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Found 7 results

  1. Having had an exceptional experience in Hong Kong with a Yakitori place there (which I still need to write up and post about), we looked for someplace in the DC metro area and came up empty. We tried a place on our recent trip to NYC called Yakitori Tora. It wasn't as good as the place in Hong Kong, but it was still very good! Yakitori is, I think, most often char-grilled skewers of meats, mainly chicken. The place in Hong Kong, aside from cheese (yes cheese), it was pure chicken. This place had more than that. We had chicken in many forms, thigh, heart, skin (a very, very inventive rendition and tremendous), and liver of course. Oh and duck meatball. And bacon wrapped mushrooms. Fun and good. It's a meal you can make as long or as short as you like and since each thing you order is pretty small, you can dig in for the long haul or just stop in for a snack before you go somewhere else. I'd go here again. Photos
  2. New York press and food fiends have been raving about Pasquale Jones, a tiny restaurant in NoLita serving pizza and other goods from a wood burning oven. Not wanting to deal with the crowds or a wait, we headed there for lunch on Sunday. Despite suggestions from my cousins to get the clam pizza, @MichaelBDC and I decided to split an order of radicchio salad, a margherita pizza, and a half bottle of red wine. @MichaelBDC and I love a well thought out and dressed salad and the radicchio salad was great and a nice start to the meal. The pizza was...fine. Given everything I had read and heard about the pizza at Pasquale Jones, I was really expecting something transformative or at least a pizza that made me rethink all other pizzas but I was disappointed. The ingredients were very good and high quality but the execution was lacking. I generally don't mind or even notice less than perfect pizza, but was surprised to find a noticeably soupy middle. At $21, I wanted a do over but we forged on. The wine was a dry red, likely a chianti, that was definitely overpriced. But then again, we were in Manhattan. Sadly, this meal was a disappointment, our sole lackluster food excursion during our long weekend in NYC. If I lived in lower Manhattan, I would be willing to give Pasquale Jones another chance, especially to try some of the pastas and entrees at dinner. However, since my trips to NYC are annual or semi-annual at most, I would much rather return to old favorites and explore some new-to-me places.N
  3. Keith Don't Go is the name of a song on Nils Lofgren's 2nd album, Cry Tough. It has absolutely nothing to do with the new Keith McNally restaurant Cherche Midi, which is in the same spot as the old Keith McNally restaurant, Pulino's, which closed six months or so ago - I just thought it sounded like a good title for this post. In any event, in a mere six months, Keith has transformed what was once Pulino's, an Italian pizzeria slash trattoria into Cherche Midi, a French, well, bistro slash brasserie, I guess. In early visits, I liked Pulino's food; there was some cool stuff on that menu - I particularly remember a dish with smoked sable, a guilty pleasure of mine. What I didn't like about Pulino's was the corner; to be exact, the southwest corner of Bowery and Houston Streets, in my mind one of the most heinous corners in Manhattan on which to put a restaurant. As someone on a website I frequent, and where I started an argument about this particular corner noted, "there is no joy going to the corner of Bowery and Houston." Additionally, the place had windows that were thrown open to that corner; why exactly, I'll never know...my memory fails, but there may have even been cafe tables outside, which is great if you like eating at a bus stop. Fast forward to now, and even though you can't change the corner, the windows are gone and once inside you'll barely know where you are; if your imagination works well, maybe you'll think you're on the right bank - although that might be pushing it. Suffice to say - it's a hell of a lot nicer inside now, though if you're sensitive to noise, it's as noisy as many of the McNally places, especially as the evening progresses. Significant Eater and I had stopped in about two weeks ago for an after dinner drink and last night I made my way back, specifically to try the burger, which has been raved about in various articles, in blogs, etc. So when I arrived early last night, I took a seat at the practically empty bar, and checked out the drink menu. The head bartender just happens to be the bartender I've known for years from another McNally joint, Schiller's Liquor Bar, and he rightly steered me towards a Julia's Blush, a riff on a Jasmine (a drink I first had made for me by Kenta Goto at Pegu Club). It's Campari heavy, with gin, lemon juice and agave taming the bitter - and it's delicious and perfect for a hot night. It's also $15, as are all the cocktails, which in this day and age in NYC is not crazy, but once the price creeps up to $17, all bets are off. I enjoyed it as I decided what to have for my appetizer; thankfully, the menu is simple compared to the new style of menu. You know the ones - with starters, small plates, middle sized plates, larger plates, in-between plates, pre-desserts, desserts, and on and on, until you end splitting like 7 things and paying twice as much as you used to. Here, it's appetizers, entrees and sides - what a concept! I decided on something cold for my appetizer, an heirloom tomato gazpacho with pickled shrimp... And it was quite good. Thick and rich, not too smooth, with the pickled shrimp adding a nice, well, pickled note. For my entree, the burger. A LaFreida burger (is there a freakin' burger that isn't LaFreida's?), it's allegedly made from dry-aged trimmings from the dry-aged prime rib, which is also on the menu, along with some short-rib, which isn't. It's topped with roasted mushrooms, bacon marmalade and aged gruyere, and I'm guessing the buns are made somewhere in the McNally world - like at Balthazar bakery. It comes with fries, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle slices, and it looks like this... It's good. It was cooked to perfection. It's really good, as a matter of fact, the dry-aged beef adding that cheesy funkiness I happen to like. If I have one complaint, it's that the bun may be a little too big for the burger, but it was toasted and held together beautifully, and you can't ask for much more than that. And the fries - still some of my favorite fries in the city. From Balthazar, to Minetta, to Schiller's - the fries are fine. And just to pretend I might be in France - I dip 'em in mustard - try it, you might be surprised. The tariff for the burger and fries - $21. Not bad, when you consider that a side of fries is $9 on this menu. Same price as the Spotted Pig's and cheaper than Minetta Tavern's Black Label entry. It'll be interesting to me to see if Cherche Midi has a long run. As I mentioned above, I felt that one of the main reasons for Pulino's closure was specifically the location. But now the Bowery is home to a dozen or more restaurants, all on a stretch that was unimaginable a decade ago. The crowd is different than Schiller's was, back when it was the lower east side's hottest spot and they could squeeze 8 models into a booth made for 4. So it remains to be seen whether the crowds will continue to come (and it was crowded by the time I left last night), with all those other choices nearby. Me - I'm heading back with Significant Eater soon. The menu has lots to explore, and it's the kind of food we really like to eat. My guess? On our next visit, she's gonna want that burger too. Cherche Midi 282 Bowery, NYC
  4. Location and Rates for Tonight - Website with Best-Rate Guarantee Being such a fan of Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, I had to do whatever I could to go watch their performances before it closed at the end of March. Seeing how this past weekend was the only time I could go, I booked transportation first, but fell short in my usual routes to book accommodations, since the famous art dealer exhibition was at Javits this past weekend as well. So, after TONS of research, I came upon The Bowery House. Depending on weekday or weekend booking, the base price for a shared bunk, with shared bathroom, starts between $55-60, post NYC taxes. This was an exceptionally good deal for me, since my goal was to book for a spot under $100. Sure this is a bit like college dorm days, but the bathrooms were neat, clean, and with really good quality bath soap, shampoo, and conditioner. I ended up getting upgraded to a cabin, thankful for the kindness of the lady who checked me in, since she was uncomfortable with my would-be-bunkmate choice. Although the single cabins are tiny (it is only an arm span's worth of space), the mattress and bedding are clean and comfortable. Really don't need much for weekend travel. The only negatives for these single cabins are there is not much noise-prevention. So, if you are a light sleeper, then I cannot recommend the twin cabins; although I don't know what the others are like. The other bonuses are that they have a nice rooftop garden, a bike rental program, and 24 hour security. You hand your key in every time you leave and pickup upon return. It is located in a fabulously convenient neighborhood, with a Whole Foods about a block away. I walked from the hostel to Chinatown, the Village, and Soho areas with ease. I worked with Christopher (who checked my room out) and Jamie (who upgraded my cabin), so I would ask for them first, if you do call. I am definitely planning on a return trip at some point here.
  5. I had a pretty great time this past weekend in NYC. I got a chance to catch up with some friends for dinner on Friday night at Ken & Cook (official website here). The food is pretty straightforward and simply prepared almost like a fine steakhouse yet without the primary focus on the steak. We ordered a mixed charcuterie board, (deep breath) grilled squid, beet & avocado salad, beef tartare, veal pappardelle, mussels with chorizo, the black bass, salmon, wagyu flank, fried chicken, and the cote de boeuf. Like most places, the dishes were hit or miss but rather than going through each one, I'll just highlight the ones we liked best. The grilled squid came with a nice char on them which imparted a great smoky flavor. They placed a sunny side egg on to the tartare to make it pretty rich and decadent. The veal and sauce of the pappardelle were spot on but the highlight of the dish was the fresh home made pasta that was ribbon wide and paper thin. It absorbed a good amount of the flavors in the sauce without losing too much of its own. I found it ironic that my favorite dish of the night was the cote de boeuf which was just a simply done rib eye steak that came barely medium rare with garlic and shallots. The meat was flavorful, tender and we probably could have ate another. We went there because one of the managers asked us to come and try it out and we probably would never normally would choose it if we were strictly looking for a good meal. The menu isn't something that would catch my eye and there are simply too many other choices in the city. However, I'm glad we went because the place is an absolute scene. I don't know if it's normally like this but it was fashion week and there were certainly a fair share of 'beautiful people' in this joint. It was packed and there was certainly a lot to take in. It certainly wasn't our typical choice but every once in a while, it's fun to go to a place like this. For the six of us, it was a fun environment to catch up in and while I can't wholeheartedly recommend the food, I can definitely recommend the experience if you're looking for that type of thing just to see what it's like.
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