Tag Archives: hells kitchen

Haru

My wife and I stopped in here on a weekend to try their happy hour menu.

We started with some drinks:

And then moved on to the food. Wings, shishito peppers, and four rolls: Haru wasabi, phoenix, Hell’s Kitchen, and spicy Titanic.

Everything was great, and we will definitely be back here again. The total bill for everything was just over $60. Not bad.

HARU SUSHI
859 9th Ave
New York, NY 10019

Anchor Bar

The other day while walking around our neighborhood, my wife and I noticed that Anchor Bar had opened. For those who don’t know, Anchor Bar up in Buffalo is supposed to be the place that created what we now know as “Buffalo Wings.” The Buffalo location has become quite the tourist trap, so I am told, and people like to bicker about which place is better: Anchor Bar or Duff’s.

Well, I’ve been to neither. But I have been to some pretty fantastic wings places here, like Bonnie’s Grill and International Wings Factory (my two favorites – Bonnie’s for traditional Buffalo style, and IWF for the vast array of amazing flavors and dry rubs). Some people tell me that Dan & John’s is great too.

Anyway, we decided to give Anchor Bar a try. We ordered three styles: Hot (top), Suicidal (middle) and Habanero Dry Rub (bottom).

I’m not sure if they’re weakening the spice levels for the pussies out there, but hot was more like a mild or medium to me.

I expected suicidal to destroy me. Instead it was just a more earthy and granular flavor that had the same level of heat as the hot flavor.

The habanero dry rub was the weakest in spice of the three, and at times it felt like the flavors didn’t penetrate into the meat. They were nice and crunchy though.

Overall the wings were good. Above average for sure. I still think I like Bonnie’s and IWF better, but this is a pretty solid spot and very convenient.

My favorite thing that we ate was the beef on weck. I hope you people realize how fucking difficult it was to fool autocorrect from making that say “beef on deck.” Fucking annoying bullshit. The sandwich was good here, particularly the bread (I’ve had better roast beef).

Weck is a special kind of roll that also hails from the Buffalo area, typically topped with thick grain salt and other seeds and spices. The roast beef is sliced thin and served hot on the sandwich, typically with nothing but horseradish. I sliced up the pickle spear that came with the sandwich and put that on there as well. And it may be blasphemous, but I’ve always thought this sandwich would kick serious ass with some melted cheddar on top.

The great thing about this item at Anchor Bar is that for $16 you can get the sandwich and five wings – the best of both Buffalo specialties in one meal. Give that a shot if you go.

ANCHOR BAR
327 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019

Soba Noodle Azuma

THIS IS MY 500th RESTAURANT REVIEW!

Not really a big deal, but I figured I would mention that just for the fuck of it.

My wife and I noticed this joint while walking around the ‘hood, and since we are always interested in trying new noodle joints, we figured we would give it a shot.

We started with an order of fried octopus balls – not ‘pus testicles, but, rather, fried spheres with a creamy octopus-based filling.

These were excellent. Super tender on the inside and crisp on the outside. Hot though, so careful when you pop these balls into your mouth.

I’ve been on a Japanese fried chicken kick lately, so the next thing we tried was their fried chicken appetizer. For just $6.50 this was a great deal. Lots of good, juicy, tender thigh meat with an excellent golden crisp batter on the outside.

The way to go here is ordering their combination platters. My wife got this combo deal that came with soba noodles, sashimi, tempura and some other nice bits.

You can choose hot or cold soba (she picked hot), and small, medium or large orders are all the same price (S=100g; M=200g; and L=300g). Pictured above is a large.

I ordered a combo that came with soba noodles and a chicken and egg rice dish.

I, too, ordered large and hot.

I think, though, the noodles weren’t the star of the show here, as odd as that seems. All the stuff AROUND the noodles was better. Maybe because we picked hot/soup style? Perhaps the best way to go is cold noodles or tsukemen style (you dip the noodles into concentrated and flavored broth/sauce).

One last pair of things to mention: the desserts. My wife’s combo came with a scoop of ice cream. They were out of black sesame so she picked green tea. It was good but not quite sweet enough for my tastes. I generally dislike all things green tea, so take that assessment with a grain of salt.

That said, I was intrigued by the idea of a green tea tira misu, so I had to order it.

It was amazing. The green tea wasn’t bitter – it was sweet. And when we combined the tira misu with the whipped cream and sweet red beans in one bite, the flavors were outstanding. I highly recommend this for dessert.

SOBA NOODLE AZUMA
251 W 55th St
New York, NY 10019

Wondee Siam II

Thai Town (Hell’s Kitchen) delivers again with Wondee Siam II. I believe there are three of four restaurants with the same name, but I’ve only been to two of them. This one, like the other, is good.

We started with Thai iced tea and Thai iced coffee. Addicting as fuck.

Then we had this really interesting ground shrimp, pork and crab meat thing. It was deep fried in a tofu skin wrapper (contrary to popular belief, I love tofu skin)

My wife had this delicious crispy duck salad dish – clearly the winner of the day.

I had a wide noodle dish with chicken and mixed veggies. Hit the spot.

WONDEE SIAM II
813 9th Ave
New York, NY 10019

Blue Seafood & Pizza

One Sunday afternoon my wife and I went on a hunt for oysters in the neighborhood. The first place we went to was closed for renovations (they usually have dollar oysters), but we always wanted to try this place ever since we saw it first open.

They had oysters, so we got our fix. Three east coast and three west coast, times two, so we could each try one of each variety.

They were all great and really fresh. The cost goes down as you order more, so this plate of a dozen came out to $3 each, or $36. A bit high considering we were starting off with the idea of paying $1 per oyster, but we were happy with the quality. A few of the varietals normally cost upwards of $4 a piece. We both liked the Kumamoto style the best.

Next up was their seafood pizza.

This elongated beauty of a pie was a bit pricey at $20, but also very tasty. I don’t mind paying up a bit if the quality is good. The only critique here is that the pie could have used some shaved parmesan cheese to finish at the end, and perhaps a sprinkling of some crispy prosciutto.

BLUE SEAFOOD & PIZZA
856 9th Ave
New York, NY 10019

Badshah Modern Indian

Badshah is a new modern Indian joint on 9th and 52nd that’s headed up by the former executive chef from Babu Ji, Charles Mani.

The restaurant is small, yet spacious and uncramped, unlike many joints in the area. The dining room is bright and airy, with whitewashed exposed brick and a great bar with excellent cocktails, mixed up by the joint’s talented and friendly bartender, Warren.

We tried the Mumbai Old Fashioned (whiskey with licorice and cardamom); the Indian Rose (mandarin orange vodka, peach, cranberry and rose petals); and the Sassy Lassi (mango lassi with coconut rum): All delicious.

Chef Charles is doing some great things here! My wife and I came in for a press meal, so we were able to sample a lot of items from the menu. Here’s a rundown of the meal:

The meal opened with these bite-sized, crispy street snacks that were filled with chutney. A great way to wake up the taste buds.

Our first app was the cauliflower. Chef Charles is known for this dish, which received a lot of food media attention when it was on the menu at Babu Ji. It’s satiating, filling and really delicious. It almost reminds me of something like the flavors you get from a really satisfying order of General Tso’s chicken, only with a more enjoyable sauce, a lighter feel and much less greasy.

Next was the potato and pea samosas with fenugreek sauce. Man. That sauce is something else! So deeply rich with flavors, and really velvety in texture. Winning app dish for me!

The third app was the southern style mussels. At this point in the meal I knew this chef was a master, because every sauce he brought out to us was incredible. I feel like that’s the ultimate sign of a great chef. Anyone can learn to cook a protein properly. But sauce work is like an art.

We drank this stuff up, while intermittently dunking the garlic naan into the remainder.

And let me tell you something about the naan: It’s the best I’ve ever had. It was light, airy and crispy, yet pillow-soft. I was blown away by this stuff. Just perfect in every way. We tried both the regular and the garlic, and both were awesome.

Our first entree was the salmon with coconut curry. The salmon was cooked perfectly. It had a char and crisp on the outside, but nice and pink/orange through the center. The plating was beautiful, because the fish wasn’t buried in the curry, but, rather, sitting nicely on top. The curry (which is like a sauce) was yet again top notch quality. It was silky smooth, creamy, and mild yet dense with flavor.

Our second entree was the cardamom and clove masala lamb chops. These babies were so tender and flavorful. The spices didn’t overpower the protein, which often happens with aggressive Indian oven-cooked or grilled proteins. They had just the right amount of spice to compliment and highlight the flavor of the lamb.

Finally, we enjoyed some homemade cardamom and pistachio ice cream. I loved the flavors here, and there were some nice pieces of pistachio mixed in.

I’m really happy this place is in my neighborhood. I’ll be going back to try the butter chicken, chicken tikka and onion seed naan for sure, among other menu items. Badshah means “Great King.” Well, this place has some Great fuc-King food! Go give it a shot.

UPDATE AUGUST 2017

I came back in with a group of friends to celebrate a birthday. We all tried the tasting menu, and it was excellent.

Check out the beautiful plating.

The Tandoori chicken was amazingly flavorful and tender.

And Chef Charles brought out a new item from his upcoming seasonal menu.

BADSHAH
788 9th Ave
New York, NY 10019

Crispin’s

My wife and I grabbed a Groupon for this place that scored us a bottle of wine, a shared app, two entrees and two desserts.

When we stepped into this joint it felt like we had stepped into a wine bar meat shop in Rome. The warm wood decor was inviting and cozy, and starting our meal with some red wine and salumi just brought us right back to our Italy vacation.

There were no offensive limits to what we could choose from the wine and app selections, by the way. And the meats were high quality and consisted of salami, prosciutto, mortadella and brasaeola. This was my favorite item of the night.

Our entrees were both good, but my wife’s lamb shank was the winner between the two. We were limited in our selection to items that were listed for $24 or less.

Interesting though – instead of a bed of orzo, as is traditional, this featured as bed of roughly mashed potatoes. They were tasty.

I had a pork chop. It was pretty big at 16oz, T-bone style.

It was nicely cooked and tender.

For dessert we did a chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream, and panna cotta. The panna cotta was great. Super smooth, light and flavorful.

Overall this is a good deal and I recommend picking up the Groupon if they’re still offering it.

CRISPIN’S
764 10th Ave
New York, NY 10019

Chai Thai Kitchen

My wife and I came in here for a quick meal after passing by for two years and wondering if it was any good. The quick verdict: it was!

We started with these sweet chicken and peanut dumplings.

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I don’t mean “sweet” in the way a dude would say after waking up with an awesome tattoo after a drunk night out.

I mean “Sweet” in the actual flavor sensation. The peanuts had an almost honey roasted type of sweetness to them.

My wife nabbed this spicy coconut chicken curry noodle dish, which was topped with crispy fried “bird’s nest” noodles as well. Usually these dishes are way too “sweet” for me, but this was really good.

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It came with rice (unless that was my dish that came with rice?), but might have benefitted from a hunk of French bread for dipping. But I think that’s more of a Vietnamese thing than a Thai thing.

I went with a dish that really jumped off the menu at me, because it reminded me of the fried whole fish we had in Vietnam that I loved so much.

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The reason why is because of the sauce that comes with it. It’s fish sauce, spiced up with cilantro, peppers red onions and scallions.

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The fish was fried to a perfect golden crisp, and the bones were pretty easy to maneuver for the most part.

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The meat was tender, juicy and soft on the inside, and crispy on the outside – just how I like it.

Oh and one of the cool things about this joint is a nice pond up front that circulates water around and has little floating flowers.

CHAI THAI KITCHEN
930 8th Ave
New York, NY 10019

Uncle Jack’s (west side)

Uncle Jack’s (west side) overall score: 83

My wife and I came here to use a Groupon that we purchased, which gave us a five-course steak dinner for two for just $99.

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Flavor: 7
We had the options to choose a filet and a strip as our entrees, so that’s how we rolled. Both came in at 7/10 for flavor. They were cooked properly to medium rare, they had a good crust and sear on the outside, and they were seasoned properly.

Filet:

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Strip:

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I think they just lacked flavor due to the fact that they were such lean cuts. As a steak man, I tend to always go with a rib eye, which generally has more marbling, more fat, and therefore more flavor. For this reason, when cooking cuts like tenderloin and strip loin, many steakhouses will be quite liberal in their use of butter. Butter adds fat flavor back into the beef, and it triggers all sorts of cum-inducing sensations that start at your taste buds and end at the tip of your rock-hard cock. I didn’t taste too much butter at all, so my dick remained pretty flaccid throughout the meal. I did taste soy, which was nice, but ultimately it competed with the steaks natural earthy and aged flavor qualities. As a result, the steaks were just a little flat, and lacked flavor depth. Most of the score here is for good execution on the cook temperature and sear.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
Uncle Jack’s has a really great selection of USDA Prime and dry-aged beef. Top notch stuff. There’s an elephant’s shitload of variety in terms of sizing, bones, cuts and even some specialty stuff like wagyu and kobe. An elephant shits large loads. That’s why I used that analogy there.

Portion Size & Plating: 10
The filet comes in three styles:  puss-bag 8oz, 12oz, or manly 20oz bone-in tenderloin. I must say, ordering the big tenderloin here is not a pussy move.  A little kid had one next to us and I felt like a rimmed out gaping asshole for sharing two steaks between me and my wife that, when combined in weight, added up to his one cut. That kid is going to grow up to crush so much pussy that he will STILL be crushing pussy while he rests between bouts of crushing pussy. The ribeye is 24oz (bone-in), the strips are 12oz or 16oz boneless, and the porterhouses start at 44oz (22oz pp). They also offer a cote de boeuf 44oz rib eye for two. Everything is pretty much on the large side here, which is good, and similar to Lex Steele’s penis. They even offer some wagyu and kobe selections as well. TONS of variety.

Price: 9
Since we had that great Groupon, this was a bargain. While it wasn’t the best steak we’ve had, I still feel that we got a good bang for our buck here.

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Bar: 8
The bar is perpendicular to the windows on the right as you walk in, but there are a few high tops along the windows for people watching. The location, 9th avenue and 34th/35th street, is not the best for hanging out, as it is close to what I call “the armpit of the city” (the Penn Station and Port Authority areas), but the bar does mix up some nice cocktails. Although the waiter or bartender got my martini order wrong (see service section below), it still tasted great.

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Specials and Other Meats: 8
There were no specials read to us that I can recall (probably because they knew we were eating from the Groupon menu), but they do offer pork, lamb and chicken for people who have too much estrogen in their bodies to properly enjoy beef like real men with dicks between their legs.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
We had baked clams and a crab cake to start.

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I like that they give you eight clams per order (they split the clams up between us when they served them). The spicy butter and lemon breadcrumb stuffing was good, and the clams were whole, quality Little Necks, not chopped up cherrystones or bait clams that were then re-inserted into a clam shell that wasn’t its own. As for the crab cake, we loved the sauce in which it was served. It was like a reduced crab bisque soup mixed with vodka sauce. Very flavorful, and the top of the cake had a great crispy crust.

Our salads were next. My wife went with the farmers mixed greens. Some of the greens were soggy, wilted and probably rotten, so that was a bummer. Otherwise the salad had great flavor from the cranberries and pine nuts, and it was well dressed, so that’s a plus. My caesar was pretty standard.

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On the side we had creamed spinach and mashed potatoes.

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That pic is just a combined plate that I was eating from, not the full size portions. These were both pretty good, but nothing too stand out. I liked the potatoes better, which is reverse from my usual preference when it comes to these sides.

Seafood Selection: 8
There’s tuna, salmon, “day boat fresh catch” and surf & turf (lobster tail, shrimp or crab oscar with either a filet or strip). That’s a decent amount of shit in addition to the standard shellfish on the app menu. But if you’re ordering seafood for your main course at a steakhouse, you better have tits and a vagina, otherwise you are pretty much an asshole. Go home.

Service: 7
Unfortunately we had some slow service here. The staff was all nice, pleasant and courteous, but we found ourselves waiting a while to get drinks and order food. It picked up a bit after that, but it was slow to start. This was a little odd since the place wasn’t too crowded when we went at 6pm. A few other things I found to be odd or a bit off: (1) The steak sauce doesn’t come out to the table with the steak. You have to ask for it. We didn’t get sauce (not a problem, but I always like to taste it), and I overheard another table asking for it since they didn’t get it either. (2) Also there was no bread basket. Finally, (3) this time I ordered my martini on the rocks instead of up. They made it up instead. Not that big of a deal, but figured I’d mention it. I didn’t send it back, and it still tasted great.

Ambiance: 8
This joint is old school, where waiters wear bow ties, tables are covered in white cloth, and the decor consists of wood paneling, large mirrors, exposed brick, ornate chandeliers and a patterned tin ceiling. It’s a warm and inviting atmosphere, yet classy and elegant, without being pretentious. It’s a classic steakhouse look and feel.

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UNCLE JACK’S (WEST SIDE)
440 9th Ave
New York, NY 10001

Wondee Siam

Once of the mainstays in Thai Town is Wondee Siam. This place has multiple locations, actually.

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My coworker and I came here, to the 9th Avenue and 52nd Street location, for a quick $8 lunch during a slow day at work. Each lunch special comes with a pair of vegetable spring rolls to start.

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Not bad. Good crisp, not too oily, but just a bit too temperature hot. Careful you don’t burn your mouth.

I got the pad see ew, which I believe is commonly referred to as “drunken noodle.” It is a wide, flat noodle, stir fried with Chinese broccoli and tossed with a choice of protein. I went with chicken.

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This was pretty good! For $8 you really can’t go wrong. The sauce clung to the noodles and chicken, the dish was not greasy, and the broccolini was cooked properly. I’d hit this joint again most definitely.

My coworker, however, might not be as keen on returning. He ate the pad thai, and said he shit his brains out promptly upon returning to the office. Oh well. I was fine.

WONDEE SIAM
792 9th Ave
New York, NY 10019