Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.
USA Today reported late last week one of the most frightening new stories in our brave new era of industrial food. No, it's not about Monsanto crushing independent farmers under their big corporate thumb. No, it's not about Frankenstein-like hamburgers assembled from numerous cows from around the world. It's the new $2 Taco Bell combo meal.
The best Central Asian kebabs no one's talked about lately come off the grill at Tandoori Bukharian Bakery in Rego Park. They're moist, powerfully seasoned, and better than anything at the other Bukharian kebab houses of "Regostan"—including the usual suspects Cafe Arzu and Cheburechnaya, Greg promises.
Samsas are awesome baked pastries, cousins of the Indian samosa, the size of a fist and stuffed with savory ground meat. Steamed dumplings are equally hefty and filled with meat or minced potato. Salads are tasty and, like everything else here, robustly seasoned. And it's all pretty cheap: Greg's group of four got more than enough food for around $50. Service is better than the norm, he adds: "Less gruff than at Arzu and capable enough with English to get the order mostly correct."
Tandoori Bukharian Bakery [Rego Park]
99-04 63rd Road (at 99th Street), Rego Park, Queens
Discuss: Tandoori Bukharian Bakery in Rego Park
Looks aren't everything. The namesake dish at Bunny Chow, a South African–style bread bowl filled with curry, is a homely thing, big o says. But it's also a wonderful thing, heartily seasoned and "really, really tasty." It's made with chicken, lamb, or shrimp.
Shrimp peri peri, pan-roasted in the shell with herbs and a potent dose of chile, is also delicious. So are the fries, known here as slap chips: big wedges of potato, crispy outside and fluffy inside, served with a yogurt, feta, and cucumber dip. Malva pudding is a fine way to finish up, a cakelike, slightly fruity sweet served warm.
Traffic was notably sparse during big o's visit, and the space was being shopped earlier this year, so you might want to try it sooner rather than later.
Bunny Chow [Lower East Side]
74 Orchard Street (between Grand and Broome streets), Manhattan
Discuss: Review -- Bunny Chow, LES
Cartoonist Chris Onstad is more than a hilarious dude who can throw down animal-based humor content with the finest of writers—he's also a serious food lover who once characterized Christopher Kimball as "this goofy, 8-foot-tall nerd.... I describe him as a Yankee Wookie."
The namesake pastry at House of Silvanas is the Filipino answer to the macaron: two cashew-meringue wafers sandwiching a layer of buttercream, all coated with cookie crumbs. Since the buttercream filling wouldn't hold up at room temperature, silvanas are always eaten frozen, or nearly so. There are seven flavors: buko-pandan (coconut and panda leaf), ube, mocha, and mango are the best, says pilinut, in that order. Even frozen, the buttercream is pleasantly light and creamy against the crunchiness of the cookies, says hhc.
"The sans rival is pretty good, too," adds pilinut, "just plain old buttercream sandwiched between thin, crisp layers of meringue, and sprinkled with nuts."
House of Silvanas [Peninsula]
2055 Gellert Boulevard, Daly City
Discuss: House of Silvanas (Filipino bakery w/ Silvanas), Daly City w/ pics
New York chef Anita Lo is hedging her bets against any more restaurant-related bad luck with feng shui, reports Sumathi Reddy in the Wall Street Journal. Last July, her restaurant Annisa burnt down. In January, she got a feng shui expert to go over it for the rebuild.
If you tried to think of all the places you'd go to get a pizza, Mi Rancho Mexican Market probably wouldn't make the list. But no joke, the thin-crust pizza is really good, says yimster.
Most pizzas are $10 and made to order, with the dough hand-tossed, the sauce house-made, and the basil fresh. But of course there are also toppings you'd never get at Pizza My Heart or New York Pizza (where the chef used to work); request chorizo, carnitas, or anything else that takes your fancy from the Mexican place next door.
Mi Rancho Market [Peninsula]
137 Roosevelt Avenue, Redwood City
Discuss: Great Pizza in a Mexican Market, Mi Rancho in Redwood City
An envelope arrived in the mail the other day. It contained meat. Cured meat, unrefrigerated, sliced paper-thin and sealed in plastic packages, with a nice handwritten note from Scott Buer of Bolzano Artisan Meats saying that it was shelf-stable until opened.
I don't know when it was sent; I don't know when it arrived (my mailbox goes neglected for days at a time). It had sat at unknown temperatures for an unknown period of time in its peregrinations from Wisconsin. It was meat.
It seems that hounds have been craving Chinese-style crustacean lately. Melanie Wong raves about the lobster lo mein at R & B Seafood, while stanbee does the same for King Sing's version.
At R & B, the silky, wide noodles come "crowned with a good-sized fresh New England lobster stir-fried with ginger and scallions," Melanie says. Live seafood is a specialty here, and very well-priced: The lo mein is $12.95. Another must-order: giant clam/queen's clam/surf clam ($5.95), "tender and bursting with the sweet flavor of freshness." That, and garlic, soy sauce, and scallions. At King Sing, the lobster is served with thin noodles and a lighter ginger-scallion sauce.
If you'd rather have lobster your way, gordon wing spotted Maine lobsters for $6.99/pound at the 99 Ranch supermarket in Richmond.
R & B Seafood [Peninsula]
2209 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
King Sing Chinese Restaurant and Wine Bar [Inner Richmond]
501 Balboa Street, San Francisco
99 Ranch Market [East Bay]
3288 Pierce Street, Richmond
Discuss: Lobster Lo Mein and Surf Clams @ R and B Seafood in Palo Alto
Beautiful fresh Lobster Lo Mein at King Sing, 6thAv Balboa $10.99
99 Ranch deals ....... Lobster $6.99