By David Minsky
By Nicole Danna
By Sara Ventiera
By Candace West
By Emily Dabau
By Doug Fairall
By Candace West
By Laine Doss
As for carnivores, start sharpening your manly incisors. You have nothing to lose but your hunger. The fact that Villacrusis uses only Wagyu beef for his meaty ménage à trois dubbed Gyu San ($27) should be enough to raise a woody. But the dish's precise cooking and thoughtful composition — Korean bulgoki (massively flavorful seared-raw short rib with kimchee), Japanese teriyaki (tender skirt steak with daikon makisushi called oshinko), and Philippine inihaw (marinated top loin and pickled vegetables) — makes for meat you just can't beat.
You can't beat Beef Nam Tok ($15) either, though you can wrap the tender slices of sirloin redolent of their citrusy marinade into whole romaine leaves, top them with a tangle of somen noodles, and dip the resulting sweet-tart-savory package in salty-spicy nuoc nam. You could, however, beat Kubo's lobster beignets ($10), preferably with a two-by-four. Despite their striking presentation, the beignets themselves were heavy and sodden and lacking any lobster flavor. That they hid chunks of tough, chewy octopus in their hollowed-out centers deserves an additional whack.
Ah, but then there's dessert. House-made sorbets and ice creams — the shiso-cantaloupe sorbet ($6) is really quite lovely — and chocolate won tons and tropical fruit sushi and fried cheesecake.
Fried cheesecake? Ohyesohyesohyes.
Villacrusis' "fried cheesecake" ($8) is what churros want to be when they grow up and get a PhD in deliciousness. Imagine cheesecake spring rolls — long, slender cigars of phyllo with a creamy-dreamy cheesecake filling, fried to bronzed, irresistible crispness. They're presented three to an order with a small glass of dusky caramelized banana sauce so wickedly indulgent that when you're done, you can't decide whether to slurp up what's left or smear it all over your body and invite your most significant other to lick every sticky-gooey-maddeningly luscious drop of it off.
Which, come to think of it, would be a pretty big wow too.