SHO Shaun Hergatt

By grace.g.yang · August 9, 2010
Under: Chinese,Desserts,Financial District,Lunch,Michelin 2010 Guide,My Life,Prix-fixe

Eight months have lapsed since I first started my little side project. To help me knock off some more Michelin-starred restaurants from the list of over 50, my mom flew in from North Carolina to dine with me. We decided to start by having lunch at SHO Shaun Hergatt.

I read a couple reviews of the chef and restaurant before we went, but didn’t want to know too much beforehand. Basically, Chef Hergatt opened his restaurant during the recession but still had a successful year because of his fresh ingredients he procured from anywhere in the world; most chefs focus on good-quality but locally sourced ingredients, Chef Hergatt is willing to fly seafood in from halfway across the world if it’s the best (there was also an egg that was adorned with gold that got a lot of coverage). A lot of the Michelin-starred restaurants have really great deals for lunch ($35 for two courses or something similar) and SHO Shaun Hergatt happened to extend their restaurant week menu until after Labor Day so we decided to take advantage of the opportunity. SHO Shaun Hergatt is on the second floor of the Setai, a luxury condominium building downtown:


The restaurant has a well-stocked bar for after-work drinks and also a very cozy lounge area with a very inviting and plush couch:


There’s also private dining rooms with walls that double as wine storage:


The servers brought two types of bread – whole wheat and white:



And also two types of spreads – butter and a homemade spread:


The homemade spread was a potato-based mix that also had various spices, but was way too runny to put on bread. We were big fans of the butter and warm whole wheat bread, but the homemade spread remained pretty much untouched.

My mom ordered some warm water and I noticed that all of the plates and cups looked familiar – lo and behold, it’s because they have the same plates as The French Laundry and per se:


I wonder if you can purchase their plates for home use. I really love the clean lines of Thomas Keller’s plates (although I don’t think I’d ever prepare a meal that would be presented in a way that warrants such special plates)

The restaurant week menu features items that are available from their regular lunch menu, and for our appetizers, I ordered the Chilled Heirloom Tomato Soup with tomato gelee, basil espuma:


And my mom ordered the carpaccio of black Angus beef with fried capers, Parmesan, Ginger vinaigrette:


The tomato soup was very creamy, but didn’t have a clean and refreshing taste like biting into a perfectly vine-ripened tomato. The tomato halves tasted like a combination of tart of sweet, but the puree was muted. I let my mom try the soup and she said that the soup was definitely mixed with miso, which would mute the tomato flavor. The carpaccio was seasoned the way my mom makes Asian-style cold cuts (star-anise is a major spice in their cold cuts), but the combination of star anise with Parmesan and crunchy capers didn’t taste right.

For my main course, I ordered the Crispy skin Amadai with edamame puree, pickled daikon:


The fish was absolutely delicious; very meaty, perfectly crisped skin, and the pea puree and cilantro added freshness to the slightly decadent fish. There was also a tapioca sauce that added an interesting texture to the flaky fish and crispy skin, but the combination was like a texture party in my mouth. My mom also enjoyed the fish a lot, especially the very crispy skin.

For my mom’s main course, she ordered the char siu braised pork belly with green scallion and pickled apples:


My mom’s initial reaction to the pork belly was that it was way too fatty; when my mom buys pork belly, she tries to buy something with a pretty good distribution of fat and meat. The pork belly did seem abnormally fatty, but I persuaded her to try it anyway and to try to eat around the abundant amount of fat. The pork belly tasted very similar to something my mom would make for a party, but the presentation was really beautiful. After getting over the fact that the belly was less lean than something she’d purchase, she did enjoy the pork and potatoes.

For dessert, I ordered the milk chocolate palet, yuzu chantilly, raspberries:


And my mom ordered the peach tarte tatin, mascarpone ice cream, pistachio crumble:


My dessert had a decoration of chocolate that was painted on earlier in the day and couldn’t be eaten (or it wasn’t chocolate and I was attempting to scrape off some kind of paint). The chocolate was very smooth and creamy and tasted like a decadent mousse I could definitely see myself overeating. My mom’s dessert featured a lot of burnt sugar and made it too sweet for me, but she really enjoyed it (especially the ice cream.) The servers also brought along some mignardises:


The jelly was blueberry flavored and very sweet and grainy (the coating is sugar) and the pistachio financier was too soggy to be enjoyable.

I really enjoyed lunch at SHO, especially my main course, but we had a couple problems with the service (the servers had to be reminded a couple times to refill our water glasses and the main server was a little short with us when we first arrived). I’d definitely return for dinner or even drinks; SHO’s Asian flavors with French execution made for a great meal!

SHO Shaun Hergatt on Urbanspoon

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