128 E 7th St
(between Avenue A & 1st Ave)
New York, NY 10009
Started with this glass goblet of some Greek wine that the waiter suggested. I told him I like my wines like how I like Beyonce – full bodied, which is exactly what this wine was. Great for a cold spring night.Our meal began with complimentary piping hot soft pita with creamy hummus on the side. This is something I would pay for as an appetizer. It tasted even better because it was free.
We ordered the Htapothi Scharas ($16), a classic grilled, marinated octopus with a balsamic reduction sauce and capers. It is the most expensive appetizer on the menu but is so highly recommended by all Yelpers that I had to get it. And they were so right. The octopus was DELICIOUS. Continue reading
Prime and Beyond
90 E 10th St
(at 3rd Ave)
New York, NY 10003
Prime & Beyond is a steakhouse that originated in Fort Lee, NJ. In 2011, it opened its second location in East Village. Prime & Beyond is a traditional steakhouse with Korean accents. Actually, it has more than accents; it straight up has Korean bbq options on the menu. Cleverly, the guys from Prime & Beyond who inputted their info into Yelp categorized its initial NJ restaurant as “Korean.” There is a huge Korean population in Fort Lee (Wiki says Korean Americans accounted for 23.5% of the population in 2010) and it makes marketing sense to have the steakhouse under “Korean.” For the East Village location, where the crowd may be more diverse, it is categorized as “American (traditional).” Without looking at the menu first, you would assume that you are entering a traditional Smith & Wollensky-esque steakhouse. For once, I didn’t look ahead at the menu before going simply because I didn’t have time.
I immediately spotted Korean bbq influences after looking at the menu. In addition to tradition steaks, the restaurant has a short rib stew, kalbi (bbq short rib), bulgogi (Korean bbq beef), spicy pork, and for $5, will serve your steak with a side of Korean scallion salad (the kind that comes with all Korean bbq meals). After we placed our orders, we were immediately served a generous portion of salad with what tasted like a soy sauce based dressing. Free appetizers are a Korean tradition (aka. “ban chan” or small appetizers that come with any Korean meal you have in Ktown) so the free salad stood out at this steakhouse.
The next “Asian” thing I noticed was that after we had our salad and the waitress came by to swap out our plates, she brought along a napkin for each person to put their utensils on. I have always thought it was really strange that Americans put their utensils directly on the (potentially very dirty) table. I was happy to see that Prime & Beyond felt the same way about utensils.
Me, LAW, E.R., and A. Z. shared the Prime & Beyond Bacon Strips ($7). The bacon strips were 50% fat and 50% lean meat. The flavor was great, salty and smokey with a nice charred exterior in certain bites. Though, I must say that Peter Luger’s bacon smokes this bacon any day. The lean meat portion of the bacon was way too tough, almost like a jerky. It just didn’t melt in your mouth the same way Luger’s does. Continue reading
EN Japanese Brasserie
435 Hudson St
(between Leroy St & St Lukes Pl)
New York, NY 10014
EN Japanese Brasserie is one of the first Japanese restaurants I had heard of when I moved to NYC. It is one of those places “everyone” has been to and deems to be a good place. I had never been because there have been so many cuter, smaller Japanese restaurants in NYC that always make the cut over EN. After a very long week at work, LAW and I finally made last minute reservations for a late dinner at EN. Our table wasn’t ready so I immediately got a drink to force myself to relax (is this how I know I’m getting old?). I had the Ginger Cocktail ($13), which was a mixture of homemade ginger ale, rice shochu “Shiro,” lime juice, and soda. The drink was very light, too light for my purposes, but pleasant. The homemade ginger ale was soothing and gentle. The lime juice added just a little acidity to the ginger and rice shochu. The drink was so light to begin with that they really needed to use one of those gigantic ice cubes because the mini crushed ice cubes they used diluted the drink too quickly.
We ordered the EN Kaiseki ($65), which is the smaller of the two prix fixe menus offered. Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese multi-course dinner. The meal is meant to be balanced and seasonal.
The kaiseki starts with an O-Banzai, a chef’s selection of three small Kyoto-style appetizers. We had the Hijiki (hijiki seaweed and soy bean simmered in shoyu), Zenmai Piri-Kara (royal fern sprouts in a spicy shichimi togarashi) and Kinoko Kiriboshi Daikon Ohitashi (assorted Japanese mushrooms & sun dried daikon radish with yuzu). All three were chilled, delicious, and balanced. The hijiki seaweed was sweet and tasted slightly of miso. Unlike the typical green, flat, and crunchy seaweed salad you find, hijiki is cylindrical and chewy (super QQ!). Delicious. The zenmai piri-kara was my least favorite only because I tend to not like mushy things – the royal fern sprouts were quite mushy. My favorite was the kinoko kiriboshi daikon ohitashi. The assorted Japanese mushrooms were bulbous little buds and tremendously fragrant. I had never had sun dried daikon before. It tastes less bitter than fresh daikon. The yuzu was so light, slightly sweet, and slightly citrusy. I can imagine the sauce tasting great with a nice fillet of fish…
The next course was the Chef’s Sashimi Selection. Bear in mind that photos are only of one portion. We didn’t have to share (more for us!). The chef’s selection wasn’t exactly much of a selection because it included just the basics: salmon, tuna, and yellowtail. I love the basics so it wasn’t a problem. The sashimi was overall decent quality but since I have been going to Kura so often lately, very little can compare.
Saikyo Miso Marinated Grilled Black Cod was next. It tasted similar to the Robataya one that I love but was a smaller fillet and less fatty. Flavor was perfect but was lacking the crispy fatty skin that I also love. Continue reading
I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a while because it is friggin awesome and so so easy. It’s also great for cooking for larger parties too. I made this for our last roomie dinner where I had to feed 3 hungry boys, LAW, H.W., and B.A., and myself, one very hungry girl (I doubled the portion from this post for our dinner). The chicken only takes about 15 minutes to make and is extremely flavorful and juicy. It tastes great with a bowl of piping hot jasmine rice. Add some veggies on the side and you have yourself a pretty balanced meal. I got the recipe here but added more of most ingredients to amp up the flavor.
The recipe calls for garlic, fresh ginger, scallions, and red chillies. I cut up a lot of each, especially the garlic. The recipe asks you to use 2 cloves of garlic… I think I used something closer to 5… Continue reading