The best, and only, sea urchin I had in CDMX was a daily special at Contramar.
Earlier today I ran into some C+M readers while eating lunch at Warung Selasa, and I had to apologize for my recent lack of posting. You see folks, I was in Mexico City for a week celebrating my 50th birthday. I did my level best to eat every taco in town. There will come a time to speak of tacos, but now is the time to speak of the best two bites of seafood I had on my trip.
“D.F. is 1,500 miles from the sea,” a pal pointed out, when others recommended I book a table at Contramar, a white tablecloth seafood specialist in La Condesa. I did not let my friend’s commentary on D.F.’s geography deter me. Everybody suggested that I try the tuna tostadas, but when I found out that there was a Spanish language specials list, I promptly ignored that advice, and peppered several of the patient waitstaff with translation requests. And that’s how I wound up with a gorgeous plate of ceviche de erizo, or sea urchin ceviche from Ensenada. Served with chips, it was the best sea urchin I ate in Mexico City and not just because it was the only one I ate. (more…)
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of dining at Momo Sushi Shack with my good friend Tyson Ho. While everything was excellent—especially the red wattle pork chop with greens—the standout of the evening had to be the live uni. With its creamy texture and marine flavor with a touch of funk it was like the triple crème brie of the sea. Tyson pronounced it his “best bite of the year.” (more…)
When it comes to salmon Bricktown Bagels is probably better known for belly lox than salmon roe. That’s not the case come nighttime when the Long Island City bagelry morphs into Mu Ramen. While the soup’s the star at Joshua Smookler’s pop-up ramen-ya, many of the “treats,” listed on the menu are well deserving of the name. Chief among these is the U & I ($15), a rice bowl which features uni and ikura, or salmon roe. (more…)
Yuji was still pretty sedate before the arrival of the hungry, hungry hipsters.
If there’s anything I hate more than foodies it’s hipsters. So the often overcrowded, overpriced hipster/foodie paradise that is Smorgasburg has never been too high on my list. When it comes to crowds and food I’ll take a Southeast Asian Lunar New Year buffet over the scrum that befalls East River Park every Saturday. This Saturday was my second time at Smorgasburg. The first was last summer to eat foie gras poutine made by Hugue Dufour. This time around I was on a mission to supply some chicken cracklin’ to a pal with a new booth at the market. With my mission accomplished and the market not yet too crowded I decided to treat myself to a bowl of noodles from Yuji Ramen.
Yuji’s uni ramen is briny and decadent.
For a moment I considered the bacon, egg, and cheese noodles ($10), but I was kind of full after sampling my pal’s wares. So I opted for the somewhat lighter sounding uni miso ($10). The ramen dude congratulated me on my choice pointing out that the Maine uni he uses would soon be going out of season. The creamy sea urchin melted atop the warm, chewy noodles coating them with a rich, briny sauce. It was far richer than I thought it would be, though the blood orange zest and shiso managed to cut the richness somewhat. It could have used just a bit of the citrusy Japanese hot paste yuzu kocho.
For dessert I had a half dozen oysters ($16) from Brooklyn Oyster Party. The super briny bivalves served as an effective palate cleanser, and reawakened my appetite. Since I was already at Smorgasburg I thought I might as well get my feed on. Check back tomorrow for a Smorgasburg Sandwich Wednesday, plus the details of my secret chicken crackling mission.
Smorgasburg, East River State Park, at Norh 7th St., Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Noodles topped with a trio of fish roe sing with the flavors of Japan.
Last night I found myself wandering around the Lower East Side with a restless appetite. I considered eating at Wylie Dufresne’s new spot Alder then realized I was nowhere near it. Perhaps a bowl of Japanese bacon and egg mazemen noodles at the new Smorgasburg outpost inside Whole Foods. Alas they were closed. So I headed over to my favorite spot in the hood, Mission Chinese, for Danny Bowien’s mouth-blasting, palate-tingling take on Chinese food.
As I waited on line I weighed my spice-fueled options: kung pao lamb pastrami, thrice-cooked bacon, Chonqing chicken wings? When I took a seat in the dining room something delightfully odd happened. I was handed a slip of paper with the evening’s specials, two of which were Japanese. The first, cold tsukemen noodles ($16) with trout roe and sea urchin in bacon consommé sounded quite lovely. Turning back to the main menu I noticed beef heart and Hokkaido scallop sashimi ($13). I immediately ordered both, but felt quite strange. Was I really going to dine on Japanese fare at MCF with nary a hint of lip tingling Sichuan peppercorn? Apparently so. (more…)