[yiddish] To eat like an animal, i.e., quickly, noisily, and in great quantity.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Las Poblanitas: Don't forget to look up

You can get a pretty cheap mexican lunch at this little joint. I am not the biggest burrito fan so I go with the tacos ($3 each or 3 for $7.50) or a torta. I usually stick with the chorizo filling, its a little gamey and full of spicy flavor, but I plan on trying the al pastor next time. There are tables to eat at with semi-waiter service. This is not a high class establishment, but its pretty solid food, quick and filling.
Check out the ceiling poster of some sexy senoritas who love to drink Corona in club attire.

White Bear: OMG GOOD

Holy hell are those little wontons fabulous. I got lost trying to find this place, ate elsewhere, and then had an ice cream craving and followed the sign- to my surprise there was White Bear dumplings, which did not satisfy the ice cream craving, but I did not mind the trade off. The wontons skins are not only gorgeous but of the perfect texture. The filling is a standard pork chive dealy but the saucing adds an extra flavor boost. I got 12 for $4.50. I am hooked, this will be an essential stop for future Flushing trips.

135-02 Roosevelt Ave

Nan Shian Dumpling House: Cheating mouths

I think this may be the only place in Flushing (not including dim sum halls) that we have needed to wait for a table. I always have to order turnip cake if I see it on the menu; their turnip puffs were small, flavorful, and with much less grease than others I have eaten, really really great little bites. My family and I were nervous about trying the xiao long bao... Joe's Shanghai has been our soup dumpling stomping ground for over 10 years, we felt like we were having an affair. We came to the consensus that the crab version here is better than Joe's but Joe's pork dumpling is superior.

38-12 Prince St.
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 321-3838

Best North Dumpling Stall: Whats the dill-io?

This dumpling stall is located inside an herbal/dried food store type place. Don't be scared, walk right in and its on the left. We ordered 10 pork and fennel dumplings- they actually turned out to be pork and dill dumplings. Not sure if this was a mistake in translation or if they ran out of fennel. Either way this was a very different flavor combination, I don't think I have even seen dill used in Asian cuisine. Another little Flushing stall hawking very nicely made steamed dumplings, worth checking out.

135-08 Roosevelt Ave A4
Flushing, NY 11354
(917) 834-4991

Little Pepper: Feel the burn

Down the stairs we went, following the peppers in the window. Our waiter boasted of the chefs talents and of the braised fish dish that had been written up in the NY Times. He was not wrong. The flakey swai fish was amazing in a fiery pot of broth. We also ordered the wood ear mushrooms and pork. I would also highly recommend this dish, the funky looking mushrooms and pork came together with layered flavors and a kick of spice. The kitchen did a good job at toning down the spice for us, though there was enough to provide that szechuan mouth burn.

Note: they are moving in 3 months to 18-24 College Point Blvd
bigger location apparently, but that will be a big loss for this neighborhood

Where you should NOT eat/drink

So many negative reviews are due to one bad event that went down... this would fall into that category if it wasn't for the fact that it sucked so hard on its own anyway. So overcrowded and unpleasant. Stopped by on a Saturday night for a friend's birthday party and there was a major line. Luckily some employee decided he liked my friend and I and let us cut the line AND my first drink was very decent- you would think that would be a good start. Then it got ugly. After waiting for a completely unacceptable amount of time for my second drink, poured by a different bartender, I discovered it had about a teaspoon of rum in it and I complained about it (something I never ever do) The greasy, tattooed bartender who poured it ignored me and the nice bartender who actually knows how to pour a drink noticed my plight and came over to add some much needed rum to my drink. At this point the grosso bartender SLAPPED the nice bartenders hand away, spilling the rum on my hand instead of in my lonely drink or thirsty mouth. I left immediately. You should def go there if you heart waiting for weak drinks, and enjoy sub-par crowded sausage fests.
56 Greenwich Ave

Ming's Restaurant
Terrible, not even worth the measly 5 dollars for lunch. They use cuts of meat that your pet shouldn't eat. Maybe, if desperate, I would come for a hot and sour or egg drop soup.
413 Ninth Avenue

Brazil Grill
We should have known better. Did the ayce churrascaria and most of the meat was badly overcooked. The salad bar was pitiful. It felt pretty lame to be one of two parties in the entire lower level. The french fries were maybe the best thing served. There was one crispy pork thing that was good. The caipirinhas are delicious but it is not as worth it when full priced. The boys in my party were not happy with the pauses between meat service. Hello, green means go. Not worth it folks, except maybe for a happy hour caipirinha.
787 8th Ave

Meson Sevilla
Cute place, good service, but not authentic at all. I knew the food was not going to be anything like that in Spain from the moment we arrived and they put down bruschetta and called it pan con tomate. The patatas bravas tasted alright but really wasn't anything special. The sangria was definitely drinkable and a good deal at $25 a pitcher, but had no fruit whatsoever and way too much ice. I was really disapointed by the paella, it did not have much flavor and the rice had none of the texture that makes the dish unique. I am guessing yellow coloring was used in place of saffron. Oh, well.
344 W 46th St

Tout Va Bien
I was really hoping to love this place and agree with the claims of its "hidden gem"ness but thats not what went down. I ordered a french martini and got a cosmo. We asked for an appropriate wine with dinner and were told that we should try this hard to find French red. It had clearly been in the refrigerator and we spent the dinner caressing the bottle and our glasses to get it to the appropriate temperature. Fail. Don't recommend a wine and then not serve it properly. It would have been really delicious otherwise. The escargot app was 50% garlic, but enjoyable due to the intense flavor. I ordered the beef stew which was strangely served with pasta. It would have been much more appropriate to serve it with potatoes or another veggie. The flavor and texture of the meat was pretty good. The steak entree was not cooked particularly nicely, but it had a lovely sauce. The tarte tatin dessert special was very good. Although the place isn't outrageously expensive, the food isn't really worth it. And when spending money on a nice wine, its a huge disappointment if you can't enjoy it. On the positive side, the place itself is cute and our waiter was sweet and funny and gave us a complimentary glass of champagne with the bill. Free things usually win me over, so its a good indicator if even a free drink didn't do it for me. Oh and after adding a lot of salt, the fries were damn good.
311 W 51st St Frnt

Bua: nice drinks

What a fab happy hour. The cocktails were worth way more than $5. I loved my gin mule and caipirinha prepared by the friendly bartender. He was also amicable to editing the grapefruit out of a spicy margarita drink. Outdoor seating and gender neutral decor only added to the positives. I could imagine it being less awesome when crowded or at non-happy hour prices, but for an early after work happy hour drink- "as good as it gets"

122 Saint Marks Place


Dang that bread pudding is perfection, there is no denying it. All the desserts are worth trying for only $5, but I usually have to go for the chocolate bread pudding. I can't pass up a dessert that comes with the option of bacon. Extra love for the truck for this story: I took a visiting friend for a long night out on the town and she had been dieing to visit the Dessert Truck for ages now. By the time we stumbled over there it was late and the truck was packing up and about to leave. We rushed over and gave the cute servers puppy dog faces and they agreed not only to serve us their gypsy treasures but they let us on the truck! Being surrounded by such temptation, it was like getting into the Playboy Mansion. Definitely a life highlight.

3rd Ave & St. Marks Pl

Yoshi Sushi: Sake Bombs

V.I.P. treatment for no reason... We stopped in here randomly due solely to the sake bomb special advertised on the window. We were escorted to a private, enclosed, bamboo covered room in the back. I would definitely recommend reserving this room for a small group. Somehow the kowtowing waitress always knew when to enter to serve us. Nobody even seemed to mind the constant fist slamming noises coming from our room or even the beer puddles made as we downed sake bombs. Someone ordered a plate of good looking sushi, but I was too busy positioning sake on top of chopsticks to try it. The most astonishing thing was the bill at the end- 1/3 the price that I was predicting, iz nice!

131 Avenue A

East Village Izakiya's

Village Yokocho
Ugh, finally a yakitori place with yakitori that I am actually impressed with. We had no wait for our party of 3 at around 8 on a Wednesday. We split a combo of the meat yakitoris, the skewers were flavorful and cooked well, not overcooked as I have found at other places. We also had a veggie tempura combo, all skewers were also good. We had a simple spicy noodle dish that was a good choice to cut the grease from the other selections. We all tried different shochu cocktails; oolong tea- no no no, lychee calpico- very nice, the japan- amazing, though in a smaller glass than the others.

8 Stuyvesant St

Oh! Taisho
Sometimes I feel like I make mistakes while ordering at these type of establishments. I ordered the sweet and sour pork belly here and that was definitely a good call, especially at $6.50 for a nice sized plate. Add a little bottle of sake to share with a friend, lively atmosphere, and the adorable men working the grill, and it was a perfect first stop on our sake bar hopping night.

9 St Marks Place

Yakitori Taisho
Got there early enough on a Monday and there was no wait at all. It was fun sitting at the counter and watching the sexy men prepare my food. The food was cheap, yes- but not quite as good as I hoped. The bacon wrapped scallop was definitely not a scallop, honestly, I have no idea what the hell that bacon was wrapping. The chicken meatballs were a favorite, chicken skin could have been crispier. Great potato salad that came with our entree of 5 yakatori skewers along with miso soup, turnip, salad, and some questionably spaghetti. The deep fried squid was ok. Nicely priced fun vodka drinks. I would come back, I would just need to drink a lot more before eating to really enjoy the place as it should be enjoyed.

5 Saint Marks Pl

Sake Bar Decibel
The first time I stumbled in here was on an outing with the family- it was not really the place for us but I vowed to come back. When I finally gathered friends and made it past the rope, I definitely liked the purposely sketchy setting and it more than impressed my friends. It didn't seem to be a place for eating, so we just snacked on edamame (which I absolutely HATE ordering at restaurants because its so damn cheap to just make at home)I enjoy sake and I know which descriptions sound better to me, so I appreciated the narratives on the sake menu that led us to good choices. That being said, it could get pricey and would best serve as a stop over for one drink type of place- as long as you meet the $8/p person minimum.

240 E 9th Street

Dovetail: Supper Suppa

Dovetail's Sunday Suppa was really close to perfection. Easy to get to from the C train, and right around the corner from Shake Shack. The space is romantic but not distracting. We started with cocktails in the little bar area: a nicely prepared Manhattan and a lemon basil fizzy cocktail for me. They started us with cheesy cornbread that I liked very much and an amuse of salmon wrapped horseradish pannacotta. Even though I hate salmon, I liked this little bite, especially the creaminess with the spicy kick added. For my suppa app I ordered the gnocchi w short rib ragu and hot damn was it banging. The gnocchi were incredibly soft with a slight crunch to the outside. The ragu held its own and added a balanced meaty flavor. The beef tartare appetizer... well lets pause for a second, beef tartare conceptually is a little scary, at least carpaccio is nice and sliced for you so you don't have to stare at a lump of raw meat... anyway, I tried it and I wanted more and the slaw and candied kumquats were unexpected matches for it.
For the main I went with the duck goulash. My only criticism is that the cavetelli in it were undercooked, very unfortunate because it would have been perfect if that were not the case. The flavor of the goulash was bold and I couldn't even put my finger on what the hell they made it with. This was probably one of the only times that I could not come close to finishing my meal in a prix fix setting- the portions are usually small enough that even little me can dispose of all they place in front of me. Not the case; I got a doggy bag and they are so classy and clever that they gave me a coat room style ticket so I wouldn't have to be bothered with it and I could pick it up at the end of my meal. We had an excellent bottle of wine that the serious sommelier lady helped us choose. The butterscotch pudding with bbq chip somehow worked for the dessert course. Unfortunately I was barely able to make a dent in my chocolate mousse (balanced out by orange marmalade thing)- I felt like a criminal letting all that dense gooey chocolatyness go to waste, but what could I do, I needed to fit in my little dress. I should not have eaten that second helping of corn bread.

The Sunday night deal is well worth it. Despite very overlookable snafoos like a missing bread plate, the service was top notch. I felt they treated me like the classy broad that I am. They even sent us on our way with little containers of peanut butter granola.

103 W 77th St

Doyer's Vietnamese

Stumbled down the stairs after a few at Apotheke. The summer rolls tasted fresh. We asked for a recommendation and we were led to a spicy squid thingy that was very good. I got a nice size sake for only $5. The service was very friendly and very accommodating of drunks.

...A few doors down from here- inside a door, up stairs, and behind a curtain is some secret Asian line dance lounge, if you are into that...

11 Doyers St

Village Voice Choice Eats

Way boozier than last year, but maybe a little less yummy? The space did a decent job at accommodating everyone. I used a strategy of sharing when possible to get the maximum amount of restaurants sampling.

Fette Sau: fave! I am pretty sure either they ran out or the line was too long last year, but I made sure to wait for their dish this year. The pastramified beef cheek was absolutely outstanding. Bursting with the flavors of pastrami we all know and love but with the extra savoryness of the beef. They do say cheek is the new belly, right? (to the biotch who tried to cut in line- you did a bad job at pretending you were sorry)

Baoguette: They brought it. Both the sloppy joe and the pork banh mi were exceptionally flavorful. I will definitely be ordering from them soon.

Porchetta: I was going to pass on this one because I was not impressed with the platter at their restaurant, but my parents started raving about their little sandwiches so I had to steal a bit. They were on tonight, the porchetta was really fabulous. Maybe I owe them another chance.

Cafe Glechik: Shockingly awesome desserts of sour cherry dumpling and napoleon, I couldn't stop eating them. They also had a savory dish of sausage that was good as well.

Bar Bao: Spicy beef salad that rocked

Margon: They may have had the biggest selection. The little cubanos packed a lot of flavor. The octopus salad and fried chicken were also nice.

AM Thai Chili Basil Kitchen: The chicken salad thing was a memorable dish, with typical strong thai flavors one would expect at a place that knows what they are doing

No 7: The dessert they were offering was delicious as well as inventive- vanilla pudding with miso glazed bananas.

Motorino: Awesome jelly bombolini, messy too- my bib came in handy

Momofuku Milk Bar: I was pretty sure that they were going to half ass it, and they did. Oh well, I stashed a cornflake cookie in my bag and look forward to eating it later.

Kuma Inn: They went with a tofu dish that was very well done, but I was really hoping they would bring some lechon instead.

Fatty Crab: The chicken coconut curryish thing was good and the little crunchy things were even great. But I don't understand why the don't chose to bring something more impressive- the watermelon pork belly salad would be the perfect crowd pleaser.

Smoke Joint: Well what doesn't taste good when cooked for hours and smothered in bbq sauce. Thought the pulled pork itself lacked flavor.

Kampuchea: Brought some ok chicken wings, kinda disappointing since last year they were my favorite with a spectacular rib dish

Upset that Dirt Candy and Pinche Taqueria ran out before I got to them. Pinche tried serving quesadillas to make up for it- no thanks.

Alcohol including a crap load of wine, beer (hennepin, framboise, smutty nose, alagash, chimay, magic hat), booze (gin, vodkas, mixed drinks, organics, bourbon, tequilla) Way more impressive than the options of beer+ jaegermeister+fragioli (eww) of last year

Village Voice did a fab job, providing much needed bibs and even silly putty. Worth the $35 fo sho.
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Sigiri: Sri Lankan fun

Delicious and different. This little second floor spot was not too crowded around 7 on a week night, no wait for us, though it filled up and I am sure it gets packed on weekends. No corkage fee for byob and the Spanish wine store to the left offers very reasonable options and they know exactly what will go with the food of the restaurant. The Kotthu Roti was extremely addictive with flavors and ingredients that tasted familiar but presented uniquely. Savory fried rice type of flavors SO GOOD. When I come back this needs to be ordered again. We tried the string hoppers as well which came in the form noodley things that were to be mixed with sauce; again, familiar but different. Our waitress recommended the black curry as something unique to Sri Lankan cuisine and we enjoyed that, though most memorable was certainly the roti dish.

91 1st Ave

Sweet Emily's

I really really hope this new restaurant makes it! The food is an amazing value, especially given the location. The decor is classy and the lighting is sexy. Saying the service was attentive would be an understatement; there were few others in the restaurant. I started with the margarita with jalepenos and strawberry (inspired by the Death and Co Fresa Brava?) which was strange but in a good way. They start you off with a mini cornbread. The bacon mac and cheese appetizer was almost spot on; the texture was great but the inside was a bit cold and I did not taste much bacon. The main courses are really noteworthy and average a mere $15. I ordered the shrimp and grits, both were prepared exactly as I hoped they would be. The tilapia entree had the perfect crust and tasted very fresh. There was unfortunately no room for dessert, next time. The place is just so darn inviting that we ended up moving to the couches at the bar area for a post dinner drink where I enjoyed the tartness of the blackberry mojito. I was sad to see so many empty tables at this restaurant. I hope they fill up (hint hint go eat there tonight), I am rooting for them!

321 W 51st St