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Taro sushi omakase?

Does anyone have a recent experience with the omakase at Taro Sushi? I haven't been in two years and am wondering if it's still good. I plan to sit at the bar. Last time I went, they presented all the nigiri at once (after the ankimo, fried shrimp head, and sashimi), but I thought I read somewhere that they have started presenting each piece one by one, which I prefer. Would love to hear about any recent experiences.

Mar 03, 2010
foodiegalore in Outer Boroughs

BarFry Review

the only katsu-style frying i saw was in the po' boys.

Sep 05, 2007
foodiegalore in Manhattan

Brooklyn Burger Bar: Uh Oh...

I posted one of the earlier review of this place. I decided to give it another try, since I knew when I first visited they had only been open for a short time. I went back a few weeks ago and it was actually worse than I remember it. My "medium-rare" burger came out well-done, the bun was still gross, and the shoestring fries-- ugh, my stomach is turning just thinking about them. They came out reeking of old oil that tasted faintly of bad bacon. Yuck. At least the service was good-- our waitress was really nice and very prompt. But I've definitely convinced myself that this place is just awful. I continue to be perplexed by how many people I see in there.

Aug 30, 2007
foodiegalore in Outer Boroughs

Barfry

Went to Barfry on the second night they were open last week. Nice space, not too dimly lit, nice looking bar. Unfortunately, they didn't have their liquor license yet and weren't byob on that night, either. Specials were written up on a large chalkboard, and the menus were folded pieces of paper found on your table-- maybe they'll switch to something more durable and less vulnerable to grease in the future?

The menu is basically split into po' boys and various types of tempura. There were some bento box-type set meals as specials, too. The waitress told us that people were usually getting around 3-5 types of tempura. Since we wanted to get a good sampling, we ordered two po'boys (chicken, and pork katsu with kimchi), and several types of tempura: green beans, pumpkin, scallops, shrimp, eggplant, something else I'm forgetting... we also got a few of the sides: shiso peppers with pumpkin seeds, fresh wasabi peas and sugar snaps, and balsamic tomatoes.

I only tried the pork po'boy-- it was a fried pork cutlet (donkatsu) with some chili mayonaisse and kimchi. The flavors inside the sandwich were terrific (I always like something acidic to cut through fatty flavors, so the kimchi was great), but the sandwich was overwhelmed by the cold brioche bun it came on. It would have been better if it were toasted.

The tempura... well, it's a tough thing to get right, so it's a gamble when your entire restaurant turns on it. From the outset, I'll repeat that this was only the second night Barfry was open, and of course it's expected that there would be kinks. But the tempura was not good. While everything inside the batter was perfectly cooked (the scallops in particular were luscious and just past rare), the batter itself was sodden and oily. The temperature of the oil needs to be increased to ensure a light non-greasy crisp on the outside. Easy enough to remedy, so hopefully they'll get everything under control as they're open longer. As for price, I think tempura ranged from $4-$7 for 2-5 pieces of tempura per serving depending on what it was (e.g., 2 scallops, 5 green beans). Also, the tempura came with three different sauces, none of which were good approximations for the traditional tempura sauce (there was a chili aioli, a sweet miso sauce, and one that was supposed to be traditional but wasn't sweet enough).

The sides were decent, with the exception of the shiso peppers, which were extraordinary-- lightly sauteed with some soy sauce and pumpkin seeds, I am still thinking about these this week. The shiso peppers had a slightly floral flavor that was nicely offset by the nuttiness of the toasted pepitos. My only gripe is that sides were pretty expensive at $7, but I still think I would gladly pay that for the peppers.

Overall, I liked the atmosphere and think the concept is great (it was only a matter of time before tempura houses started to crop up like the ramen joints we've seen in the past couple years), but the execution could use some work. I plan to give it another month or so to get everything settled and then try it again.

Aug 30, 2007
foodiegalore in Manhattan

Al di la

Went to Al di la for the first time last night, though we've lived in the slope for over 6 months... we wandered over at 8:00PM (on a Monday night), and were told our wait would be fifteen minutes. We went down the block to their wine bar, where we were told there were tables available right at that moment. We decided to wait to dine in the main room, as it was our first time and we wanted to get the whole experience. We ordered a bottle of Gruner Veltliner ($32), and exactly fifteen minutes later, our table was ready.

We weren't terribly hungry given the heat, so we shared just a few things. We started with the grilled calamari salad with oranges, olives, and arugula. The calamari was perfectly grilled: soft and tender with a good charred flavor. Oranges, olives, and arugula are a classic combination that I always enjoy-- this time was no different. The only complaint I had (and this was recurring) is that the food was sitting right on the edge of overseasoned-- my palate loves salt and even I found it almost too salty. Given the salt and the oil from the vinaigrette and calamari, the salad could have used a touch more acidity to brighten it. But overall it was delicious!

Then we split the gnocchi special with pork ragu and goat cheese. The gnocchi were textbook and the ragu was delicious. The goat cheese melting into the ragu added a nice tang to the richness of the ragu. We sopped up the sauce with the excellent bread.

Next we had the rabbit with creamy polenta. The rabbit was phenomenal, excellently done for what can be a somewhat flavorless meat. The legs were braised in a butter/stock braise with black olives and thyme. Then the legs were taken out and crisped either in the pan or under the broiler-- the result was wonderfully moist meat falling from the bone with crispy delicious edges-- just the part you miss normally in a braise. The polenta was excellent, too. However, this too was heavily salted, almost too much so, and given the richness and saltiness of the sauce, would have benefited from more acidity.

We also had a side of broccoli rabe, standard and tasty (but I would have liked some lemon on it to cut the oil).

We skipped dessert because we were too full. Service was excellent, the atmosphere lively and lovely. I saw a lot of things on the menu that looked good, so will definitely be going back! Glad that we finally got around to going.

Jul 10, 2007
foodiegalore in Outer Boroughs

Brooklyn Burger Bar: Uh Oh...

We went here last week, and it was the worst food experience I've had in the past year, easily. First, the waiter informed us they were out of regular french fries-- how can a burger and fries spot be out of french fries? That should have been our cue to leave. We ordered sweet potato fries ("They're really good," said our waiter) and onion rings instead (both of which we were charged extra for). The sweet potato fries were disgusting--both limp and underdone at the same time. The onion rings were the only edible part of the meal, though they weren't anything to shout about. I ordered my burger medium-rare and it came out beyond well done-- completely dry, with a bizarre, crumbly, grissly texture. The brioche was dry, and the pickles--ugh! I shudder just thinking about them. The worst part of the meal was the milkshake we ordered. First, our waiter said they didn't do milkshakes, but recanted after we pointed out that milkshakes were on the menu. I think a milkshake is pretty hard to screw up, but this proved me wrong. What arrived was a big bowl/glass of what looked and tasted like slightly melted soft-serve ice cream. It was disgusting. And the price (which wasn't printed on the menu)? $8 dollars. I will never go back to this place again.

Jan 08, 2007
foodiegalore in Outer Boroughs