December 10, 2010

Thanks a lot, Michelin!

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I've been blogging and recording my dining experiences over the last four years or so, and only started to be serious about it for the last three.  I've gone from writing about only the very top-end restaurants at the beginning, to these days discussing any dining experience I found worthy of an audience.  But my policy has always been not to write about ordinary meals - your quick bowl of noodles at lunch, a slice of pizza, or the sandwich I had for breakfast.  Most people who read this blog on a regular basis are looking for something else, and besides there are plenty of people who blog about those places regularly.

One rule that I had always stuck to was that no matter how many times I've blogged about dining at the same restaurant with the same menu, each dining experience at a Michelin-starred venue deserves a post.  These meals are going to be memorable, and regardless of how many times I've had the same soup at Fook Lam Moon (福臨門) it is still something worthy of some coverage here.

Now thanks to the wonderful team responsible for the HK/Macau Guide, I have given up on that rule.  With the inclusion of regular noodle shops, quickie dim sum joints and what not, I can't honestly say that each meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant will be a memorable affair.

I went shopping in Times Square on Monday, and needed to fill my empty and groaning tummy.  Ho Hung Kee (何洪記) is a place that's nearby and also happens to be one of my regular stops.  I've been going there for years, ducking in for a quick bowl of wonton noodles or stir-fried flat noodles with beef (干炒牛河).  Very good for what it is, but not meals I would remember.  I decided not to blog about my bowl of wonton noodles and the plate of veggies I had.  Millions of people have had the same thing that I had, and it would be like blogging about the PB and J sandwich that your mom made you for breakfast.

I was in the neighborhood again tonight, and the decision was made to have dinner at Mist.  This branch of Japanese rahmen (the restaurant's way of spelling) fine dining establishment has just earned themselves a little star.  It was meant to be a quick meal before doing some last-minute shopping, and I thought a bowl of noodles would do the trick.

I turned down the offer of a five-course dinner set, since this was meant to be a quick stop for me.  I did start with some cherry-smoked Japanese pork shoulder.  Two slices of pork shoulder - cut just like the pork belly "char siu" in the ramen - were served with a thin slice of melted cheese made with buffalo milk.  The pork was OK, although I found the smoky flavors a little on the heavy side.

For my noodles I took a bowl of spicy miso (カラ味噌).  As I already had pork to start with, I didn't order more char siu but added a very well-made soft-boiled egg with a liquid yolk.  Lots of spring onions in the bowl, and the slightly spicy miso made for an interesting broth.

My friends at the Wall Street Journal had just written a piece on whether Michelin stars bring additional business to local restaurants.  In Mist's case I think that was definitely the case.  I had passed by the restaurant on numerous occasions before, but had never seen it as full as it had been tonight.  The place was half full around 8pm but by 8:30 or so there was only 1 empty seat at the counter.

But this will probably be the last time I blog about this place...and others like it.

1 comment:

HK Epicurus said...

What a coincidence, I am right now drafting up on MIST too! Although the last time I came was in May, so not sure if its very up-to-date.

I have a feeling when MIST was a nobody and non-Starred people treat it as grossly overpriced. But now that it got one, deserving or not, somehow the goodwill of it has gone up and suddenly people think its worth splurging out $150 or so. Just great timing for the too, especially with all the hype surrounding Butao right now. I am thinking if we'll even see more Japanese Ramen shop imports or even more Dim Sim shops opening in 2011! :S

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