Posts Tagged With: soho restaurants

Chef’s Club Counter – Rotating Nasty

Chefs Club Counter Duck RiceThey recycle their own sluts!  I’m not quite sure what it means, but that is according to a sign inside.  Either they employ people with extremely low standards or they are referring to their Eggslut sandwich, which is excellent.  Either way, to my knowledge they are the first slut recyclers in the industry.

But Chef’s Club Counter is known for other “firsts”.  To explain the concept, I’ll go with the longer but more efficient approach.  Think about the many times that you bought your spouse a popular cookbook only for the spouse to take almost no advantage of it.  One and done meal!  Too many ingredients, pictures not in color, too many words, etc etc.  Ok, lets pretend that it did happen.  I know many out there have a certain passion for cooking, but for the rest of us, its really just a passion for eating.  Think of Chef’s Club Counter as a cookbook, in the midst of its first chapter, with more to come.  Where the cooking is done for you (for a fee)

Chefs Club Counter BurgerUnlike big brother Chef’s Club where you got a fuller assortment of famous chef’s recipes including guest appearances, the counter is all about a few rotating recipes available for lunch and breakfast.  Every three months or so they will change entirely.  So anything you eat now, say goodbye to it immediately, or take a few more months to enjoy.  While they are preparing your slut, the rest of the team is hard at work trying to figure out its replacement.  All enjoyed in a very comfortable, cafeteria like fast food setting.  Order at the cashier, and wait for it.

At the moment they are featuring the infamous Eggslut which deserves all the hype it generated when CCC opened.  Its a hit in LalaLand, and even in Vegas at the Cosmopolitan (Best food hotel in Vegas – Keeps attracting the best of the best).  How great can a little $8 egg sandwich be you ask?  Well, it starts with an especially light Kaiser roll. Fluffiest scramble you will ever get, gently aided by sriracha mayo with oniony hints and melted cheddar.  Its the perfect egg sandwich.

A fast-casual room demands a fast-casual burger, and the Jean George burger here doesnt disappoint.  Similar to the one at the Mercer Kitchen nearby, it features melted cheese, Russian dressing, avocado and fried onions.  McDonalds style fries could have used a little less salt, and some pepper perhaps.  But in today’s NYC, I’m just grateful to get fries.

But the most interesting thing on the menu at the moment may be the Duck Rice by George Mendes.  This is similar to the signature Arroz de Pato dish I had at Aldea many years ago.  Aldea is so forgotten I had to check now if its still in business.  Duck Rice is like a nicely executed duck paella, featuring three differently textured Duck preparations with olives.  There’s added tartness from cirtus purée spread all over the plate for you to use as you please.

Go!  Before they recycle those sluts.EggslutChefs Club CounterRecycle Those Sluts


Categories: New York City, SoHo, NoHo, Nolita | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Osteria Morini – From The One Who Knocks

Osteria Morini CalamariUpdate 9/30/14:

Another fantastic meal at one of my favorite Italian trattorias in NYC.  While the entire city is still recovering from their brunch or stands in line to see the new Central Perk, we enjoy our traditional early Sunday meal at a half full restaurant.

Breaded Grilled Calamari as good as before, except that I’ve enjoyed the little salad with the yogurt a little bit more this time.  Used the bread to “Scarpetta” the heck out of this thing.  When in Emilia you eat the Salumi which is top notch here.  Mortadella from Bologna, not upstate NY as you find in other places.    Funky aged Prosciutto di Parma, and even funkier Felino Salame.  I will be passing by the town of Felino where that Salame is made in the ER in about a month time.  Wait until Mrs Ziggy finds out that we have an hour drive for lunch that day

Osteria Morini Salumi

Had another great round of the fabulous Cappelletti and Stracci as the middle course.  The Stracci with mushrooms especially is addictive.  Its wide ribbon pasta that takes a lot of that braised mushroom juice with a little bit tomato, garlic, and rosemary oil.  I wouldn’t mind eating just those mushrooms as its own dish.  Tagliatelle Ragu is as good as Tagliatelle Ragu Bolognese can get in NYC.  The freshness of the pasta is very evident.  The only thing we didn’t care for was their deconstructed oversalted Porchetta.  Cauliflower and Escarole Gratin side dish was fine.  No dessert, 2 glasses of wine, 2 kids, one wife, $210 after tip

Osteria Morini Stracci

Original 9/24/13 Post:

Its the last Breaking Bad reference this month I promise you readers.  I have no doubt that when I will look at this post a year from now I may either not understand the title, or feel too embarrassed about it.  I already feel that way when I look at my old posts.  At the very least some posts trigger a “What was I thinking” like this one.  Did I really take that picture just so I can have a picture.  Whatever!  Sometimes, the content correlates with the mood at the time.  And when I read them with a different frame of mind I cant help but wonder.

I not only have trouble keeping up with NYC restaurant scene, I have trouble keeping up with the Kardashians, and Michael White, who is opening new places left and right seems like.  I already wrote about Costata where I met the man, and Marea has long been my favorite.  While I still haven’t made it to Ai Fiori, I finally made it to Osteria Morini today (yes with the hummus whisperer yet again).  I have to admit I was a little skeptical about this one, but boy was it good.

Calamari breaded, “cheesed” and lightly fried was some of the best calamari Ive had in a while.  Served with a yogurt sauce and a nice salad.  Fantastic starter.

Prosciutto and Mortadella Meatballs – Cant get much more flavorful than this.  Melt in your mouth tender goodness.  Well donOsteria Morini - Cappellettie!

Stracci (wide ribbon pasta) with wild mushrooms and Rosemary Oil – Delicious!  Mr White sure loves his Rosemarys.  Ive seen this pasta on some “Top 100 pastas in NYC” list.  You may think this is not saying much, but in NYC it does.  Its an honor to be nominated.

Cappelletti (above)- Basically ricotta ravioli with prosciutto and hints of truffles – Outstanding.  Airy sweet and savory ravioli, reminiscent of a similar dish at Giovanni Rana.

This is Emilia Romagna cooking at a high level.  The only other place I know that does ER well is Da Andrea but something tells me without setting foot in ER (planning next year) that Osteria Morini stays a bit truer to the region .  Here White pays homage to his mentor Gianluigi Morini owner of the famed San Domenico near Bologna.  This is the source of Mr White’s inspiration

Mr White is a trend setter.  He Is The One Who Knocks!

Osteria Morini
218 Lafayette St
Recommended Dishes: Meatballs, Calamari, Salumi (choose 3 or 5), Stracci, Cappelletti, Tagliatelle with Ragu

Osteria Morini Taglietelle Osteria Morini Porchetta


Osteria Morini meetballOsteria Morini

Categories: New York City, SoHo, NoHo, Nolita | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ziggy does West Village

Dominique Ansel“Its 10:00 PM do you know where your children are?”  One of the perks of living in America.  Television, not only brings us great entertainment and news, and Kardashians, but it also helps us with the daily challenges we as parents face.  Laundry, food shopping, making sure you didn’t forget the kids somewhere, work, cooking, remembering that you have kids, bills, Facebook politics, are just some of things we need to constantly worry about.  So thank goodness we have our broadcasting system to remind us that a) We didn’t forget our kids in Home Depot,  and/or  b) We have kids, and at this moment we have no idea where the hell they are and its for our benefit as a family to find out where they are at this late hour.  Maybe call them or something?

“Its 10:00 PM and you have just decided to take a day off tomorrow to spend the entire day in the city with the family.  Do you know where you will eat?”.  Sleepless night follows.  If only my kids were missing instead!  Woke up next morning and had about 90 minutes to come up with some sort of a plan that involves eating, drinking, site seeing, and walking (a lot of walking – sort of a test drive before the big Italy trip.  Test drive failed.  With all the current cool inventions we get these days you would think they would invent comfortable shoes for women by now).  Hence, the second annual Father’s Day Eating With Ziggy in a NY neighborhood.  Last year it was the East Village.  This time we move cross town, all the way to the West Village and Soho.  And since we cant do it on Fathers Day this year, we did it a few days earlier.

We started with the one place just outside of the area, The Anne Frank Center.  It feels sort of odd to mention this place in this post and context but it was indeed the first stop.  Although we were somewhat underwhelmed by the small center since we visited Yad Vashem, and the actual house in Amsterdam, we were impressed by the amount of history packed here.  It seams like the focus here is on bullying and discrimination, things kids today can relate to.  There’s a 25 minute video which we missed.  If you cant make it to Amsterdam and you have kids, it may be a good idea to pay a visit

We moved on to the Soho area and the first food stop, Dean And Deluca, one of New Yorks premier food stores.  Really a pioneer in its industry.  We sampled some delicious spicy Gumbo, and a lentil soup.

Dutch - BurgerWe then visited The Dutch, a 2 year old with a menu that falls neither here nor there hence “American” but since it deviates from your normal “neither here nor there” its “New American”.  From the team that owns Locanda Verde, the Library at the Public, and the newly opened Lafayette who’s generating all kinds of buzz now.  The food was good.  The Dutch is known for some of the best Fried Chicken in town and it did not disappoint.  Lightly fried, not greasy whatsoever, perfectly crispy exterior and a  juicy delicious interior.  Ducth - PastaThe burger with the 28 day aged beef from the legendary Pat LaFrieda (Minetta Tavern’s Black Label) was perfectly cooked, flavorful, and their tangy secret sauce provided even more palate excitement.  Not as thrilling as the Black Label, but not bad at all.  Malfatti pasta was ok.  Sort of a cross between open faced ravioli and broken lasagna sheets with spring peas, bacon and pesto sauce.  Although the pesto was mostly at the bottom and wasnt very evident at first, so perhaps a bad mixing job.  Although Malfatti basically means “badly made” so I guess it was a success?

Dutch - Chicken

UPDATE:  Yesterday I saw this feature on the cooking channel about the Dutch.

Before lunch we enjoyed the walk toward D&C, especially some of the architecture on Greene street.  We passed the site of the “Massacre of the Butchers” where in 1854 the Butcher housing complex on Greene street was targeted by an angry mob of NYU students demanding better cuts for lunch (look I’m not a tour guide and my history of the area ranges from shaky to none existent so I had to make stuff up and make it sound interesting and slightly terrifying.  They bought most of it, especially the little one)

Dominique AnselMore stuffed than I was hoping we move a couple of blocks south to Dominique Ansel.  If DA wasnt the most famous bakery in NYC before, perhaps now it is after their latest invention, the Cronut.  Ansel, formerly with Daniel keeps coming up with sugary inventions from time to time but I dont recall every seeing a craze like with this Croissant/Donut thing.  It takes them 3 days and a lot of man power to make the Cronut.  The batch went from 30 items to 300 in a relatively short time, and you may have a better chance getting one of the oh so many copycats than the real thing   Dominique AnselThe lines start forming at around 7 am, an hour before open, and so if you count 150 people standing on line, you are not guaranteed to get one with the 2 Cronuts per person maximum rule.  I fully expected them to be out of the Cronut when we showed up around 2, but I didnt expect them to be out of so many other items they are known for, i.e., the DKA and the Paris-NY.  But we still enjoyed a chocolate croissant, a chocolate mousse cake and some mango/coconut tart thingy – I think that’s what its called.Dominique AnselDominique Ansel

ArchWe proceeded to walk on Thompson street toward Washington Square Park.  Thompson street is known to me at least for its chess shops/clubs although I learned that the oldest one, the chess forum has closed doors 6 months ago after being open for 40 years.  It looks like there’s only one chess club left.  One of those NYC nostalgic things going extinct.  The park was buzzing with life as usual with many musicians and youngsters.  One of New York’s icons, the Washing Square Arch standing there in all its glory, built of course in honor of Horace Washington, the lone surviving butcher who triumphly (is this a word.  oh well.. see tagline on top) escaped to this area riding a NY pedicab

While eating at The Dutch I got a return call from the Forbes Galleries that they are open today (Officially on Thursdays they are open only for private tours).  To be honest I had forgotten that this free hidden gem is not as gem filled as it used to be.  During the economic downturn the Forbes family has sold a big chunk of its collection including the Faberge eggs.  For the most part now the gallery features the great cartoonist Ronald Searle, who spent about 4 years in a Japanese prison during WWII.  Some rooms included Searle’s drawings along with poems by Robert Forbes.  Another room had “Space Jewelry” which was interesting.  But the highlight for me was seeing an old friend who still works for Forbes who came down to see us (I used to work for  The realization that it was working hours and I’m at a place I used to work for resulted in a very quick exit.

Jefferson Market LibraryWe then moved on to the Jefferson Market Library, a courthouse in the 1800’s, and a public library today.  This is one of New York’s least known and underrated landmarks.  The tower of course is known as the site where Horace Washington leaped to his death after accumulating a large gambling debt and losing a fortune during the market crash (last one I promise)

TaimA few blocks away we reach another underrated historic NY landmark, Taim Falafel.  Pronounced Ta-eem which means “tasty” in Hebrew, this is one of the best and certainly most popular falafels in the city.  I have been here a few times before.  While there are some falafels in town like Azuri in midtown that may give Taim a run for its money for their sandwiches,  there’s no question in my mind that Taim’s platter is more impressive than Azuri and many others.  Pita with Za’atar (nice touch) and 9 (small) falafel balls along with hummus, tabbouleh and fresh Israeli salad.  However, I again voiced my objection to the way they spell S’hug, a Yemenite hot spread that I love.  For some reason they spell it S’rug with an R.  The English language is complicated enough.  Why make more unnecessary complications.  Mayor Bloomberg, are you reading?Taim falafel

FriendsWalking toward downtown we pass the “Friend’s Apartment“.  Just the building they used to show before each Friend’s episode.  Or was it???  The girls were not interested in the Fire House Museum I had planned (women schwomen, you know what I’m saying..)but were extremely interested in “one of the best chocolate chip cookies” in the city courtesy of Jacques Torres.  My youngest, the cookie monster of the family was not impressed, and certainly not impressed by the hot chocolate.  I drank some and it was so rich almost to the point of being undrinkable.  Not rich in a good way.

I had a few more ideas like RedFarm as another snack but everyone got fairly tired and so we opted for a terrifying cab ride back to the car.  So there you have it.  Perhaps not exactly as planned, but it was nice to be out with the family… a well fed one…  well for another 2 hours or so until I had to order sushi

Categories: New York City, SoHo, NoHo, Nolita, West Village | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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