Continuing the best of hell series where I feature 5 dishes from Hell’s Kitchen. Round one can be found here. Will try to make it a monthly feature pending approval from my gastroenterologist
Ratchaburi crab and pork dry noodles at Pure Thai Cookhouse (above)– The neighborhood’s dry(er) noodle offerings are intensifying as of late, but this is perhaps the original and still the one to beat. The noodles are handmade in house in the Thai shophouse-like setting (in fact originally Pure’s name was Pure Thai Shophouse until Chipotle made them change its name – long story). That dry but tender bright delicious pork, the wonderfully chewy tasty egg noodles, the sweetness of the crab, and nuttiness of the “I cant believe its not Broccoli Rabe” Yo Choy. Add some of the citrusy broth from the bottom for added flavor. Easily one of my faves, named after the Ratchaburi region in Central Thailand where one of the owners (the wife) came from. BONUS: For an app get the Ribs (below)
Chicken Shawarma at Azuri Café – I hear disturbing reports lately that Ezra from Azuri is cracking smiles at tourists. I’m not sure if it means a change in attitude, trouble with Mrs Ezra, or? This is simply not the neighborhood Ezra we know and love to hate. With that said, the falafel is still the best in the area. But you can get good falafel all over town, and lately its the Shawarma that’s winning me over. After a good amount of shaving from the turning spit, he cooks it a little longer on the griddle with secret sauce and spices. Then he stuffs the goodies in the whole wheat pita with the fresh salads in the same careful technique that made his falafel a neighborhood icon. And in true Israeli style adds some Amba sauce (Mango based condiment), pickles, and if you want… spicy “Harif” S’chug. You have to say “HaRIF” with the jewish spitting Chhhh if you want it though. The result is a glorious mess of flavors thats worth the extra Shekels.
Trenette at Mercato. There are quite a few excellent pastas at my favorite casual Italian in Hell’s Kitchen, but if I have to pick one, its the simple but addictive homemade Trenette. Almonds and garlic used liberally, tomato and basil contribute to the flavor explosion of this $12 dish (yes, a $12 pasta in NYC). Save some of the bread for this one and I dare you to leave anything on the plate
Spicy Chicken Empanada at Empanada Mama – Ok, I keep trying various empanadas and every time I go, I must order at least one Spicy Chicken to enjoy last. I especially need one good one to cool me down after the Viagra Empanada, perhaps my second favorite of the bunch but for different reasons. Hey, I don’t name them. Chunks of tender, mouthwatering chicken slowly cooked in Mama’s special picante sauce creating this super pleasant heat. Just like mama used to make! Well, its just an expression, my mom has no idea what Empanadas are?
Silan at Taboon – Vanilla ice cream with puffed rice and date honey sprinkled with caramelized pistachios and topped with shredded halva, SHREDDED HALVA! Need I say more. I probably should. But I’m tired! Laila Tov!