Posts Tagged With: FOB Brooklyn

Z-List Update

fob-chicken-and-sides

FOB Chicken Adobo

Its that time of the year.  Game of Thrones season.  I got my GOT beer and i’m ready to rock and roll through what seems like a terrible winter.  Or just winter!  I’m not quite sure what “terrible” means in GOT standards but it sounds like pretty bad-ass.  As in more than two months of 10 inches of snow total.

Its also time to update the legendary, ultra exclusive (according to Harvard) Z-List.  That is 50 of my favorite restaurants in the city.  If it looks rather random to some, good.  Thats the point.  Eater’s Essential List doesnt seem very Essential either.  Its simply my way of answering “what should we eat while in NYC” to 99% of those questioning.  None of these costs more than $100 or less than $10 so that eliminates a good chunk.  The changes:

In –  Pinch Chinese, Gloria, FOB, Via Carota, Hearth, Timna

Out:

Biang! – Closed (miss it terribly)

Annisa – Closed

Empellon Taqueria – Just dont care for it as much as I used to.

Mission Chinese food – A little too hit or miss for me these days

Nargis Cafe – Still great, but out of reach for most of my audience

Zizi Limona – Stopped going pretty much since Mesika left

Congratulations to the winners and the entire 2017 class.  You did it!

Click here for the complete list

Pinch Chinese Crab in Chinese Restaurant

Pinch Crab in Chinese Restaurant

 

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Top 10 Dishes of 2016

Lilia Malfadini“Strange” is the first word that comes to mind.  Its been a strange and sad year in pop culture, politics, and even love life.  And by love life I mean food, not the other stuff which is fine thank you, and knock on.. ahem… wood.  But that’s another post for another day, that I imagine wont be a free one.  During 2016 we traveled a little more than usual, and so the best dishes came from overseas, especially Italy.  We also didnt quite have our share of the usual haute fine dining last year, as I continue to discover more and more exciting cheap options in all 5 boroughs.  But we did have our fair share of exciting eats, which made the selection difficult as usual.

Porgy at Ssam Bar

Its quite the site when this Long Island Sound beauty arrives in all her glory.  Head and teeth and all, without the main bone that was surgically removed.  The fish is dressed with the momofuku signature ginger scallion sauce.  One bite, and you can tell this is not your average grilled Branzino.  Another bite and its an entire Havah Nagilla rendition in your mouth.  By the 5th inning, you remember to try the accompanied lettuce and tortillas to make fish wraps.  You experiment by adding some pickled bean sprouts, cabbage, and creme fraiche, and you are suddenly the world’s greatest fish taco maker.  The fish comes with all these goodies in “Ssam” style.Ssam Bar Porgy

Octopus at Timna

The usual challenge with these lists is going back to the earlier moths to see if anything stood out.  This one did.  Some of the best octopus I’ve had in a while in a year filled with glorious octopus (Avlee, Cull and Pistol, just to name a few).  Nir Mesika from ZiZi Limona fame tenderizes, sous vide style, the heck out of this thing (I’m guessing by the size and bite, it was enjoying the coast of Portugal a few days prior).  Then he finishes it on an open flame like the Bedouin do 200 kilometers south of Mesika’s hometown in Israel.  All that smoky goodness, served with black eggplant puree, pickled cabbage and hummus, tells your brain just one thing.  Taim!Timna Octopus

Mafaldine at Lilia

Just about every other Best List out there this year features Lilia’s striking Agnolotti, which is fantastic dont get me wrong.  I would order it again and just about every other thing I ate (If I can get another reservation one of these days.  It’s simpler to score a shopping date with Ivanka Trump).  But my nod goes to the the ‘imperfect’ Mafaldine or Malfadini that looked and tasted pretty perfect to me.  Take your average Cacio e Pepe, change the pasta to something with more texture, sharper cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano, and pink peppercorns, and you essentially got Cacio e Pepe on crack.  Top picture

Hummus at Dizengoff 

I spent much of 2016 biking to/from Chelsea Market, and wrestling with tourists.  Guess who won?  This guy!  And much of these visits I spent at Dizengoff including two days after they opened when I met the great Michael Solomonov (turns out we have a lot in common, other than fame).  Its not just about the hummus and its perfect silky smooth texture and taste, and its hard to get excited about a Hummuseria to begin with.  But its much about the whole package.  The insanely delicious hot off the oven pita on steroids. (Calling it pita almost sounds insulting), the pickles, the homemade S’hug and the rotating seasonal toppings that make this place so magnetic.Dizengoff Hummus

Chicken Wings Skewers at Biang!

Ever since I discovered the magic of Biang, it has become the dining equivalent of Netflix binge watching.  I cant get enough of it.  The entire menu and its noodle lineup is fantastic, but its all these skewers that you cant find in the Xi’an Famous near you that I’m most attracted.  No one that I know prepares Lamb, Enoki Mushrooms and Cauliflower quite like this.  But its those perfectly seasoned whole wings that are so big they need to occupy two skewers that I need to have each time, sometimes with a tour group (usually on East Village tours on Fridays).  I just love a good wing.  And every morsel of this thing just makes me want to run around the room with scissors, naked.  Yes I’m seeing someone about that.biang-wings

Clams Grand Lisboa/Toasted Noodles at Nishi

Two incarnations, two names, one triumph.  Some of the original dish names got simplified over time for those unfamiliar with what Ceci or Grand Lisboa got to do with anything.  But there’s nothing simple about the entire Nishi noodle lineup (I’ve had all of them just in the past week).  The clams are dressed with Oregano based sauce, sitting on top toasted Chow Mein noodles and cabbage.  Calling this Cho Mein noodles is an insult to this dish.  Its cooked with apple cider that give it this sweet something, like no Chow Mein you’ve had before.  And clams with oregano is like a match made in Fukuland.  Fukuland is my heaven.  You are on a beautiful beach, fed something unique every hour by heavily tattooed bearded men, and heavily tattooed bearded women.Nishi Grand Lisboa Clams

Pretzel at Werkstatt

Yes a pretzel somehow sneaked itself into a best of list.  Pretzels are something I usually only eat when I’m about to pass out from hunger, but for this one I drive all the way to Ditmas Park, Brooklyn to have it.  It the best pretzel in NYC!  Well, that’s what its called on the menu.  So make sure to order the right one, otherwise you may wind up with just an “Adequate Neighborhood Pretzel”.  And did I mention that it comes with its own Lipitor!  Or is it “Liptauer”, a buttery, cheesy, peppery, paprika infused spread that requires a German born pretzel the size of half a pretzel cart to fully enjoy.  Forget the mustard and spread this beast with the Lipitor.  And if the pretzel will make you thirsty, they have a cure for that too.Werkstatt Pretzel

Eggplant at Atoboy

Its the year of the simplified dish names;  “Lettuce”, “Corn”, “Fish”, “Noodles”.  I see it on menus all over, and in some cases (like Nishi) menus actually change entirely to that.  Is it a fad, or we just getting dumber.  Dont really mind or care.  But in some cases, the ingredient doesnt tell the whole story, or even close.  The “Eggplant“ at this new playful Korean inspired in NoMad, on first glance looks like a Babaganoush gone horribly wrong.  But the makeup of the dish and the result is a lot more revealing.  You got layers of smoky eggplant, Dungeness Crab and Tomato Jelly, all easily combined in a spoonful of pure ecstasy.  And yeah, reach for the spoon for dishes like this.  They are not there for just soupsatoboy-eggplant

Fish Inihaw at FOB

Sometimes the best meals come from unexpected places.  The homey Filipino in Carrol Gardens surely delivered in more homey way than one.  Some if not all the recipes came from the chef’s parents.  And when mom and pop didnt quite agree on something, they included both versions on the menu (the two chicken dishes).  But the fish here was my favorite, and there was nothing particularly outrageous about it.  The day’s fresh fish (Pacific Flounder in our case) simply grilled in banana leaf, and topped with an extremely complimentary tomatoee Adobo.  We’ve had quite a few such dishes last year, including in Michelin Star La Vara a few blocks from FOB, but this one left the biggest mark.fob-fish

Miso Cherry ice cream at Oddfellows

Say it with me.  Miiiiso Cherry….  Say it like you mean it.  2016 is the year I took a break from gelato and rediscovered the joys of ice cream, but with a scientific twist.  I imagine these odd fellas in a Breaking Bad like lab in a Williamsburg warehouse experimenting on willing humans.  I cant think of any ice cream out there that had such an affect on me.  The Miso flavor is very evident here, and it works big time.  Since I had it, I’ve been bringing tours here on a regular basis, only to see Miso Cherry missing in action.  But no worries, they promise.  Its coming back very soon.oddfellows-miso-cherry-ice-cream

 

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FOB – You Had Me at Halo Halo

fob-halo-halo

July 4, 2017 Update:

How is this place not packed every night.  Yet another great feast at FOB, this time with the family.  The chicken wings, overnight Chicken Adobo (with coconut milk this time), Fish Inihaw are absolute musts.  But there are a few other potential gems on the menu we didnt get to sample yet.  The type of neighborhood place every neighborhood should have.  But dont take it too literally chef Armando.  I like you in just that one place

December 9, 2016 Post:

If you close one eye and both ears, Brooklyn’s Smith Street during the holidays feels like a small town Main Street.  Xmas tree vendors hugging corners.  Colorful shops, bars, restaurants getting dressed for the holidays.  You can almost hear George Michael’s Last Christmas before the moment interrupted by a commuter.  A commuter who believes if he beeps long enough, Santa will come down to part the sea, before heading for some Sisig and a beer.

Homey Filipino F.O.B. is the latest to join the happy Smith Street Mishpucha.  And by the look of the Xmas tree dominated glassy front, it’s playing the part.  When you sit down, you immediately get the sense that if you drop your napkin, you may just have to pick it up yourself.  And that any service mishaps will be treated just like you would at a diner (Though some Yelpers clearly had other expectations from a two week old establishment).  The room is simply decorated, and the lighting is an Instagrammer wet dream.  In other words, my type of place.fob-shrimp

But I didnt come here for the tree, nor the home away from home family atmosphere.  I came for what looked and sounded like a promising menu by a Daniel alum, a menu that is lacking in that part of Brooklyn.  My extent of the cuisine stretches from visits to Lumpia Shack in West Village and recent visits to Maharlika in East Village where the Sisig became my go to dish.  The Sisig at FOB (which of course means Fresh off the {Ikea} Boat.  Thats the closest boat to the establishment I can think of) didnt sound too promising to my dining partner so we left it for another day.  Oh and did I mention that this meal was one of the best meals I’ve had in 2016?  Perhaps it would have been fair to start with that comment before losing 65% of my audience.

Corn Bibingka – A Fine semi-sweet Starter.  Rice cake with a nice layer of coconut butter that tastes like cornbread.  Reminded me of some Sweet Thai desserts like in Pure Thai Cookhouse, also cooked in Banana leaf.

Spicy Chicken Langkawas – These were quite good.  The wings are grilled, so not much of a crunch in the skin.  But the flavor is there thanks to the wonderful thick salsa of chilies, lime, and coconut milk.  The waiter learned the hard way that any sauce left on the plate is as if any chicken left.fob-chicken-wings

Peel & Eat 7-up Shrimp – The most enticing app was the most disappointing.  Some of the shrimp were limp and the sauce just didnt offer much.  I was hoping based on pictures for something closer to New Orleans style buttery BBQ shrimp

Fish Inihaw – A strong candidate for dish of the night. Delicately cooked Flounder (fish varies based on market freshness) topped with an extremely complimentary salsa.  Better than a similar fish nearby at one Michelin La Vara.

Overnight Chicken Adobo – This was surprisingly excellent (explanation to follow).  Two perfectly sized moist and deeply flavorful pieces (half a bird).  There’s another chicken on the menu that is “moms” chicken while this Abobo is “pops”.  The difference if I understand correctly is that pop doesnt like coconut, so its essentially the same thing without the coconut.  Instincts suggest going with mom, but the Adobo is getting a little buzz, coupled with the fact that Mrs Z face turns into Robert de Niro when she tastes coconut (Its quite a funny sight) means we are getting the Adobo.fob-chicken-and-sides

Sides of Garlic rice and green beans & Longanisa were fine.  Especially the Longanisa sausage which was like a delicious tease they can easily make an app from.  Better than the Longanisa at Maharlika which is a little too sweet for my buds.

Dessert – The traditional Filipino Halo Halo is bucket list worthy.  Not because its so amazing, but because its so different than anything out there.  After many attempts at Lumpia Shack where it takes the winter off, this was actually my very first.  While it didnt exactly knock my sucks off, I can see myself ordering it again.  The flan with caramel sauce on the other hand became boring after a few spoons.  Still, a solid 3 Z’s meal in Brooklyn.

FOB
271 Smith St (Degraw/Sackett), Brooklyn
Rating: Three Z’s (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that
Recommended Dishes: Corn Bibingka, Chicken Langkawas, Fish Inihaw, Overnight Chicken Adobo, Halo Halo, beans & Longanisafob-rice-cake fob-fish fob-adobo-chicken fob-flan fob-brooklyn

 

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

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