This category two pizza joint (individual slices available) on the lower east side has gotten some big hype for being a great spot. I was in the area for dinner, so I had to check it out and grab a slice for dessert.
Most people clamor for the pepperoni slice – probably after seeing ‘roni cups on Instagram – but I’m more of a traditional guy. So traditional, in fact, that I generally prefer the Margherita style slice to the plain slice. This consists of fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil.
This was a great slice. The sauce was bright, sweet yet savory, and nicely seasoned. The cheese was delicious and evenly melted. The basil was fresh (just roasted). The crust was puffy and light, while also being crisp and stiff enough to fold. A winner all around. The only down side was the $4.25 price tag for a single slice.
I went to Le Turtle with a group of Instagram food lunatic friends to try some of their iconic dishes. This ended up being one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. Let me get right down to it.
We started with the following:
Dry aged beef carpaccio with Hokkaido uni and pickled ramp bottoms. Just the right amount of surf with your turf. Great pop from the pickled ramps.
Sliced avocado and radish with avocado mousse, mango curd and mixed grains. Beautiful, light, refreshing and satisfying.
Fresh cheese and beets with apricot kernel oil, toasted sunflower seeds and a maple emulsion. This was fucking fantastic. Get it.
Tagliatelle carbonara with guanciale, pecorino and egg yolk emulsion. Really nice take on the classic pasta dish.
Halibut and tomato with brussels sprouts, calabrian chili and arugula. Perfectly cooked, light and flakey.
Fried octopus with crisped rice, ramp chimichurri sauce and togarashi and arbol chili peppers. One of the very best octopus dishes I’ve ever had. It gets braised for hours before a light batter fry. And the ramp chimichurri is incredible.
Sasso Poulet. This is the best whole chicken dish I’ve eaten. The birds are brined for days and then hung, to allow the skin to cook more crispy. The bird comes out on a plate of burning hay for display purposes, filling the dining room with an amazing aroma.
Then it comes back disarticulated and ready to eat. I particularly liked munching on the feet.
This comes with crispy fingerlings, chicken liver mousse and pickled shishito peppers. At $69 this is a steal, and can easily feed two people.
90 day dry aged Pat LaFrieda cote de boeuf. This comes out to the table for viewing uncut like this, before resting:
And then after resting it comes back ready to serve for two (or more) looking like this:
This would be a 10/10 if there was a bit more char and crisp on the outside. It’s a bit more like a roast. But the flavor is perfect. Not too funky that it fucks up your taste buds. Perfectly cooked. And the fat and trim is diced up and fried, which is a brilliant way to reduce waste and make everyone smile with more tasty bits to eat. 9/10. You can pass on using the molasses sauce that comes with it though.
There was also and Japanese yam dish that came out at this time. I wasn’t a big fan, but it was absolutely stunning.
There was also a simple but tasty salad of greens citrus and blue cheese. Good way to cut the richness of the steak.
Dessert was equally as impressive as the savory courses, and they were all unique, which is rare these days.
Hazelnut financier with blood orange creme anglaise and cranberry dust.
Chocolate sorbet with milk crumbs, sea salt and olive oil.
Forbidden rice pudding with vanilla chai ice cream, rye sand and coconut snow.
I highly recommend this place. Go while ramps are still in season though, because this is one place that actually made me respect that produce. Until now I didn’t get the infatuation with ramps. I’ll be back again very soon. In fact, I’m going tomorrow with my wife.
Mr. Taka is easily one of the best bowls of tonkotsu I’ve had in NYC. The thick, rich pork broth manages to be full of porky flavor without going overboard with the salt content or overpowering you with too much garlic. It’s velvety smooth – no off-putting textures, which can sometimes happen with thickened broths.
The meat quality is awesome. Super soft with a good char on the outside of each slab. It falls apart between your chopsticks. So good. I recommend getting an additional slab, since your bowl will only come with one if you don’t.
The noodles are the straight kind, not wavy, and if you order the spicy version you get a soft boiled egg and a normal sized blob of spicy paste that won’t overrun the entire eating experience with heat.
I highly recommend this joint for all your slurping needs. It really is as close to perfect as you’re going to get.
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.
I even managed to convince some of the dinner guests to pose with the pig’s head. Here’s Doug:
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:
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:
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.
I stopped into this ramen joint for a quick bite after a sub-par burger. Since they were out of Orion (one of my favorite Japanese beers), we tried this fucker from NJ. Pretty good – a mild stout.
My buddy ordered some chicken wings, which were nicely crisped and garnished with fried garlic and shallots. Very nice.
I went with the “Prawn Mee” ramen, which is a non-traditional bowl but the menu descritpion sold me on this over the porky miso varietal. It was good. It had a great spicy kick to a broth that was clearly steeped in shrimp shell stock goodness.
The egg was perfectly cooked, and all the shrimp within were similarly perfect. I didn’t love the way the scallions were shredded, but I swept those aside easily so they didn’t get tangled up in the noodles.
Overall I enjoyed it, so I will probably be back to try the miso ramen.
Minca is a little spot on East 5th Street between Avenues A and B.
I stopped in for a nice hot bowl of pork broth ramen to warm up from the insane cold. The broth itself was a little thin and watery, but the quality of the pork meat within was definitely excellent. I tend to like a more thick or viscous broth – something approaching sauce almost. Flavor was definitely heavy on garlic. I typically don’t mind that, but it came close to bitterness in this case.
Mushrooms, egg, scallions and all other toppings were good quality.
I liked the thin, strait noodles. Nice and al dente, how I prefer them:
I’d definitely go back to try the spicy (which I had ordered “on the side” but they didn’t give me a blob of it).