Archive for January 3rd, 2011

Ciao Mein Revisited

We’ve noticed that we will frequent a restaurant quite often for a bit and then stop for a while. I guess we’re in the same pattern with Ciao Mein (see 26 December 2010 post). When we were here for Christmas dinner, they shared the prix fixe menu with us for the new year’s weekend. The Cat saw several things that interested her. The dining style at Ciao Mein tends to be family style and it’s harder for just the two of us (the more the merrier) Good thing our cousins P & B were able to come over to spend new years here.

We took our cousins P & B there Saturday night. At the advice of the executive chef, Chef Ching, we ordered two of the prix fixe dinners and added on some of our favorites. First the prix fixe courses (sorry, the dishes will be a little out of order).

The appetizer was abalone and drunken prawn.

Abalone and Drunken Prawn

We were a little concerned that we sang the praises of Chef Ching and Ciao Mein to P & B so much that the experience would fail to meet their expectations.

With the appetizer course, all concerns were shelved. This was good. A choir of angels were tuning up. The texture and taste were perfect. I liked the drunken prawn while The Cat favored the abalone.

The soup was scallop soup with enoki mushrooms and long rice.

Scallop Soup

With the soup, P became very quiet and bowed his head. We thought he was either praying or saying grace (he was trying to get closer to the bowl to smell all of the ingredients). Shh, we think he was praying. 😉 This was also a success. The orchestra was starting to warm up.

After that, a gratine of lobster with ginger, spring onion, and oyster sauce.

Gratine of Lobster

Sorry, I got caught up with the eating. Almost forgot to take a picture. There was a lot more lobster when the dish first came out, but you get the idea.

The meat course was tenderloin of beef and foie gras with Chianti reduction.

Tenderloin of Beef and Foie Gras

The slices of foie gras was huge. I think the black dots in the middle was caviar. Wow. The choir and the orchestra were all in tune.

We added the Szechuan eggplant to the mix (somehow we can’t eat at Ciao Mein without ordering the Szechuan eggplant).

Szechuan Eggplant

Although the tenderloin and foie gras did not need additional seasoning, the eggplant gravy went very well with both the tenderloin and foie gras. The concert was in full swing now.

We also added the zucchini (had to have our veggies).

Grilled Zucchini

Grilled zucchini and red bell peppers, topped with cheese, what better way to eat veggies.

At this point I should discuss the main reason we went to Ciao Mein. Back in 2007, our friends X & D came to visit. During the visit, we celebrated D’s birthday at Ciao Mein. Without going into too much detail, the whole meal was off the menu. The appetizer was something Chef Ching prepared for that year’s Valentine’s day special menu. This dish impressed X very much (and that’s very hard to do).

Without further ado,

The Appetizer!

From the bottom, a lettuce leaf, a slice of cantaloupe, a slice of foie gras (the same type of foie gras that topped the tenderloin above), and topped with Beijing duck (with crispy skin). I know, the dishes were posted out of sequence but I’m taking a little literary freedom here. Imagine the choir of angels and the accompanying orchestra are doing their thing and a guest soloist like Miles, Coltrane, or Bird steps on stage to blow the roof off the joint. That’s the experience of this appetizer.

I think P & B were not disappointed.

For dessert, the prix fixe dinner included a white chocolate panna cotta with champagne sauce and berries in season.

Panna Cotta

We added the Ciao Mein Marco Polo dessert.

Ciao Mein Marco Polo

From left espresso gelato, lychee sorbet, tiramisu, spumoni gelato, and white ginger gelato.

I think P & B were impressed.

Chef Ching said he was working on a special menu for Chinese new year. We’re making reservations.

The Cat gave the whole dinner four paws plus a tail. 🙂 Chef Ching and Ciao Mein outdid themselves.

On a side note, WordPress started a program that suggests topics. One of the topics was to name someone who deserves more credit than they get. I would nominate Chef Ching. Although he is the executive chef, his name is not out there as a celebrity chef (maybe he wants it that way). The Cat has spoken with him and he is always gracious and humble. In our opinion, his food ranks up there with the other well-known chefs. Another blogger gave Ciao Mein an excellent rating (four musubi). Check it out here. The Cat told Chef Ching we consider him an Iron Chef. 🙂


The Mouse (and The Cat, and P & B)

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