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Everything posted by jeanki

  1. jeanki

    Top Chef

    But is Drew a chef? (He's not right?) A restauranteur certainly brings a different and pragmatic/ big picture perspective, but really wouldn't be able to give the true insider advice and critical eye of a chef I think. In any case thank goodness Katie Joel's monotone is gone. I also had to suffer through watching her bungle an Iron Chef judging; the other two more experienced judges clearly preferred Morimoto, but she docked him so heavily the result got skewed the other way. She had this sourpuss baby face on like 'this tastes weird.' Ughh.
  2. How could you leave out the one and only Mamma Zu's! (although I don't know if it's closed for the summer like it sometimes is, and isn't Edo Squid the same owners or something like that?)
  3. Funny as a Korean-American I never go to those Korean marts because they're painfully overpriced and the produce sucks. I'm so picky I used to take the subway/bus 20 blocks south to Citarella to get my groceries, until Gourmet Garage finally opened up at 96th and Park. Go figure...
  4. I don't get this statement. What does NY having more Asian and Latin American stuff have to do with the loss of marzipan? ← It has to do with things that are "interesting and unique" and available in Manhattan. Granted that the reason for Elk Confectionary closing is not that New York has gotten smaller. That isn't the issue, as I discuss below. Did I limit my remarks to Yorkville only? Did you read the post by Atomic Lunch which, since it's directly above mine, I thought it would be evident I was replying to? Particularly, look at the following sentence: Think about this sentence again and tell me whether it really is more false than true: "There are plenty of interesting things in New York, they just are no longer Mitteleuropean." Is Manhattan "big enough" to have something of everything? That's not the issue. There has to be a community there to support it. As the German and Hungarian communities moved out of Yorkville and others moved in, the clientele for the large number of Mitteleuropean shops that used to be in that neighborhood as recently as 2-3 decades ago largely disappeared. The same, by the way, is largely true of the Jewish bakeries that used to be all over the Upper West Side (and now, I'm particularly referring to the high 90s and low 100s, my old stomping grounds). It's not that there are fewer Jews there, but that they are another generation removed from the Old Country and don't have old-fashioned Jewish cake and other buttery and sugary Jewish bakery items often enough to support the old-fashioned bakeries of yesteryear (though some of the bagel-and-muffin places do have a few similar cakes available for the small percentage of their clientele who want them). If you want to find a bakery like the ones we used to have up there, come to Moishe's in the East Village, which seems to be supported mostly by a dwindling remnant of the Lower East Side Jewish community plus a good deal of window-shopping passersby and folks coming in for a morning coffee, plus some people who come in from far away, and is in a low-rise building whose days, I'm guessing, may be numbered. When the clientele dies or moves or the rents go too high for it to remain in business or the building is torn down and replaced with high-rise condominiums, the shops close. So anyway, it's very regrettable if there is no longer a good source for marzipan in Manhattan, but that does not mean that there aren't other interesting and unique things to be found on this island. As for your inference that there was something xenophobic about my remarks, I'll chalk that up to my meaning being unclear and you not knowing me very well. ← Your meaning's more clear now, and I see your point wasn't meant to be xenophobic, thank you.
  5. I don't get this statement. What does NY having more Asian and Latin American stuff have to do with the loss of marzipan? NYC is certainly big enough that it has something of everything. Granted Yorkville only has trace remnants of its old Germanic past, but that isn't because the nabe is now Asian and Latin (which it actually really ISNT; it's the Upper east side for crying out loud). There's something vaguely xenophobic about that statement. Maybe not even vaguely.
  6. jeanki

    Fatty Crab

    Went there last night. Very much a casual hipster Village vibe with sashaying young male waiters who are extras from Gap ads, very loud inside with a small bar, but there was no long wait at least. The decor is kind of fun, trying to capture "kitschy ethnic hole in the wall" in a too cool for school way. The food was IMO generally terrific. I was worried about the concept of some American dude making riffs on Malaysian cuisine, but it ended up being the best of both worlds, and his chef skills definitely showed. The oft recommended watermelon pickle and pork was out of this world; totally unique and loaded with a wide range of flavors/herbs that somehow all work, and the chunks of essentially pork fat are decadent. Green mango slices with chili salt are a sour fiend's dream (which I am), the equivalent of fruit pixie stix. The chicken in claypot was the weakest item, comforting and soothing like chicken soup but essentially bland with little specks of fermented fish that I found interesting but offput my companion. The short ribs were more successful; again a fountain of multiple flavors like coconut, curry, chili, irresistible, and were also super tender. It comes with rice. All in all worth the hype I'd say. Very reasonably priced, filling, and bold unique well realized flavors. The reason I love Manhattan.
  7. jeanki


    I went about a year ago and really enjoyed it. I thought it was overall worth the price ($72 prix fixe back then). The room is lovely; a tall space that still feels relaxed and warm and done in modern metallics. The service was also relaxed yet polished. The food was very skillfully done with precisely managed flavors. There was a phenomenal scallop appetizer with two different sublime sauces (at that time it was a yuzu based one and a chili aioli based one), and a perfectly cooked halibut with fennel. The chocolate beignet dessert was great too. Portions are on the small side; it's more of a finicky tasting type preparation than hearty and filling. I thought it was a quintessential New York modern American dining experience, but beware if you have a huge appetite.
  8. This was a creative thread. After some recent trips I gathered the following: Key West-conch fritters and key lime pie Minneapolis-wild rice and berries, bison sausage/game dishes, chokecherry As a Baltimore/DC native, I concur that I cannot think of any signature DC dish. I can't think of a good Richmond dish for that matter either despite living there for several years. just the usual southern stuff i guess like BBQ, grits, omelets (a la Millie's)?
  9. I guess I just don't understand the purpose of the separation of menus. Would it be so hard for a host a manager or a waiter to take some time out to answer questions and possibly guide people into enjoying some authentic cuisine? ←
  10. jeanki

    Sushi Gari

    for one person around $100 not including tax and tip. i think it's approximately $7 per piece.
  11. jeanki

    Sushi Gari

    I just wanted to rave about the sushi bar omakase I had here (east side); I've never spent so much on so little food and yet emerged so ecstatic. Each piece was absolute freshness and harmony and uniqueness. And for the record I thought the grilled tomato mixture was RIDICULOUS (as in terrific). I can't remember every piece: -a white fish with a light dill vinaigrette -snow crab leg with yuzu marinade -white fish with lovely little vegetables on top and crunchy lotus root (Favorite) -marinated lobster -grilled squid with uni sauce (totally NUTS) -grilled mackerel -seared smoked salmon -Spanish mackerel -oyster with sweet rice inside -white fish with the grilled tomato sauce -sweet white shrimp mixture -seared toro dripping in its own melted ocean butter (awesome) there was more but its all a fantastic blur now. Words don't do it justice. I could care less about the decor or service (both of which were perfectly serviceable). It's better to go early before they're too crowded/overwhelmed. IMO worth every penny. I am spoiled forever.
  12. HOWEVER, The best Ramen in NYC is... drum roll.......... in Edgewater New Jersey!!! The Mitsuwa mart has an outpost of Sapporo-based chain Santouka. I second this rec. The ramen there is indeed better than the versions I've had in NYC; the broths are fresher and fuller flavored and the noodles are good. It's cheap too. Mitsuwa is loads of fun anyway and well worth a day trip.
  13. [ But if you want great food within walking distance, the two most restaurant-packed neighborhoods that are also great places to live are the Upper East Side and Greenwich Village. Which one to choose is largely a matter of the "vibe" that you prefer. I would personally choose the UES, as it tends to be quieter and more refined. Sorry but having lived on the UES for 6 years the food scene here obviously does not compare to downtown Manhattan. I am always eager to trek downtown in order to escape the multitudes of bad Italian and diner joints and frat bars and mediocre ethnic food. Even the UWS is better IMO. UES is pretty much a culinary wasteland aside from a handful of joints (would like to try Sushi of Gari...) Foodwise alone I would live around Union Square or Chinatown.
  14. I think Republic's ingredients are of lower quality than Momofuku; the broths reminded me of instant soup as did the noodles, although the menu is much larger. Momofuku is a little overrated but I do enjoy the quality and freshness of what they use (especially the pork and vegetables), even if the broth flavors need a little oomph/they're a little on the bland side, or yes, too sweet sometimes.
  15. jeanki


    I read that Cedric Tovar was going to be the new executive chef for the reopened Peacock Alley. I am not sure if this means he will be leaving Django. I had the good fortune of meeting him once before a food event through friends of friends. He is a very sweet, charming man.
  16. In Koreatown (32nd between 5th and bdway) I have seen a Pho restaurant (i forget the name Pho 99 or 32, something like that). Although it's owned by Koreans the menu is Vietnamese. It's not as good as the pho in Chinatown but it definitely suffices if you are particularly craving it. There are also a couple noodle joints in K-town like Kum Ryong, and also on 35th st Hye Dong gak (sp?) which specialize in homemade noodle dishes (Korean-style Chinese) including Jam-pong which is a noodle and seafood soup that is spicy-hearty and ja-jang myun which is noodles slathered in black bean sauce and veggies. I think there are some Japanese joints in the area too (I think I saw one on 32nd between 5th and madison) although I havent been to them which would have udon/bento boxes probably.
  17. I've been to both. The 45th street location is a little more run down looking and sparse than the 55th street one. I think the 55th location is a little better in both atmosphere and quality of the noodle soups, although the 45th menu and food is pretty much the same stuff.
  18. I've enjoyed two local joints on the Upper East Side: El Paso Taqueria (97th street between park and madison) and Sabora Mexico (1st ave and 90-91st st). Both seem authentic and serve delicious homestyle dishes and smoky hot, delicious soft tacos and mole sauces. Definitely worth a visit.
  19. I've enjoyed Roy's of Hawaii (although its a high end chain), Blue Agave (Tasty neo-Mexican), Helmand (great Afghan), Ze Mean Bean Cafe (eclectic and tasty Eastern European), Ixia (OK chichi fusion) in the past in Baltimore. I've heard good things about Charleston. I found Petit Louis Bistro somewhat overrated, but its ok if you like bistro settings. Helen's Garden is good for casual lunch/gourmet sandwiches. If you have a car, Baldwin's Station out in Sykesville is a charming New American find.
  20. Just got back from Minneapolis, great weather this week! A surprisingly lively and liveable city with a neat neo-socialist meets woodlands vibe. Thanks again for the recs; due to time, location, and money I couldn't try everything I wanted to but definitely enjoyed brunch at Hell's Kitchen (they should market that bison sausage, it's awesome! enjoyed the wild rice and berry porridge too.) and tapas at Solera (everything was suave yet authentic). Thanks again!
  21. Saigon Grill is adequately tasty (not great) and serves its purpose, but doesn't taste particularly authentic to me, at least not like the joints in Chinatown like Nha Trang or New Pasteur or other places in other cities I've been to. The UWS location is better to me than the UES one. I find Saigon Grill overrated in general (especially the overly sweet stir fried entrees). Bao 111 is sort of a fusiony take on Vietnamese but in a unique and homestyle way; I love it. I usually don't love Asian fusion joints, but I think Bao succeeds on its own terms. It's not really 'watered down for american tastes' fusion, it's more the chef creating his own riffs on Vietnamese. I actually think it's moderately priced for the overall experience, and isn't really something to be compared directly to the Chinatown joints. I think places like Miss Saigon or L'annam though are another matter entirely (more overpriced and watered down).
  22. I am not sure if it is tuna belly, but I enjoy canned Flott tuna from Italy too. I found it at Milano Market (there are a couple branches around the city) for the best price, and also at Gourmet Garage for more. They might have the tuna belly too.
  23. I think he's incredibly gracious considering how infuriatingly ditsy she is. How is he a camera hog, he's the one who knows how to do the cooking? In any case he's nicer than the prior chef who starred on the show, some young French guy who (understandably) could not hide his irritation with Jack at all.
  24. I've been here a couple times and had a nice meal both times, if not mind-blowing. The famous waffles really are airy-fluffy and delicious, and the fried chicken I had with it was as it should be, very fresh and crunchy. I had the short ribs another time which were tender but kind of bland. The sides were good but again, not earth-shattering. Service was mediocre. If you do visit here, I think the waffles are the way to go. If you're looking for other places with good soul food, I enjoyed Miss Mamie's Spoonbread maybe even a tad more than Amy Ruth's (really tasty candied yams, spicy jerk chicken, and great Spoonbread punch, very friendly service), and the best I've had so far in NYC was Shark Bar (killer BBQ). Haven't been to Sylvia's yet though, or Pink Tea Cup, or Ida Mae (expensive) which I heard was really good.
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