12/18/17 5:28pm

A platter of Uzbek soul food.

There’s an old Pat Cooper routine about pasta fazool. I misremember it as “When Mama would make pasta fazool in the winter I wouldn’t need to wear a coat.” No doubt that’s somewhat of an exaggeration about the warming effect of the humble beans and pasta dish. If there’s an Uzbek Pat Cooper—and I hope there is—I’d like to think that he tells the same joke about nakhot garmack a hearty veal and chickpea stew.

The menu at Taste of Samarkand—an Uzbek spot located in Middle Village a 10-minute drive from the restaurants that line “Bukharian Broadway” as 108th Street is known in Forest Hills—breathlessly describes nakhot garmack ($10) thusly: “veal tail braised for an eternity with chickpeas, until its soul leached into the surrounding broth.” I’m not sure about all that, but the veal stew topped with with raw onions and crushed red pepper, girded by slices of bread is definitely Uzbek soul food. The bread makes an excellent vehicle for the rich broth. And while the hospitality and stew at Taste of Samarkand will definitely warm you up, you’ll still need a coat.

Taste of Samarkand, 62-16 Woodhaven Blvd., Middle Village, NY 11379, (718) 672-2121

01/30/14 1:44pm

If he knows what’s good for him, he’ll do the right thing.

This Sunday marks an event I have been eagerly awaiting. And I’m not talking about Super Bowl XLVIII either. Heck I’m barely sure which teams are taking to the gridiron. No I am referring to an event that has much more significance to me this frigid winter than a mere football game.  I’m talking about Groundhog Day people. I’m sure hoping that Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow because I’m not sure I can deal with six more weeks of this brutal New York City winter.

The good folks over at Rave Review Original Culinary Spirits™ are offering the little fellah some incentive to do the right thing in the form of a recipe that would make a delicious Super Bowl treat for later that day if the Groundhog sees his shadow and tries to bring us more of this nasty winter. And heck even if he doesn’t see his shadow I’m going to be sure to share this recipe with my pal Baron Ambrosia, who has eaten more than his fair share of small game. (more…)

05/10/13 10:12am

As I’ve written before Northern Boulevard is New York City’s real Koreatown, vast and overwhelming with tons of restaurants. I can barely keep track of them, which is why I’m glad my pal Peter Cucè hipped me to Geo Si Gi, and agreed to do this guest post. I’ve been meaning to try it for years. Until I dined there with him and some friends I never realized the image on the sign was a caveman; I always thought it was a fish. Peter Cucè is a food-obsessed coffee lover who chronicles New York City cafe culture via a variety of internet outlets. He is an OG Chowhound who truly lives (and travels) to eat. Peter has eaten his way through nearly every cuisine available locally and beyond and is now systematically working his way through regional Chinese and Korean food in Flushing and Sunset Park and cataloging his efforts via Instagram. Take it away Peter . . .

Geo Si Gi's sign features acartoon caveman chasing a wild boar.

Geo Si Gi’s sign features a cartoon caveman chasing a wild boar.

Geo Si Gi is one of around 10 restaurants along a strip of Northern Boulevard in a neighborhood sometimes called Murray Hill but also referred to as East Flushing or just plain old Flushing. Collectively these restaurants are the northern beachhead of Murray Hill’s Mokja Golmak or Eater’s Alley, Korean vernacular for an area that has a lot of restaurants with different specialties.


The specialty of the house is pork bone casserole.

I’ve been gradually working my way through these establishments and finally convened a party to visit Geo Si Gi, whose specialty is gamjatang, a pork bone casserole offered in five variations including dried cabbage, kimchi, curry, and seafood. Unless you go at lunchtime, gamjatang requires a group, because as is often the case at Korean restaurants, the casserole dishes are huge and built for sharing, starting at $29.95 for the most basic version for two people and topping out at $57.95 for the seafood gamjatang for four. (more…)