Marine Plankton and Where To Eat For Superbowl 50
This week's new and noted restaurants.
Isono Eatery & Bar
Move over, truffles: There’s a new ingredient in town that’s packing an even bigger umami punch. Isono Eatery & Bar has brought over one of the most unusual, yet delicious ingredients we’ve seen in a while: marine plankton, made from the single-celled algae phytoplankton. Despite the unsexy name, plankton has been gaining popularity around the world for its intense oceanic flavor, imparting the briny essence of the sea into any dish it touches. At Isono, chef Luca Marinelli uses it beautifully in three specials available until the end of March: plankton seafood paella ($318), carbonara di mare ($328) and ravioli with burrata, bottarga and plankton emulsion ($328). Although far from your typical carbonara, the pasta was frankly one of the best we’ve had recently, with the plankton incorporated into the pasta dough as well as a creamy sauce tasting straight of the sea, punctuated by bright bursts of salmon roe. The paella is also a must-try, with a crispy burned-rice soccarat crust and fresh seafood dressed in a bright green plankton alioli.
Viet Kitchen and Shiki Zen
Can’t decide if you love udon or pho more? Have a taste of both in a unique upcoming collaboration between chef Peter Cuong Franklin of Viet Kitchen and chef Norihisa Maeda of Shiki Zen, available from Mar 1-31. Five specially created dishes will fuse the best of both countries, highlighting the fresh herbs of Vietnam and the stunning seafood of Japan. Saigon-style beef udon ($168) and Hanoi-style chicken udon ($138) feature Shiki Zen’s wonderful handmade udon noodles in classic chicken and beef pho broths, while wagyu beef carpaccio ($168) and caramel miso black cod ($198) have Japanese roots with a Vietnamese-style twist on seasoning: Think fragrant lemongrass, kaffir limes and star anise. Dessert ties the meal together with influences from both countries: Banana Nutella gyoza topped with peanuts, caramelized condensed milk and strawberries ($68).
Grappa’s Cellar and Stone Nullah Tavern
Whether you’re a Panthers or Broncos fan, the Super Bowl is always a great excuse to gorge on nachos and wings—and for dedicated American football fans in Hong Kong, plenty of coffee and brunch food to fuel that 7:30am start. No need to call in sick this year—Super Bowl 50 falls on CNY so you can relax, put on your jersey and game face, and head to one of these sports bars that do Super Bowl in style: Grappa’s Cellar fills up every year for the big game, offering a hearty American breakfast buffet for $148. A packed house means you won’t be the only lone wolf cheering, while plenty of screens allow for decent views from any seat in the house. Alternatively, head to Stone Nullah Tavern which will offer a full-on spread of nachos, chili con carne, scrambled eggs, sausage, mini mac balls and chicken poppers for $228 per person. Grab free-flow beers, prosecco and mimosas for $108 extra. Let’s just hope it’s more of a fair fight than the last few Panthers games.