Tag Archives: pork belly

Kimchi Smoke

I’ve been eating Chef Cho’s Kimchi Smoke BBQ for several years at the NYCWFF and various other food events around the city, but I finally made it out to his brick and mortar location in Westwood, New Jersey.

Here’s what I had:

Korean Corn Dog: This was tasty. Cheese interspersed with hot dog, deep fried on a stick and served with a remoulade and a gochujang style ketchup.

The Legendary Chonut: The newest iteration of his famous BBQ sandwich on a donut called “Version 2.1” comes with brisket, cheese, and a bit of kimchi. I really liked this, despite not loving the first version of this about four years back. This is well balanced between heat, sweet, fat and acid.

The Old Dirty Bird: This fried chicken and spicy Korean style slaw sandwich was perfect! I could eat this every day.

General Cho’s Chicken: These fried chicken fingers are coated with his rib sauce, which has a spicy gochujang kick to it.

For the real deal pit BBQ, we had a heap of brisket, pork shoulder, XXX bacon (smoked and deep fried), and two kinds of ribs (the gochujang sauced ribs, and a Texas style dry rub). All of it was delicious. We did some Korean slaw and smoked kimchi on the side to cut the fat.

Here’s a closer look at all of that meat.

I think the XXX bacon was my favorite of the meats:

Then we finished with banana pudding, which had Nilla wafers and chunks of banana in it. AWESOME!

I highly recommend this place. Everything was incredible, and that chicken sandwich is easily in my top dishes of 2019. Possibly the bacon as well.

KIMCHI SMOKE
301 Center Ave
Westwood, NJ 07675

Barn Joo

I recently had a meal here when celebrating a friends birthday party. Here’s a quick rundown of everything I tried:

This chicken with peanuts dish was really tasty. Nicely fried morsels of dark meat.

These fried beef dumplings were better still. I could have eaten a dozen.

While I’m not a huge tofu guy, these fried cubes were pretty tasty. I’d eat them again, but definitely not over the other two apps above.

Next up, beef noodles. These were ultimately pretty middle-of-the-road. Nothing stand-out about them.

The star of the show, however, was this pork belly dish. So much nice quality belly, with some chiccharones and a great spicy bean curd dip to boot. Awesome.

The octopus was perfectly cooked and had a great crunchy texture on the outside, but there was just something about it that bugged me. It had a flavor that reminded me of the smell of dried fish food. Perhaps it was something added on top for seasoning.

Lastly, their pickles and kimchi items are superb here. Some of the best I’ve had.

I would definitely go back here again.

BARN JOO
35 Union Square W
New York, NY 10003

Covina

My wife and I went to Covina with another couple and tried a bunch of things from the menu. Check it out:

First, huge and great selections of cocktails. Definitely imbibe when you go here.

We started with the pork belly, which was nicely braised and tender.

The shrimp and polenta was a perfectly cooked and really tasty dish.

This pappardelle pasta was slightly overcooked for my liking, but the pork and veal “white bolognese” was incredible.

Next up, pizza! We did both the spicy honey pie and the fontina with Brussels spouts pie.

The spicy honey pie was miles ahead of the competition. I could eat three.

We also tried their famous Big Mac style burger.

The bun was a little hard, perhaps heading towards dry or stale, but the burger itself was masterful. I really enjoyed it.

On the side we had truffle fries and charred broccolini. Both were good, although there was really no char to the broccolini.

For dessert, we did the bread pudding and the pumpkin mousse. Here, the mousse was better. It was awesome!

COVINA
127 E 27th St
New York, NY 10016

Fette Sau

I finally made it back here after years of cravings. The first time I came was well before I started writing about food, so I was long overdue. On this trip, I made sure to get a little bit of everything. This platter ran me $143 (a bit pricey):

So lets start clockwise from the top right on this next pic:

Pulled Pork: This was fantastic. One of my favorites of the platter. There was a good crusty bark on the meat, and the flavor was juicy without being sauced. Some of the best pulled pork I’ve had.

Hot Links: This was my favorite of the meal. For some reason I gravitate towards hot links and sausage at BBQ joints. No idea why. They are always just really satisfying.

Brisket: A bit dry, but still very flavorful. I would skip this unless you are an absolute brisket fiend. I find Jewish style brisket like pastrami, or even Irish style corned beef, to be more flavorful and juicy than the often dry brisket we see at NYC BBQ joints.

Sirloin: This was overpriced at $38pp but it was a nice new take on BBQ cuts. The cook temp was perfect.

Half Sour Pickles: A great way to cut the fat. These were nice.

German Potato Salad: This was a great side too. A little vinegar to cut that richness of the meat goes a long way.

Baked Beans: These were excellent, as they were packed with bits of bacon and burnt ends. If beans are your thing, this is the way to go here.

Bacon Burnt Ends: This was delicious. Last time I came here they were all out, so I was itching to try these. Essentially it is like sticky, savory and sweet chunks of bacon or pork belly, rendered out nicely without drying or burning. Not too distinguishable from some bacon products you can make at home in a pan though. Good to try once.

Pork Ribs: These were just okay. The one I had contained too much fat. Not a bad thing, but I was hoping for more meat on the bone. Essentially it was a big bone with a little bit of muscle and a lot of fat. Flavor was okay. I’ve had better.

Definitely looking forward to a return trip here where I can focus on my favorite items of the day, like the pulled pork and the links.

FETTE SAU
354 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Yama Ramen

I stopped into Yama for their big bowl, which is a tonkotsu pork broth with tons of super tender braised pork belly and pork jowls.

While pricey at $20, it’s very big. The egg was an extra $2.

There’s a sweetness in the broth from the corn, so extra spice is recommended. I really enjoyed this, and will definitely go back (probably for the normal sized bowl, since I couldn’t finish this bucket).

YAMA RAMEN
60 W 48th St
New York, NY 10036

NYC’s Best Steakhouse Bacon

Steakhouse bacon makes me smile.

Bacon is an important part of the steakhouse experience. After all, a slab of thick cut bacon is just as much a staple to the classic steakhouse meal as a side of creamed spinach, a plate of ice cold raw oysters, or a nice strong martini.

Devouring a plate of thick cut bacon before eating a steak is one of the most manly and satisfying things you can do. As such, I’ve endeavored to highlight the five best bacon dishes that NYC steakhouses have to offer.

Enjoy the selections, you savage beasts:

Delmonico’s Restaurant

These slabs are house smoked and cured, sous vide for days, and then rendered off to perfection with Tuthilltown Spirits’ Noble Barrel Aged Maple Syrup. At about an inch and a half thick per slab, you can almost order this as your main course and treat it like a “bacon steak.”

Greenwich Steakhouse

If you want a taste of something that’s slightly out of the ordinary but still satisfies your thick cut bacon fix, this is your place to go. This bacon has some kind of sweet chili glaze on it that separates it from all the rest on this list. It’s really unique, tender and crisp, but also really fucking thick (over an inch thick, so also big enough to eat as an entree). An absolute must try.

Benjamin Prime

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If classic, thick, un-fucked-with bacon is what you’re after, then this is the place to get it. This is some amazingly crisp and tasty stuff. Also very thick at about an inch. What you get here is your standard morning breakfast bacon, but at a whopping portion that comes off the grill looking so beautiful. Fucking insanity.

Quality Eats

While not exactly a full-on steakhouse, this joint represents the bacon scene with mighty force. They serve this thick-cut Nueskes bacon with a peanut butter sauce and jalapeño jelly. This shit is like fucking crack to my taste buds. You need to try this if you haven’t done so already.

Angus Club Steakhouse

Another great entry in the classic style category, this “Canadian” slab bacon is legit. Usually when I hear the words “Canadian Bacon” I think of circular shaped stuff that tastes more like ham than bacon. Not here. The soft, buttery fat banding alternates perfectly with the lean meat on these grilled slabs. They are also nearly an inch thick, so you really get great satisfaction from this dish.

I’d love to hear your thoughts for other possible candidates. I briefly considered Keen’s, Peter Luger’s, Bob’s, Palm Too, Strip House, and Ben & Jack’s, but ultimately I felt that they just couldn’t stand up to these five. They’re just on another level.

Osamil

Osamil serves up a really great brunch on weekends. They open nice and early too, at 10:30, so if you’re like me and think that brunch is really just a big breakfast with booze, then 10:30 is right on the money. We went at 12:30 with another food couple that we’re friends with though, so this became our main meal of the day.

The cocktail menu is really fun here. This pink one had watermelon foam and mescal. Very nice.

I also tried a michelada (beer and bloody mix), which was nice.

And we shared this giant punch bowl.

As for the food, we started with some kimchi deviled eggs, which had a nice spice level to them.

Next up was cold uni bibimbap. Essentially this is rice, kimchi, egg, quinoa, onion, nori, mixed greens and other tasty things, mixed up with some uni (wish there was more).

This asian pear salad with candied walnuts was really nice and refreshing too.

The broth for these mussels is incredibly slurpable. I was eating it by the spoonful throughout the meal. And yes there is bacon in there.

And those fries you see there are some of the best in the city. Might be my new favorite, as a matter of fact. They’re dusted with pimento and finished with truffle oil.

Okay so let’s get to the meat. First, spam. I know, I know… but it really is good.

Next, pork belly, lettuce and tomato sandwich. So good!

But here’s the show stopper: grilled prime hanger steak served atop bacon and kimchi fried rice, with a sunny-side up egg. Amazing.

THAT’s what breakfast should be… Not only is it gorgeous but it tasted great too. The steak could have used a bit more salt and pepper, but that’s only if you were eating it by itself. When combined with the rice, you got all the savory elements from the bacon and kimchi working together with the steak, so it’s all good. 9/10.

OSAMIL
5 W 31st St
New York, NY 10001

The Great Big Bacon Picnic

I’m going to keep this short and sweet so you guys can get right down to the food pictures. The Great Big Bacon Picnic is an awesome multi-day event that was held in Brooklyn at the old Pfizer factory to celebrate the awesomeness of bacon. There were tons of businesses and restaurants there, so we got to try a ton of shit. I will highlight the good stuff and give a few extra words here and there. Enjoy.

Best bite of the day was at Tres Carnes, a pork belly taco. Nice and simple, super delicious.

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Meatball with bacon and collared greens from Handcraft:

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Bacon bananas foster with peanut butter:

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Bacon bread pudding from The Brooklyn Tree:

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Some varied flavor selections from the bacon bar:

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Lots of fun to be had with fellow foodies:

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Bacon chocolate chip cookies and Rhoda of Rhoda Cookies:

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Various sliders and mini BLTs were all over the place, all delicious:

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Bacon dust beignets!

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And sriracha bacon jerky from Chef’s Cut. Awesome. I’ll be doing a separate jerky review for this product with more info.

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Jin Ramen (UWS)

My wife and I popped in here for a Sunday lunch when the line for Jacob’s Pickles was wrapped down Amsterdam and we had absolutely zero desire to wait it out. We’d been to the Harlem Jin location in the past and liked it, so we knew we’d most likely enjoy the UWS location as well.

I was in the mood for cold ramen, since it was pretty hot outside. They offered two styles, but I ended up going with a nice cold salmon and roe soba noodle dish instead.

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This shit was delicious, and so beautiful.

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Top quality sushi grade salmon, tasty, briny roe (I think it was trout roe as opposed to salmon roe), and fresh microgreens topped the perfectly cooked cold soba noodles. It came with a cup of sauce to either dip or pour on top, as well as a mixed greens side salad.

My wife went with a Kakuni ramen dish, which featured Filipino style braised pork belly and a poached egg.

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That’s a huge block of pork belly! The broth was tasty without being too salty, which was nice even on a hot day (I tasted some after it had cooled down a bit). The egg was perfectly poached and the noodles were perfectly cooked.

We also tried some refreshing Japanese cocktails and pork buns.

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The pork buns were excellent, with the exception that I dislike scallions that are shredded long ways instead of sliced on the bias. I found myself picking them off the bun.

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Note the scallions on my wife’s Kakuni ramen were sliced the way that I prefer.

JIN RAMEN (UWS)
462 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024

Bar Boulud

Here’s another restaurant week review for your asses.

For $42, my wife had a three course meal. The first course? A fucking salmon rillette.

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This was pretty good. I apologize in advance, though. My pictures don’t look too good this time around. I had competing light color values from outside along the windows (blue) and inside from the overhead lighting (yellow/orange/red, with dark shadows). As a result, my photos look like dog diarrhea smeared onto a piss and blood-ridden diaper/maxi pad, but only the kind of diaper/maxi pad you see in commercials that use blue colored liquid to simulate blood and piss for some ridiculous reason.

But anyway that salmon rillette had a nice base of hard rye, topped with minced salmon and pickle, and some frisee and sliced beets. It had a good flavor and texture.

The main course was a bavette steak. If you don’t know what the fuck a bavette is, click the link I just provided and read up on it, asshole. It’s a cut of beef.

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This was roasted to a nice medium rare, but I was somewhat disappointed with the lack of char on the outside. It was buttery and garlicky, which was good for flavor. However, the slices that I had were slightly under seasoned. I think it still gets 8/10, so there’s some room for improvement. It was served on a bed of potato puree with a side of green beans.

For dessert, there was this blackberry financier with brown butter ice cream.

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The cake itself was a bit dry, but all the toppings served well to moisten it the hell up. Corn? And popcorn? Interesting! But the brown butter ice cream blob way the fuck on the right was the real star of the dish. I would have preferred a bowl of that instead.

Overall this is a pretty good deal for restaurant week. Lunch is always the better buy ($29), but you aren’t getting raped here for a $42 three-course dinner.

The couple we were with let us try a bit of their dessert as well, a chocolate ganache pie of sorts:

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This was very rich and tasty. If chocolate is your vice, then this dessert is nice. That was a rhyme.

For my meal, I went with the “Frenchie” burger. If you’re in the area for a burger, you can go with PJ Clarke’s for a standard style American burger, or pop in here for something unique and different… and French.

This mother fucker is topped with raclette cheese and a thick goddamn slab of soft, confit pork belly! Bitches know what’s up! I think. I don’t know, actually… Do they know what’s up?

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That’s arugula underneath, incase you were wondering. The patty was perfectly seasoned, and the bun was soft yet pliable and strong. Toppings, as you can imagine, were on point. The confit pork was like having a fast food burger patty made of belly (in terms of size) right on top of your already-delicious burger. Good move. This burger was pretty damn good, but it doesn’t quite make it into my top 10.

For $23, the burger also came with fries, which were some crispy-ass, natural cut, shoestring mother fuckers. I liked them.

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Honorable mention: bread selection. We had three styles of table bread. First were small cheese bread things that reminded me of pop-overs in muffin form. They were warm too, like the pair of underwear that you just peeled off your sweaty, NYC-in-the-summer ass cheeks and tossed into the laundry pile. The other bread basket had slices of a sunflower seed sourdough bread of some kind, and a few slices of standard French baguette. All good quality, just like the writing in this review.

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That’s it. Now go fuck off.

BAR BOULUD
1900 Broadway
New York, NY 10023