11/10/14 12:06pm
ROOM55-1

Slow cooked lamb with sage, shallots, and touch of pepper and prune.

I first met Vinny Accardi, the chef at the newish Room 55 in Glendale at the kickoff to Queens Restaurant Week. He had run out of food but was quick to tell me that his first restaurant “overdelivers on the food,” and suggested I come in for a tasting.

So I took him up on the offer a few weeks later. The restaurant, named for the month and day of his graduation from the Culinary Institute of America in 2000, is tucked away on an otherwise nondescript block. Everything I tasted, from the autumn harvest salad ($9) of mixed greens, beets, and candied walnuts with warm goat cheese to his casino style Little Neck clams ($11) was excellent, but my favorite dish was the one of the menu’s two pasta offerings. (more…)

07/15/14 1:45pm
UBOLCRAB

In Manhattan som tom poo plara comes with a nutcracker.

One of my favorite cuisines to eat in the dog days of summer is Thai. And one of my favorite dishes is som tom poo plara. There are many types of som tom, or Thai papaya salad. This one though, with its addition of salty preserved crab and pickled fish, is particularly bracing. The chili heat and fishy funk along with the cool crunchy papaya are most restorative on a sweltering day.

My favorite spot for som tom poo plara used to be Poodam’s in Astoria where Ratchanee “Poodam” Sumpatboon made a bangup version. Multiple napkins where involved as I’d pick up the blue crab and suck out the salty flesh dredging balls of sticky rice through the liquor at the bottom of the plate. (more…)

07/02/14 12:08pm
GOTHAM3

Court Street’s take on the roast pork Italian.

Ever since I heard about Gotham West Market—the highly curated Manhattan food court that includes everything from Ivan Ramen Slurp shop to the meatastic offerings of the Cannibal, Blue Bottle Coffee, and an outpost of Brooklyn Kitchen—I’ve been intrigued. I stopped by for a visit the day of the Italy-Uruguay soccer match, and had a look around. I couldn’t pull the trigger because I was overwhelmed, much like I was on my first visit to Flushing’s Golden Shopping Mall. (Actually, that’s a lie. I was too full from eating hot dog and French fry pizza.)

As much as I really wanted to try Ivan Orkin’s famed ramen and The Cannibal’s lamb tartare, the thing that intrigued me most was Court Street Grocers, with its roster of a dozen sandwiches, many of which fall into the Italian-American canon. So, a week or so later I returned to Gotham West, after a most restrained browsing of the Summer Fancy Food Show. (more…)