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Momofuku, Pork Buns and more.....

One bite of the pork buns and i was hooked. I said to the waiter, "while Im thinking, why not an order of the pork buns" good call. Two buns arrived minutes later, and i was hooked. Each bun was simple, large slices of pork belly paired with pickled cucumber on a soft, white bun. The pork was soft and succulent, sweet on the outside, perfect texture.

I went on to the chicken wings, nicely crispy, not special but fine.

The foie gras terrine was great, smooth with the right amount of salt on top. The foie gras was sprinled with a cracker crimble that was useless, and needed some more substantial "something" for the spread. I could have eaten it strainght on a spoon, but my companion needed a cracker, a toast.................

The spicy noodles with cashews were the right noodles to share, perfectly al dente with a great sauce, trying at least one of the noodle dishes is the righ move.

Lastly, we shared the snow peas with trout roe. It was summer and fresh and crisp in every bite. the light sauce held the veggies perfectly.

This was my first time at Momofuku. It is way too loud, thought that"s new york. the chicken dinner will bring me back, where the restaurant serves chicken two ways, korenan and american style. the food is great, order tapas style and leave room for the wait.

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Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

Jul 10, 2010
Sated in Manhattan

NY Times: Getting High " the Muse to new dishes "

I was discouraged by last week's Dining In article on the marijuana muse. I didnt get it on a variety of levels.

Firstly, who really cares whether folks smoke grass on their time, though what"s discouraging is the credit given to pot, and the subsequent innovation that comes with the munchies. My local favorite spot, Frankies 457 was profiled, and the chef owners who always looked stoned, have now confirmed to the paper that they always are.

And to make matters worse, Im the fool. Here I was praising this place for smart and innovative cuisine, only to learn now that the innovation was merely a case of the munchies.

And why would a smart, innovative business owner announce to the newspaper that they are high all the time. Its illegal stupid, and what you do on your time is likely what others do also, though why announce it to the world.

Thoughts, does anyone see my point

May 30, 2010
Sated in Food Media & News

The Luger Burger

backyard,

at least when i was a kid, the burgers in our backyard were fatter in the middle and not perfect flat circles, the byproduct of being shaped in my mom's hands quickly.

Jan 06, 2009
Sated in Outer Boroughs

The Luger Burger

9 bucks, amazing

Jan 05, 2009
Sated in Outer Boroughs

The Luger Burger

The Luger Burger

With two weeks away from the office and a timely reacquaintance with my family, we've indulged our new found time together with lunches and dinners away from school, office, and our kitchen table. A recent return of a generous but duplicate Hanukkah gift brought us within blocks of the most famed steak house in the country, Peter Lugers. The proximity alone was a compelling draw and the poet in me finds romance in the introduction of New York institutions to my son 6 and daughter 4. I remember my son's first Yankee game, the history, the tradition, "batting 3rd, Derek Jeter", though none of this could hold a candle to dot ice cream served in a baseball helmet, I mean how could the game compete with frozen pleasure. With this in mind, we called and scored a 1PM reservation, perfect !

I have only been to Lugers at night, first before the hipsters took over the province in 1991, and most recently with family, celebrating a birthday. On that sojourn, I cozied up to the bartender, prompting him for stories of lore, steaks gone wrong, history of regulars, and I remember that his advice to me about the place was startling, he said simply " Luger hard cores know the steak but also come for lunch to have the burger ". I was shocked and intrigued, and determined to take him up on his charge, sadly though, Williamsburg lunches and my day job are not frequently perpendicular.

So on the day after Christmas, we were at Luger's, 1 PM, and the burgers were en route. I went with bacon and cheese, my son went plain, my wife with cheese, all of us disappointed to realize that the sole dairy topping was American ? Huh ? Are they sending us a message with the processed sheet cheese or is that the purposeful thinking. The meal began with the famed onion rolls, dipped in the Luger sauce, and butter, or just plain. Im not sure if the rolls are great or if they just normally preceed the most luscious porterhouse love dipped in butter and oil and brolied to perfection.

Our Lunch.

On the table were three burgers on a white fluffy bun, one order of broccoli for my daughter who chose not to have a burger and weighs in at a hefty 33 pounds, and a large platter of fries. Lets start with the spuds. The potatoes are not steak fries and not classic thin cut french fried. They are long and delicious, with what seem like an extra defined outside crust giving way to an almost mashed inside. They were astounding and unique, flaming hot, and a bit too fried in only the best possible way. The broccoli was fine, steamed with a hint of salt and butter. My thin as a rail daughter proclaimed it brilliant and dipped each floret in the extra salted water that pooled on the plate. How this author sired a daughter who had broccoli at luger's certainly calls into question a nature nurture overall. The main event, the burger, did not disappoint. The burgers were shaped liked the backyard, plump and round 8 to 10 ounces in heft, and perfectly
seared on both sides. The texture was soft and perfectly steak, the juices ran clear, the bun was perfectly pleasant and irrelevant. The bacon on top was unnecessary and brilliant, the thick sliced flavor center is the most decadent side dish served on the Atlantic coast, and while i feared it would drown out the steak, I realized on bite two or three that bacon doesn't do harm to any meal or bite in my culinary repertoire. As for the American cheese, I still don't get it but was perfectly content to recognize the smooth addition to each bite and content to ignore the Americana on Brooklyn's best.

To be honest, it was strange being in Luger's without the Poter House. I missed the spinach, the potatoes, the onion rings, but was really thrilled to be there none the less. Was it a great burger, yes, was it what Luger's is all about on the inside as I was prompted by the mystery bartender, I guess for some, maybe. Lugers rocks.

Dec 29, 2008
Sated in Outer Boroughs

NY steakhouse...worth it?

if youre going to do it, go to Peter Luger's. Its the best hands down.

If you need to stay in the City, try the Strip House.

Everything in NYC is worth it.

It just costs a little more.

Dec 28, 2008
Sated in Manhattan

Dumpling House, Eldridge Street

My wife and kids and I stopped by the Dumpling House on Saturday. In the days of yore, I went there alone or with friends, either nursing an evening past or with the Times and 4 dollars to my name. In the 90s, the House sat at capacity, 10 - 15 people, sitting, standing, slurping, and chomping, all in mass just to taste "magic for a buck".
Today, following a sleek expansion and a signal to a more discerning Lower East Side / Chinatown wanderer, the Dumpling House is set to prove that four dumplings for a buck reinforces a New York anomaly, and despite a loss in seed factor, the initial attraction, the taste is still there. I came to New York in the early 90s thinking that the gold medal food find was a dimly lit storefront where the food was remarkable, flavored, unique and served in a generous portion for under 10 dollars, OK, make that five. That was the Dumpling House in spades.
Today, The Dumpling House largely meets that standard. In reviewing the menu, see menupages or some other posting, you would surely assume that you’ve stumbled upon a roll back the prices weekend at a New York institution, founded in the 50s. We were four, granted 2 of us were under 6, and left the Dumpling House for $20. And we didn’t skimp one bit.
As I remember it, we shared the following:
8 pork dumplings (fried)
8 shrimp dumplings (steamed)
One large pork noodle soup
One scallion pancake
One scallion pancake sandwich with Peking duck (yes, I was skeptical also, it was $2)
One small wonton soup
3 fried pork buns
Two waters and a diet coke.
The Bill: $ 19.26 Holy Hot and Sour . And it all tasted good.
The ordering process include an initial harnessing , I was tempted to walk to the counter and order by just saying, YES. Instead, I breathed deeply, consider the potential for cardiac arrest, and ordered the menu above. I did this out of ear shot of my watchful and skeptical wife, simply asking my standard “babe, why don’t you calm the kids, get a table, and I’ll take care of the ordering “. That line works on occasion, though this time with precision. Even my bride wouldn’t try to offer me wisdom on Eldridge Street in the heart of culinary nowhere.

The dumplings are the start and crown jewel at Dumpling House, crispy shell, perfect sweet and moist pork filling and fresh as of ten minutes earlier. Evidence of freshness can be seen by viewing the ladies in the window stuffing and crimping each wonton wrapper; Its Willy Wonka, Chinatown style. Dress the dumplings as you like, hot sauce, soy,.........I eat them straight, why mess with a good thing. The shrimp dumplings, steamed, were a nod to health? Though they were also terrific, the shell a bit gummy though the shrimp was not a seafood surprise but moreover a mouthful of sweet prawn combined with scallion. The only surprise was the underwhelming fried pork bun, perfectly fried bread dough gave way to a less inspiring brown chopped pork which tasted more like a ground chuck with a faint spice.
The soups were good. My daughter exclaimed" oh daddy, I just love the broth, “and she was right. It was perfectly salted, rich, complex, and held broad noodles, bok choy, and pork bites with grandeur. The pork is a browner, richer piece of meat than the traditional Chinese pork that hangs in the window. Some pieces are a bit fatty, but full of flavor. What do you expect for $3.50. My scallion Peking duck sandwich was very good. The fried bread served in a large triangle slice is combined with rich duck meat and spring vegetables like cucumber and scallion. After the last bite, I felt like a venture capitalist, imagining a vendor business exploding all over china or maybe even encroaching on the dirty water dog. “ Get your scallion pancake with peking duck here ! “
The scene at Dumpling House is one part New Yorker in the know, one part tourist in the Frommer, and one part Chinese in the hood. If you are in the mood for fried love, a communal table, and an open kitchen before David Bouley and others made it common place, give it a try, it the most bountiful 5 dollars you have ever spent.

Dec 28, 2008
Sated in Manhattan

Grand Sichuan House, Faith is Restored !

Christmas Day in Bay Ridge !

I dislike the addage that a Jewish Christmas is identified as a day of Chinese food and a movie, though by fluke, that was our day.

Bolt, a sadly obvious and stereotype reinforced, tale of a lost television star dog was course one. Thank G-D for my blackberry ( ive never said that before )and a few trips with my kids to the bathroom, or I would have lost my mind. Though towards the end of the film, I was focused on my coming trip to Grand Sichuan and was able to ignore the Hollywood self congratulation that was the smirk and pointless Bolt.

The trip by car form Park Slope to Bay Ridge is an easy 20 minute drive, and in the heart of Bay Ridge emerges Grand Sichuan House ( 5th Avenue and 87th Street), a small, plain storefront with seating for 40, and basic decor.

My wife and I began with steamed pork soup dumplings and Hot Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles. The dumplings were a perfect ten, soft and flavorful pork was held by a delicious and textured dumpling casing. The bites were moist and sweet and well flavored. 8 to an order, over a light bed of cabbage, pure heaven. The noodles were bathed in a delicious hot and rich sauce; spaghetti noodles were rightly soft and not overdone and they together held the sauce just right. The tastes are unique and rightly spiced. Chili oil and cumin were the dominant new flavors.

My kids enjoyed greaseless lo mien and spring rolls. The vegetables were crunchy and flavored, with delicious chicken pieces highlighting each bite. The spring roles were average and well fried, crunchy and vegetarian.

Bring on the dancers.

We then continued with two total gems, shredded duck with spring ginger and pea shoots with garlic. The duck was brilliant and the antithesis of the hanging fat laden duck that I still crave and always find unsatisfying from a Mott Street window. This duck was well cooked and skinless, rich pieces combined with brightly julienned vegetables in a rich and defined ginger garlic sauce that was light and aromatic. The duck was tender and was accented by duck skin that had been separately fried and combined in the dish as a light crackling. We combined the duck with the pea shoots which were bright and perfectly steamed. Abundant large garlic slices were the right accent to this crunchy side. More textured and less heavy than spinach, the shoots were crunchy and fresh. The perfect complement.

As my kids loved the duck, we needed one more dish to keep the pea shoots company and chose the spicy beef, which was similarly served with sliced veggies in a rich and alarming brown sauce. The beef like the duck was tender and perfectly cooked. The meat is spicy, and did well by a rice or veggie backdrop. It was my kind of hot, and likely a bit too much fire for my wife who kept singing about the duck as I continue into round three of pea shoots and duck and beef.

My family moved to Brooklyn in 04' from the Upper West Side, and in that time, I have had ZERO edible Chinese meals, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, P. Slope have no options beyond grease laden, gloopy egg rolls and General Tsos. This lone trip restored my belief in the world's most populous country's export of choice in my eyes.
It has been trendy and fair to proclaim Chinese food dead in New York, I now beg to differ. Run to Grand Sichuan House.

Dec 25, 2008
Sated in Outer Boroughs

American Seasons, Nantucket

My wife and I had dinner at American Seasons on two occassions this past week. By far, the food is the best on the island. Try the foie gras trio, the warm octopus, the flounder, and the oysters; all terrific.

Everything on Nantucket is 20% more than Nantucket prices, though the service is never on par. While the food and setting ( romantic / candlelit ) is quite charming on site, the service is cold and uneven.

But while in nantucket, whats to worry about.

Aug 22, 2008
Sated in All New England Archive

Best Smith Street or Court Street Restaurant

We have friends visiting from San Francisco and we want to take them to a great meal here in Brooklyn. We took them to Frankies 457 last night and they loved it. Where should we go tomorrow night? thanks

Nov 09, 2007
Sated in Outer Boroughs

Smith Street's Priciest

Restaurant Saul.

My wife and I joined old friends on Saturday night for dinner at Restaurant Saul, our second visit following a good experience four or so years previously.

Our march down Smith Street from Carroll Gardens confirmed the chorus, Brooklyn hipsters have united and they come out at night to the hundreds of restaurant seats on Smith.

Saul is small and thoughtfully configured and for a few larger parties, we were 6, and had the better option of an oval table in the center of the room. Parties of two and four are awkwardly conjoined around the room’s perimeter, and while the room was not noisy, just bustling, be prepared to whisper sweet nothings to your sweetie and your neighbor’s sweetie. I for one like my romance kept private before the wine kicks in.

What strikes at first glance at Saul is the elevated pricing that surely crowns Saul, Smith Street ’s priciest.

My starting choice of Duck confit over grits rang in at a formidable $19. First courses ranged from 15 – 22, as main courses huddled around $30. As my mother in law appropriately remarked, “Saul is now a special occasion place”, though that transition, equating Saul with Manhattan ’s finest eateries, is not a simple mindset shift. In fact, prices at Saul have risen considerably over the last few years. I guess the pedigree of coming from Le Bernadin added with a Michelin star spells doom for the budget minded foodie.

This all said, The food was very well done. My duck was tender and flavorful, smartly served over grits infused with basil and fresh herbs.. I chose a short rib / rib eye entrée that was expertly prepared and plated quite artfully, garnished with mushrooms and a chick pea puree.. My friend had tagliatelle with a poached egg as its crown that was unique and hearty. My wife had lamb done three ways that was inventive and nicely flavored.

Both seared fois gras and a terrine were available and both looked quite good, as the menu was full of choices, including four interesting fish preparations to complement a panchetta wrapped rabbit, bay scallops and a lovely red snapper.

A lovely assortment of cheeses and a baked Alaska concluded a very fine meal. The food was executed with skill and depth.

Here’s the skinny though, at $250 a couple, the experience was not what I ve come to regard as that occasion place my mother in law so rightly confirmed on Saul., The food was there though you’d be pressed to crown the entire evening as magic. The service was adequate, loose, casual and often hipply distant to despondent. The room is warm, though does not bring to life more than good soft light, exposed brick, and the restaurants guests who fill the space with their own flavor and color. If it were my birthday and I was given next choice, I’m not sure that Saul brings to life more than the other great options in Brooklyn like the Good Fork or Po, Apple wood or Al Di La, where at hand is comparably good food, maybe not quite all the way, though at a price point that is immediately half of Saul.

So go to Saul if your bonus is six figures or if their style meets the occasion mark in your estimation, for me though, I’d go back in a flash for the Sunday – Thursday $30 Prix Fixe and will save my birthday dinner for Grammercv Tavern, where the entire package seems like an event worthy of me, my mother in law, and a celebration.

Nov 06, 2007
Sated in Outer Boroughs

My Saturday Night at Restaurant Saul

Restaurant Saul.

My wife and I joined old friends on Saturday night for dinner at Restaurant Saul, our second visit following a good experience four or so years previously.

Our march down Smith Street from Carroll Gardens confirmed the chorus, Brooklyn hipsters have united and they come out at night to the hundreds of restaurant seats on Smith.

Saul is small and thoughtfully configured and for a few larger parties, we were 6, and had the better option of an oval table in the center of the room. Parties of two and four are awkwardly conjoined around the room’s perimeter, and while the room was not noisy, just bustling, be prepared to whisper sweet nothings to your sweetie and your neighbor’s sweetie. I for one like my romance kept private before the wine kicks in.

What strikes at first glance at Saul is the elevated pricing that surely crowns Saul, Smith Street ’s priciest.

My starting choice of Duck confit over grits rang in at a formidable $19. First courses ranged from 15 – 22, as main courses huddled around $30. As my mother in law appropriately remarked, “Saul is now a special occasion place”, though that transition, equating Saul with Manhattan ’s finest eateries, is not a simple mindset shift. In fact, prices at Saul have risen considerably over the last few years. I guess the pedigree of coming from Le Bernadin added with a Michelin star spells doom for the budget minded foodie.

This all said, The food was very well done. My duck was tender and flavorful, smartly served over grits infused with basil and fresh herbs.. I chose a short rib / rib eye entrée that was expertly prepared and plated quite artfully, garnished with mushrooms and a chick pea puree.. My friend had tagliatelle with a poached egg as its crown that was unique and hearty. My wife had lamb done three ways that was inventive and nicely flavored.

Both seared fois gras and a terrine were available and both looked quite good, as the menu was full of choices, including four interesting fish preparations to complement a panchetta wrapped rabbit, bay scallops and a lovely red snapper.

A lovely assortment of cheeses and a baked Alaska concluded a very fine meal. The food was executed with skill and depth.

Here’s the skinny though, at $250 a couple, the experience was not what I ve come to regard as that occasion place my mother in law so rightly confirmed on Saul., The food was there though you’d be pressed to crown the entire evening as magic. The service was adequate, loose, casual and often hipply distant to despondent. The room is warm, though does not bring to life more than good soft light, exposed brick, and the restaurants guests who fill the space with their own flavor and color. If it were my birthday and I was given next choice, I’m not sure that Saul brings to life more than the other great options in Brooklyn like the Good Fork or Po, Apple wood or Al Di La, where at hand is comparably good food, maybe not quite all the way, though at a price point that is immediately half of Saul.

So go to Saul if your bonus is six figures or if their style meets the occasion mark in your estimation, for me though, I’d go back in a flash for the Sunday – Thursday $30 Prix Fixe and will save my birthday dinner for Grammercv Tavern, where the entire package seems like an event worthy of me, my mother in law, and a celebration.

Nov 05, 2007
Sated in Outer Boroughs

Applewood, Largely Right

no, full bar and wine

Oct 11, 2007
Sated in Outer Boroughs

Applewood, Largely Right

Applewood

I had the opportunity to eat dinner yesterday evening at Applewood Restaurant in Park Slope. My wife and I were celebrating her birthday and had been meaning to try Applewood for some time at the suggestion of many; we were largely pleased.

The feel is Vermont lodge meets West Village cozy, and it largely works though the tables and chairs feel austere compared to the warm black and white photos and incomplete bookshelves on the wall. My wife has a word for the decoration style, ungapatchka (sp), which in my wife’s Brooklyn Yiddish means mish mosh.

The service was upbeat and controlled. We started with what proved to be the best dish of the night, roasted pork belly with apples. The pork skin was perfectly crispy and the meat was flavorful, tender, and not overly fatty. The portion was ample and the dish combined the cooked apples perfectly, a true hit. We also shared the Chacuterie, which was not really a chacuterie but moreover there separate tastes, one rabbit remoulade which was gamey and overly salted, and a pork and veal pate, neither of which were flavorful, texture was fine and presentation was lovely, though the depth of flavor was absent.

For dinner, my wife hit it right with monk fish medallions over rich lentils, the fish was excellently prepared, the lentils were a lovely complement to the fish and the medallions sang with flavor and had great texture, firm and moist, lovely preparation.

I mistakenly had the rib eye which was tough and served in five small slices. It was served over kale that seemed to be infused with salt, two bites and I pushed it to the side. The meat was flavorful, though here the portion size had me puzzled and discouraged. At $28, a rib eye order needs to arrive with more than five small slices. I am not looking for a Fred Flintstone slab, though I do presume, and I think fairly, that a streak order will be delivered with a bit more substance.

For desert, we opted to pick up Hagen Daz on the way home so I can’t vouch for the desserts.

All in all, not bad.

Oct 11, 2007
Sated in Outer Boroughs

something natural, nantucket

without question, something natural is the best deal in nantucket. great sandwiches, fair prices and cookie samples while you wait.

Aug 17, 2007
Sated in All New England Archive