Maspeth’s most decadent veal ravioli sings with the flavors of sage and speck.
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.
Even though I am as Italian-American as the cuisine I always feel somewhat out of place at Park Side, the 30-year-old red sauce temple overlooking Corona’s bocce court. Granted I’ve only been twice, but both times I’ve felt as if I were relegated to the children’s table at a family Thanksgivng. Perhaps it is too much for a pezzonovante like myself to expect to dine on the main floor.
A few weeks ago I dined there with some food writer pals, including Max Falkowitz, editor of Serious Eats New York. I showed up in a summer weight suit, sporting a tie and cuff links. My dining companions were neatly dressed, but I seemed to be the sole standard-bearer of Italian-American swag. Even without the disparity in our attire the truth is I still would have felt out of place. The glitzy Marilyn room calls to mind my Uncle Carmine’s house were it eight times bigger and filled with strangers. (more…)
Over on Serious Eats New York Max Falkowitz waxes nostalgic for boyhood dinners at red sauce mecca Park Side extolling its glitzy virtue as “one of the few remaining sources of red sauce fine dining in New York City.”
Ligaya Mishan files on Los Perros Locos, a Lower East Side Colombian hot dog emporium that features such wieners as the Pablo Escobar, which the menu says come with a dusting of Perico. There is, of course, no cocaine on the hot dog. The white stuff is cotija cheese.
Real Cheap Eats give this old Flushing hand a lesson in Chinese breakfast. There’s more to Oriental express Food Court than Tianjin breakfast wraps, like “tofu brains,” a savory northern Chinese take on douhua teeming with mushrooms, ginger, garlic and star anise. Yes, please. (more…)
O.G. ethnic food scribe Robert Sietsema is back in the saddle with a new column at Eater, which specializes in microneighborhoods. First up Neptune Avenue in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, with Pakistani goat feet and some stupendous sounding khachapuri, from Georgian Bread.
James Boo is also on the khachapuri trail, with a 1 Minute Meal video for Serious Eats New York about the tasty cheese-enriched bread, as baked by Shorena Dalakishvili, who says that in Georgia, “Everywhere, everybody have khachapuri.” No word on whether everybody weighs 300 pounds.
And SENY’s J. Kenji López-Alt has a stunning report on the “Holy Grail of New York Sushi,” including hotaru ika, baby firefly squid smeared with kani miso, a paste made from the guts of cooked crabs. J.K. writes: “This one is no joke—you have to like intense ocean aromas to get past its take-no-prisoners approach to flavor.” Sounds great J.K., I’m all about intense ocean aroma and flavor. (more…)