Asian fine dining for special occassions

Originally, the plan was to have a nice dinner out for Noche Buena, and then celebrate New Year’s at home. Well, I chickened out on the New Year’s dinner, so at least we got to try new restaurants!Christmas_familyFor Christmas

I was looking up Chinese restaurants in Entertainment City’s casino-hotels, specifically in Okada, since we haven’t been there yet and we could finally catch their fountain-light show. The reviews weren’t good though, and that’s how we settled with Man Ho in Marriott Hotel.

It was all our first time here. I like their space – the furnishings and the table setting is elegant, and I like the high ceiling. Man_Ho_interiorOblifiasesFor some unknown reason though, we ended up ordering conservatively for the evening, sticking to what we usually have. Looking back now, I think it’s partly responsible for the dining experience we generally found lacklustre and lukewarm. We could have ordered better, been more adventurous, especially since it’s our first time here. 

The house speciality is roast goose, but we ordered the safer assorted barbecued meat instead. It delivered. And the vegetables and soup that we ordered are okay as well.poached_vegetablesClearly though – and I agree with the reviews – the star dish is the stir fried beef in black pepper sauce. Not hot or spicy at all, it’s an incredible combination of crunchy bell peppers and the most tender slices of beef. Beef is my daughter’s least preferred meat, but this she happily gobbled.winner_beefOverall, I was pleased with our meal but the general consensus from our group is that they’ve had better Chinese food elsewhere. Considering that parking is a bit difficult, and Marriott is a little out of the way, it looks like hello and goodbye to Man Ho.

For New Year’s Eve

J and I had a few choices for New Year’s Eve dinner, but either they turned out to be too expensive or they were closing early for the holiday. We settled for Hide Yamamoto in City of Dreams.family_new_yearsFor some reason, we ordered better here. We sure were rewarded for it.

The ridiculously good truffle edamame was gone in sixty seconds, hence no photo, but here is a signature dish worth highlighting: the grilled romaine lettuce, or Hide Yamamoto’s version of caesar salad. It works well somehow, this ballsy twist to a classic (grilled leaves?!), and a funny find in a Japanese restaurant menu. Can’t recommend it enough.grilling_the_lettuce_wutgrilled_romaineThe salmon-loving grandparents got their salmon fix, in addition to a satisfying chicken teriyaki dish:chicken_teriyaki2salmon_filletThe husband got his meat fix as well with the USA Black Angus beef with grilled vegetables, even if it’s the lowest priced beef item on the menu. It was so soft and juicy, I can only imagine how the Wagyu tastes:meatEven Akira got the best kiddie meal ever:best_kiddie_meal_everMy brother and cousin split the whole young chicken stuffed with truffle rice butter and soy flavour, while also getting the scallop with soy butter sauce and a bowl of assorted sashimi on ice. Everyone just liked what they had and gamely offered some of their food to others to try. 

For next time

It’s tough responsibility to order for a big group or try a new restaurant. As much as you like everyone to leave happy, it’s just unlikely, given our different tastes and preferences. The pressure is even higher if you’re going to an expensive restaurant.

While it helps to stick to what you know, making sure there’s a variety of dishes on the table with at least one new or unique dish also helps in keeping things interesting in the dining table.special_assorted_sashimi_on_iceI was particularly happy that my husband for instance, noticed the different texture of the wasabi they used in Hide Yamamoto, and was proudly informed that they use freshly grated Japanese horseradish.

You begin to notice these little things, and how they contribute to elevating your dining experience. To put it in simple terms, I also like to know where my money goes when I pay more, you know? And the best kind of restaurants don’t make you wonder about that, you immediately know.Aki_and_ISo you win some, you lose some, but still, indulge on occasion. The bad can always be chalked up to experience but a happy tummy is a happy tummy and its own reward. 

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