Saturday, August 27, 2016

Kaiseki Dinner at Pao with Paul Qui & Yoshi Okai (Otoko) 9.20.16



It's on!!! September 20, 2016 chef Yoshi Okai, executive chef of Otoko in Austin, Texas is taking his talents to Miami Beach.  Yoshi along with Paul Qui will create a kaiseki experience inspired by Yoshi’s home of Kyoto, Japan’s former capital city, at Pao by Paul Qui located at the Faena Hotel.




Otoko is a 12-seat Japanese restaurant by Paul, James Beard Foundation Award and Top Chef winner. The multi-course omakase experience at Otoko blends Tokyo-style sushi and Kyoto-style kaiseki into a unique tasting menu.   

A traditional kaiseki experience progresses from appetizers (sakizuke, zensai) to steamed (mushimono), fried (agemono) and grilled (yakimono) courses and ends with a hot pot soup (shirumono), fresh fruit (mizumono), and dessert (kanmi).





Yoshi was born and raised in Kyoto, Japan, where he was introduced to the culinary world at a young age through his family’s catering company. Because of his parents’ hectic work schedules, Okai and his three siblings were often responsible for cooking meals.

Okai was introduced to future collaborator and friend Paul at Uchi and Uchiko, where Okai served as head sushi chef for six years. After a stint as head chef at East Side King, Okai joined Qui at his namesake restaurant, Qui, in 2014.





In 2015, Yoshi was named head chef of Otoko.

The last three dinners I attended at Pao with Paul have been excellent.  He followed up his crowd pleasing Cobaya dinner with an outstanding Omakase dinner three nights later.  On August 24 he brought chef Changthong, executive chef at his Thai restaurant in Austin Thai-Kun to town.  That was another awesome meal. I have not done a recap of that one yet but you can see my photos on my Instagram.

The Kaiseki Collaboration looks like another winner and must do event. I will be there for sure.

Tickets are available for $95 with an optional beverage option for $30, exclusive of tax and service charge.

September 20th, 2016, 7:00pm, Pao by Paul Qui


Click here to book your tickets

Potential/representative dishes from Otoko that should get you hungry pictured below.


Zensai - Lotus root, salmon roe, chervil, Japanese parsley + ponzu




ayu (aka sweet fish) with compressed watermelon, yuzu & burnet






Binnaga albacore tuna, cherry plum, jalapeño, ponzu, cilantro




Eryngii mushroom, dinosaur kale, kurogoma sauce, Turk's cap




Hirame from Misaki, Japan with unripe satsuma tangerine and lambs quarters




Aoyagi, skimmer clam, green mango, yuzu juice,  Mexican marigold,  nasu



3201 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140

Hours of Operation
Dinner Only
6:00pm – 11:00pm (Sunday – Thursday)
6:00pm – 12:00am (Friday & Saturday)

For Information
Phone +1 786 655 5600 / + 1 844 798 9712
pao@faena.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Civil War!! Recap Game of the Somms Bourbon Steak v Stripsteak 7.27.16




Game of somms went down on July 27, 2016 at the great Bourbon Steak. This battle of the sexes was a civil war that pitted Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak against their kin to the south, Stripsteak. Turnberry Isle v. Fontainbleau and riesling v. riesling too.

Five courses, ten rieslings.

It was the Thrillahh in Aventurilahh!!





Not a bad tree to be under.  Rajat Parr and Michael Mina.



As my loyal readers know,  I'm a huge fan of Bourbon Steak and it's not just about Chef Gabe Fenton and his team's amazing food.  The service remains the best in town and the wine list is equally as impressive.  Cocktails are proper too. But Stripsteak, another solid Michael Mina venture, didn't come to town to be the ugly step sister. They've got game too and their sommeliers came to play.

On a side note, although this night was about  the wonderful wine, Chef Gabe knocked it out of the park (as expected and as usual). HEY JAMES BEARD PEOPLE YOU ARE MISSING THE SOUTH FLORIDA BOAT.

Okay, back to the regularly scheduled post.

I'll refrain from boring you with every detail about the meal and pairings.  In a nutshell, it was a really enjoyable night and the type of night we should have more of in Miami.  The camaraderie between the somms made the night a lot of fun.  Both squads did a fantastic job with the challenging event. I had a very difficult time picking a winner in most of the courses and I'm not sure which team won on my scorecard.  My selections are noted with an **.  

Bottom line - The Boys may have won the battle but the real winners were us diners in the private room.  The ladies were rock solid too and I would highly recommend paying that dynamic duo a visit at Stripsteak.

Stay tuned for The Walking Dead Somms War featuring a cameo from Rajat Parr.  







Local Wahoo Tataki, apple, jalepeno, cucumber, mint.


Pairing

Albert Boxler Brand Grand Cru, Alsace 2010 **

v. 

Robert Weil Kiedrich Turmberg Trocken, Rheingau 2010



Blackened Tilefish, salsa verde, cilantro, basmati rice. 


Pairing

Kruger Rumpf Munsterer Dautenpflanzer GG, NAHE 2014 **

v. 

Forge Cellers Les Allies Finger Lakes 2013





Of course, you can't play Game of Somms without the King of Foie.


Hudson Valley Foie Gras, carrot vadouvan, mango chutney, cumin yogurt


Pairing


Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Spatlese, NAHE 2008 

v. 

JJ Christoffel Urziger Wurzgarten Spatlese, Mosel 2014  **




Game of Chicharones made a cameo appearance.



Prime NY Strip, cauliflower, green grapes, almonds, romanesco

Pairing


F.E. Trimbach Frederic Emile Alsace 2007  **

v. 

Emmerich Knoll Schutt Smaragd, Wachau 2004 




To the King of the North!! 


Game of Somms ended on a sweet note thanks to pastry chef Patty Lopez.

Peaches and Pecans - grilled peaches, pecan genoise, clover honey.


Pairing


Dr Hermann Erdener Pralat, Auslese Goldkapsel, Mosel 2012 

v. 

Dr. loosen Beerenayslese, Mosel 2011  **








Sunday, August 14, 2016

Recap of Paul Qui's Omakase Throwdown @ Pao (Faena Hotel) 7.17.16





Three nights after delivering a kick ass Cobaya Experiment, Chef Paul Qui was ready to throw down some more.  So on short notice, I reached out to my food loving friends and quickly gathered 19 adventurous diners (nine attended the Cobaya Dinner too) for a 12 course Omakase Throwdown.  

This was another outstanding meal.

I've written about Paul and Pao as well as the fantastic Faena property recently so I will spare you the details here.  You can read more about them in the link above.  

No menus were provided.  Once the group was seated Paul along with his chef de cuisine Derek Salkin just started delivering plates to our table.  This is my favorite way to eat and Paul did not disappoint.  

It should be noted that Paul owns a Japanese restaurant in Austin called Otoko.  Otoko is a 12-seat multi-course omakase experience that blends Tokyo-style sushi and Kyoto-style kaiseki into a unique tasting menu. 

So he is no stranger to this type of meal. 

He is looking to do the omakase dinners on a monthly basis. The next one is set for August 25, 2016 at 7PM. Tickets are $175.00 and include a pairing.  There are only 12 seats for this one so you better act fast.  Tickets are available via TockTix HERE.  

Additionally, he is also cooking an Imperial "OG" Thai Feast the night before with  Chef Changthong, executive chef at Paul's restaurant Thai-Kun in Austin.  More details and ticket information is available HERE.  I look forward to seeing you there.






Sunomono
Assortment of Last Season's Vegetables




Uni Chawanmushi!

Soft Egg Custard, Santa Barbara Sea Urchin, White Sturgeon Caviar




Clam Ceviche 






Nasu Nigiri 

Grilled Japanese Eggplant, Soy Caramel 




Wagyu Nigiri 

Grilled Wagyu Beef Short rib, Smoked Shoyu, Fresh Wasabi 




Veloute of the Year (pre Veloute)


Sunchoke Jardiniere
Sunchoke Veloute, Raw and Marinated Farm Vegetables, Fresh Sour Cream, Lobster Coral
 




Veloute Shot!




Fresh Lumpia 

Lamb Tartare, Kaffir Lime, Egg Yolk Pudding, Hoja Santa Wrapper (loved the hoja as a flavorful vehicle)




Ginataan
Coconut and Tumeric Poached Maine Halibut, Tomato Jam, Summer Squash Conserva, Zucchini Blossom Kimchi 





Quail Onigiri
Texas Banderas Quail, Sushi Rice (stuffed),Stone Fruit Sauce, Pickled Green Strawberry





Dinuguan (not very photogenic but delicious)

Pork Blood Sauce, Potato Gnocchi, Crispy Pig Ears, Red Onion, Coriander.






Smoked Lone Mountain Wagyu Ribeye
Green Peppercorn Umami Sauce 



Cashew Pie
Fermented Banana Sorbet, Dark Treacle Marshmallow, Binchotan Sear




Sear to Table!! 
Pardon my reach but do you mind if I Binchotan your dessert?!



Mignardises
Pandan Mochi, Kinako Flour


Run don't walk to Pao for their regular menu and of course annoys their special meals including the next Omakase dinner on August 25, 2016.



3201 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140




Hours of Operation
Dinner Only
6:00pm – 11:00pm (Sunday – Thursday)
6:00pm – 12:00am (Friday & Saturday)

For Information
Phone +1 786 655 5600 / + 1 844 798 9712

Friday, August 12, 2016

Chef Collective @ Pao 8.24.16

                                                


Chef Paul Qui will be in town and throwing down "OG Thai" food with Chef Changthong, executive chef at Thai-Kun in Austin, Texas on August 24, 2016 at one of my favorite spots Pao.  Thai-Kin was rated the 8th Best New Restaurant in America in 2014 by Bon Appétit Magazine.    This should be a deliciously fun night. 


CHEF THAI CHANGTHONG



You can book your tickets via TockTix  HERE



Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cobaya Qui @ Pao 7.14.16

CDC Derek Salkin & Paul Qui

I was happy during the meal. I was happy after the meal and I'm still happy thinking about the meal 48 hours later.  It must have been a great meal...





Cobaya "experiment" 63 a/k/a Cobaya Qui went down on July 14, 2016 at Pao located at the Faena Hotel on Miami Beach. If you've been paying attention to this site and my Instagram feed it's no secret that I'm a big fan of Pao and the Faena. Pao recently made my difficult to crack Top Five Restaurants in Miami list and probably deserved to be ranked higher. I've also enjoyed and recommended their new show C'est Rouge playing on weekends at their Theater. I've also recently written about great meals at both Pao & Los Fuegos. So yes I'm a big fan and NO I'm not on Alan Faena's payroll. 

But this post isn't about the Faena or Los Fuegos or C'est Rouge. This is about Paul Qui and his talented team at Pao who crushed Cobaya.

I must admit that I'm full of stress before each dinner, worrying that the chef will not fully grasp the concept or comprehend what we are trying to achieve with these dinners. Or maybe they just won't care. I stress during each dinner as each course is served wondering if the chef is trying too hard or if the group size is too large and will either affect the execution of the dish. But I wasn't worried before Cobaya Qui. Because everything Paul cooks is interesting. And I wasn't worried the night of the dinner because Paul told me he loved what we were doing and asked me if he could do a Cobaya dinner every time he was in town (deal). And I wasn't worried during this one because he cooks like this on a nightly basis and excels at it.

Paul epitomizes Cobaya.

Cobaya Qui. That's what Cobaya is all about. Passionate, enthusiastic, energetic, creative, unique and daring. That's how I would describe Paul after spending time with him prior, during and after the dinner. And it translates onto the plate and results in really fucking tasty food. Something a lot of young chefs lose sight of in their quest to have that perfect instagram ready plated dish.

Paul won a James Beard Award in 2012 for Best Chef Southwest. Top Chef fans will recall his dominate run during his Season Nine win. He was born in Manilla, Philippines and his training was in classic French and Japanese cuisine. In addition to Pao, he owns Qui  in Austin and recently opened a 12 seat omakase spot, Otoko. He also has a side project, East Side King which consists of food trucks and brick and mortar spots across Austin.

His local right hand man, chef de cuisine Derek Salkin is another rising star.  Prior to taking his talents to South Beach, he spent time in the kitchens at Per Se, French Laundry and Joël Robuchon. An impressive trifecta. Pao is in excellent hands when Paul is out of town.

Paul and Derek have Filipino backgrounds so the menu was littered with twists on Filipino dishes and flavors. And they were all really good.  Dessert was a hit too thanks to pastry chef Alyssa Hurlstone.

Paul and Derek embraced the concept and they owned it. They delivered an interesting, unique, creative and most importantly a delicious night. Flavors were great and execution was perfect. The progression was solid and pacing was impressive especially with a group of fifty.

It was a fun night from start to finish. You could tell by the buzz at each table that diners were really enjoying each dish. Most cited a different favorite dish at the end of the night which reflects the overall strength of the meal.

I'm not sure is this was strategically done or not but Paul did not provide diners with a menu. So we had no idea what was coming next. It was a nice twist that added extra intrigue to the night.

Huge thanks to chef Paul for taking time from his busy schedule to cook for us and to Derek and the entire kitchen crew. And thanks to the entire team at Faena, John Rogers, Maria Linkous and Michael Pounsberry for making this happen on very short notice. Special thanks to Zach Gossard, Beverage Director at the hotel for lighting the spark and spreading the word about Cobaya to the chefs and hotel. This was his third Cobaya pairing following great ones at Experiment 45 with Danny Grant and Experiment 56 at Michelle Bernstein's Seagrape. And he delivered another excellent pairing with some challenging dishes.  Welcome to the Cobaya Hall of Fame!

And of course thanks to the Cobaya Nation for your love, interest and continued support.

See you at 64!


The Guinea Pigs crushed course one....




Guests were welcomed with a refreshing Blackberry Bramble.


Paul unsuccessfully attempted to source Unicorn for the dinner but The Golden Myth was in the house.



Amuse Bouche
Kumamoto Kinilaw 
Oyster, Sake Granite, Umeboshi, Tomato, Shiso




Lumpia 
Foie Gras, Passionfruit, Szechuan Pepper, Pistachio
Sparkling Rosé, Graham Beck NV, Western Cape


Rice Milk 
Fresh Ricotta, Smoked Trout Roe, White Kimchi, Black Garlic 
Kirinzan Junmai Sake, Niigata



Red Porgy Crudo 
Hibiscus Dashi, Finger Lime, Lychee, Yuzu Kosho
Gewurztraminer, Zind-Humbrecht ‘Calcaire’, Alsace 2013



Dinuguan (pork blood sauce) **hard to pick just one but this was the dish of the night**
Hen of the Woods Red Onion, Smoked Shishito, Cilantro 
Priorat, Torroja ‘Terroir al Limit’ 2012



Guinea Hen 
Corn, Black Rice, Coxcomb, Girolles 
Régnié(Cru Beaujolais), Guy Breton, 2013



Kare Kare
Oxtail, Langoustine, Beef Tongue, Dried Shrimp Paste 
Red Wine Blend, Col Solare, Columbia Valley 2013




Polvoron 
Caramelized White Chocolate, Sweet Corn, Huckleberry



Thai Tea Marhmallows

Hours of Operation
Dinner Only
6:00pm – 11:00pm (Sunday – Thursday)
6:00pm – 12:00am (Friday & Saturday)

For Information
Phone +1 786 655 5600 / + 1 844 798 9712
pao@faena.com