This week I caught up with my old friend Josh Ozersky, the Meatopia maven and food writer. Of late Josh has been writing hunger-inducing dispatches like this one on modernist barbecue over on Esquire’s Eat Like A Man. In case anyone is wondering the rumors about Josh and I rolling around in the dewy heather on Martha Stewart’s compound are dirty lie. It was asphalt
Where do you like to eat when you make it out to Queens?
I still have a soft spot for the Bukharian places in Rego Park, like Arzu and Cheburchnaya, and I never miss a chance to visit the Northern Chinese “mutton men” of Flushing. I would like to go back to La Portena someday.
Ah, the mutton men. You owe it to yourself to try Fu Run’s Muslim lamb chop. Tell me where did you learn to use chopsticks?
I haven’t, and I won’t. Chopsticks are the stupidest implement in history. There can be no more ludicrous act of pretension than an American claiming to like them. You might as well wear a powdered wig, or carry a Roman short sword into battle.
I seem to remember reading something about you having a beef with chefs overusing bone marrow. Tell me more? It’s all written right here. The simple fact is that bone marrow sounds sexy, but it’s just tasteless fat, never meant to have a starring role. It should be, like Joyce’s God, invisible and omnipresent in a dish.
What do you think about the state of barbecue in New York City?
It’s the best it’s ever been, though the loss of R.U.B. hurts mightily.
What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without meat?
It’s 5:39 now. . .
Put on your Gastrodamus hat for a moment. What are three trends you’d like to see on the horizon for New York City. And how about three you’d like to see go away?
An influx of Boston-area chefs, dedicated Seamless Web commisaries, and the triumphant return of sherbet to the center of our dessert culture. (Actually that last one is just wishful thinking.) As for things I’d like to see go away: Tiny, torture-chamber kitchens that can’t produce good food in quantity; diners who judge the quality of a restaurant’s food by the number of blog mentions it gets; and the resultant overvaluing of trendy shitholes at the expense of great restaurants like Lincoln and Seasonal that are less sexy but infinitely more accomplished.
What was the last thing you cooked at home?
A boned, rolled leg of lamb held together by a coathanger. I write a regular cooking column on Rachael Ray’s site. Everyone seems to forget that. It’s the most helpful of all the things I do!
How about the last thing you ate a restaurant that made an impression on on you?
Everything I eat makes an impression on me, for better or for worse. The most memorable dish I’ve had in New York in recent months was a plate of spaghetti with pecorino and black truffles at Lincoln that was as monumental and understated as a painting by Mark Rothko.