231 E 9th St
(between Stuyvesant St & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003
The way I feel about Robataya is the way people should feel about their significant others. It’s always a treat when I get to spend time with Robataya. I always feel better about myself after I spend time with it. The more I spend time with Robataya, the more I grow to love it. The reason I haven’t fully blogged about Robataya sooner is because all my photos have been pretty crappy. The lighting is not the brightest and there’s a yellow warm hue that my old camera just couldn’t handle. But LAW recently got me an awesome Olympus PL-5 so I knew it was time to showcase Robataya.
I hate using the word “tapas” but that’s kind of what Robataya serves up. The menu offers a variety of grilled (over an open hearth) vegetables, meats, and seafood. There are a number of appetizers on the menu as well but the stars are all in the grilled items. I ALWAYS get the brussels sprouts ($6). It’s ALWAYS the freshest, most perfect brussels sprouts. ALWAYS perfectly grilled. ALWAYS salted just right with Suzu Salt, a salt imported from the Noto peninsula in Japan. According to Robataya’s menu, this salt “can only be produced by using the cleanest seawater in the region. Its saltiness is rounded by acidity, bitterness, and sweetness.” Continue reading A Perfect Meal at Robataya
58 East 1 St
New York, NY 10003
Seafood, seafood, seafood. I often crave great seafood but rarely find places worth going to a second time. I’m not too sure I would go to Prima again but the food was pretty amazing. Prima is a tiny restaurant hidden on 1st and 1st. The space is tiny. The seats are tiny. The food is tiny too. But the food is deelicious and incredibly fresh. Think Upstate but with a nicer ambiance. And instead of beers at Upstate, you order cocktails at Prima. I ordered the Prima Mimosa ($10), with Little Blanc, Raspberry Puree, Yuzu Juice, Rose Water, and Prosecco. The drink was light, sweet, and slightly tart, like a grown-up sweet tart.
For our apps, we shared the crab cakes ($14) with radish, pickles, and tartar sauce, and the octopus ($14) with aromatic oil, nicoise olives, feta, and preserved lemon. The menu said crab cakeS so I left it that way in my description, even though in my photo it clearly displays a singular crab cake. Sure, the cake was good and filled with way more fresh crab meat than flour but $14 for a tiny tiny cake is a bit too much, don’t you think? Particularly because the crab cake wasn’t anything special. I can get that at any decent seafood chain. The octopus, on the other hand, was worth trying. Octopus is often too rubbery but when made right, is chewy and tender. The preserved lemon, a common Indian condiment, added more than just a slight acidity, as a fresh lemon would. Preserved lemons are intensely lemony, almost like a lemon syrup without the sweetness.
Continue reading Prima, seafood and cocktails on first and first.
Saxon + Parole
(between Bleecker St & 1st St)
New York, NY 10012
“New American.” What does that even mean? When I think New American, I think of foods like mashed potatoes with truffle oil and roasted turkey with kumquat cranberry sauce (which Saxon + Parole actually had on their Thanksgiving menu). Wikipedia has a great definition:
New American cuisine is a term for upscale, contemporary cooking served primarily in restaurants in the United States. Combining flavors from America’s melting pot with traditional techniques, New American cuisine includes ethnic twists on old standbys, Old World peasant dishes made from luxury American ingredients and molecular gastronomy.
Old World peasant dishes made from luxury ingredients with a little spherification here and there. Sounds about right. As you can probably tell, I’m not the biggest fan of New American. I’m always down for a new take on a traditional food (see Mission Chinese) but when stuff is added just for the sake of making it seem more upscale, it gets lame. Anyway, not saying Saxon + Parole is lame at all, because it was actually pretty good. I just had a bad feeling about the place when I walked in and saw the stable-esque decor, minus the smell of horses. It’s where bobos (bourgeois bohemian) like to put on their birkenstocks and sip on their free trade coffee bean espresso after a decadent but “humble” meal. Continue reading Saxon + Parole, bobo’s paradise.
173 Ave A
New York, NY 10009
Both Westville locations are so incredibly popular. They are especially known for their market vegetables. You can pick four of them for $14 (used to be $12, I believe!). Your choices range from lemon grilled asparagus with parmesan, to soy glazed green beans, to korean cucumber salad, and roasted beets with walnuts. There is always a huge list to choose from and I don’t know anyone who goes to Westville and doesn’t get the market vegetables. Pictured above is the full plate of brussels sprouts with honey dijon, cauliflower dijonaise, artichoke hearts with parmesan, and fried plantains with cojita cheese. I think because I cook Chinese food almost every week night that I’m not as enamored with the plethora of sauteed veggies. Continue reading Westville East, get your share of veggies here.
Brother Jimmy’s BBQ
116 E 16th St
(between E Union Sq & Irving Pl)
New York, NY 10003
We wanted to watch the game. I wanted some ribs. The guys wanted some beer. And so off we went to Brother Jimmy’s!
Notice how I angled my camera so that the focus of the photo is the brussels sprouts. These brussels sprouts were a-m-a-z-i-n-g. They were pan fried to crispy perfection and there was a ton of them. This plate is the Combo Rib Platter ($21.75) which consists of three types of ribs, two sides, cornbread, and pickles. The three types of ribs were Northern Style (smoked and grilled with bbq sauce), Southern Style (smoked with memphis style rub), and Jimmy Style (smoked with Jimmy rub). I tend to like the saucier ribs over the dry-rubbed southern style ones because dry rub is easily made too tough. The memphis-style rub actually tasted better the next day with our Chinese meal at home. I slow roasted it in the oven a bit to warm it up and softened the meat. It tasted a little like Chinese 蒜香排骨 (garlic ribs): a little sweet, salty, crispy, and sliiightly spicy. Yum. Again, brussels sprouts were amazing. It also made me feel like I was having a healthy meal… veggies, protein, and sweet potato! Fries were good. Crisp on the outside and mushy on the inside. Corn bread was good…. but not as good as….
Continue reading Not bad, Brother Jimmy!
349 E 12th St
(between 1st Ave & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003
I’m always on the search for the best pizza in town because it is on my list of favorite foods and New York just has so many “best pizza in town” kinds of places. Bread and tomatoes are some of my most favorite things in the world so you can imagine why pizza would be on that list. Having tried to make pizza many times myself, I know how little they cost to make and how easy it is once you have the right pizza dough recipe (ingredients and timing, both very important!). But between the thickness and consistency of the crust, the the sauce, and the ingredients, the world of pizza is actually pretty damn large. Like people, they come in all shapes and sizes and can vary greatly based on where they come from.
After a long day of volleyball and boardgames, we ordered in so we could… continue playing boardgames. Motorino is the last East Village “best” that I had not tried so we ordered from there. Pictured above is the Brussels Sprouts ($16) pizza with fior di latte (aka. mozzarella made from cow milk, and not buffalo), garlic, pecorino, and smoked pancetta. Brussels sprouts tasted FRESH, not the frozen kind out of a bag. Smoked pancetta was super tasty and crisp along the edges. Cheese was very mediocre and lacked a little flavor. Their crust is pretty thin and becomes very soggy pretty quickly (it might be better to order in at the restaurant for their pizza). The edge of the crust was sort of puffy but lacked the chewiness of Luzzo’s crust. BUT, this pizza was much, much better than L’asso EV’s brussels sprouts pizza.
Continue reading Motorino’s Pizza
75 9th Avenue
(between 15 and 16th St.)
New York, NY 10014
Known for Australian savory pies and sausage rolls, Tuck Shop is a little snack shop in Chelsea Market, next to Bar Suzette Creperie and One Lucky Duck. They cook up traditional meat pies stuffed with ground pork, “chook” pies (chicken, ham, and leek in a white gravy), sausage rolls, and much more, all made with a buttery and flaky pastry. Yum… but of course, I didn’t try any of those meaty pies.
Like any logical (not) foodie, I had the roasted brussels sprouts instead. I couldn’t help it! They had a display case featuring these fresh, bulbous little guys and I just had to have some. $5 for roughly 7-8 sprouts – not exactly good bang for your buck… but again, the display case!! Simply seasoned with salt, these sprouts were exactly the veggies I was looking for after a weekend of gluttony. People who don’t like brussels sprouts claim that they are too bitter. If cooked correctly, the bitterness subsides (though not completely) and a very fragrant taste emerges. Some pieces were nicely burnt and crisp on the outer layer (I also love them because they have layers and are fun to eat), but most of them were soggy because they were pre-cooked and sitting in a covered container. Luckily, they were soggy from sitting in a pool of delicious olive oil and salt. Would I get them again? Yes, because they are green and I love brussels sprouts.
Chicken seasoned with soy sauce, garlic, cooking wine, and brown sugar. Vegetables seasoned with olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, and rosemary.