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dickie d.'s Profile

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homemade ramen - not instant

I highly recommend the recipe in Momofuku. But you have to have a LOT of free time - it takes about 12 hours. i made a double batch of the broth (enough for 20 portions) and froze it, and i would recommend that. while the broth has salt from the seaweed and bacon, it's not too salty. you control the seasoning at the end by adding tare - which is reduced soy sauce, sake, and dense chicken stock. if you don't want it too salty, just add less tare. if you love ramen, and it sounds like you do - you should do the momofuku recipe. it's great.

Jul 11, 2010
dickie d. in Home Cooking

run, don't walk

First of all I didn't say to simply braise them. I said either braise and then roast or just roast. The pork on the ESK buns was obliterated when I ate it. Frying might be OK, but not overfried and the pork was trashed when on the buns I got at ESK.

You are talking about Momofuku Ko, they don't have the steam buns at Ko - it's prixe fixe. It is the fine dining branch of the Momofuku restaurants and yes, the lunch menu is pricey.

Momofuku Noodle Bar and Ssam Bar have steam buns at $6 for two. Momofuku didn't invent steamed buns, of course, but they are their signature dish. The steam pork buns served at ESK are an absolute rip-off of the Momofuku pork buns, although not nearly as good. The only difference is that the pork is overcooked and probably not farm raised. Ask the owner, I'm sure they'll acknowledge the debt, it's just unfortunate that they weren't paying more attention when they copied the dish. Or better yet, look up "Momofuku pork buns" on google images - you'll see something very similar to what you get at ESK, except with superior pork.

ESK is pretty good and has the potential to be very good. It is overpriced. The pork buns should be no more than 1/2 of what they charge. You can get comparable food out of trailers at a much lower price all over town.They serve pork buns for the same price as Momofuku although they aren't nearly as good. I'm glad they are trying and I'll give them another shot and hopefully they work out the kinks.

Also, there is plenty of great inexpensive Asian food in Austin. I suggest you start with the cafe at Asia Market:

I don't know what to tell you except that you clearly are misinformed about Momofuku, how to cook pork belly, and comparable value for food served out of a trailer.

Feb 12, 2010
dickie d. in Austin

run, don't walk

I have mixed feelings. ESK is very overpriced, but I like what they are trying to do. The beet fries are a great idea and close to a fair value. The pork buns are a total rip off of Momofuku's in NYC, but not nearly as good and for the same price and served out of a trailer in the back of a dive bar on the East Side of Austin instead of one of Manhattan's top restaurants. They are also poorly executed - the pork belly is fried to oblivian and loses all it's porkiness. It should be braised and then roasted or just roasted. These should be $3 or $4 tops. The curry buns are a misguided idea altogether. The rice / brussels sprouts are the best executed items on the menu, but once again completely overpriced - no protein, just a small portion of a cheap starch and a vegetable for $8.

There are not enough places serving food like this in Austin, but they have some work to do before they are doing what I think they are ultimately trying to do. I hope they get there because I really want to like this place. In the meantime, the prices need to come down.

Feb 11, 2010
dickie d. in Austin

SF Chowhounder in NYC. A little help?

Thanks for the tips RGR, I got a lunch res at EMP next Tuesday and will consider it a prelude to a dinner on my following NY trip (assuming all goes well).

Sep 09, 2009
dickie d. in Manhattan

SF Chowhounder in NYC. A little help?

Thanks CalJack, I'm sold on Minetta Burger and definitely sold on Degustation based on your rec and reading other reports. It kinda flew under my radar given that there is no website. Actually managed to get a reservation for four next Monday and am very much looking forward to it. Tasting menu is on!

I'll go to Minetta later that week. What is the difference between the two burgers? Dry aging? Not sure that I've ever had a dry aged burger. Seems sort of odd to dry age and then ground a beef cut. I'm intrigued though.

I'm starting to get really excited and the posters have definitely provided invaluable help and I very much appreciate it.

Sep 09, 2009
dickie d. in Manhattan

SF Chowhounder in NYC. A little help?

Thank you so much for the Aldea recommendation. I just looked at their site. The menu, although small, looks really well thought out with a lot of seemingly well conceived dishes. Also, the interior looks great (for me, food is the highest consideration, but I appreciate good design too). Looks like we can get a late reservation on Thursday and am going to book it. Do you think there is any chance we can walk in earlier? The earliest we can reserve is 9:30.

Sep 09, 2009
dickie d. in Manhattan

SF Chowhounder in NYC. A little help?

Ok, so I'm in town w/ friends starting this Thursday night and then up to a concert upstate (ATP) on Friday and back with friends Mon/Tues. and then very recently got to change my flight and will be here on business until the following Friday night. Thus, a lot of opportunities. Unfortunately, I haven't done a lot of planning and the planning I did do, I backed out on...

I just cancelled reservations for Blue Hill at SB on Thursday night after reading so many subpar reviews on the other list. If I spend $200-$300 on a meal and it's not absolutely spectacular, then it really upsets me for at least a day or two. Seemed like I'd be taking a chance at BH, so I bagged it. After reading all the EMP reports on this list, I feel like I that was the reservation I should have made (I'll be back later this year and won't miss it though). Oh well.

OK, on to my list. Please feel free to comment on anything on here. Rate the top choices and by all means suggest alternates.

Diner (Williamsburg). I know it's officially not covered on this board, but since everything else is, I thought I'd ask anyway. I LOVE burgers and this looks like a good place for a great bloody med-rare burger. Other great burger places would be nice to know about, but if they can't properly cook one on the rare side of med-rare, I'm not interested. For additional context, I went to Spotted Pig last year and loved their burger. I'd like to have a great burger this trip and right now, this is my pick.

Pearl. Love fried oysters. Love lobster rolls. I'm almost definitely going here unless someone convinces me not to.

Perilla. Is the tasting menu good? $70 for six courses and an amuse seems like a steal.

Prune. Seems similar to Perilla. I'd probably go to one or the other. Do I need reservations for either?

Soccarat or Tia Pol? I've heard good things about both. While I've kind of had my fill of Spanish food lately, my friend really likes it and I'm ultimately up for whatever.

Ippudo. Worth the wait? I went to Setagaya last year and enjoyed it. Is this substantially better?

Sobaya. I know it's not ramen, but is it comparable to Ippudo in terms of quality?

EMP. I know dinner's not an option, but do I have a chance of walking in next Tuesday for lunch with a group of four? What if i try for a res now? Finally - $28 for a prixe fixe seems like a steal for food of this quality. Is the five course lunch worth the extra $40?

Kellari. Any thoughts?

Balthazar or Bar Breton? Or something similar? In case there's a time during the trip where I need some comforting, solid bistro fare.

Sushi Yasuda - too late? If not please tell me your thoughts on Lunch vs Dinner? I know eating at the bar is preferred, but assuming I can only get a table, should I still go? What should I expect to spend?

Momofuku. I've been to Ssam bar twice and loved it. While I'd like to try other things, I'm afraid I've raved about it so much that my friends are really pushing for it. How do the other Momofuku branches compare?

Also, any really good weeday breakfast places you can recommend would be appreciated.

Clearly I won't make it to most of these places, but your thoughts and recommendations can help me pick between them. Some very cheap, but delicious places (food carts, falafel, great pizza slices, etc) would be nice as I'd like to keep my food expenditures somewhat within reason.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Sep 08, 2009
dickie d. in Manhattan

Best pupusas in San Francisco?

New Spot sounds great, but I don't think they are open for dinner, right?

Best pupusas in San Francisco?

I'm planning to go out w/ some friends for pupusas on Friday night in the City and we're still up in the air as to where to go - have been to Balompie and El Zocalo, which seem to be two of the places that come up predominately when I searched for pupusas on the board -- is there anything better? If there are other notable dishes at the restaurant, that would be helpful to know as well, but the focus is definitely on pupusas. Thanks a bunch in advance!

Here is my NYC trip list, any more suggestions?

Thanks for your help. I know it's a wide swath of land, I'd just prefer not go too far astray. a little further downtown is fine though. I don't think we're looking for something upscale at that time. Divey is totally fine. Korean food would be great. I live in SF and there really isn't any great Korean food (at least comparable to LA). I wasn't aware that NY had any notable Korean, so I'd love your suggestions. I'm a big fan of good pickled stuff (banchan?) and appreciate wood fueled Kstyle BBQ, but any Korean food suggestions would be great.

I will check out the link and thanks for helping us not waste time going to a closed museum on Tuesday. Haha.

Sep 10, 2008
dickie d. in Manhattan

Here is my NYC trip list, any more suggestions?

Haven't been to NY in years and am coming for a few days next week w/ a group of friends. Anyway, here is our list so far, please help me fill in the blanks. I'd like to keep the $$$ down to the low to moderate level as we're already planning on spending a fair amount at a Babbo/Yasuda.

Thursday, dinner: reservations at Babbo (whew and Yay!).

Friday, lunch: Ramen Setagaya (any other ramen suggestions welcome).

Friday-Sunday, leave town to see music festival Kutshers country club in Thompson/Monticello. I know this is off topic, but any good suggestions for any food within 20-30 miles of here would be greatly appreciated. I've done absolutely no research and am sort of consigned to not getting any great meals during this portion of the trip. Any surprises would be an absolute bonus.

Monday, late lunch: Papaya King (a few of us love our hot dogs).

Monday, late dinner: Going to see another concert at Roseland Ballroom, our hotel is near Washington Park. Any suggestions for something tasty open late around or between these two? Beer or alcohol availability a plus.

Tuesday, lunch: Open to suggestions. We'll probably be at MOMA at some point in the day, but proximity for lunch isn't so important. Katz's is being considered, but not everyone is real excited about it. Late breakfast in lieu of lunch also an option.

Tuesday, dinner: Sushi Yasuda for me and my brother, reservation for omakase at bar.

Wedneseday, breakfast: anything quick around Washington Park.

Thanks a lot in advance for helping out with this, I've been eagerly counting the days for this trip for a few months now. Really excited about the places we're going to, but there is no reason I can't get even more excited by any suggestions you all might have. Thanks!

Sep 10, 2008
dickie d. in Manhattan