02/17/16 2:32pm
chicksandwich

Joseph Leonard’s top-flight fried chicken sandwich.

A few weeks ago my good friend Siobahn who has something of a thing for fried chicken sandwiches asked me if I wanted to meet for lunch at Joseph Leonard. “They don’t have chicken sandwiches on the menu,” I said my sights set on steak tartare. “They do at lunch,” she shot back, “and I’ve been meaning to try it forever.” And that dear eaters is how I came to try one of the best fried chicken sandwiches in New York City. (more…)

02/26/15 11:23pm
SOTTOPIZZA

Sotto 13’s pork pie pizza topped with head cheese.

Last November I had the privilege of being taught how to make turducken by Ed Cotton, the executive chef of Sotto 13. “Come back some time; I’d love to feed you,” he told me after our lesson and frankenbird photo shoot. A couple of weeks ago I finally took him up on that offer.

The meal began with that week’s special pizza, pork pie. Provolone cheese, caramelized onions, and cabbage are topped with pork shank meat. Once the pie comes out of the oven it’s blnaketed with housemade coppa di testa and lashed with mustard vinaigrette. It’s like a subtler, more sophisticated version of an Italian combo sandwich. Cotton changes out the pizzas regularly and recent iterations have included beef carpaccio with creamy kale, wild mushrooms and fontina and this week’s special: spicy lamb sausage pizza with n’duja, ricotta, and mint. (more…)

09/03/14 10:02am
takahachi1

And the award for most whimsical calf brain presentation goes to . . .

There are many, many wonderful beefy things to eat at Takashi, the Japanese nose-to-tail homage to all things bovine. Niku uni ($24)—tiles of marbled chuck flap atop a shiso leaf topped with uni—comes to mind, as does the miso marinated sweetbreads served over squid ink rice ($20). The place is a paradise for offal lovers. Each of the beast’s four rumens is on offer for tabletop grilling. Today’s post isn’t about any of those things, though. It’s about a sandwich, a sandwich of caviar and calf brain. (more…)

08/04/14 10:12am
Decoy1

Decoy’s duck comes with shots of duck consommé.

“What happened to the duck?” my mother would say when the platter with meat and skin—mostly skin—and the accompanying pancakes was brought out. “It must have flown by.”

Moments before the entire carcass had been wheeled through the dining room on a trolley with great ceremony. This included striking a gong. Sometimes I like to think that the gong was my father’s idea, but I know it was the restaurant’s way of saying that the dish, even with its apparent bait and switch, was something special to be served with fanfare.

At the suburban Chinese restaurant in Levittown we frequented during my boyhood the delicacy had to be ordered several days in advance. As an adult I’ve had few stellar experiences with Peking duck.  Much as I love the $1 “Peking duck” bun window in Flushing, the fowl secret is that, tasty as it is, it’s not really Peking duck. I am happy to report though that the Peking duck dinner I had recently at Decoy, the newish offshoot of Eddie Schoenfeld and Joe Ng’s wildly popular Redfarm, was spectacular. (more…)

08/21/13 10:08am
FATTY2

For added crunch tuck the homemade krupuk into the crab sandwich.

I’ve been eating on and off at Zak Pelaccio’s Malaysian-inspired restaurant Fatty Crab for years. And until very recently I’ve never eaten any crab in the joint. You might think that I sprang for the joint’s signature chili crab, but you see I’ve got this thing where I have to write about a sandwich every Wednesday. So I walked in and ordered a lobster roll. “We have a crab roll,” the dude behind the bar said. “OK I’ll have the lobster roll,” I said laughing at my misremembering the restaurant’s new sandwich. At $19 the crab roll isn’t cheap, but it is quite tasty. Cool chunks of lump crab slicked with an intense crab aioli are nestled in a split-top bun. Best of all there is a goodly sized pile of homemade krupuk, crunchy Malaysian shrimp crackers. You’ll want to take these and tuck them into your sandwich. They also come in handy to scoop up the errant bits of crab that will fall out of the sandwich. Cool, crunchy, and spicy it’s a perfect late summer snack, but I still want a Malaysian-inspired lobster roll.

Fatty Crab, 643 Hudson St.,212-352-3592

04/15/13 9:52am
It’s packed with the goodness of goat milk—and salted caramel.

It’s packed with the goodness of goat milk—and salted caramel.

The other day I asked my buddy Peter Cuce, the man behind  Project Latte, for a West Village coffee shop tip. Soon I found myself at Prodigy Coffee where I knocked back a perfectly nice cup of espresso. And then I headed next door to Victory Garden, for some goat milk soft serve. I’ve only had goat cheese, before so I was curious to try goat milk it in ice cream form. Victory gets its goat milk from Side Hill Acres in Candor, N.Y.

Perusing the flavors I decided to go with salted caramel. I did so for two reasons. One, I have a pretty serious salted caramel habit. And, two, fine as it was, something was missing from the espresso I had at Prodigy. That something was the salt, cream, and sugar that I’ve been adding to my morning coffee of late. The goat milk soft serve ($4.75) fit the bill on both counts. That said there was definite underlying goatiness to the frozen treat. In any event, I am glad that I tried it. Plus, according to a sign on the wall, goat milk “is is lower in fat than cow’s milk, but with all the nutrition.” Good thing considering that day’s lunch consisted of Harold Dieterle’s decadent bone marrow and uni.

Victory Garden, 31 Carmine St., 212-206-7273

04/10/13 12:00pm
At $17 a box these chocolate chips aren't cheap.

At $17 a box these chocolate-covered potato chips aren’t cheap.

A couple of weeks ago after a visit to The Marrow I found myself on a block of Bleecker St. that I like to think of as the West Village’s dessert district. I wandered into Royce’, a Japanese chocolatier, which for some reason uses a superfluous apostrophe. Inside I found something that I haven’t seen in some time, chocolate-covered potato chips or as the Royce’ copywriters put it, “Potatochip Chocolate.”

After sampling onecrunchy, slightly salty, and coated with milk chocolateI gamely forked over $17 for a box. That’s right $17. Yes, they’re imported  from Hokkaido “where the climate and the clean air are ideal for making confection,” but they’re not $17 good. I know this because a week later I still have most of the original box.

I suppose if you really must have $17 chocolate chips Royce’ will gladly take your money and give you a boutiquey little shopping bag to carry home your precious cargo. Here’s what you should do instead, sample a chip or two. Then go the newstand and buy 15 or so Take 5 bars with the $17 you would have spent at Royce’. The pretzel, peanut, caramel, peanut butter, chocolate bar is the tastiest and cheapest way I know to slake a thirst for sweet-salty snacks.

Royce’, 253 Bleecker Street, 646-590-0650

The man behind The Marrow.

The man behind The Marrow.

With a menu that includes Italian-inspired fare from Famiglia Chiarelli and German-inspired dishes from Familie Dieterle Harold Dieterle’s The Marrow is a deeply personal restaurant. It is also deeply delicious at least based on the dish I tried, The Bone Marrow ($16) Chef Dieterle’s  genius combination of uni and bone marrow with baby celery leaves,  Meyer lemon aioli, and crunchy little potato cubes. The man in charge of what is surely New York City’s first Teutonic-Italian eatery took some time to answer Seven Questions as he prepped for dinner service last Friday afternoon.

The Marrow’s menu is a nod to your lineage, you’re half German and half Sicilian right?
My paternal grandmother is actually Irish but her husband was 100% German. I grew up eating two very different styles of cuisine. Half the time I’d eat very German, schnitzels, spaetzels, a lot of braises, very peasant style food. The other half of the time I would eat very southern Italian style food.

What do your folks think of the half German half Italian menu?
They love it. It’s a very personal restaurant to me. They’re very excited about it. They’re proud that this is what I decided to go with for the next place.

Why did you name the restaurant The Marrow?
A lot of our restaurants have double meanings, so The Marrow really means the center of or the best part of. It’s very much a meat-focused restaurant, so we thought it would be a fun name. (more…)