216 E 10th St
(between 2nd Ave & 1st Ave)
New York, NY 10003
Shabu Tatsu serves up traditional shabu shabu, aka. Japanese hot pot. Its name comes from the sound of swishing your meats in the hot water. Unlike Chinese hot pot, shabu shabu is much lighter. It uses a dashi broth made from just hot water and seaweed. Chinese hot pot is heavier and often uses a hearty pork bone broth or an extremely spicy beef stock with various seasonings. I prefer Japanese hot pot because the light broth cooks the meat and vegetables without masking their natural flavors. Though, because the broth has no real seasoning effects, you need very fresh ingredients and deliciously fragrant dipping sauces. Normally shabu shabu is served with ponzu sauce and a sesame sauce. In addition to the sauces, Shabu Tatsu also brought freshly chopped scallions and daikon to mix in.
We ordered the Prime Rib-Eye Beef Shabu-Shabu Dinner Course, which was $26 per person. $26 is a lot to pay for cooking yourself some veggies and meat in a boiling pot of hot water, but Shabu Tatsu really showed me how it is completely worth it. The set included an amazing vegetable platter and of course, a big plate of prime rib-eye. The vegetables were extremely fresh – no stringy veggies to be found. The veggie platter also included tofu and Kishimen (wide and flat wheat noodles) and Malony (fat, rounded, and translucent noodles made of potato and corn starch).
The prime rib-eye was cut in the perfect thickness (not thin to the point of papery non-existence… something you find in some shabu places… but still thin enough to be cooked in just a few seconds… and thick enough to taste like meaty meat). Because shabu meats are served raw, they have to be high enough quality to be eaten raw… this is definitely not enforced in certain places. Shabu Tatsu’s meat is very high quality, smooth and did not contain any knots or stringy bits.
Continue reading Shabu Tatsu: Healthy, Hearty, and Delicious!
edit: btw. I’m heading to Playa del Carmen this week so will be posting about my amazing Mayan food adventures instead! I’m going to try and keep up with my Mon/Wed/Fri posting schedule but am sending out a warning that I may not be able to because I may not have consistent internet and I just maaaaaaaay have better things to do than sit at a computer and write for you all. Please forgive me.
107 1st Ave
(between 7th St & 6th St)
Manhattan, NY 10003
I really wanted to like this place. They are rated with 4.5/5 stars on Yelp. I read all about the amazing brussels sprouts pizza and if you follow my blog, you know that brussels sprouts are my weakness. I’m also all for trying new things and with potato chips and smoked mozzarella on the menu, I couldn’t resist. I biked downtown with my roommates to check this place out as soon as we could. I was peddling extra fast because I was that excited to find a new potential “favorite” pizza place.
This is the Mégane. The menu lists the following toppings: brussel sprouts, bacon, smoked and regular mozzarella, rosemary, extra virgin olive oil. I was disappointed with how little brussels sprouts there were and how MUCH effing mozzarella cheese there was (none of which was smoked, or tasted smoked at least). Bacon was good, no surprise there. Crust was very mediocre, not soft or crisp. Rosemary? What rosemary? Brussels sprouts were soooooo sparse I had like two bites of them per slice! And each bite consisted of a tiny fraction of a wilted brussels sprout… not even crisp on top or anything. Meep. I was so, so sad this wasn’t great. Continue reading L’asso EV, I really wanted to like you.
I’ve been meaning to try Prune for both brunch and dinner for some time now because I kept coming across it in conversation or in other food reviews. New York is one of those places where you will literally have a never-ending list of places to try like this. As a friend said last night, you cross one off your list and always end up adding three more.
54 E 1st St
(between 1st Ave & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003
Gabrielle Hamilton started Prune in 1999 and has since won a James Beard award and published a bestseller that is now being displayed at the front of all bookstore racks. For some reason, I was expecting a classy old New York restaurant before I got there. Prune is quite the opposite actually. The place is decked out in pink and is very lively and almost cute.
Their cocktail menu featured one entire page of different Bloody Mary concoctions. Their twist on the classic brunch cocktail included all kinds of ingredients… clam juice, pickled egg, pickled brussels sprouts, wasabi, beef jerky, you name it! My friend was planning to get the clam juice, olive, and citrus vodka Bloody Mary but chickened out at the last minute and had a mimosa. Having never had a real Bloody Mary, I decided to go for the classic: vodka, celery and lemon. I promised myself that if it was good, I would come back and get the weirdest one on the menu. The classic Bloody Mary was very strong and flavorful. It was almost like a gazpacho with a little something something. I think I would enjoy the drink as an afternoon snack or something because my body was definitely not ready for it in the morning. The drinks also came along with a small shot of … beer. I wasn’t really sure what to do with the beer and didn’t know if it was supposed to “go with” my meal or anything. I noticed that every other table had the same, small, untouched shot of beer. I guess no one else knew what it was for either. I can’t believe I didn’t ask the waitress but was engrossed in my conversation with my friend and completely forgot.
Prune had a number of very interesting dishes to choose from but I settled for a classic Eggs Benedict, firstly because I figure I’d test the kitchen out* and secondly because I simply love an eggs benedict.
Gah! And let me tell you. This dish absolutely blew me away! I’ve had countless eggs benedict brunches and have become somewhat picky about them because I’ve experienced the spectrum. The reason Prune has perfected this dish is because of a number of things: Continue reading I may have found the best eggs benedict ever. Prune.
223 1st Ave
(between 13th St & 14th St)
New York, NY 10003
Birdbath has some of the best cookies you’ll find, particularly the oatmeal raisin and coconut ones. If you want a really tasty (small) treat and don’t mind shelling out $3.50 for one, try Birdbath’s snack pizza. The “pizza” is made with a puff pastry base (very flaky) and is topped with a rich tomato sauce, ricotta, and two strips of roasted peppers. This simple combination of ingredients makes for a delicious snack.
I’ve mentioned Luzzo’s pizza quite a few times but have yet to write about it … until now.
211 1st Ave
(between 12th St & 13th St)
New York, NY 10003
For most people, pizza is usually delivered in a large cardboard box with various 5x5x5 coupons stuck to it. It usually comes at an ungodly hour when there are few options left. This changed for me when I moved to NYC and tried Ovest Pizzoteca, Luzzo’s sister restaurant. I started craving this pie like no other, and would drag people to go with me anytime we wanted to go out for a “nice meal” at an affordable place that is still cool and hip. Unfortunately, Ovest somehow was not able to sustain a consistency and frequently burned their pies so much that I feared for my health and ate only the toppings. LUCKILY, it’s sister Luzzo, is just as good/better really and always consistent.
Both restaurants serve neapolitan style pizzas, which has two main differences that set it apart from “American” Pizza-Hut-Papa-John style pizzas. The first is the texture and thickness of the crust. Luzzo’s pizza is thin and slightly crispy at the bottom, but soft on top. The end crust is very light and fluffy, and almost a little puffy. If you like really crispy thin-crust pizza, I would suggest you check out Posto or Otto because Luzzo’s is nice and chewy. American pizza tends to be thicker and softer all around, hence giving it the ability to fold in half and fit in a frat boy’s mouth in one bite… Continue reading Why Luzzo’s is great and I don’t care if you are a hater.
Xe May Sandwich Shop
96 Saint Marks Pl
New York, NY 10009
Banh Mi is a gastronomic example of French colonialism in Vietnam. The sandwich uses French and Vietnamese ingredients, combined to produce a delectable East-meets-West concoction. The Hog is a speciality banh mi that Xe May serves up with grilled pork, scallion oil, and fried shallots, all sandwiched between either a white or whole wheat baguette. Like classic banh mis, this banh mi also includes fresh cilantro, pickled carrots, daikons, cucumbers, and chili mayo.
I was looking for a cheap place for lunch and found Xe May through Yelp as one of the highest rated places in the East Village area. And though my expectations were high (4.5 stars is pretty significant!), I was not disappointed! The bread had a nice crisp edge that I’m sure would sound beautiful if I had the chance to listen to it, like how Colette from Ratatouille tells us to listen for the sound of the crust.* Oh, and the bread comes in whole wheat too if you’d like. The fillings were tasty: grilled pork tasted a bit like char siu (Chinese bbq pork) and pickles were nice and sour to cut the sweetness of the pork. The fried shallots were not quite crispy enough as they wilted very quickly after being caught amidst the saucy meat and juicy pickles.
Continue reading Xe May Sandwich Shop: The Hog
Totale Pizza, R.I.P.
St. Marks, NYC
Oh, I do miss you.