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Anyone know anything about Balkanika coming soon on 9th Ave in HK?

Yes, I stopped by there today as well. The prepared food looked suprisingly like the food counter at Kashkaval and with some help from google I found that these two places do have the same owner:
"BALKANIKA Pando Andonopulo, an owner of the market-restaurant Kashkaval, is serving food from the Balkans, including Greece and Bulgaria, with a market in front for meze, salads, and groceries. (Opening May 28): 691 Ninth Avenue (48th Street)"
Seems like there is a much bigger seating are in the back and a few interesting items not sold at Kashkaval (e.g. pickled apples, pickled red cabbage in big glass jars). Will definitely try the apples next time, they are hard to get right, even the folks on Brighton Beach struggle so let's see what Balkanika can offer.

856 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

May 31, 2010
organicgirl in Manhattan

Anyone know anything about Balkanika coming soon on 9th Ave in HK?

Does anyone know the scoop on the fascinating new place called Balkanika on 9th Ave in the 40s? I am guessing/hoping that this will be an exciting Balkan food space but can't seem to find any info online...

May 09, 2010
organicgirl in Manhattan

Brunch at Aquavit

thanks to both of you. very excited to try it out soon!

Aug 24, 2009
organicgirl in Manhattan

Brunch at Aquavit

Any thoughts on the Sunday buffet?
Price seems right but wondering if the food is actually any good. I generally don't have a bias against buffets.

Aug 19, 2009
organicgirl in Manhattan

Top 5 Most Overrated in Manhattan

1) Spotted Pig -- have been three times and each time there was a tragic flaw in the food; twice too salty to eat; 1 overcooked protein; every time bad attitude
2) Five Points brunch -- really?!?! it's just baked eggs with a lot of butter, people
3) Union Sq Cafe -- not creative, not interesting spices or ingredients, not great ambiance or presentation
4) Nobu
5) Felidia
6) Waverly Inn (for those who make the mistake of thinking this place exists to serve food)

Aug 19, 2009
organicgirl in Manhattan

Top 5 Most Overrated in Manhattan

wildwood has been much better lately! give it another try.

Aug 19, 2009
organicgirl in Manhattan

Best NYC Chocolatiers

have to agree that bespoke chocolates are hands down the best i've found in the city.
the most attention has gone to the sea salt caramel chocolate with crushed pretzel on the outside. it is excellent but the more "standard" truffles are truly stellar as well.
an interesting fact about bespoke is that it was started up a young woman who used to do research in neuroscience at stanford and columbia until she found her passion. personally, i'm very glad she changed paths

Aug 19, 2009
organicgirl in Manhattan

best kebab in hell's kitchen?

thanks a lot for the info! will definitely try hanci and braii as they are a stones throw away.

Aug 07, 2009
organicgirl in Manhattan

best kebab in hell's kitchen?

what do you guys think is the best place to get kebab in hell's kitchen? my thoughts so far:
ariana and afghan -- too dry
gazala place -- amazing for pretty much everything else but no authentic kebab on the menu
bakhara indian on 9th -- delicious and juicy but obviously with strong indian flavors
greek kitchen -- moist and tasty but a bit too much oregano for my taste
thoughts on la kabbr, uncle nicke's azuri, turkish cuisine, stanbul cafe, others?
appreciate the input!

Jul 25, 2009
organicgirl in Manhattan

deep fried whole fish?

I miss the Saigon Grill too. No place is Boston compares but if you are looking for sweet and sour fish check out the little hole in the wall in Cambridge called Zoe's. It's on Beacon near the intersection with Sacaramento (towards Porter Sq). Absolutely awesome hidden jewel of an authentic chinese place better than any place I've been to in Chinatown. They do a good friend fish as well as other authentic Chinese food (think 1000 yr old Tofu, jelly fish, hollow green vegetable, super spicy beef etc). It's no Saigon grill in that obviuosly it is a chinese place but... the plastic tables, yummy food and little glasses of water will make you feel like you're back in NY.

Indian Lunch Buffet

Kebab Factory is excellent as is Diva in Davis sq. Both of these places have pretty large buffets with nice appetizers sections. KF has great chicken kebab which is usually included in the buffet.

Tamarind Bay has a large and unique buffet. The curries are more liquidy, more flavorful and less heavy that at other places. If you are looking for a change of pace this is worth trying.

For my money -- the best buffet ($13.95 on weekends) is at Kashmir on Newbury St. It's huge and absolutely delicious. Also, the restaurant was renovated a year or so ago so the space is very pleasant.

Dinner at Gargoyles -- What to Order?

Hi, I'm going to dinner at Gargoyles on the Sq in Davis and was hoping some fellow foodies could help me out. I've never been and am not sure what to order. Any advice? Have heard from friends that the tuna poke appetizer is good but... what else??

Middle Eastern Restaurants?

The best middle eastern style food for my money is at the Helmand if you want a nice sit-down place (Cambridgeside galleria). It's Afgahn food if that's close enough. For quick snack you should try Reef in Brighton or Sabra Grill in Harvard Sq.

Sunday night @ Rendezvous!

The duck 3 ways is very very good. I've had it three times. The first when it was called something else on the menu... maybe more traditional cassoulet with some pork instead of all duck? It's always been incredibly tasty though the salt tends to vary, sometimes too much other times too little. Steak Frites is great but not what's worth getting at this place. The chicken was surprisingly delicious. Once I had am amazing smokey pork entree but it has since disappeared from the menu.

I think the real stand-outs on this menu, aside from the fish stew, are the appetizers. Both hot and cold are fantastic. I tend to get the vegetable antipasto which varies by season and always has something like 13 different little vegetables in their own delightful preparations beautifully positioned on the plate. It really looks like an artists paint palate with a great big dollop of eggplant puree in the middle. Very VERY good with the awesome Iggy's bread. Great to share with friends!

Also excellent are the various salad apps-- light and refreshing. If you want to go raw the Tuna tartare is really excellent, not overpowered by sauce and jsut the right small sized portion. They seem to keep it on the menu and change the prep (same as the East Coast Grill) but I've had it twice and it has been excellent. The other raw fish I had here was a disappointment -- can't even recall what it was but white and tasteless. Tuna is good though again not as good as the AMAZING vegetable antipasto plate.

Desserts here are soso. Not too creative or interesting and the e Lemon Buttermilk dessert you can always get AYCE at the Sunday brunch at the Blue room. I'd go with the cheese for dessert- comes with great onion jam, fig spread and spicy nuts (I think).

Cocktails are pretty good too though I'd stay away from the "tomato water" because it tasted a little iffy. Some of the cocktails are very sweet so if you don't like that watch out. Excellent wine specials on Sunday night as others have pointed out already.

Waiters know their stuff so don't forget to ask for suggestions!

kebab factory?

I go to the KF lunch buffet at least once a week and think it's awesome. The food is always different and the kebab chicken (staple) is absolutely spectacular. There is always soup and salad and dessert but the best thing is the variety -- it's odd but they sometimes do ribs or dumplings as appetizers instead of same boring samosad. The owners are Pakistani I think so the spices are a bit different at times and more variable than the standar buffet (think mango chicken...!). Definitely give this place a try it's a great bargain. Note that Tamarind Bay is in a different class given their emphasis on traditional spices and intense flavors (I love TB and KF... they are just very different).

Darwin's: Is it just another High (Price) Rise?

Darwin's is over-rated. Try the hidden gem of a sandwich shop on Oxford St between Harvard and Porter called the Oxford Spa if you are willing to play $6 (small) or $8 for the BEST SANDWICHES EVER. 2 examples-- blue moo: roast beef, roasted onions, balsamic, bleu cheese and watercress of fresh iggy's french roll! or desire: turkey, tomato, spicy cajun mayo, roasted peppers and onions on the same iggy's bread are my favorite... Several veggie options too and very friendly people as opposed to the stuck-up angry hipsters at Darwin's.

Funky brunch

I agree on the Center St Cafe in JP. Close to Cambridge you can check out Soundbites near Tufts for a similar hip vibe (long lines and hipsters but at both places you can get coffee while you wait). The places are tiny with funky decor and very reasonably priced super tasty and interesting food. CSC has a more Latin flare (think Portugese Scramble in addition the malted banana split waffles)... Blue Room is delicious but a bit more upscale. I've heard East Coast Grill does a great brunch too but haven't been.