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

In the East Village, Zabb Thai Hits Its Stride

Zabb City, the newish Manhattan outpost of a Thai favorite in Queens, has been on probation. When it opened last summer, hounds looked forward to more of the robust Isaan chow they’d swooned over at the Jackson Heights original. They were often disappointed. The menu offered few Isaan dishes, and the restaurant seemed little changed from the run-of-the-mill Thai eatery it replaced.

Happily, things are looking up. A recent meal was excellent, reports veteran Thai hand Simon. Highlights: superior laab moo (ground pork salad) and som tam (papaya salad) with admirable texture and just the right amount of sweetness. “I’m delighted,” Simon adds. “The quality of life in my neighborhood just got a lot better.”


Zabb City [East Village]
formerly Chaa Chaa Teahouse
244 E. 13th St., between 2nd and 3rd Aves., Manhattan
212-529-8770
Locater

Zabb Queens Restaurant [Jackson Heights]
71-28 Roosevelt Ave., between 70th and 72nd Sts., Jackson Heights, Queens
718-426-7992
Map

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Zabb City
Excellent Thai in LES —Ama ya

Catch of the Day: Scallops Fresh from the Bay at Cor-J

Peconic Bay scallops are back in season, and there’s no better place to score some than Cor-J out in Hampton Bays. Fresh from local baymen, they’re sweet and scrumptious and don’t even have to be cooked, swears skeetereats. Cor-J, right near the Ponquogue Bridge, also offers the area’s best selection of local fish and shellfish, plus a boatload of small-town charm.

So far it’s shaping up as another lean season for Peconic Bays, so call ahead. If Cor-J’s is out, skeetereats suggests trying Stuart’s in Amagansett, which works with different baymen.


Cor-J Seafood Corp. [Suffolk County]
36 Lighthouse Rd., Hampton Bays, NY
631-728-5186
Locater

Stuart’s Seafood Market [Suffolk County]
41 Oak Ln., between Schellinger Rd. and Montauk Hwy., Amagansett, NY
631-267-6700
Locater

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Bay Scallops?

Ouest Revisited: Eggy Ecstasy, for Starters

Hounds can’t stop talking about two delicious, comforting appetizers at Ouest. One is crispy poached egg with smoked duck breast and bitter greens. The other is a rich truffled “omelet souffle” with mousseline sauce.

This kind of hearty, well-conceived chow has won a devoted neighborhood following for Ouest, a five-year-old American bistro. Smart orders include roasted and braised meats and poultry, including roast chicken, grilled pork chop or rib eye, braised short ribs, and crispy pan-roasted squab. Also recommended: prosciutto-wrapped halibut, roast sturgeon with mushrooms and truffled rice, and a knockout appetizer of cauliflower custard with poached lobster, mushrooms, and leeks. Some find the dessert choices lackluster and dated.


Ouest [Upper West Side]
2315 Broadway, between W. 83rd and 84th Sts., Manhattan
212-580-3481
Locater

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Ouest

Big W’s Bar-B-Que Finds a Place to Park

Big W’s, which once dished up first-class barbecue from a truck, is now paying less for gas but more for rent. In a former deli around five miles up Route 22 from its old parking spot, it’s serving the same deeply smoky ribs, chicken, and pulled pork, among other things. Standout sides include slow-roasted potatoes and sweet, tangy, porky beans. “I drove 35 miles for the ribs–and I will do it again,” testifies steelydad.


Big W’s Roadside Bar-B-Que [Dutchess County]
formerly Village Deli and Market
1475 Rte. 22, Wingdale, NY
845-832-6200
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big w’s (wingdale/dover plains) is open!
big w bbq

Sweet Stone Crabs at the Lobster Place

Stone crabs are here, and the Lobster Place has landed some champs. “Oh, man, was it good!” sighs skeetereats, who favors the tender knuckle meat over the prized claws.

The store sells mustard to serve alongside. Don’t bother. The crabs are sweet and delicious without embellishment. The season runs through March, but the supply is unpredictable, so call ahead.


The Lobster Place [Chelsea]
75 9th Ave., at W. 15th St., in Chelsea Market, Manhattan
212-255-5672
Locater

The Lobster Place [Greenwich Village]
252 Bleecker St., at Leroy, Manhattan
212-352-8063
Locater

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If you’re craving STONE CRAB CLAWS…

Amid Blintzes and Borscht, a Surprising Burger at Veselka

Veselka is loved–or loathed, by some–for its sturdy Ukrainian grub. But few have even mentioned its charbroiled hamburger–until now. “One of the most underappreciated burgers in the city,” declares livetotravel. “It was a true revelation the first time I ate one.”

eastvillagegirl credits high-quality beef supplied by East Village Meat Market across the street. In addition, livetotravel says, this kitchen knows the meaning of medium rare.


Veselka Restaurant [East Village]
144 2nd Ave., at E. 9th St., Manhattan
212-228-9682
Locater

East Village Meat Market and Deli, a.k.a. J. Baczynsky’s [East Village]
139 2nd Ave., between E. 9th St. and St. Marks Pl., Manhattan
212-228-5590
Locater

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Best Burger?

Catch of the Day: Lobster Sashimi at Ushiwaka Maru

When it’s man vs. lobster at Ushiwaka Maru, bet on the man. Sushi chef Hideo-san is undefeated, having ripped apart countless live crustaceans with his bare hands. The prize: sweet, sumptuous and obviously fresh lobster sashimi. Scope out the tank; if there’s lobster in there, it’s on the menu.

Others recommend Bond Street or Blue Ribbon Sushi for lobster sashimi.


Ushiwaka Maru [Greenwich Village]
136 W. Houston St., between MacDougal and Sullivan, Manhattan
212-228-4181
Locater

Bond Street [East Village]
6 Bond St., between Broadway and Lafayette St., Manhattan
212-777-2500
Locater

Blue Ribbon Sushi [Soho]
119 Sullivan St., between Prince and Spring, Manhattan
212-343-0404
Locater

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Lobster Sashimi
Bond Street Question

Napa and Co.: Seasonal Bounty in Stamford, CT

Stamford hounds are buzzing about Napa and Co., an ambitious food emporium that brings something new and welcome to town. “Stamford finally has a ‘destination,’” exults Fairfield Foodie, who recounts a spectacular dinner highlighted by foie gras with apple, braised short ribs, sirloin with chanterelles, and a knockout custard for dessert.

Chef Bill Taibe, who gained a following at the now-closed Relish in South Norwalk, offers an upscale, weekly-changing American menu with a focus on local, seasonal ingredients. “Phenomenal. The food is New York caliber,” raves iheartoffal, who faults only a few opening-month service miscues. The wine list is deep and Napa-centric, as you’d expect, but also includes numerous Old World choices. Lunch sounds as promising as dinner. tdchow loves the Napa Burger, made of wagyu beef–$17, but “you get what you pay for.”

In addition to the restaurant (formally known as the Kitchen at Napa and Co.), there’s a takeout shop called the Pantry, a wine store, and a catering operation. The Pantry’s menu of salads, appetizers, cooked entrees, and more includes a very good Cuban pressed sandwich, Johnleah reports.


Napa and Co. [Fairfield County]
75 Broad St., in Courtyard by Marriott, Stamford, CT
203-353-3319
Locater

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Napa & Co. in Stamford
Napa & Co. in Stamford

Killer Empanadas at Jackson Heights’ Chivito D’Oro

Grilled meats are the main event at El Chivito D’Oro, but the empanadas also rock. The ones stuffed with ground beef or spinach are fabulous, says jason carey. (The chicken filling, on the other hand, can be dry.)

MKS admires their optimal size and flavorful baked pastry–and gives them the edge over the smaller fried empanadas at another hound favorite, Empanadas del Parque.


El Chivito D’Oro [Jackson Heights]
84-02 37th Ave., at 84th St., Jackson Heights, Queens
718-424-0600
Locater

Empanadas del Parque [Corona]
56-27 Van Doren St., at 108th St., Corona, Queens
718-592-7288
Map

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fantastic empanadas.. Jackson hts.

Fried Rice Surprise at Spicy and Tasty

Spicy and Tasty is a perennial hound favorite for lusty Sichuan dishes like cold noodles with chile sauce and pork in fresh hot pepper. So rose water wasn’t expecting much when someone at her table ordered the wimpy-sounding scallion-and-egg fried rice. Turns out it kills: full of fluffy scrambled egg, bright green from pureed green onion. “It was earthy and scalliony and surprisingly good,” rose water admits.


Spicy and Tasty [Flushing]
39-07 Prince St. #1H, between 39th and Roosevelt Aves., Flushing, Queens
718-359-1601
Locater

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NY Times Awards Spicy & Tasty 2 Stars