Archive for the 'New York City' Category

Momofuku Noodle Bar

May 27, 2007
Cuisine: Noodle Shops, Japanese

163 1st Ave, New York 10003
Btwn 10th & 11th St

Phone: 212-475-7899

Ramen with Shredded Berkshire Pork ($10)

Our second stop on the NYC Memorial Day food tour was at Momofuku Noodle Bar. The Astronomer, Miho, and I managed to save enough room to share a bowl of pork ramen even after some hefty appetizers at Dumpling House. Regrettably, our appetites weren’t sufficient enough to order the Berkshire Pork Buns, but they are definitely one of my favorite menu items.

My brother introduced me to Momofuku over a year ago and I try to return whenever I’m in the city for work or play. The noodle bar is literally the the size of a shoe box and is almost always packed during peak dining hours. I was expecting a ridiculous wait for a table since Momofuku’s chef and owner David Chang recently won the 2007 Rising Chef Award from the James Beard Foundation. I was pleasantly surprised when we were seated only after three minutes of idleness.

One bowl of pork ramen was the perfect portion for the three of us after our Dumpling House binge. Although we felt a little strange ordering a single bowl of ramen, our waiter was totally cool with our request to share (unlike the folks at Peter Luger—details to come).

Authenticity aside, the pork ramen is a brilliant creation. The long strands of noodles are perfectly al dente even when dunked in the steaming savory broth. The Astronomer and Miho both commented that the broth was most excellent, but I found it a tad too salty. The bamboo shoots, fresh peas, and scallions go wonderfully with the ramen and provide both texture and freshness to the dish. The shredded Berkshire pork, though noticeably fatty, is my favorite element for its unrivaled flavor.


Dumpling House

May 27 and 28, 2007
Cuisine: Chinese

118 Eldridge St, New York 10002
Btwn Grand & Broome St

Phone: 212-625-8008
Website: none

Chives and Pork Boiled Dumpling (10/$2.00)

Chives and Pork Fried Dumplings (5/$1.00)

Sesame Pancake with Beef ($1.50)

Sesame Pancake with Tuna Fish ($1.50)

Gastronomer: This past Memorial Day weekend, The Astronomer and I headed to New York City for a 36 hour food tour. The only items on our agenda were breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which kept us busy and well-fueled. Prior to embarking upon the city, I meticulously researched and composed an ambitious list of eateries I wanted to try or revisit:

  1. Babycakes NYC: 248 Broome St New York, NY 10002 (212) 677-5047
  2. Billy’s Bakery: 184 9th Ave New York, NY 10011 (212) 647-9956
  3. Bouchon Bakery: 10 Columbus Cir. New York, NY 10019 (212) 823-9366
  4. Doughnut Plant: 379 Grand St New York, NY 10002 (212) 505-3700
  5. Dumpling House: 118 Eldridge St New York, NY 10002 (212) 625-8008
  6. Magnolia Bakery: 401 Bleecker St New York, NY 10014 (212) 462-2572
  7. Momofuku Ssam Bar: 207 2nd New York, NY 10003 (212) 254-3500
  8. Momofuku: 163 1st Ave # 2 New York, NY 10003 (212) 475-7899
  9. N.Y. Dosas: W. 4th St. at Sullivan St New York, NY 10014 (917) 710-2092
  10. Peter Luger Steak House: 178 Broadway Brooklyn, NY 11211 (718) 387-7400
  11. Shake Shack: 11 Madison Ave New York, NY 10010 (212) 889-6600

Due to a combination of time and stomach constraints, we didn’t make it to all the places listed above. But seven unique delights in 36 hours isn’t too shabby! Our first and last meal was at Dumpling House located in my brother’s ‘hood—the Lower East Side.

Astronomer: Dumpling House was an amazing find—delicious northern Chinese cuisine at truly incredible prices. With my friend Miho in tow, the total dinner bill for three came out to a mere $8 for twenty pork and chive dumplings, two large stuffed sesame pancakes, and a bottle of water. Placing our order in the chaos of the crowded, tiny restaurant was not easy, but we eventually managed to communicate with the staff and received our food.

Gastronomer: While the wait at Dumpling House can be long due to its immense popularity and limited staff, the open kitchen provides great entertainment. There are a handful of stools located in the back of the restaurant for in-house diners, but the restaurant’s cramped space isn’t the most inviting. We took our dumplings and sesame pancakes to Roosevelt Park two blocks away to enjoy.

Astronomer: Both varieties of dumpling were flavorful and juicy; so juicy in fact that we were forced to eat standing up to save our clothes. I preferred the boiled dumplings, while the Gastronomer liked the pan-fried ones. We all agreed that both types were irresistible.

Gastronomer: The fried dumplings had the most wonderful texture that was both soft and chewy, especially along the crisped edges. The boiled dumplings’ exterior was delicate and subtle. The pork and chive interiors were seasoned fantastically; definitely no soy sauce required.

The sesame pancakes were an interesting creation—giant spheres of dough are deep fried and cut into triangular wedges. The wedges can either be eaten plain or sliced down the middle and stuffed with tuna, beef, or vegetables. Each sandwich is garnished with pickled carrots and cilantro, which reminded The Astronomer and I of bánh mì. The tuna filling was spicy, while the beef was smoky in flavor. I highly recommend the tuna sesame pancake. 

Astronomer: We liked everything so much that we gave Dumpling House the honor of being the only place that we visited twice on our tour, returning the next evening after our plans to eat at N.Y. Dosas fell through.


November 24, 2006
Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi

175 2nd Ave, New York 10003
At 11th St

Phone: 212-777-5266

Appetizer: Sea Urchin in a half shell ($22)

Spider Roll – Soft Shell crab, cucumber, tabiko, lettuce, avocado w/mayo ($11)

Spicy Tuna Roll ($7)

Sushi for 2 – 16 pieces Sushi, 3 Rolls, served with Miso soup or salad ($42)

Dessert: Green Tea Mochi, Red Bean ice cream, Ginger ice cream

To recover from our Thanksgiving feast, my family dined at Kanoyama. Sushi’s mildness and freshness was perfect for resetting worn out palettes.

We arrived at 7:15 PM and the (small) restaurant was filled to the brim so we opted to sit at the sushi bar. The sushi chefs provided fine entertainment while we waited for our dinner.

We started off with the sea urchin appetizer, which was unadorned and served in a shell of sorts. Sea urchin is my brother’s latest obsession and has replaced foie gras as his favorite culinary delight. Since I have never had sea urchin before, he described it to me as slightly sweet and delicious. I would have to disagree. Sea urchin has the texture of brains and the taste of old sea water. Ick! I ate the seaweed garnish and let brother and mother finish off the dish.

For our main course, mother and brother shared the sushi for two, which came with 16 pieces of sushi, 3 rolls (Tuna, Yellowtail, Salmon), and soup or salad. Both mother and brother chose the Miso soup. Brother polished his off, but mom only had half. I guess it was good, but wasn’t spectacular. I helped my mom and brother with their sushi for two. I thought the standout pieces were the toro and the eel. Mmm. The eel especially melted in my mouth.

I ordered the spider roll and spicy tuna roll and shared them with mother and brother. Brother thought the spicy tuna was great because it wasn’t intensely mayo-ie. I agreed. I also thought the ratio of rice to fish was perfect. The spider roll was great as well; although I wished there was more soft shell crab and less rice.

We finished off our meal with some ice cream and mochi. I didn’t have any of the mochi because both mother and brother described green tea as “bitter.” No thanks. I really loved the ginger ice cream, but for some reason it was peach in color. Very strange. I am not a big fan of artificial coloring. The ginger flavor was strong, but not spicy and had many pieces of crystallized ginger. I only had a couple bites of the red bean ice cream. I felt that it was too sweet and lacked red bean flavor.

Beard Papa’s

September 30, 2006
Cuisine: Desserts & Bakeries

740 Broadway, New York 10003
At Astor Place

Phone: 212-353-8888

Cheesecake Stick ($1)


Eclair Cream Puff ($1.85)

Beard Papa’s was introduced to me by my Hawaiian friend Liana. The restaurant is a Japanese import that has been in Hawaii for a while and is being franchised across the land. I can’t wait for it to expand to San Diego and Philadelphia. Until then, I will have to keep frequenting the NYC location.

I have been to Beard Papa’s a couple of times and always order the same thing, the eclair cream puff. It’s divine and cheap. The chocolate is layered on super-thick and the custard inside is creamy and full of vanilla flavor. The puff is a bit chewy (in a good way), so spurting cream sometimes happens. Just ask the sidewalk outside the store.

The Astronomer ordered the Cheesecake Stick. He said, “it’s mild.” I had one bite and considered not swallowing. A mild cheesecake is a boring cheesecake. The recipe needs more CHEESE! But hey, it cost a buck.

Otto Enoteca and Pizzeria

September 30, 2006
Cuisine: Italian, Pizza

1 5th Ave, New York 10003
At 8th St

Phone: 212-995-9559

Meat – Prosciutto

Cheese –
1. Coach Triple Cream (Goat, NY)
2. Parmigiano Reggiano (Cow, EMI)
3. Taleggio (Cow, LOM)

Salad –
Heirloom Caprese

1. Pizza Del Giorno – cheese, balsamic reduction tomato sauce, pancetta, onions, zucca (Italian squash)
2. Margherita D.O.C. – tomato, bufala mozzarella, basil

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara – Pancetta, Scallions, Black Pepper, Egg

Gelati – olive oil, lemon sorbet, cinnamon with figs

After watching the 5th Avenue Mile, the Astronomer and I sat down for a lovely late lunch with brother and his GF at Otto Enoteca and Pizzeria. I ate at Otto earlier this year for dinner, but misunderstood the menu description and ended up getting spaghetti with marinara. In fact, I made the same mistake when I dined at Babbo (except the pasta came with AMAZING lobster so it wasn’t too bad)! I hate it when Batalli doesn’t give proper menu descriptions! This time around I left the ordering up to brother who just happens to frequent Otto weekly.

We started off lunch with meat and cheeses. The prosciutto was sliced thinly, just the right amount of salty, and served without adornments. A high-quality prosciutto, but really nothing special. The cheese starter was spectacular. The cheeses were served with dipping “sauces”: honey with black truffles, preserved sour cherries, and preserved spicy apricots. I’ve never dipped cheese in anything before and found the pairings delightful! My favorite was the Parmigiano Reggiano with the sour cherries.

My entree was the heirloom caprese salad. I ordered light so that I could share the Spaghetti Alla Carbonara with brother, have some Pizza Margherita, and taste the Astronomer’s Pizza Del Giorno. The heirloom caprese salad was excellent. The fresh mozzarella cheese was to die for and the tomatoes were fresh and flavorful. The cheese and tomatoes were splashed in a light vinaigrette, sprinkled with black pepper, and finished off with some fresh basil. The portion was quite large for one, so I shared with the table.

Brother’s carbonara was wonderful as well. The few bites that I had were creamy and not overly eggy. The scallions added a unique touch to the Italian classic. The margherita was simple and delicious. You really can’t go wrong with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil! The crust was thin and perfectly crispy. The pizza del giorno was fabulous as well. The meat, cheese, and onion pairing was perfect. Great choice, Astronomer.

We finished off our meal with some gelati. I’ve always wanted to try the olive oil flavor and finally got a chance. The verdict? Delicious. The Astronomer did not find it refreshing; I found it interesting, innovative, and special. Brother loves the stuff. My favorite flavor was the cinnamon and fig! OMG. I wish I could buy a whole gallon. There were plenty of fresh fig chunks and the cinnamon was a fine accompaniment.

Lunch at Otto’s was a fun and tasty affair! I would definitely return for the cheese course and the gelati. The pizza and pasta were yummy, but the portions were a bit skimpy for runners.