10/27/17 1:12am

Surely Lhasa Fast Food’s “cold skin sushi” deserves Michelin recognition.

Earlier this week Michelin released its 2018 Bib Gourmand honorees,  which “denotes establishments where diners can enjoy a great meal for a good value.” I’m glad the crew of inspectors from the little red book is focusing more attention on the so-called outer boroughs and happy to see they added my dear friend Helen You’s Dumpling Galaxy to the list, but the Queens roster is still lacking. What’s more, Brooklyn and Manhattan are broken out into subareas (Upper East Side, Williamsburg, etc.) while the Bronx, Staten Island, and Queens lack such distinction. If any from Guide Michelin is reading this, do look me up I’d be glad to consult with you on neighborhood geography for a modest fee. (For the record I live in the one called Rego Park.)

“I can name five more Southeast Asian restaurants that should be on that list,” read a quote from me in The Wall Street Journal’s piece on the Bib Gourmands. I can, but I won’t. Instead here’s a list of seven places of varying cuisines that should have made the Michelin cut.

1. Lhasa Fast food
Everybody who’s into food knows about this spot, which Jeff Orlick hipped me to years ago. Call it a momo speakeasy if you must, but really what Lhasa Fast Food is is a window into another culture and cuisine that just happens to be tucked away behind a cellphone store. I like the spicy yellow liang fen done up to look like sushi and of course the momos, including the classic beef and the rarely seen chu tse, or chive version. . 37-50 74th Street, Jackson Heights


08/18/16 7:02pm
Marani's mighty meat and mushroom khachapuri.

Marani’s mighty meat and mushroom khachapuri.

Few things are as decadent as the adjaruli khachapuri served at Marani, a glatt kosher Georgian restaurant that’s a mere five-minute walk from C+M headquarters. The eye-shaped bread is filled with a lake of molten cheese and egg. Stir it up and dig in. “Khachapuri not pizza,” read the restaurant’s square takeout boxes. Despite the pizza comparison, you won’t find any sausage versions in Marani’s basement khachapuri parlor. That’s because it’s a strictly dairy kitchen. (more…)

12/31/14 4:41pm

As 2014 draws to a close rather than offer up a roster of resolutions—less chips more gym, save money, etc.—C+M presents a list of 14 of our favorite things, a highlight reel of the year that was. Let the mostly Queens-focused cavalcade of offal, mashups, secret eats, and overall deliciousness begin.


The rugelssaint at Andre’s Hungarian.

1. Sweetest mashup
Part pain au chocolat, part rugelach, all decadence the chocolate croissant—aka rugelssaint—at Andre’s Hungarian Bakery was my go-to guilty breakfast this year.


Ban Ga Ne’s got your large format goat feast needs covered.

2. Best goat meat bonanza
Not only was the three-course black goat meat feast at Ban Ga Ne one of the best Korean meals I’ve had in a long time, it was some of the best goat I’ve ever had. Plus as the proprietor pointed out, it’s um, invigorating.


Zuppardi’s glorious fresh shucked Little Neck clam pie.

3. Best pizza
Some friends and I made a pizza pilgrimage to New Haven this fall. Everything we tried was good, but the real revelation came when we dug into the fresh clam pie at Zuppardi’s Apizza. Fragrant with Little Necks and oregano atop a crackling thin crust, it was simply astounding. (more…)

01/14/14 11:19am

Marani’s chicken tabaka, crunchy and garlicky as all getout.

The running joke about the Uzbek kebab places in Rego Park is that they’re all pretty much the same restaurant. Sure some might have slightly surlier service than others or make a specialty of chebureks, , but they’re all basically about grilled meat—beefchicken, and lamb–on flat swordlike skewers.  So I was intrigued when I heard about Marani,  a relatively new Georgian joint.

Ever since I read about the decadent adajaruli khachapuri being served at Brooklyn Bread House in Sheepshead Bay and at Oda House in the East Village, Georgian food has been a feverish blip on my radar. So I was especially excited to learn of a restaurant right in my neighborhood that served the mythical cheese and egg bread. (more…)

08/26/13 12:30pm

Khinkali topped with ajika from Brick Oven Bread. Photo by Anne Noyes Saini.

Like many cuisines nurtured in mountainous places, Georgian food is notably meat-intensive. So I wasn’t surprised when the counterman at Brick Oven Bread, a Georgian bakery, laughed at my request for meatless khinkali.

Georgia’s famous boiled dumplings, which bear an uncanny resemblance to Shanghai xiao long bao (aka, soup dumplings) or Himalayan momo, are almost always filled with ground beef, pork, or lamb—especially in New York City, where affordable meat is easily procured. (In Georgia, khinkali filled with mushroom, potato, and cheese are not uncommon.)

But then the woman behind the counter spoke up: “I make them stuffed with cheese for myself. Would like to try some?” (more…)

01/15/13 2:53pm

Borjomi mineral water is a staple beverage at C+M headquarters.

One of things I like about living in Rego Park apart from its proximity to Flushing and wonderful old school spots like Knish Nosh is the preponderance of Uzbek culinary culture. There are at least 10 kosher kebab houses which fetishize the fatty flesh of lamb to varying degrees. Even the pizzerias here sell the meat pies known as samsa along with plov, a Central Asian spin on pilaf. At the delis find plenty of smoked fish, Eastern European charcuterie, salads, and Borjomi Mineral water. There are many other mineral waters on offer but over the past few years, I have grown fond of the fizzy water in the bluish bottle.