My wife and I went to Down and Out in the East Village to try their crazy “double dozens” oyster happy hour. They currently offer two varieties of oysters for $1.50ea, but when you order a dozen, you get a second dozen for free. Essentially, they’re $0.75ea, which is the cheapest I’ve seen them in town!
We tried both the Kusshi (small ones, west coast of Canada) and Glidden Point (pictured above). My wife preferred the Kusshi, and I liked the ones from Glidden Point.
We also tried their “oyster pan roast,” which is a really nice bisque-like oyster and potato soup. It might not be much to look at in the photo, but I assure you it was delicious!
We also got down on their blue claw crab cake sandwich, which was nice and tasty, topped with a home made slaw.
They also serve a lot of high end canned fish items, like these sardines.
Their deviled quail eggs are good too. These come eight pieces per order.
Lots of these food items are discounted at happy hour, like the oysters. The happy hour runs daily from 4pm-7pm, and they also offer two different beers for $3, as well as discounted cocktails.
Most notable about this place, however, is the great whiskey selection, which includes some very rare, vintage bottles that the owner/bartender Josh secured from various estate sales.
He gave us some samples of a few really nice old bottles, like that Canadian Club from 1940! Soon there will be an entire separate menu of vintage whiskeys here, which will nearly double the current selection of whiskey on the menu. Stay tuned!
A friend of mine’s cousin is the chef here at Beetlehouse, a Tim Burton themed bar/restaurant in the East Village, that delivers quality in both the food/drink and atmosphere/decor departments.
You’ll feel like you stepped onto a movie set when you walk in.
The bar is incredible. I really hope NYC starts allowing people to actually sit at them again soon.
They mix up some really nice cocktails, many of which come to the table bubbling and smoking like magic potions!
This place is definitely for the Burton fans. They even have hired actors walking around the dining room and performing, giving you a show along with your meal.
They currently have a $50 price fix menu, where you get an app, an entree and dessert. We started with the pork belly and the Fanta sesame wings. Wild flavor! They even have root beer and Pop Rocks flavored wings.
Between those two, we preferred the pork belly. It was just so tender and flavorful. It even comes plated up on a bed of tasty grits, like a composed entree!
For entrees, we had the filet mignon and the burger.
Both were cooked perfectly, as you can see below:
Between these two, we preferred the burger. I generally don’t love egg on a burger, but I went with the way it was presented on the menu and it really worked! Delicious. The fries were perfect by the way. Highly recommended.
Dessert was the same for both of us – a pudding of sorts, with crumbled chocolate cake, whipped cream, and Nerds candy. I fucking loved it, and ate both mine and my wife’s.
This place is a blast. The menu is basically bar food that has a fun twist, so don’t expect something like Per Se. We felt that both the wings and the filet could have benefitted from a hit of salt, but otherwise all good. I’d definitely go back for the pork belly and the burger. They also have some topped french fry appetizer items that I want to try, now that I know the fries are absolutely perfect.
Apparently, the folks behind the incredible steak sandwich at 4 Charles Prime Rib have ventured out into the world of fast casual cuisine, opening up a sandwich shop on St Marks called The Dip.
The anchor of the small but focused menu is their French Dip sandwich, which is what I tried when I went.
Sandwiched between toasty garlic bread is a good sized portion of good quality shaved beef, melted gruyere, and diced cherry peppers. The horseradish cream sauce and jus come on the side. This will run you $16.50, before tax.
This was a killer sandwich; one of my best bites of the year. The dip and the sauce were both full of robust flavor to the point where you just want to keep on dipping.
The sandwich itself would be great on it’s own too though. You don’t really need the dip or the sauce if you don’t want them. The bread is fresh and flakey. The meat is textured yet tender. The cheese is melty but not molten. The peppers provide both spice and sweet. It’s perfect. And no, there’s not as much meat as the version at 4 Charles, but it’s also half the price here at The Dip.
There’s a bunch of other tasty sounding shit on the menu too, like fried chicken sandwiches, grilled cheeses and some limited-run specials. Eventually I’ll try them all. In particular, the Chicago hot dog looked great.
The talented couple behind Madame Vo recently opened this joint as a way to introduce NYC to Vietnamese BBQ, which, from what I understand, is very popular in central Vietnam.
Be aware: this is not the same as American BBQ, which we all know is characterized by slow and low smoker cooking. This involves a high-heat metal mesh grill and various cuts of meat. Fast and hot, no smokers.
Also: this isn’t Korean or Japanese BBQ. While they use a similar cooking method with the grill, the flavors, preparations and beef items are obviously entirely different.
What’s really unique about Madame Vo BBQ, and what I feel sets Vietnamese BBQ apart from other grilled meat establishments, is that the traditional “Beef 7 Ways” or “Bò 7 Món” feast in Vietnamese culture really lends itself perfectly to this style of cooking.
So what is “Beef 7 Ways?” Sounds like a dream come true, right? It is. It’s also really not that difficult to figure out from its name.
“Beef 7 Ways” in Vietnamese cuisine is generally a large format family style meal where various cuts of beef are served, obviously, in seven different ways. Almost always this will involve some thin sliced beef that’s grilled or dipped in a hotpot broth. There will also almost assuredly be a spiced ground/minced beef application, often wrapped in a betel leaf. And surely there will be a finishing dish of some form of starch with beef. But all throughout, there are “summer roll” rice wrappers on the table – along with various veggies, herbs and even fruits – for you to wrap up with the beef as you eat your way through all seven courses.
Madame Vo has done a great job of elevating that traditional “Bò 7 Món” concept, refining it, and presenting it to New Yorkers in the familiar grill table format. Here’s how they present their version of “Beef 7 Ways:”
1st Way: Eye Round Carpaccio
This was great. I’ve always thought that eye round would be perfect for a carpaccio application. This Viet style carpaccio was so delicious. Great pops from the herbs, spices and sauce.
2nd Way: Meatballs
These are technically not beef; they’re pork. But delicious nonetheless, and still part of the seven.
3rd & 4th Ways: Ground Beef Wrapped in Betel Leaf & Thin-Sliced Short Rib with Onion
These are both grilled, and the betel leaf rolls were my favorite of the seven courses. They have a great fresh green kick to them from the grilled leaf.
5th Way: Five-Spice Beef Tongue
This was awesome. They’re cooked through and make for the perfect filling in those rice wraps with veggies and herbs.
6th Way: Dry Aged Strip Steak with Marrow Butter
That marrow butter was absolute crack. Here’s a little video of it getting smeared on.
7th Way: Oxtail Congee
I really liked this. It was a close pick for my favorite of the meal.
Madame Vo BBQ offers this “Beef 7 Ways” for just $59/pp. I think that’s a great deal considering the quality of the beef, the amount you get, and of course the deliciousness of the whole experience.
We didn’t stop there, though. We also had some amazing seafood apps (not included with the “Beef 7 Ways”).
Giant Oyster with Uni Mayo
These things were huge, and that uni mayo was really addictive.
Maine Uni with Special Fish Sauce Beurre Blanc
Beautiful, sweet and delicious.
These were nice and big. Tasty heads too!
The tamarind sauce on this really made it unique.
Short Rib & Marrow Spring Rolls
Loved these. I could eat a dozen easily.
And because I’m like a wild animal, I wanted more beef. We shared the Pat LaFrieda dry-aged tomahawk rib eye. At $95 for about 40oz, this is a steal.
Really beautifully presented too.
I highly recommend this place. Go with a group so you can try lots of stuff. Trust me – you won’t be disappointed!
I came to Hunan Slurp with a group of friends, so we were able to sample a bunch of shit. Here’s what we tried:
The “Mala Beef” noodle dish was nice. It was slow cooked shank meat that was really tender. The egg noodles were perfectly cooked.
This dish contained pork and beef, and was served with rice noodles that were similarly perfectly cooked. Also shank meat, cooked very nicely.
This noodle soup was the spiciest on the menu, a pepper beef dish, which was really intense and flavorful. I wish this also contained the shank cut beef, as the stuff in this dish wasn’t as tender as the above dishes.
This next dish was cold “Hunan Charcuterie.” It contained bits of pig ear and tripe, among other nice off-cuts. This was my favorite dish of the day, and easily a contender for top dishes of 2019.
The smoked sausage plate was nice, but I wish it had more crisped texture to it.
This eggplant with “thousand year egg” filling was delicious. I’m generally not a big fan of eggplant, but I loved this. A must try here.
The beef skewer dish had a great cumin aroma, but ultimately the majority of the beef in the dish was chewy and tough. Pass on this one.
Most of the dishes were pretty spicy, so these sweet riblets were a great way to cool down and cut the heat.
We also tried stewed fish noodles, and a potato and duck egg dish (both not pictured) which were also very nice. But the last item I have here for you is winter melon, served warm and savory with ground pork. Very interesting.
Chouchou (pronounced “shoe-shoe”) is a relatively new (eight months old) Moroccon restaurant in Alphabet City. The name is a French term of endearment; a word that you might use to refer to your spouse, like “babe,” “doll face,” or “sweet tits.” Actually I think it translates more easily to “little love” or something. But I wanted to use the word “tits” there somehow, because I talk about breasts quite a bit in this review.
In any case, the restaurant is cozy inside, and decorated in such a way that it transports you to the middle east. With cavernous archways on the ceiling and faux-ancient stone walls, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped off the streets of NYC and into a quaint, rustic and romantic dining space in Morocco. Even the sweet mint tea that they serve in small glass cups smacks of authenticity.
The place boasts a very impressive wine menu, which can be seen via PDF HERE. They also have a small selection of really deliciously described craft beers.
The first thing that struck me about this joint, aside from the amazing decor, was the simplicity and focus of the food menu. There are a handful of couscous dishes and a handful of tagine dishes, utilizing largely the same set of proteins: chicken, lamb chops, kefta (seasoned meatballs), merguez (spicy lamb sausage), lobster, a veggie option, etc.
I came to learn that this is how Moroccans traditionally eat: a basic array of starters; some sort of meat item, either with couscous or slow cooked in a tagine; and simple desserts. I like it.
Each entree comes with a collection of starters or mezes included in the price.
Warm pita bread with baba ganoush, hummus, shakshuka, and harissa-spiced almonds, to be precise. Of these, my favorite was the hummus (left of the pita).
While I don’t believe the tagine dishes are actually cooked in tagines (health department and fire codes likely prevent this in NYC), they are presented in beautiful decorative tagines.
I tried the savory lemon and olive chicken tagine, as well as the sweeter prune and lamb tagine. Both were great. The chicken tagine came with a generous half chicken, bone-in. The skin was crisp, and the meat was tender and juicy – with the exception of the breast meat, which was slightly dry in parts. It happens.
I think if tagine cooking were happening in NYC, dry knockers would be a less likely outcome. Tented, closed-vessel cooking preserves juiciness and airborne vapors, while oven cooking involves a dry heat. That being the case, perhaps a Dutch oven technique would be better for these dishes.
While I enjoyed the savory flavors of the chicken tagine better than the sweet-ish flavors of the lamb tagine, I liked the juiciness and succulence of the lamb better. It was almost like a braise, perfectly cooked to fall-off-the-bone tenderness. No dryness whatsoever.
The couscous dishes come with a beautiful plate of couscous, your desired choice of protein, and a bowl of stew juice that contains potatoes, beef, lamb and peppers.
I tried the mixed protein option, called “royal.” This came with chicken, lamb chop, kefta and merguez.
All of the meats were good and juicy, again with the exception of the chicken being a bit dry in the jugs. But when you mix the meats together with the stew juice and couscous, there’s not much to worry about in terms of dry mammaries. It was delicious.
Desserts here are made in house, and consist of a variety of traditional Moroccan pastries and cookies. I was only able to try two – an almond pastry and an orange flavored cookie – but both were excellent.
Dry chicken hooters aside, I would definitely come back here again, and I highly recommend this place for a romantic date night. And again only parts of the chicken (boobs) were dry. The rest was perfect.
NOTE: A public relations professional invited me and a group of food writers to Chouchou to taste the food and review the place.
My wife and I went to Hanoi House with some friends. I wasn’t expecting such a great showing of Vietnamese food, as NYC is notoriously not that great for the cuisine. I was pleasantly surprised.
We started with a beef tongue sandwich that we split among the four of us. I didn’t shoot it, but man was it delicious. The tongue was braised and super tender, and dressed with chili, lime, cilantro, and a coconut curry type sauce. Just the right balance of savory, spicy and sweet. A must order.
We also shared an order of summer rolls, which were filled with shrimp, pork, herbs, and crispy egg roll skin (all inside the soft rice paper wrap). These were the best I’ve had in NYC (I also failed to get a photo of these – apologies).
The pho was fantastic. The broth was more robust and murky than other places I’ve been. While many pho bowl slingers strive for a clear, almost consomme-like broth, this place embraced the opposite. I could taste the herbs and spices that simmered for hours.
I added the marrow and braised oxtail into the mix, which upped the cost by $8, but it was totally worth it. This is currently my favorite bowl in NYC. Hands down.
My wife ordered this beautiful and delicious lobster noodle dish, which also had some pork roll in the mix as well. The noodles were perfectly cooked, and the portion size was generous, especially considering it was a good sized lobster.
I highly recommend this place for anyone looking to get their Vietnamese food fix.