Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Visiting Gypsy Chef

It's no exaggeration when I said Another Place, the speakeasy-style restaurant located inside an industrial building in North Point, has one of the best views in town, and I have pictures as proof, taken in the evening before we had dinner there a few weeks ago.

The restaurant is a project by my friend E and California-based chef David Myers, aka Gypsy Chef, housed under the same roof with Hip Cellar, E's other lifestyle business venture providing wine storage service to clients. I have eaten there a few times before and my experience has been largely positive, so when E invited me and some of my friends for a tasting when Chef David's in town to introduce the new menu, I was eager to check it out.

With such a clear day, I arrived early so that I could snap a few shots from their window, with a perfect view of the skyline on both sides of the harbor. And E has put us in the private lounge next to the main dining area, setting up a long table just for us.

We had their 8-course discovery menu, and I was impressed by quite a few courses. The scallop came in gigantic size but came out perfectly cooked with a slightly crispy crust and soft center, and served with bits of crispy pork and a refreshing asparagus soup. Chawanmushi, or the steamed egg custard served in a ceramic cup, was surprisingly rich, with the bouncy and tasty chunks of abalones in every bite of the silky egg made with dashi.

The seafood course was typical California-style, the turbot fillet was cooked extra light with butter, and served with shaved cauliflowers, black olive and almond-cauliflower puree. I liked the wagyu skirt steak, marinated with miso and perfectly grilled, though I wasn't a fan of the confit potato or bone marrow risotto served as the side dish.

We ended our meal with three desserts - I liked the first two, which were mandarin-lime sorbet, and strawberry shortcake, almond milk and burnt miso icecream. And the last one, the warm chocolate fondant cake, was a bit average and nothing to write home about.

One of the good things about eating here has been the BYOB policy, especially when I kept part of my wine collection just next door at the Hip Cellar. But tonight we went with whatever bottles arranged for us. We started with a South African sparkling wine which was surprisingly yeasty - I almost thought that was from the old world - and the white from Loire Valley was refreshing and perfect for the weather (and the seafood dishes). Chateau Musur from Lebanon is always a good choice for an easy-to-drink red wine, with medium body, leathery nose, ripe red fruits dominating the palate and not particularly tannic.

Overall I thought it's a decent meal, and I see this more as a place to share a few drinks with friends over sumptuous dishes at an intimate venue, or for special wine dinner events that they organize often.

My previous visit: Pre-Opening Dinner (Oct 2015)

When? June 21 2016
Where? Another Place by David Meyers,
Menu Highlights? Chawanmushi of sake-braised abalone, shiitake, gingko and tofu
Villiera Traditional Brut NV, Stellenbosch, South Africa
2011 Ridgeview Grosvenor Blanc de Blanc Brut, Sussex, UK
2014 Les Comtes de Ribeauville Sylvaner Cuvee Prestige, Alsace, France
2003 Chateau Musar, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

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