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Halal Guys - does any location consistently serve meat off the grill?

The copycat's quality vis a vis the original Famous Halal Guys is up for debate: the copycat cart came in second in MidtownLunch's Street Meat Palooza a few years ago!

http://midtownlunch.com/2010/05/26/st...

Apr 04, 2014
sappidus in Manhattan

Sushi Nakazawa - Reservation help

Ugh, the online system for Ko in its prime was like some evil equivalent of DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak: nothing will ever approach the insanity of trying to land that resy. At least with absurd lines a la Cronut, you know if you're just willing to wait long enough, you'll get your desire...

As for the OP, I can only suggest what I did to eventually get that Momofuku Ko spot -- camp out at a computer with a low-latency Internet connection -- as well as at Nakazawa -- find a day fewer people will be likely to go (mine was Labor Day, which was admittedly long before the NYT bomb).

Dec 12, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Best Late Night Japanese

I thought the sushi at the table, while way better than at the Blue Ribbon Sushi at Soho, was fine but not all that much to write home about. (Then again, *most* sushi eaten at a table isn't that much to write home about...)

On the other hand, I loved many of the cooked dishes, including several of the skewers that people keep mentioning. It's now one of my go-to recommendations for someone looking for general, unintimidating Japanese. I wrote about one visit at excruciating length here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8539...

Dec 08, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop now open (11th ave and 44th St). Ivan Ramen's 50 seat LES flagship will open January

As I said, I really liked the shoyu ramen... But it wasn't nearly as filling as a bowl at Totto, which I revisited last week. How much that is a function of the much lighter broth is debatable, but I agree with coasts that, by itself, it's not really a fully meal. (Was definitely overfull after 2, though!) Maybe Mr. Orkin can consider a ramen+mini-donburi lunch set in the future.

Nov 21, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop now open (11th ave and 44th St). Ivan Ramen's 50 seat LES flagship will open January

Yeah, definitely not a value proposition.

Nov 21, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Best Patty Melt in New York?

Inspired by the OP, I finally tried a patty melt in the city, the one at Burger Heaven (49th St branch). Expensive overall, terrible fries, only passable coleslaw, but you know what? A tasty patty melt. Bread properly griddled, cheese appropriately melty, patty a solid medium rare (as ordered). Won't blow your socks off, but when I want a patty melt, I'm looking for comfort, so I was satisfied.

Nov 20, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop now open (11th ave and 44th St). Ivan Ramen's 50 seat LES flagship will open January

So, you haven't been to Smorgasburg during the ramen burger phase, then.

Don't know when you saw it, but I was at the market today between 12 and 1. The Ivan Ramen Line was never longer than ~15 people, and it moved pretty quickly. I waited ten minutes to order my shoyu ramen bowl and ten more minutes to receive it. Since the portions are indeed pretty small -- and no kaedama option, ugh -- I got back in line and rinsed/repeated for the roasted garlic mazemen.

Short review: loved the shoyu ramen, thought the rye-touched noodles were different in a good way; mazemen more like a pasta in cream sauce than anything else, and so garlicky that it overwhelmed any other taste in the bowl.

Nov 20, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Ideas for dinner party to go

Just a little follow-up here... I did choose Num Pang in the end, who was very easy to work with. They do require a minimum of a 10-sandwich order for this sort of thing, though, and remain their usual anal about no sandwich modifications. (They did cut the sandwiches in half, phew.) They were a big hit.

I supplemented with appetizers delivered from Sip Sak because, c'mon, Sip Sak, as well as mini-cakes I picked up myself from Black Hound Bakery.

Nov 15, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Best Patty Melt in New York?

I've been waiting with baited breath for someone to answer this, since occasionally I am hit with a nearly unbearable urge for a patty melt. I haven't actually acted upon this urge yet, but here's a couple of secondhand reports...

Time Out called out the Butterfly's as one of the best sandwiches in the city, full stop:
http://www.timeout.com/newyork/food-drink/best-sandwiches-in-new-york-city-in-2013

Serious Eats likes the versions at Telepan and Burger Heaven:
http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2...

I hope some CHers have real hands-on ("mouth-on"? yuck) experience with these, or others.

Nov 11, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Ideas for dinner party to go

Num Pang is shaping up to be my go-to backup at this point. They're within ten blocks of me, and they seem well set up for small-party catering: as you say, you can order a bunch of different sandwiches, and they have salads/soups portioned for groups too.

Nov 07, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Ideas for dinner party to go

Dumplings! Now there's a different idea. I like it... But what restaurant's dumplings do you think survive transport?

Of course, I know I could just go buy a billion frozen dumplings from some of the usual suspects, but I really don't want to be spending the effort to cook all of them, easy as it may be. I'll have my hands full as-is.

Love Lady M, of course.

Nov 07, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Ideas for dinner party to go

Nice site! Definitely some interesting ideas there, and food for thought.

Mission Chinese also initially jumped to my mind -- I've verily enjoyed my two visits -- but they closed two days ago for a, um, "revamp".

Nov 07, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Ideas for dinner party to go

Hey, I'm planning on putting a poker night with my co-workers in my own apartment... There will probably be around 8-10 of us. I was brainstorming ideas for a dinner that could go along with this. My co-workers know me well as a serious eater -- I mean, I do have a Chowhound account, after all! -- so I want to live up to expectations and get something from a restaurant that people could visit later (i.e., don't want to go the Whole Foods catering route or whatever).

The fact that this is a poker party means that I don't want the food to be *terribly* serious... On the other hand, I don't mind the idea of having semi-messy food around. It's my party: I can force people to wash their hands before touching my cards. ;-)

Anyway, Momofuku Ssam's bo ssam jumped to mind. But I'm curious as to any other ideas, especially since at least a couple of the attendees will be vegetarian. In the past, I've had some success with ordering things from Parm. And on the interesting sandwich front, a bunch of subs from No. 7 Sub or Num Pang seems like a not-bad idea.

But I'd appreciate other ideas, especially from anyone with real-life experience! Pizza, e.g., Artichoke? BBQ? Katz's? I'm in Midtown East but more than willing to travel for this.

Nov 06, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Sushi Nakazawa – How Does It Compare To Jiro? I Don’t Know Or Care, But This Is Some Of The Best Sushi In NY

Great review. I actually didn't like the ikura quite as much, and I still prefer Yasuda's rice, but your take is, as always, well-informed and fair. I really hope they start taking solo diners at the counter someday.

Was he still doing the mustard thing?

Oct 17, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Cafe Hong Kong and Ken's Asian Taste

I've been to Cafe Hong Kong twice, having ordered a total of eight or so dishes, and all have been stellar -- their steamed carp, an eggplant casserole, the "fried" chicken, even the fried rice... Enough so to recall Proustian memories of a Chinatown of two decades past for me. So, sorry you had such a run-of-the-mill experience there. But I'll continue to look forward to my next visit with great relish.

Ken's Asian Taste, on the other hand, I have found to be mediocre.

Oct 11, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Engeline's Filipino

Tito Rad's should be the answer here, as it is for most inquiries regarding Filipino food.

Oct 10, 2013
sappidus in Outer Boroughs

Cronuts that good???

You can walk in.

Sep 21, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Sushi Nakazawa - Seeking a convive for this Sat (8/31)

Oh, right, I forgot to mention the inside-out spicy tuna roll...

j/k

Sep 04, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Anyone been to Biang lately?

Quick plug for the beef tendon skewers at Biang, which I had a few days ago... Friggin' amazing! You do have to be okay with the somewhat squishy interior texture, though. (However, not nearly as squishy as the stewed version seen at dim sum parlors, of course.)

Sep 04, 2013
sappidus in Outer Boroughs

Bowen's Island during non-oyster season

Hi all, I'll be a first-time visitor to Charleston this weekend. Very excited! I was curious as to whether Bowen's Island is worth a visit now, i.e., not during oyster season. Also, any other possibilities for casual seafood in the general area of Charleston, preferably with a nice view?

Sep 03, 2013
sappidus in Southeast

Sushi Nakazawa - Seeking a convive for this Sat (8/31)

This did not occur while I was there. Even though, as at most sushi restaurants I'm aware of, the head chef stands near the apex of the L-shaped counter, he still made every sushi piece and walked it over to the far-end diners himself.

(I was told that eventually, i.e., in a few weeks, two additional chefs would join Nakazawa-san, but to what extent they'll be for the dining room clientele vs the counter, I cannot say.)

Sep 01, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Sushi Nakazawa - Seeking a convive for this Sat (8/31)

It *does* sound pretty crazy, doesn't it? And he said it as he was placing the first tuna piece down, so I suppose you'd have to request not to have it in advance. Still, it's not like he's slathering it on, or that he's using honey dijon or something. As I said, I thought it was quite delicious (and I am generally not a fan even of the Sushi-of-Gari-style "innovations" in the genre), but if it's too outside the box for you, he'd clearly leave it off.

Aug 31, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Sushi Nakazawa - Seeking a convive for this Sat (8/31)

So, yup, I went. To clear one thing up, my omakase was, as the website states, exactly $150.

As expected, this is a heavyweight NYC sushi contender. Is it out-and-out better than, say, Yasuda or 15 East? In its first fortnight of operation? No, not in my opinion. But it deserves to be in the conversation with the upper echelon in the city.

I won't even try to capture the entire meal, but here are some scattered thoughts: The rice was excellent -- still not quite Yasuda-level, IMHO, but on par with just about anyone else in town; from a pure live technical standpoint, he indeed packed it to a perfect density and proportion to neta size. The mantis shrimp was spectacular -- soft and yielding and perfectly paired with same sauce that Nakazawa-san uses for his anago. A smoked Alaskan salmon that I was mildly skeptical of was subtly but love... lovelily?... done. And, oh, yes, that tamagoyaki famous from the documentary is amazing.

He clearly takes pride in his various preparations -- he made some interesting comments about how even an ostensibly traditional sushi chef uses subtle differences in preps to create individuality when, after all, there are only so many different kinds of fish in the sea. He seemed to relish highlighting for each piece whether it had been aged a week, or dusted with yuzu pepper, or dabbed with Japanese mustard...

He stated that he particularly liked the pairing of tuna with mustard, and though I never would have thought of it myself, it really did work for each of the various forms of tuna served (akami, chutoro, otoro, hand roll). When I remarked upon the chutoro, that I couldn't remember seeing it marinated before, he smiled and said, "I stole it from a chef in San Francisco!" He proceeded to explain that when he visited some SF edomae, he encountered the soy-sake-marinade for chutoro and loved it so much that he asked the chef whether he could use the idea in his own restaurant.

Which brings me to an important point: Nakazawa-san is the most personable sushi chef this side of 15 East's Shimizu-san. He's more self-effacing, doing things like criticizing his own (excellent) English, but on the other hand, when I said "Oishi..." after some aji, he immediately replied with a grin, "I know!"

He smiles and laughs and genuinely seems to be having fun behind the counter. Little moments that demonstrated this abounded... When a nearby diner expressed that she didn't like uni much, he made her literally the smallest gunkan-maki I've ever seen, like the size of a nickel, to much amusement all around. When he talked about biking around to buy fish, and I asked where he gets his local stuff, he grinned again and demurred, saying, "Oh, I am new here, I don't know any names..." Even when he misheard my question about whether some bonito had been aged instead as, "how old was the bonito?", he deadpanned, "93 years old."

He just seems like a nice, open guy who happens to be a top-flight sushi chef. I liked him a lot. And I liked the food a lot. One can fairly assume that he and the very young restaurant, which is virtually still in a soft-open mode, will improve with time, as he gets to know the local scene better. One might've feared that there'd be some kind of cynical feel about the place, as if it were just exploiting the popularity of the Jiro documentary, but I didn't sense that at all.

So for the serious sushi lovers, I heartily recommend scoring that difficult reservation and deciding for yourself how it stacks up against the A+ joints around town. I don't think you'll be disappointed. I for one look forward to seeing, and tasting, how it evolves over time.

Aug 31, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan
1

Sushi Nakazawa - Seeking a convive for this Sat (8/31)

FYI: The spot has been claimed!

I will report back to the best of my ability.

Aug 28, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan
1

Sushi Nakazawa - Seeking a convive for this Sat (8/31)

Just to be clear, in case my significant other runs into this: I have a significant other. ;-)

(She'll be out of town and wouldn't want to go to such a temple anyway.)

Aug 28, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Sushi Nakazawa - Seeking a convive for this Sat (8/31)

Hi CH,

To my marked surprise, I managed to snag a reservation at the sushi bar of Sushi Nakazawa at the oddly-available time of 6:45 this Saturday, 8/31. However, as those who have been following the place will know, they actually only let you make a resy for two. And I am but one person.

So, as kosmose7 did recently, I am offering up my +1 spot. I may be a little distracted as a dining companion -- I plan on focusing on the food! -- but I assure you, I am pleasant enough. ;-)

E-mail me at "calefacient" at "mac.com" if you're interested. (Though it's by no means required, I'd love to hear about why you want to go, too.)

Aug 27, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Sushi Nakazawa - full review

Nice, in-depth review. One point, though: do you have any comments about the rice?

Aug 27, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

[Yakiniku Gen] New Korean-Japanese style BBQ house

I went for lunch based on this recommendation and will now heartily corroborate it. It would've been an excellent deal in any case, but they were handing out additional $2-off coupons for lunch, so it was really just highway robbery! The kalbi was tasty and tender. The cold reiman was much more reminiscent to me of naeng myun (especially noodle-wise) than the hiyashi chukas I've had.

Anyway, I'm definitely earmarking it for dinner. Gyu-Kaku may be virtually around the corner, but I have the feeling the meat quality here will be better, and the range of cuts on offer is Takashi-esque, so.

Jul 17, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

Hiyashi Chuka in NYC

Saburi (Lex, between 30th and 31st) serves one.

I believe Hide-chan Ramen (52nd St, near 2nd Ave) also serves a version, although if memory serves correctly, the broth is not cold.

Neither place delivers, I'm afraid.

Jul 15, 2013
sappidus in Manhattan

ISO Souvlaki / Gyro truck that uses Charcoal, not gas...

I've only had the pork souvlaki, which I find delicious. It is expensive for the portion, admittedly.

Jun 26, 2013
sappidus in Outer Boroughs