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Under represented cuisines in NYC?


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#1 foodgeek

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 09:53 AM

Are there cuisines that you feel are under represented in NYC? Either, there isn't much of the cuisine, or the examples that are in nyc don't stack up to other places in the US? What are the cuisines that you would like to see better represented in nyc and what countries or US cities are you using for comparison?

I moved form Queens to the DC area a couple fo years ago and I have noticed that certain cuisines are actually better here. Ethiopian (Dukem in DC is awesome) and Burmese (Mandelay in College Park and Myanmar in Falls Church are great) are examples.

I would think that some US regional cuisines like Cajun would fit under this category as well.
-Jason

#2 Eric Asimov

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 02:45 PM

Jason,

That's an excellent question. DC is well-known for Ethiopian, and an assortment of other embassy-related foods. In NYC, Thai is the classic example. Most Thai restaurants here dumb down the food, making it over-sweet and otherwise bland. There are a few exceptions, but you can find better southeast Asian food in LA, for example, where the immigrant population is much greater.

That used to be the case with Mexican food until 10 or 12 years ago, but the steady increase in the Mexican population here brought with it -- big surprise -- better food.

This might sound really stupid but at the moment I feel as if French regional cuisine really needs a push in New York. Below the top tier, so many French restaurants coast along with the same dull menu. With so many fantastic regional cuisines to choose from, why doesn't New York have much better French restaurants?

#3 foodgeek

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 03:56 PM

Thank You. That is exactly what I meant. I don't actually know French food very well myself.

I agree with you about Thai food in nyc, and that there are exceptions -like Sripraphai. Vietnemese food is a good example too. I tried a lot of places in nyc...and they weren't as good as some of the stuff on the VA side of the DC area. There is even a shopping area here (Eden Center in Falls Church) that is all Vietnamese shops, mainly restaurants, cafes, bakeries, etc...


I appologize if I sound like "Foders Ethnic Food DC 2005". :) I don't mean to. I really do miss the restaurants of Queens. I think I need to move back there.

-Jason

Jason,

That's an excellent question. DC is well-known for Ethiopian, and an assortment of other  embassy-related foods. In NYC, Thai is the classic example. Most Thai restaurants here dumb down the food, making it over-sweet and otherwise bland. There are a few exceptions, but you can find better southeast Asian food in LA, for example, where the immigrant population is much greater.

That used to be the case with Mexican food until 10 or 12 years ago, but the steady increase in the Mexican population here brought with it -- big surprise -- better food.

This might sound really stupid but at the moment I feel as if French regional cuisine really needs a push in New York. Below the top tier, so many French restaurants coast along with the same dull menu. With so many fantastic regional cuisines to choose from, why doesn't New York have much better French restaurants?

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-Jason

#4 Jason Perlow

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 04:06 PM

Malaysian. God I wish there was more Malaysian.

Eric: As to French Regional, I suggest you check out what Gabriel Kreuther is doing with modern Alsatian cuisine at The Modern as soon as it is humanly possible.
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#5 foodgeek

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 04:10 PM

Jason,

Lets see what I remember 2 years later:

The Taste Good location in Elmhurst is good Malaysian food. The one in Chinatown isn't as good. Also, ask Pan, cuz he likes a lesser known Malaysian place in Flushing, and he knows Malaysian food REALLY well.

-Jason

Malaysian. God I wish there was more Malaysian.

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-Jason

#6 chefzadi

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 05:09 PM

Jason,

That's an excellent question. DC is well-known for Ethiopian, and an assortment of other  embassy-related foods. In NYC, Thai is the classic example. Most Thai restaurants here dumb down the food, making it over-sweet and otherwise bland. There are a few exceptions, but you can find better southeast Asian food in LA, for example, where the immigrant population is much greater.

That used to be the case with Mexican food until 10 or 12 years ago, but the steady increase in the Mexican population here brought with it -- big surprise -- better food.

This might sound really stupid but at the moment I feel as if French regional cuisine really needs a push in New York. Below the top tier, so many French restaurants coast along with the same dull menu. With so many fantastic regional cuisines to choose from, why doesn't New York have much better French restaurants?

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Why doesn't New York have much better French restaurants? There are many reasons for this. I wouldn't blame a dull menus, I blame dull execution. I don't want to burden anyone here with a detailed and consequently long answer to this question. But in large part it has to do with the economics or perceived economics (the criteria for a money making restaurant) of the restaurant business.
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#7 Pan

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 09:18 PM

Eric, I recall that you reviewed some restaurants serving West African cuisine. That's gotta be underrepresented in New York, isn't it? I forget whether you reviewed any Southern African restaurants. Any you know and like in this area? I would also say that good Hungarian food is way underrepresented in New York nowadays.

#8 Eric Asimov

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 09:26 PM

As for French food, by dull menus I mean the tendency to repeat and repeat the same dozen or so dishes. France is a country with fascinating regional cuisines. You can go to restaurants and find dozens of dishes that you'll never see in this country. Partly it's cultural -- they're convinced that we won't eat organ meats or extremities, so you don't get a dish like pied de mouton -- sheep's foot, which is fabulous -- until somebody like Daniel Boulud does it up for a lot of money.

Jason, I've been to the Modern once and was impressed, but I'm talking about the tier below the very high end.

#9 ludja

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 12:05 AM

This question may come in too late AND people may laugh at it for lack of interest...

but I was wondering if you know of any good German or Austrian restaurants left in the city? (Not high end places like Danube, etc). My parents used to speak of places east of Central Park but I think the German influence is long gone.
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#10 foodgeek

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 07:39 AM

Hallo Berlin for German sausages. There are actually two Hallo Berlins plus a sausage cart. The one I used to go to the location w51st, and it is really small. I never tried the other location. You get a platter with 2 sausages -you choose out of 8 or so- and soup, potatoes, cabbage, etc...for $10.

Also, Glendale, Queens is known for German restaurants. Zum Stamtish (sp?) comes to mind, but I haven't been there in many years.

As far as the French restaurant discussion, I never understoof why French restaurants have to be expensive. There could easily be affordible French restaurants, but there doesn't seem to be many that are. Well, Toursenol in Queens is an exception.


This question may come in too late AND people may laugh at it for lack of interest...

but I was wondering if you know of any good German or Austrian restaurants left in the city?  (Not high end places like Danube, etc).  My parents used to speak of places east of Central Park but I think the German influence is long gone.

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-Jason

#11 Eric Asimov

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 08:29 AM

It is funny how German cuisine is somehow considered comical. Possibly because the stodgy remaining German restaurants are somehow comical in their cobwebby adherence to the lederhosen, oompah style. Don't you think a hip Berlin-style restaurant would play?

Anyhow, I always liked Silver Swan, and Zum Schneider in the East Village, more of a casual indoor beer garden, but great beer and good simple dishes. Hallo Berlin, too. Most other places are museum pieces.

#12 foodgeek

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 09:06 AM

A hip German restaurant would probably do well in nyc. Even with how many restaurants and cuisines there are in NYC....there always seems to be room for more -provided some planning and good cooking are involved.

I'd liek to see a good Spanish style Churreria in nyc. Churros that you dunk in thick hot chocolate. There is actually a churreria in DC...although the hot chocolate isn't thick like what I had in Spain. And, yes, I know taht a few trendy restaurants in NYC have it, but that is not what I mean.

BTW, I added a comment to the anonymous reviewer thread. The comment was inspired by the conversation in this thread.

-Jason


It is funny how German cuisine is somehow considered comical. Possibly because the stodgy remaining German restaurants are somehow comical in their cobwebby adherence to the lederhosen, oompah style. Don't you think a hip Berlin-style restaurant would play?

Anyhow, I always liked Silver Swan, and Zum Schneider in the East Village, more of a casual indoor beer garden, but great beer and good simple dishes. Hallo Berlin, too. Most other places are museum pieces.

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-Jason

#13 chefzadi

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 09:20 AM

One of the reasons that French regional cooking is underepresented in NYC or outside of
France for that matter is because French chefs see it as terroir based. Years ago my wife suggested that I open a Bouchon in Los Angeles. For me this can only exist in Lyon, otherwise it is a Bistro.

With that said I would like to see more regional dishes on French menus in the States as well.
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#14 ludja

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 10:11 AM

It is funny how German cuisine is somehow considered comical. Possibly because the stodgy remaining German restaurants are somehow comical in their cobwebby adherence to the lederhosen, oompah style. Don't you think a hip Berlin-style restaurant would play?

Anyhow, I always liked Silver Swan, and Zum Schneider in the East Village, more of a casual indoor beer garden, but great beer and good simple dishes. Hallo Berlin, too. Most other places are museum pieces.

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Thanks for the answer and good point re: the overly schlocky aspect of many 'old style' German restaurants. To remain true to some of the 'peasant or homestyle cuisine' but to be updated in some way would probably be necessary. SF has a good place called Suppenkuche that is 'hip' and 'new' in ambiance but stays mainly with old-fashioned dishes, updated just enough not to be stodgy or too heavy.

The 'hip Berlin' angle is interesting. SF actually has another 'updated' German restaurant billed as "East German" called Walzwerk.

Thanks for all the recs in NYC.
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#15 Potter

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 10:24 AM

I really do miss the restaurants of Queens.  I think I need to move back there.

-Jason


I wouldn't move back to Queens for anything, not even Sripathai and the huge Assi market near Shea Stadium or the Ice King of Corona. Great food but the quality of life (at least in my nieghborhood and my street) sucked. I lived in for 3 years in Maspeth and would eat at Sripathai often. Since moving to Morris county NJ, I have found nothing that compares to Sripathai (I am spelling it wrong I'm sure), but that place will spoil you. did you ever try any of the offal soups? I never had the balls.

#16 Potter

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 10:29 AM

This question may come in too late AND people may laugh at it for lack of interest...

but I was wondering if you know of any good German or Austrian restaurants left in the city?  (Not high end places like Danube, etc).  My parents used to speak of places east of Central Park but I think the German influence is long gone.

View Post


My favorite German restaurant in Queen just closed -- Neidersteins in Middle village. There may be a few traditional German places left in Queens. Check the Chow Hound site for suggestions. good luck.

#17 Potter

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 10:49 AM

Are there cuisines that you feel are under represented in NYC?  Either, there isn't much of the cuisine, or the examples that are in nyc don't stack up to other places in the US?  What are the cuisines that you would like to see better represented in nyc and what countries or US cities are you using for comparison?


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Definitely under represented in NYC is Southern BBQ (NC style, SC style,, etc). I am not going to argue which of the many regional styles are best. That's for another thread. I can think of only 2 places in NYC (other than in Queens, where I understand there may be one): Brothers on Varick St and Virgils off Times Square. I love Virgils' pulled pork sandwich. Brothers isn't that good. I work in downtown Manhattan and would love to see a BBQ place open south of Canal Street. I deliberately left out Blue Smoke since it seems they are trying to make BBQ urgently hip. Give me pig with no pretensions!

#18 foodgeek

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 12:46 PM

I really want to move back to Queens, but Central Queens, which is where I am from. Right near the subway and such.

Yes, at Sripraphai I tried the Tom Zaap w/beef offal, and the Tom Zaap with seafood substituted for teh beef offal. And the tripe dish.

-Jason

I really do miss the restaurants of Queens.  I think I need to move back there.

-Jason


I wouldn't move back to Queens for anything, not even Sripathai and the huge Assi market near Shea Stadium or the Ice King of Corona.  Great food but the quality of life (at least in my nieghborhood and my street) sucked.  I lived in for 3 years in Maspeth and would eat at Sripathai often.  Since moving to Morris county NJ, I have found nothing that compares to Sripathai (I am spelling it wrong I'm sure), but that place will spoil you.  did you ever try any of the offal soups?  I never had the balls.

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-Jason

#19 foodgeek

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 12:47 PM

My friends say Bluesmoke really is good. Maybe you should try it.

-Jason

Are there cuisines that you feel are under represented in NYC?  Either, there isn't much of the cuisine, or the examples that are in nyc don't stack up to other places in the US?  What are the cuisines that you would like to see better represented in nyc and what countries or US cities are you using for comparison?


View Post


Definitely under represented in NYC is Southern BBQ (NC style, SC style,, etc). I am not going to argue which of the many regional styles are best. That's for another thread. I can think of only 2 places in NYC (other than in Queens, where I understand there may be one): Brothers on Varick St and Virgils off Times Square. I love Virgils' pulled pork sandwich. Brothers isn't that good. I work in downtown Manhattan and would love to see a BBQ place open south of Canal Street. I deliberately left out Blue Smoke since it seems they are trying to make BBQ urgently hip. Give me pig with no pretensions!

View Post


-Jason

#20 Potter

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 08:19 PM

My friends say Bluesmoke really is good.  Maybe you should try it.

-Jason

Are there cuisines that you feel are under represented in NYC?  Either, there isn't much of the cuisine, or the examples that are in nyc don't stack up to other places in the US?  What are the cuisines that you would like to see better represented in nyc and what countries or US cities are you using for comparison?


View Post


Definitely under represented in NYC is Southern BBQ (NC style, SC style,, etc). I am not going to argue which of the many regional styles are best. That's for another thread. I can think of only 2 places in NYC (other than in Queens, where I understand there may be one): Brothers on Varick St and Virgils off Times Square. I love Virgils' pulled pork sandwich. Brothers isn't that good. I work in downtown Manhattan and would love to see a BBQ place open south of Canal Street. I deliberately left out Blue Smoke since it seems they are trying to make BBQ urgently hip. Give me pig with no pretensions!

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I will try Blue Smoke. I am just wishing for a more Lexington BBQtype or Sweatman's BBQ experience in lower Manhattan. NYC is absolutely lacking in pulled pork. Will some Southerners help me here? Mayhaw Man, any input?