La Mar by Gastón Acurio – Miami

La Mar by Gastón Acurio is an incredible Peruvian fusion restaurant specializing in fresh seafood and grilled meats, located in a beautiful waterfront setting in the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Miami.

La-Mar-Miami-Cover

On our most recent trip to Miami we had a great dinner at La Mar – the new flagship restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Miami. La Mar, which specializes in Peruvian Fusion, is part of the Gastón Acurio restaurant group that includes Astrid & Gastón in Lima, Peru; the 18th best restaurant in the world per the World’s Best list. From the quality of the food, to the excellent cocktail menu, to the first-class service, La Mar is far better than the typical ‘hotel restaurant’ and is a must-visit for Miami travelers and fans of Latin American cuisine. That is, unless you’re planning to strut your stuff on South Beach the next day…

The Mandarin Oriental is located on Brickell Key (a small manmade island right off downtown Miami) and La Mar has a beautiful setting right on the water. In the cooler months, we suggest sitting outside and enjoying a lovely view of the city skyline. However, in the summer, when Miami has the humidity of a rainforest, it’s probably best to sit inside.

Also noteworthy was the excellent service at La Mar. Our waiter, Nicholas, was very helpful guiding us through the menu and made some great recommendations.
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Carbone – NYC

Carbone in NYC | chezcateylou.com

A $55 Veal Parmesan?

There’s no way to assess a meal at Carbone without acknowledging that you’re paying for an experience. For an ambiance lifted straight out of the Mad Men era: white table cloths, old-school tile floors, and a Rat Pack heavy playlist. For waiters with a surly demeanors outfitted in snappy maroon tuxedos. And especially for a menu that’s almost audacious in its simplicity – straightforward dishes that are souped-up versions of Italian-American classics.

So taking this all into account, does it live up to the hype? It sure does.  … 

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RedFarm – NYC

RedFarm on Hudson Street in New York City is a modern Chinese restaurant in a rustic yet hip setting.  Delicious food and fun vibe.

RedFarm NYC | chezcateylou.com

So far on Friday Dinner Series we’ve covered a few of our favorite Asian spots in New York City: the James Beard nominated Uncle Boons (ahem, we discovered it first, Mr. Beard), Ippudo, Momofuku Noodle Bar, and Momofuku Ssam Bar. But what about Chinese? With the recent rise in popularity of more exotic Asian cuisines –  ramen, Thai, Vietnamese, and of course sushi – Chinese food is often forgotten.  I mean, there’s nothing trendy or different about Chinese food, right? You’ve got your General Tso’s, some egg rolls, a heaping helping of MSG, and if you’re feeling crazy, extra packets of duck sauce. But RedFarm has changed all of that and made Chinese food cool again thanks to incredible flavors and awesome twists on traditional dishes.

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Charleston (Husk and Xiao Bao Biscuit) – Friday Dinner Series

Charleston, South Carolina is a charming southern town full of amazing food. Here are two of our favorite meals in Charleston – Husk and Xiao Bao Biscuit.

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Friday Dinner Series is back with a look at two of our favorite spots in Charleston, South Carolina. A few weeks back, Cate and I escaped snowy New York City for a weekend trip to one of the South’s culinary hotbeds. As a Northerner you won’t hear me say this too often, but man, the South really knows how to eat. Biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, bacon everywhere – and tons of beer and bourbon to wash it down. If I wasn’t 90% sure all of those things were bad for you I’d never eat anything else.

Charleston certainly excels at traditional southern food, but there’s more to their food scene than just shrimp and grits. They have an incredible amount of great restaurants in a relatively small area. Today, a quick look at Husk (actually, the Bar at Husk) and Xiao Bao Biscuit.

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Uncle Boons – NYC

Uncle Boons has some of the best Thai food in all of New York City – everything is incredible and so flavorful. It is one of our all time favorite restaurants!

Uncle Boons NYC | chezcateylou.com

I have a lot of favorite restaurants in New York.  I usually qualify those statements to some degree; Sfoglia is my favorite neighborhood restaurant, Gramercy Tavern is my favorite restaurant to spend an afternoon, Mission Chinese is my favorite restaurant that inexplicably was shut down by the health department, and so on. But if I had to eat one meal in New York City right now, I’d go to Uncle Boons. So I guess that makes Uncle Boons my favorite favorite restaurant (at least for the time being).  So what is it about this Thai restaurant that makes it so special?… 

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