New menu items & a revisit: SAIA, B Ocean Hotel – Ft. Lauderdale

Back in March Foodies on the Fly first visited SAIA at the sleek B Ocean Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Since then, Chef Subin Chankesorn has added several new items to their menu and we were invited back to taste test.

Chef Subin’s unique culinary creations are a natural result of his exposure to Thai street market food in his earlier years and his travels throughout Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. Prior to SAIA, Chef Subin served as Assistant Sushi Chef at Delano on South Beach, Lead Sushi Chef at the Lowes Hotel South Beach, Chef aboard Royal Caribbean International’s fleet and Market Cook in Thailand. Chef Subin strives to achieve balance between authenticity and heritage in his dishes and the modern (American) conception of what Asian dining.

“When developing this concept I was committed to creating a unique dining experience, with fresh interpretations and crafting flavors that would redefine South Florida’s Asian dining scene. We’ve succeeded!” – Chef Subin

Upon meeting the magnetic Chef Subin, FOTF left the menu selection in his more than capable hands. Thus begins our journey…

Green Bean Salad

The Green Bean Salad arrived first, served chilled with a black soy vinaigrette, sesame seeds, and dried garlic on top. The crisp, fresh green beans are a new addition, and we would gladly order them again as an alternative to our typical starter of edamame, which is also available.

Tamari Scallop

The Tamari Scallop was beautifully plated; one large scallop wrapped in paper thin bigeye tuna, topped with minced crabmeat, and masago atop a pool of wasabi spiked aioli. The thin, silky smooth tuna barely encased the meaty scallop and crabmeat, and presented me with a small challenge: How to most delicately devour this large bite? Chopsticks gripped, I chose to bite and conquer (and hope that the whole masterpiece would not end up on my plate, or worse…). My strategy worked, somewhat, only a few bits of green tobiko caviar and crabmeat were sacrificed. I can see why the waitstaff heavily recommends this dish. We do as well.

Hamachi Jalapeno

The thinly sliced Hamachi Jalapeno arrived next, spiced with Thai chili, ponzu uzu, shredded daikon and cilantro arrived next. This light fish was full of flavor from the citrus-y marinade to the kick of the Thai Jalapeno chilies. The Hamachi was one of my favorite dishes of the evening.

Miso Scallops

The Miso Scallops, a customer favorite, are lime and salt encrusted, covered in a sweet honey miso sauce, and presented atop a Japanese yam. Topped with a dash of sesame seeds, and curl of scallion.

This dish also had me fumbling with my chopsticks (Disclaimer: I am no expert, as you may have deduced) as the slick glaze had them slipping through my grasp. Laughing as yet again the scallop eluded me, I admitted defeat and requested silverware. Quartered by my newly acquired knife and securely speared by fork, the perfect bite of sweet, sticky miso scallop made it into my mouth. The lime and salt perfectly balance out the sweetness of the miso glaze, which is so delicious, I could cover everything in it. As I was savoring my first bites of scallop #1, scallops #2 and #3 have disappereaed. Definitely a favorite of my dining companion of the evening, and newest addition to the FOTF team, my BF “M”.

Shirome Spice

I did not have long to lament the loss of a possible shared scallop, as we were quickly presented with my favorite plate of the evening. The Shirome Spice, a crispy, lightly battered whitefish with a sweet and spicy garlic glaze and stir-fried mixture of onions, red, yellow and green bell peppers, and shitake mushrooms. The stir-fried vegetables were slightly al dente and added texture to the flaky fish and meaty shitakes.

Tropical Roll & Fire Dragon Roll

Next we were presented with not one, but two massive sushi rolls, the Tropical Roll and the Fire Dragon Roll. These two inside out creations push sushi lovers to the edge and have gained quite a following due to their unique flavor pairings. The Tropical Roll includes seared scallop, mushroom, shiso, cucumber, and spicy miso topped with salmon and mango. Our favorite, the Fire Dragon Roll starts with lightly fried shrimp tempura, wrapped in avocado, snow crab, and topped with spicy tuna and masago.

Mongolian Barbeque Lamb Lollipops

Another new addition to the SAIA menu are the Mongolian Barbeque Lamb Lollipops. M wanted to test out his review skills and adds: An unusual presence in an Asian restaurant’s menu, this item has been added in response to customers request to increase meat dish variety. But don’t let the oriental atmosphere fool you; this dish’s level of taste, tenderness and presentation is at least similar to what you would expect from any fancy steakhouse. With another signature twist from the Chef, the sweet and tangy sauce on the side is a surprisingly delicious variation over the traditional red wine, rosemary or mint.

Note: These lollipops were sourced from farm raised lamb in New Zealand.

Thai Curry Lobster

On a roll, M reviews the Thai Curry Lobster as well: I’ve been eating Thai red curries for years from many places of the world and thought I had tried it all. Yet Subin Chankesorn managed to create a masterpiece lobster red curry with a garlic rich mixture of pineapple, hearts of palm, green peppers, baby tomatoes and a delicious white sauce. Definitely a must try for curry lovers.

Here I will add that Chef Chankeson joined us for the last of our courses. We spoke about his childhood growing up in the Thailand, the different dialects and how one word could mean something very different in varying regions (floor mat -vs- tiger!) and finally we spoke about curry. Chef explained to us how he starting making curries under the guidance of his mother. He doesn’t follow a set recipe, yet adds and detracts based on taste of his ingredients of the day, striving to incorporate authentic Thai ingredients and spices. He adds, If you use a recipe it will be different every time based on the sweetness or tartness of the ingredients, so follow your sense of taste not direction.

Chef Subin's Dessert Plate

Our final plate was a taste of Chef Subin’s home, literally. He picked the starfruit from his backyard that morning and now it adorns our plate alongside a chocolate mini macaroon, strawberry, and mochi ice cream in a fruity yogurt sauce. Chef explained to us that he is not a fan of overly sweet desserts and this plate demonstrated a light hand as well. A perfectly sweet ending to a remarkable meal.

Foodies on the Fly highly recommends stopping by and, if you’re feeling adventurous, allowing Chef Subin to order for you as well. The staff is very accomodating and will take note of any allergies or preferences as well.

We thank-you for your time if you’ve completed reading to this point. It was an extensive meal (over 3hrs!) and review as well.

B Ocean Ft. Lauderdale- SAIA
999 Fort Lauderdale Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL
954-302-5252

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French Toast, Eggs, and Love: The National, NYC

The National, NYC

The logo etched in my mind, (a former graphic designer, fonts stick with me) I spied The National on the same block as our hotel the evening I arrived. The next morning BF and I walked over to have breakfast and remarked how we had already informally dined with The National, when we tested a burger  in February at the Food Network Wine & Food Festival’s Burger Bash event in South Beach.

We are both foodies and love to share, so we always request a booth or pull chairs beside each other as we are same side eaters. I know this is controversial to some, but it is much easier to share and converse on the same side. We were graciously seated in a booth and began perusing the menu. Ever strategic about our choices we always discuss our orders so we have a variety. 

Our selections:

French Toast, The National

French Toast: Brioche, Seasonal Fruit Compote, Maple Syrup
The French Toast was incredible. We both love brioche, so when we spotted it on the menu, the French Toast was in. The seasonal fruit was apples with rosemary. Such an amazing flavor together. In case you are wondering the maple syrup was, in fact real.

Scrambled Eggs, The National



Two Eggs Any Style: Local Farm Eggs, Roasted Potatoes, Grilled Country Bread    
We opted for our eggs scrambled with cheddar cheese on top. They were light, fluffy, and the perfect savory balance to the French Toast. Paired with roasted lightly seasoned fingerling potatoes, including the purples ones which we both love and shared potato for potato, and grilled bread that we topped with preserves.

We also sipped herbal tea (mine, with it’s own mini pot, which I always enjoy) and coffee (BF).

Final Thoughts: The breakfast was excellent and the wait staff charming and tolerant of our canoodling and (somewhat) excessive photo taking. We love food and can’t help documenting it. And the décor was fabulous as well! We will definitely be back when we are local.

Just as we were finishing up our meal, our waitress came over and dropped off this note:

The most touching note...

It was so unexpected and touching that we both were holding back tears at the thoughtfulness of our silent dining companion. What an amazing start to our vacation, an excellent meal and an incredible gesture.

Dine here yourself:

The National
557 Lexington Ave. (at 50th st.)
New York, NY 10022
Reservations T. 212 715 2400
www.thenationalnyc.com

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NYC One of my favorite things: Frankies Spuntino

Frankies Spuntino

Serendipitous Event: BF and I were headed down Clinton Street to visit another eatery, when we spied Frankies Spuntino from the cab. We locked eyes and lamented it was such a shame it was our last day in the city and we wouldn’t have a chance to check out the little bistro with cool graphics and menuboard (we are suckers for a great logo). Upon arriving at abovementioned rival establishment, we were underwhelmed by the ambiance, so we backtracked to Frankies.

We were pleasantly surprised with only a 10 minute wait at 11AM on a Sunday, during which we chose to sample their mocha latte and cappuccino made with Stumptown Coffee beans. Both were strong, smooth, and very satisfying.

We were quickly escorted to our table in under the proposed 10 minutes and dove into the menu carefully planning our selections. (We love to share and strove to achieve the right balance of savory –vs- sweet ).

Our selections:

French Toast (utilizing Thick Cut Grandaisy Filone Bread) & Canadian Maple Syrup (Note: BF is a stickler. We’re only allowed Maple Syrup if it’s real, which this absolutely was!) Served with Fresh Seasonal Fruit.

French Toast

Avocado, Green Apple, Field Green Sandwich on whole grain bread with spicy mayo and a generous amount of cheese. (The menu item contains onion too, but we opted out of it.)

Sandwich filled with greens!

2 Crostinis: Cremini Mushroom & Truffle Oil and Ricotta with Local Honey & Black Pepper

Cremini Mushroom & Truffle Oil and Ricotta with Local Honey & Black Pepper

Oh. My. Goodness!
This was literally the best brunch either of us had ever eaten. EVER! The French toast was crusted to perfection with light battering over the artisanal bread. It had a satisfying crunch when cut and was pure heaven when dipped into the real maple syrup.

The sandwich, whose name I have forgotten in my post-food-coma, was a homerun as well. It included a generous amount of fresh avocado and tart green apples, balanced with a spicy mayonnaise. Presented between two soft slices of another artisanal bread, this one featuring oats on top, with field greens and several slices of mild cheese. The combination may sound slightly daring, but it was a phenomenal mouthful.

The crostinis were also delightful. Both were presented on crispy slices of French bread topped with oil and then mounded on top with their main contents. The Cremini Mushroom & Truffle Oil was a savory success, while the Ricotta & Honey was a sweet temptation. We spooned a tad bit of the ricotta onto a bite of the French Toast to create “the most perfect bite ever” and were not disappointed.

Dear Frankies, Phenomenal…..

At the end of the meal BF left a note advising that we will be back whenever we visit the city, and we most certainly will!

The service was as fantastic as the food. The wait staff is very polite and helpful and the kitchen staff extremely speedy.

Visit for yourself at:
Frankies
570 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014
Phone: 212-253-2303
http://www.frankiesspuntino.com/

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