For years the running joke about this Italian-American boy’s love for Asian food has been that I’ve forsaken my pasta and red sauce roots to slurp noodles in the basement of what my dear departed friend Josh Ozersky lovingly termed “ethnic hell holes.”
Noodles—be they Thai, Chinese, or Indian, cold, stir fried, or in soup—are one of my favorite foods. The other day I had a Thai noodle dish—black ink spaghetti with nam prik ong—that seemed to have more in common with Bologna than Bangkok. (more…)
Bellwether’s patty melt is lovely, but it’s more of a cheeseburger.
Sometimes I wish my dear departed friend and meat maven Josh Ozersky was still with us. Partly so I could take him to dodgy Chinese restaurants, but mostly so I could ask him questions about burger lore, like the one in the headline.
I came to the patty melt late in life. I didn’t try one until my late forties. And I suppose that the one I tried, which I believe was at Tower Diner, formed my impression of what a proper patty melt should be. It was composed of a medium rare patty swaddled between two crisp pieces of rye bread along with melted Swiss and caramelized onions.
It was more of of a grilled cheese than a hamburger, and I have it on good authority that that’s how it should be. Most of all it was a messy sandwich oozing an amalgam of beef drippings and fat from the Swiss, what Ozersky would have lovely called “greeze.” (more…)
There’s something about shawarma—a Middle Eastern exclamation point of rotating meat basting in its own juices—that is absolutely fascinating. Like my dear departed friend Josh Ozersky who once gushed, “Just the outer edge of the meat is sliced, so essentially the sandwich is just the sizzling brown surface of a lamb roast,” I am fascinated with shawarma in all its forms.
Until very recently I have only had the chicken version, but lately the lamb variety—really a blend of lamb and turkey—has come on my radar. Most recently at Tov-Li Shawarma & Falafel a newish Israeli spot that opened on the Bukharian Broadway that is 108th Street in Forest Hills. (more…)
I’m not quite sure why it’s taken me more than a decade of living in Queens to try Rizzo’s Fine Pizza. After all, if I hear of an amazing Chinese dumpling, I can scarcely wait a day to try it. Perhaps it is as my dear departed friend food writer Josh Ozersky once said: “Joey has forsaken his Italian heritage to eat Chinese food in ethnic hell holes.”
Upon entering the 58-year-old Astoria institution last Saturday night I noticed Ozersky was one of many food writers whose accolades lined the walls. When I got to the counter I paused for a moment—as if there was any possible order for a first-timer other than the shop’s famous thin-crust Sicilian. (more…)
Maspeth’s most decadent veal ravioli sings with the flavors of sage and speck.
PLEASE NOTE THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED
My buddy Josh Ozersky likes to say I’ve forsaken my Italian heritage to eat weird Chinese food in dodgy Flushing basements. He’s only partially right. I grew up in a home where soy sauce and hoisin were as common as Sunday gravy and the hunk of Pecorino we called “grating cheese.” Now and then I am turned on to a dish that makes me proud of my Italian heritage. Most recently it was the pasta—specifically the ravioli di vitello burro, salvia e speck ($13.95)—at the newish Osteria Italiana in Maspeth, a neighborhood that’s more Polish than Italian. Of all people it was my adopted Jewish mother, Times Ledger food critic Suzanne Parker, who turned me on to this lovely dish. Perfectly al dente triangles are filled with veal and sauced with butter and sage. Salty, smoky bits of speck top it all off. Buttery and decadent, it’s nothing like my Italian mother’s pillowy red sauce ravioli, but every bit as good.
Taco Bell unveiled the waffle taco—a fried waffle cradled sausage and egg—in 100 test markets today. Sadly none of these markets are in New York City. No word on the company’s plans to rollout the a pizza crepe taco pancake chili bag.
Writing for The New York Times Robert Sietsema gives a rundown of Vietnamese joints in Atlantic City, including Com Tam Ninh Kieu and its hu tieu with egg noodles and pig feet. Sign me up, Robert.
Josh Ozersky tells the tale of a trail at Jonathan Benno’s Lincoln. “I barely did any work at all, but I didn’t act like Mayor McCheese either, and tried my best not to interfere with the machinery of service,” he writes. Cutlets also makes me really hunger some stupendous sounding roast chicken. (more…)
There’s a theory put forth about food critics by a chef pal of mine. It goes something like this, “Robert Sietsema knows what he’s going to write before he even walks in the door.” As someone who considers himself a food writer and not a critic, I like to consider myself the exception to my buddy’s rule, but I know I’m not. Take the sandwich I had yesterday. I knew I was going to be in Manhattan for the afternoon and I knew I wanted something hearty, even meaty. I was thinking of a Cubano from La Taza de Oro, or something Italian. When I got to the City as we Queensites like to call it I was still undecided. So I put to the Twittersphere, specifically the maharajah of meat, Josh Ozersky. Within minutes a three word response, “Eataly. Roast Beef,” popped upon my phone. (more…)
And just in time for Memorial Day meat maven Josh Ozersky pens a Wall Street Journal piece on the New ‘Cue, which includes such wonders as the smoked marrow pho with brisket and house-made spicy Thai sausage at San Francisco’s Hi-Lo BBQ.
The kids over at Home Sweet Queens catch a case of momo fever after the Second Annual Momo Crawl.
Early this week Texas Monthly’s Daniel Vaughn the mag’s barbecue editor, issued “A Declaration of Barbecue War,” which includes such provocative statements as “Texas barbecue has no peer on earth.” There’s also a companion piece wherein Vaughn spars with John Shelton, an expert on North Carolina barbecue. Check out Shelton’s takedown of chain barbecue restaurants: ”pick-your-meat, pick-your-sauce, mix-and-match International House of Barbecue places that are increasingly common in our cities. True, they’re in North Carolina or Texas and they’re serving what they call barbecue, but it’s not North Carolina barbecue or Texas barbecue; it’s food from nowhere, for people from nowhere, who deserve nothing better.”
Robert Moss, a proud Carolinian fires back at Texas Monthly: “I could go on about the numerous contradictions and inconsistencies inherent in Texas Monthly’s barbecue jingoism, but here in the Carolinas, we try to be gracious. When we go to visit friends and they insist their 9-year-old daughter play us her latest recital piece on the violin, we clap when she finishes and murmur warm words about how well she played, considering her young age. If Mr. Vaughn or Ms. Sharpe offered us a plate of brisket or beef ribs from Snow’s or the Pecan Lodge, we would accept it graciously and say at the end of the meal, ‘My, that roast beef sure was tasty.’ Because our mamas raised us to be polite.”
Meat maven Josh Ozersky and pitmaster Robbie Richter parade a barbecued ewe.
PLEASE NOTE THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED
I’ve just about recovered from what I’ve taken to calling ‘Mini-Meatopia.’ For that’s exactly what Monday’s pop-up at Alchemy, Texas BBQ was. Meat maven Josh Ozersky and pitmaster Robbie Richter teamed up on a menu that included everything from short rib to a grass-fed Vermont ewe, all cooked in Alchemy’s gigantic smoker. It was the first of hopefully many pop-ups. It was a very special night for barbecue and Jackson Heights with a globe-trotting menu that spanned from Jamaica to Uzbekistan.
First up: bulgogi tacos,with gojuchang aioli.
For the past few years Richter has been moving away from American barbecue and experimenting with Asian flavors, notably at Fatty Cue and the upcoming project Roadhouse L.A. with the Umami Burger crew. So it’s not surprising that the evening’s meaty offerings started with bulgogi short rib tacos. They were served with kimchi, and a zippy aioli made from the Korean fermented bean and chili paste, gochujang. My one complaint was the flour tortillas. That did not stop me from eating two tacos, though. (more…)
Burmese noodle salad, just one of many dishes at Sunday’s food fair.
Smorgasburg Saturday 11 a.m.-6p.m. East River Park, the waterfront at N 7th St.
As much as I love to hate on Brooklyn and its legions of gastronerds I have to admit to a soft spot for Smorgasburg. And now have even more reason to like it, my pal Noah Arenstein’s Scharf & Zoyer and its wacky New School take on Old School deli. Did somebody say kugel double down?
Sikh Day Parade and Festival Saturday, April 27, 12:15-5:00 Madison Square Park, Manhattan
This parade provides not only provides an opportunity to celebrate Vaisakhi Day, but to take part in a huge gratis vegetarian feast. It’s like the Sikh version of the Big Apple BBQ Block Party. (more…)