Posts Tagged With: Hell’s Kitchen NYC

Hell’s Kitchen Update – Addition by Subtraction

Dell'anima Carbonara

A well overdue update to the Hell’s Kitchen guide.

We say bye bye to Azuri, the lovable Falafel Nazi (lovable now), Basera my go to Indian for so many years (I miss the Chettinad chicken already), and Georgio’s Country grill that I cant… ok I confess I wont miss this one that much.  All three sadly shuttered in the past few months.

Say hello to Dell’anima, which I mentioned here before.  Probably the most important Italian addition in years, and the most thrilling Gotham West Market addition since they opened pretty much.

And we have a very important burger replacement.  Out goes the HKSG veteran Island Burger, in comes Farm to Burger offering craftier and better quality meat for the same price.  Albeit without much atmosphere at lunch time at least inside the Aliz hotel.

Click here to see the guide

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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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Hell’s Kitchen Guide – 2018 Update

TaladwatYou may have been wondering why I havent updated the Hell’s Kitchen Guide in a while.  Maybe I dont hang out there nearly as much anymore.  Or watch too much Daredevil?  One is true.  I still hang out there often, especially before or after the Hell’s Kitchen tour.  But I do watch Daredevil.  I even saw the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen himself in action, slurping on Ivan Ramen noodles in Gotham West Market. No joke.  I asked his buddy Luke Cage what they were up to and he said they were filming The Defenders.  Jessica Jones was eating elsewhere, obviously not a fan of the just updated Hell’s Kitchen Survival Guide.

But thanks to Daredevil, the neighborhood is much better and safer today.  You can walk around the kitchen after 8.  Thai joints continue to make babies, without protection and protection money concerns.  And there’s even a Momofuku now.  Two of them actually.  One of which, Bang Bar, which I wrote about last week, is in the guide.

Pure Thai Cookhouse is a well oiled machine that is perhaps the most important Thai among dozens in the area.  It was just a matter of time until the husband and wife team open Taladwat, dishing out small plates a few blocks down.  So far so delicious, and an obvious addition to the guide.  Another exciting addition is Saar Indian Bistro (below) from another master, Hemant Mathur, bridging Indian fine dining and typical curry houses ever so smoothly.  And about time I added Corner Slice at the constantly changing Gotham West Market.

I removed some dead skin and closings like Tehuitzingo and Larb Ubol which were the most shocking ones.  But on a more personal note, the closing of the neighborhoody Cafe Ole hurts the most.  I spent countless of hours there eating sandwiches and soups, while talking to Ana.  She will be missed.

The Hell’s Kitchen Survival Guide

 

 

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The 16 Dishes that Define Hell’s Kitchen Today

Nano Ecuadorian

Nano

15 years behind a desk deep inside Hell’s Kitchen introduced me to the wonderful world of car dealerships, construction machinery, and gay bars. I watched the neighborhood develop, grow and become one of the least appreciated food areas in NYC today.  It is a NYC neighborhood, full of personalities and stories.  9th ave has morphed into a little foodie paradise over the years, while 10th ave is full of destination gems.

Today I sit behind another desk, my own.  But I still visit Hell’s Kitchen about twice a week for work (so subtle) and research, and it still feels like a second home.  As with just about any Manhattan neighborhood, its nice to explore the area on your own.  But to bring some of these stories to life and understand what this neighborhood is all about, I recommend taking a tour (ok, not so subtle).  These are the dishes that define Hell’s Kitchen today in no particular order.  A combination of classics, personal faves, with some fresh meat mixed in between

Chicken Paitan at Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop – Its easy to fall for the classics at Ivan, but this latest invention is my favorite today.  It got the richness and deliciousness of a Tonkotsu bowl without the heaviness.  Its also the first dish to break the rule and appear in both Ivan restaurants (besides the classics)

Chicken Paitan at Ivan Ramen

Seco de Pollo at Nano – Although I’ve known about Nano for a while and enjoyed it in the past, its only in the last year or so that I’ve really discovered this true gem.  Chicken strips cooked with Naranjilla, a sour fruit grown in Ecuador.  Abel, the owner is one of those Hell’s Kitchen personalities you want to meet.  But if you want to see the last time he came to work dressed up, you will need to look at this.

Pepperoni Pizza at Capizzi – The Sacco slice, and the Diavola at Don Antonio are pretty darn great as well, but my gut usually leans toward Capizzi.  The pepperoni is cut thick, giving it more oomph.  And the pizza parlor look and feel takes you to another place and time: Staten Island circa 2016

Capizzi

Shrimp Tacos at Otto’s Tacos – Otto graduated from a mom and pop to a corporation (often the end result of finding success in East Village).  But their signature shrimp tacos are still some of the best in a sea of Taquerias.  They come smartly seasoned, with a tangy homemade serrano cream, fresh herbs and onions.  Wash them down with the homemade Horchata

Silan at Taboon – Vanilla ice cream layered with puffed rice and date honey sprinkled with caramelized pistachios and topped with shredded halva.  Need I say more?  I probably should.  This is one of the most popular big boy desserts in Hell, and its been on the menu since day one.

Taboon Silan

Canotto at Sullivan Street Bakery – You wont find this addictive pastry anywhere else because it was invented and patented by Jim Lahey.  The dinghy shape gives it the name (not to be confused with dinghy shaped pizza terrorizing Napoli purists).  You can find both savory and sweet Canottos but I always go for the Dolce (seasonal fruits, mascarpone, nuts).

Jonah Crab at Gloria – Simple, yet outstanding.  The sweet as lobster crab mixed with strips of Kohlrabi (like a cross between Turnip and Daikon), aided by a thin eggy Sabayon.  Ok, maybe not that simple, but so satisfying.  This mini Le Bernardin is possibly the most underappreciated fine dining in HK.

Gloria Crab

Ratchaburi crab and pork dry noodles at Pure Thai Cookhouse – Confession time.  I dont really order this anymore, as I usually go for for the specials these days.  But its clearly the most important dish at the most important Hell’s Kitchen Thai.  Mix it all in including the Yu Choy (like chinese Chinese Broccoli), and the small amount of broth and you got magic

Pure Thai Ratchaburi

Carnitas at Tacuba – The only Carnitas (Mexican pulled pork) I tasted in NYC featuring that Mission District slow roasted nastiness.  It comes with Chicharron (Cracklings), four little tortillas for you to master your taco skills, but thats not all… A beautiful, tangy tamarind habanero salsa that will make you want to dip your credit cards into.

Tacuba Carnitas

Ika Shoga (Squid) at Blue Ribbon Sushi – EWZ old timers may be surprised by this pick instead of the oxtail fried rice.  They are both quite exceptional.  But while you can get some incredible fried rice dishes all over NYC, I havent seen anyone treat squid quite like this.  Sauteed with ginger and garlic.

Blue Ribbon Sushi Squid

Murg Kesar Kebab at Saar Indian Bistro – Its only been open for a few months as of this writing.  But when someone like Hemant Mathur (Malai Marke, Chote Nawab) opening his first Hell’s Kitchen location it automatically becomes the best Indian in the Kitchen.  I got a feeling that once I taste the much hyped Cauliflower Latkes (they didnt have them last time), I may sub it here.  But these Saffron, lemon and ginger infused chicken strips are melt in your fork exceptional

Chicken Kebab at Saar Indian Bistro

Tofu at Danji – Let me just say this.  I dont really eat much tofu.  But as soon as I get inside Danji, I smell the soy vinaigrette and order this dish even when I dont plan.  The four rectangles are flash fried, and topped with ginger scallion dressing, and that wonderful soy vinaigrette.  The result is crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and incredibly delicious throughout.

Danji Tofu

 

Oxtail Soup at Pam Real Thai – The Khao Soi is equally terrific.  But If there was ever a dish that helped me through the last 5 NYC winters, this is it.  Pam is like my Thai Jewish mother making me chicken soups when I’m under the weather.  But instead of boring chicken, you got three marvelous bony oxtails, with a complex fiery broth.  It cures flu like symptoms and summertime sadness.

Oxtail Soup at Pam Real Thai

Soup Dumplings at Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns – Ive seen many moms and many pops getting squeezed out of high rent 8th ave over the years.  But as long as these guys continue to deliver high quality XLB (soup dumplings), they can make it anywhere.  Well, maybe not Staten Island

Trenette at Mercato – I have to list the best Italian in the hood, I just have to.  I dont believe you can go wrong with any of the pastas here.  But I always go for the light Trenette al Pesto Trapanese (almond, garlic, tomato), especially in the warmer months.

Mercato TrenetteBourekas at Gazala’s – Although a bigger and potentially better Gazala’s just opened in UWS, the little Hell’s Kitchen institution feels like the flagship.  And 9th ave wouldnt be the same without these warm flaky, outrageously delicious pastries lining up the window front.

Gazala'a Place Bourekas

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Best Ramen Dishes in Hell’s Kitchen

Ivan Ramen - Chicken PaitanYes, I know, I’m about 24 hours late on this.  Its beginning to feel a lot like spring here compared to what we experienced the previous 4 days.  Today I can finally wear just enough layers and headgear to be recognizable and to comfortably go to the bathroom during tours.  And I dont need to inspect the mummies I’m with every 30 minutes to make sure these are the people I’m touring with

Although during this cold spell I’ve been craving mostly Thai and Vietnamese soups, Ramen is usually the more common medicine.  So for the latest issue of W42st, that colorful magazine you see all over Hell’s Kitchen, I wrote about my favorite Ramen dishes in a neighborhood that is perhaps most Ramen heavy in NYC today.  Remember the four pillars of Hell’s Kitchen:  Ramen, Mexican, Thai and Gay bars.  Come to think of it, Gay bars is the only one I didnt write about.  I’m on it.

Chicken Paitan at Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop (top)- While the average folk go for the classic dishes that made Ivan famous, savvy W42st readers should opt for the latest and greatest.  The richness and deliciousness of a Tonkotsu without the heaviness.

Yuzu-Kosho Ramen at Mentoku – Solid Ramen with no wait in Hell’s Kitchen is like finding a parking spot within 30 minutes.  Love the way they cut that Chasu so thin, and that spicy, zesty Yuzu paste carries some serious depth.

Spicy Ramen at Totto (bottom)- Its that complex spicy sesame oil that transforms this thing into an umami of flavors.  On a really cold day, it doesnt get much better than this.  Ok, maybe Turks and Caicos.

Akamaru Modern at Ippudo – Its a good time to catch up with your virtual friends while waiting for your table.  Two hours later you can return the favor by posting this sumptuousness.

Tonkatsu with Spicy Black Garlic Sauce at Hide-Chan Ramen – If you like it ultra rich and porky, it doesn’t get much richer than this. Get the fried chicken too while you’re at it.

totto-spicy-ramen

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Five Hellish Quickies

IvanThis month on Hell’s Kitchen’s unofficial official magazine W42st, the theme is… ok, I dont really remember.  I’m pretty sure the theme is not quickies, but sounds like it should be one of these days.  I try, but sometimes I just cant match the Eatlists with the theme.  If for example the theme is The Kardashians (it could happen), I would have a hard time coming up with related recommendations, other than maybe Casellula, home of the pig’s ass sandwich.

The list this time is snacks.  And the good news this month is that I dont have to copy and paste the Eatlist anymore.  You can just read them here.  Or pick up a copy at your favorite Hell’s Kitchen barber, restaurant, and tarot card dealer.

And you can see the rest of the Eatlists here.  Just ignore the pussy…

https://www.w42st.com/search?q=ziggy&term=ziggy

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Hell’s Kitchen – Dining With the Family

There was a time when Hell’s Kitchen was just about the last area in North America you would take your family out to dinner.  There was a time, not too long ago, when I would drive with friends just to see the prostitute action along 10th and 11th.  We would not even roll down the windows, let alone get out of the car in this neighborhood.  Of course I’m talking about when I was a teenager, not in my mid 40’s.  Hell’s Kitchen was a rough neighborhood.

But boy is it different today.  Not only its safe to dine out with your family at all hours, the options out there are endless.  In this month’s W42st magazine you see all over the neighborhood, the theme is family.  In the insert you will find these 5 places I would take (and took) my family in Hell’s Kitchen.  Notice there’s no Trip Advisor family darling Carmines on the list.  Works for some families.  Not so much for mine.  “Family style” sharing is something you can do easily with any of these places

Pio Pio – The sprawling high ceiling basement space of this Peruvian is perfect for families of all sizes.  The usual Peruvian suspects like the Chicken and Ceviche are spot on.

The Marshal – Small space with a sound family friendly menu.  Whether its Frittata and Mac and Cheese for brunch, or Meatloaf, Chicken, and the best bread and butter in town for dinner

Mercato – Who says family style means large plates of chicken and eggplant Parm.  A pasta feast at Mercato is a lot more interesting for Hell’s Kitchen kids

Ippudo – Kids love the atmosphere, energy, and all that yelling…”Welcome in”, “thank you”, and presumably “aim well” when going to the bathroom

Blue Ribbon Sushi Columbus – This pick may raise a few eyebrows, until you see how shareable some of the hits are like the fried chicken, oxtail fried rice, and sauteed squid.

 

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Hell’s Kitchen Summer Update

Yonekichi

Winter is coming!  July 16th to be exact.  That means time to load up on seafood, pea soups, and Japanese street snacks.  The first update in almost a year means it was quite the busy year.  I cleaned up a bit and removed some places that closed like Mooncake foods, but got a few doozies to replace it in the health department.  Big Mazal Tov to the new members…

Gloria – This neighborhood pescatarian was a no-brainer.

Yonekichi – Light and delicious Japanese Rice Burgers with great combo specials to boot

Fresh From Hell – Ingredient focused healtheria with sinful stuff like sandwiches featuring Sullivan bread.

PS.  As of this writing, Sullivan is closed for renovations.  A few more weeks they tell me

The complete Hell’s Kitchen Survival Guide

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Happy, Healthy Hell’s Kitchen

fresh-from-hellIts that time of the year again.  Resolution season!  The slowest eating month of the year.  The time of the year when Mrs Z says “Enough”, and I have to sneak out of the house Shawshank Redemption style in order to eat something that doesnt have Quinoa in it.  I then find myself in a dark room in a basement, a resolution speakeasy,  with other men indulging in pizza, and chicken skin dumplings.  These are dumplings deep fried in chicken skin instead of dough.

If you are a well balanced individual, meaning one who can stand on one leg for more than 5 seconds without breaking a wrist, you probably poopoo the entire resolution concept.  Why does one wait until January to change bad habits.  But for the rest of us, who sometimes cant see our own feet in the shower (I’m being nice here with feet), we use January as an alarm clock.  Its time to hibernate.

That leads to this irony.  W42st, the new(ish) Hell’s Kitchen magazine responsible for banning your Ziggy from 3 places Hell’s Kitchen establishments and counting, is back at it again with a new feature.  Its a foldout little zine inside the magazine, or sometimes just sitting on top of it at places.  And inside you have a map of various lists like new places, cool bars, top palm readers, and something called Ziggy’s Eat List where I feature 5 places related or not to the theme that month.  So my first contribution is listing 5 healthy options in Hell’s Kitchen (the irony).  For those who cant get the magazine (this feature isnt available online), here are the places…

Azuri Cafe
As far as Falafel and Shawarma in Hell’s Kitchen go, there’s no Better Than Ezra. Its an institution that comes with a little attitude.  Ok, a lot.Azuri Cafe - Chicken Shawarma
Indie Fresh
Bison Borscht anyone?  Da!  A Gotham West Market staple dishing out healthy soups, broths, and even burgers, utilizing top notch raw materialsindie-fresh
Mooncake Foods
A delicious hole in the wall with a varied Asian influenced menu.  Although I come here for the best Wonton soup in town these days, the rest of the healthy lineup is excellent.  Mooncake Foods Wonton soup
Fresh From Hell
A fresh and promising Hell takeout discovery in a very convenient spot.  Great soups, smoothies, and sandwiches featuring, fresh from hell too, Sullivan Street bread (picture top)
The Marshal
Close relationship with 14 area farms means close relationship with many patrons.  It also means delicious salads, but I cant pass on the bread and the meat options.The Marshal - Capreseimg_4981
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The Marshal – Farm to Hell’s Kitchen

 

Courtesy of The Marshal

Courtesy of The Marshal

Adventurous diners, ready for some Pig’s Blood Flatbread with Smoked Salmon Roe? Perhaps a decadent Mugwort Foie Gras, or how about the good ol’ Geoduck?  Well, you will find none of that at the Marshal in Hell’s Kitchen.  Not even close.  In fact chances are that you will have a hard time bragging about your meal to your girlfriends and making it sound remotely sexy.  “OMG so we had this thing called Meatloaf that was like the most amazing thing ever.  Here’s a selfie of me and the meatloaf”  Meatloaf, Pot Roast, Salmon.. there’s no conceivable way to make them sound sexy these days.  But this 6 month old 10th avenue “Farm to Table” comes as close as you can get

Processed with VSCOcam with s5 preset

Courtesy of The Marshal

Adventurous Foie seekers should still be able to appreciate the flavors and attention to detail here.  Although the menu reads like “American (Old)”, just about every item is listed almost like a paragraph describing the origin of the ingredients.  The back of the menu features 14 local farms where they source much of those items.  Almost like eating at Da Roberto in the village of Montisi, Tuscany.  Almost!  “Slow Food” models such as Roberto, and other Farm to Table places in Italy are simply called restaurants, or Trattorias. While in the US, its a concept.  But it is what it is.  And in ethnic happy Hell’s Kitchen, Solid “American” may seem like a concept in itself.

The Marshal - BreadRule of thumb – when you see bread on the menu in NYC as opposed to your typical free basket, get it.  The warm French Loaf is crunchy and soft in all the right places and will make your taste buds believe it was baked seconds ago especially for you.  Bread and butter bliss.

Chicken Liver Pate was solid.  Refreshingly fresh Caprese included sizeable sweet tomatoes, with handmade mozzarella, fresh Shushan Valley basil and balsamic reduction.  But the early highlight came in the form of the meaty, scrumptious Newfoundland Mussels.  Its creamy, garlicky white sauce is so appetizing you want to dip anything in it…bread, fingers, metrocards, anything!The Marshal  -Mussels

And then there was that meatloaf which was just like at grandmas.  That’s after grandma graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute followed by a 2 year stint with the Canadian navy.  Similarly, the goat cheese and herb stuffed chicken just doesn’t get much more tender and juicy than this.  The wood oven Mac and Cheese with bacon hit the spot.  On another visit I enjoyed a perfectly cooked and juicy burger which is only available for lunch.The Marshal - Meatloaf

The sides here require a PHD in sides.  We opted for a fine bacon wrapped wedge of white cabbage, simple roasted potatoes, and a sweet potato and kale au gratin which took the gold.  And don’t leave home without trying the mammoth hot fudge, walnuts, cherry, vanilla ice cream, or any of the other two desserts featuring ice cream from the nearby Je & Jo.  Welcome to the hood Marshal.The Marshal - Mac n Cheese The Marshal - Caprese The Marshal - Sundae

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