Tag Archives: foodies

DBGB Whole Beast Feast: Pig


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.



DSC08017 crop




I even managed to convince some of the dinner guests to pose with the pig’s head. Here’s Doug:


Jesse (@scrumphsus):



Jeremy (@NYCFoodFOMO):


Jay (@TheDishelinGuide):


And Yuka (@TabelogUS):


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:

DBGB Jay Zygmunt

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:

DBGB Jesse Hsu

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.

299 Bowery
New York, NY 10003



Every so often you find a joint that blows all of your expectations for a particular dish out of the water. Zundo-ya is one of those places.


The folks at Tabelog just held a small tasting event at Zundo-ya’s first US location, nestled in the crux between Union Square and the East Village – literally right around the corner from Ippudo. While Ippudo is great, and may be the spot that’s on more peoples’ ramen radar, Zundo-ya is where all those people should actually be going instead. I’m dead serious. This is my new favorite ramen spot.


Zundo-ya has about 20 locations in Japan, but what makes them stand out here in the crowded NYC ramenscape is the concept of bowl customization. Very few places feature anything that has been truly customized by the diner outside of toppings and add-ons. Here, you can also designate how intense or rich you’d like your broth (thickness, pork fat flavor, etc) and which kind of noodle you prefer (thin, straight; thick, wavy). While many joints may occasionally allow you to swap out a noodle style from what’s listed on the menu, that first metric – broth intensity/richness – is absolutely key for true ramen aficionados.


All too often I order a bowl of tonkotsu ramen and what comes to the table is a watered down, thin, weak-flavored bowl of dish water. That’s pure crap, especially these days, when we seem to be regularly paying upwards of $15 for a bowl. That problem is solved here. Simply order your broth rich or super rich.


I went all-in, with the Zenbunose ramen, which is a tonkotsu ramen with all of the available toppings.


I ordered this thing super rich, and with thick wavy noodles.


While $18 is a bit steep for ramen, I feel this bowl is truly satisfying and fulfilling. It comes with an extra helping of super tender roasted and caramelized chashu pork, a full and deliciously cured soft boiled egg, scallions, bean sprouts, garlic chips, dried seaweed and a blob of spicy paste. The base level version of this, without all the extras, is just $13. That’s not bad at all.


The broth was thick, almost to the level of a velvety chowder or cream-based soup in texture. The fat and salt content wasn’t overwhelming, but it was most certainly present, which is exactly what I want from my ramen. This stuff’ll make you sweat, and it’ll make your heart rate spike, but it is so worth it. The noodles were perfectly cooked and had a good stretch/snap to them as well.

I cooled off with these two excellent Kagua beers. One was darker, less filtered and had a slightly hoppy flavor (the red label), while the other was light, easy to drink and a little less cloudy (white label).


Not only is the ramen great, but this joint also serves up some fantastic sides and salads. This first one comes with bits of pork and cured egg on the edge of the bowl. Really nice touch, and a smart use of ingredients that overlap with the contents of the ramen.


The spicy fried shrimp salad was highly addictive too. The shrimp were nicely cooked with a light and crunchy batter.


And take a look at these buns! These are the very delicious spicy ra-yu pork belly buns, but they also offer a sweeter teriyaki style as well (also good). I’m usually not psyched about bun items in general, but these were pretty good because there was enough meat stuffed inside to balance out the bun with a good ratio.


The stand out starter for me, though, was the karaage; crispy fried chicken. This chicken is so tender that it’ll make you want to stab someone. And what happens when you dip these babies into the little blob of spicy mayo and dry seasonings that come with an order or karaage? Nothing short of an intense flavor explosion in your pie-hole of a mouth.


We even tried a little bit of dessert. This was ice cream with a soft mochi-like rice cake. The ice cream tasted like a really good Carvel soft serve vanilla, which is high compliments since that is my favorite thing on the planet for dessert.


I’m really excited about this place. And so is Tabelog. And Zundo-ya is excited that us blogger fools are excited as well; so much so that they’re giving out free gyoza (fried dumplings) to anyone who comes in between now and August 15th, 2016 and mentions “Tabelog” when ordering. Do it. I know I’ll definitely be back, especially given the fact that, unlike so many other NYC ramen joints, this place actually has elbow room and a comfortable amount of dining space.

84 E 10th St
New York, NY 10003

Osteria del Principe

Tabelog hosted another great food event, this time at Osteria del Principe, an Italian cured meat-centric spot down by the Flatiron building.



The restaurant/store is the flagship location, and is run by Principe di San Daniele, a world class prosciutto manufacturer in Italy. So you know you’re getting top notch meats here when you eat.


Tabelog invited a bunch of us ass-kicking NYC food bloggers and reviewers to mix and mingle while tasting some really nice meats and wines. Here’s a menu of things we tasted:


As you can see from this sheet, we were asked to rate and judge the various sliced meats and wines:


First I created a nice cushioned base with a bite or two of freshly baked focaccia bread:


Here’s my second (or was it third?) plate of meat. I needed to try everything a few times to figure out my rankings.


I ultimately put the truffle ham in first place, followed by the 20-month prosciutto and mortadella right behind. Then the 16-month prosciutto, with the speck being at the bottom. Surprising! That truffle ham really had an amazing flavor that wasn’t overpowering. It was a cured meat.

Here are some shots of the two ham slicings. The ones with the brownish edge is the rosemary ham, and the other is the truffle ham:



This board has the speck on the left, and the mortadella on the right:


As you can see, there was a fancy old fashioned hand crank meat slicer set up with the 20-month prosciutto.






The slices were served in little paper cones:





I really couldn’t get enough of those. So good: soft, not too salty, and really nicely flavored. One of the gents from the Gotham Burger Social Club fashioned one meat cone into a lapel flower for his suit jacket. Brilliant!


So that was just the sliced meats that were laying around for our consumption. There was also a huge wheel of cheese that was being sliced/scraped and shoved into little brown paper bags for snacking. “Raspadura” Bella Lodi:




The tomato and burrata caprese salad was refreshing and light, with a great herb kick:



The prosciutto and melon was a perfect balance of sweet, savory and juicy all in one bite. These were amazing, not to mention gorgeously plated/presented:




This polenta was wrapped with speck and then baked until crispy. Absolutely delicious! I need to try making this at home now:


The grilled octopus skewers were a nice break from the pork overload. Wait.. is there even such a thing as pork overload? Anyway, they were warm and charred to a nice half-crisp texture, and accompanied by slices of grape tomato:


The slices of Piadina (bread portion) with porchetta inside were really awesome too. Especially when topped with some of the freshly scraped cheese. This meat item may have been the best of the day. I almost wish it was showcased differently, because I feel like it got missed by some of the other bloggers.


Lastly, the house-made tagliolino pasta was set in a light cream sauce and cooked with the 16-month prosciutto, then topped with a nice slice of it. Fucking amazing. The prosciutto was allowed to season the whole dish without any extras needed, other than some finely minced herbs and a little fresh pepper. So simple, yet so good.



All around awesome meal, and I was happy because it was extremely meat-centric. The wines were pretty good too, specifically the Ribolla Nera, which was a red wine that had robust flavor but was still lighter on the palette.


There were even some Italian cosmetic samples and creams handed out as parting gifts. I let my wife go for that. I was’t really interested.


27 E. 23rd St.
New York, NY 10010