miso broth. 

We will definitely be there for that last one, as will Peter and Andrea. If you’re going, drop me a line. We’ll sit together. I always meet such interesting people at City Grit and Um Segredo events. (Looking at you, Annie.)

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