I built this cool hibachi grill using some clay pots that I picked up at Home Depot.
As you can see, the first thing I cooked on it was some thick cut bacon. That’s lamb bacon, by the way. Really nice.
I lit the coal brick with a blowtorch.
This baby made my apartment really smokey because the fat drippings were hitting the hot coal. Otherwise, if there was no fat dripping, the hibachi was relatively smokeless. The cooking itself was more like a slow roast. I think, since I only used one brick, that made the process take longer. Next time I’ll try with two or three.
My wife and I went to this Chelsea location with a Groupon deal. While the food doesn’t really look pretty, we both agreed that it was good. We started with lemongrass crusted fried tofu. The texture was similar to a silken tofu style that you might find in a miso soup, but a bit more structured.
We also had a duck salad. I was hoping the duck would be more crispy. It felt at times that the bits of duck were chewy or overcooked, but the salad was a nice crisp cabbage base that was dressed with a sour fish sauce.
For me, the star of the meal was this clay pot pork belly stew with potato, tofu and egg. Sometimes these can get too salty, but this was just right. The broth was nice with rice as well.
Last, we tried a noodle dish that ended up being similar to banh cuon, even though it was called something completely different on the menu. It had grilled pork, bologna style ham, cucumbers, bean sprouts, cilantro and flat, wide noodles. It was dressed in fish sauce. The meats were excellent and the noodles were perfectly cooked:
Cha Pas is a pretty good little mostly-Vietnamese restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. They serve up some pretty good food here, but the prices reflect a place that is not like the downtown joints. This is more expensive. For some dishes, it’s worth it, but for others, not so much. That said, everything I’ve had here is very good. I’ve tried the banh mi, the pho, the Vietnamese chicken wings, the clay pot pork belly, and the chicken curry. No real disappointments to speak of, and the Vietnamese coffee is very good. They also have some more difficult to find Southeast Asian beers as well, and a really cool painted, exposed brick wall on the inside.