Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Heavenly Cocktails

This is one of the east village's little hidden gems. Tucked away through a secret side door inside an izakaya restaurant off 9th street, is a great japanese run cocktail lounge called Angel's Share. I brought a friend there the other day who had just flown in from Tel Aviv and it was just the thing to relax on a chilly weekday night. We started by ordering 2 drinks off their regular menu. He took the Cucumber Sake martini and I the Ginger Shiso one. Both excellent, however the excitement really started when the bartender brought out a few special drinks NOT on the menu. For my friend, a very unique Ume-shu, and for me a Shiso-Shotchu, his own homemade version of "Tankatatan", which is the famous Shiso-Shochu that you find only in Japan. (pictured here) It was a great experience and I really look forward to going back. Oh and there is a trippy ceiling fresco of angels, with an asian angel baby smack in the center.

Angel's Share
8 Stuyvesant St., 2nd fl (at 9th)
New York, NY

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What da Pho!

My friend James turned me onto this spot. My sister and I have been searching for the perfect Pho and we may have found it! This place is hidden away in Chinatown, just off Chrystie street and it is never that busy. We haven't tried much on the menu beside the beef pho, Pho Tai, and the summer and spring rolls, both great. The soup is super tasty and size is quite good for girls, not huge. The meat seems decent quality, very tender, which is rare in most of these cheap vietnamese spots in chinatown. I was so spoiled in California with amazing Vietnamese food that it is hard to find these hidden gems here in NY, but I think Cong Ly is definitely one of them. Since then, we have been going there every weekend to warm up on pho!

Cong Ly
124 Hester St
(between Bowery & Chrystie St)
New York, NY 10002
(212) 343-1111

It's not just brunch, it's Supper!

Supper is the newest of the three east village restaurants owned by same people as Frank and Lil' Frankies. I've been there a handful of times for dinner, even American Thanksgiving dinner, I might add. It's a bit darker and moodier than Lil' Frankies and has a few great back rooms for larger parties. The food is fantanstic so thought we'd try for brunch. However I'm not sure that it held up to their dinner menu. I went with 2 girlfriends who both ordered standard breakfast dishes, eggs benedict and a goat cheese omelette. The feedback was ok, just good, not amazing. However, I really enjoyed my dish (which I had already decided to get at home while pre-screening their menu on their website beforehand) It was two poached eggs over grilled polenta, with prosciutto di Parma, topped with sauteed fennel and beautifully presented with two huge thinly-sliced pieces of parmigiano! It was drizzled with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I like this kind of complex savory breakfast. I ate the entire thing and was quite satisfied.

156 E 2nd St (btwn Ave A + B)
New York, NY 10009
(212) 477-0823

Not Too Shabby

Shabu-Shabu is one of my favourite kinds of Japanese cuisine but it is hard to find an authentic spot in New York. I have been to another hidden spot, also in the east village, which is better than this place (I will blog about it later) but this one is all set up and ready to go, with the shabu set built into the tables... oh and it is a block from my house. The food is not cheap, it will run you about $20-25 a person. It basically comes as a sharing thing, so they make you order a minimum of 2 plates of meat, one per person. The vegetables and sauces that it comes with are all pretty standard (1 ponzo + 1 goma) so all in all it makes for a steamy good time! I love it because there are no carbs involved so I usually leave feeling great and not too full.

Shabu Tatsu
216 E 10th St (btwn 1st + 2nd Ave)
New York, NY
(212) 477-2972

Go Go for Chinese New Year!

We celebrated the end of Chinese New Year this year at Dim Sum Go Go in Chinatown. This place is not huge but really clean and high quality food. Their dumplings are really pretty, wrapped in different colours even! I could spend hours eating there and drinking tons of tea! It is great for medium size parties to share and try everything.

Dim Sum Go Go
5 E. Broadway (at Chatham Sq.)
New York, NY 10038



A lot of people like Minca, so I suggest you try. I am obsessed with handmade firm noodles and I find their packaged curly ones too soft (reminds me of a bad Mr.Noodles experience I had once). I really like the taste and all the ingredients they put in it but the broth is just too oily and heavy for my stomach. I really like their pan-fried ebi gyoza and their daikon salad (pictured here) is really fresh, thinly sliced daikon with a nice sesame dressing. Before Ippudo, I think Minca tops the charts as one of the best ramen in the east village, but now they seem to have raised their prices maybe to compete with Ippudo. I'm not sure that was a good idea because Minca is not very busy these days.

536 E 5th St, New York 10009
(Btwn Ave A & Ave B)

The Freemans Cocktail

Freemans is always a great option, especially if you have a friend in from out of town. The food is solid, the staff is friendly and drinks are good. One drink in particular is amazing, the Freemans Cocktail, if I remember correctly its Dark Rye, with molasses bitters and really strong. It is almost smoky deep flavour went along perfectly well with my pork shoulder dish, pulled pork put back into a square and baked over sauteed cabbage which, by the way, was amazing.

End of Freeman Alley (btwn Bowery + Chrystie)
New York, NY 10002
(212) 420-0012

Congee Crew

For big groups and cheap prices, Congee Village works. Their two locations, both in the lower east side/chinatown area make it convenient for big groups without a plan. Although it does not live up to the chinese food found in Vancouver, the food is decent and quite tasty. We even celebrated Dan's going away dinner there and Leonard even ordered lobster!

Congee Village
100 Allen Street
New York, NY 10002
tel. (212) 941-1818

Congee Bowery
207 Bowery
New York, NY 10002
tel. (212) 766-2828