Posts Tagged With: Pig and Khao

Top 10 Dishes of 2018

Mushroom salad at Pig and Khao – One of two places making their second appearance on the Top 10 (the other is Pinch Chinese).  Once you start veering off the classics at some of them, only then you start to realize how good they really are.  And at the moment to me, this wild Mushroom with sliced shrimp, coconut, and chili salad is the unsung hero of P&K.  Its also one of the spiciest dishes here, so pair it with the most coconutty coconut rice out there.

Pig and Khao Mushroom Salad

Hummus at Vish – I often say that in this city we eat the world.  And its a wonderful thing.  But for better or for worse we rarely eat something that resembles its origin.  Tuscan food is not really the same as in Tuscany.  Uzbeki is not the same as in Uzebkistan.  And Lobster is not exactly the same as in Maine even though its the same lobster.  But the silky smooth, almost watery Hummus at Vish was one of those rarities, “Ratatouille Moment” if you will.  This hummus strongly resembles hummus in Israel.  Thats because Vish is an offshoot of an Israeli chain, and they make it the only way they know, multiple times a day.

Vish Hummus

Vish

Mafaldini at Scampi – To go to Scampi and not get the Mafaldini is like going to Katz’s and not getting the Pastrami.  Its a riff on the traditional Scampi and a serious contender with Lilia for the best Mafaldini in NYC.  Chef/owner PJ Calapa (Ai Fiori, Costata) Chooses Mafaldini for more chew, and tosses it with fresh shrimp, white wine, garlic and chili flakes.  But what makes the dish work wonders is the crunchy toasted Filone breadcrumbs (toasted with garlic and more).  The best way to eat this however is mix in some of their homemade Bomba dip midway.

Scampi Mafaldini

Seco de Pollo at Nano Ecuadorian Kitchen – If you are looking for the Avant-garde, the new and exciting, the hummus mention already hinted that this is not that list.  I tend to gravitate toward the Robert Sietsema kind.  Seco de Pollo is a hearty Ecuadorian chicken stew and Nano is one of the only places in the city to make it.  Its cooked with Naranjilla, a sour citrusy fruit grown in Ecuador.  Its a dish I eat every week.  Hint hint

Nano

Upma Polenta at Bombay Bread Bar – Upma, Oprah, Upma, Oprah.  I feel like saying it every time I mention it.  The first thing I tasted at BBB was the best thing, and showcases that Floyd Cardoz brilliance.  Its Semolina based earthy goodness with mushrooms and hints of Coconut and Kokum.  Like the most delicious grits you will ever encounter.

Bombay Bread Bar - Upma

Cauliflower at Miznon – Once in a while you come across a dish that dare I say, changes your life.  Ok, slightly.  A dish that makes you replicate it at home over and over again.  The eggs at Gato is one such example.  While people flock to Miznon for the fluffy pita sandwiches, rightfully so, they miss out if they skip this seemingly simple whole cauliflower.  Its delightfully salty and absolutely addictive.

Miznon Cauliflower

Wind Sand Chicken at Pinch Chinese – This is a Hong Kong classic that I havent seen on any other menu in NYC, but variations exist.  Its a $51 bird (as of now) that is cooked like Peking duck (which they also have).  Two days of Marinating (cinnamon, star anise, other herbs and spices), drying, spanking, and repeating.  The skin gets thin and crispy, and the flesh redefines moist.  Garnished with fried garlic flakes, like the “sand” that the wind brought, hence the name.  Maybe if they closed the door once in a while, they wouldn’t have this problem.

Pinch Chinese - Wind Sand Chicken

Porcini Flan at Bouley at Home – A staple at this house, and the previous Bouley residence.  Why reinvent all the wheels if some work so well.  The “Porcini Flan” is more like a superb earthy soup featuring Alaskan Dungeness Crab, and a Black Truffle Dashi that I can drink all day long.

Bouley at Home - Porcini Flan

Gnocchi Alla Romana at Faro – Bushwick produced one of the best meals and sadly one of the worst (Roberta’s) last year.  All the pastas at Faro were outstanding but this one particularly stood out.  This is semolina based Gnocchi that tastes more like fried polenta. Served with slow braised rabbit.  The playful pastas keep rotating and changing and so this is not on the current menu, but Faro still worth checking out.

faro gnocchi

Tacos at Taqueria el gallo azteca – I never thought the day would come.  Staten Island appearing on a Best list.  The most exciting thing to open in SI last year was Dave and Busters, followed by Shake Shack, and the lines are forming at the new Chick-fil-A in the mall as we speak.  But El Gallo Azteca in St George not far from the ferry served the best tacos I ever had in NYC.  Heaps of juicy steak and chorizo goodness, reminiscent of Mission District.

taqueria el gallo azteca tacos

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Pig and Wow!

Southeast Asia is a wonderful place for the culinary minds out there.  But so is Southeast Manhattan.  Specifically the square of Lower East Side, East Village, Nolita and Noho that incorporates a high concentration of chef driven joints including some of the city’s most prominent Asian.  But when zooming in on a small area around Clinton street in LES, you will find “Little Judasia” – Jews doing kick ass Asian.

Leading the charge in Little Judasia you got Leah Cohen (Pig and Khao), Ivan Orkin (Ivan Ramen), and Petra Rickman (Ginger and Lemongrass).  Ok, I’m not too sure about the Czech born Rickman, though Rickman is a common Jewish name.  We need a confirmation or a conversion in this case.  But this is already far and away more interesting than Little Italy to the west.Pig and Khao

Pig and Khao simply put is one of my favorite restaurants in the entire city.  Although I’ve written about P&K before and added it enthusiastically to the Z-List, I’ve never actually written a post about it.  That enthusiasm is slightly marred by the fact that after many flawless meals, the only hiccups came on the last visit when I introduced P&K to my oldest.  But I find myself mentioning it more often than any other place these days.  Especially to those embracing the bolder flavors, or want to experience something new.

Here’s a list of my current favorite dishes

Thai Mushroom Salad – The unsung hero.  With all the attention that the Sisig and Khao Soi are getting, to me its this shroom/shrimp/chili concoction that is perhaps the best dish here.  Its also one of the spiciest, so pair it with the most coconutty coconut rice out there.

Pig and Khao Mushroom SaladSizzling Sisig – The most celebrated dish here, and perhaps the most famous Sisig in a city not famous for Sisigs.  Reason being part taste, part novelty, part Instagram.  But it is very good and something I order almost every time. Its not a traditional, but third generation Sisig that includes all pigs head parts (cheeks, snout, etc).Pig and Khao Sizzling Soi

Khao Soi – Exceptional depth in this one.  Hard to say how it compares to Ugly Baby and Pam Real Thai as I havent had them recently but this is excellent.Pig and Khao Khao Soi

Malaysian Butter Prawns –  Five huge, plump, perfectly cooked prawns that are clean and easy to peel unlike similar dishes out there.  Its ladened with this crumby buttery mixture that is so addictive we it with a spoonPig and Khao Shrimp

Grilled Sirloin – This is just a perfectly seared Sirloin but as with so many southeast Asian joints comes with a playful set.  You get cabbage and a spicy Isan fish sauce to practice your taco making skills.Pig and Khao Sirloin

Malaysian Fried Chicken – I’m including this even though the dish went from a 9 to a 7 on my last visit when the bird perhaps spent a minute or two longer in the sin bin.  But when its on, its as good as any fried chicken dish you will ever have in NYC.Pig and Khao Malaysian Chicken

Thai-Lote – A side of grilled corn with sambal butter, toasted coconut flakes and kaffir.  Get this!

Good but would not get again – Ribs and Halo Halo

Pig and Khao
68 Clinton St (Rivingston/Stanton), Lower East Side
Rating: 3 Z’s (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that.
Recommended Dishes: All of the above

Pig and Khao Corn

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Z-List Update – 2018

2nd ave Deli Pastrami

2nd ave Deli Pastrami

This is it.  The most important update to date to the legendary, ultra exclusive (according to Harvard) Z-List.  This is a list of 50 of my favorite restaurants in New York City.  If it looks rather random to some, good.  That’s the point.  Its simply my way of answering “what should we eat while in NYC” to 99% of those asking.  All under $100 per person (hence 99%).  The 2018 update features more Italian, Asian, Jewish, and Jews doing Asian:

In:

Pig and Khao, Fiaschetteria “Pistoia”, Ugly Baby, Werkstatt, Faro, Cote, Bombay Bread Bar, Ducks Eatery, 2nd Ave Deli.  Congratulations to the winners!

Out:

Bruno pizza – Not much has changed here as far as I know.  Just like other options more.

Blue Ribbon Sushi – I still like to bring large groups here, but prefer other options overall.

Root and Bone – During a recent meal the signature chicken paled in comparison to its former glory.

Pok Pok – Just cant bring myself to go these days especially since Ugly Baby opened not too far.  A plethora of negative reviews as of late dont help

Distilled – A meh meal last time.  Go to Ducks Eatery for the American stuff

Roberta’s – This (along with pok Pok and Root and Bone) might be the shocker here.  Still love the pizza.  But after a recent meal, you get the sense the pizza is the only reason for the schlep.  Faro is the better choice in the hood

Malai marke – Replacing this Indian with Bombay Bread Bar.

Gotham West Market – Many of the vendors changed over the past year.  It may be even better today.  But its a food court and shouldnt really be on the list

Click here for the complete list

s

Pistoia

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Top 10 Dishes of 2017

Nur Eggplant

Lobster Fra Diavolo at Nishi.  A beautiful mammoth mess consisting of 1.5 lb flash fried salt and pepper coated lobster on a bed of garlic, chili and XO infused spaghettoni (emphasis on the chili).  Lobster comes cracked and ready to easily fish out perfectly cooked meat, while the escaped crunchy Tempura flakes adds some texture to the pasta.  Its a $62 triumph.

Nishi - Lobster Fra Diavolo

Chicken Paitan at Ivan Ramen – Not the Ramen that made Ivan famous, but the one that may convert the nonfans.  The richness and deliciousness of a Tonkotsu without the heaviness that follows sometimes.  The only dish other than the classics that broke the rule and became available in both Ivan Ramen locations.

ivan-ramen-chicken-paitan

Chengdu Fish Fillet With Pickle Vegetable at Legend of Taste – A spice loving family of 4 can easily share this outrageously delicious Szechuan soup.  I shared it with 6 and 4 in different visits.  Plenty of flaky flounder and chewy Enoki Mushroom.  Pleasant heat sneak up at you.  Even good an hour later when it cools down.  Only problem with this legend is that its in Whitestone, Queens.

legend-of-taste-chengdu-fish

Smoked Goat Neck at Ducks Eatery – A revelation of sorts.  Dont know why it took me so long to try it.  It may sound like something that is not everyone’s cup of goat, but once you see what goes into this dish, it may be hard to resist.  It redefines tenderness, succulence, and simply outstanding all around.  The only restaurant in NYC that serves this dish.

Ducks Eatery Goat Neck

Skate Wing at Gloria – Very few things in life can be as satisfying as a well cooked Skate.  Seems like once a year or so these days I score a good one.  At Gloria the skate is simply seared with butter and sprinkled with magic dust.  Opened by two Contra alumni, Gloria is the best thing that opened in Hell’s Kitchen since Gotham West Market.

Gloria Skate Wing

Eggplant Carpaccio at Nur (top)– Maybe the best looking dish out of the bunch, and the only vegetarian this time.  Like a Baba Ganoush gone wild.  Smoky, creamy, crunchy at times, and something you just want to “Scarpetta” the heck out of.  Not every spoonful is the same.  Chef Meir Adoni is sort of a legend in Israel opening his first in NYC, and just knows how to handle those veggies.

Snow Crab in Chinese Restaurant at Pinch Chinese – This is one of those dishes that you continue to think about months later, sometimes even at inappropriate moments.  Glass noodles with heaps of crab, dressed with an outrageously delicious fermented bean sauce with chilies and scallions.  The crab was plentiful but almost plays second fiddle to the noodles with sauce.  Pinch is an underrated gem in Soho

Pinch Chinese Crab in Chinese Restaurant

Sizzling Sisig at Pig and Khao – East Village and Lower East Side is slowly transforming into Sisigville (pig’s face parts come sizzling and topped with egg yolk).  And the best Sisig I had is at this Filipino inspired celebrity chef Leah Cohen’s flagship.  Very nice depth, flavor packed, and not as strong tasting as other Sisigs.  No additional sauce needed for this one.

Pig and Khao Sisig

Laab Ped Udon at Ugly Baby – Maybe the best thing to open this year is this fiery Brooklyn Thai from an old Brooklyn friend.  And this larby Duck Salad is one of the classics early on.  Complex, addictive heat, and unlike any Larb or larb-like salad you will ever have.  Spice level is fairly high in all dishes here, but in particular in those that have words like “Spicy” in the description.

Ugly Baby Duck Salad

Fromage Blanc Island “Cheese Cake” at Chikalicious Dessert Bar – Best dessert I’ve had this year came from an oldie but goodie.  Its delicate, elegant, and super light.  Like delicious fresh cheese mixed with cloud.  Its worth just going in order to meet the master Chika Tillman herself.  But if this dessert scene is a little foofoo for you, try the faster Dessert Club across the street and go for the Nutty Professor ice cream.

Chikalicious Cheese Cake

Other Noteables:  Soy Keema at Indian Accent, Goi Hed at Somtum Der, Spicy Lemongrass soup at Ginger and Lemongrass (new Lower East Side location)

Happy and Healthy New Year to all my readers and all the fun people I met over the year.  Thanks for a great 2017!

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