Nobu (Website, Yelp, Citysearch)
Went with college friend and foodie HW (his review). When I called to get a table during lunch, they told me they were booked through August 3rd. What about a walk-in? "Sir, it's usually quite full unless you come very early or late" Well, we got there at 1:30pm and there was exactly one table open - the worse one in the restaurant right next to the register/kitchen/bathroom. But hey, I don't pay for ambiance, I pay for food. Anyway, the table situation cleared up after we sat down (last order 2:15). On to the food:
Shrimp tempura in creamy spicy sauce - the sauce was a bit too overpowering (acidic, HW says). I could taste the shrimp but I couldn't taste the tempura. The texture was nice and it had a good crunchy finish to it. I think I prefer more old school tempura though.
Black cod in miso sauce - HW went for Nobu's signature dish and I took a bite out of it. This puts Morimoto's version of the black cod to shame (review here). The cod was perfectly cooked - it was tender with a good hint of sweetness to it
Sushi set... to be honest, the Ebi looked very suspect at first. It turned out to be quite good, as you would expect from any top end Japanese restaurant. Good fresh sushi is always to die for
Dessert was blueberry shortcakeish. It was okay. Good looking though... and even better in black and white in my opinion.
The Modern (Website, Yelp)
I'll let the pictures talk this time.
Appetizer 1: Beef tripe - stewed with some sort of curry sauce, this was okay. Cute container though
Appetizer 2: Excellent duck leg. Tender and flavorful, you can't ask more from the chef when it comes to duck
Main dish 2 was a pork belly. No picture. Was quite nice but no match for the duck...
Two desserts: Dark chocolate dome with pistachio ice cream was lovely though the chocolate dome didn't look pretty at all. This Hazelnut Dacquoise (below) was both beautifully constructed and very yummy with a light milk chocolate cover.
Aquavit (Website, Yelp)
This might be worse than the AJ Maxwell debacle. We arrived on time at 815 for our table at the dining room. We were seated at 915. Though we were comped with drinks and a meatball appetizer, only the cranberry sauce saved the meatballs as a decent dish. The restaurant week appetizer were the very good herring sampler (PNGF is not a fan of the strong seafood flavor)... and the chilled corn soup disappointed as well. I order the grilled chicken as the main course... and the only appropriate discription of it is dry and disgusting. The salmon was actually very good if they didn't leave some barely cooked asparagus on the bottom. Yuck. Dessert was beautiful and a great consolation for the entire meal. Both the arctic circle and the chocolate cake was excellent. Overall, however, it was a disappointing experience given all the great things that has been said about it.
Good salmon, bad asparagus
One if by Land, Two if by Sea (Website, Yelp)
Somewhat non-memorable but decent meal in a very nice restaurant. Candles and all. The appetizers: watermelon salad that I could have made myself. Mushroom tart was well made but a bit too salty for me; at least the cook put in some effort. PNGF ordered the steak and it was very tasty. I loved the flavoring and the meat was well prepared. I ordered the red snapper and I thought it was pretty fresh but a bit overcooked. . Dessert was considerably better... in fact, anything named Nutella cake should always be spectacular. We also shared a blueberry dessert that had custard, jello, sorbet, and despite all the different components, it came together with a very crisp taste. Not bad at all.