Beijing Part Two. This post covers the wide span of cuisine types and price ranges dining in Beijing has to offer. First up, Chef Brian McKenna's Courtyard. Located by the Forbidden City, the restaurant is in a perfect location with limited views of the city walls. The reviews I read prior to going raved about how fabulous the views are. We had the best table in the house (thank you Tana!), but the views were just ok...however the food and presentation did live up to the hype.
Chef McKenna blends Mediterranean and Western influences with subtle Asian flavors. The menu gives the guest a choice of course numbers and then the kitchen does the rest. Very Blue Hill at Stone Barns. We decided on the 5-course prix-fixe, which clocked in at about $100 per person just for the food. The cocktail and wine prices are also on an upscale, Westernized level.
Our dinner was wonderful. Ryan and I dined with my parents so it was a true treat. Even my father was impressed. The whole "pricey, small bites, many courses thing" isn't usually his bag. They started us off with fresh, homemade bread and butter and then continued with 5 innovative, well-plated dishes. Please see images and descriptions below. If in Beijing, I would highly suggest a visit. They only have about 8 tables and no bar so make your reservations in advance and come prepare to spend some $$$.
The Beijing Night Market. Famous for selling yummy street dumplings and noodles as well as all things strange and buggy. The major draw are the fried scorpions...yes, fried scorpions (ekkkkkkkk). Check out the crazy pictures below. Starfish, grubs, seahorses, skinned snakes...you name it, they have it. We chickened out and didn’t try anything extreme. Instead, we noshed on scrumptious fried dumplings, octopus and pineapple rice. One of my favorite items was a savory veggie pancake. Yummy! My parents weren’t feeling the street food so much so we had to pop into another restaurant afterwards but the Night Market is still a must. Best part? Most items are no more than a dollar or two.
Beijing, China is well suited for people in the mood for cheap eats OR an elevated dining experience. Enjoy!
Smoked Salmon with Green Apple Crema & crispy, cheese crackers. Loving the presentation...
...speaking of presentation. This is a bowl of crab salad with cucumber and vinegar. The top? A sugar shell! We were instructed to crack the shell into the bowl. When we did (to our delight), the sugar melted into the crab salad and gave the dish a yummy sweetness. My dad was thrilled!
Seafood "pasta". The noodles were actually made of squid. No carb, all protein.
I'm not a usually a salmon OR foie gras fan BUT this plate changed the game.
The combo of both was deliciously rich, creamy and satisfying. Fabulous.
This dessert was a green apple custard with vanilla ice cream. The dessert was tasty but the best part was obviously the presentation. Chef creates a green apple (clearly green apple is the inspiration this evening) candy mold then fills it with the custard. Pretty cool.
We loved our noodle guy.
Beautiful fried pork dumplings.