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Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

Continental Explorations at Klee

Klee is deep into a comfortable, crowd-pleasing groove these days, and its pizza is just one example of what it’s doing right, says Jim Leff. It’s not exactly pizza, he adds, but a savory flatbread topped with onion and bacon, a take on the Alsatian flammeküche, and just as crave-worthy as the hound-endorsed Naples-inspired pizza at Co. a couple of blocks away.

The menu at this three-year-old Chelsea spot is broadly European with a nod to Austria, Chef Daniel Angerer’s homeland, but with unexpected inventions and contemporary finesse. Angerer’s reworking of macaroni and cheese is a unique, delicious dish of spätzle that might feature black truffle and a pumpernickel crust. From the special Oktoberfest menu, kitsune scored pleasingly light Wiener Schnitzel and moist, flavorful veal meatloaf with mushrooms. “Everything’s done with high-end continental/Austrian fastidiousness,” Jim says, “but it’s got soul. The best of both worlds.”

The wine list is long and interesting, and the cocktails are winning fans, too. Try the margarita with elderflower liqueur or the Südtiroler: sparkling rosé, Campari, and gin.

Klee [Chelsea]
200 Ninth Avenue (between W. 22nd and 23rd streets), Manhattan
212-633-8033

Board Link: Klee Brasserie?

A Snow Crab Hat Trick, Cantonese Style

Snow crab three ways—spicy, spare, satisfying—is the don’t-miss special right now at Imperial Palace in Flushing. This blowout banquet order features the signature house preparation, crab steamed over sticky rice, but “a touch spicier than usual and fantastic,” says wew. A stir-fry with scallions comes as a welcome contrast, simple and delicious. And snow crab steamed in a comforting custard with light soy sauce shows once again “just how unbelievable food can be,” wew promises.

Imperial Palace, a Chowhound perennial for Cantonese seafood, also came through for wew with, among other things, a sublime steamed fish with ginger, Hong Kong fried shrimp, stir-fried fresh conch, salted-fish fried rice, and XO oysters, delicious and huge (“I think they were from Bikini Atoll”).

To any wine-lovers thinking of bringing in a bottle or two, wew says knock yourself out. Three especially happy pairings were a 2005 Savennières Clos du Papillon with the crab over rice, a 2005 Brewer-Clifton Sweeney Canyon Chardonnay with the crab custard, and a 2007 F.X. Pichler Dürnsteiner Kellerberg Grüner Veltliner with the stir-fried crab and the fried shrimp (though really, wew adds, the Grüner is “a wine that is fine with anything”).

Imperial Palace [Flushing]
136-13 37th Avenue (near Main Street), Flushing, Queens
718-939-3501

Board Link: Imperial Palace–what to order?

The Candy Made Me Do It

In the latest edition of “is it causality or correlation?” DailyFinance notes a British study that states in part:

“69 percent of the participants who had committed violence by age 34 had eaten sweets or chocolate nearly every day during childhood.”

The post goes on to present a somewhat credible theory to support the finding: When you deprive kids of nutrients, they’re less able to function effectively and more prone to making mistakes. Such as whaling on their fellow schoolchildren.

The Basics: How to Make Lasagne

The Basics: How to Make Lasagne

The tried-and-true recipe you'll hang onto forever. READ MORE

Numbers You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

What is it about food and our desire to quantify it? What’s so compelling about turning a sustenance-providing, sense-stimulating meal or beverage into a set of facts and figures?

Whatever it is, here are a couple of new bones for statistics dogs to gnaw upon: the Sandwich Price Calculator, which lets you input the various parts of your sandwich and generate a plausible price for it, and a Fast Food Calories Per Dollar Infographic, which reveals that a large fries at McDonald’s or a Fiesta Chicken Salad at Taco Bell are two of the most cost-effective ways to max out your weight gain. The lack of KFC options seems to be a critical oversight, however.

The CHOW 13

The CHOW 13

Our first annual awards, presenting a baker's dozen of provocateurs, trendsetters, and rabble-rousers. READ MORE

How Does Food Affect Your Dreams?

How Does Food Affect Your Dreams?

That duck a l'orange was a total nightmare. READ MORE

Not Your Grandmother’s Sherry

Not Your Grandmother’s Sherry

Manzanilla fino is the entry point into a new world. READ MORE

SPQR and Quince Are Reborn

SPQR just reopened with a new chef (Matthew Accarrino), a new menu, and newly spiffed-up digs, but the most exciting change may be the reservation policy. That is, you can make a reservation now—and that’s very important with a super-popular spot like this one.

bobpantzer checked it out just a few days after the reopening and calls the experience “wonderful.” Squash and prune tortellini with almond butter might sound odd to some, but it’s absolutely delicious, he says. Good to share because the sweetish flavors could overwhelm. There’s also a lovely gem lettuce salad with beets, walnuts, and gorgonzola. For mains, roasted swordfish with peperonata and oxtail with grilled short ribs and polenta are a hit; dessert is on the money, with chestnut cake with pears and puff pastry stuffed with apples and cherries.

Quince also just reopened in a new location, but is experiencing a few growing pains, reports Foodnut8. The pastas, once a strong suit, are now oily and salty. On the other hand, the weakest link in the menu used to be the entrées, which are now excellent —the duck and halibut, anyway. Falling into the “solid” category are sea scallops, veal, tuna, and the squab appetizer.

The new space is modern and elegant, definitely a special occasion restaurant with a funky edge (exposed-brick walls combine with chandeliers hanging from the high ceiling). But it hasn’t quite gelled yet and, with portions on the light side and prices on the high side, it’s probably best to give it time.

SPQR [Pacific Heights]
1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco
415-771-7779

Quince [Financial District]
470 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco
415-775-8500

Board Links: SPQR--Open with new menu, any comments yet?
Quince reopens in San Francisco on Pacific Avenue

The Cobb Salad That Could

Little Skillet’s Cobb salad is, in a word, “awesome,” says jupiter. OK, it’s more like a BLT salad topped with fried chicken, but what’s wrong with that? Who can say no to crisp romaine and cherry tomatoes, just enough ranch dressing, warm chopped bacon, perfect sliced avocado, and a juicy fried chicken breast, off the bone, cut into wedges?

“I almost don’t want to go back so that the memory of that perfect salad stays for ever cherished in my mind,” jupiter says. “But that is foolish. I will be back.”

Little Skillet [SOMA]
330 Ritch Street, San Francisco
415-777-2777

Board Link: Little Skillet - The Cobb Salad