Kabooki Sushi, Simply the Best


maguro truffle

***** (5 stars)

I’ve previously reviewed Kabooki Sushi here, but we continue to return regularly, and the food has advanced from fantastic to mind-blowing, so it deserves another mention (my first repeat review, after more than 400).

As I said previously, we’ve had sushi at some of the top restaurants all over the world, and I’ve never had a meal as good as the ones I consistently get from Chef Henry Moso at Kabooki Sushi.

We always have the omakase, where you put yourself in the chef’s hands. But we ask him to add extra courses, and to pair it with wines. We usually have about seven courses, and it costs around $125, about double what the original omakase ran. To put this in perspective, I’ve paid more than that for a single course at some high end sushi restaurants, and not gotten as good food!

Similarly, the wine pairing at $30 is cheaper than a single glass of wine at those restaurants (Nobu, I’m looking at you).

The really amazing thing is that in a dozen visits, Chef Henry has never repeated himself, except for one dish, the Maguro Truffle, that we always request. So that’s something like 100 unique dishes!

Not only is each a work of art, but the combination of flavors is so perfect (salty, sweet, umami, citrus, fatty, acidic, rich, light — often all combined in one bite) that it defies description.

And sushi isn’t an easy food to pair with wine. Yet the matches are always perfect, and usually include minor grigio, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet and sparkling wine.

On our latest visit I showed Chef Henry a picture of a dish we had earlier in the week at Morimoto in New York. Two hours later, at the conclusion of our meal, Chef Henry, inspired by the idea, presented us with this:


otoro tartare with assorted condiments and seaweed chips

If a chef can come up with that on the spur of the moment, imagine what other treasures are in store for us in the future!

Here are some other things we had in that same meal at Kabooki:


giant clam, seaweed and pickled cucumber


compressed watermelon, tuna, ouzu sorbet


hamachi with house-made kimchi


locally caught grilled cobia


three types of fish rolled in rice paper, with apple sails, cucumber sorbet


grilled hamachi collar

If you can only dine at one restaurant in Orlando, it should be Kabooki Sushi.

Kabooki Sushi
3122 E Colonial Dr
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 228-3839



Caviar Russe

Caviar Russe 1

Caviar Russe 2

Caviar Russe 3

***** (5 stars)

Even without the caviar this would be a stellar restaurant, but for anyone who enjoys caviar it is an absolute must visit.

The dining room is elegant and intimate, and service is friendly and professional.

Food preparation is meticulous, complex, inventive and surprising. We had the caviar tasting menu, which began with a spoonful of each of six wonderful caviars, mostly osetras. The differences were in some cases surprising, yet subtle enough that it was great to be able to familiarize ourselves with the flavors unaccompanied (except for wonderful blinis–really more like crepes) and creme fraiche.

Then we were served six courses incorporating the same caviars. Our favorite courses were all the cold ones, including the oyster, tuna, and ice cream.

The caviar tasting menu is an amazing deal, as the caviar alone would cost more than the entire meal.

Wine pricing is also extremely reasonable. We had a half bottle of Krug Champagne and a superb bottle of Puligny-Montrachet. I doubt you could find these wines at a better price at any restaurant in the city.

Needless to say, Caviar Russe is on our must-visit list for our next trip!

Caviar Russe
538 Madison Ave
2nd Fl
New York, NY 10022
(212) 980-5908


***** (5 stars)

Morimoto offers an upscale sushi experience at a surprisingly reasonable price. The dining room is elegantly trendy, and although large, sounds treatments keep it from being deafening.

Sushi and sashimi are top notch. We had the omikase, which is different than other restaurants I’ve been to, because the emphasis is not on sushi or sashimi (although there is a course of each) but rather cooked foods. We particularly enjoyed the smoke from the burning herbs that accompanied the scallop, and the lovely wagu beef.

Service was efficient, and the wine prices, while not inexpensive, offer a number of nice selections that aren’t exhorbitant.

88 10th Ave
New York, NY 10011
(212) 989-8883

Bull & Bear Steakhouse

**** (4 stars)

This prototype for the Bull & Bear Steakhouses at other Waldorf Astoria hotels has history on its side. The dark woods and faux candlelight harken back to an earlier era, as do the large steaks and generously caloric side dishes.

Cut from the same cloth as the dozens of moderns steakhouses, the Bull & Bear manages to be unique simply through authenticity. Its unusually shaped bar is a particularly good spot to gather for a drink or to watch the stock ticker, as so many generations before have done.

Bull & Bear Steakhouse
540 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10022
(212) 872-4606

Wild Ginger

**** (4 stars)

This small restaurant offers amazingly good sushi, plus a variety of other pan-Asian dishes. We loved everything we tried, including several creative rolls. The Thai Basil Beef was the best I’ve encountered, as was the hot and sour soup. Particularly creative was the salmon skin salad, which was (different from its menu description) tossed with greens and a touch of spice, making it more Vietnamese or Thai than Japanese. The dinner ambiance was fairly intimate, although I understand it is bustling at lunchtime, and with good reason.

Wild Ginger
212 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 218-8828

Gotham Bar And Grill

***** (5 stars)

“Bar and Grill” is a bit of a misnomer here, as this is truly a fine dining restaurant. The kampachi sashimi is among the best I’ve had, and the roasted cauliflower appetizer was absolutely amazing–complex and delicate at the same time.

True, I did have a New York strip steak for dinner, but it was really the only item I’d describe as coming from a grill. It was an excellent steak, by the way, with a thick char and coated with a sticky Bordelaise.

There is a solid if somewhat pricey wine list.

Service is professional yet friendly.

The one caveat: The place is LOUD. There isn’t really a quiet corner where you can hide from it, so be prepared or go at an off time, if there is one.

Gotham Bar And Grill
12 E 12th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 620-4020


***** (5 stars)

For more than a decade we’ve been coming here, and it remains our favorite restaurant in New York. The dining room is elegant and uncrowded, a rarity in the city.

The food is delicate, complex, and constantly evolving. The best deal in the city is lunch at Jean George, where you can assemble your own multi-course meal or choose a tasting menu for a fraction of the price of dinner.

The wine list pricing is excellent, and there is a nice selection of high quality wines by the glass or even half glass, making it easy to assemble your own wine pairings.

Service is professional, friendly and knowledgable, and even though we’re probably outnumbered by the staff, it never feels overwhelming, just perfect.

1 Central Park W
New York, NY 10023
(212) 299-3900

54 Below

**** (4 stars)

This is a excellent intimate live music venue. Acoustics are very good, and there is a pretty good lighting system as well.

The majority of the seating is at long tables pointed toward the stage, so some seats tend to be faced away from the performer, and those seated in the first few slots (and I do mean slots) may find the lighting in their eyes. A few booths along the back provide the most comfortable seating.

Food is adequate. The french fries were excellent, and the Caesar salad was fresh. The ratatouille shepherd’s pie was a bit disappointing. There’s a nice selection of moderately priced wines.

Service is friendly and unobtrusive.

54 Below
254 W 54th St
New York, NY 10019
(866) 468-7619


***** (5 stars)

The wide range of reviews of this great restaurant on yelp indicate that it’s either quite inconsistent, or that it is attracting a lot of diners who may not be accustomed to fine dining.

I find the reviews that mention “stiff” service particularly puzzling. The service we experienced was professional, and yet extremely friendly. We engaged out server, his assistant, the maitre d’ and our sommelier in conversation, and all were extremely personable, and shared anecdotes and opinions with us.

I noted one reviewer who thought the food unremarkable, then revealed that dinner consisted of a salad and a rib eye. Seriously? Why have that dinner at this restaurant, even if it is possible?!

We had the chef’s tasting menu for a leisurely lunch that lasted almost three hours. Each course was a thing of beauty, and many of the taste combinations were inspired. Considering the ingredients (three courses included caviar, one included foie gras) the price was amazingly reasonable.

The matching wine pairing was actually more expensive than the food, but it was also worth it. Each wine was of excellent quality (for example, a Meursault and a Ch. Suideraut Sauternes) and a great match to the food.

The dining room is refined, quiet, and offers nice second floor views out onto Boylston.

All in all, this is one great restaurant, and I highly recommend it.

774 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02199
(617) 262-3023

Grannan’s Seafood Restaurant

**** (4 stars)

We had a great mid-afternoon meal here on Canada’s Thanksgiving Day. The restaurant is divided into a variety of spaces, including a cozy upstairs room and a downstairs patio. Service was very friendly. The seafood chowder was the best (and richest) I’ve ever had, and the lobster poutine, although unconventional, was delicious.

Grannan’s Seafood Restaurant
1 Market Square
Saint John, NB E2L 4S6
(506) 634-1555