New York rss

Restaurant recommendations, new openings, and highlights from the NY Chowhound community.

Poutine Discovery at Brooklyn’s Sheep Station

New York hounds, especially those who have spent time in Quebec, get the occasional hankering for poutine, the French-Canadian specialty of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. Their craving usually goes unsatisfied—but now they’re in luck. The newish Brooklyn gastropub Sheep Station serves poutine as a Tuesday night special. And they do it right, says gfood.

Sheep Station [Park Slope]
149 Fourth Avenue (at Douglass), Brooklyn
718-857-4337
Map

Board Links: Poutine or canadian food!

How Does a Grilled Chicken Vendor Get to Carnegie Hall?

Greek chicken master Tony the Dragon has taken a younger street vendor under his wing, so to speak. The king of the East Side lunch hawkers has passed along decades of souvlaki wisdom to friend and countryman Carnegie John, who paid close attention and (as you must have guessed) practiced, practiced, practiced.

The protégé now slings superb chicken pita sandwiches from a cart at Seventh Avenue and 56th Street, reports Spoony Bard. The meat is juicy, smoky, and deftly seasoned, with a strong herbal note. Optional add-ons include tzatziki, hot sauce, vegetables, and lettuce and tomato.

John’s menu—which also includes rib-eye, shish kebab, and burgers—is nearly identical to his mentor’s at Madison and 62nd, and even his cart is of the same model. “Tony’s been at it for 25 years,” Spoony Bard writes. “John’s a newcomer at 6 years, but is nearly as good as the old pro.” Look for him on weekdays till around 4.

Carnegie John’s grilled chicken cart [Carnegie Hall]
Northeast corner of W. 56th Street at 7th Avenue, Manhattan
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Tony “The Dragon” Dragonas’s grilled chicken cart [Upper East Side]
Southwest corner of E. 62nd Street at Madison Avenue, Manhattan
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Board Links: Tony Dragonas’ pupil- Carnegie John

Eye-Opening Pastas at El Chivito d’Oro

At South American restaurants where beef is king, many diners go for the meat and ignore the customary selection of pastas. This is a mistake, insists JH Jill, who’s still swooning over the transcendent chicken-and-spinach cannelloni she had at El Chivito d’Oro. At this Uruguayan-owned restaurant in Jackson Heights, you can order your canelones “a la Rossini” (with both red and white sauces) or topped with peceto, a round of tender stewed beef.

“This is a magnificent dish. The chicken adds another dimension, which I find preferable to spinach alone,” writes Jill. (La Fusta also makes a decent version. Other worthy Italian-inspired dishes at El Chivito d’Oro are gnocchi, lasagne with ham, and spinach ravioli with marinara sauce and peceto.)

Among the grilled meats, Jill recommends entraña (skirt steak), asado de tira (ribs), and vacío (flank steak). “I always order them medium, which is medium rare anywhere else, in my experience,” she adds. Also good: pickled tongue, mollejas (sweetbreads), and palmitos en salsa golf—hearts of palm with ham, hard-boiled egg, and a Thousand Island-like dressing. Chimichurri sauce is uneven, and the namesake chivito (platters or well-stuffed sandwiches of beef or chicken with bacon and cheese) gets mixed marks.

El Chivito d’Oro [Jackson Heights]
84-02 37th Avenue (at 84th Street), Jackson Heights, Queens
718-424-0600
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La Fusta [Elmhurst]
80-32 Baxter Avenue (between Broadway and 41st Avenue), Elmhurst, Queens
718-429-8222
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Board Links: Transcendent Canelones
Best Uruguayan Chivito sandwich in NYC?

Splendors of the Sea at Nanase (A Westchester Sushi Update)

Surprising, well-chosen garnishes embellish gorgeous fresh fish at Nanase in White Plains, which has quickly become a high-end favorite for Westchester sushi hounds. It’s the county’s best sushi by far, declares Marge, whose splendid $85 omakase dinner was highlighted by the sushi. Tuna (two kinds), salmon, hamachi, fluke, eel, and freshwater shrimp were each paired with an accompaniment: fish roe, scallion, lime zest, seaweed, even gold leaf. (Other memorable courses, she adds, included sublime raw scallop topped with shaved truffle, sea salt, and citrus juice; Kumamoto oysters seasoned with a spicy mignonette; and broiled black cod with wonderfully crisp skin.)

Opened a couple of years ago by a chef who worked at Masa and Nobu in Manhattan, Nanase excels at the details. Much of the seafood is flown in from Japan. House-made soy sauce has a pleasing sweetness and less salt than the commercial stuff. Sea salt blends, also made in-house, get a kick from citrus zest. Prices are higher than the competition. “A nice splurge and worth it,” promises cervisiam.

For more traditional sushi, Azuma in Hartsdale is a longtime favorite. “Nothing but the highest-quality fresh fish,” says chocolate chick. Here, too, prices are higher than average.

Toyo in Mamaroneck has won fans with its inventive rolls and first-rate fish, including meltingly tender toro. “I wanted to roll myself in it,” raves cervisiam—who resisted the temptation, we think. Some, however, are put off by the nontraditional offerings and unusually large cuts of fish. “I go to Toyo when my children want sushi,” writes elizabean. “Toyo is more about funky rolls than superior fish.”

Others recommend longtime local favorite Hajime in Harrison, Kira in Armonk (which also has a newer location just over the state line in Greenwich), Yama Fuji in Briarcliff Manor, Koo in Rye, Sazan in Ardsley, and Ichi Riki in Elmsford (try the sashimi salad, urges 2boys4me).

Another recent hound hangout in Greenwich, Toku Shin on Putnam Avenue, has unfortunately gone out of business. “It’s a sad day,” mourns Alex318. “I cringe at the thought of the mediocre sushi that awaits me now in Greenwich.”

Sushi Nanase [Westchester County]
522 Mamaroneck Avenue (near Bloomingdale), White Plains, NY
914-285-5351
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Azuma [Westchester County]
219 E. Hartsdale Avenue (between Rockledge Road and Metro-North station), Hartsdale, NY
914-725-0660
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Toyo Sushi [Westchester County]
253 Mamaroneck Avenue (near Prospect), Mamaroneck, NY
914-777-8696
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Hajime [Westchester County]
267 Halstead Avenue (near Harrison), Harrison, NY
914-777-1543
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Kira Sushi [Westchester County]
In Armonk Town Center, 575 Main Street (Route 128, near School Street), Armonk, NY
914-765-0800
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Kira Sushi [Fairfield County]
4 Lewis Court (near Greenwich), Greenwich, CT
203-422-2990
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Yama Fuji Sushi [Westchester County]
Formerly Yama Sushi
1914 Pleasantville Road (near Old Briarcliff), Briarcliff Manor, NY
914-941-3100
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Koo [Westchester County]
17 Purdy Avenue (between Second and McCullough), Rye, NY
914-921-9888
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Sazan [Westchester County]
729 Saw Mill River Road (near Center), Ardsley, NY
914-674-6015
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Ichi Riki [Westchester County]
1 E. Main Street (near Central), Elmsford, NY
914-592-2220
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Board Links: Sushi Nanase White Plains
Excellent Sushi in Greenwich or Westchester???
Kira Sushi–Greenwich CT
amazing sushi in westchester-where should i go?
TokuShin?? Did it close

Superior Macaroons at Trois Crepes on the Upper East Side

Trois Crepes sells some of the best macaroons in town, declares akk, who’s partial to the ones with pistachio. Other flavors are dark chocolate, white chocolate, and sesame. This tiny patisserie and café also serves quiches, crêpes, sandwiches, soups, and croissants, tarts, and other pastries.

Trois Crepes Patisserie [Upper East Side]
501 E. 75th Street (at York), Manhattan
888-327-3737
Map

Board Links: Macaroons

Fresh Korean Discoveries from Northern New Jersey

Don’t get surly started on the sorry state of Korean restaurants around New York. Uh-oh, too late. “Unfortunately,” observes New York hounddom’s toughest grader of Korean chow, “even the best inevitably go into decline after their first few years. Most settle into a comfort zone of utter mediocrity.”

The smart approach is to pass on the big, all-purpose Korean houses with lengthy menus and instead seek out smaller specialty restaurants. “Those places tend to stay good for a longer time,” surly explains. Here are some current favorites from the rich Korean scene in northern New Jersey, most of them clustered on the bustling Broad Avenue strip in Palisades Park:

Nakji Daehak Ddukbokki Gwa, Palisades Park: Maybe the best of the boonshiks—casual eateries that dish up Korean comfort food. Go for ddukbokki (rice cakes), noodles, bokkeumbap (fried rice), fried meats or seafood, kimbap (rice rolls), and other homey chow. “It has a very mom-and-pop feel,” says surly, “and the food tastes like what my mom would make.” The mood is warm and whimsical, starting with the name, which translates as “Octopus College, Rice Cake Major.”

Ddo Ddo Wah, Palisades Park: Dependable and filling chow from another boonshik, across the street from Nakji Daehak Ddukbokki Gwa.

Myung Dong, Palisades Park: Just up the same block, this larger restaurant specializes in kalgooksoo (hand-cut noodles in soup), sujebi (wheat flake soup), and sujebi/spicy jjigae hybrids.

Mandarin Restaurant, Palisades Park: This Korean-Chinese place makes one of the region’s best versions of jja jang myun (noodles in black bean sauce). It’s upstairs in a Korean shopping plaza, a few blocks south on Broad Avenue.

Arirang Mandoo, Palisades Park: First-rate steamed dumplings, takeout only. Make sure you’re getting a fresh batch.

Shinpo, Cliffside Park: Some of the best naeng myun (buckwheat noodles) around. Call ahead: This restaurant’s annual off-season hiatus has been alarmingly long this year.

You-Chun, Palisades Park: Another dependable naeng myun specialist, which also has locations in Manhattan and Flushing.

Gam Mee Ok, Fort Lee: The signature dish is sul long tang, the milky, long-cooked beef bone soup. Also recommended: bin dae dduk (mung bean pancakes) and soondae (blood sausage). The Jersey location has eclipsed the Manhattan original, in surly’s book.

So Gong Dong, Fort Lee and Palisades Park: Soon dubu jjigae (soft tofu stew) is the must-order here. This place has slipped a bit since the late ’90s, when some rated it the best outside Korea, but it still beats anyplace else around New York. surly gives the Fort Lee location the edge over the one in Palisades Park.

Boom Boom Chicken, Fort Lee: Leader of the flock of newish Korean fried chicken shacks. It’s somehow related to Bon Chon Chicken (though it no longer bears the name), yet seems to top the other Bon Chons in juicy, flavorful meat and crisp finish.

So Moon Nan Jib, Palisades Park: Among the Korean generalists, this is one of the best. “No longer outstanding, as it was in the late 1990s,” surly writes, “but for your all-purpose needs (barbecue, stews, bibim bap, pajun, etc.), it’s far better than anything in Manhattan.” equinoise ranks its wood-chip barbecue among the finest in the New York region and adds that panchan are fresh, varied, and plentiful.

Nakji Daehak Ddukbokki Gwa, a.k.a. Hakyojongei [Bergen County]
442 Broad Avenue (between Edsall and Washington), Palisades Park, NJ
201-592-1011
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Ddo Ddo Wah, a.k.a. Oh Oh Wha [Bergen County]
421 Broad Avenue (at Washington), Palisades Park, NJ
201-592-7020
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Myung Dong [Bergen County]
452 Broad Avenue (between Edsall and Washington), Palisades Park, NJ
201-947-1199
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Mandarin Restaurant [Bergen County]
In Palisades Park Plaza, 110 Broad Avenue #10 (at Harwood), Palisades Park, NJ
201-313-0121
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Arirang Mandoo, a.k.a. Pelicana [Bergen County]
318 Broad Avenue (between Palisades and Central), Palisades Park, NJ
201-585-1944
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Shinpo [Bergen County]
606 Anderson Avenue (at Lincoln), Cliffside Park, NJ
201-840-5001
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You-Chun [Bergen County]
135 Broad Avenue (at Homestead), Palisades Park, NJ
201-363-1950
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You-Chun [Flushing]
156-03 Northern Boulevard (at 156th Street), Flushing, Queens
718-461-6511
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You-Chun [Herald Square]
5 W. 36th Street (near Fifth Avenue), Manhattan
212-239-5000
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Gam Mee Ok [Bergen County]
485 Main Street (near Edwin), Fort Lee, NJ
201-242-1333
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Gam Mee Ok [Herald Square]
43 W. 32nd Street (between Broadway and Fifth Avenue), Manhattan
212-695-4113
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So Gong Dong [Bergen County]
130 Main Street (between Parker and Kaufers), Fort Lee, NJ
201-242-0026
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So Gong Dong [Bergen County]
118 Broad Avenue (near Harwood), Palisades Park, NJ
201-313-5550
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Boom Boom Chicken [Bergen County]
Formerly Bon Chon Chicken
553 Main Street (near Jones), Fort Lee, NJ
201-592-9700
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So Moon Nan Jib [Bergen County]
238 Broad Avenue (between Brinkerhoff and Homestead), Palisades Park, NJ
201-944-3998
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Board Links: Good Korean restaurant in NJ and within 40 minute driving from Midtown Manhattan?
Jersey Top 10

Grand Central Breakfast Find at Cipriani Le Specialità

Those hungering for a quick breakfast near Grand Central will find a fine one at Cipriani Le Specialità. Open from 7 on weekdays, the breakfast-lunch-takeout outpost of the tony Cipriani empire makes outstanding oatmeal, sweet and creamy, with berries or raisins if you like, reports Wanda_Gorgonzola.

Pastries and cappuccino are decent. So are frittatas and other egg dishes, but they’re cooked in advance, so make sure they haven’t been sitting too long. “Bring the newspaper, pull up a stool at the window, and chill,” Wanda advises.

Cipriani Le Specialità [Grand Central]
110 E. 42nd Street (between Lexington and Park avenues), Manhattan
212-557-5088
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Board Links: Good food around 42nd and 2nd ave-Dinner and breakfast.

Hearty Latin Lunch at Red Hook’s 327 V-B

Red Hook, Brooklyn, is two neighborhoods these days. There’s the new one trumpeted in magazines, with its gourmet groceries and restaurants. And then there’s the old industrial one, where workers can still grab a satisfying cheap lunch at places like 327 V-B Cafe Deli.

If they’re serving beef ribs at this self-described “American-Spanish-Mexican” steam-table place, get them. They’re meaty, juicy, and spicy, served in a peppery green sauce loaded with cilantro, bigmackdaddy reports. Roast pork is moist and fragrant, with nice crisp skin. Also recommended: empanadas, beef stew, and avocado or seafood salads.

Weekday lunch is the time to go. The place closes by midafternoon. It’s also open Saturdays, but the offerings are meager and seem left over from the week. This is a hole-in-the-wall, easy to miss. “I thought it was an abandoned storefront save for the neon ‘Deli’ sign in the huge, fogged-up plate-glass windows,” bigmackdaddy says. “So look for it.”

327 V-B Cafe Deli, a.k.a. Red Hook Coffee Shop [Red Hook]
327 Van Brunt Street (near Sullivan), Brooklyn
718-488-9730
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Board Links: Spicy Ribs on Van Brunt St.

Promising New Southern Indian in Curry Hill

Chennai Garden has branched out. Last month its owner opened another south Indian vegetarian restaurant called Tiffin Wallah, a block north of the original. The menu is nearly the same as Chennai Garden’s, though Tiffin is a bit cheaper. Dave Feldman reports luscious uttapam (rice and ground dal pancakes) with onion and green chiles, excellent dosa podi, and a delicious, fruity mango shake.

Beyond southern specialty items, the menu offers chaat (including fresh, lively bhel puri) and a selection of Gujarati and Punjabi curries. Palak paneer is well seasoned and pleasingly creamy, reports shmooperdooper. Tiffin Wallah also lays out a $6 lunch buffet that’s “head-and-shoulders better than any of the other vegetarian lunch buffet places,” says buriedpaul and, like the tiffin wallahs of India, delivers. For now, Dave gives the new place the edge over Chennai Garden: The food is comparable, prices are lower, and the owner is in the house and trying hard to please.

Around the corner on Lexington, cabbie hangout Shipa Kasturi is hitting on all cylinders. One of the few Bengali places in town, it remains a go-to spot for mach (fish), torkari (curries), dal, and mishti (sweets), says Ami bangla jani na. At this no-frills steam-table joint, around $6 buys a couple of dishes plus rice. If they have it, don’t miss lal doi (sweetened yogurt).

Tiffin Wallah [Murray Hill]
127 E. 28th Street (between Lexington and Park avenues), Manhattan
212-685-7301
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Chennai Garden [Murray Hill]
129 E. 27th Street (between Lexington and Park avenues), Manhattan
212-689-1999
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Shipa Kasturi Pavilion [Gramercy]
83 Lexington Avenue (between E. 26th and 27th streets), Manhattan
212-679-7993
Map

Board Links: Tiffin Wallah on E 28th Street —Anyone been?
Ramadan at Kasturi
Cheap Indian around 28th & Lex

Homey Mexican at El Palenque, and Other Latin Bites in Sunset Park

El Palenque doesn’t look like much, and that’s a beautiful thing. This humble eatery in Sunset Park bears out Jim Leff’s theory on southern Mexican chow. “Go for the emptiest, most dismal, unknown haunts,” he advises. “The southerners (Oaxaca, Chiapas, etc.) don’t market themselves well and lack funds to really do up their places, but cook like a dream.”

Chalupas with beef are eyebrow-raisingly good, Jim says. Others recommend tostadas, horchata, meaty pozole, and sopa de olla, a spicy red broth filled with vegetables and tender beef. Coffee is unexpectedly stellar, “better than about 95 percent of the coffee I’m forced to drink in most cafes,” declares spicynuts. The room is plain but neat, service sweet and friendly.

A few blocks up the road, wleatherette reports delicious Ecuadoran food at El Tesoro, highlighted by first-rate roast baby pig with a generous amount of crackling. Also good: seafood rice or casseroles.

El Palenque Restaurant [Sunset Park]
5709 Fifth Avenue (near 57th Street), Brooklyn
718-567-8508
Map

El Tesoro Ecuatoriano Restaurant [Sunset Park]
4015 Fifth Avenue (at 40th Street), Brooklyn
718-972-3756
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Board Links: Sunset Park Obscure Mexican