East

East Hotel Simon-von-Utrecht-Str. 31 – 20359 Hamburg, Germany • +49 40 309933 • east-hamburg.de

To sum this place up before I even begin, it’s Peruvian meets Asian meets Gaudi meets catacombs. An odd combination by most accounts with trendiness pouring out of every crease and crevasse, but somehow it all works. From the projection of tropical settings on the twisting white walls, to the deer antler wine racks and the polyp ornamented bar, you’d think you were back at Iridium near Lincoln Center in the 90’s.

But acid trip-inspired décor aside (pictured), the food impressed. Starting with a decent showing in the sushi department- but the clear winner of that course is the tuna tataki. This is a must-get. No seriously. If you don’t I will hunt you down and force-feed you.

Other top dishes were the red Thai curry boasting some kick-ass heat and moist-ass fish. The salmon poke was also the shiznit. Fresh and flavorful and smarter than your average bowl! Both are strong winners in the entrée round. The duck and the ribeye, however, were just okay.

For sides, ya gotta give it up for the truffle fries. And for dessert, I say skip the chewables and go for the liquid. The liquid tiramisu that is. Holy caffeinated hangover batman! Might just be an Ultimate in two categories at once- Cocktail and Tiramisu.

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BOA Steakhouse

101 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401 • (310) 899-4466 • innovativedining.com/restaurants/boa

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If you heard that it’s a great place for star spotting, I’m afraid that’s the other one. This one is just for a good steak. Although the last time I was there, we did see Jon Favreau so go figure. And while it’s no Mastro’s, if you’re craving a steakhouse experience on the West side, I would look no further. That said, I wasn’t actually THAT impressed with the steak itself to be honest. The blackened sea bass was a bit of an eh as well, granted as gargantuan as that hunk of fish was, I found it impressively well cooked.

The goat cheese baklava, however… Thank you Yelpers! Would’ve never thought to order it without your reco. But my god is that thing good! Best dish of the night. Both times I’ve been here. So flaky and creamy and nummy nummy.

As for the Caesar salad, it’s good. But, it’s just a Caesar salad at the end of the day. And the heirloom tomatoes don’t exactly wow either. The blue crab cocktail on the other hand is quite money (belated Jon Favreau sub-reference). Second best thing of the meal.

In terms of sides, the chipotle lime corn is definitely the clear winner, followed by the truffle cauliflower. The creamed spinach, was just okay as was the squash medley. And while the truffle cheese fries aren’t terrible, they are terribly gut-busting, which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to make room for a 50+ dollar steak.

For desserts, skip the crumble. The maple, bacon Bonut (get it? BOA’s branded version of the Cronut) was a table-pleaser, although WAY too bready to truly be compared to its namesake. The cookies and ice cream were another table fav. Followed by the S’mores.

As for service, while friendly, it’s a tad on the slow/spotty side. The view is stellar, overlooking the ocean. And the decor is clean and modern. So all in all a solid good. But definitely shy of great.

3 teeth

 

Bar Taco

20 Wilton Rd. Westport, CT 06880 • (203) 222-8226 bartaco.com

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I’ve been wanting to try this place for a while, granted the Port Chester location, because I didn’t even know this one existed. So, the hype-factor was dangerously high.

Fortunately Bar Taco rose to the occasion and surpassed it. Everything was on point. Even the service, which seems to get dinged a lot in other reviews. Maybe the managers listened and hired some new staff? Anyways, no complaints. They were even attentive to the kids. The only thing that took an unusual amount of time was the dessert, but the waiter kept checking in with us to tell us it was coming. Seemed like the kitchen had fallen behind with the sudden rush, so hard to blame the waiter.

As for food, it is VERY worthy. For example, starters like the salsa verde were among the best I’ve had. The corn is also something pretty special. The chips however, while adequate, are just chips. As is the guac and the chipotle slaw.

Then there are the tacos, of course. We had many and here is how they fared by stars:
Duck – 5 Stars
Pork Belly – 4 stars
Portabella – 4 stars
Rib-eye – 3 stars
Vercruz fish – 3 stars
Fried Oyster – 3 stars
Baha fish – 2 stars

I feel the need to caveat that the tacos are very small and that we are not a bunch of gluttonous pigs (you need 3 to 5 per person). I also feel the need to caveat that the duck is SO good that when I go back I’m getting three of those and a portabella.

Dessert was also money. The chocolate tamale with vanilla ice cream vanished from the plate like a porterhouse in a pool of piranha.

And last, but certainly not least, the Bar Taco Margarita. Nicely done. A smooth, artful blend with an alcohol kick. If I didn’t have to drive home I would have easily had another.

Oh, the setting didn’t hurt either. Sitting outside overlooking the river- it was the perfect end to a nice day at the beach. Only further solidifying my strong desire to move to Westport one day.

4 teeth