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Get to DeRobertis Pasticceria before it's too late

DeRobertis Pasticceria (176 First Ave,, which opened in 1904, looks as if its days are numbered. The building (which they own) is for sale, with the store to be delivered vacant to any new owner.

May 27, 2014
gbevan in Manhattan

Lotus Blue

My husband and I had an excellent dinner at Lotus Blue a couple of nights ago. We almost never have cocktails, but were intrigued by the various infusions. I don't remember what they call it, but the Sichuan peppercorn-infused gin/Campari/vermouth drink was nicely spicy and not sweet.

We started with a spicy chrysanthemum greens salad and razor clams with tomato and pineapple salsas. The salad was simple, spicy, fresh & delicious. We both liked the tomato salsa on the clams better than the pineapple, though that was good zipped up with a little pepper oil. The clams were a bit cooler than we would have preferred.

Next were the fish cross-bridge fish noodles: they brought a bowl filled with the noodles, poured in a wonderfully fragrant broth, set in a raw quail egg, and gave us a plate full of fish slices, vegetables, herbs and flower petals for us to add to be cooked by the hot broth. Luscious, light, yummy.

I'm glad we hadn't started with the prawns with candied olives, because I probably would have told them to cancel the other dishes and just bring me more of these. For me at least they're pretty hard to eat with chopsticks because they're whole in the shell, but it didn't matter: they were spicy, a tiny bit sweet, and absolutely delicious. The multigrain rice with mushroom and bamboo shoots accompanied it well - nicely chewy and earthy.

Dessert: sticky rice pancakes filled with black sesame paste and coated with toasted sesame seeds were sticky, not sweet, quite nice -- I liked them more than my husband did. We also got some creamy & just-sweet-enough coconut tapioca pudding, which came with a ring of rose petal syrup around its edge.

The servers were knowledgable and friendly, though perhaps a bit unpolished.

All in all, we left full and satisfied. We intend to come back with more people so we can try the steam pot chicken, which the menu says serves 4.

Lotus Blue
110 Reade St, New York, NY 10013

Feb 18, 2012
gbevan in Manhattan

What, Pray Tell, Is Mock Apple Pie?

My college housemates and I made this decades ago on a lark. It looked exactly like apple pie. It tasted like Ritz crackers with sugar syrup and lemon juice.

Sep 09, 2011
gbevan in Features

One night in Pawtucket/Providence: a chow-ish fave? NewRivers, Cafe Nuovo, Gracie's, Bway Bistro, Hemenways, ...?

We're looking for someplace for Saturday night where four people can have fabulous food and a conversation at the same time. Two NYC 'hounds are taking friends (now living in Pawtucket) out for dinner. New Rivers, Cafe Nuovo, Gracie's, Broadway Bistro, Hemenway's, La Laiterie all sound really good, but we don't necessarily need something fancy or upscale. If there's, say, a casual Portuguese place you go to again and again, or that little taverna that's cheaper than the flight to Europe, even better. Any suggestions?

Visiting Toronto in late April 2008 - recommendations wanted, please

Thank you all for your advice. We finally made our choices, with reservations at Canoe and Susur, plans for JK Wine Bar, Banabonia, somewhere in Markham for a Chinese meal, plus some time at the St. Lawrence Market. But our trip was postponed, probably until the fall, so I can't post a follow-up report.

Apr 26, 2008
gbevan in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Visiting Toronto in late April 2008 - recommendations wanted, please

It's not "feeling like New York" -- perhaps poor phrasing on my part -- so much as looking for someplace that feels as if it's just where and how it should be. Such as a comfortable Portuguese spot with a great acorda; or a restaurant where the chef's inspiration drives the menu and the overall experience, not just flash or trendiness; or maybe someplace using local ingredients and influences when possible. Ideally, when we think back on the deliciousness a year from now, I'd love to be able to place the restaurant instantly in Toronto, not wonder, "now where again did we have that spaghettoni with bottarga?"

Apr 07, 2008
gbevan in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Visiting Toronto in late April 2008 - recommendations wanted, please

My husband and I are re-visiting Toronto for four days at the end of this month from New York for our first time in decades. After reading through many ' hound posts, Toronto NOW, Toronto Life and more, I'm overwhelmed with choices and options. We're looking for any really excellent food, and especially anything that doesn't feel as if we might as well be eating in New York. It could be a cheap dive, it could be expensive (but not fancy or stuffy), it doesn't really matter. To complicate things a bit, I don't eat mammal -- he's an omnivore. We're staying at the Hotel Shelby (Sherbourne near Bloor). Perhaps to start things off, I'll list below (in no particular order) some places that have all sounded of interest. Thanks in advance for your help.

Susur Lee
Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar
Jean’s Vegetarian Kitchen
Colborne Lane
Rice Bar
Bistro Bakery Thuet

Apr 06, 2008
gbevan in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Vetri: Degustazione or a la carte?

We're two NY hounds about to (try) to make a first time reservation at Vetri. We're trying to decide between a degustazione-only Saturday or an a la carte Friday night. One of us doesn't eat mammal, but they'll accommodate that. Any opinion which way we should go?

Feb 07, 2007
gbevan in Pennsylvania

American chowhounds in Beijing and Shanghai in October

We're two more NYC Chowhounds who will be in Beijing and Shanghai for a few weeks in October. "That's Beijing" has an ongoing series of short articles called "Decoding the Dish" with photos and descriptions of all manner of street food, such as Buddha Jumps Over The Wall (Fo Tiao Qiang), Earth's Three Fairies and more. If this link doesn't get you right there, just click on any Food link on the site then on Decoding the Dish.

We're also going to be in Pingyao and Xian for a few days, so if anyone has any recommendations we'd be happy to hear them.

Sep 02, 2006
gbevan in China & Southeast Asia