Tag Archives: crab

Wu’s Wonton King

My wife and I came here with a big group of foodie friends for a pre-Thanksgiving blowout. We ate a shitload of dishes, but the stars of the show were these two:

That’s right: a crispy skin suckling pig, and a 9lb king crab. Here’s some video of that pig being carved up for us, table side:

Those buns were amazing but the pork meat itself was the best I’ve ever had in terms of suckling pig. The flavors penetrated deep into the flesh of the meat. And if one pork dish wasn’t enough, we also fried this one as well:

The crab was prepared three ways: steamed, fried and in a steamed egg porridge:

We ate two kinds of clams:

We even ordered a steak. This was no good though. I tried one slice of this breaded t-bone and it was too tough for me to even finish half. 2/10. I left two points on the table because the sauce was interesting at least, and the broccoli was good with it.

All the other dishes were excellent though, including this chicken:

And this fluke:

Yes, we did eat some greenery:

And of course wontons, as per the name of the restaurant, in soup form:

There was even dessert that we somehow managed to eat: mango flan/jelly and a warm pumpkin soup that was reminiscent of Indian desserts:

I definitely recommend this joint. This was the best large format pig I’ve had to date. It runs $168 and you need to order a day or two in advance. It would probably feed five or six people if you ate just that and some veggies on the side. As for the crab? Skip it. It was delicious as fuck, but that shit runs $50 a pound.

WU’S WONTON KING
165 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002

Ai Fiori

My steak-eating crew and I came in here and tried 16 different items, so there’s no time for bullshitting. I will just get right down to it.

STARTERS

Dry-Aged Beef Tartare (bar menu)

This was damn good. Not as beautiful as Vaucluse, but it had a different flavor profile (Italian) that worked just as well as the classic French style.

Fried Soft-Shell Crab

So delicious. The zucchini puree underneath was a great Italian play for the sauce element, and the whipped ricotta just made it soar.

Octopus

The radish, white bean and salsa verde made the perfectly tender and grilled octopus shine with a bright pop of acidity.

Tomato Salad

This had stracciatella, pesto and watermelon. Very refreshing.

MID COURSES

Lobster Cavatelli

This sounded amazing but it fell a little short. It was by no means a bad dish. It was just not as stellar as the other entrees. Of course I would prefer this over the tomato salad from the appetizer courses. Duh. I just didn’t get a lot of robust flavors.

Spaghetti with Blue Crab & Bottarga

Winner. This was so delicious. Every aspect of it popped, and the robustness was there, while still preserving the delicate flavors of the crab meat.

Scallops

What made this really special was the corn pudding and toasted corn on the plate. I could eat buckets.

White Label Burger (bar menu)

My favorite of all the Michael White burgers. This one has Calabrian aioli and pickles on it, along with fontina, tomato and red onion. The blend is dry-aged Pat LaFrieda, just like the other White Label burgers as well. What’s really awesome here at Ai Fiori is the potato side that comes with it: pommes dauphines. I didn’t get a good shot, but they are basically breaded and deep fried balls of mashed potato. Again, buckets are needed!

ENTREES

Butter Poached Lobster

Insanity. One of the best lobster dishes I’ve ever had. So tender and flavorful, and it’s a really meaty lobster tail portion size with some sliced claw meat along the side.

Lamb Chops

These were wrapped in caul fat and crusted/glazed very nicely. The snap peas were a nice refreshing touch here to cut the fat, and I liked the use of barley in this dish. One of my favorite grains to eat when done right.

Tomahawk Steak (Costata)

This was an easy 10/10. Michael White’s large format steaks are just amazing at every one of his restaurants. While pretty much identical to the steaks available at Vaucluse and Osteria Morini, there is something to be said about the consistency of these steaks. Every time I visit, they are just as good, and they are all good at every restaurant. These are definitely signature items, and they are 100% worth ordering.

The charred lemon is killer! The rest of the meal was sides and desserts, which were all great but I won’t really dive to deep. My favorite dessert was the chocolate budino. There was some banana incorporated into that. Delicious.

SIDES

Broccoli Rabe

Chicory

DESSERT

Chocolate Budino

Almond Cake

Cheese Plate

I highly recommend both the burger and the tomahawk here. To start, split a pasta and a burger. Then hit the tomahawk for your entree, and get some extra pommes dauphines for the road!

AI FIORI
400 5th Ave #2
New York, NY 10018

Crave Fishbar

My wife and I stopped into Crave Fishbar for their daily oyster happy hour. From 5pm to 7pm (4pm-6pm on weekends) all oyster varieties are just a buck each. We each tried one of each kind (along with some other snacks and drinks):

As strange as it was, our favorites all contained the word “point” in the name.

The calamari was really nice too. A perfectly dusted and fried batter, and really tender squid inside.

But what really blew me away at this place was their red crab cavatelli. The cavatelli is home made, and is torched/crisped up so that some of the edges are actually crunchy and al dente. Here are the before and after mix shots (beautiful colors):

I highly recommend that dish. It’s pricey, but worth it. If the pasta is all you’re after, they also have another cavatelli pasta dish, without the crab.

Overall, this place is great. We will definitely be back.

CRAVE FISHBAR
428 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024

Flame

Flame is a pretty large hibachi joint on the upper west side. I was recently invited in for a hibachi meal with a bunch of lunatic foodies.

They put on a great show here, I must say.

We started off with a pair of shrimp.

Then some fried rice and veggies.

And then the steaks came out!

Very simply prepared, and nicely cooked.

As far as hibachi goes, this is one of the best I’ve experienced. But that’s not where the action stops. They also serve a variety of nice dumplings, sushi and other seafood.

Everything was great; especially that miso octopus tentacle. I highly recommend this joint. There’s a lot of space, really beautiful tables and decor, and even some really nice mixed cocktails.

FLAME
100 W 82nd St
New York, NY 10024

Laut

A friend of mine invited me to this Malaysian and Singaporean joint for an Instagram influencer event. The crew of us obnoxious food shooters sampled a bunch of tasty stuff and shot the living shit out of it for our websites and Instagram feeds. While many of the dishes may not look especially gorgeous, they certainly all tasted excellent.

Fried squid:

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Fried okra:

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Summer roll:

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Fried soft shell crab: delicious.

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Breads/Roti: really good.

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Chicken and tofu satay skewers, chicken bites, egg rolls, fried noodle wrapper items and wontons: the red ones were the best.

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Veggies:

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Chopped chicken:

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Drunken noodles: great texture, heat and flavors.

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Amazing spicy fried soft shell crab soup: a lot of depth.

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And one of my favorite things from this cuisine, Laksa. This was coconut curry laksa with squid and fish balls. Warm, comforting and really satisfying with the wide noodles.

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Dessert in a take-out box!

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There aren’t enough restaurants dedicated to this cuisine. Everything I tried was good, so I definitely recommend giving this place a visit or two.

LAUT
15 E 17th St
New York, NY 10003

BallerBoil

This post will serve as a triple hit review of the Fresh Direct food delivery service, Tipsy’s boozy ice cream and Saveur Select wines.

My wife and some of our food friends were planning to do a Labor Day seafood boil on the rooftop of our building. It turns out, a few of the ladies managed to get the entire thing sponsored by the three companies above, provided that we post a few pics on Instagram.

Fresh Direct gave us a $500 credit to use towards their incredibly high quality seafood. We broke this out into two main items: a huge seafood boil, and a colossal chilled seafood tower.

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There was so much fucking food! Lobster, king crab legs, blue claw crabs, steamer clams, little neck clams, three varieties of oysters, jumbo shrimp, scallops, multi-colored potatoes, kielbasa and corn. My wife and I were always big fans of Fresh Direct but this seafood really hammers home the word FRESH in their name. The lobsters were delivered LIVE! And everything tasted incredible, which is obviously the most important factor.

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Saveur provided us with four bottles of crisp Gewürztraminer wine. This white German variety of wine was just the kind of refreshment we needed with this meal. We even poured some over fruit to make a white sangria.

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Tipsy hooked us up with six different pints of ice cream for dessert.

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The flavors were incredible: spiked hazelnut coffee, raspberry limoncello sorbet, cake batter vodka martini, dark chocolate whisky salted caramel, mango margarita sorbet and vanilla bean bourbon.

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We even scooped some into a few glasses of champagne for good measure. Why not?

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For more awesome pics, check THIS out.

Bite of Hong Kong

My wife and I have been on the prowl for a good Chinese place for quite some time. We were always in search of something more – something simultaneously unique and seemingly authentic, serving up good quality food without breaking the bank. Our criteria were numerous: (1) It had to be in Chinatown, but (2) not overrun by tourists (Wo Hop). (3) It couldn’t be some cheap, dirty and shitty joint (China Red), or (4) some gigantic dim sum warehouse dining room or buffet (Golden Unicorn). (5) We also had no room in our hearts for more than one visit to an overpriced and super trendy joint (Red Farm). (6) Finally, the menu couldn’t solely consist of Americanized Chinese dishes as the signature items (every other takeout/delivery Chinese joint in the city).

Don’t get me wrong; I love a good General Tso’s chicken from time to time. But like I said above, we wanted something more. I know that list above may seem like a diva’s demands, or the asinine pre-performance requests of a big Broadway star, but in NYC, where Chinese food is insanely abundant, one can start to become very picky and particular about what they want to eat.

So where to go? Enter Bite of Hong Kong.

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This joint contacted me to come in for a press meal. When I read the detail sheet, I was instantly excited. This place seemed to meet all of our criteria in one fell swoop, perhaps because the menu contains more than just standard Chinese/Cantonese fare. There are lots of Hong Kong style dishes in there, of which I am, admittedly, not fully familiar. But my and my wife’s eyes and appetites naturally wandered to those things, because they were different from what we typically see at Americanized joints. They were more authentic, and, in turn, more unique for us.

Take this trio of appetizers that we munched on, for example. Jellyfish, duck tongue, and crispy pig intestines. I’ve had jellyfish before, and the best way to describe it is this: a cold salad made of slightly crunchier/snappier noodles.

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The shit is delicious, so don’t let the “ickiness” of the actual protein fool you. If I gave it to you without telling you what it was, you’d think it was a kind of noodle or unique vegetable.

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I found myself jumping back and forth between that and the crispy pork intestines pretty regularly.

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These were crunchy on the outside and softer on the inside, kind of like pork skin with some meat attached, only halved in the crisp and succulence factors. These make for a great snack. As far as intestines go, and offal in general, these are pretty top notch!

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The duck tongues were a bit more tricky. I popped one into my mouth and started to chew, thereby pulverizing the small bone that is attached. This was my first time having them, so I had no idea. Our host, Mike, then explained that you eat the meat off and around the small bone, kind of like how you would take down a chicken wing.

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These had more juicy fat content to them than I expected from a muscle like the tongue. When I say fat content, I mean the edible, flavorful kind – like in the marbling of a steak. Up front is the meaty part, and in the back, around the bone, is the fatty part. Cooked with soy sauce and spices, this is a fairly simple dish, and the portion size is large for an appetizer.

I’m a huge fan of chow fun, the long, wide, broad noodle dish. Here, we went with the dry preparation, which is simply hit with heat in a wok and tossed with veggies and protein. We chose beef.

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The beef was incredibly tender and flavorful, and the noodles were cooked perfectly. This dry version, when executed properly, leaves pretty much no oil in the dish, and leaves behind no greasy texture whatsoever.

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That was certainly the case here, because Chef Fei is a master on the wok. This chow fun ranks among the best I’ve had.

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Speaking of bests, our next dish was hands-down the best crab dish I’ve had in NYC. That shot of Fei above was taken as he was plating.

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This is fried Dungeness crab. The legs are separated from the body and each part is coated with a light and puffy batter before hitting the wok.

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That batter is amazing, by the way. It reminded me of the batter you sometimes get around Chinese fried shrimp, or shrimp toast. Perhaps a beer batter?

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In any case, you can put the shell in your mouth and pull the crunchy batter off with your teeth for a nice hit of savory with each bite of juicy crab meat.

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I seriously couldn’t believe it when it came to the table. Not only was it stunning to look at, but the method of cooking preserved so much of that rich crab flavor in each bite of meat. As you can see, the final product gets topped with crispy fried shallots, scallions, egg, and shredded carrot.

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Even the super flavorful gutsy bits were left in the shell and fried. I passed those off to my wife, because she loves that stuff.

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A crab of this caliber will run you about $50 here, as the market price is in the $20’s per pound.

I should note here that all of their seafood is pulled right from these tanks, which are situated between the front dining room and the rear dining room.

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Rear dining room:

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The seafood selection here is truly incredible, by the way.

Dungeness crabs:

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Coral shrimp:

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In addition to those critters, they also have fresh lobster and a variety of live fish, which they serve whole in various cooking preparations. We saw one coming out to another table and were blown away by the presentation.

And instead of the standard orange at dessert time, Bite of Hong Kong brings over some slices of fresh watermelon. Nice touch.

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So long story short: it seems that my wife and I found our ideal place for good Chinese food that meets our demanding list of criteria. I highly recommend this place. I wish I had discovered it sooner, as it opened in March 2015. I’ve missed out on over a year of this delicious shit! And if you happen to live in the area, you should pop in to try one of their lunch special meals for under $6. That is an insane bargain!

BITE OF HONG KONG
81 Chrystie St
New York, NY 10002

Brooklyn Crab

My wife and I came here with some friends for the first time the other day, and I have to say, this place is a shitload of fun.

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There’s a great curbside bar in the shade up front, with bean bag toss games and big umbrella’d picnic benches beside it.

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It really looks like something out of Fire Island or the Hamptons, with a relaxed beach hut vibe. There’s even mini-golf in the back, and soft serve ice cream behind the bar downstairs.

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This is easily the kind of place into which you can sink an entire day, just hanging out at a good spot at the bar, ordering up summer drinks and browsing the fresh seafood menu in between competitive bean bag toss tourneys.

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My wife and I split some Jonah crab claws and a king crab leg. Everything was fresh, tasty and ice cold. There was a nice salty brine to the meat from both crabs. I was a happy man.

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We will definitely be back here again soon, and it’s a pretty easy trip to make on the free Ikea ferry, downtown.

BROOKLYN CRAB
24 Reed St
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Sauvage

This French and American joint just opened up about three weeks ago in the Williamsburg / Greenpoint area. A preview write-up that I saw recently showed some very promising menu items (I’ll get to those soon), and it just so happened that a friend of ours secured a reservation for us to give it a try.

The first thing my wife and I did was try cocktails at the bar. Both of these were pretty damn good.

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Since these are the same folks behind Maison Premiere, the starter menu is here raw bar -forward, with offerings like uni, oysters and crab. We went with the uni and “queen crab” items.

The uni was very nice, but one of our four pieces was a bit lame in size and lacked flavor – it even had a funky smell to it. In the photo below, that one is on the upper right, slightly out of focus. When we asked about it, the waitress pretty much said that this is how it came out of the shell, and not much they could do about it. Bummer.

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The bigger disappointment was the “queen crab,” which was essentially just a few very overpriced, chilled snow crab legs. Bummer II: The Return of Bummer. Skip this item, as you’re probably better off getting snow crab legs as some kind of cheap-ass, all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet.

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We were excited to see sunchokes on the menu, as these are some of my favorite root veggies around. They weren’t as great as I’d hoped, but I was happy to chow down on some anyway. Son of Bummer: The Vendetta Begins.

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Okay so now that the negative bummers are out of the way, let’s get to the outstanding and overwhelming positives. First, this squid ink garganelli pasta dish:

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This shit was expertly crafted and cooked perfectly. It was dressed deftly with a light, slightly chunky tomato and squid sauce and garnished with celery leaves. Absolutely delicious.

But as a meat fanatic, these next two dishes will have me pining for an inconvenient journey on both the M and G trains back into parts of Brooklyn that I barely knew existed and to which I have no real desire to ever go.

First, this pig’s head confit.

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There are only a handful of places doing this here in the city (one of which is Marc Forgione). This version was completely de-boned, so you can just fork and knife the shit out of this and eat everything you see on the plate. Let no part of the face go to waste! It’s super crispy all over, and underneath the crackly pig skin face lies a soft, tender meat that’s abundantly entwined with a savory and succulent fatty pig jelly. Fuck yeah, you should order this when you come here. It comes with grilled peach and sweet beans.

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Just when I thought I couldn’t be happier about the meat product offerings here, out comes the tomahawk rib eye for two.

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This fucker hails from Niman Ranch and is processed and aged by DeBragga on the east coast. It’s a 52-day dry aged and 32+ ounce hunk of tender, juicy and beefily flavorful steak, the likes of which are nearly unrivaled in all of Brooklyn.

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Now, I do think it is a bit small, being listed on the menu “for two” at $135, however the quality here is definitely worth at least some kinf of upcharge (unlike the steak at Pasquale Jones). For that reason, and for the reason that this is grilled rather than seared in a pan for a better crust, I have to take one point away and give it a 9/10.

We almost had a massive disappointment, however. When the steak first came out it was overcooked. I almost never do this, but as a group we decided to send it back, considering how much we were about to drop on this meal. We were happy to be met with a very understanding staff who agreed with our assessment and went above and beyond to make it right. What came back to us was perfect rare plus or medium rare. I very special thanks to the GM, Julian, for taking care of us on this. He was a fantastic host.

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I didn’t take pics of the overcooked steak, so all the shit you see here is from the actual steak that we ate. I hope the staff got to eat our overcooked steak, or a homeless bum or something. It would suck if it got thrown out. They offered it to us for free, but we didn’t want to taint the experience with a mistakenly overdone steak.

The shameful part was that the table next to us ordered their tomahawk well done on purpose. WELL DONE! What a colossal waste of good, expertly raised and brilliantly aged beef. Too bad we couldn’t have coordinated with them ahead of time. They could have taken our overcooked steak and ruined it a little more so it was to the other table’s liking.

Anyway, the steak comes with a fire roasted onion and some nice woods mushrooms on the side.

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They also gave us a little asparagus salad on the house when the corrected steak came out to the table:

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For dessert, we tried this kind of small “floating island” traditional French dessert. It was very flavorful – just small. Luckily we were pretty full at that point. The best were the little crunchy bits of French toast flavored croutons in there. I want a bag of those to go!

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All in this meal came to $100 a head. My recommendations for you at this joint is to skip the shellfish, get a pasta, and pick a shared entree like the pig face or steak. I did notice some other nice items on the solo entree menu, like a pork porterhouse and a strip steak. Maybe next time.

SAUVAGE
905 Lorimer St
Brooklyn, NY 11222

The Soup Man

Put my dick in this joint on the way home from dinner tonight just to see how warm the soup was as it brushed up close to my ball bag.

For real though – I’ve been walking by for months now and just had to try it due to their massive signage and Seinfeld reference:

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Advertising success!

I grabbed a large of the crab and corn soup. It was delicious, and it had big chunks of real crabmeat inside. Very tasty.

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And you’ve gotta love the random apple and chocolate they put in the bag with your soup. What the?!??

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THE SOUP MAN
259 W. 55th St.
New York, NY 10019