My wife and I went to 19 Cleveland – a newish Israeli/Tel Aviv joint – for a friend’s birthday. I’m not quite sure of the names of the dishes we had, as so many small plates came out and some aren’t necessarily on the regular menu. Everything was really good so I’m just going to do a pic dump and highlight my favorites with some extra words.
The falafel and starters were all great.
The hummus was awesome. Probably the best I’ve had other than the fave bean and olive -based one at Coco J’Adore.
I really liked this crispy kale, beets and farmers cheese dish. It reminded me of the one I loved at Le Turtle.
Incredible schnitzel. A top dish of 2019 contender for sure. Make sure you get this. It comes with a platter of greens too, to make it into a Milanese of sorts.
I also really loved this lemony and buttery pasta that came with a fried poached egg on top. DELICIOUS!
Awesome halva ice cream on this first dessert plate (the stone great color).
That about does it. I’d definitely come back here again and I highly recommend it. Fun spot.
19 Cleveland Place
New York, NY 10012
Karvouna Mezze is the new Greek tapas (“mezze”) joint and meat house that just opened on the Bowery, headed up by the former chef from Merakia, Giuseppe Scalco.
I came in with a group of Instagramming bastards to try out some dishes and to feature our favorites on our profiles. Here’s what we tried:
Peinirli (Greek Pizza Boat)
I like the idea of this, I just wasn’t a fan of the flakey, dry dough. The fillings (bacon, herbs and cheese) were all great though.
This was nice. As a mezze portion, this is actually pretty sizable.
Generally I’m not a big fan of eggplant, but this was great. I really liked the presentation in a scooped-out and halved eggplant. You can even still see the stem on the top end. Great Mediterranean flavors on this; semi-Italian and semi-Middle Eastern.
This was simple and delicious. A must order. Perfect and fresh.
This was tender and flavorful, but I found myself going after the stewed greens underneath more than the actual pork belly. The ouzo and honey marinade was interesting though.
These are amazing. I loved them at Merakia, and I love them here. They’re perfect as a mezze snack with three to four ribs per order. Great spice on them, expertly cooked, nice fat and tenderness levels.
This was a bit of a let down. I really enjoyed the Kleftiko at Merakia, which was served like a stew in a bread bowl. Here, there was just too much bread and not enough of that stewed sauciness. It came off a bit dry, unfortunately, and the bits of lamb inside just weren’t tender enough to recall the stew format of the traditional dish.
This was awesome. So tender and flavorful, and sitting on a bed of braised greens and lentils. I could eat this every day.
Mixed Grill For Two
This was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the pork and sausage. It comes out on an actual grill, though you aren’t really cooking anything since it isn’t hot enough. It’s more of a show piece and meat warmer.
This is great for a group meal to share. Even the veggies on there were tasty, and it comes with some nice lemon potatoes too.
Red Velvet Halva
This was my favorite of the three desserts we tried. But don’t expect the texture and flavor of halva just because halva is in the name of the dessert. This tasted more like a gelatin or stiff mousse. Really delicious.
A beautiful and tasty take on the classic dessert. A nice balance of sweet and savory, and it comes with a slab of rose jelly, which looks invisible in the pic above.
Chocolate Covered Digestive Cookies
This was like a chocolate covered biscotti. Interesting, but not something I would get again. I just didn’t love the flavor combination. A nice thing to have with coffee though, for those of you who are into it.
I would definitely go back here for the eggplant, ribs, mixed grill and short rib. Go give it a shot! I should also note that when we were there, the health inspector gave a surprise visit and fucked up the entire flow of the kitchen for a good hour or hour and a half. This place is brand new and the chef is very talented, so I have no problem recommending this place to others.
A food friend of ours organized a massive 18-person, multi-course Chinese Thanksgiving meal on the weekend before turkey day as a way to celebrate our love of food.
We started with a house soup that contained dry winter melon and shredded pork.
These clams were served in a bean sauce that really popped. Super flavorful and clams were cooked perfectly.
These fried pork chops were incredibly tender and juicy. Definitely one of my favorite courses.
I’m not usually into full veggie dishes, but this mushroom platter was really incredible and satisfying. Those things at the bottom are little tofu skin crepes that are filled with a variety of mushrooms.
This whole fish (flounder, I believe) was another top dish of the day.
The meat was succulent and tender, and the veggies were a nice vehicle to deliver the sauce that they sponged up.
Fried and chopped lobster with some sort of Cheetos-like cheese coating. Incredibly unique for a Chinese joint. These were gobbled up almost instantly.
Beef! Yes! This was likely either flank or strip, but it came out on a sizzling skillet and was served in a really delicious brown sauce. Very tender.
Also a winning dish, this chicken was basically deconstructed and then re-assembled with the meat having been replaced by mixed-protein sticky rice. That rice was then coated and blanketed with extremely crisp chicken skin. So awesome, and so labor intensive.
Another hit dish was this dungeoness crab on a bef of flat, wide noodles (think chow fun style).
This was a very photogenic dish, and the crab meat was delicious.
The noodles could have used a bit more of a flavorful sauce, but otherwise this was really good.
On the side we enjoyed some stir fried and garlicky pea shoots.
And for dessert was a warm bowl of sweet bean porridge, of which I did not get a good shot.
All in, this meal only cost $45pp with tax and tip included. I definitely recommend giving this place a try. Especially for the chicken/sticky rice, fried pork chops and whole fish.
Many of you know that I’ve talked about Tabelog in the past, a Japanese food review website that recently launched here in the US. They approached me about helping them to attract new users to the website, so I co-planned and co-hosted a whole beast feast with them at DBGB, where we and a crew of hungry food writers and photographers tore into a delicious suckling pig like a bunch of ravenous carnivores!
This pig, which is sort of like a giant pinwheel or sausage full of various pork cuts, feeds up to 12 guests and comes with salad, grilled flatbread, veggies, pork rinds and Baked Alaska for dessert.
At $575, this is a pretty good value, and you can throw in unlimited select beers and wine for just $30 more per person.
The pig is plated really beautifully when it comes out to the table.
From those shots you can really see the “pinwheel” or sausage thing that I was talking about. It isn’t just a roast pig like you might see at a Flip joint. The meat was really tasty, and consists of all parts of the animal, just packaged and presented in a different way from a standard pig roast. The only downside, for me, was that the skin was not crispy. That’s the best part about roasting pigs!
In any case, I got a bunch of incredible shots of this handsome bastard’s face.
I even managed to convince some of the dinner guests to pose with the pig’s head. Here’s Doug:
My boy Ben (@StuffBenEats) was a bit shy and didn’t pose with the pig. Oh well. Next time. I certainly posed with it! This shot was taken by Jay from The Dishelin Guide:
And here’s a shot of me getting ready to dig into the nasty bits like the brain, the face meat and the nose, taken by Jesse of Scrumphsus:
If you’ve got a big group and you’re into this kind of “Carcass Club” dining like I am, then I think you should add this to your list of potentials. It isn’t the best roast pig that I’ve had, but it certainly was pretty tasty and made for a fun night.
This joint offers a legitimately awesome Chinese food experience in the heart of Chinatown. The owner contacted me for a press meal, and I was quick to jump at it.
The interior is very bright, pretty, spacious and clean. The dining room was a cool and comfortable, with plenty of elbow room.
My wife and I turned over all control of our meal to our waiter, Griffin, after we poured ourselves some oolong tea.
Griffin asked a few questions, like “do you like spicy foods,” and “do you have any food allergies.” Yes, and no. “We are willing to try anything.” He was happy about that, as he was planning to feature some of their more signature dishes for us. And then we were off…
The first thing that came out was this plate of thinly sliced conch with spicy chili sauce.
The conch was cooked perfectly. It was tender enough to make you think you were eating chow fun noodles, but it still had snap to it, like you might associate with nicely cooked squid. My wife referred to this dish as “protein noodles.” I thought that was pretty clever, so we did a “lift” photo for all of you Instagram whores out there.
And the spicy chili oil with lemongrass was the perfect sauce to deliver all of this deliciousness. I can’t wait to go back and order more of this. $12.95.
Next up were these pan fried mini pork buns. Say what? Steamed pork buns that are also fried? Yup. Take a look:
They’re steamed first, and then one side is pan fried to give it a nice flat and golden brown crisp. I’ve never seen this before.
Inside was tender and lemongrass-spiced pork meat with scallions.
They were great. The bun was soft but not sticky and gummy, and the pan fried side gave them a nice texture mix that kept my taste buds interested from the first bite to the last. $5.95.
We tried four entrees! The first, and our most favorite, was the braised whole tilapia in spicy chili broth with peppercorns.
It may LOOK like a nightmare of spices for you heat pussies out there, but I assure you, this broth is drinkable. I love spicy foods, and I can handle a lot of heat, but my opinion is that this dish is accessible to all in terms of spice levels, so long as you don’t actually eat the dried red chilies. The peppercorns within are very herbal and only slightly numbing, like a milder version of the kind you might encounter in spicy hot pot. This was so addicting that we brought home whatever was left of this dish so that we could have at that broth again and again. It almost had a Thai tom yum flavor, but without the lemongrass.
But back to the actual fish: the meat was extremely tender and flavorful. Braised means it is fall-apart tender, and with some fresh cilantro on top, you feel like you are eating so fresh and healthy. Tilapia is a light fish to begin with, so this was a very good entree to start with. $24.95.
We even got some of the cheek meat out of the head. Mmm.
Next up was sauteed frog with spicy peppers.
The frog itself was mainly leg meat, with some occasional other parts mixed in, but chopped up coarsely so you had to be deft with not swallowing any bones. I found that eating in the front of my mouth, with my front teeth, was the trick to maneuvering the bones with ease. The meat was awesome. If you haven’t had frog, to me it tastes like a cross between tender chicken and a scallop, both in texture and flavor.
This was the spiciest dish of the day, too, as the chopped dried red chilies added a nice kick in the balls for heat. The green peppers aren’t that spicy but they have a great aroma and flavor. I even tasted traditional black pepper in there as well. $22.95.
The next dish was salt and pepper jumbo shrimp. These were presented butterflied, but with the shells and heads still on, on a bed of lettuce, peppers, sliced garlic and scallions.
While a few were slightly overcooked, the salt and pepper batter was delicious and crunchy. We dipped these into the sauce that came with the frog dish as well, for a little more spice. $21.95.
We treated the fourth entree as a side, since it came out alongside our fish dish. This was sauteed pumpkin with celery and artichoke.
The pumpkin was tender and slightly sweet, which went well with the fresh braised celery flavor. The artichoke added a bit of starchiness to the dish, so if you are not a meat eater, this will be nice and filling for you, and unique to boot. Not bad for vegetarian! $14.95.
We will definitely be back here, again and again. For a long time my wife and I were hunting for a good Chinese and spicy Szechuan joint in the area. This place will give us our fix, every time. When you come here, I highly recommend the pan fried mini pork buns, the braised whole fish and the sliced conch dishes. All three were amazing. I realize that frog is not everyone’s cup of tea, but we really enjoyed it. If you are up for trying something different, then go for it because I recommend that as well. They also serve dim sum, so if that’s your thing, I suggest doing that as well. Oh, and upstairs is a karaoke joint. So you can go up and sing your ass off after dinner.
Since I know people have short attention spans, I’ve put together a quick video review that sums up my feelings about BMC:
But if you want the full review, read on below:
I met up here with two friends for a meal after hearing a lot of good reviews about the joint. I wasn’t really sure I should call this place a steakhouse, and when I spoke with owner John McDonald he confirmed my thoughts. The idea, according to John, it seems, is not to pigeon hole the place as being a traditional steakhouse (usually just attracting an all male crowd, for the most part), but, rather, a meat-centric restaurant with a menu that appeals to all kinds of diners. Not only that, but he and his business partner/chef Josh Capon have endeavored to put together a unique menu, with cuts that you don’t often see in other restaurants, if ever. Other restaurants they are involved with include Lure Fishbar, Burger & Barrel Winepub and El Toro Blanco.
Given the above discussion about the term “steakhouse,” I decided not to rate this joint on my traditional 100-point scoring system (though I will include it on the list for convenience purposes). Instead, I will respect the owner’s concept and write it up like I do other restaurants. It just happens to be a wonderful meatopia!
The bar is a nice marble stretch, wide, lots of room, and has high-top seating behind, along the street. Easily a fun place to hang out. There’s also some lounge seating and regular tables beside it. This is a neat spot because every so often you can steal a glance into the kitchen through the swinging door next to the bar. There’s plenty of room to walk in and eat in the bar/lounge area if you can’t score a rez in the main dining room; just try to beat the crowd.
I started with a “Sagely Seventy-Five,” which was a really refreshing gin drink with lime, pear bitters and garnished with a sage leaf. No: I did not grow a vagina. I actually love gin drinks, mixed or straight up. It smelled and tasted exactly how I expected. The bartender, Alison, did a great job with the mix too.
I swiped a taste of my buddy’s “Loneliest Monk” as well, which was a really nice rye, chartreuse, amaro and orange bitters concoction. Very classy.
The bar, by the way, was a warm and comfortable place. Lots of elbow room too, which is nice. The bartenders and patrons were all very sociable. In fact, we had the good fortune of sitting next to a gent who is close friends with Chef Josh, so he gave us some pointers about what to get from the menu.
After our cocktails, we took a seat at a table next to the bar, in the lounge. Our waitress, Melanie, had a really deep knowledge and appreciation for beer. She made some excellent suggestions throughout the meal, the best of which, I thought, was this really effervescent Belgian beer that packed a ton of flavor without being hoppy or bitter. I fucking hate IPA shit, so this was excellent for me:
We then had the great pleasure of meeting the man of the hour, Chef Josh Capon. He was a really fun, down-to-earth guy, cracking jokes with us, being vulgar and ridiculous (like we are), but at the same time making us feel not only welcome, but like we were kings. He was awesome: warm, friendly, easy to talk to, and it felt like we’ve known him forever. Check out this incredible display of meats he brought to the table, explaining each cut and how they are prepared:
The first thing to come out was a plate of warm, sliced rosemary focaccia and some slices of soppressata. The bread was savory and herby, and the meat was soft and melty. I thought it was very cool and thoughtful that they put enough for each of us to try our own: three slices of each. That kind of attention to the diners does not go unnoticed by me. You’ll see the same thing was done for other dishes.
Next was a little plate of bone marrow and oxtail rice balls: again one for each of us. These are called “arancini,” and they were spiced with lemon zest. I think at some point “put my balls in your mouth” was uttered by at least one of us, if not Chef Josh. The man had us cracking up hysterically at the table with his wit and outgoing personality. These were amazing little bites, by the way. Flash freeze these and put them on the shelves of stores in the frozen food section and you could make a killing!
One of my buddies was too slow in putting Josh’s rice ball into his mouth, so there was a little bit of a threat happening with a tomahawk chop:
Next, Josh brought out a sample of the crispy polenta for us to try. I enjoyed this. It had a nice texture with bold earthy flavors from the mushroom and shaved cheese on top.
I think the star of the amuses (if you can call them that), was the dry aged wagyu meatball. When explaining it to us, we were all blown away, jaws dropped and salivating like wolves at the scent of fresh blood. I think Josh even said something like, “Yeah, it’s great. Basically, if you don’t like this meatball, then you can go fuck yourself.” HAHA! And he’s absolutely right. If you go to this restaurant and you try this meatball and DON’T like it, then I will say you can go fuck yourself. You don’t need to hear it from the man himself; you can take my word on it. It is amazing. Everything from the meat itself, to the consistency of the ball, to the herbs folded in, and to the sauce were all done with unrivaled culinary prowess. And I’m a hard man to please when it comes to meatballs!
Okay so now let me tell you what we actually ordered for the apps. Yeah: all that stuff above was just to wet our beaks! Wait – I just typed out “wet our beaks.” Who do I think we are, a bunch of fuckin’ Don Fanuccis from The Godfather?!??
Anyway, we started with the broiled oysters with garlic, romano cheese, breadcrumbs and parsley. Delicious! But watch your mouth because these muthafuckas are HOT! I typically don’t like cooked oysters, but these were done really nicely. They were briny and soft, properly cooked, yet crisp from the breadcrumbs. A great texture contrast.
Next app: fois gras and chicken liver parfait. This was so rich and decadent, yet not heavy or filling. It was served with an onion jam and spread across toasted brioche. Chef Josh even spread the delicious shit on our bread for us when he served it. Amazing service! This is a must-try dish if you are into this sort of thing. All three of us absolutely loved it.
Our third and final app was the Chinese BBQ pork belly lettuce wraps. Fresh, savory, light, bright and packed with porky goodness. The touch of acidic pickled veggies on the side, fresh cilantro and lime, and sliced chili peppers really made these bitches pop. So simple, yet so complex: a conundrum.
For our mains, my bitch-ass friends wanted to share two entrees rather than three. Whatever. We ordered the Bowery Steak, which is the first time I have ever seen anything like it on a menu. It’s essentially a pinwheel-wrapped fat cap from a rib eye, fashioned into a circle/spiral that’s roughly 10oz, if I had to guess, trussed, and cooked like a proper cut of steak. They serve it on top of creamy whipped potatoes, and top it with a chimichurri-like salsa verde.
The owner, John, explained to me how the dish was conceptualized one night when coming home from a wedding that he and Josh had attended. They prepped that night, and the next day they brought it to life. Bravo, gents. You’ve made me very happy. This steak was fantastic, unique, innovative, tasty and perfectly cooked. Medium rare inside with a nice crust on the edges. Mmm.
We also tried the cheeseburger, which is said to be made with 40-day dry-aged beef. This baby has been gaining some serious notoriety in burger circles, so I was excited to try it. It comes topped with griddled onions, raclette cheese and tomato aioli.
Unfortunately, splitting it three ways left me wanting more, much more. It’s tough to make a solid review off just a bite or two. I did notice, though, that it was a bit salty, and could certainly have benefited from a cool, crunch element like lettuce. Here’s my pathetically small third of a burger. Thanks boys… Next time I’m ordering my own.
The burger also came with fries, and a little tray of pickled tomato, okra and cucumber. The fries were really nice. Beautiful golden brown, crispy, herby and flavorful. I suppose we should have topped the burger with some of the pickles to get that needed crunch element, but digging into them on the side was nice too.
We also took down an order of garlic spinach. This was really flavorful without being too overpowering on the garlic angle. Unlike typical sauteed spinach items, this wasn’t laden with oil either. It was fresh and light. Definitely a good choice.
We were going to skip dessert, but Chef Josh brought out a nice trio of dolce de leche ice cream balls. This was a nice snack to take in with a glass of amaro, as we did.
That about does it. If you’re wondering what the damage was, it really wasn’t too bad at all, especially given all the samples that Chef Josh brought out to the table for us to try. Here’s Sir William Price, in all his glory. Very fair, if you ask me.
On a second visit, I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Paul, who fired up this amazing 38oz cote de boeuf, which I think is probably the best large-format rib eye I’ve ever had in my life. It had a nice seasoned crust that crisped up nice under the broiler. Also – unlike most thick cuts of beef, it wasn’t overcooked on the outside and undercooked on the inside. it was just right. A perfect medium rare.
Alright so I am forcing this into the review system despite the fact that they don’t claim to be a “steakhouse.” Let’s be honest – this shit is a steak joint!
This place easily comes in as one of my favorite burgers in the city. I tried the bash burger (bacon and onion jam), and the classic (lettuce and tomato). Both came with American cheese as the standard, and both were fucking amazing: great bun, and astounding meat flavor. The fries were perfectly cooked and seasoned as well, and the batter on the onion rings was so crisp and delicious.. I’ll definitely be dining here again, especially for the prime rib dinner.
The bash burger was so good that you didn’t miss the crunch from the lettuce or the coolness of the tomato:
The classic was firing on all cylinders. Every aspect of this thing worked. Tomato was sliced a little thicker than I normally like, but it was not unwieldy because the other stuff was all the right thickness.
It’s no wonder this place, which is run by the same folks at Bowery Meat Company, is running away with all sorts of burger awards.
I went back yesterday with my wife and my parents to celebrate me and my wife’s 6th wedding anniversary.
We did the prime rib dinner for four, which you will need to reserve in advance because they need lots of time to prep the roast (I think it cooks for 8 hours). Check out the menu:
We started with a few brews since we were walking around a lot that afternoon and needed some refreshments:
The family style apps were pretty delicious. First were these little chicken lollipops. Super crispy skin, some Korean style BBQ sauce drizzled over with sesame seeds and some greens. These are addicting. I only wish there were eight instead of six in the order, that way we each could have eaten two. They’re a little too good to stop at just one, despite the massive amount of food yet to come.
The tuna tartare was nice, light and refreshing. It was topped with an avocado spread and served with waffle-cut potato chips. Everything was just right on this dish.
Next up were the individually ordered salads. Since there were three to choose from, we had one of each and then an extra that was doubled. So we ordered two of the beet salads. The beets were perfectly roasted, and the toasted walnuts gave good texture and crunch to the salad. The goat cheese was so soft and velvety, and the orange segments added a citrus pop that really made this salad stand out as the best of the three.
The kale salad had butternut squash, faro and cranberries. This was dressed nicely with a honey mustard vinaigrette.
The last of the salads was apple and arugula with shaved fennel, pine nuts and parmigiano, lightly dressed with a light apple vinegar.
The star of the show is this Creekstone Farms roasted prime rib.
This is a LOT of beef for just four people. The waiter said that it comes out to about 14oz per person, but that is a serious understatement. I think my cut alone, which wasn’t as big as my dad’s, was about 24oz.
So thick and juicy. The seasoning got way down into the meat, and the crust of spices along the outside edges was incredible. The fat was pretty much all edible meat jello – so tasty. Not one bite became monotonous or boring, as is the case many times with prime rib. This had a ton of character. I can’t even describe to you how amazing the restaurant smelled when they carried this bad boy out to us. They also served it with two sauces: bordelaise and peppercorn poivre sauce. Both were great but I tended to hit the peppercorn sauce a little more often.
Even the sides were amazing here. First, I’ve never tasted a tater tot so good in my life. They were perfectly crisp, and herbed up nice with rosemary flavor.
The brussels sprouts were crispy and light, but packed a ton of flavor. I could eat this like a snack while watching TV.
The spinach was perfectly seasoned and sautéed in garlic and oil – no heavy cream to weigh down the meal.
And the potatoes were so unique. They seemed like they were ripped up, baked and fried fingerlings with caramelized onions. They had a really dynamic texture of crisp and soft mixed throughout.
Finally, for dessert we had apple fritters with chocolate truffles, topped with ice cream and caramel sauce. These were like little doughnuts made from apple. Nice and crisp on the outside, with a perfectly cooked apple on the inside. I’m usually not a huge fan of chocolate but that truffle was excellent!
The staff was really great here, and they brought us out a complimentary pair of mini bottles of rose champagne when they overheard us talking about the fact that we were celebrating an anniversary. Really nice touch, and the champagne was tasty!
Overall this is one of my favorite places to eat in the city right now.
The bar has a great, fun atmosphere, and every item I’ve tried here is pretty much an example of the best I’ve had. This doesn’t come as much of a shocker though, because all of the restaurants in their group as just as amazing. If you haven’t been here yet, get your ass down here ASAP and try some of the items pictured above. I promise, you will not be disappointed.
Subsequent return trips to B&B for the prime rib:
BURGER & BARREL
25 W. Houston St.
New York, NY 10012
My wife and I came here as one of my Christmas gifts to her. We had heard lots of amazing shit about this place, so we were excited to go. This meal happened at the new restaurant space on Extra Place. Since it was relatively recent since they made the switch, we had the pleasure of actually seeing and meeting Chef David Chang in the restaurant. Pretty awesome, seeing as I feel he is one of the most important and innovative chefs of a generation. Here’s a shot I took of him and my wife after we finished our meal:
So anyway, check out the tasting meal we had: easily one of the best meals of my life. My wife’s photos came out amazing, so I included them too (overhead shots).
We were seated at the corner of the U-shaped bar, and felt that our every need was attended to, constantly. The service here is amazing, and it feels as if each diner has a pair of chefs and waiters all to him/herself. The presence of management is always felt as well. They really go above and beyond to make sure you are having a great meal.
First was a Concord grape soda & jelly shot to prep the taste buds. Fizzy and sweet.
We were already sipping on some cocktails. Mine was a gin drink (on the left) called “Shrub,” and my wife had a bourbon drink called “Quartet.” Both were excellent. We had a pair of hot damp towels too, to get all that subway stripper pole germ shit off of our hands before eating. The cool thing about this meal is that it’s not pretentious by any means. You eat with your hands for most of the meal.
The first food items were a lobster & mint cylinder, and a dry aged beef tartlet with carrot. The beef was really flavorful and savory. I wanted more! The lobster and mint combo was surprisingly good, and it was a refreshing bite.
Next was an amazingly tasty bite of sushi. Striped bass with nori, pickled veggies and daikon.
Then came a millefeuille of rye phyllo dough layered with trout roe and green tea powder. Absolutely stunning to look at, and even nicer to shove down your throat. Just be careful not to breathe while eating or that green tea powered may have you coughing.
This red snapper tartare may have been my favorite dish of the night. It came mixed with a jelly made from the fish bones broth/flavor, and dressed with yuzu, lime and shiso spray.
Another refreshing and light dish was this raw scallop with pineapple dashi, drizzled with basil seed and basil oil soup. Awesome.
Next was probably my least favorite dish, but it was still nicely executed. Beets with brown butter and bonito (dried anchovies).
The following is the absolute best preparation of uni (sea urchin) I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Prior to this, I wasn’t exactly the biggest fan of uni. I’ve had some great preparations (like at Takashi), but nothing ever really blew me away to the point where I would go out of my way to have it. This was amazing though. It was raw, and served with a fermented chic pea puree and topped with lemon olive oil. So fucking creamy!
This next dish was fun to watch them prepare. It was torched mackerel with rice, wasabi and dash ponzu sauce, sitting on a wasabi leaf. Sushi, essentially. The cool thing was that they used an infrared torch to get that char on the fish without imparting any fuel flavor from something like a butane torch.
After some googling at home, I found that Chef Chang has actually endorsed the product, and supported their Kickstarter efforts. The product is called the Searzall. Check it out – it’s fucking cool:
The trout mousse with pickled sunchoke and kale in a dashi broth was warm and comforting. A bowl of this on a cold winter night would hit the spot. They poured the broth in table side. I shot some video of it (six seconds), but it really wasn’t that exciting so I decided to just show the photo.
Another highlight of the meal was the soft scrambled egg with Siberian caviar and sweet potato flakes. It had great texture from the flakes, great briny salt from the caviar, and the egg was perfect.
They also served the egg dish with some sourdough bread and watermelon-radish salted butter. The butter was very unique and flavorful. Very fresh and light. The kind of butter you can eat by the vat and not feel guilty about it.
My next favorite course, and my wife’s first favorite course, was the celery root agniolotti pasta with Tandoori spice and fucking white truffle. This was perfect in every way. It was soft and pillowy, yet it had crunch from the truffle (it was crisp!). It was slightly salty, but I really didn’t mind because the flavors were so robust.
Next was a slow cooked branzino with yogurt sumac sauce. It was toped with spiced sunflower seeds, which came off slightly bitter, but still nice to eat. Also mixed in was artichoke. This dish had the skin on. Typically I don’t eat fish skin unless it is crispy, but this was awesome. It was soft and tender. It felt like any other part of the fish meat when I popped it into my mouth.
This next dish was both salty and spicy. It was roasted lobster tail and sweet potato in a lobster sauce with fried ginger. The sauce would have been perfect if it wasn’t so salty. I found that if I didn’t dip too often into the sauce, then I really enjoyed this dish. The lobster meat was cooked perfectly.
Most interesting dish of the night goes to the Hudson Valley foie gras that seemed to be grated as if it were super soft cheese. It was garnished with pine nuts, Reisling wine jelly and lychee. This, too, was salty, but I enjoyed it very much.
Here comes the meat, bitches! Venison loin with a sauce made from cranberry and deer blood. It was served with a side of whipped potato that had been combined with with butter and a cheese that was reminiscent of a Stilton or blue cheese. As you can see below, the venison was cooked rare, and if I had to guess, it was sous vide style, and then lightly torched.
A palate cleanser came next: Clementine sorbet with Campari.
The dessert was highly anticipated. A guy a few seats down from us when we first arrived had just gotten his bowl, and was flipping out about how great it was. He didn’t want to eat it because he didn’t want it to end. Coconut lime sorbet with banana rum meringue and wafers.
There was complimentary coffee:
And a small tray of macarons and chocolates came along with the bill:
I should also make note of the music at this place. It was excellent, as if the selection were based off of my favorites. There was lots of 80s music, and oldies. They even played our wedding song, which was nice. I felt bad because I was in the middle of chatting with one of the chefs about all the delicious shit in the fridges at the back of the restaurant, otherwise I would have liked to bust out and dance with my wife beside our seats.
It was so cool though – floor to ceiling fridges make up one whole wall in the back, and you can actually see what you’re eating and how it is stored. Here are some of the awesome things I found in the fridges: truffles, aging tuna, cheese cloth wrapped foie gras, aging venison loin (unless that is some sort of sausage) and a variety of aging beef.
As usual, my wife got a sweet deal for this place; dinner and a show for two for $60. I wasn’t expecting to like either the food or the entertainment, but I was surprised at how good the food was, and how fun the entertainment was.
We started at the bar, which is really elegant and fancy. It’s set up like a 1920’s sort of art deco social club. They have a nice cocktail menu ($14 each). I had the Bowery Honey Bee, and my wife had a “That’s Gold, Darling.”
The table bread came out in a stainless steel cone, and was served warm and toasty, with a dish of white bean puree that resembled hummus, but with less aggressive spices.
Our deal entitled us to a limited menu three course tasting. I started with the roasted shrimp and grits. The shrimp were perfectly cooked and the grits were creamy. I just wish there was more!
My wife had the mushroom veloute, which was creamy, earthy and rich.
For my entree, I had the ale-braised pork shoulder, which came with mashed potatoes and sliced, roasted carrots. This was really nice. The meat was tender, soft and juicy.
My wife had the salmon, which was perfectly cooked and came with cannellini beans and tomatoes. I typically don’t like cooked salmon, but this was really tasty.
For dessert, I chose the sticky toffee pudding. It was mor elite a bread pudding than a proper pudding, so I was taken back a bit when it came to the table. It was delicious though, and warm. The ice cream scoop on top was the perfect balance.
My wife had the cheesecake of the day, which was apple. Very unique. And good timing for around the Thanksgiving holiday: a mash up of New York (cheesecake) and Americana (apple pie). Great flavors.
The entertainment was a blast. The band was playing classic soul and motown hits, and the singer was excellent!
He even did a few duets with a female vocalist – serious hips on her!
The funny thing about the show was that in-between songs, a pair of burlesque ladies would come out and jiggle their shit on stage. It was basically a classy strip joint in period-piece attire (or lack thereof).
The best part was watching the band as THEY watched the dancers, laughing, crack jokes to one another as they played, etc. The guitarist was getting dresses and bras thrown at him from across the room. He dangled this red sparkly one from his guitar:
My wife purchased a steak for two deal at this Latino steakhouse down on 14th street, but soon after the joint closed down. WTF! Anyway, the restaurant group honored the deal at one of their other joints called The General. We had heard some good things about it, so we were happy to take the deal to that location. Instead of steak, though, we went with their Peking duck. It was fucking amazing.
So the deal went like this: any two apps, then the Peking duck, a side, and any dessert to share.
Drinks were not included but we had some good ones. I had a blueberry compote and vodka drink called “The General’s Elixir.” Garnished with a sprig of rosemary for aroma. it was nice. My wife had a traditional sake box.
We started with the seared toro – normally a $30 menu item. It was really nice, delicate, and packed with flavor and just a little bit of heat from the jalapenos.
Then there was the Kate roll, which involved Alaskan king crab, salmon, and a cucumber wrap. Really fresh and delicious. We were sort of wishing that we tried the artichoke and hamachi app instead, but this roll was really good. If the Peking duck wasn’t to filling, we would have tried that as a third app.
Then the shit hit the fucking fan, and this bitch came out to the party:
Here’s the actual presentation after slicing, with the steamed buns and everything. This was one of the best Peking ducks we’ve ever had. The skin was crispy, yet juicy. The meat was tender and moist, packed with deliciousness. It came with sliced scallions, cucumbers, and pineapple. And that’s a little sauce pan of watery hoisin sauce to drizzle on your buns. Fuck yeah!
The only down side: those beautiful red chili peppers were NOT sliced and presented with the duck. Sad.
The rice we ordered as a side was a bit greasy for our liking, but it was really tasty, with shrimp, Chinese sausage, a whole bunch of other yummy tid-bits, and topped with a fried egg. My wife makes a much better fried rice, but this was fine for me as a side.
For dessert we shared an assortment of frozen treats and pops called “The General’s Freezer.” It was like they took inspiration from a little bit of everything you’d find on an ice cream truck (toasted almond, strawberry shortcake, ice cream sandwich, etc), elevated them to gourmet, miniaturized them, and served them in pairs so we could each try one. This was fun!