Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Cuisineist goes on the road to Dallas Texas and finds KENICHI a hidden local gem

When the Cuisineist goes on the road we go straight to the locals and find out where they go to dine. We took to the road and visited the Dallas/Fort Worth area to see what was "cookin" in the Metroplex.

After speaking to many locals, the first thing we found out was that Dallas is not Just about Tex-Mex and BBQ anymore.

Located in Downtown Dallas KENICHI came highly recommended by many young professionals we spoke with. When we walked through the front doors we were reminded of many of the great Asian restaurants in Las Vegas and Miami. The decor was sleek and hip with the expected Asian twist.

Master Sushi Chef Kiyomi Sano and Executive Chef Bodhi Durant have combined their talents to make KENICHI a local favorite of young hip professionals in Dallas with great Sushi , Sashimi , Tempura and rolls that are some of the best that we have had the pleasure to indulge in.

Looking over the menu we were intrigued by the Ishiyaki method of cooking. A Japanese tradition that dates back to practically the beginning of time . Exquisite delights like Kobe Beef , Escolar , Scallop and Shiitike Mushrooms are placed on Hot Stone that is 1000 degrees and cooks these to perfection and very quickly. At KENISHI you have the option of getting just one of these dishes or choose the Chefs selection like we did so you can enjoy them all .

Of course how could we start without some great Sake and Sake Sommelier Hung Nguyen was right by our side help choose a wonderful SAKE for our meal. As our Ishiyaki was cooking we started off our culinary journey with a Wild Salmon and Shrimp Sushi dish that was fresh and delicious

The Ishiyaki was ready and we went right down the line with excellent Kobe Beef on to fresh scallops and shiitake mushrooms ending with a lovely white fish of escolar that was a true delight.

, or Japanese hot stone cooking is actually an ancient cooking method and is traditionally done with seafood,rather than meat. The tradition started when fishermen go to catch a fish or shellfish by diving into sea, it was a custom to provide a stove in the boat. At noon, they boiled fish and shellfish in a wooden bucket heated with hot stones from the stove. On shore, where wooden buckets or pans were not provided, they cooked in a hollow of a rock. This cooking is also called ‘ishi-yaki,’ baked with hot stones. This was our first hands on experience with Hot Rocks and after a little " On the Job" coaching we got the timing down just right.

Of course we could not leave without trying a Roll. The most interesting Roll we found on the menu was the " Miami Roll "

This lovely roll consisted of Wild Salmon , Shrimp , Crab and avocado wrapped in cucumber and sweet red onion sauce. Not only the the Miami Roll great to eat but was a work of art in its creation. KENESHI was a very pleasant surprise for us in the land of Tex-Mex and BBQ. If you would like to learn more about KENICHI please visit

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Cuisineist get into a ZINE mood at the Palazzo

ZEN : seeking to attain an intuitive illumination of mind and spirit through enlightenment.

The Cuisineist reached a whole new level of culinary enlightenment when we visited ZINE at the Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas.

From the time we walked through the door it was like being transported to Hong Kong and a new level of dining experience.

Drawing from Cantonese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Szechuan and other Asian cooking styles, Chef Simon To has created a menu that’s tempting to both the casual and adventurous diner.

ZINE in our opinion is the most authentic Asian restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip. Acclaimed Chef Simon To, recipient of the prestigious blue ribbon by the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and the genius behind the exclusive Paiza Club, melds traditional dishes with the extravagant in a comfortable, contemporary ambiance.

Chef Simon To has over 40 years of experience cooking Asian cuisine. Originally from Hong Kong, he specializes in Canton and Szechwan styles and is considered a Dim Sum master.

He has served his signature dishes all over the world including France, Hong Kong and Canada and was awarded the coveted Bleu Ribbon award from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. Chef To achieved world wide acclaim when he was inducted into the Les Amis d'Escoffier Society of China.

In 1936, a group of epicures, gathered at the Waldorf-Astoria to discuss the formation of what was to become the nation's foremost fraternity of dedicated gastronomes, Les Amisd'Escoffier Society. The society gets it name from Auguste Escoffier, "The Chef of Kings and the King of Chefs." Membership consists of chefs de cuisine, hotel executives, restaurateurs and business executives.

Known for his professionalism and excellent reputation within the Asian and American Hospitality field, the Society selected Chef To as Honorary Chairman for his achievement in the culinary arts .

The Paiza Club was established as an exclusive retreat for the Venetian and Palazzo's most discerning customers.

Ken Wong has been the Director of the Paiza Club in Las Vegas since its premiere in 2004. Born and raised in Hong Kong and educated in Toronto, Canada, he has extensive knowledge of the hospitality industry, and was integral in the successful opening of two hotel casinos in Canada and the United States. With his 20 years in the hospitality business he has perfected the art of blending both American and Asian standards of excellence and continually strives to find new ways to enhance the guest experience at the Paiza Club and now as General Manager of ZINE . Ken was presented with Les Amis d'Escoffier Society's Commandeur Membership Medal and was named Honorary Chairman for his outstanding service in hospitality.

With two gentleman like Chef To and Ken Wong it is not a wonder that ZINE takes Asian cooking into the culinary stratosphere.

ZINE is truly unique to Las Vegas. They serve traditional Dim Sum dishes as well as high-end Chinese cuisine but does so in a casual , unobtrusive way as well as being open for lunch. ZINE does a fantastic job offering dishes that are not only for their large Asian clientele but for western tastes as well. From the Rare Filet Mignon Noodle Soup and Abalone and Chicken Congee to the Singapore-Style Pan-Fried Crab with Chili and Steamed Lobster in Garlic Sauce, every dish will transport you to one of the most acclaimed kitchens of Asia. On our visit to ZINE hosted by Ken Wong we had honor of dinning in one of their private dining rooms decorated with beautiful elegant china, a flat screen television and direct access to the baccarat room and lounge.

Chef Simon To has even come up with a very affordable tasting menu. For $ 35.95 per person you can start with a mouth watering Signature Hot and Sour or Chicken Sweet Corn. For the main course enjoy Pepper-Crusted Beef Tenderloin & Honey-Glazed Walnut Prawn with Seafood Fried rice and for a great finish have some
Strawberry , Mango or Chocolate Ice Cream.

If you are looking for a wonderful Chinese restaurant with reasonable prices , ZINE is the place to go in the Palazzo. You will be provided with outstanding service and delightful traditional Asian cuisine. Join Elaine and Scott Harris of the Cuisineist as they explore ZINE and speak at length with General Manger Ken Wong about ZINE , Asian cooking , the Piaza Club , Sample some wonderful dishes and of course talk about the culinary direction of Las Vegas.