10/15/14 2:22pm

Best logo stamped fast-food breakfast sandwich ever.

“Do you eat fast food?” the physician’s assistant asked me yesterday during my annual checkup. For a moment I wondered whether cumin lamb skewers consumed on Queens street corners qualified and decided they did not fit the fast-food bill.

“About two or three times a year,” I responded. Most of those times are on road trips and the idea of the food—be it a Big Mac, Whopper, or Taco Bell Burrito Supreme—always far exceeds the end product. It’s as if I’m trying to capture some mystical childhood fast food experience. I’m convinced that if Hardee’s, which I recall as having magnificent char-grilled flavor, still existed in New York City I would be a happy man.  Call it chasing the fast food dragon. (more…)

11/29/13 1:25pm

Photo: Ernesto Santos

If you’re anything at all like me you overindulged at yesterday’s Thanksgiving festivities and want nothing at all to do with turkey. Which brings me to the subject of this installment of Photo Friday: the stack of pork chops at M. Wells Steakhouse. It should be noted that even though this latest venture from M. Dufour is a grown-up spot where chef sports whites and a kerchief around his neck lending him the air of Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi, there are wacky touches like a bone-in burger and this stack of blade thin chops. Piled high and oozing anchovy butter it’s a carnivorous homage to that diner favorite, flapjacks. Now, if you will excuse me, I’m off to the gym work off yesterday’s turkey.

04/11/13 9:55am
A dish fit for a modern art museum.

A dish fit for a modern art museum.

I am a big fan of monkfish liver, or ankimo, as it’s called at the sushi bar. The season for this marine foie gras is coming to an end. I am especially saddened because recently I had a deliciously over-the-top rendition of monkfish liver, at M. Wells Dinette, a restaurant whose raison d’être is over-the-top deliciousness. If the ascetic Japanese presentation of monkfish liver—in a shallow lake  of ponzu sauce with a bit of green onion on top is a study in restraint then Hugue Dufour’s monkfish liver torchon ($14) is a study in hedonism. Thick rounds of creamy orange monkfish liver sit astride a pancake that’s been fried in duck fat, which sits in a lake of maple syrup. Crowning the whole affair is a tangle of mustard root tempura. It’s the type of dish that seems right at home in a post-modern museum cafeteria. If you get there and it’s not on the menu anymore don’t sweat it too much. There’s sure to be something equally delicious and over the top. I’m still holding out for the foie gras enriched shwarma Dufour once told me he was thinking about making.

M. Wells Dinette, MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave at 46th Ave., Long Island City, 718-786-1800

01/08/13 9:20am
India's answer to flapjacks.

India’s answer to flapjacks, hold the bacon.

It’s breakfast time, but those golden brown disks above aren’t pancakes. They’re dosa, specifically set dosa ($4.50) as served at Flushing’s Ganesh Temple Canteen. Typically the South Indian rice and black lentil flour creation doesn’t take the form of a pancake. It’s usually a comically huge crepe that resembles a megaphone, often stuffed with potatoes and other veggies.

Upon spotting this odd pancake looking version of dosa on the canteen’s vast dosa menu, I immediately ordered it. Set dosa are so named because they come in a set. The trio of South Indian griddle cakes comes out of the kitchen crowned with a pat of butter, just like a short stack. It’s pure dosa though, possessed of the sour tanginess of its lighter, larger cousins.

I had it for lunch, but it would make for a fine breakfast. A strong cup of Madras coffee and the accompanying vegetable sambar, a spicy soup, and the slightly less spicy coconut chutney will awaken  both palate and mind. There’s no chance of having bacon or breakfast sausage with these pancakes at the all veggie canteen though. Afterwards pay your respects to Ganesh and his pals at the temple upstairs.

Ganesh Temple Canteen, 45-57 Bowne St., New York City, NY 11355