New York City

Mission Chinese 2.0: Possible

Mission Chinese DumplingsYesterday I got a disturbing text from my barber.  It wasnt so much about the content of the text, but rather the fact that I got a text from my barber that was alarming.  Initially I concluded wrong number, but then I remembered that my barber was the only person I know that calls me by the wrong name.  I gave up correcting him 5 years ago and simply play along.  “Terry, I moved to the other side of the mall, by Macy’s.  Please confirm that you received this text”.  After confirmation, he was very delighted that I showed understanding, and opted to stick with him!?!  Well, why on earth shouldn’t I.  Should I consider perhaps that other side of the mall is further away from my house.  Maybe he’s implying lack of parking.  I’ve only been with him for 16 years.  Should I drop him because the other side of the mall doesnt have an Auntie Anne’s soft pretzel stand, and hire one of the old schmucks taking a nap at 10 am.  I always show up to a Bunny Ranch-like lineup of sleeping barbers.

Mission ChineseIn similar fashion Mission Chinese Food moved from the LES to Chinatown, pretty much the same distance as my barber.  Danny Bowien, and MCF opened with a bang initially, even winning in a rather shocking fashion the coveted Best New Restaurant of 2013 from the New York Times.  Not too long after, it was closed by the Health Dep’t, reopened shortly after, only to close for good shortly after that.  For its fans this unfolding was difficult to watch.  As difficult as watching a baby seal getting clobbered to death.  If I would only have a nickle for every favorite Chinese restaurant closed at some point by the Health Dep’t, I would have a Quarter by now. Who cares if there’s evidence of mice.  As long as the mice and I are not there at the same time.

The new space, compared to the old, is comically stunning.  Like a bizarre cross between a fancy diner, a steakhouse, and a Lucky Cheng’s.  It kept some of the furniture from previous tenant Rosette, including a pizza oven which they utilize for pizza and bread.  Comfortable booths, chandeliers, and Lazy Susans unlike the Lazy Susans at my Doctor’s office where you just got lazy women named Susan.  When you add this all up, including the many mild additions to the menu, you get something you can bring your family, or even your in-laws.  But contrary to the way it looks inside, and the sign outside, it is very far from your average Chinese joint. Mission Chinese Tom Khallins

Started with one of the most unique drinks in recent memory (about a week give or take).  Tom Khallins – Old Tom gin, coconut milk, kaffir lime, lemongrass, ginger, chile, and sesame oil served in a small tea bowl.  After this and Pok Pok I’m really starting to get into those coconuty drinks.

The “Bread Service” is essentially a delicious smoky round Laffa with kefir butter spread.  It comes with a price tag ($7) that will make any Israeli or Arab shiver, a la the Jerusalem Bagel at Bar Bolonat.  Although the great free cilantro and scrambled eggs dumplings leave less room to complain.  One good reason NOT to get the bread is that it takes a lot of space on the table that you will struggle for very soon.

Mission Chinese Bread ServiceThe Cumin Lamb Ribs while on the fatty and chewy side were somehow more satisfying that the previous version.  The Dates in this dish alone are worth the price of admission.  On the other hand, the Kung Pao Pastrami went from my favorite to least favorite of the night.  The pastrami this time was much more charred, with texture closer to the potatoes it came with rather than that great pastrami of 1.0.  It wasn’t bad overall, but the rest of the lineup was just better.

Like the great Beef Jerky Fried Rice with Beech Mushrooms.  Wildly flavorful, but only the second best fried rice dish of the day (oxtail fried rice @ Blue Ribbon near Columbus Circle for lunch).  And if I would have to pick a favorite this night, it would probably be the Green Tea Noodles with ginger scallion, hoisin, and the great matcha flavor which makes the dish.  The only issue with this one is that the noodles are so stuck together (not so much in a bad way), that its difficult to remove a portion if you are sharing.  Eat this like Chinese eating rice.

Mission Chinese Food
171 E Broadway
$$$
Recommended Dishes: Tom Khallins, Beef Jerky Fried Rice, Green Tea Noodles, Cumin Lamb Ribs

 

Mission Chinese Pastrami

Mission Chinese Green Tea Noodles Mission Chinese Cumin Lamb Mission Chinese

Categories: Lower East Side, New York City | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Maialino Turning Stale?

Malfatti

Malfatti

Maialino has always been one of those easy, solid, high probability recommendations over the past 3 years.  I’ve recommended it to people not only looking for “Italian” in NYC but also “Not Italian”, with the hopes that if anything will convert them this is it.  I’ve been singing its praise to restaurant owners from Naples to Alba while touring the country.  I’ve been a fan of Nick Anderer for years, and since meeting him at the Parla/Bonci event at Paulie Gee’s, had some fun conversations with him at Marta, which is one of my favorite new places in town.  Hence, its somewhat awkward for me to write this post, but I’m doing it out of love and appreciation, not hate. I would hate to see the place turn into another Union Square Cafe

The meal wasnt terrible by any stretch.  But the name carries certain expectations, and anticipations, especially when its a special birthday dinner with the family.  I always think about that walk to the park with my friend Val and his Bulldog Rocco who out of sheer excitement, farts his way the entire length of the walk until he finally gets to his favorite pooping spot.  You can feel and smell the anticipation along the way.  But imagine if after all these years, Rocco finds out that his spot has been discovered by a Yorkshire Terrier, or worse, replaced by a condominium development.  Something was off the other night, and I’m hoping it was just a Sunday night off-night

The Salumi here has never been a strong suit to begin with, although I found the selection plate still orderable partly due to lack of other desirable options (where’s that octopus when you need it).  The Mortadella for example is cut thick with texture and taste resembling its bastardized Bologna more than actual Mortadella.Maialino Salumi

The Cacio e Pepe and Carbonara still delivered, although the Cacio carried a little less magic than in the past.  But that Guanciale in the Carbonara, I can chew on that forever.  Or more like 5 minutes, which is like a lifetime in Guanciale years.  The Pappardelle was just fine.  Chunks of tender nicely cooked pork with light cream.  Not your typical Ragu, and missing that beautiful marriage between meat and pasta.

For main we shared another pasta, the Malfatti with the braised Maialino (suckling pig) and arugula.  But wait a minute, this dish looks familiar.  As in 7 minutes ago familiar.  Way too identical to the Pappardelle, but sounded much different.  “Malfatti” I suppose is a very loose interpretation of something misshaped or badly formed, and I’ve always associated it with ugly pasta-less (more like gnocchi) ricotta/spinach dumplings as in Al Di La in Brooklyn.  But here it looks like hand ripped thin pasta, like Pappardelle “squares”.  The pig had decent flavor if not a bit one-note (salt), but by this point we were craving for something more Raguish.  The Garganelli which I enjoyed in the past with rabbit could have filled the void but was missing in action.

Very often one dish can make or break a meal, and in this case the decider was the Oxtail.  When I had the dish before, the beautiful tender meat was easily falling off the bone in liberal fashion.  This time I had to work hard managing the unrendered fat, distributing the kill like a mother wolf feeding her three babies.  The surprising highlight of the evening was the panna cotta look-alike Cheesecake with sour cherries.  Hope I’m still welcomed at Marta, but if not I’ll understand  Maialino Pappardelle Maialino Carbonara Maialino Oxtail Maialino Cheesecake

 

Categories: Gramercy, Flatiron, New York City | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Turks and Caicos – Seaside Cafe

Ziggy:

An update on an old favorite…

Originally posted on Eating With Ziggy:

Seaside - tuna sashimi

March 21st, 2015 Update:

Get the Fish Sandwich for lunch people.  Its a couple of pickled carrots shy of being the perfect Banh Mi, although I sort of prefer this simplified version.  Toasty baguette courtesy of Caicos Bakery filled with expertly blackened fish grilled to flaky perfection.  Great little sandwich.  Moving on from Vietnam to Peru, Amazing Race style.  The Peruvian Conch Salad brings out our animal instincts, each time without fail.  If there’s one tip I could offer to the 15 TCI viewers I get per day (over 200 look at the Hell’s Kitchen Survival Guide alone, 15 at TCI), get some of that Peruvian.  We dont even need to open the lunch menu here.

We also had another outstanding dinner later on.  Nice and springy flatbread with goat cheese, pesto, and arugula.  A new discovery was the Conch Chowder that may have cracked our top three.  More of the delicious Tuna Sashimi…

View original 588 more words

Categories: New York City | Leave a comment

A Gentleman’s Guide to Pok Pok

Pok Pok WingsAnthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown Thailand” with Andy Ricker is one of my favorite food episodes of all time.  It was real, it was fun, and it gives you a good size glimpse of what exactly is behind Ricker’s motivation… women!  Yes, food and the culture are probably high up there, but its probably the women that made the man move back and forth and back again for 20 years.  Even some of the servers at Pok Pok NY including the boys were a sharp reminder that you are at a Ricker establishment.  I vividly recall one particular moment from that episode where they visit a family run shack somewhere remotely, where Ricker starts flirting with a girl pretty much in front of her parents.  Now that is some Chutzpah.

The last time I was accused of being a gentleman was the last time we visited Turks and Caicos, where I kept opening the car door for Mrs Ziggy.  But that was because I can never get used to the location of the wheel and keep opening the wrong door.  At Pok Pok blvd in Red Hook Brooklyn, Mr and Mrs Hummus Whisperer and us got to open three different Pok Pok doors;  The Whiskey Soda Lounge while munching on the famous wings (the only item available from the flagship menu), Pok Pok NY (the flagship), and Pok Pok Phat Thai (Pk Pok light) just for the hell of it.  A fun meal overall, and vastly different than the 9th Ave Thai some of us are so used to.  Here’s the food rundown

Pok Pok Boar Collar

Pok Pok Boar Collar

Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings.  I don’t know who this Ike guy is but I’m guessing he is a good guy, and an honest citizen, and probably a fantastic cook.  These are plus size Amish wings that are seasoned in such a way that you will contemplate not washing hands for a few days.

Het Paa Naam Tok – Spicy forest mushrooms with soy sauce, lime and chili powder dressing, shallots, lemongrass, mint, cilantro and toasted rice powder.  Perhaps the only dish I didn’t care much about.  Sounds exciting at first but the result was way too much acid for those delicate mushrooms.  Probably works better with meat

Kaeng Hang Leh – Northern Thai sweet pork belly and pork shoulder curry with ginger, palm sugar, turmeric, tamarind, burmese curry powder and pickled garlic.  This was really good.  Super tender pork in a rich, sweet but tasty brown curry.  An important note to Yelpers:  Pork Belly is in fact fatty

Muu Paa Kham Waan – Boar collar meat rubbed with garlic, coriander root and black pepper, glazed with soy and sugar.  Grilled over charcoal and served with chilled mustard greens and a spicy chili/lime/garlic sauce.  Even the slightly overcooked Boar didn’t stop it from being the dish of the night.  Its all in the sauce of gods that could even make your car keys eatable.  Fantastic dish!

Pok Pok Khao Soi

Pok Pok Khao Soi

Khao Soi Kay – Northern thai mild curry noodle soup made with curry paste recipe and coconut milk, served with house pickles mustard greens.  A little trickier to share but Khao Soi as good as I ever had

Cha Ca “La Vong” – Vietnamese catfish (or as they call it in South Florida,  Grouper ;)) marinated in turmeric and sour sticky rice, fried in turmeric oil with scallions and dill, served on rice vermicelli with peanuts, mint, cilantro and mam nem.  One of my favorite dishes here and something I’ve had before.  Before you even take your first bite, the herbs aroma make their mark and tell the brain “this is gonna be exquisite”

Winged Bean Salad – This was a special.  Florida grown crunchy sliced Winged Bean pods mixed with prawns, pork and a hefty amount of Thai Chilies.  The spiciest dish of the night by far, and something I would definitely order again.

Dessert was as exciting as Thai desserts can get.  A not so smelly Durian scented creation on sticky rice with coconut milk.  Slightly less successful than the similar pumpkin at Pure Thai Cookhouse.  The Affogato was your good basic Affogato but with Churros-like doughnuts.  The lone clunker was the ice cream sandwich which didn’t work for any of us.

Pok Pok NY
117 Columbia St, Brooklyn
$$$
Recommended Dishes:  Wings, Catfish, pork belly and shoulder, Boar Collar, Curry Soup

 

Pok Pok Catfish

Pok Pok Catfish

Pok Pok - Bean Salad

Pok Pok – Bean Salad

Pok Pok Mushroom Salad

Pok Pok Mushroom Salad

Pok Pok affogato

Pok Pok affogato

Pok Pok Durian

Pok Pok Durian

 

 

 

Categories: Brooklyn, New York City | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

When Ziggy Met Zizi {Limona}

Ziggy:

More on Zizi Limona after dinner with friends

Originally posted on Eating With Ziggy:

Zizi Limona Cowshuka

March 9th, 2015 Update

Another fun meal at Zizi with friends.  You know that you are eager to get somewhere when you park in front of a fire hydrant and don’t realize it.  Like a Bulldog going to his favorite poop spot.  Everyone enjoyed the meal.  Aunt Trippo is now my favorite aunt by default.  My only requirement is the ability to make a decent falafel.  I’m very east.  Grilled Beets, surprisingly appetizing for a non beet supporter.  Crazy Baba is still Meshugenah, and the Shishito with white beans is a fun little snack

The tender Chicken Tagine was a winner, spiced properly with Moroccan spices, with chickpeas and Israeli Couscous (bubbly tiny pasta balls).  Some enjoyed their fish with tomato based sauce a la Taboon.  My Short rib was as tender as short rib should be if not a little gamey (in a good way).  It came with Risotto style Freekeh (a Farro…

View original 672 more words

Categories: New York City | Leave a comment

What to Eat in NYC – The Ethnic Plays

Taim falafelContinuing the What to Eat in NYC miniseries.  Part 1 is here.  Ethnic food is a big part of our daily diet hence it requires its own page.  What should you target in NYC of course depends on where you are coming from, but these are generally the areas of excellence in NYC…

Eat Thai – NYC has a thriving Thai food scene, and for reasons unknown to me the area known as Hell’s Kitchen is leading the Pad pack.  New Thai restaurants keep opening and existing ones keep multiplying right next to each other.  Yum Yum 1,2,3 all on the same block, and Wondee Siam with its three locations is another example.  But my favorites are Pure Thai Cookhouse with its vibrant menu, and fun vibe, and Larb Ubol specializing in Isan (North Thailand) cooking.  Lately however I’ve been cheating on those two with an old timer, Pam Real Thai.  Outside of HK, you got the great Somtum Der in East Village, and the popular Uncle Boons not too far.  Zabb Elee is another excellent Isan, and if you can somehow make it to Pok Pok in Brooklyn, you are in for a treat.  While not exactly Thai, the Laos inspired Khe-Yo is quite unique in itself and deserves a mention

Pure Thai Ratchaburi

Pure Thai Ratchaburi

Eat Indian – We eat a lot of Indian food, and the scene overall is fairly competitive.  Between Curry Hill and Curry Row in the East Village alone you have a slew of very good options.  In the East Village, guidebooks and TV shows may direct you to the Gimmicky Bricklane Curry House, but I suggest heading to Malai Marke around the corner.  In Curry Hill you have Chote Nawab, the vegetarian Vatan, and the southern flavors of Kokum and Anjappar.  Moving uptown, Moti Mahal Delux is part of a worldwide chain known for their butter chicken, and newcomer Awadh across in the west.  But if you are mesmerized by the Times Square lights and cant leave, Basara on 9th may do the trick

Moti Mahal Cauliflower

Moti Mahal Cauliflower

 

Eat Middle Eastern -Middle Eastern plays a big part in our Mediterranean diet.  You got a few mini empires fighting for the top rights.  Einat Admony with Balaboosta, Bar Bolonat and Taim is perhaps the biggest Israeli name at the moment.  While Taboon continues to be a strong option in midtown, especially now with its original chef coming back.  Baby sister Taboonette dishes out unique healthy[ier] street food in Union Square.  Modern Lebanese hot spot Ilili has been around for some time now.  Gazala showcases her Druze specialties in two location, Gazala’s and Gazala’s Place.  And Zizi Limona in Williamsburg is a product of three veterans who know how to treat the classics well.  Speaking of which…

Bar Bolonat - Creme Brulee

Bar Bolonat – Creme Brulee

Eat Falafel – While visitors seek that perfect New York Cheesecake, keep in mind that we New Yorkers argue more on who has the best Falafel.  Is it Taim  in the village?  Is it Azuri in midtown where watching Ezra make it is like watching Picasso paint.  Or is it the nostalgically cheap Mamoun’s.  None of the above.  Top marks go to Nish Nush which is yet to be discovered by many locals, and those who did will certainty not appreciate me touting it.  But the others, especially Taim’s marvelous platter, and Azuri’s sandwich and Shawarma will do you just fine.

Nish Nush - Falafel

Eat Ramen – We are in the midst of a ramen revolution in NYC, and I dont hear anyone complaining.  Except for Mrs Z perhaps who wants to go to Ippudo now on a regular basis including Jewish holidays.  In Hell’s Kitchen alone you can feel that craze.  Even former none ramen establishments are joining the fun.  The delicious Akamaru Modern at Ippudo is leading the pack, while the Spicy Ramen at Totto is not far behind.  Ivan Ramen in Gotham West is another option, though I would be tempted to get the Smoked Salmon Donburi, formerly known as Smoked Whitefish Donburi instead.  But to get a fuller taste of the Ivan without sounding too dirty, one must go to the downtown location.  One option that gets overlooked by many is Bassanova in Chinatown with its fiery and unusual Green Curry Ramen.  And while you ate it, give the lemon and pepper Ramen a shot as well.

Ippudo - Akamaru Modern

Ippudo – Akamaru Modern

Eat Chinese – Some folks familiar with the Chinese scene here, may be asking themselves at this point, how is this guy going to cover our entire Chinese arsenal in one paragraph.  I cant, and I wont, but I’ll offer a small glimpse just like with the rest.  Some of the best Chinese Food is offered outside of our many Chinatowns, like the Szechuan Gourmet empire (I frequent the one on 56th st).  A recent discovery for me is Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns and their addictive Shanghai style soup dumplings.  Talking of which, Prosperity Dumplings is perhaps the biggest value in town, and that’s saying a lot.  Mission Chinese Food is the hottest Chinese play in the city right now, and may even be when you read this a year from now.  Han Dynasty, a Philly chain is doing a lot of things right seems like.  And do check out at least one of our Chinatowns.  Dim Sum in Golden Unicorn, or if you feel adventurous, East Harbor Seafood Palace in Brooklyn’s Chinatown, followed by cruising along tourist free zone 8th ave.

Gourmet Szechuan 56 - Shredded beef

Gourmet Szechuan 56 – Shredded beef

Eat Mexican – Lower your eyebrows and listen up.  The notion that there’s no decent Mexican in NYC is sooooo 2013.  In the last few years a slew of exciting young chefs like Alex Stupak has given us some very cool options.  Stupak perhaps is leading the rat pack with the Empellon empire… Empellon Cocina is the flagship, Empellon Taqueria is the high end Taqueria, while the new Empellon Al Pastor is the more basic Taqueria highlighting the namesake Al Pastor.  Other options include Tehuitzingo, the fine taqueria in Hell’s Kitchen and its bigger neighbor Tulcingo Del Valle.  Visitors flock to the more polished and Toloache practically in Times Square, and while I don’t have any quarrels with it (I recommended it myself), I tend to feel more at home in the previous two.  Los Tacos #1 at the Chelsea Market is another great option if you can brave the crowds, though I would opt for something more along the lines of Otto’s Tacos which is in the process of opening a branch in Hell’s Kitchen.  Another one to consider is Mission Cantina, home to the best Burrito in NYC, not surprisingly coming from the Mission neighborhood in SF

Mission Cantina Tacos

Mission Cantina Tacos

Eat Eastern European – Perhaps this is more for the Coney Island bound tourists who should keep in mind that there’s much more to downtown Brooklyn than a Hot Dog.  The area adjacent known as Brighton Beach is loaded with all sorts of great Uzbek, Russian, Georgian and even Uzbek/Korean delights.  Consider Cafe Glechik on Coney Island Ave, sort of a Russian institution in the area.  Or perhaps Tone Cafe, aka Georgian Bread for the great Adjaruli Khatchapuri.  Uzbek/Uyghur specialty Kashkar Cafe is an absolute gem, and one of my favorite restaurants in whole of Brooklyn.  For a livelier Uzbek filled with Russians on a daily basis there’s Cafe Nargis a few blocks north on Coney Island ave.  Cant leave Manhattan but still want a small taste?  Veselka, Oda House, and Uncle Vanya in midtown should be able to take good care of you.  Unless you are a vegeterian

Kashkar Cafe - Geiro Lagman

Kashkar Cafe – Geiro Lagman

Eat Tapas – Basque, other Spanish, Mediterranean tapas galore all over.  In Chelsea alone you can Patata Brava to your heart’s delight, starting with tiny Tia Pol and ending with Toro near the Chelsea Market.  In the East Village you have the fun Cata, and lately I’ve been itching to go back to her sister AltaTertulia has its fans in the West Village, while I’ve been enjoying its sister El Colmado in Gotham West Market lately.  Many locals are in love with Casa Mono, but I need a bit more convincing.  And watch out for newly opened Espoleta, some big names behind this project

Casa Mono Razor Clams

Casa Mono Razor Clams

Eat Miscellaneous – Do you honestly need more ideas?  I didnt think so.  But all of this is just scratching the surface of what the greatest food city in the world has to offer.  In Staten Island for example, you can take advantage of the large Sri Lankan community by trying the museum-like Lakruwana, San Rasa or New Asha.  Vietnamese food, while still lagging behind other cities, is getting better.  Try Co Ba and Co Ba 53.  How about some Korean like Danji, Jungsik, HIT Korean Deli or Food Gallery 32Filipino inspired?  We got plenty of that too.. Lumpia Snack Shack, and Maharlika are just some

Overwhelmed?  Join the club.  I only live here.

Jungsik Steak

Jungsik Steak

Categories: Brooklyn, Chelsea, Chinatown, East Village, Gramercy, Flatiron, Lower East Side, Midtown East, Midtown West, New York City, SoHo, NoHo, Nolita, Staten Island, TriBeCa, Upper West Side, West Village | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

What to Eat in New York City

 

Best Pizza

Best Pizza

Oh no you didn’t…  Oh, yes I did!  A post on.. well.. everything.  I’m not writing about pizza or Indian food, or where to get the best Cheesecake, this is a post on everything.  A one time stop for the confused visitor that knows only what he reads in his guide book, and Trip Advisor ranking.  In other words, just a tad smarter than Klauss.  I have news for you Mr visitor.  We New Yorkers don’t eat Cheesecakes, Knishes, and Manhattan Clam Chowders.  Well, the last one on occasion, but having the word “Manhattan” in it should not automatically qualify it for the guidebooks.

A month ago at our company we had visitors from Minnesota.  When we ordered food for lunch, there was a moment that shook me a little.  One member of the Minnesota gang pointed to something and said “What’s that”.  To which I replied “this my friend, is a Falafel”.  Locals eat more falafels than Cheesecakes, Knishes, and Manhattan Clam Chowders combined in NYC, but you would never guess by just reading the guidebook.  Let me help set you straight

I will try my best to make it as comprehensive as possible, and update as often as I can.  Something to chew on before I leave for yet another trip to Turks (lobsta calling my name).  But there’s a chance I may forget a few things, so I would appreciate some help via comments if that indeed happens.  Its essentially a guide to help you understand what you should be targeting in NYC.  Here we go…

Eat Pizza – Yes, we eat a lot of pizza.  Every block where I live has these 3 essentials.  Pizza, Bagels, and a pharmacy to help you cope with all that pizza and bagels.  There’s great pizza everywhere in NYC and I’m not going to even attempt to name all the best spots, but here are a few

Merilu (2)

Merilu

   Slice – You have the usual suspects like Joe’s on Carmines and Di Fara in Brooklyn, but the truth is that there are plenty of solid slices out there and the 50th best slice is not really that far behind the 2nd best slice taste wise.  Consider Sacco in Hell’s Kitchen, Prince Street Pizza, Best Pizza” in Williamsburg might very well be best with their wood burning oven slice, and for something a bit different and not very New Yorky consider the thin squares at Merilu.  BTW, for those Di Fara bound, the pilgrimage may cost you half a day of travel and waiting for quite a while for your slice.  Not worth it if yo ask me, but if you must…

   Pies – While the guide books will guide you across the bridge and make you stand for 30-90 bone chilling minutes on a long line (and fail to tell you that the real Grimaldi is actually next door dishing them out at Juliana’s), you can get similar or better quality all over the city.  Consider Capizzi in midtown, where you will not find any long waits whatsoever.  Or how about the thin vodka pies at Rubirosa, an offshoot of the great Joe and Pat’s in Staten Island.  For your fancy Neapolitan pies there are a lot of great options and I strongly suggest to try at least one.  Consider Motorino, Don Antonio, Keste, Paulie Gees, and Roberta’s at a food festival near you (if you cant Bushwick it).  You can even get a decent pie in Eataly.  Also consider the Neapolitan archenemy, the mighty Roman pie at Marta.  Well, its not very mighty with its matzoh like thickness, but its quite delicious, not to mention everything else Marta offers.  You can have a great meal here without even touching the pies

Marta Patate alla Carbonara

Marta Patate alla Carbonara

Eat Burgers – As with pizza this is a very difficult topic to cover as there are so many choices, and so many kinds.  You are not only dealing with a plethora of Burger joints but you also have them on just about every French/Italian/American, you name it menu and everyone trying to outdo each other.  For your fast food smallish burger, yes, I suppose Shake Shack will do, and the pain that comes with it (long lines, fighting an old lady for a seat).  But head to Gotham West Market, and you can find another solid burger at Genuine Roadside where you’ll find no lines, and no old ladies to fight.  Try the terrific Chicken Sandwich too while you at it.  For the middle of the road, regular burger try Corner Bistro, Island Burger and Shakes and the rest of my Hell’s Kitchen picks I outline here

Dutch - Burger

Dutch – Burger

For the fancier stuff, Minetta Tavern’s Black Label is still the king, as one of a few burgers out there where the meat is so good, you can get it practically naked.  Meaning the burger!  Also consider Minetta’s sister Cherche Midi’s much hyped burger these days.  Bowery Meat Company uses the same supplier for its excellent patty (though I wish the fries would have been better).  Other solid players include the Breslin’s terrific Lamb Burger, Bar Sardine’s popular Fedora burger, The Gender’s burger with beef aioli, and the Spotted Pig with its addictive fries.  But if you’d point a gun at my head and make me choose one, I would ask you to please put the gun down, then proceed to kick your ass and call the cops.  Once you are out, I would direct you to the NoMad Bar where you’ll find the best combination of quality burger, fries, and ease of getting a table (No reservations tho)

Spotted Pig Burger

Spotted Pig Burger


Eat Bagels, Lux
 – No shortage of great bagels all over town.  With Absolute Bagel, Pick-a-Bagel in midtown, Ess-a-Bagel, and Murrays you pretty much have all the corners covered.  And while Russ & Daughters doesn’t bake their own, their Brooklyn Supplier is as old school and solid as they come.  R&D is an icon, and so very touristy for good reason.  But once you experience it, consider something like Shelsky’s in Brooklyn, or Nordic Preserves in Essex Market, for much of the quality and none of the pain.

Russ and Daughters lox

Russ and Daughters lox

Eat Italian – In NYC, one should take advantage of our Italian dining. Even Italians coming from Italy do so, and appreciate the wide array that NYC has to offer.  From the amazing seafood of Marea, to simple neighborhood spots like Da Andrea.  Consider Mercato and its southern Italian fare (real southern, not Brooklyn southern), or perhaps Bat Pitti in the village.  How about All’onda, and Piora for some Asian influence.  Or a taste of Emilia Romagna in Osteria Morini or Salumeria RossiMarta can certainly enter the discussion, and its sister Maialino is perhaps my favorite of all.  If you need to choose one, thats the one.  Or consider Scarpetta whose menu includes many popular staples.  Babbo is possibly entering icon territory, Del Posto may be already there among the high ends, while the inventive Lincoln remains under everyone’s radar.  In NYC we also have the classic New York Italian, aka red sauce American Italian cuisine that one may try.  The Guide Books will direct you to the Theater District and Little Italy, but for proper tasting consider something like Rubirosa or Carbone

Lincoln Strozzapreti

Lincoln Strozzapreti

Eat American – This is another big topic.  The one place that always comes to mind where you can get that old quintessential NY feel is Minetta Tavern.  Eleven Madison Park light, The NoMad is another solid choice with its celebrated Chicken for two.  In Midtown consider Betony, runner up for James Beard’s Best New Restaurant award last year.  Louro is a dependable neighborhood joint with rotating menus, and theme dinners on Mondays.  Consider the Dutch and its terrific fried chicken and more, which brings us to Root and Bone where the bird reigns over a solid southern inspired menu.  The veggies reign supreme at Narcissa, and the Marshal is not only extremely veg friendly, but covers all the classics well.  For something different consider the winter game festival at Henry’s End.

You also have a slew of Asian inspired American like the inspiring Annisa, and the David Chang’s empire, especially Momofuku Ssam Bar, and Ma Peche.  Consider a visit to newcomer Tuome, featuring a young chef with an attitude.

NoMad Chicken

NoMad Chicken

Dicksons pastrami

Dicksons pastrami

Eat Pastrami – Yes, yes go to Katz’s.  That’s not a tourist trap, but the real deal.  In Midtown, Carnegie Deli keeps chugging along, while Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop in Flatironhas been raising New York’s cholesterol since 1929.  Try perhaps the Montreal Jewish style pastrami at Mile End.  Or for something completely different, consider the pastrami sandwich at Dickson’s the great meat purveyor in Chelsea Market where the pastrami is more marbled and comes with a smear of apricot chutney or however they do it that day.  Yummo!

Eat Steak – Visitors come to NYC looking to eat steak in something called a “Steakhouse”.  It’s one of the most common questions on Trip Advisor… what is the Best Steakhouse.  Well, you do have the icons like Keen’s, and Peter Luger that folks will no doubt pick over Wolfgang’s which started by an employee that worked for Luger for 40 years and offers a similar Porterhouse.  But the beauty of NYC steaks is that just like burgers, you can get great steak anywhere pretty much including in modern “I cant believe this is not a steakhouse” steakhouse.  Consider the Bowery Steak at Bowery Meat Company, which consists of the Ribeye cap (the best part of the ribeye).  The Minetta Tavern Cote de Boeuf is perhaps the most celebrated cut in Manhattan.  Though for us, that honor would go to the Costata Tomahawk Ribeye which like the Cote de Boeauf, can feed a small Armenian village.

Costata - Ribeye

Costata Ribeye

Eat French – Classic french, new and old are still plentiful in the city.  You got the usual haute suspects with Per Se, Le Bernardin, Jean-Georges, Bouley, Daniel (who am I missing.  I dont want to upset anyone and get hate mail).  Then you have the bistro fair like Balthazar, and yes even Minetta Tavern which I’m adding to just about every category here (they even have a take on the Italian Carbonara, called Pasta Za Za).  Consider Benoit in Midtown, and Chez Napoleon may be as old school as it gets.  For something different however, consider Le Philosophe for a fresh take on old classic

Le Philosophe - tournedos rossini

Le Philosophe – tournedos rossini

Eat BBQ – A few years ago, the proper recommendation would be to skip BBQ in NYC.  But time, they are a changing.  In midtown if you must, head west to Daisy May’s BBQ USA, in case you forget what country you are in.  In Brooklyn you have Fette Sau and BrisketTown which also sells its sick brisket on the High Line in the warmer months.  But the mightiest of all might very well be Mighty Quinn’s which you can enjoy in both West and East village, among other more remote locations.  For the “I cant believe this is not BBQ” experience that almost no one talks about, consider Georgia’s Eastside BBQ in the Lower East Side.

Eat Ethnic – Need to take a break.  More to come after these words from our sponsors…  Are your menopause changes causing bleeding, irritation, pain during sexual intercourse?  Try Premarin, a Virginal Cream you can count on.

Ok, I have a confession.  This was not a real commercial!  But, I do need to take a break, as my arm is tired and I already used all the adjectives known to me on one page

The ethnic plays will have their own page when the time comes.  Stay tuned…

Mighty Quinn's Brisket

Mighty Quinn’s Brisket

 

Categories: Brooklyn, Chelsea, Chinatown, East Village, Gramercy, Flatiron, Lower East Side, Midtown East, Midtown West, New York City, SoHo, NoHo, Nolita, TriBeCa, Upper West Side, West Village | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Tuome, Can You Hear Me

Tuome SkateI had the entire conversation rehearsed in my head while sitting in the car waiting for our table.  The smiling dude from Tuome said we came too early and that our table wasn’t ready, but the good news was we could wait by the bar.  Memorandum to restaurant owners of NYC:  If the tiny little bar of yours is completely full with no standing room allowed whatsoever, don’t point to it and say you can wait by the bar.  You look like an ass.  I said we’ll wait in the car (freezing conditions btw), while staring at the two empty drafty tables by the entrance making him aware that I see those tables and he better not give them to us when the time comes.  Reminiscing about a certain Yemeni cafe in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn where we froze to death, and they built a museum around us.  When we finally got the callback, we were offered a choice of a drafty table, or not drafty one in the center of the room.  Hmm.. let me go back to the car and think about this one a little bit.  OK, I’ll take the nice and warm one in the middle of the room.  Close call, but we are off to a fantastic start.

TuomeThe front room is rather small, rustic, and quite East Villagy.  Tables very close together which can be a good thing (more on that later).  When someone walks behind you, you bounce a little like that bouncy at the Museum of Sex.  The only other room I explored was the tiny unisex bathroom.  It was one of those cold, pee every 2 hour days in NYC which brings yet another tip.  Before watching a Russian movie like ‘Leviathan’, going an hour before is way too soon.  You need to visit the bathroom right before the movie, as the concept of editing still hasnt made it to mother Russia.

Where was I, oh yes, Tuome.  Or “Toe Me” as Thomas Chen’s parents used to pronounce “Tommy”.  Formerly with Eleven Madison Park and Commerce, this is Toe Me’s first crack at managing one.  The American menu is interesting, playful, and full of Asian influences.  Annisa light if you will.  Unlike Annisa and the momofukus out there however, there’s a clear sweet tone in some of the dishes.  And the playfulness in a way backfires a little while showing some immaturity (“Pig Out” for 2 can easily be pork dish for 1, table side “espuma” squirting).  But, at the end of the day, the outcome was quite positive.

Chicken Liver – Good, Very good actually according to liver freak mrs Z.  Silky smooth, looking like a plate of hummus with a pool of olive oil in the middle.  Except in this case its Maple syrup which added much sweetness but an enjoyable dish nonetheless

Tuome Deviled EggsDeviled Egg – Nothing like any deviled eggs I’ve had in my young Deviled Eggs career.  Three eggs, breaded and fried, with a nice dollop of chili-garlic sauce that made all the difference.  Just a great combination of textures and nice deep lasting flavors.  Perhaps the dish of the night

Octopus – This is an excellent puss.  One tentacle, surrounded by porky XO sauce on one side while waiter squirts “Espuma” (fancy for foam) on the other.  Doubt East Villagers are impressed by table side squirting any more.  Maybe a better fit for Theater District where you can even get away with “Espuma”.  The leg was nicely cooked, not too mushy or too hard, and the XO sauce I couldnt get enough of.  Reminiscent of the All’onda XO with Soppressata.  The only thing is I wished the leg was a bit bigger, like Portuguese octopus I see on occasion.  A few bites of the meaty part and you are left with a long slightly overcooked skinny dude.  Great dish still.Tuome Octopus

Next was a welcomed wait after all three small plates came at the same time 10 minutes after we sat down. Proper pacing of the dishes seems like a rarity these days.

Short Rib – Another exceptional dish.  Extremely tender and juicy, with a sweet glaze and more sweetness from the sweet potato puree.  Very good dish, but felt all too familiar.  Unlike the other dishes, nothing out of the ordinary here but I’d order it again.  Its just that the city is suddenly loaded with exceptional short rib and beef cheek plates

Skate (top) – Good, really good according to Mrs Z.  Nice size, lightly fried, with cauliflower bits and Marcona Almonds.  Good flavor though got a little boring toward the end.Tuome short Rib

Brussels Sprouts – Outstanding side.  One of the better ones we’ve had in NYC.  Mixed with more of that Pork XO, with raisins and grapes providing a nice balance

Rice – Yet another great side.  Sticky rice with sweet Chinese sausage (a bit too sweet), duck fat packed inside Lotus leaves.  Another dish where most of the excitement came from the initial touches, but I would certainly order again.  This is one of those places where sides require special attention.  The Corn looked good as well

Pig Out for two – This is their specialty but with just the two of us we opted to try more of the menu and sides instead of being in the mercy of one dish.  The gimmick seems to work for them, but as a customer I dont see a reason why they cant evenly divide the 10 pork belly squares by 2 and offer individual sizes.  So the brilliant plan was to get friendly with the neighbors and try theirs.  We half succeeded… jokingly offered any help if they required and even gave some advice on visiting Iceland, but no {porky} dice.

Chinese Beignets – Dessert is not a strong suit here.  This is at the moment the only option and if it continues than perhaps some help from Anita Lo may be required to perfect these Beignets.  However, this wasnt nearly a complete loss as the three condiments provided especially the ice cream with red bean paste saved the moment.

For such a young chef who started out as an accountant, Tommy is doing a lot of things right.  I’ll be back (if I’m still welcomed)

Tuome
536 East 5th Street
$$$
Recommended Dishes: A rare all of the aboveTuome Liver Tuome Rice Tuome - Brussels Sprouts Tuome Beignets

 

Categories: East Village, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not Your Typical Village Food Tour

BrigadeiroWe are well into January, mucus season here in snowy New York City.  Its also the beginning of the end of resolution season, where we start to forget about all the resolutions of the new year.  Normally the end of resolution season coincides with Cassoulet Week which starts on January 10th, but with the news of obesity rates going up, resolution season has been extended a few more days.  This is after all the season where we ask ourselves that all important question, “Did I gain weight, or am I just bloated”.  Well, you’ve been bloated for 4 weeks, hence its time to take a break.  Reflect, relax, hibernate, and come up with a sensitive plan for this new year.  Food, travel, what else is there to plan.  Maybe babies.  Food, travel, and babies.

I personally haven’t eaten anything noteworthy for almost a month, and my left leg is starting to shake.  Actually its my left thigh really, my Culatello.  So instead of featuring one player today, lets grab our selfie sticks and take a walk in one of the best eating areas in the country, West Village, for a little food tour.  Part of it is in Greenwich Village actually, but for the purpose of this blog its West or East, so if its not East, its West, Kapish?  Lets eat..

Taboonette

Taboonette – Lets start the walk in Union Square.  Close your eyes while crossing 14th st and Mazal Tov, you made it to the village.  On 13th st, you have tiny but deadly Taboonette which can be described in 3 different ways.  A pocket food place, fancy street food, or Middleterranean (Middle eastern with Mediterranean touch) hole in the wall.  Contrary to what it may say on its site, No Falafel For You in this baby Taboon.  But its time to try something new anyway, like the Sabich (with a jewish spitting on your phone ch), a pita sandwich of fried eggplant, hard boiled eggs, Tehini and more, invented in Ramat Gan Israel.  More Israeli veg options like the Kruvit, (roasted cauliflower) fill the menu, or try some of the platters like the Chicken Sawarma (below) or the “Kebab” which is more like hefty delicious Lamb cutlets.

Taboonette Shawarma

AmorinoAmorino – We are breaking all the rules here on EWZ and heading straight to Ice Cream for stop #2.  Normally I start my Gelato relationship with Nocciola and this was love at first Nocciola.  Every cone filling is done with a lot of love and to prove that love they shape it like a flower.  Or perhaps the dude took a fancy to me.  Since then I also discovered the sick Amareno flavor, but only because the Nocciola has been absent.  The ingredients here are top notch, as you taste every fruit and every nut.  A chain in Europe, but quite possibly the best Gelato in NYC at the moment.  At this point a walk in Washington Square Park is in order to kill some calories, or you can head straight west to the next pit stop.  I wanted to recommend Forbes Galleries but I just noticed they are permanently closed

Lumpia Shack Snack Bar - You know what they call a food tour without Lumpia?  A food tour without Lumpia!  These are Vietnamese inspired spring rolls and this Smorgasburg veteran is a good place to try them.  Try all three kinds and guess which is my favorite (hint: its the truffled mushroom).  And while you ate it don’t leave without trying the garlic chips made from tapioca starch infused with tamarind powder.  Yes I said “ate it” on purpose.

243

Bar Sardine – Time to share a not so average burger.  The $10 Fedora burger is generating some buzz and for good reason.  A well crafted creation featuring smoked cheddar, sweet barbecue mayo, cucumbers, and a shoestring fries loaded inside the burger to give it that crunchy bite.  Fries on the side are an extra $7, but if you really want to try something else, go for the Octopus Hushpuppies.

Bar Sardine BurgerEmpellon Taqueria – I wasnt about to include this one but its practically across the street from Bar Sardine.  The Beer Braised Pork Tongue Taco will run you at $7 a pop but its arguably New York’s best taco.  Just like Bar Sardine you can sit at the bar and be in and out in no time.

Percy Pizza – An exception to the rule, a dollar slice that doesn’t suck.  Very popular with university students, and underpaid professors.  You can go to the more famous Joe’s nearby for a $2.50 slice, but for a dollar slice this is as good as it gets and the smaller size is perfect for this itinerary.Percy Pizza

Brigadeiro Bakery – We end our tour in this spanking new hidden gem where I almost got arrested.  Mariana 1 and Mariana 2 were selling their Brazilian Truffles (Brigadeiros) from a basement in a restaurant around the corner until they finally found this spot.  And according to the feminine inner Ziggy, this little shop is adorable.  Fantastic spiced hot chocolate, and a wide range of freshly baked Brigadeiro.  I’m partial to the bright ones over the chocolate, but try as many as you can.  Last time I left with the feeling that I forgot something until I finally remembered 5 blocks later..Paying!  Yes, I went back, ask Mariana 2.

Brigadeiro2 Brigadeiro Bakery

Categories: New York City, West Village | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restaurant Week is Over. Here’s What You Missed

Ziggy:

Reblogging a post from last year around this time in preparation for Restaurant Week 2015….

Originally posted on Eating With Ziggy:

photo (7)1) A Slew of participants.  None of which are the hottest/trendiest places at the moment.  Mostly establishments that can use more bodies during Monday-Friday.

2) Menus designed for restaurant week.  A $25 lunch menu that normally includes a minuscule or none inspiring appetizer like the ever so trendy kale soup.  A main entree that is either off the regular menu, a smaller version of the regular menu item, or a new cheap invention.  You certainly did not miss the signature dishes, or the dishes that truly define the participant establishments

3) Dessert.  Seriously, who orders dessert during lunch anymore in NYC other than the business lunchers or “Ladies Who Lunch”.  At the end of the day, once you calculate all you had versus what the regular menu offers, you wind up with a free dessert

4) Cold Service.  Yes this will vary from place to place and certainly debatable I…

View original 406 more words

Categories: New York City | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 946 other followers