Tag Archives: lamb

Little Pepper

We hitched a ride out to Little Pepper in Queens with another foodie couple who has been there a bunch of times. We tried a lot of shit, so I’m gonna just get right into it.

This Szechuan style pork sausage was packed with flavor and ate like dry salumi with a kick!

The sliced pork belly in chili garlic sauce was probably one of the best items of the night. That sauce was dynamite.

My favorite item of the meal, though, was the shrimp. “Prawn with chili pepper” is what to order on the menu. The lightly fried crisp batter on the outside gave this such an amazing texture. I could eat buckets.

The lotus root was a great veg item for the side, as were the string beans.

The tea smoked duck lacked smoke or tea flavor, and was a bit on the dry side. But it was really flavorful and still very tender.

The scallion fried rice doesn’t look like much, but it’s a meal in itself for sure. It’s really delicious, and it sure as fuck beats regular white rice. So get this for all your rice eating needs (to soak up the ma-po sauce).

Speaking of ma-po, their tofu dish was excellent!

Another classic done well are the dan dan noodles. Get these.

One of the more surprising dishes was the pork meatballs. These were tender, soft and gingery flavored. A little more on the sweet side when compared to some of the spicy items we tried.

Finally, the spicy and tingly cumin lamb dish was really nice. The lamb is thin sliced and tossed with tin slices of veg and onions. Really earthy and flavorful.

This place is definitely a banger. With the abundance of spots nearby in Chinatown, however, I’m not sure how often I would be back here in Queens. I do highly recommend it though.

LITTLE PEPPER
18-24 College Point Blvd
College Point, NY 11356

Pappas Taverna

First, check out my Ride & Review video HERE:

This joint is beautiful inside.

It’s part of the Dream Hospitality group (Dream hotels, etc), so they really went all out. It’s huge, and at night there are belly dancers, fire shows, a DJ… It becomes a nightlife spot.

Nice cocktails to start, all Greek flavor inspired and named, like the Hera Spritz.

We started with the Pappas Chips, which are thin slices of eggplant and zucchini, fried and served with yogurt sauce.

I expected these to be a bit more crispy, but they were still tasty.

The grilled octopus was incredible. Probably one of the best I’ve had. Super tender.

The boneless rib eye was cooked perfectly and had a nice Greek flavor profile of spices and herbs. 8/10.

This lamb shank was the winning dish, though.

There had to be a pound or more of orzo in that pot, and the meat just fell off the bone. So tender, juicy and flavorful.

For dessert, we tried the baklava and the orange custard. Both really great, not too sweet, and large enough to share.

I would definitely go back!

PAPPAS TAVERNA
105 MacDougal St
New York, NY 10012

Centurion

First, check out my kickass Ride & Review video HERE:

If you haven’t heard about this place, it’s a very exclusive Amex Black card-holders joint. You CAN get access to it you have an Amex Platinum card, which my wife has. We were able to snag a reservation for 6:30PM on a Friday, and the experience was incredible. Seriously – watch the video above for the full effect.

We started with some cocktails that we really enjoyed. The stand out for me was the incredibly beautiful and delicious Carbon Martini, made with squid ink!

Our apps were a pair of tartare dishes. Table side wagyu beef tartare, and tuna tartare. Both incredible!

Next, we shared a wagyu burger. This was perfect. Thin slices of tomato, onion, pickles and just a single leaf of Bibb lettuce. Crispy bacon. Melty cheese and a special sauce. Perfect cook temp.

For entrees, we had lamb loin and aged strip steak (Snake River Farms). Both beautifully plated. The strip was 45-days aged, and 10oz.

I think we both liked the lamb slightly better. It came with a killer lamb sausage meatball wrapped in spinach (watch the video). Steak 9/10. Lamb 10/10.

For dessert we had a Lebanese pistachio milk flan called mouhalabieh, and a vanilla eclair. Both great.

Excellent table bread and butter here.

Some of the incredible views:

If you ever have the opportunity to dine or have drinks here, I highly recommend it. It’s definitely worth throwing on your bucket list.

CENTURION LOUNGE
1 Vanderbilt Ave
55th Floor
New York, NY 10017

Casino

Check out my Ride & Review video HERE:

This little Italian joint opened up down by us on East Broadway, and we were excited to try it out. The cocktails are all great, and the bar is stacked with lots of amari.

We tried three starters: the endive salad, the prawns and the fried artichoke. These were all fantastic; seriously one better than the next. These items are every day kind of items. They’re that good!

This smoked lamb ragu pappardelle was BONKERS!!! The pasta ate sort of like hand pulled noodles. A bit broken up in parts, but I would eat this by the bucket load. Amazing.

The dry aged duck was a bit of a let down. Not terrible by any means, but it was over seasoned, the skin was not crisp enough, and the flesh was a bit tough in parts. A 6/10. Maybe 7 on a good day. One half/slice was definitely better than the other.

This “crespelle” was sort of like a vegetable lasagna, and it was absolutely delicious. I was shocked at how much I liked this, considering it was utterly meatless.

For dessert we shared the midnight cake, which was definitely more like a mousse than a cake. We loved it. That little blob of white is creme fresche.

I would definitely go back, especially for those starters and the pasta dishes. They have a t-bone on the menu, so I’ll eventually have to try that as well.

UPDATE 7/20/2023

I had the steak!

This is an easy 9/10 and it is in the running for a best bite of 2023. The age was perfect on it, super tender on the filet side, nice texture on the strip side with no connective tissue (a center cut). Beautiful.

CASINO
171 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002

Cornelius

Cornelius is a new French and American style joint in Grand Central. My wife and I came in to give it a try, as the menu looked pretty incredible.

We started with some cocktails, all of which were killer. My favorites were the Sazerac (not pictured) and the caviar martini. If you have some time before you start to eat, grab the espresso old fashioned. That also works well with dessert too though.

We started with this foie gras terrine, which wasn’t on the menu. This is basically delicious meat butter, and it would also pair well with their cheese plate. We had that for dessert.

Next up was the beef tartare. This is made from hand cut prime tenderloin, but the bump of caviar is extra/not standard. I really loved this, and it’s definitely large enough to eat as a main course.

We shared this beautiful 28oz, 30-day dry aged NY strip/shell steak on the bone.

The sauce is a velvety and mild Hollandaise, and draped over the bone is a nice portion of sautéed broccoli rabe. On top, shaved Perigord black truffle. 9/10 – very tender, well rested, and great aged flavor coming through on that evenly browned crust.

Of course we didn’t stop there. These two dishes were both beautiful and well executed, but the winner of the night goes to the duck leg confit. The lamb collops of tenderloin were perfect, it’s just that the duck was masterfully prepared, The meat was so tender and well seasoned/balanced. And with a huge bed of lentils underneath, it was filling as well. Make sure you order that!

For dessert, along with the cheese plate up above, we had these incredible dolce de leche donuts. WOW! I was actually shoving some of the currant jelly into the hole to make them even more decadent.

This place is crazy good, and I really can’t wait to go back to try the chateaubriand for two and a few other items that look great.

CORNELIUS
89 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017

Barrio Chino

My wife and I stopped in this little joint for dinner last week, and we really enjoyed it.

We started with aguachile verde and ceviche, both of which were great, although I would have preferred some additional tortilla chips to pick up all that tasty goodness.

For our mains, we ordered enchiladas verde and lamb barbacoa. Both were excellent, but the shredded, slow roasted lamb was amazing. So much rich, earthy flavor. Again, more tortillas would have made this perfect.

We will definitely be back here again – I need better pics!

BARRIO CHINO
253 Broome St
New York, NY 10002

Essex Pearl

This place is incredible!

My wife and I have been dying to come here ever since we saw them setting up shop at Market Line soon after we moved in. It’s a beautiful seafood bar, done up really fancy as a place you’d love to just sit and have a cocktail, but also with open view to the kitchen and prep stations for all the delicious food.

We tried a lot of shit, so let me get right into it.

Raw littleneck clams topped with crispy shallots and a fish sauce mignonette. Perfect way to open up the meal. Pair this with their pickled ginger, shochu and gin martini.

Dry aged rib eye tartare, coarse cut. So tender and flavorful! The shrimp chips make for a perfect vehicle for mouth entry, and they add a great textural crunch.

Cumin lamb belly skewers. I really loved these. If you love cumin lamb noodles at places like Xian Famous, you need to try this. It’s LAMB BACON!

Tiger prawns. You’ll want to drink the sauce! This item was the whole reason my wife wanted to go, and it really delivered. It was her favorite dish (along with the hamachi collar).

Crispy baby octopus with Thai lemongrass curry and fried Thai basil. Ask for a small bowl of rice so none of that curry goes to waste!

The grilled pork jowls were next. This was probably my favorite of the meal. It comes with a lime pepper sauce that acts like a Carolina style vinegar BBQ sauce, almost, but Asian style as lime and pepper are common in places like Vietnam and Cambodia. It cuts the fat of the jowls so perfectly I can’t even describe it properly!

Turmeric dill hamachi collar. This is so delicious and large, it’s enough to share among two people. Light, flavorful, and amazingly aromatic.

Laotian ginger pork sausage over garlic noodles. WOW! The sausage is made in house and it’s so fucking good!

We washed it all down with this watermelon and lychee slushee. So refreshing and just the right amount of natural sweetness.

I can’t wait to go back and try the rest of the menu, especially their surf and turf!

ESSEX PEARL
88 Essex Street
Cellar Level
New York, NY 10002

Dhamaka

My wife and I tried Dhamaka last night, using a gift certificate that our friends gave us as a housewarming.

We started with some of their delicious cocktails, and then moved right into some meaty apps. The first thing that came out was my favorite item of the meal – lamb ribs!

These had such awesome flavor and tenderness. The mint chutney that came with it is something they should sell by the jar!

Next up, smoked goat belly. This was cleverly presented in a tiny barrel smoker:

It was a bit too aggressive on the salt level, but over all we loved it. It was similar to some kofta / meatball skewer dishes that we’ve had.

These prawns were a little bit overcooked, as they were difficult to pull from the shell. They were spicy and really tasty, however. Especially the heads.

Our first main was the stewed mutton dish. They smush an entire bulb of roasted garlic into this, paper and all, so be prepared for dragon breath as well as picking garlic paper out of your bites of food! The dragon breath wasn’t so bad actually, but I wish they somehow removed the paper first.

Our other main was this delicious chicken and rice dish.

The chicken is bone-in, so the meat remains really juicy and tender. The ]rice reminded me of a really tasty, elevated rice-a-roni! Love that stuff.

That about covers it. We will definitely be eating here again!

Dhamaka
119 Delancey St
New York, NY 10002

Gupshup

Gupshup is an awesome Indian joint in Union Square that serves up some amazing meat-centric items.

Their pepper beef appetizer is one of the best things I’ve eaten so far this year, and I’ve been on a serious meat binge. Super tender, great spice levels, lots of freshness popping from the greens and pickled radish, all delivered on a light, crisp paratha. I can’t get enough of this dish!

Their spicy double lamb cheeseburger is really great too. There’s a hint of mint chutney for brightness, and a wild special sauce slathered onto the underside of the top brioche bun.

Cooked to a perfect medium rare, and paired with their magic masala shoestring fries, you can’t go wrong!

But the real attention grabber here is their large format roasted leg of lamb.

This is 3.5lbs of juicy, tender, perfectly roasted lamb, accompanied by lamb jus, crispy roasted potatoes, pickled red onion, roasted cipollini onion, roasted garlic and paratha for making tacos.

At just $75 this platter will feed three to four people without breaking the bank. That’s a steal! You just need to give the restaurant a 24-hour advance notice if you want this, since it takes some extra time to prepare it just right. I could eat this every week.

Also worth mentioning; fantastic cocktails here, with Indian flavor profiles worked into the mixology. Really delicious. Pictured below is a gin, chai and cardamom martini, and a bourbon cocktail that was going down WAY too easily.

Oh and check this out – The Foodie Magician!

GUPSHUP
115 E 18th St
New York, NY 10003

Red Meat Lover’s Club “Feast of the Beasts”

The Red Meat Lover’s Club is a group of carnivores that hosts meaty events all over the place, and, in the process, the club raises money for charities through both ticket sales and auctions during the events.

I attended their “Feast of the Beasts” event, which was held at The Breslin and benefitted the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club. The menu was pretty incredible.

We started with passed bites and sips of fine whiskey, and then moved on to the main part of the meal.

First was a pair of roasted, crispy skin suckling pigs.

Absolutely delicious, especially the cheeks:

Then we moved on to lamb shanks. Endless amounts of lamb shanks…

But the main event was the roasted steamship round.

Check out this video:

The outer bits had so much great dry-aged flavor, and I was shocked at how perfectly cooked the inside was: a nice medium rare.

The sides were great too, roasted carrots, spicy broccoli rabe and crispy potato gratin.

I will definitely be hitting more of these events in the future, and you should too! They even sent me home with some cigars.