Tag Archives: large format

Bo Ssam Feast

I recently teamed up with @LetsDutch to organize a large format meal and promote the awesome service that they provide for their users. In case you missed it last time, I’ll explain a little bit about what Let’s Dutch is again.

Have you ever wanted to partake in a group experience but had trouble rallying your friends to join? Well, now you don’t have to miss out on that event. Let’s Dutch allows you to host or join in group events, curate a guest list and securely pay for things ahead of time. It can be used on anything from super luxurious vacations to simple discounted group rate experiences around town.

You’re essentially crowdfunding your fun, sharing the experience and splitting the cost.

The cool part is that you get to know people with similar interests. For example, in the two large format dinners I’ve done through Let’s Dutch, I’ve cultivated at least a half a dozen friendships.

So for this “meating” of the Carcass Club, we had a beast feast with some pork shoulder at Momofuku Ssam Bar. This is known as their large format Bo Ssam feast, which feeds 6-10 people. Let’s Dutch President Vincent Paradiso and I stacked the seats with four or five Instagram influencers, and then held a sweepstakes giveaway for the remaining seats.

Here’s how the meal went down.

We started with the famous pork belly buns. These were fantastic. Super tender, highly flavorful.

Then the Bo Ssam items started coming out. First the lettuce wraps and Korean sauces.

Then the oysters, which are meant to be placed into the lettuce wraps along with the pork and sauces.

And finally, the massive hunk of pork shoulder.

Pictures don’t really do this thing justice. To get the scale of it, you should really see it as it is being pulled apart with tongs.

The meat was tender and delicious, especially the fattier parts that held in a lot of juiciness.

We also had some nice mushroom soup with lotus root. This was absolutely delicious, and might have actually been my favorite part of the meal.

And then some dessert: green tea creme brulee with miso and blueberry crust.

And toffee cake with brown sugar ice cream.

The toffee cake was the big winner as far as desserts go. Great meal, great people, great service. I highly recommend both the large format feasts at Momofuku AND the Let’s Dutch service.

MOMOFUKU SSAM BAR
207 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003

Feast

As many of you know, I occasionally gather with various friends to devour entire carcasses of animals. We call ourselves The Carcass Club. This latest “meating” went down at a joint aptly called Feast.

A buddy of mine, NYCFoodFomo, organized this as an Instagram influencer meal. It was on the house, given that we were going to glaze Instagram’s face with our “cam-shots” from this “pork-fest.”

I used “quotes” there so that you knew I was actually making a reference to something else besides food photos…

Anyway, here’s what you get at Feast, for just $75/pp:

First Courses

Flat bread with fried egg, smoked gouda, arugula and horseradish cream.

This was nice and crispy, and the arugula is even lightly dressed, which was very nice. This dish would make for a great breakfast, actually.

Brussels sprouts with lap cheong sausage, creme fraiche, grain mustard, dried cranberry and cider vinaigrette.

The sausage really works perfectly with the sprouts. Instead of the typical bacon, this swap for lap cheong was smart, because it has a similar meaty sweetness.

Second Courses

Suckling pig with gravy.

I was shocked at how well the flavor of their 24-hour brine penetrated the flesh of this 28lb pig. The meat really took on the peppercorn flavors. And one of their secrets is to use the whey byproduct from their homemade cheese making process as a tenderizer in that brine. So awesome.

They break the pig down for you and plate it into sections: head area, shoulder area, rib area, and ass/legs area. Apologies for not getting a shot of that stuff for you. It wasn’t super pretty, but it was pretty cool to see piles of meat and a pig skull.

Chicharrones with lime.

They also give you a bowl of the crispy fried skin, which some would say is the best part of the suckling pig.

Kabocha mac n’ cheese with gruyere and toasted pumpkin seed.

The sweetness of the pumpkin in this dish threw me off a bit. Perhaps I just needed to be in the Thanksgiving holiday zone to fully appreciate this one. Nonetheless, it was tasty.

Taro fries with miso aioli.

It’s always a challenge to get taro fries good and crispy. The sauce was excellent, but the fries themselves were more like mashed potato logs. Not a bad thing: just not crispy like a French fry.

Smoked mushrooms with a soy glaze.

These were fucking incredible. The smoke added such a great woodsy flavor to an already earthy and woodsy mushroom (oyster). This was my favorite item of the night.

Indochine ratatouille.

I’m generally not a huge fan of ratatouille, but this had some nice robust and savory flavors.

Dessert Course

Chef’s seasonal selection, which, during this visit, was a caramelized apple cobbler with cold maple whipped cream and pomegranate seeds. I think there was even some diced up zucchini mixed into this unique dessert.

That about does it. I highly recommend giving this feast a go. You’ll need a minimum of eight carnivores to take it down.

FEAST
102 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10003

Momofuku Ssam Bar Brisket & Let’s Dutch

The head honcho over at Let’s Dutch reached out to me to introduce himself and his service. Essentially it’s a place where people can host and organize group activities, and one of the things they facilitate is large format dining. That’s right up my alley, given my creation of Carcass Club, in which I and some friends try to get together to take on the various whole beast feasts that are peppered throughout this fine city.

Naturally, I was interested. The service is great for both city newbies, who are looking to meet new people with similar interests, and old fogies like me and my wife, who are just looking for seats at the feast when it’s becoming increasingly difficult to peg down a date and time among all of our friends that might be interested.

I was especially pumped when Vincent (the aforementioned head honcho) informed me that they’d be doing the new brisket feast for 10 people at Momofuku Ssam Bar. Fuck yeah.

So the meal is pretty simple. You get a massive hunk of delicious, tender, slow cooked brisket, along with lettuce for making wraps, and various sauces and kimchi items for toppings.

I highly recommend this meal to anyone who loves brisket or BBQ, as it is quasi-BBQ in nature. They even created a secret seven-spice blend for this baby. I absolutely loved it.

You may already know that I’ve been to Momofuku for their large format feasts in the past: duck and rib eye. This brisket feast is the best of the three I’ve tried, and I think they’ve also added a fourth, pork shoulder (bo ssam). I’ll have to try that one soon.

MOMOFUKU SSAM BAR
207 2nd Ave.
New York, NY 10003

Bedford & Co.

My friend Jean invited me to Bedford & Co. for an Instagram infleuncer dinner, since she and a few others were going to be digging into a nice large format rib eye for two (along with other tasty items) and tasting a variety of wines for the restaurant’s “Wine Wednesday” pairings with their somm, Sarah.

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This 28-day dry-aged 40oz bone in rib eye from Master Purveyors is a “for two” steak, which comes with lardo, watercress and roasted garlic for $125. We were five, so we pigged out on other shit too.

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The prices of beef have certainly gone way up lately. I remember when I was chomping on 36-40oz steaks for one at half the price just a few years back. But hey, this one was free! Not gonna complain.

We were able to sneak into the kitchen to watch Chef Justin Neubeck and his team flame this baby up for us.

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But while we were waiting for that to finish cooking and then properly rest, we sparked up some scallops with pumpkin puree, kafir lime and roasted pumpkin seeds.

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This was a really interesting flavor combo, and I really liked it. The round sweetness of the pumpkin contrasted nicely with the acidic pop from the lime.

The entrees rolled out all at once, and the five of us Instagrammers went bonkers taking photos of everything.

The first thing I tried was the Long Island duck breast.

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Garnished with a scallion ginger oil, glazed with honey, and accompanied by a cranberry purée, this was easily one of the better duck breast dishes I’ve had in quite a while.

Berkshire pork chop was next.

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I’m hard to please when it comes to pork chops. My mom used to cook them in a glass covered electric skillet so that they were somehow juicy on the inside but crisp on the outside, and with onions, potatoes and cherry peppers. Very Italian, as I later discovered. With all that said, this was a pretty good version. It had a sour orange glaze and was served with pink winter squash and marinated radicchio.

The main event was that steak, though.

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A cut this thick is difficult to cook properly. Lots of times you’ll end up with some spots that are too rare, while the outside is overcooked. I have to hand it to these guys; they did a pretty solid job with this monster.

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As you might have noticed from the raw shot above, there wasn’t much of a fat cap on this baby, but what scraps were there after trimming was used to make the lardo, which was really nice. Also I feel like the 28-day dry aging was done masterfully (by Master Purveyors, no less). They really packed a ton of funk and earthiness for the minimal end of the aging process. 8/10.

Since this was essentially a carnivore party, we had to try the burger at this place. It has been getting a fair amount of attention on social media lately, and for good reason. Look at it, for fuck’s sake.

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This beauty is topped with bloomsday cheddar, caramelized onion and thick cut braised pork belly. So juicy. Get it when you come here, even if you have to split it with a group of people, like we did.

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And of course the fries are excellent as well, which are cooked with herbs right in the fryer oil.

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We did a pair of sides as well. Brussels with bacon and apple cider, and roasted wild mushrooms. These were dynamite! The roast on those sprouts was fantastic. Great texture and crisp. And the mushrooms were the perfect pairing with the earthy steak.

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Just when you thought we were full, the desserts came out. Chef Canty makes all the stuff in house. We got to try the carrot cake (my favorite of the three – so rich and delicious), cheesecake in a jar, and apple crostada.

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Definitely one of the best carrot cake renditions I’ve had in the city, right up there with Bob’s Steak & Chop House and Ocean Prime.

I definitely recommend this place to anyone who generally likes any of the shit that I got to try. All high quality, deftly executed shit.

UPDATE 5/6/17

I came back for brunch with another group of food influencers. I tried much of the menu, but most importantly the hanger steak. This was a very small portion that came with two eggs, potatoes and some greens. The steak had a great char on the outside and a perfect medium rare temp inside. Great seasoning and flavor. I just wish it was bigger! 8/10

The porchetta was delicious as well. It had a great crisp on the outside with juicy, fatty, savory near inside (bacon wheel was additional, and arranged by my wife).

Also nice was the chicken and waffles entree.

And they’re now offering unlimited prosecco mimosas with uniquely flavored mixer juices for brunch.

And of course, what brunch is complete without pastries?

BEDFORD & CO.
The Renwick
118 E 40th St
New York, NY 10016

Burger & Barrel

This place easily comes in as one of my favorite burgers in the city. I tried the bash burger (bacon and onion jam), and the classic (lettuce and tomato). Both came with American cheese as the standard, and both were fucking amazing: great bun, and astounding meat flavor. The fries were perfectly cooked and seasoned as well, and the batter on the onion rings was so crisp and delicious.. I’ll definitely be dining here again, especially for the prime rib dinner.

The bash burger was so good that you didn’t miss the crunch from the lettuce or the coolness of the tomato:

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The classic was firing on all cylinders. Every aspect of this thing worked. Tomato was sliced a little thicker than I normally like, but it was not unwieldy because the other stuff was all the right thickness.

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It’s no wonder this place, which is run by the same folks at Bowery Meat Company, is running away with all sorts of burger awards.

B&B trophies

UPDATE 4/20/15

I went back yesterday with my wife and my parents to celebrate me and my wife’s 6th wedding anniversary.

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We did the prime rib dinner for four, which you will need to reserve in advance because they need lots of time to prep the roast (I think it cooks for 8 hours). Check out the menu:

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We started with a few brews since we were walking around a lot that afternoon and needed some refreshments:

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The family style apps were pretty delicious. First were these little chicken lollipops. Super crispy skin, some Korean style BBQ sauce drizzled over with sesame seeds and some greens. These are addicting. I only wish there were eight instead of six in the order, that way we each could have eaten two. They’re a little too good to stop at just one, despite the massive amount of food yet to come.

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The tuna tartare was nice, light and refreshing. It was topped with an avocado spread and served with waffle-cut potato chips. Everything was just right on this dish.

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Next up were the individually ordered salads. Since there were three to choose from, we had one of each and then an extra that was doubled. So we ordered two of the beet salads. The beets were perfectly roasted, and the toasted walnuts gave good texture and crunch to the salad. The goat cheese was so soft and velvety, and the orange segments added a citrus pop that really made this salad stand out as the best of the three.

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The kale salad had butternut squash, faro and cranberries. This was dressed nicely with a honey mustard vinaigrette.

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The last of the salads was apple and arugula with shaved fennel, pine nuts and parmigiano, lightly dressed with a light apple vinegar.

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The star of the show is this Creekstone Farms roasted prime rib.

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This is a LOT of beef for just four people. The waiter said that it comes out to about 14oz per person, but that is a serious understatement. I think my cut alone, which wasn’t as big as my dad’s, was about 24oz.

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So thick and juicy. The seasoning got way down into the meat, and the crust of spices along the outside edges was incredible. The fat was pretty much all edible meat jello – so tasty. Not one bite became monotonous or boring, as is the case many times with prime rib. This had a ton of character. I can’t even describe to you how amazing the restaurant smelled when they carried this bad boy out to us. They also served it with two sauces: bordelaise and peppercorn poivre sauce. Both were great but I tended to hit the peppercorn sauce a little more often.

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Even the sides were amazing here. First, I’ve never tasted a tater tot so good in my life. They were perfectly crisp, and herbed up nice with rosemary flavor.

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The brussels sprouts were crispy and light, but packed a ton of flavor. I could eat this like a snack while watching TV.

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The spinach was perfectly seasoned and sautéed in garlic and oil – no heavy cream to weigh down the meal.

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And the potatoes were so unique. They seemed like they were ripped up, baked and fried fingerlings with caramelized onions. They had a really dynamic texture of crisp and soft mixed throughout.

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Finally, for dessert we had apple fritters with chocolate truffles, topped with ice cream and caramel sauce. These were like little doughnuts made from apple. Nice and crisp on the outside, with a perfectly cooked apple on the inside. I’m usually not a huge fan of chocolate but that truffle was excellent!

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The staff was really great here, and they brought us out a complimentary pair of mini bottles of rose champagne when they overheard us talking about the fact that we were celebrating an anniversary. Really nice touch, and the champagne was tasty!

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Overall this is one of my favorite places to eat in the city right now.

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The bar has a great, fun atmosphere, and every item I’ve tried here is pretty much an example of the best I’ve had. This doesn’t come as much of a shocker though, because all of the restaurants in their group as just as amazing. If you haven’t been here yet, get your ass down here ASAP and try some of the items pictured above. I promise, you will not be disappointed.

UPDATE 3/26/18

Subsequent return trips to B&B for the prime rib:

BURGER & BARREL
25 W. Houston St.
New York, NY 10012