The Madison Square Park area has never been known for izakaya, the Japanese gastropubs that are haunts of salarymen, sake drinkers, and adventurous eaters alike. Izakaya NoMad is out to change all that as I learned during a press dinner recently. With a whimsical dining room featuring a Godzilla mural, it offers an accessible alternative that sits somewhere between the rarefied air of a Sakagura and St. Marks’ grease bespattered yakitori joints. (more…)
Last week I committed a crime against good taste. Spurred on by a blizzard of panic and the promise of free grub I ate at Chipotle. As a staunch believer in the law of culinary equilibrium, I soon realized my folly and had to set matters straight by eating some real Mexican food right quick. So the very next day I jumped on the 7, intending to grab some tacos de carnitas from Tortas Neza.(more…)
Khao Kang has the best Thai steam table grub around.
Thais and non-Thais, foodies, chefs, and local shop owners alike have been encouraging me to try Khao Kang for months. The steam table joint opened this winter on a stretch of Woodside Avenue I like to call Little Bangkok. It took me half a year to finally try it, but I am ever so glad I did.
At first glance it looks like a Chinese rice-and-three spot, but it’s actually far superior. It recalls the good old days of Sripraphai, before the restaurant skyrocketed to popularity, taking up two storefronts. Selections change daily according to the chef’s whim, but they are always fragrant, delicious, and often quite hot. There are a few regulars like a wonderful stewed pork belly and something I like to call the Thai surf and turf, which is available only on weekends. (more…)
Norwegian skrei cod as prepared by the crew at Bo’s.
When I first heard of skrei I thought it rhymed with drei, and couldn’t stop saying “eins, zwei, drei,” over and over again. Once I got that out of my system I paid a visit to Todd Mitgang’s restaurant Bo’s to try this prized Norwegian cod. I learned two things: 1) It is pronounced “skree” and 2) It is absolutely delicious: pristine, white and flaky. Mitgang and executive chef Alex Priani first tried skrei at a tasting held by the Norwegian Seafood Council at the French Culinary Institute. Rather than avail themselves of an array of ingredients the two chefs prepared the fish with little more than olive oil and sea salt to let its flavor shine through. (more…)
Gong Xi Fa Cai! The year of the Wood Horse is upon us. To aid in your celebration of the 15-day Chinese New Year, here’s a short list of some of my favorite dishes in what I humbly consider to be the tastiest Chinatown in America.
Fu Run’s festive looking golden corn pancake.
1. Golden Corn Pancake, Fu Run The granddaddy of Dongbei cookery in Flushing is best known for the Muslim lanb chop, but it’s specials, like the festive lookinghuang jin yu mi lao,or golden corn pancake($15.95)that keep me coming back. Despite the name it’s not stack of hoe cakes, but rather some lovely fried corn croquettes. The loosely bound kernels are interspersed with carrots and peas and laid out in a star pattern. Other standout specials include the spicy fried crabs. Fu Run, 40-09 Prince St, Flushing, 718-321-1363 (more…)
With the official start of winter just days away my mind turns toward sandwiches served in far warmer climes, specifically Trinidad. To celebrate Saturday’s Winter Solstice why not visit Richmond Hill’s Trini Delite and treat yourself to a Maracas style bake and shark ($8). The sandwich takes its name from Maracas Beach where many vendors sell the local delicacy. Trini Delite offers it only on weekends, so expect to wait on line. The deejay/CD vendor playing the hits of Soca Elvis and other artists will keep you entertained as your appetite builds. (more…)
Manny’s Bake Shop, a Filipino restaurant and bakery, is in Flushing but it lies far from my Chinatown stomping grounds. And it’s pretty far afield from Woodside’s Little Manila. I came across it while on my way to volunteer at Queens General Hospital as I do every Thursday morning. Occasionally I duck in for a buttered pandesal and a coffee. Then one day I noticed the menu’s five-item “Native Breakfast” section. “I’ll be back,” I said to the gal behind the counter grabbing my coffee and buttered roll. (more…)
Dhaulagiri Kitchen, a tiny Nepalese outfit that’s the latest eatery to take up residence inside roti bakery Tawa Foods, is easily my favorite place in Jackson Heights these days. It’s named for the third highest mountain peak in the world, but as far as I’m concerned the flavors here—fiery pickles; sukuti, an air-dried beef jerky; and spicy chicken choila—are the tops. Lately I have been partaking of this eight-seater’s thalis. Thali literally means plate and it consists of a mound of rice ringed by various accoutrements, including pickles, daal, fried bitter melon, mustard greens, and a center of the plate item like chicken beef, or goat. The rice and the sides are refillable.
One day I was eating a fish thali ($11) whose main attraction was two crisp fried hunks of fish, a nattily dressed gent entered. As I ate my fish and rice while picking at the gudruk, a Nepalese kimchi of sorts, and other pickles arrayed around the circumference of the thali he rolled up his sleeves and washed his hands. And then he got down to business. (more…)
Scotch bonnet pepper sauce makes it even more bangin’.
Much of The Guyanese/Trinidadian/Indian enclave Richmond Hill remains terra incognita to me, just as Flushing’s Golden Shopping Mall once was. There are dozens upon dozens of doubles joints along Liberty Avenue. I know there’s tons of good stuff in this hood, but sometimes don’t know where to start. One beacon of deliciousness I’ve found in this vast sea of West Indian food is the bangamary sandwich ($6) at Sybil’s. It is one of the best fried fish sandwiches I have ever had. (more…)
A hefty serving of cumin lamb has been stuffed into this fish.
When I was first learning about Chinese food from my old man at various spots on Long Island—including the fabled Hunam in Levittown—my brothers and I were always discouraged from ordering any form of whole fish. I think dear old Dad thought it wasn’t worth the expense. My relationship with Chinese whole fish dishes has been strained ever since. In general I prefer bolder fried whole fish dishes as opposed to steamed specimens. Or at least I did until last night when I tried the Dongbei surf and turf. (more…)