A skinny foodie's guide to eating large in New York City and beyond. Come #nomnomnom with me!
Monday, January 30, 2012
You Be The Chef: Grilling at FiRE + iCE
When my family visited Harvard for the first time during my East Coast college tour trip, we wanted to go to a restaurant called FiRE + iCE, which offers "diners a chance to create their own delicious meals in a fun, exciting and interactive environment." Unfortunately, the restaurant turned us down, saying that the wait would be more than an hour. I have been wanting to go ever since, and I finally got a chance to go with a freshman whom I promised to treat to a meal since the beginning of the year.
Fire + Ice is an all-you-can-eat grill in which you grab a bowl and fill it with items from the "marketplace," a display of fresh meats, seafood, pastas, exotic and domestic vegetables as well as a broad choice of internationally influenced sauces.
This is the vegetable section, featuring summer squash, potatoes, carrots, brocoli, roasted eggplants (my personal favorite!), mushroom, bell peppers, and baby corns. The vegetables were pretty fresh in general, but it was sometimes messy because people would overfill their bowls and the vegetables fall out.
The fresh meats section was a heaven for carnivores, featuring everything from sausage, turkey, chicken, and beef to all sorts of seafood.
Andouillie sausage, turkey tenderloin, and chicken tenderloin at the bottom, and tofu (mindful of vegetarians!), sweet Italian sausage,and cajun pork on top. I don't know how I feel about having all these different meats grilled together.
More selection of meat. The top sirloin at the bottom right looked so lean!
The seafood section had haddock, salmon that had odd, non-salmon color, tilapia, shrimp, and squid. I personally don't like fish with other vegetables or meat...Fish is best when grilled by itself.
The grill wouldn't be complete with some carb! The noodle section had rice noodle, udon noodle, bowtie and curly pasta, and egg noodle. Lots of variety so you never get bored.
The Marketplace also featured a salad bar with sufficient toppings (cucumber, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, olives, etc) for a decent salad. Since I eat at a school cafeteria with salad bar that is always available, my footsteps didn't necessarily lead me to this section.
You can also make burgers, either regular hamburgers or veggie burgers. These are toppings you could ask to be grilled, ranging from bacon, mushroom, and onions to spam (ew) and meatballs (weird).
Once you fill the bowl with all the ingredients, you go to the sauce section and fill that blue bowl with whatever combination of sauces you would like. There are also tiny sample cups.
The variety of sauces were incredibly! The taste of your dish totally changes depending on which sauce you put in. There were marinara, alfredo, sweet and sour, carribean jerk, pineapple curry, szechwan, BBQ, fruit sauce, just to name a few.
Now that you have everything--the bowl full of ingredients and sauce--you gather around the 25’ round grill located right in the middle of the dining room.
Part of the entertainment is watching the grill chefs work their magic, firing up your creations right in front of your eyes.
My food grilling up on the grill.
It must be so tiring to be grilling up all night.
My finished concoction! I had eggplants, cauliflower, bell pepper, baby corns, water chestnuts, and a few pieces of top sirloin with udon noodle. Like the name of the restaurant suggests, I could taste the fire (er..the grill) in the ingredients.
I liked the slightly burnt parts from the grill, especially the udon noodle because it tasted crispy.
I added some salt and pepper because the seasoning was bit lacking. Perhaps I put a little too less sauce? I chose the pineapple curry and fruit sauce for this dish, and it was a poor choice because both sauces were too sweet.
My friend's dish looked completely different. She had a bit of rice noodle with cajun pork and vegetables.
I wonder how her dish turned out so red!
For the second round, I opted for egg noodles, squash, egg plants, and tofu with sweet chili and BBQ. I liked the choice of sauce much better because it had a little bit of Zing from the spicyness of the chili, together with the sweetness from the BBQ sauce.
I still sprinkled salt & pepper and hot sauce for extra seasoning.
The beauty of Fire & Ice is that you can create and customize your own dish to fit your taste and preference.
It's definitely exciting to be the chef of your own food at a restaurant. Sure, you may not be doing the actual cooking, but you are picking out all the ingredients and the sauces to create a dish of your own.
For dessert, we decided to share chocolate fondue with fresh fruits, pound cake, and marshmallow. The presentation of the dish was not the most appealing.
Dipping the pound cake into the chocolate. The pound cake was really dry, but the milk chocolate (even for someone who doesn't like chocolate) was really good! It's probably really cheap milk chocolate though haha. I love warm, gooey, melted chocolate.
Marshmallow and chocolate. Classic.
The honeydew and the whipped cream doesn't really go well together, but the combination of strawberry dipped in chocolate with a bit of whipped cream is to die for.
...and the fun begins.
The girl I had dinner with is a potential VES concentrator, so her artistic flair showed. We drew some smiley faces on the fruits and the marshmallow.
Smile, it's contagious!
I was extremely satiated after the meal (as I always feel after eating at a buffet), but I really enjoyed the experience of hand-picking the ingredients in my food, especially since I am so picky.