Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hmmm...I see many Prix Fixe meals in my future...

Started out September Magical Dining Month with a (cheap) bang!

I've heard (and read) a lot of not-so-great reviews of Emeril's Tchoup Chop down at Universal-but I've always had positive experiences there! Then I realized the one common denominator in my Tchoup dining experiences...I've only been for lunch. And, since they are currently offering $19 for a 3 course lunch, I went back again over the weekend.

One key thing: the restaurant has always been near empty when I've been during daytime hours. Maybe people are at the parks, or at the pool which is just a few steps away. Regardless, again I had fantastic and quick service. My entree was similar to the one I got last year (ok, I ordered the same thing and it was just as delicious as last year). In all seriousness, the Macadamia encrusted Salmon is fantastic-served with broccoli, enoki mushrooms, sticky rice and an amazing ginger beurre blanc.

For apps we got the Cruncy Shrimp (um, yep, just as yummy, see the previous Tchoup entry for more details!) and the Mongolian BBQ Chicken. The BBQ was served on a crispy wonton with a healthy dose of roasted red peppers. The sauce was rather non distinctive-my dining partner thought it need more acidity, I thought it need more sweetness and spice. But, thinking about it now, I think it needed more of an Asian influence (sesame oil, Sriracha, etc.) However, the crispiness of the wonton did bring a nice crunch to the dish.

I did try two new desserts this year (not to worry, we split them and didn't finish either. Well, we left a few bites on the plate!). My fav was the individual Pineapple Upside down Cake with Ginger Ice Cream. The cake itself was perfect and moist with a creamy ice cream that was not overly sweet but rather mild and alluring. Plus, I love any dishes that are served in an individual style!

We also got the "Sweet Chocolate Glazed Peanut Butter Cream Layered Kahlua Chocolate Cake served with Banana Foster Sauce, Pecan Praline and Sweet Cream". I'm not kidding. While all of the above are delicious on their own, the combination of flavors was just as convoluted as the name of the dish.

If you have any interest in dining at Tchoup Chop, again I would recommend going during lunch. The restaurant itself is quite beautiful and surprisingly relaxing in the sometimes overwhelming tourist area. Plus, you can park right at the hotel and get your parking validated (and avoid the Universal parking cluster).

Stay tuned for more magical experiences-now that I've left the Creole/Pacific Rim cuisine of Thcoup Chop, I see a trip for some amazing French fine dining cuisine in my future.....

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