Paul Qui Dinner at City Grit

City Grit is a “Culinary Salon” located smack in the middle of Nolita housed in an old school house. Sarah Simmons and Jeremie Kittredge, the co-founders, hosts a rotating line-up of creative and fun dining experiences. This past week, Paul Qui, winner of Top Chef Texas, James Beard Best Chef Southeast winner, along with other accolades, was the featured chef.

I was really looking forward to this dinner, especially after seeing this Serious Eats post.  But, I can’t say that the meal lived up to my expectations, keep reading for more details. Firstly, the venue – it is a very very cute venue. I love the look and feel, however, the A/C was not up to par. It was uncomfortably (extremely) warm. The acoustics in the back room was terrible, normal conversation noise levels were magnified so much that it was as loud as a packed bar. On to the meal…

paul qui menu

The menu looked really promising…

tuna jamon

The tuna jamon dish was lackluster. The tuna was not as fresh as it should be, however, that was hidden by the lardo it was wrapped with. My issue with the lardo was that it was not sliced thin enough. Overall, the flavoring on the dish was kinda off – I can’t really put my finger on what made it off.

tomato water

The tomato water dish was quite good. I like the smokiness of the mussels, but the tomato water could be more tomato-y and could’ve been served more chilled.

sunchoke dashi

The sunchoke dashi was very delicious. The dehydrated uni was perfect! One of my favorite dishes of the night.

smoked trout

The smoked trout dish was very average, nothing new or super interesting about it.


The quail was delicious!  Perfectly cooked, the miso ‘soil’ was really tasty! My only issue with this dish was the strawberry, (1) it was not very sweet, (2) the strawberry leaf and stem was left on and (3) I don’t think it really fit with the flavor profile.

pork jowl

The pork jowl was really well seasoned and cooked perfected. My piece of pork was more fatty than I anticipated, it was tasty nonetheless. I think I would’ve preferred the corn grilled rather than uncooked.

I didn’t take a picture of the dessert but it was nothing to write home about…

I really really wanted to love this meal. I still think Paul Qui is great and I will attribute the ‘semi-fail’ of this meal to that fact that it was over 70 diners and the dishes probably had to be executed assembly line style.


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