This joint dates back to 1958, when it was called La Lechonera. In 1978 it became Cibao, and it remains a neighborhood icon to this day.
I’ve walked by it many times, and always wanted to try it. There are a lot of great Hispanic and Latin American food places nearby, like Castillo de Jagua (I and II), Casa Adela, and Castillo de Manhattan. I’ve tried all of those, and now I’ve finally made it to Cibao for some grub.
Everything was tasty. Here’s what we tried:
First up was the Cuban sandwich. So crisp and tasty. Great ratio of meat to mayo to pickles to cheese. This is a win, especially at just $9.
Next, the bone-in chicken chicharrones. The only way to get them! Juicy inside, golden brown outside and with very flavorful, super crispy skin. Perfect! I want to order the larger format fried chicken items next time to see how they compare.
The Pernil was a little dry, but overall still really tasty. Best for sandwiches that have cheese, pickles and mayo, to juicy it up a little bit. Or maybe they could serve this with a little cup of the roasting juices/drippings.
The sides were good too. We tried the green plantains, yellow rice and beans. Platano power!
We washed it all down with some delicious Morir Sonando (orange juice and milk drink).
I will definitely be back here again for the fried chicken and mofongo, and I’ll likely order it for delivery as well. The Sancocho is only offered on specific days, so I’ll definitely have to go for that.
My wife and I have wanted to try out this cocktail bar and live music lounge for a while. We finally made it in for an early dinner yesterday.
Quick take-aways: Delicious cocktails and good comfort food.
We really liked the broiled oysters and the french fries, as well as the ice cream sundae. The rest was just okay.
The snails were a bit under-seasoned and lacked that “snap” texture.
We also tried the shrimp and crab cake special. The shrimp were slightly overcooked and the batter on the crab cake needed work (no texture). The salad with fried green tomato was really nice though.
The batter on the fried chicken was too hard, but the meat was cooked nicely. The Voodoo seasoned fries were great.
Their coffee-based dessert cocktails are incredible. They have two, and each one is extremely unique, with one even having carrot juice espresso and tahini in it. Wild. They paired really well with the ice cream sundae.
We will be back for cocktails and live music, for sure. But maybe we’ll stick to the oysters and fries in terms of food.
This little fried chicken and fried bread joint serves up some great food. We tried the apple fritter, the pistachio glazed donut, and a chicken sandwich. We went a little past the morning rush, so the donuts had lost their warmth. Still great though. The apple fritter was the winner between the two donuts here.
The chicken sandwich was awesome. I only wish I had added cheese to this, but otherwise it was perfectly crafted. A simple classic! I could eat this every day.
DO-RITE DONUTS & CHICKEN
233 E Erie St
Chicago, IL 60611
Kjun is a Korean/Cajun fusion food concept that offers delivery service around NYC. They will soon reopen a physical location, but for now, the delivery is thoughtfully packaged, arrives hot, and travels well – nothing soggy, everything remains crisp that needs to.
We tried the fried chicken, ribs, and pork belly lettuce wraps. All were awesome. I especially liked the sides like the noodles and pickled watermelon rinds. Delicious food! Can’t wait to try their hanger steak dishes next.
Quality Bistro opened back in January, if I recall, right when I started a hellish new job with insane demands on my time. Then, of course, the entire city went into lockdown from Covid-19. Somehow my work-life balance got even worse. I’m only just now finally beginning to break away from the +60 hours/week grip of this gig, to get back out there and review restaurants for you savage bastards.
Anyway, the point of that bullshit preface is really just to say that I’m excited to finally write about a new(ish) joint that I’ve tried, especially one that’s serving some awesome food.
Here’s my quick video run down of those spots, if you haven’t seen it:
First of all, this new place, Quality Bistro, is totally decked out. This is easily the most gorgeously decorated space in the entire Quality Branded suite of restaurants. High ceilings, beautiful booths, decor and tables – really on another level. They spared no expense. So when you go here, make sure you request a table inside. I recommend the booths in the room on the left when you walk in. The bar is sick too (hopefully some day soon we will be allowed to sit at one again).
The menu is decidedly French, which makes sense given the “bistro” restaurant name. But like all their other restaurants, they are aggressively beef-forward. I wouldn’t call them a steakhouse, per se, but they get very close to it. They offered five steak cuts when I was there: a filet mignon, a strip, a bavette, a tomahawk and a “cote de boeuf” rib eye for two. We went with the tomahawk, but let me run through the other stuff we tried.
We started with the escargots and the crab cake. The escargots are probably some of the best I’ve had in the city, rivaling Paul Denamiel’s at Le Rivage. Very close competition! And they’re in the shell too, which I love. Order these, and get a dozen because you save $10 when you jump from a half ($19) to a full dozen ($29).
The crab cake is massive. It’s about the size of an 8oz burger patty, thick too. Super crisp, great sauce. I think this would be amazing as a lunch sandwich with pickled green tomato on a brioche bun or a croissant, with a bit more green on top. Absolutely delicious.
Our mid course was the prime tomahawk. This comes slathered with Rogue Creamery smokey blue cheese – a TON of it!
The smell coming off of this thing was so amazing. It filled the massive dining room with funk.
The cook temp was a perfect medium rare. So juicy, so tender, and so packed with flavor. This is an easy 9/10. I stripped the fucker clean!
We chased that with the corn custard brûlée. I had high hopes for this, but it fell short for two reasons: (1) The inside was less custard and more clumpy scrambled egg. This is usually a turn off for me, but the flavor was really good, so I still devoured it. And (2), a bit heavy on the caramelized sugar on top. Too thick for my liking. The flake salt, however, really made the flavors on this pop. I can see this side being a star with a bit more fine tuning.
*SEE UPDATED REVIEW NOTES BELOW!*
Our third course was the Moroccan fried chicken. They serve a whole bird for two in a beautiful tagine with fresh cilantro, Moroccan pancakes and a trio of dipping sauces (spicy honey, Moroccan cilantro chimichurri and citrus yogurt).
The breading is really nicely spiced, with great middle eastern earthiness and aromas.
Absolutely jerkworthy. I’d get this again in a heartbeat. In fact, I’m glad we ordered big, because we took more than half of it home. I’m about to eat the left overs right now, and I’m psyched!
Last, we had the apple tart sundae with cinnamon ice cream. This was really good, and big enough to share with your date at just $12. The cinnamon ice cream tasted like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, my absolute favorite cereal of all time!
I guess that about does it for now. I plan to go back and try some of the other cuts, particularly the bavette frites, since that’s a little less common on menus. Definitely give this place a shot. Gaetano, Scott and Roger will treat you right. They provide amazing, clean service here, and you’ll feel safely spaced apart and very comfortable. Can’t believe I have to even mention such things right now…
My wife and I went back for round two, and tried a bunch more stuff.
For apps, we tried the taste flame, which is the joint’s take on Detroit style pizza + bread service. This was incredible!
Probably my favorite app here so far though, is this tuna carpaccio. Spicy, fresh, and deliciously refreshing.
These jambon beurre bites are pretty damn tasty as well.
This time, my wife went with the branzino. This was perfectly cooked and very flavorful. It comes with a choice of either salad or fries.
I went with the bavette, and also went with the French fries option.
They developed a great char on the outside…
While maintaining a perfect cook temp on the inside…
This was a solid 8/10. Really nicely executed.
On the side, we gave the corn brûlée another spin, and MAN were we glad that we did. As I expected, with the improvements I outlined above, this dish was a star. Much nicer texture inside (real custard-like), and lighter on the sugar top. PERFECT!
So that’s two steaks down, three to go: filet, strip, and rib eye for two. I’LL BE BACK!
Strip steak has a mild aged flavor, but a really nice peppercorn crust. Perfectly cooked throughout. 8/10.
Rib eye for two is great – a solid 8/10.
Lemon chicken is a sleeper here. Amazing dish!
Also really loved the glass for the French Bird cocktail. They should sell them!
It’s been a while since I’ve been out to eat at a place I haven’t yet tried, and that means it’s been a while since I’ve posted a review. Well, here is my latest and greatest.
Brad’s Burgers and BBQ is a small spot on the Upper West Side that slings burgers and BBQ, as you might have guessed from the name. I tried a few of the BBQ-sided items on my visit last week.
Their brisket platter is different from what you normally expect from a BBQ joint. Here, the brisket is shredded instead of sliced, and it’s already hit with some vinegar-based BBQ sauce. I guess you can call it “pulled beef.”
Despite being a fan of the more traditional sliced style, this was fine. The meat was cooked nicely, and it had nice flavor to it. The cole slaw was good (I usually don’t like coleslaw much), and the waffle fries were perfectly crisped.
The corn bread was standard issue, but we also tried the Mexican corn on the side. This just needed a hit of some salt and pepper to make it pop. Perhaps a little jalapeño heat would have helped too.
The pulled pork sandwich was hearty. It comes dressed with sliced pickles, tangy sauce and coleslaw.
The star of the meal, however, was the fried chicken sandwich. This was marketed as spicy, but it didn’t bring much heat. However, it did bring some great flavor and textures. Happy to report they use thigh meat for this baby. This comes with shredded lettuce, tomato, pickles, sautéed onion and special sauce.
We also tried their coconut cake, which was almost like a cross between cake and a cookie in terms of density and flavor. The cream cheese frosting was nice.
This place is no Hometown, Fette Sau or Pig Beach, but it should get the job done if you’re in need of a fix and don’t feel like traveling all the way to Brooklyn for some ‘cue.
BRAD’S BURGERS & BBQ
522 A Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10024