Once again David Chang pretty much disappoints. I understand and respect that he did a lot to expose certain aspects of Asian cuisine to folks here in NYC (and beyond), but I just don’t get why so many people are riding his dick so hard. The food just isn’t that good. Maybe it’s because he, himself, is not actually cooking? Not sure. But he gets doted on like crazy from places like Eater and the NY Times.
This man is supposed to be the wizard of fried chicken. Everyone says it. But two out of three times that I’ve tried his fried chicken, the experience was highly problematic. Fuku + was great. Ma Peche was half raw and half burnt. And this time at Noodle Bar the skin and batter wasn’t crisp enough – not by a long shot.
The bird was small but I don’t mind that. I actually prefer it, as the ratio of meat to skin and batter is usually better on a smaller bird. Also this bird had great flavor within the meat. But when there is little to no texture on the outside, it’s overall a let down.
Another let down was the “pork ramen.” When I associate David Chang with pork ramen I’m thinking of a rich, thick, fatty and almost milky tonkotsu broth. Not the case here. This was thin and lacked character. The slab of pork belly was nice enough, as were the noodles and the bamboo shoot. But the broth was weak. Even with a raw egg yolk mixed in, it was thin and watery. Maybe I’m just missing the point of this dish.
On the positive side of things, the creamy lemon and pepper lobster noodle dish was excellent. It sports lots of juicy and flavorful claw meat throughout, wide and perfectly cooked snappy noodles, and a hearty citrus and pepper zing.
The rice cakes were a bit soft but very tasty. When eaten with the corn you got the texture that was needed.
One thing I will say is that the prawn dish looked incredible. We were wishing we ordered that instead of the chicken every time we saw an order come up (we sat at the kitchen bar area). For $23 the dish comes with five huge baby lobster sized head-on prawns. Lightly batter fried and then dressed up for the big ball.
That about does it. I probably won’t come back here unless my wife and I are jonesing for that lemon-pepper lobster dish and those prawns.
MOMOFUKU NOODLE BAR
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
This french joint just opened about two months ago with a really creative and unique menu. There were about eight starters that I wanted to try, but I ended up settling on three.
Black Garlic, Cynar & Bone Marrow Escargots
Incredible. The flavors, when combined, almost tasted like a really good balsamic. I’ve never really had snails like this before. Delicious.
Whiskey French Toast Foie Gras
This also had a cherry compote on it (on the toast in the background), along with some cocoa nibs and flake salt. So good. Really enjoyed this dish.
These massive head-on prawns were delicious. The spicy black garlic sauce really made them pop.
For the entree, we went with this 50-day dry aged cote de boeuf.
It comes with some tangy bone marrow and crispy fried onions, but what makes this stand out is the additional dry aging that they do in house. They get the meat at 28-days from Pat LaFrieda, but they age it for more time on site. I always find that this makes for a better aged flavor. 9/10.
We paired this with the schmaltz tater tots, which were fucking awesome.
We also had the purple and green asparagus, which was a special for the day. It had caviar and a fried/poached duck egg on top, along with a tangy hollandaise sauce.
For dessert, we took down this nice bread pudding.
This joint doesn’t have a full liquor license yet, but they do offer some creative amari type light cocktails, and a nice wine and beer list. I highly recommend this place. I know I’ll be going back to try the other apps that I wanted, along with some duck, chicken and pasta.
LE PETIT ROOSTER
491 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10024
The Ribbon is a neighborhood bar and restaurant that serves up an impressive list of chops and roasts. The place is very popular with families, and you’ll see a ton of parents with their kids in there on weekends during the day. In fact I think my table was the only one in the back of the restaurant that didn’t have a child at it (aside from my immature ass, of course).
My wife and I started with cocktails. I enjoyed this Ol’ Thyme Gin, which had pear, thyme infused gin, amaro and lemon.
The Mr. Pimm was light and refreshing, pairing gin with cucumber, lemon, mint syrup and elderflower.
We started the steamed clams and a trio of pate, all of which were excellent. I was just hoping for a little heat with the clams since I saw “peppers” in the ingredient list. Probably just minced bells. The chorizo in there was nice though.
For our mains, we had the two prime ribs on the menu; pork and beef.
The pork was a little bit dry, but the apricot jam was a great way to get the juices flowing.
The 16oz king cut prime rib was great.
Nicely roasted to medium rare. I’m sick of ordering this dish and having it come to me raw and difficult to chew. They do it correctly here. It’s served with a nice jus and a light horseradish cream sauce. At $61 this may seem steep, but there’s no waste on it. Even the jiggly fat bits are edible. 8/10.
On the side we had some sauteed broccolini, which was a nice way to cut the fat.
And for dessert we shared the chocolate chip bread pudding (it comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream). This had a nice brulee crunch to it on the edges, which made for a good mix of textures.
I definitely recommend this place, and I’ll be going back there to try more shit for sure. Here’s the William, FYI:
My wife and I came here to use some of her Blackboard Eats credit. I think we got something like 30% off the bill thanks to her. Anyway, let’s get down to business.
We started with a mixed charcuterie plate. We chose mortadella, finocchiona and bresaola. This was great, but slightly pricey at $21.
Next up was wagyu carpaccio with arugula, shaved parmigiana and pistachios. I loved this. A little squirt of lemon really made this pop.
Next up was the calamari. This was served in a tomato broth of sorts, with raisins. It was too sweet, and the squid itself was really bland and flavorless, despite being nicely cooked and tender. If you go here, skip this one.
For our entrees, we tried a pair of pasta dishes. First was this “pappardelle buttera” dish with peas and sweet and hot sausage. While I didn’t get much kick from the hot sausage, the sauce and all components – including the pasta itself – were perfect. Get this one.
We also tried the tagliatelle spinachi, which was a green spinach pasta served with roasted cherry tomatoes, shrimp and Calabrian chilis. This had no heat – maybe one single chili was in the dish. Like the squid, the shrimp was also bland as well. Weak flavors for such bold ingredients. Pass on this one.
That about does it. We skipped dessert because we were pretty full. Over all this place was mediocre. Some hits, some misses. But I think if you stick with the carpaccio and the pappardelle you’ll be happy.
Lincoln Ristorante is now part of the Patina Group of restaurants. These guys are awesome, because if you sign up to their newsletter, they send you $50 off for your birthday. You can use the discount pretty much any time within a month of your birthday. So my wife and I decided to check this place out since it was just her birthday the other day. This joint offers a four-course meal for $94, which I thought was pretty awesome, especially considering how great the food is.
I was impressed with the cocktail menu, which sports a prosecco bar and an entire menu of negronis. We tried the caffe negroni, which, later on, was perfect with our desserts. Here’s a pic of it (I kinda made it look like a pussy on purpose):
The meal begins with some complimentary bread sticks and house made focaccia bread with whipped ricotta. This shit is addictive. If you eat a few rows of this stuff (they will bring out more), then you can just get the three course meal for $78.
Then a small dish of smoked trout came out for us, compliments of the chef. This was great.
I started with an escarole salad, and my wife had the octopus. The salad was awesome. I love escarole, and I loved seeing it used raw rather than the usual sautéed or braised. This salad had shaved, truffled sun chokes, sliced apples, radishes and grated cheese. It was delicious, and very large.
The octopus was nice. It came in a spicy tomato ragu with some perfectly cooked beans. I was happy to see more than one tentacle given. As far as portion sizes go, this place is way above average.
For my pasta course, I had conch pasta with octopus and guanciale. This was really nice, and the toasted breadcrumbs gave it a great texture.
My wife had lobster risotto with an arugula pesto. This was herbaceous and fresh, and contained lots of lobster meat. It ate a bit more like a thick soup than a traditional risotto though.
My wife went with the lamb shank for her main course. This was tremendous, and really tender. We couldn’t finish. It had pancetta, roasted chic peas, and other goodies underneath.
I had the venison loin, which was probably one of the best meat dishes I’ve eaten in a while. Certainly the best rendition of venison I’ve ever had.
I highly recommend giving this a try if you can. It was perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned, and it had none of that typical iron flavor that you normally associate with game meats. It was mild yet full of flavor. I loved it!
Dessert was incredible. My wife had a trio of gelati. Pistachio stracciatella, toasted faro, and prune. The toasted faro (middle) was our favorite of the three, and tasted like the flavor of the cone of an ice cream cone. The prune was like an elevated rum raison, and the pistachio stracciatella was creamy and rich.
I had the creme fraiche coffee cake, which came with anisette gelato, crumble, bitter lemon coulis and ricotta pasticcera. This shit is crack! I fucking loved it.
Then, a pair of tasty marzipan coconut bites came out with the bill.
We can’t wait to go back. I think we will do the three course meal next time, since we were really full after four courses.
142 W 65th St
New York, NY 10023
I finally had the chance to run over to David Chang’s “Bang Bar” in the morning before work to try their highly acclaimed breakfast crepes. I grabbed one of each: the smoked salmon and the mortadella with cheese.
The salmon one was nice, light, and refreshing with just the right amount of cream and acid to balance out each bite. The mortadella sandwich was delicious, but really salty.
I think when it gets roasted on the vertical spit (like shawarma), that heat intensifies the salinity. Not to mention that they probably season it on the spit too, which is just overkill. The cheese coverage, however, was “underkill.” There was just one slice of melted cheese on the surface of the crepe, so it didn’t really get in between all the chunks of mortadella. Oh well.
The doughnut was dense and pillowy, like a cream cake or something based in rice flour, perhaps. Just too bready, though it was moist and soft.
I wouldn’t go out of my way to make it here for breakfast again, but I’m glad I got to try this stuff anyway.
BANG BAR 10 Columbus Cir. Third Floor, Unit 301 New York, NY 10019
This joint just opened so I came in to check it out. They are an import from London, as the name suggests, and they are doing some really nice stuff.
First up, they have some great cocktails. Their Vesper martini, Bluebird race car cocktails (their namesake) and Thai Paloma were standout.
They do a beautiful gin & tonic too. I had several of these on the night of their grand opening party:
I tried three apps: The smoked salmon, the gin cured salmon, and the steak tartare.
Smoked Salmon: Very good quality salmon, nice and light – I can see this being a big favorite at brunch time with some toast and a mimosa.
Gin Cured Salmon: Truly inspired. Delicious. The gin really alters the flavor and texture (in a very good way). Served with pickled veggies and some mustard seeds.
Steak Tartare: Awesome. I actually found myself taking some of the cream from the smoked salmon dish and mixing it in with a bite of steak tartare here and there. It was a delicious combo!
Burger: This was so good. I loved the “Big Mac” style sauce on it. Everything really came together nicely. I am generally a big proponent of potato buns, but this brioche held up nicely since it was fresh.
Beef Wellington: The best version I’ve ever had. This is one of my top dishes of 2018 for sure. Perfect in every way. I’ve never had Beef Wellington so big, bold and beautifully executed. There are actually two more slices of this not pictured. I pulled them off the plate so you could see the cook temp better. Serves two for $85 – one of the best deals you will find for this level of cuisine. 10/10.
Sticky Toffee Pudding w/Pepper Ice Cream: Very unique. I really liked the contrast of flavors between the ice cream and the pudding. I think this would round out nicely with some citrus zest or perhaps a wedge/supreme of grapefruit or clementine. Really fun!
I will definitely be back here for sure. There are a few other steaks I’d like to try, and the space is just so beautiful that it makes you want to keep coming back for more. Look out soon for their brunch and afternoon tea services as well.
After coming in here for breakfast, and then a special menu Christmas dinner, I don’t think I can recommend this place anymore. That first experience up above was great, and two of the dishes I ate made my “Best of 2018” on Instagram. But those two meals afterwards were just bland and flavorless. Sad, but I don’t think I’ll be going back.
BLUEBIRD LONDON NYC
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
My wife and I popped in here before seeing “Darkest Hour” at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas (great flick, and too bad that the theater is closing down in a month due to high rent). The place was jam-packed at 5:45pm, but luckily my wife had a reservation locked in.
Our movie was at 6:35, so we wanted to eat quick. We ordered our drinks and pastas at the same time, and they came out within three minutes.
I had the spaghetti carbonara, which was made the right way with no cream and a runny egg.
Enjoy the yolk porn:
It was made with guanciale (pork jowl) bacon, which added nice salt content to the dish without actually using salt.
My wife had the fettuccine pesto, which had a really nice, fresh flavor to it. Delicious, though a bit garlicky.
Everything was great, but the prices were a bit steep. All in, with tax and tip, for just two drinks and two pasta dishes, we were at $95 and change. That’s pretty steep! The interesting tidbit: This was one of the fastest meals we ever had in NYC. We were in and out within 20 minutes, like a horny teenager at a whore house.
UPDATE! This veal parm a la vodka was incredible. Easily in my top dishes of 2019.
I took my wife to The Aviary as an early Christmas present. I booked the five course “Cocktails & Canapes” tasting menu dinner about two weeks in advance with a $100 deposit. The cost is $165pp, with an 18% gratuity added at the end (and tax, of course).
That’s crazy expensive, but this is truly a unique drinking and dining experience. I drank and ate things I never would have even thought about. In hindsight, five cocktails was aggressive (but awesome). I think when I go back, I will just order a la carte.
Here is the entire menu, but I will highlight what was selected for us below in the review:
The first thing to come out was an “amuse” drink – a small shot of tastiness that involved lime, rum, and mint.
A few moments later, our first round of cocktails came out with the first course of food.
Drinks: Micahlada (left – and yes, that is spelled correctly) and Zombie Panda (right)
Of these two, the Micahlada was my favorite. This is The Aviary’s take on a michelada (beer, spices and tomato juice), made with soy, coriander, Japanese whisky and Evil Twin beer. The Zombie Panda was tart from the lemon, lychee and pisco, and filled with frozen spheres of raspberry juice to sweeten it up.
Food: Pineapple Two Ways
This was a nice way to get the taste buds popping. That brown stuff at the bottom was a mole sauce. I liked it a lot, but my wife wasn’t too taken with it. The black mint garnish was tasty and went well with the watermelon radish and passion fruit.
Drinks: How Does Snoop Dog Use Lemongrass (left) and Mimosa (right)
The mimosa was nice because the fruit juice was frozen into ice cubes, so the drink becomes sweeter and more smooth as it sits.
The idea behind the Snoop drink is that Snoop Dogg ends everything with “-izzle” when he talks/raps, so there is a “swizzle” made out of lemongrass, which is used to mix the drink together:
Food: Kampachi Ceviche
This was bright, light and savory, pulling in southeast asian flavors from Thai green curry, heart of palm and coconut. I really enjoyed the briny broth and the coiled peels of red pepper for spice.
Drink: Heart of Stone
This was the best drink of the night, and you get about six glasses out of the container. That container is filled with bourbon, tea, Fresno chili, pistachio and peach. As it sits there, the flavors infuse deeply into the bourbon, so each time you refill the glass it tastes a little different. More spices come out, more sweetness too. Amazing.
Food: Pork Belly Curry
This dish was really good, but it could have been excellent with a crunch element. I think the iceberg lettuce discs were supposed to be that element, but they fell short just a bit. Perhaps a fried shrimp chip or crispy egg roll wrapper would do the trick. But the pork belly curry itself? Awesome. The banana and cashew are excellent compliments to the savory.
FROM THE CHEF
They’re experimenting with “all times of day” food here at The Aviary, so this is meant to be a breakfast item. It’s velvety smooth, and the smoked abalone within makes you think you’re eating bacon. The pops of flavor from the pickled huckleberries really brighten and balance this seafood porridge custard dish.
Drink: Memphis Half Step
These glasses come to the table upside down on a charred piece of oak cask, filled with smoke. The aroma is awesome. This absinthe and rye cocktail is super smooth with a hint of sweetness.
Food: A5 Miyazaki Wagyu Rib Eye
Clearly my favorite food item of the night. The meat was buttery soft, and the grilled romaine with puffed rice was a great textural pop to go with it. That yellow sauce is a yuzu mustard. Possibly the greatest mustard ever. 10/10. Wish I had 16 more ounces of this.
Drink: Boom Goes The Dynamite
This was sweet and warm, almost like a port or brandy. It was made with rum, vanilla, violet and rooibos… and dry ice for the smoke.
Milk chocolate, violet and buttermilk sorbet make this dessert extra decadent. There were some more spheres of raspberry ice on the plate too, rounding out the meal with a call back to the very first cocktail (Zombie Panda). Really nice.
After dinner, our waiter Preston took us on a short tour of The Office, the speakeasy behind The Aviary bar staging area (which looks more like a kitchen than a bar).
Here’s what the inside of The Office looks like:
They have a cabinet filled with really old spirits that you can order as well. Super rare.
I will definitely be back to try this place, as well as the Aviary again. So many interesting sounding drinks and food items to try, like the “Science AF,” which looks like a chemistry set, or the “Wake & Bake,” which is a pillow filled with smoke and a drink made with orange, everything bagel, coffee and rye. I snapped a photo of it before they opened the bag filled with smoke:
80 Columbus Circle at 60th Street
New York, NY 10023