Monthly Archives: February 2019

Meet Gotham West Market’s Messiah

Dell'anima CarbonaraThe Gotham West Market’s executive in charge of luring interesting new vendors must have one of the toughest jobs in America.  It turns out that surviving so deep inside Hell’s Kitchen, a neighborhood dominated by young professionals and Bulldogs is pretty tough.  Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop is the only original vendor left since they opened about 5 years ago.  Changes are happening in a furious pace.  Latest shocker is the departure of Genuine Roadside, a burger joint owned by Avroko the firm that designed GWM.  Sources tell me Corner Bistro another burger joint will be its replacement.  Yes, I have sources.

For a moment there, with the shuttered burger option, GWM’s total demise seemed in sight.  I mean how much more pain can these Bulldogs take.  Enter Dell’anima!  Yes, that Dell’anima that you may have heard about but never went because it got lost in the crazy West Village Italian shuffle.  It managed to survive a decade there generating quite the following, but ultimately succumbing to ultra gentrification like so many others.  Today’s rent squeeze means you have to be creative with the real estate, but it also means winners may emerge elsewhere.  In this case its Hell’s Kitchen which may have just gotten its best Italian.

Dell'anima

I’ve been hanging around so much at Dell’anima lately (before or during tours) that I’m having my mail forwarded there.  It replaces the space of El Colmado, joining Ivan, Seamore’s, Corner Slice, Ample Hills Creamery and a Jianbing joint (Beijing style crepes) as the current residents.  A very different lineup to even going back a few months, not to mention on opening day.  Dell’anima features the type of concentrated menu that feels fresh and unique in the entire Hell’s Kitchen universe where Italian is somewhat lacking.  And I can safely say this again:  Gotham West Market is a solid, severely overlooked pre-theater option.  At least for the time being.

The mostly Roman inspired pastas here is the main draw although everything else I’ve tried was exceptional.  There’s a Tajarin Carbonara with Speck and egg that is so good I had to come back for it when I didnt have to share it with three women (My family.  I’m not THAT popular).  The Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese was another winner.  There’s also a Tagliolini Cacio e pepe and a standard but fine looking Orecchiette with sausage.

Only two Secondis on the menu, and at least one of them is superb.  A chili crusted, juicy Pollo al Diavolo sitting on top Broccoli Rabe.  The charred octopus, a popular dish in the previous location is excellent as well.  It comes with “Rice Beans”, cannellini Beans so young they resemble large grains.  While not one of these fat Spanish octopuses you come across sometimes, its zesty and delicious, and the dish works well as a whole.  Go!

Dell’anima
600 11th Ave (Gotham West Market, Hell’s Kitchen)
Rating: Two Z’s (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that
Recommended Dishes: Octopus, Chicken, Carbonara

Dell'anima - Octopus

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EV Bites – Goodnight Almond Croissant

Patisserie Florentine - CroissantsEV Bites is a monthly feature (well sort of.  I may have skipped a few), that showcases five places in or around East Village you should know about.  I will occasionally extend the border to surrounding hoods and maybe even mention a name more than once.  East Village in case you are not aware is an incubator for top industry talent, and a goldmine of world cuisine.

Foxface –  The smallest kitchen in the village keeps attracting the most interesting stuff.  Inside the William Barnacle Tavern/Theater 80, out goes Feltman’s Hot dogs, the rebirth of the inventor of the hot dog (or Coney Island red hots) and the best hot dog in NY.  In goes Foxface, the little Sandwich shop that could.  It took me a couple of months to try it, because that’s how long it takes me to get excited about a sandwich shop, but man was it good.  One bite of the well crafted, balanced Smoking Fox (smoked boneless rib, coleslaw, pickles, homemade spicy sauce) is all you need to understand.  Its owned by a duo that used to own a cafe in Tokyo.  Quite the ingredient driven little place, starting with the bread they get from NYC’s elite like Pain D’Avignon and Fat Witch.

Hunan Slurp – Possibly the most important opening out of the countless of Chinese openings over the last few years.  Half of my meals in the area as of late are here.  A fresh Z-list addition.  Cant say enough.  The incredible whole fish, the cabbage, stir fried chicken, Hunan Salad, and the signature Hometown Lu fen.  I will have a dedicated post when the time comes.

Hunan Slurp

Hunan Slurp

La Rossa – Hate the generic sounding name, love the pizza.  This is from yet another Italian pizza legend, Stefano Callegari who owns some of Roma’s best and the inventor of the Trapizzino.  We are just missing Bonci (Interestingly he owns two in Chicago).  I like to start my pizza relationships with a light no frill meal which means a basic Margherita, and this one did not disappoint.  Although from Rome, its more Neapolitan-style featuring a light and airy dough with great ingredients all around.  But the pizzas to get are most likely the Roman inspired Carbonara and Cacio e pepe baked with ice in order to “glue” the ingredients better.  Technically just inside Soho on Lafayette.

Dunhuang Noodles – Its getting to the point where its hard to limit this feature to just one Chinese, but they are all so very different.  Dunhuang specializes in Northwestern Chinese food, and is growing a la Xi’an Famous.  In the winter I usually crave spicy noodle soups, and very few in the area beat Dunhuang’s Braised Beef Noodles and Lanzhou Beef Noodles these days.

Patisserie Florentine – Is no more!  That group from Canada that makes the semi-annual pilgrimage to Patisserie Florentine after pre-ordering ALL their Almond Croissants will soon get the painful truth just like I did.  Only in East Village a place with a perfect Yelp score offering a legend-esque product can still close.  I’ve watched these Almond Croissants make countless of people smile over the years on my tours.  But hey, its East Village.  There’s plenty of fish in this sea.

La Rossa Pizza

La Rossa

Categories: East Village, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Z-List – 2019 Winter Update

Hunan Slurp - Hunan Salad

Hunan Slurp

After a recent mediocre meal at one of the more trusted Z-listers, I’ve decided to update the list more frequently.  If you are familiar with NY dining, or currently researching, you may be surprised by these changes. But this is not a popularity contest. The difficult table is not necessarily the better choice today.  Four out, four in.

In:  Hometown BBQ, Scampi, Jeju Noodle Bar, Hunan Slurp

Out:

Estela – One of the most trusted names on the list, but quite the mediocre meal last time.  Some of the menu staples we loved before, missing some of that oomph.  And some of the “large” dishes are wildly overpriced.  Estela just doesnt feel as relevant today.

Rubirosa – Another shocking exclusion.  Its very popular with tourists these days, and that is one of the problems.  But the main issue is the ever changing, over saturated pizza scene in that area with the openings of La Rossa and Sorbillo from Italian pizza legends and many more.  And you can now get similar pizza at Joe and Pat’s in East Village without the hoopla.

Bar Bolonat – Is no more.  Well, kind of.  Balaboosta closed, Bar Bolonat then rebranded as Balaboosta and the menu and to some degree the concept changed.  Once I visit the new place a few times, I may reconsider.

Mighty Quinn’s – The original location in East Village is still good.  But its tough to keep a name on the list that now has 12 locations. For proper que, you can still go to the original east village location, or better yet go to Ducks Eatery on Tuesday for the brisket, or Hometown in Red Hook

The complete list can be found here

Scampi Mafaldini

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Brooklyn Tour FAQ

IMG_6290

A much needed update to the Brooklyn Tour FAQ. Most important change is name of Movies to watch before the tour

Eating With Ziggy

Updated: Feb 4th, 2019

What is the Brooklyn Tour?

Its a full day driving tour of Brooklyn where we explore about 6 distinct neighborhoods not very easily reached otherwise.  While there will be plenty of interesting food involved, the tour is more of a cultural immersion experience with the goal to show visitors the “real” New York

What time does it start and finish?

9 to around 4-5 although an earlier finish time can be requested.  I’m usually around the pickup location 15 minutes prior.

How much does it cost?

At the time of this writing its $100 per person for 3 or more people in the tour (regardless if its the same group or not), and $125 per person for just 2 people.

Is Food included?

Yes.  In all three tours (East Village, Hell’s Kitchen, Brooklyn) food is always included

Can I come solo?

Yes!  But as long as…

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