Kang suh’s chadeolbaegi (brisket) reigns supreme. The other stuff is just an excuse.
Kang suh’s chadeolbaegi (brisket) reigns supreme. The other stuff is just an excuse.
I haven’t quite figured out how to organize all of the restaurants I currently am thinking about. I write emails to myself, bookmark places, even tried making exorbitant amounts of lists on foursquare. Consider this an official attempt at making another organizational effort. Fingers crossed? I’m bringing this blog back, slowly, surely. I’m not entirely sure what form it is going to take, so stay tuned. I’m a little rusty.
As the title outlines, here is a rambling list of places I have on my mind:
My photography skills have improved. (thanks instagram)
Prosciutto sandwich at The Little Sweet Cafe
At pok pok wing’s newest iteration—phat thai—$8 will buy you a heaping plate of hot, tasty, stirfried pad thai. There are a lot of crazy spellings living on the menu that go beyond my memory currently, but the the regular option with rice noodles is a safe bet. Glass noodles are $2 are more. Talk about an ideal post drinking debauchery meal. However, sadly not suitable for super late night eaters, as this little hole in the wall closes at ten. Cash and debit card only.
Pok Pok Phat Thai
137 rivington street
Jack’s Wife Freda is super trendy. Smack dab in the middle of Soho on Lafayette Street, it’s a cool kids hangout, drawing a smorgasbord of food people, style aficionados, and then a few miscellaneous faces in between. It’s effortlessly charming, all french doors, intimate tables, good service— and it is turning out simple food that people want to eat, it’s that easy. So what’s good on the menu here? The matzo ball soup. Zoe ordered it—it was fragrant, slightly herbal, a comforting option for a somewhat nippy day. The burger. Hefty patty topped with a slice of tomato, impossibly skinny fried onions, all between a fluffy potato bun. There’s the option to get it with melted Gruyere. You should probably do this. But the real standouts are the small plates—the mess of cauliflower hidden in generous dollops of sour cream and crispy breadcrumbs, the salt and pepper eggplant (a tad over seasoned, but so melt in your mouth delicious), and apparently the grilled halloumi, which I’m still kicking myself for not ordering.
Jack’s Wife Freda
224 Lafayette Street, New York NY
If you’re in the West Village, and you’re looking for some fun, there’s a simple, failproof recipe that I highly recommend for booze hounds and food hounds alike. Go the Standard Hotel and people/modelwatch/pretendyou’refamous/havesomeoverpricedcocktails/feellikeaG, then amble over to Barbuto, Jonathan Waxman’s trendy, Italian-inspired restaurant to have a really satisfyingly tasty meal. The menu changes daily, depending on what’s local and seasonal, but you can always expect to see Waxman’s famous roast chicken (lemony delight) on the menu. However, I’m a fried chicken kind of girl, so there are a few other things on the menu that I find superior: namely the refreshing and light calamari salad, the crispy gnocchi with root vegetables and spinach (EVERYDAY PLZ), and the simple side dish of broad beans served piping hot with onions and breadcrumbs.
775 Washington Street, New York NY
Ushiwakamaru's ironically tucked in between a few hotspots (all scenesters, lingering perfume, and trendy music), and it couldn't offer more of a contrast. It's a serene, intimate place that's all minimalist wood interior, and there's no music. The only soundtrack? The murmurings of a hushed group of diners, united in their common reason of being there—the badass sushi.
It was a pretty dreamy experience. Cousin G and I chose to do omakase, essentially the chef’s tasting menu, and we were taken care of. It was refreshing to not have to make choices (no secret that I’m indecision central), and for the chef to send out whatever suited his mood, what he thought we’d like, basically did just as he pleased. Apparently in Japanese, ‘omakase’ literally translates to “I’ll leave it to you”, and that’s what precisely what went down.
We sat at the sushi bar, where a line of somber looking Japanese sushi chefs artfully and methodically prepare hundreds of sushi and sashimi each night. Boss. This is undoubtedly the best seat in the house, hands down. Not only do you get to fangirl while watching the sushi chefs, there’s another unexpected treat. Watching the chefs let loose towards the end of the evening, gigantic frosty beer glasses in hand and reddening cheeks? Priceless.
But… back to the sushi. Piece by piece came out slowly and steadily, accompanied by an indecipherable description from the rather impatient and blase sushi chef. Through hard work and commitment (aka befriending the nicer sushi chef), the menu was unearthed. It was a mixture of old, classic faves and then some interesting, and bizarre new options. The first plate was a mixture of sushi/sashimi: red snapper, clam, toro, and octopus. The clam… muscly, slightly bitter, excessively chewy—>not a fan. Post small dish, the rest of our dinner was a progression of individual bites, heavily skewed towards sashimi: fluke, mystery ingredient that was never discovered, white shrimp, fatty tuna, needlefish, giant clam (NOT AGAIN), squid, sea urchin/roe, and then eel.
The sea urchin was the stuff that inspires dreams. This is the reason why Ushiwakamaru has roughly a five star rating on Yelp. It was cool (but not frostbite inducing), a bit briny (tastes like the ocean) and went down smooooooooth. Probably the frontrunner of the evening. Then, there was the eel, which was also pretty divine. Sushi chef #2 (aka nice sushi chef) toasted it with a mini blowtorch, equal parts theatrical and productive. It was subtly flavorful (soy), delightfully charred, and warm. Could have easily eaten an entire dinner of this alone.
The nigiri and sashimi choices were unexpected and overall, very very fresh, which I find to be of the utmost importance when it comes to the fine line between good sushi and really great sushi. Then, there was the rice. Simultaneously sweet and a tad vinegary, and then just on the verge of so loosely packed that the sushi would fall apart…Omakase was liberating, though it was hard to see some of the other more pedestrian options, so familiar, so tempting, yet not in the cards for us omakase-ers. Next time.
While it’s true that Sushi Yasuda gets far more buzz, as it holds the reigning title of best authentic sushi in the city, I’d argue that Ushiwakamaru makes a commendable effort. It’s prices are right, and the sushi’s pretty damn good. It’s the adorable, suffering underdog, and as the Game put it best, “hate it or love, the underdog’s on top.” Yup. Real sushi fans know this place is legit, so be smart, make a reservation, and line up.
136 west houston st
Gaby and I have been discussing grilled cheeses for a while. As in two months of longing for cheesy goodness. It’s only fitting that all this anticipation culminated in our attendance at the most epic of grilled cheese events this fine city has to offer: THE BIG CHEESY. One hour of all you can eat dairy hedonism, washed down with some fine Sixpoint beer. We came hungry. Really hungry.
There were some choice establishments representing. Namely, seven contenders all competing for the lauded title of bestfancygrilledcheeseforadultsinthecity. The lineup? Big Daddy’s, Lucy’s Whey, Little Muenster (no secret that I heart this place hardcore), Melt Shop, Murray’s Cheese, Tartinery, and Casellula. They all brought it (more or less).
Basically, G and I ate a ton of grilled cheese, all in the lovely colorful haze that is daytime drinking. There were some good grilled cheeses, also some lackluster ones, and then a select few really divine ones. There was bacon, mac n cheese, fig jam, egg and ham… basically every filling imaginable. However, simplicity seemed to be the governing rule of the competition. G and I were huge fans of the simple combination of figjam/olive oil and cheddar all between a toasty panini at Lucy’s Whey. This was our favorite until we tasted the absolute deliciousness that Lil’ Muenster dreamed up. 3 cheeses that somehow still tasted light (gruyere, fontina, sumthin else), prosciutto, and what brought it all home, membrillo, an addictive, subtly sweet quince paste. They even outdid their competitors (there were jello shots…oh hey college) by serving white wine, and sides of tomato soup.
The verdict of the competition unfortunately didn’t agree with us—Lil Muenster came in second to the Melt Shop, who brought 3 kinds of sandwiches that weren’t all that memorable. There was bacon involved, but whatever.
(incongruous photo, via Iphone!)
It’s only recently that I’ve acknowledged the full extent of my love for cheese in asian food. Cheese gimbap, korean rice cakes (tteokbokki) smothered in a healthy layer of cheese, and the latest, parmesan cheese adorning a full bowl of ramen. Aptly named ‘snow ramen’, this find at Ramen Misoya is all kinds of tasty.
A mild miso broth, with chewy handmade noodles, wedges of crisp potato, sweet corn, serious amounts of parmesan, and a pat of butter to bring it all together. The unexpected combination of these ingredients made for a surprisingly balanced and flavorful dish. I find miso ramen a bit unexciting at times, but the addition of roasted pork belly won me over. Who knew I was that easy…
It’s the latest of ramen joints to pop up in this great food city, a hierarchy led by uber-loved locales Ippudo and Totto Ramen. For these two ramen superstars, an hour long wait outside in the cold is the norm. Fortunately, Ramen Misoya still flies under the radar, though I’m not sure it will for long, given the quality of its ramen.
There are three kinds of miso offered: shiro (white), kome (red), and mame (red, a bit sweeter). The shiro is the mellowest and lightest of them all. The snow ramen came with this broth, and it didn’t lack for flavor. Lisa tried out the kome miso broth with the option that came with battered fried tofu, and a few slices of the borderline addictive pork. I could eat a dinner (albeit an incredibly unhealthy one ) of this alone.
To say it was a full meal is a serious understatement, Lis and I emerged from our newest fave noodle spot sated, full, and immensely happy.
129 second ave
(photos: yelped that shiz)
Bitches love them some sabichs (apparently this doesn’t actually rhyme, but let’s just pretend it does). Taim! Not new per se, but no less relevant. I’m a longtime loyal fan of their food truck, but this past week, I paid my first visit to its cozy West Village outpost. Britt and I were thinking mediterranean. ‘Nuff said?
Post direction confusion (as I am somewhat challenged in that department…), dumbass snowflakes, and pointless, overpriced taxi ride, we arrived. The menu was a few items too long, causing an episode of indecision central. We finally decided in favor of ordering a few plates to share, and going to town. It goes without saying that Taim is most popular for its falafel, of which it has a trifecta of flavors: green (cilantro, mint, parsley), harissa (spicy red pepper paste), red (milder roasted red pepper). I found the harissa the most exciting, soft/chewy/typical falafel-y but with an unexpected kick of heat.
However, the falafel was soon forgotten in favor of the real star of the dinner: the sabich. I’ll never stray again, I swear. Fried eggplant (greasy but deliciously so), served with an enormous amount of tangy, creamy tahini. I can only imagine that this tastes incredible in its pita-sandwich reincarnation.
I’m not a huge hummus person, as I find it somewhat unexciting, forever banished to the sphere of house parties with vegetable crudite platters and heavy handed vodka tonics. Taim’s version didn’t sway me completely, but it was still pretty damn good. An enormous helping of subtly nutty, smooth hummus served with an herby, uber earthy za’atar pita (sumac, sesame seeds, various herbs), Britt liked it so much that she went so far as to eat it up with a spoon, moaning later that she had ‘hummus baby’….TMI?
Another option that is NOT TO BE MISSED are the smoothies. B had the strawberry/raspberry/thai basil, which is for people who love love love sweet drinks. A bit too sugary overload for me, but my date/lime/banana concoction was like smoothie crack. SO good that I was a bit jealous I hadn’t thought of that combination myself.
It’s more of a takeout kind of place, seeing as how the entire space is about the size of a closet, and yes, New York city sized one. As it approached prime dinner time, West Village residents and falafel-craving students came in flocks, waiting with eagle-eyes for seats to free up. The new Nolita outpost will be opening in just a few short months (May!), so I’ll plan on hitting that one up on the regular. Hopefully it’ll be more spacious?
222 Waverly Place