Monday, August 22, 2016

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for August...Featuring a Romantic New York Date Night #WGDinesOut

Earlier this Summer, Michael and I enjoyed a very special date night during a long weekend in New York. We got dressed up and enjoyed a fabulous gourmet meal, followed by an amazing  New York Philharmonic performance at Lincoln Center. We started our date night with dinner at La Chine restaurant, located inside the legendary Waldorf Astoria hotel. In a city with no shortage of Chinese restaurants to choose from, La Chine truly stands apart. The decor is elegant, featuring a soothing color palate -- and the food is equally refined. It is easily one of the best dining experiences we've enjoyed this year. La Chine offers diners an authentic culinary journey through China, showcasing the full range of Chinese cuisine -- including a rare Chinese raw bar. La Chine's creative menu combines Chinese flavors with French inspiration to create a singular dining sensation! 

We arrived and were warmly greeted by the hostess. As we were shown to our table, we stopped to admire the lovely decor -- including a gorgeous fresh flower display in the center of the dining room. That pop of color really worked nicely! We were seated and decided to start with a refreshing cocktail and a pair of starters. We selected the Crispy and Spicy Broad Bean Prawns from Guangdong and the sublime Eight Hour Golden Broth with Lobster, Scallop, and Crab Meat from Beijing. Both were expertly prepared and totally delicious! The richly flavored soup was light, but it had a great depth of flavor -- and the chunks of seafood were perfectly cooked. 
The crispy prawns were large, plump, and sweet. They were also perfectly fried -- not the least bit greasy! While we enjoyed our starters, we sipped on the aptly named Dream cocktail. This truly dreamy cocktail features Kamoizumi Shusen 3 dots Sake, lemon, lemongrass, and honeydew. The flavors were very unique, and they paired very nicely with our starters. Our meal was off to a great start! For our entrees, we decided to order one seafood dish and one beef dish to create an Asian-inspired surf and turf. That turned out to be a great decision! We picked the Wok Seared Diver Scallops with Honshimeji, Sugar Snaps, and Black Bean Sauce from Huayang. We paired the scallop entree with Wok Seared American Wagyu Beef Tenderloin with Hickory Walnuts with Black Pepper Glaze from Zhejiang. Both of the entrees were expertly prepared and bursting with flavor.
The scallops were perfectly seared and tender-sweet, with a flavorful glaze. The Wagyu beef was fork tender and full of beefy flavor. The richness of the beef was nicely offset by the fresh vegetables in the dish. Both entrees were filling, but not the least bit heavy -- which meant we had plenty of room for a shared dessert. There were several options that caught our eye, but we opted for the artistic and delicious Coconut Tapioca Soup with Dragon Fruit, Mango, and Horned Melon.

Talk about a supremely gorgeous presentation...this dessert was almost too pretty to eat! If featured a lightly sweet coconut base with small tapioca pearls. It was topped with tropical fruits and berries, with a slice of horned melon on the side. Our server recommended that we spoon a bit of the custard-like horned melon onto our spoon before adding the coconut soup. This is definitely one of the most unique and refined desserts we've ever tasted -- so good! With that, our amazing meal was over -- with about 45 minutes to leisurely head over to Lincoln Center for the New York Philharmonic performance at David Geffen Hall. We had tickets to see them perform selections from Mahler and Sibelius. The Philharmonic featured Sibelius’s soaring Symphony No. 2, and talented mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung joined the symphony perform Mahler’s songs of love and war.
Photograph provided by Chris Lee via the New York Philharmonic
Michael and I love seeing live music performances together -- and the New York Philharmonic is one of our favorite symphonies. So much amazing talent in one place! During the show, I closed my eyes and simply enjoyed the amazing acoustics of David Geffen Hall. After the show, we remarked how truly blessed we were to enjoy such an amazing performance -- and to do it together. If you're a music lover, be sure to put a classical performance of the Philharmonic on your New York "must do" list! After the show was over, we stopped to linger for several minutes at the Lincoln Center plaza near the iconic fountain. It was a perfect early Summer evening, so we stopped to soak in the gorgeous nighttime views (and perhaps steal a kiss or two). 

I have to say that this was pretty much the perfect date night! Dinner and an amazing symphonic performance shared with the one you love equals one amazing date night. I truly can't recommend La Chine enough -- I guarantee it will be one of the most amazing Asian dining experiences you'll ever have! In addition to dinner, La Chine serves Afternoon Tea Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Disclosure: La Chine hosted us for a dinner tasting to facilitate this article. The New York Philharmonic also provided us with a pair of media tickets. All opinions expressed are solely my own. Unless noted otherwise, photographs are copyrighted by Michael K. Garcia. They may not be copied or otherwise used without prior permission.

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