Posts Tagged With: Ma Peche

Z-List Changes Explained

NoMad Tagliatelle

The NoMad

Hey, even Michelin will not give an explanation when they take away your star.  I’m better than that.  So lets stop the hate mail, and threats, and allow me to explain the absentees

The NoMad – Last meal including the shaky service was simply not up to par.  The place feels a lot more touristy these days perhaps due to the fame and/or location becoming a major hotel zone.  When you eat there, there’s no denying that you are eating inside a hotel no matter what room you choose.  And higher prices making it more challenging to stay under the $100 mark unless you are a vegetarian.  I do like what they do at the NoMad Bar however and I prefer to go there

Ma Peche  – A slow, steady decline for me since chef Paul got shipped to Sydney.  It gotten too hit or miss while my favorite dishes were getting erased one at a time.  The last straw was the inexcusable disappearance of the Cajun wings.  I miss that Carribean element chef Paul introduced.  Much prefer Nishi, but Ma Peche in that area is still a decent choice

Le Philosophe – Closed.  Coincidentally ate the new tenant Fish Cheeks last night.  Review to come

Babbo – My reasoning for excluding this one is not as solid as the other ones.  Babbo is like the grandaddy, the Peter Luger of NYC Italian scene, and in some ways it has something to do with it.  I just find places like Pasquale Jones, Lilia and even something like Osteria Morini a little bit more interesting today.  The menu is way too big, the place is very touristy, but for the most part they do everything well

Golden Unicorn – I still think this is a good option for weekend dim sum but there are other places I rather go for Chinese.  Like Biang!

Pam Real Thai –  Still love Pam, nothing changed.  In fact nothing seemed to change in the past 15 years.  They have the same specials on the board for as long as I remember, and on their menu they simply cross out stuff they dont have anymore with a pen.  But with the addition of Uncle Boons I felt like I needed to remove one of the many Thai and this was a no brainer.  In Hell’s Kitchen I do prefer Pure Thai Cookhouse these days, and as much as I love Pam, I never felt entirely comfortable recommending the space

The Z-List

Babbo Black Spaghetti



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

Best Wings in NYC

Kolkovna Olympia wings

Updated 1/24/17

Ok, so we are all adults here.  We all know perfectly well that these are NOT the best wings in the city.  In the city that never sleeps, and never runs out of wings, there are hundreds of wings out there, not counting the simple bar wings you can find in every corner.  But I’m just one Ziggy, with different taste sensitivities than many readers, and I cant taste them all.  “Decent wings” or “favorite wings” doesnt sound as convincing, or Google friendly.  With that said, there’s only one certainty:  The competition is rather fierce.  And any new joint offering wings has to be creative, and deliver something more than palatable.

Since the average wings researcher has shorter attention than other researchers (eg Ramen), I’m only listing my favorite five, with more solid options at the end

Ma Peche – Jerk Wings. (Upate 9/19/16:  Havent seen them on the menu in a while due to rotating chefs.  Shame, shame, shame!).  If I have to pick one, this is probably it.  The love affair started with the wings being part of the cart service.  Whenever I would bring guests here, my attention span would drop to wings researcher levels until I’d finally spot the cart of dreams carrying them.  These days the wings are part of the menu and they are better than ever.  An explosion of complex jerky, zesty, habanero, brown sugary flavors fill your palate and stay for a few good minutes, or days sometimes if you don’t rush to wash those handsMa Peche wings

Distilled – Distilled Wings.  A former Momofuku alumni has been quietly dishing out great wings in Tribeca.  Distilled may be better known for their mixologist team as of late, but those wings have been on the menu since day one.  These are grade A quality hefty wings.  They are double fried to crispy perfection, and coated with a thick and messy layer of Gochujang (that fermented Korean sauce you put on your Bibimbap).  And they serve it with their own version of not too funky blue cheese dressing to cool things down.  Truly excellent wings.Distilled wings

Danji – Spicy ‘k.f.c.’ Korean Fire Chicken Wings.   Love at first sweat, around four years ago.  I like to bring visitors here on occasion, though I don’t love when they witness me lick my own fingers which may be considered rude.  What’s more rude me thinks is wiping off that awesomeness with wet napkins.  Heat level has been steady all these years, so make sure to have the fantastic tofu before altering your palate.  This is pure delicious heat, as opposed to senseless.Danji - Wings

Biang! – Chicken Wings Skewers. This dish prompted me to bump up this post.  In fact it was as soon as I finished my wing, and right before trying to convince my daughters that its way too spicy and there’s more food coming.  It didnt work, as they gobbled those things in full force.  One can easily overlook them because Biang! is known for just about everything else but wings, but dont make the mistake.  Like Pok Pok below these are full high quality wings, and oh so nicely seasoned to absolute perfection.  And while you at it, also try the Cauliflower skewers.  Yes, not a typo.  Cauliflower!


The Cannibal (Gotham West Market) – Chili and Garlic Wings.  These wings dont carry the same spice punch as the others.  They are milder, but far from lacking in flavor.  The wings are marinated, slow roasted, and breaded before cooked in the Cannibal’s high powered oven.  Kitchen space is limited in Gotham West so they need to be creative.  The zesty aioli and the little oniony salad served on top compliment nicely.  And the skin and the juicy meat are happily married.  And dont forget about the sick Pig’s Head Cuban.  This is quickly becoming my favorite Gotham West menuCanibbal - wings

Jun-Men Ramen – Chicken Wings.  A must order for me on each visit since discovery.  4 plain looking wings, but far from plain tasting.  They are double fried to give them a nice crisp, but retain plenty of juice and strong peppery notes from the secret Jun-Men sauce.  Even without the wings this is one Chelsea favorite.


Pok Pok – Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings.  Unlike the other wings here, wing historians out there are probably already well too familiar with this legendary pick.  Articles, cookbooks, essays, children books (Goodnight Pok Pok Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings!) written about these wings.  Somewhat inaccessible to most people so you wont find any tourists or Staten Islanders here normally.  You can have the wings at the Whisky Soda Lounge next door while you wait for your table.   The wings are huge, spicy, garlicky, on the dry side, but flavor packed.  Put this one on your bucket list.  Before the Great Wall of China, after Story Time with Bill Cosby.Pok Pok Wings

Pondicheri – Masala Wings.  These wings are as complex as the name.  Is it Masala wings? Is it Madras?  Doesnt matter, its all good.  The wings are slow baked, liberally coated with Garam Masala, and Mango Powder seasoning and served with two chutneys including chili and tamarind.  They are aromatic and delicious, with the proper texture in and out.  And while you at it, try any of the Thalis for breakfast or lunch, followed by anything from the unique bakery like the ice cream sandwich


Bar Goto – Miso Wings.  Black Sesame, Scallions, House Spicy Miso Sauce.  These are some of the best bar wings you will find in NYC.  But in this semi-classy tiny Japanese cocktail joint, they will test your high-toned manners.  You may find yourself sitting at the bar, talking politics with the bartender, while in desperate need of extra napkins to wipe the Miso glaze around your lips and sponge your sweaty forehead (these are hot!).  And while the bartender exclaims his views on Trump, all you can think about is “Is it Miso, or is it Buffalo”.  And once you think you got your classiness under control, you cant help but lick your fingers.  All of them.  Slowly.


Han Dynasty – Dry Pepper Chicken Wings.  For a white, spicy lover like myself, these are what the Mission Chinese Food wings should taste like.  They are marinated in sherry, cayenne, garlic, white pepper, and ginger. And stir-fried with a hefty dose of chili paste, chili peppers, garlic and scallions.  They are more subdued than Mission’s, but not without its share of nice pleasant heat.  Some of the pepper action bunched together into something reminiscent of a Yemeni S’chug (hot pepper spread).  The skin is as crispy and delicious as it comes, which made me wish for more flesh to balance.  Wonderful stuff!


FOB – Spicy Chicken Langkawas.  This one is all about the sauce.  When the waiter takes the plate before you are totally done with that sauce, you stare at him like he’s a bully trying to take your food.  The wings are grilled, so not so much of a skin crunch.  But the flavor is there thanks to the wonderful, addictive thick salsa of chilies, lime, and coconut milk.  I’m starting to think that finger-licking-good was invented in the Phillipines, with all that Adobo, and various sauces they make.  The wings are one of many inspiring goodies coming out of this homey Filipino kitchen in Brooklyn


Other Notables:  Mighty Quinn’s, Mission Cantina, Bonchon, Mission Chinese Food (not a fan personally but it has a huge following), International Wings Factory

Categories: Brooklyn, Midtown West, New York City, TriBeCa | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Tourist in My Own Town – Day 2

036******* YOU MUST BE 18 YEARS OLD TO READ THIS *********

WordPress issues last night published this thing prematurely

Day 1 can be found here.  Day 2 was interesting to say the least.

There’s something about spending the evening in NYC while knowing you don’t have to drive home soon.  Although my favorite part  is waking up in the big city.  There’s this level of serenity, like the great calm after the storm.  Beautiful young drunk boys and girls are coming home after their one night stands, one reminder after another that you went to sleep way too early last night, and you are just old.  People talking to themselves without ear pieces, is another early morning phenomenon.

NY-Times-theaterThe best advice I can give a real tourist (as oppose to the fakes like me) is to skip the hotel breakfast option.  Come out, explore, follow your nose to the nearest bakery, coffee shop, etc.  A Frenchman walks into a bar with a toad on his head.  The bartender asks “where the hell did you get this”, the toad replies “In France, they got a million of those”  So is coffee shops in NYC these days, and bagels everywhere you turn.  Squirrel seekers can even find a plethora of flat whites all over town these days.  Instead of sharing a hotel dining room with sandal and socks wearing tourists, come out and eat where the locals eat, and meet some of them.  Like Everyman Espresso around the corner from the Hyatt Union Square. Voted by the Daily Meal as one of the best coffee in America, where we enjoyed some fine latte and flavored muffins.  A light little breakfast, to save room for a great lunch and dinner, is the way to go in NYC

We then checked out of the hotel and started walking toward our next destination, the one that crashed Trip Advisor.  A trip without walking through Madison Square Park is a like a trip without sunshine.  Its not only the squirrel capital of the world and the place to see unique art installations, but this is also the place where magic happens… Shake Shack.  Well, the original one at least.  Shake shack employees and a few squirrels joined together for a pre-opening meeting this fine morning.  It occurred to me how large this SS operation really is.026 032

Whenever we look for parking in that area with the kids, somehow, for some bizarre Freudian reason we find a spot right by the Museum of Sex.  The kids are too shy and embarrassed to ask any questions about this, and we are too embarrassed and lazy to explain.  Since wifey and I are now kidless we decided to pop in.  Would you believe it if I told you that this was not only fun and unique, but educational?  You got an interesting exhibit dedicated to Linda Lovelace.  Funland, a playground for adults that features a new spin on Kentucky Derby horse racing, Grope Mountain climbing!, and a bouncy house where you are surrounded by inflatable fake breasts, some of which were more wrinkly than others I noticed! And who witnessed a German tourist breast suddenly pop out while bouncing?  This guy!  The educational part:  Animals and sex.  Very interesting facts and tales like about ducks raping other ducks after chasing and killing them.  Another floor offers extremely interesting displays that I can not possiby describe here, and the first floor is a store offering among other things, new pasta shapes I havent seen yet.  A new meaning to Al Dente (firm… get it?)045 s 048 044042

050We proceeded to walk toward our first culinary highlight of the day, but first we pass Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop and it occurred to me..  I havent been here in 13 years since I worked at around the corner.  That brought back memories.  “Just browsing” I told the clerk, as I had brunch plans.  This is not the place for browsing.  You attack this thing with full force.

Add the burger at The Gander to the list of NYC growing must eat burgers.  This beauty is priced well at $16, available for lunch/brunch only.  28 day dry-aged beef, cheddar – adding anything else to it except for the bone marrow mayo that comes on the side would be criminal.   Juiciness level I haven’t experienced since college!  Confit Duck Hash, Poached Duck Egg, Port Béarnaise, Duck Chicharrónes was very good, while could have used some acidity in the form of roasted tomatoes or something, but enjoyable nonetheless.  Good drinks, great service, nice looking rooms (got filled up a few minutes after the picture was taken).  Will be back for more at this 2 month old for sure053 057 051 058

We then took a walk along 6th ave toward midtown to witness one of our great holiday celebrations… The Dominican Day Parade (special thanks to TER and ZTAKS from Trip Advisor for this suffering ;))  It was actually quite fun though a tad too crowded.  We overheard one visitor ask a police officer if this was the American Independence Day parade.

A mistake on my part.  Plan at this point was to walk all the way west to 12th ave, Hudson River.  The 20 minute walk turned to be challenging due to the heat.  And on top of that, the Citibikes in that station (12th and 40th) had problems with credit cards and 24 hour passes.  I have an annual pass but Mrs Z doesn’t.

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We managed to get bikes a block away and Mrs Z managed quite fine for her first bike ride in the city without any incidents.  I chose the Hudson River Park as its flat, carless, and quite Obama-care friendly.  We then parked the bikes in West Village and took advantage of the green space on that end of Hudson River Park, one of my favorite parks in the city overlooking the Hudson and Jersey City.  Manhattan has pretty cool parks these days, something I wasnt able to say 10 years ago.  We then walked all over West Village all the way to the hotel crossing the always vibrant Washington Square Park yet again

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Although we already checked out of the hotel, we were able to use the facilities to make ourselves pretty, or make Mrs Z pretty for our dinner at Ma Peche with friends from Brooklyn.  Cant say enough about this place, their new cart service, the fried chicken, and those addictively sick rice cakes (Korean gnocchi on crack) I constantly dream about.  Highly recommend Ma Peche. Try the Seven Spice Sour cocktail if you go

We capped off the night at one of my favorite bars in town, the rooftop at Ink48.  Glorious moon, glorious views, and another glorious day in the city I call home!

Day 1

Day 3

Day 4






Categories: East Village, Gramercy, Flatiron, Midtown West, New York City, West Village | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Ma Peche – I Luh Ya PaPi

Ma PecheI have to make this one short and sweet and to the point before the wife comes home (which means I will need to stop writing and talk to her do something around the house most likely).  The point is that Ma Peche is quickly becoming one of my midtown faves, and in true Momofuku fashion keeps reinventing itself with new formats.

On what should really be a national holiday, Baseballs opening day, I took 3 of my least pickiest co-workers for a special lunch that’s becoming a Monday norm.  One doesn’t do spicy, one doesn’t do mayo and seafood, and one doesn’t do anything that is yellowish.  A perfect group for Ma Peche’s new “Passed Plates” sort of like Dim Sum cart ladies format.  Except instead of dumplings and cart ladies you get razor clam ceviche, foie gras, and hipsters.  You can see today’s potential passed items on a piece of paper on the table, and your waiter will put a check next to each item you order (can I come with an eraser in case I eat something I don’t like?).  In addition to that you still have a handful of a la carte “Chef’s Specials” like the awesome fried chicken and the awesomer Brussels Sprouts.Ma Peche - Brussels sprouts

For what amounted to $23 per person, you simply can not get better value in NYC.  While the salad carts were circling, the Habanero Fried Chicken (half chicken $24) and Brussels Sprouts quickly arrived.  The softer, saucier than the usual sprouts with ginger-scallion, cherry, and calabrian chili surpassed Alta as the city Brussels Sprouts to beat.  Is there a restaurant in town that does not have a Brussels Sprouts dish, or kale?

Ma Peche - Pork BunsThe pork buns were the first items we picked from the passed plates and I was slightly disappointed by the overall size and taste compared to buns you get at Ippudo for the same price.  I still gobbled the heck out of this one though.  The spicy rice cakes then followed.  Ok, let me tell you something about those rice cakes.  Similar to Ssam Bar’s spicy sausage dish these pillowy “Korean Gnocchi” with just enough meat ragu and pleasant lingering heat were simply outstanding.  I may be addicted to the Momofuku rice cakes.

Then we sort of waited for the chicken wings to pass by but they never did.  The waiter asked if we would like anything else, we said “wings” and voila.. 5 minutes later we get 8 wings that tasted so much better than they looked (kinda burned).  These wings were tender, perfectly seasoned, and really some of the best wings in recent memory.

Ma Peche
At the Chambers Hotel
15 w. 56th street
Reccommended Dishes:  Fried Chicken, Brussels Sprouts, wings, rice cakes

Ma Peche - Fried ChickenMa Peche - Rice Cakes Ma Peche - Wings Ma Peche from above

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

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