Wednesday, February 23, 2011

From Basquiat to Bohemian

After months of wanting to try this restaurant I finally made it there last night with my friend Terry. Bohemian is a secret little restaurant hidden behind a Japanese meat shop in Noho. This resto has no phone number and and it's whereabouts is spread through word of mouth. Once someone goes they get a name card and the card and number gets passed along.

Apparently this building was owned by Andy Warhol and it's said that Basquiat himself died at this address. The long hallway leads you down to a door where you need to buzz a doorbell to get in.

The space is small and cozy. It's like you are in someone's living room. The furniture is modern and there's a Japanese garden in the back of the space. The food was great. We tried almost everything on the menu; beef sashimi, uni coquette, mushroom yuzu salad, shrimp with garlic, black miso cod and mini burgers. The beef sashimi was really good and the uni coquette was really creamy and delicious. We ended on two awesome desserts; a sake panna cotta with kokuto and a chocolate crème brulée.

The only strange thing was the crowd. There wasn't a simple Japanese person in there. I would have expected that on a weekend but on a Tuesday night it was a bit surprising. The food actually seemed to also be catering to a foreign tongue. It wasn't very traditional in that sense. Some of the taste and ideas were rooted in Japanese dishes but then really taken to a whole other place. Even the black cod had a little pot of cheese gratin on the side. I normally wouldn't love this kind of fusion but the taste were all really working so I have to give it the props it deserves. It was almost a french take on Japanese cuisine if I had to compare to anything. Definitely worth tasting everything on the menu. I look forward to going back again soon.

57 Great Jones street
Ground Floor

Monday, February 21, 2011

This Wolf is Bad

And by bad I mean bad ass. Some wonderful Austrian cuisine has joined the East Village. The Wolf himself greeted me at the bar as I wondered in on a very busy Saturday night. Wolfgang, and his partner Edi, have just recently opened Edi & the Wolf on Avenue C. These boys are famous already for their restaurant Seasonal in midtown, so they definitely hit the ground with a running start. The food was fantastic! We sat and the bar and got a first hand view into the action. We got great recommendations both for wine and food. The bartender, Eugene, who was really a Turkish pirate, took such good care of us! So much so that we ended up closing out the place with some of the locals crew well until the early morning!

As for the food, we started with the Pickled Vegetables, which were so unique and refreshing. Then the Spatzle, which was SO delicious. It was incredibly creamy with wonderful mushroom, roasted brussel sprouts and topped with thinly sliced fried onions. The combination of textures were amazing! It was probably the most delicious thing I've ever tasted.

We then ordered the Wiener Schnitzel. It comes both in veal and in heritage pig. It was truly amazing! I wish I could eat it every night. It was so thin and the batter was so airy and crispy. They are so famous for their schnizel at their other restaurant Seasonal so I was so happy that they have brought it to the east village!

The wine... oh the wine, was incredible. I was first introduced to dry Austrian wines in San Francisco at Slanted Door and haven't had too much exposure to them this was a real treat. We tried at least 3 or 4 variaties and they were all so complex and so special! They work so nicely with the food, even on a cold night. The Wolf poured us two glasses of this very rare Riesling shown below. If anyone can find this bottle, please let me know!!

I loved it so much that I took another few friends there tonight and unfortunatly I didn't take more photos but I tried some more dishes, including the ribs, a salad starter and the homemade ravoli stuffed with this wonderful Austrian cheese that I have never tried before. All the dishes were great!

Now the space... I don't know where to start. It's like a cozy little haven. The minute you walk in you feel it. The comfort, the love behind the food and the people. The space is designed by a set designer so it is over the top and at the same time so right and simple. Nothing feels overdone or like it's trying to hard. It's just interesting and new... and really wonderful! The faucet in the washrooms are simply two tubes that come out of the pipes tied together with a metal fixture. It's honest and artisitic. It feels like you're on a set of a Jean-Pierre Jeunet film and I didn't want to ever leave.

It was truly one of those amazing New York moments… finding a gem in your neighbourhood with a welcoming family vibe.
I plan on frequently this place for the rest of the winter. They just opened yesterday for their first brunch. The Wolf let me peek at the Brunch menu and they have a Wiener Schnitzel burger!! So I will most likely be back on the weekend for that. They will open up their garden in the back once the weather gets warmer so this will no doubt be the happening brunch spot this summer!

Edi & the Wolf
102 Avenue C (+ 7th st)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hot For Chocolate

City Bakery is doing a different hot chocolate every day this month! I'm not even a huge hot chocolate fan but I love this idea and incentive to get people to get coming back, every day even! A crew of us went there yesterday for dessert after another epic dim sum get together and wallowed in thick, creamy, spicy hot chocolate. It was oh too good and eewy. The hot chocolate of the day was Chili Pepper Hot Chocolate. I could drink about half of it. It was so good but way too rich for me. The marmallow is pretty amazing for an additional $1 but well worth it for the full on experience. I want to head back to try the Bourbon Hot Chocolate, that's more my style.

City Bakery
3 West 18th Street
New York, NY

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Get Duck and Dirty

This duck broth is no joke. I had read about it on blogs but had been hesitant to try it. I'm not a big duck head although I do love the occasional duck dumplings at Dim Sum Go Go. This little Thai fusion restaurant on 9th Avenue has been really surprising me lately. I'm been meeting my friend Karin there on average once a week so far. It's really good. It's not always as good but overall it's good. They have a well-priced lunch special which is great. So far I've tried about 4 different things, all good. My favourite so far, beside his soup, is the shrimp pad thai, SO moist and delicious! I might even get it tomorrow! There's not a lot of good restaurants near my work so this is a real gem in comparison. The duck meat, which was good, was not my favourite part, but rather the broth that was so delicious. It's dark, strong flavour feels surprisingly light and the noodles which are thin egg noodles don't leave you feel overly full. It was a nice balance of textures and flavours, I highly recommend it.

462 9th Avenue (nr. 36th st)
212) 971-8530

A Gift From The Chef

As the temperature dropped to almost 14 degrees fahrenheit (that's -10c!) last night, Heron and I took shelter inside the comforting warmth of Ippudo. It was his first time so I was super excited to have him experience it. I outfitted him with the usually first-timer special... a Hirata pork bun and the cucumber salad, followed by a bowl of the always-amazing Akamaru Modern. (with noodle Bari-katta, very important!) He was most satisfied and I was happy. The chef, Hirata, surprised with a lovely little starter. It was definitely not on the menu and it was delicious! It was a set of 4 very nicely grilled jumbo shrimp with a brocolli purée topping. It was great! It's been a while since I've seen the chef, he tends to work daytime mostly now, so it was a really nice treat!

65 4th Avenue
New York, Ny
(212) 388-0088

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Spy That Caught My Eye

The best kept secret on the brunch menu at Northern Spy Co. is the kale salad. You can add 2 eggs on top of it to make the perfect breakfast. I've always got the polenta, which is also fantastic, so cozy and comforting. And the biscuits, sausage, gravy and eggs was yummy too, although a real heart stopper. I love a bite but could never actually order it. The kale salad on the other hand is the perfect zero-carb breakfast before fashion week hits this week! Actually I lied because you need to have at least one of their AMAZING biscuits!

Northern Spy Co.
511 East 12th Street (btwn A + B)
New York, NY

A Juicy Burger Your Highness?

Hell ya! As you might have read I've been obsessively trying to find the best burger in the East Village. It's a tough one... After FINALLY trying Royale, it's even tougher. Royale as promised, was VERY good! Better than Brindle room and Blk Mrk though? That is the question... I really enjoyed this burger big time. The fact that all they really have is burgers and blood mary's just makes me love them more. This was the ultimate after a late night of drinking.... walking up on Ave C to the sign which simply read "All you really need is a burger and a bloody mary"... and I was like... YES! it's as if they read my mind and held their arms out to me, "come inside!" It was truly a beautiful moment. Maybe it's because I'm listenning to the perfect soundtrack (the Morning Benders) while writing this entry but it's all just coming together. All in all this is definitely one of the best burgers in the East Village.

157 Avenue C
New York, NY
(212) 254-6600

Oji-san Oden Party

Last weekend my friend Masako invited me to her friends place for an Oden party! I love love Oden so I was all too eager to participate in the festivities. It's the perfect healthy winter food in my opinion. There were 5 of us, it was great! There was the most amazing sushi spread as appetizer, with some of the freshest uni I've ever had! We used this spicy yuzu kocho on the salmon sashimi and it was amazing!

The oden was great too, a lot of different things in there. It was basically an oji-san style meal... throw in as much as possible; a million kinds of fish cake, seafood, mochi, daikon, cured eggs... all the fixings... and of course with the most important ingredient, the karashi (mustard) on the side!

Thanks so much for having me and can't wait till the next one! ごちそさまでした!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Goat Is The New Meat In Town

Goat Town is one the new restos in the East Village I've been wanted to try. And it's good and adorable. The space is really great. The washroom lights were really interesting. It's cozy and the staff is friendly. Our server was very helpful and had a strong and honest opinion about the dishes on the menu. I really love when people can direct me as to their best items on the menu and then really deliver. This was one of those cases. We started with the goat meatballs, which were delicious! This was actually my first time eating goat meat. It was over a lovely celery mash with pomegranates, mint and roasted almonds. Great texture! Another starter we tried was this lovely little salad, which was a green similar to arugula but without that strong bite, topped off with a few pieces of fried chicken, which were insanely good!

For mains, two of us tried the chicken, which I never order... but the server highly recommended it. It was fantastic! Super juicy and moist and had really amazing roasted vegetable under it. Probably one of the best roast chicken's I've had. The burger, however, was not very good. The server also mentioned that the steak and the pork dishes are both fantastic but I wasn't in a red meat mood. I will definitely try the steak next time.

We tried a few desserts and they were all really good. However, the salted caramel ice cream, which was recommended, was too salty.

I'm looking forward to stopping by there for their happy hour. They have a oysters and wine special before 7pm. And their brunch looks pretty great. More to come.

Goat Town
511 E 5th St (Btwn Ave A & Ave B)
New York, NY

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Forza Roberta!

So I finally made it to Roberta's. We were VERY ambitious and showed up with 7 people on a Saturday night. We knew we would wait and we were ready for it. Well at least we thought we were. We waiting a good 2.5 hours to finally eat... maybe more. It's a great space and I do think it was worth the wait. It felt like every hipster in all of New York was there on the scene. I'd much prefer to go next time on a week day, but it was great.

The pizza was very good. I actually had a "gout deja-vu", which is when i taste a memory... when the pizza is good, it reminds me of Italy. I can feel it. And I felt it. It's when the crust gets just burnt enough and you get that taste, that Italia taste. I really liked the margarita and this kale sausage one. We also ordered a 3 cheese, which I did NOT like at all. It had way too much pepper on it, and I think it was even white pepper, which has that weird powdery texture... not my cup of tea at all. I found it to be barely edible. Everything else was really good. The appetizers were fantastic! Especially this huge thinly sliced white radish... I'm blanking on the name right now (boy I am tired :) but it was great! This big and quite rarely done piece of meat is venison, which I was told was amazing. Their menu and dishes are very unique. I really look forward to going back to try more of their mains and pastas.
I really want to come back in the summer and sit in the backyard for brunch.

261 Moore Street
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 417-1118