SO, I’m a sucker for food TV, especially Top Chef, and when I go on vacation or if Im traveling, I’ll make the effort to see if one of my favorite contestants has a restaurant nearby. Case in point, I was in a Brooklyn neighborhood called Park Slope, and saw that Dale Talde from Season 4 and the All Star Season (Season 8) had a restaurant there named Talde. OK, maybe I remembered that the cast of Life After Top Chef went to eat there, and yes, I watched that show too, don’t judge (^_^). I was SUPER excited to go, and there was no way I’d be convinced to go anywhere else (^_^).
Fun Maddy Fact: Season 4 and the All Star Season were a couple of my favorite seasons.
First things first, this was a pretty decent sized restaurant for NYC. We went on a Saturday evening (6:30 PM), early for NYC dinner standards and we didn’t have much of a wait. There is a nice bar with friendly bartenders, regular seating, and a stool area that overlooks the chefs creating your dish. We were seated fairly quickly. We sat at the stool area, and for a couple going out for a casual dinner it worked great. I wouldn’t sit here if you wanted something more romantic or if you had more than two people. The sounds and smoke from the kitchen would make it hard for more than two people to talk and be able to hear each other. I did enjoy watching the expediter put the order tickets in the carabiner and flinging it over to the cook on opposite end (^_^).
We started off with the Yuzu Guacamole: crispy rice topped with a yuzu guacamole, cured ham, jalapeño, and nori chiffonade. One of my favorite things growing up was the crispy almost burnt rice my grandma would make, and this definitely didn’t disappoint. The crispy rice mouthfeel with the citrusy guacamole, salty ham and nori, and the small kick from the jalapeño was amazing. Only sad part was the nigiri like sushi kind of fell apart after your first bite, but it was scrumptious!! This was my favorite part of the meal!!
Next, we shared the Pretzel Pork and Chive Dumplings. My boyfriend’s a dumpling connoisseur so we usually always get pan friend dumplings when they’re on the menu. The mustard dipping sauce was a nice contrast to the salty pretzel dough. They weren’t the best dumplings I’ve ever had, but the dough was a nice departure from the regular dumpling wrappers you can get anywhere.
Our first entree was the Lemongrass Pork Shoulder with a Watermelon Nuoc Mam and Peanut Relish. The watermelon balanced out the pork so well and the crunchiness of the peanuts made for a well rounded dish with different flavor profiles and layers of texture.
Our side to go with the pork was, wait for it… was the King Crab Fried Rice. Yes, I’m Asian and having Asian food with rice is a must! This was probably my boyfriend’s favorite part of the meal. The saltiness from the tobiko, the creaminess from the aioli (think elevated Asian Kewpie Baby Mayo), the succulent lumps of crab.. it was SO good.
For dessert, we had the Cap’n Crunch Halo-Halo. I grew up eating Halo-Halo and let me tell you that this is not your ordinary Halo-Halo. It definitely lives by the definition (mix-mix). This version had coconut, tapioca, strawberries, mango, condensed milk, Cap’n Crunch (of course), and a Matcha green tea drizzle among other things. I prefer some of the creamier Halo-Halo toppings (like leche flan or ube), but this was a nice ending to a yummy dinner.We had a really good overall first experience. The Server was SUPER knowledgeable and when our Halo-Halo was taking a long time to come out she checked up on it for us. I’d definitely recommend it if you are in the area. At least go to the bar and order the Yuzu Guac!!! (^_^)