We were at Yardbird just this past weekend in one of their rare Sunday afternoon openings to try out an one-day-only special menu prepared by chef/owner Matt and the visiting Korean-American chef Corey Lee.
Working through the ranks in the kitchens from New York to London to France to Napa, most notably under Thomas Keller for 8 years before opening up his own restaurant in San Francisco in 2010, Chef Corey's legend status in the American culinary scene reached a new height last year when his restaurant Benu was awarded the Michelin 3-stars, joining only a handful restaurants in the Bay Area region, including Keller's The French Laundry, where he left as their head chef before Benu.
Yardbird was "notorious" for the long waiting line outside almost every night of the week, as it is extremely popular and takes no reservations, so we weren't too surprised to see a line already formed at the door when we arrived 20 minutes before the event, which was supposed to start at 2pm. Soon, the door opened and there came the rush of people filling both the ground level and lower floor space eagerly wanting to check out what's on offer at this special event at this usual hour.
Unlike the elaborate, fine-dining dishes Chef Corey usually do at Benu, the menu this afternoon was much more casual - think of this as its pop-up, food truck version and closer in style to what Yardbird normally serves. Chefs Matt and Corey worked together, each responsible for part of the menu. Some of the dishes were prepared at the bichotan grill inside the kitchen downstairs, along with a couple cold items assembled at the side station and free-flow of alcohol from the bar upstairs throughout the afternoon.
The squid was another interesting dish with thick slices of squid charred and served with new potatoes skewered in between and finely-chopped capers and parsley dressing on top. And the pork belly was tasty too with a slightly sweet marinate and garnished with slices of daikon and aromatic sesame leaf. In comparison, I thought the pieces of Spanish Mackerel, wrapped with shiso and garnished with ume sauce (Japanese plum) were a bit predictable, even though the fish itself was well-cooked and had good texture.
More pictures on my Flickr album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/g4gary/sets/72157652168209319
When? March 10 2015
Where? Yardbird, 33-35 Bridges Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong