Nov 23

Adoro Lei

Note: I was invited as a guest of the establishment and received a complimentary meal. This was not in exchange for a positive review and opinions expressed are my own.

Why Come Here? Excellent Neapolitan style pizza, trendy lounge setting

Adoro Lei

Credit: Adoro Lei

If a week goes by and I haven’t eaten any pizza, you can assume I’m 1) out of the country or 2) in a coma. As such, I’m constantly on the hunt for a new slice to scarf. Yet somehow Adoro Lei had managed to fly under my radar, possibly because of it’s location in the dead zone alternately referred to as the South Village /West SoHo / Holland Tunnel Entrance. But whether you’re on your way to the Jerz (hopefully just passing through) or looking for some intriguing takes on Neapolitan pizza, Adoro Lei is worth the trip.

Two things about Adoro Lei that get me excited. First, it somehow manages to function equally well as a fancy pizzeria as it does upscale lounge. The bar is in the center of the space and dons two TVs for your gameday viewing pleasure. They serve up a nice selection of artisan cocktails, wines and craft beers. There’s even a DJ stand next to it. However, as you move away from the bar area you find the modern art, blue lighting and brick walls of a trendy restaurant. The beauty is Adoro Lei can be whichever you want it to be.

Second is the food. The heart of the menu are the pizzas which they do up in over 15 styles. Many of them are pretty unique like the egg covered Taldea or Mussels and Sambuca topped Tullia. But lest you think they’re playing the old trick of fancy toppings to cover up an inferior pie, fear not. The Neapolitan style crust is chewy, not too thick and charred just right. The gobs of fresh mozzarella are incredible. And make sure to save room for dessert – the ones I sampled were fantastic. Here’s what I tried:

Adoro LeiMedici Magnificent 2.5/4 stars Every pizza lover knows you’ve got your red pies and your white pies. But I think it’s time to add green to the mix. Medici uses a dynamite pesto sauce to transform what’s otherwise basically a pepperoni pie. Awesome.


adoro lei, neapolitan pizza, west village, sohoCharlotte 2.5/4 stars Ususally meatball pizzas are not my favorite. Few restaurants want to lay their best balls on a pizza, so you end up with something dried out and dense. Not at Adoro Lei. The veal & pork mixture is legit and I’d happily eat them alone. Combine it with a ricotta/mozzarella blend and you’ve got an amazing meatball parm turned pizza. My personal favorite pie here.


Adoro LeiTaddea (Not Eaten) Sadly I had to skip this one because of an egg allergy, but damn does it look pretty. It’s topped with egg, ricotta and nutmeg. Reviews from the rest of the table make it sound like a winner.


File Nov 23, 11 40 13 AMNutella Pizza (2/4 stars) Don’t let pizza time end just because it’s dessert.


Nutella Fingers, Adoro LeiNutella Fingers (2/4 stars) Because you can never have too much nutella, get an order of these churro-like fingers drizzled with it.

Adoro Lei
287 Hudson Street (Spring & Dominick Sts.)
New York, NY
Adoro Lei Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Adoro Lei


Posted in Italian, Pizza, SoHo | Leave a comment
Nov 18

Fung Tu

Why Come Here? French- and South American- Inspired Chinese dishes, Cocktails & Foodie Snacks at the Bar

Credit: Fung Tu

Following my visit to Kings County Imperial, I made my second Chinese Fusion foray of the week to the nearly two year-old Fung Tu. The chef Jonathan Wu is a vet of Per Se, so I had high expectations coming in. Unlike most modern Chinese, Fung Tu actually is located pretty much in the heart of Chinatown, which is about the only thing authentic-ish about dining here. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

You enter the narrow space and are greeted by an L-shaped bar that looks like the entrance to pretty much every trendy Lower East Side restaurant. And like most other LES establishments, they’ve got a solid cocktail program going on. I started off with a White Tiger which was one of the highlights of the meal, possibly because drinks and snacks is the best way to enjoy Fung Tu.

The dining area is a set of booths and a long bench against a white brick wall surrounded by wine racks. It could just as easily pass for a French restaurant as Chinese. But perhaps that’s what Wu is going for. Most of the dishes have clear influences outside of China which is what drew me here initially. Typical French ingredients like sweetbreads and crepes make some intriguing dishes. So do the presence of South American stylings in things like scallion masa cakes and “china-quiles.”

The menu is presented tapas style, with lots of small plates and only a few “entrees,” because hey that’s what the people want. Until you see the bill. It ran about 35% higher than my recent trip to similarly-inventive Kings County Imperial for less food that was more inconsistent. I guess some people will still pay a lot of money to stay out of Brooklyn. Anyway, here’s a rundown of what we tried:

Fung Tu, Kohlrabi Noodle Salad
Kohlrabi Noodle Salad (2/4 stars) Cabbage, sesame and anchovy make this an interesting take on a traditional sesame cold noodle dish.


Sweet Sour Sweetbreads, Fung TuSweetbreads Manchuri (3/4 stars) This was the winner of the night. Crispy balls of shortbreads done sweet & sour style with pickled cauliflower. The perfect opener or bar snack.


Beef Chinese Broccoli, Fung TuBeef & Chinese Broccoli (1/4 stars) A tale of two parts. The sticky bbq beef was thinly sliced and very tasty. But the deep fried broccoli was served too cold and almost inedibly dense. Hopefully Wu can find a better partner for his beef next time.


Masa Scallion Pancake, Fung TuMasa Scallion Pancake with Cilantro and Cashew Salad and Smoked Chicken 2.5/4 stars An interesting blend of two of my favorite carby snacks – the arepa and and scallion pancake. The smokiness of the chicken combined with the cilantro’s spice and cashew makes this one worth a try.


Arepa Fung tuArepa (2/4 stars) Filled with beef and watercress, it was a tasty snack arepa. However, the masa-to-filling ratio was a few points north of what I prefer.


Fried Pork Chop Pickled Mustard Fung TuFried Pork Chop w/ Pickled Mustard Cabbage (1.5/4 stars) The sweet-sour glaze on the chop was spot on, but the chop itself came out a little tough. For an “entree” it’s a little basic to serve on it’s own.

Fung Tu
22 Orchard Street (Canal & Hester Sts.)
New York, NY
Fung Tu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Fung Tu


Posted in Chinatown, Chinese | Leave a comment
Nov 16

Kings County Imperial

Why Come Here? Playful Chinese Fusion, Unusual Eats

Kings County Imperial

Credit: Kings Co. Imperial

Since Mission Chinese opened the floodgates a few years back, there has been a rush of upscale Chinese fusion restaurants popping up all over town. As Chinese is one of my favorite cuisine types, I’m all for seeing chef’s work their magic with the ingredients of the Orient. So much so that I felt the need to check out two newcomers in the past week. First up was Kings County Imperial, a “Central Chinese” restaurant located basically under the BQE in Williamsburg.

While the place overall is great, it’s also almost comically what you would expect a Chinese restaurant in Williamsburg to be. The space has exactly nothing to with China, but it’s about as quintessentially Brooklyn as it gets. There’s dim lighting, brick walls, a tin ceiling and a random assortment of books at the bar (good news for hipster solo diners!)

Then there’s the whole “Cuisine of Central China” thing. When you read it you think “wow new type of Chinese cooking to explore!” Of course there’s no real definition of Central China, and it turns out theirs basically includes Sichuan and all the regions you already know about. Luckily they’re also the delicious ones. And hey, good marketing tactic!

They also have soy sauce on tap. From what I could gather, the main benefit of this seems to be the cool tap that sits at the bar (please tell me artisan soy sauce isn’t about to become a thing). Or maybe it’s just playing into the trend of putting everything on tap. You better believe there’s wine on tap too. I’m just waiting for someone to put up a sign for “Water on Tap” and start charging for it.

Perhaps I jest too much though, as dining at King’s County is a actually very enjoyable experience. The staff is friendly and helpful, the music is good and there’s a nice little garden in back you can use in six months. The playfulness of the ambiance also continues into the kitchen where it is nothing to joke about. There are a lot of twists on traditional dim sum, noodle and stir fry dishes that make this place a worthwhile trip. It is a little pricier than your typical, Chinese but portions are substantial and it’s actually a pleasant place to hang out. If there’s one knock I have, it’s that a lot of dishes rely too much on garlic, soy sauce and chili oil. But most dishes were really good. If you enjoy places like Redfarm and Mission Chinese, you’ll be very happy here.

Below is what we tried. As you can see the lighting isn’t very photo friendly, which is probably why they haven’t been blowing up your instagram.

Kings County Imperial, Williamsburg, ChineseSoup Dumplings 2.5/4 stars Soup Dumplings: If they’re on the menu, I’m going to order them. So I’ve sampled quite a few in my day. These have a slightly lighter and less salty broth than the standard in Chinatown/Flushing but also a little thicker skin. You won’t regret starting your meal with an order.


Kings County Imperial, Williamsburg, ChineseMock Eel (3/4 stars) This seems to be a signature dish here and I have to say I’m a big fan. The “mock” eel is actually made of mushrooms which I prefer to eel anyway. It’s crispy and pretty heavy on the soy sauce, but makes an awesome snack to kick things off.


Kings County Imperial, Williamsburg, ChineseCold Sesame Noodles (2/4 stars) Served with cucumber in a peanut sauce, it’s a refreshing change of pace from many of the the soy sauce driven dishes.


Kings County Imperial, Williamsburg, ChineseCrispy Garlic Chicken (1.5/4 stars) The garlicky soy sauce (from the tap of course) is great. But I found the chicken a little on the dry side and a battle to strip off the bone. It’s enjoyable, but the potential is there for it to be a lot better.


Kings County Imperial, Williamsburg, ChineseAnts Climbing a Tree (2/4 stars) By the time this guy arrived, it was clear we had ordered too much food and I barely got into it. But it was quite tasty as a cold leftover the next couple days. Inside you’ve got some sticky bean thread noodles with ground pork, mushrooms and a good heaping of chili and garlic. I’m not sure I ate enough of it fresh to give it a fair rating so maybe another 1/2 star is warranted.

Right Amount for 2? 3-4 dishes

Kings County Imperial
20 Skillman Street (Union & Lorimer)
Brooklyn, NY
Kings County Imperial Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Kings County Imperial

Posted in Chinese, Williamsburg | Leave a comment
Nov 05


Why Come Here? Foodie indulgence, innovative tasting menu, an intimate meal with 16 year old wunderkind Flynn McGarry

Eureka NYCThink of Flynn McGarry as the real life Doogie Howser of cooking. At 12 he was running a supper club out of his parents home in Studio City, CA. At 13, he worked at Eleven Madison Park and Alinea. Now at 16, he’s brought his popup to the West Village where he serves a 14-course dinner on Saturday and Sunday nights for $160. Meanwhile I’m twice his age and my biggest success in food comes from writing about it. So I figured the least I could do is pay him a visit.

Eureka resides in a catering company space so naturally the decor is pretty minimal. It doesn’t matter though because the entire focus is on Flynn. He works sans sous chef in the middle of the room with the 12 seats organized in a C-shape around him. You kind of feel like you’ve come to watch a magic show. The only thing taking the pressure off is his partner Matthew Mako who greets you with a glass of champagne upon entering (why doesn’t this happen more often?) and continues working the room pouring wine, serving plates and chatting up the crowd throughout the meal. Even though it’s in a public space, this informality of chatting with both Matt and Flynn gives you the feeling you’re dining in someone’s home. It’s pretty cool and unique in NYC. Given the star power of chefs these days, it’s something I’m frankly surprised you don’t see more of.

The cooking is also something we’re not seeing enough of. It’s modern and playful but actually is pretty light, particularly on the sauces. Yes it’s expensive, but so are the ingredients. But hey there’s a reason things like foie gras and caviar cost a lot of money: they’re awesome. The menu changes frequently, although a few items like the foie, caviar, uni and rib eye seem to hang around. Here are the 14 courses in all their glory:

Eureka, Flynn McGarry, Popup NYCFoie Gras on a Ritz Cracker 2.5/4 stars Is it meant to be the ritziest ritz cracker? Some sort of metaphorical blending between childhood and adulthood? Or just a reminder you can put a hunk foie gras on anything and it’s delicious?


Eureka Popup NYC, Flynn McGarryCabbage 2.5/4 stars To be honest, I had no clue this dehydrated to a crisp piece of greenery on top was a cabbage leaf until we received the menus at the end of the meal. Maybe I should have paid better attention. But what I did know is that with some olive & tomatillo it makes a tantalizing little sandwich. Take note for your holiday party.


Eureka Popup NYC, Flynn McGarryParsnip (elderflower) (2/4 stars) Chewy and steeped in cranberry and elderflower this is  like a really good version of a Swedish candy.


Eureka Popup NYC, Flynn McGarryCaviar 2.5/4 stars With caviar eyes, a golden nose and a sideways smirk, this gets my vote for the new “Rich Bitch” emoji. But also its caviar over creme in a pastry – so of course it’s good!

Eureka Popup NYC, Flynn McGarryHamachi (2/4 stars) Next up was hamachi with radish and chicories. It’s a nice delicate bite between the caviar and what followed.


Eureka Popup NYC, Flynn McGarrySea Urchin (3.5/4 stars) At this point Flynn kicked it up a notch, starting with this seemingly random combination of Maine uni, coffee and carrots. Let’s just say it works. I expect this to be one of his signature dishes going forward.


Eureka Popup NYC, Flynn McGarryNew Potato (3.5/4 stars) As with many things here, this sort of reminded me of something else. In this case, it’s a loaded potato skin. But instead of bacon, it’s just the crackled bits of skin. Instead of sour cream, it’s braised in yogurt. I consider this to be the healthy version and expect it now to be served at all football parties in Brooklyn.


Eureka Popup NYC, Flynn McGarrySunchoke (2/4 stars) To be honest, I’ve never seen the appeal of the sunchoke. This is one of the best ones I’ve had as it’s cooked well and cuts like butter. But even with Asian pear and pistachio it was a little earthy for my taste.


Eureka Popup NYC, Flynn McGarryAutumns Squash (3/4 stars) The squash is cooked in cider and mulling spices so it’s basically Fall on a plate. If you love that taste – and based on Pumpkin Spice Latte sales you probably do – you’ll love this dish.


Eureka Popup NYC, Flynn McGarryAn Aged Beet (3/4 stars) Another timely entrant, the “Beet Bleeding to Death” made for the perfect post-Halloween dish. In reality it’s cooked over embers and in a beet bordelaise. It’s nice to see someone doing beets with something other than tangy cheese.


Eureka Popup NYC, Flynn McGarryDry Aged Ribeye (3/4 stars) Let’s just say at 40 days, this piece of meat has aged quite gracefully. Getting a little chunk of the cap on the side doesn’t hurt either. Oh yeah, there’s some eggplant and greenery there too.

Eureka NYC, Flynn McGarry PopupSage 2.5/4 stars Served as a semifreddo with concord grapes, this was a refreshing palate cleanser after the all savory.


Eureka NYC, Flynn McGarry PopupBlack Sesame 2.5/4 stars Had I had too much wine at this point to remember exactly what this tastes like? Maybe. But I do remember thoroughly enjoying this deconstructed pickled pear pie.

639 Washington Street (Barrow & Christopher Sts.)
New York, NY
Eureka Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in New American, West Village | Leave a comment
Oct 29

Sushi Yasuda

Why Come Here? Experience sushi in its purest form, world class omakase experience

best sushi nyc, midtown

New York may have nearly as many sushi restaurants as Starbucks, but when it comes to eating raw fish in its purest form, there is no better place than Sushi Yasuda. The laser focus on the food begins right at the entrance: only an illuminated drawing of a fish announces you’ve reached your destination. Once inside, the decor continues this minimalism appropriate to a temple of fish: there is no music, no wall hangings, not even a cocktail list. But yet the small things they do do demonstrate the utmost care. The sleek oak paneling sets a calming ease as  you enter. The plates you receive are handmade and painted in Japan. Beer and sake is poured into clay cups. All this creates a sense you have entered a shrine to the treasures of the sea and your sole objective is to enjoy them to their fullest.

best sushi nyc, midtownTo get the most of this experience, you need to snag a spot at the L shaped sushi bar that dominates the dining room. Here you’ll be sat in front of and introduced to the master sushi chef who will orchestrate your evening. While language barriers may prevent a deep dialogue, it establishes a connection between patron and chef you don’t find in other dining establishment. We chose the omakase route leaving him to determine the sushi and sushimi courses he felt were right for us. From there, he is the director and the fish is the star. There’s no spicy mayo or avocado. The only allowable condiments are soy sauce and wasabi, and the meal was plated the right amount of each. I have to say there’s a real pleasure in not having to make any decision other than when you’ve had enough. The experience doesn’t come cheap, but it’s something every foodie need to try. Here’s what we ate:

Sushi Yasuda, best sushi nyc, midtown

Sashimi Omakase (3/4 stars) Every piece melted in my mouth and tasted fresh from the sea. The tuna in particular may have been the best I’ve had. The crab (far left) actually tastes more like an oyster. A very worthwhile treat.


Sushi Yasuda, Best Sushi NYC, Midtown

Rock Crab 2.5/4 stars & Shrimp (3/4 stars) Usually I’m not a fan of shrimp in my sushi unless it has been tempura-ed. But not surprisingly this one was a game changer. Our chef says it’s all about temperature I have to agree. It was served room temperature and lacked the unpleasant firmness of the chilled ones you receive at lesser places. The rock crab was also excellent but a little less special.


Sushi Yasuda, Best Sushi NYC, Midtown

Japanese & Santa Barbara Uni (3.5/4 stars) Our next course was a comparative uni tasting of sorts. The one on the right is from California and is what we typically think of as uni here. The one on the left is from Japan and has almost nothing in common with it’s American brethern save the creamy texture. It’s got a much funkier taste that really begs to be eaten on its own.


best sushi nyc, midtown

Yakishimo (Seared Toro), Toro (4/4 stars) While I have come to appreciate most types of sushi, tuna varieties will always have my heart. And of course the fattier the better. Toro (fatty tuna) melts in your mouth and the slightly seared version gives you the needed variety after a full meal of eating raw fish. This is up there with a perfect ribeye or first growth wine in man’s greatest culinary indulgences.


Sushi Yasuda, best sushi omakase nycKing Salmon, Coho Salmon (3/4 stars) After a helping of toro, ending the meal with salmon is almost a let down. But to be fair, this was the best salmon I’ve ever had.


Sushi Yasuda, MidtownGreen Tea Ice Cream 2.5/4 stars Other than the invention of fried ice cream, Japan hasn’t done much for me in the dessert realm. But like everything at Yasuda, if it’s there, it’s gonna be good.

Sushi Yasuda
204 East 43rd Street (2nd & 3rd Aves)
New York, NY
Sushi Yasuda Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Sushi Yasuda

Posted in Japanese, Midtown East, Sushi | Leave a comment
Oct 22


Why Come Here? Trendy-opulent bagel & lox eating experience

Sadelle'sPerhaps the name “Major Food Group” is less a name and more a sign of things to come. The Torrisi-Carbone collaboration appears to in fact be on a quest to tackle every major food group in New York.  First it was Italian. Then Seafood. Followed by French and whatever Santina is. Now it’s a Jewish Bakery called Sadelle’s. And you better believe it’s packed.

In true Major Food Group fashion, Sadelle’s seeks a more opulent and modern take than it’s competitors. As opposed to the primarily minimalist counter-service of traditional Jewish delis, Sadelle’s has the look and feel of a trendy version of a grand 19th century European Cafe. It’s a bright, open space with high ceilings and flowers everywhere. Waiters work there way down the aisles will yell “Hot Bagels” as they bring them fresh from the bakery in back at least 5 times on your visit. This old-meets-new experience, and the fact it’s in SoHo, is what will keep this place packed for years to come.

Sadelle's Salmon

I say this because the food, while very good, is not mind blowing. Nor is it cheap with salmon and bagels starting at $15. But for that price, you do get them served on a made-for-instagram platter that looks like something you’d receive English Afternoon Tea Service on. It’s a pretty meal and an enjoyable one. They do some other baked goods and sandwiches I didn’t get to try as well. Here’s what I had:

Sadelle's, Major Food Group, Bakery, Jewish, SoHo, NYCHouse Salmon 2.5/4 stars Congratulations, you just bought yourself a bunch of instagram likes. If presentation was my rating criteria, this would be a clear #1. The salmon is thinly sliced and melts in your mouth, although I would prefer a hint more smokiness. The everything bagel was pretty much flawless, as was the cream cheese. The rest of the spread solid. On every item besides the salmon, it may be the best in town. But for that, I still prefer Murray’s, Zabar’s or Barney Greengrass.


Sadelle's, Major Food Group, Bakery, Jewish, SoHo, NYCTuna Melt (2/4 stars) This is your standard tuna melt done extremely well. The bread is right thickness and perfectly toasted. The cheese is melted without getting gooey. The tuna is nicely portioned with the mayo into a perfect whipped consistency. But to me a next level tuna melt needs some veggies or spices in the mix to stand out. Lacking that, it’s just a very good one.

463 West Broadway (Houston & Prince Sts.)
New York, NY
Sadelle's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Cafe, SoHo | Leave a comment
Oct 16

Original Frank Pepe Pizza (New Haven, CT)

Why Come Here? Try one of America’s Best Pizzas

New Haven, Best Pizza America

When The Daily Meal took the task of ranking the top 101 pizzas in the United States, to the surprise of many the #1 spot was found not in New York, but 80 miles away in New Haven, Ct. Naturally when I was drawn to the New England city for a wedding, I had to see for myself.

Like any respectable pizzeria, Frank Pepe doesn’t take reservations and has lines on the street exceeding an hour. Once you finally make it inside, you find the old school look of a place that’s been unpretentiously serving pies since 1925. Decor is minimal – the focus here is on the pizza. You can see the kitchen in back which allows the scent of pizza to waft through the restaurant and even onto the street. Seating is in  a series of booths and tables across the rooms which reminds me a lot of John’s in Manhattan. The main difference is the lights are brighter here.

Pepe’s is known for it’s “Original Tomato Pies” and White Clam Pizza. As a purist, I went for the original (with mozzarella of course) though the clam seems to be getting a lot of the acclaim these days. Given it’s vaunted status, I will judge it on the three primary criteria of an excellent pizza: Crust, Sauce and Cheese.

Frank Pepe Pizzaeria Napolitana, Best Pizza America, New Haven

Frank Pepe Pizzaeria Napolitana, Best Pizza America, New Haven
Crust: This might be the strongest part of the pizza. It’s thin but not overly so, with a beautiful char and slightly burnt taste from the coal oven. Motorino would be my best comp in New York, except it’s a little thicker and the pies here are larger.

Sauce: For a place that bills itself as having “Tomato Pies”, the taste of the sauce was surprisingly absent. This is the biggest (and perhaps only) weakness of this pizza.

Cheese: The mozzarella is gooey and delicious but Frank doesnt’ stop there. He blends it with a yellow cheese with sprinkled parmigiana on top. This reminded me of the blending at Di Fara, which is always a good memory.

Overall Rating: It’s a highly enjoyable pizza certainly worth a trip if you’re in town, but they need to work on the sauce ratio if they hope to earn the #1 ranking here. (3/4 stars)

The Original Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana
157 Wooster Street (@ Brown St.)
New Haven, CT
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

Posted in New Haven, Pizza | Leave a comment
Oct 09

Black Tap Burger

Why Come Here? One of NYC’s best burger joints

“Pizza” and “Texan” burgers sound like the sort of things you expect to see in a TGI Friday’s commercial. Usually a list of ten types of burgers like these slathered with all types of different toppings and sauces means the restaurant is trying to cover up their second rate beef. But there’s nothing to hide in the burger at Black Tap Craft Burgers. They’re serving up the Cadillac of burger meat, that of Mr. Pat LaFrieda. And unlike most places, even without asking they serve it a medium rare that actually comes out closer to rare than well done. It’s so good I preferred the ones with less toppings on them. Thank God someone can properly cook a burger in this town.

Black Tap is one of my favorite burger spots not just because the burgers are great, but it’s the perfect atmosphere to eat them in. The original Black Tap in SoHo has that quality where you’re not quite sure whether it’s more bar or restaurant. The place is as narrow as an East Village watering hole and features the same classic rock and hip hop playlist. Most of the seating is at the bar or counters around it. You’re probably ordering from a guy behind the bar, and you could feel perfectly comfortable coming in solo and watching the game while downing your meal with a side of one of their many craft beers. Also, thanks to Shake Shack, a place that serves mostly burgers must offer shakes as well. And so Black Tap does that too.

They just opened a larger location in Meatpacking and I’ll be interested to see how the more restauranty vibe plays out. In the meantime, here are my thoughts on the burgers with some unfortunately poor quality photos (the lighting is weird ok!):

Black Tap Burger, Soho, NYC, Best Burger NYCSteak Au Poivre Burger (3/4 stars) The blue cheese, the use of Prime Steak, the just right amount of peppery peppercorn sauce. This is a top 10 burger in NYC.


Black Tap Burger, Best Burger, SoHo, NYCThe Greg Norman (3/4 stars) Bonus points to anyone who can tell me why this is called the Greg Norman. This one also comes with the blue cheese so maybe I’m obsessed with it. But there is something seriously magical about this blue cheese sauce. The extra taste funky flavor from the wagyu beef doesn’t hurt either.


Black Tap Burger, Best Burger, SoHo, NYCThe Texan Burger 2.5/4 stars This one comes topped with cheddar, crispy onions, bacon and Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. The main reason not to order this would be that the onion ring and sauce actually take away from the great taste of the patty itself, but it makes a solid second burger.

Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, Onion Rings (1/4 stars) You get your pick of one these bad boys to go along with your burger. I preferred the onion rings but they’re all good without being anything special.

Black Tap Burger
529 Broome Street (Sullivan & Thompson Sts.)
New York, NY
Black Tap Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer

Chelsea/Meatpacking Location:
248 W 14th Street (7th & 8th Aves)
New York, NY
Black Tap



Posted in burger, Chelsea, MePa, SoHo | Leave a comment
Oct 02


Why Come Here? Unique Hawaiian-inspired cooking, adventurous eats

Noreetuh describes itself as a Hawaiian restaurant. Previously I had never been to an eatery focused on the cuisine of the Aloha State, but I think most of us would imagine such a place to be filled with tiki masks, bright flowers and volcanoes. Perhaps the servers would be wearing leis, slowly dancing to luau music playing in the background. Maybe the walls would be done in vibrant colors or covered in photos of beach sunsets. Oh, and they would definitely serve Mai Tais. That is pretty everything I associate with Hawaii. And it has absolutely nothing to do with dining at Noreetuh.

Noreetuh is not a Hawaiian themed restaurant. It’s a restaurant for people who take both their food and decor very seriously. The inside pays absolutely no tribute to the 50th state, instead going the minimalist route that make it look like every other trendy restaurant in the East Village. The bar not only doesn’t serve tropical drinks, but in fact has no liquor at all. That said, there is a pretty tempting global wine list which they’ll pair to your meal for a reasonable $35.

The food is also not really what you think of as Hawaiian. But it is influenced by the Asian melting the islands have become with a big focus on seafood. So expect a lot of ingredients from places like Japan, The Phillipines and Korea that you’ve never seen before. I’d really call it Hawaiian-inspired New America – not surprising given that the chefs are from Per Se. But unlike Per Se, it’s quite reasonably priced with no dish (for one) cracking the $25 mark. The menu breaks down into smallish snacks, starters and mains, but one from each from the latter two sections will easily be enough per person. Even if somethings were a bit strange, nothing was too strong, spicy, sour or anything liable to make it inedible. In fact everything was quite enjoyable. So order adventurously. Here’s what we had:

Noreetuh, Hawaiian, East Village, NYCCrispy Mushrooms (2/4 stars) Tempura fried mushrooms in a sweet miso dipping sauce. There are worse ways to start the meal.


Noreetuh, Hawaiian, East Village, NYCBig-Eye Tuna Poke (3/4 stars) Poke is the tartar of Hawaii. This one comes with macadamia nuts, pickled jalapenos, seaweed and some seriously good raw tuna. If there’s a must order at Noreetuh, this is it.


Noreetuh, Hawaiian, East Village, NYCMonkfish Liver Torchon (1.5/4 stars) I’m gonna go ahead and put this guy in the more interesting than good category. The passionfruit mixed with the “foie gras of the sea” delivers a funky sweet taste off the bat. But then the aftertaste of bitter fish skin drops it some points. It’s definitely worth trying because you won’t see anything like it anywhere else, but I probably won’t be getting it again.


Noreetuh, Hawaiian, East Village, NYCMentaiko Spaghetti (2/4 stars) Think of this one as the carbonara of the sea. Mentaiko is pollock roe and provides a bit of crunchiness. Mix in some seaweed, smoked butterfish and chilis and you get a pretty unique pasta. But I have to say that while I enjoyed it, I recommend it more for the novelty than as a pasta I want to eat everyday.


Noreetuh, Hawaiian, East Village, NYCGarlic Shrimp Over Rice 2.5/4 stars On a menu where most dishes have at least two ingredients you haven’t heard of, this one looks pretty pedestrian. But don’t hit the snooze button here. The perfectly done jumbo shrimp are in an awesome creamy garlic sauce with some coconut sticky rice to balance every thing out. There’s also some pineapple on the side to remind you it’s Hawaiian.


Noreetuh, Hawaiian, East Village, NYCPineapple Braised Pork Belly 2.5/4 stars Seriously tender hunk of pork belly with a nice hint of sweetness from the pineapple glaze. You’ll want one.


Noreetuh, Hawaiian, East Village, NYCBruleed Hawaiian Pineapple (2/4 stars) In case you haven’t had enough pineapple, why not order another half of one for dessert? Actually the creme brulee like topping on the sweet pineapple make it a pretty cool (and maybe even healthy) way to end the meal.

Right Amount for 2? 2 starters, 2 mains

128 First Avenue (7th & 8th Sts.)
New York, NY
Noreetuh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in East Village, Hawaiian | Leave a comment
Sep 30

Joe’s Ginger

Why Come Here? Cheaper alternative to Joe’s Shanghai without the wait, Soup Dumplings

A few year’s back Xiao Long Bao – or soup dumplings – were all the rage in NYC. It all started when Joe’s Shanghai brought the broth filled dumplings of China’s Jiangnan region in Chinatown. But just because the trendsters have moved on to fried chicken and cronuts doesn’t mean soup dumplings are any less delicious. This fact is not lost on most NYC diners, as they still line up for up to an hour at the Chinatown location to be stuffed into communal tables. What is lost on them is that Joe’s Ginger – only a few doors down Pell Street – is serving the exact same thing without the waits.

Joe’s Ginger was opened by Joe Si (of Joe’s Shanghai) ten years ago, but somehow most people never make the connection it’s the same chef. Maybe they think it’s a Ray’s Pizza situation. Or maybe there are just a lot of Joe’s in China. Whatever the reason, it’s good news for you. Joe’s Ginger has a very similar menu, including the signature soup dumplings which I’m happy to say are just as good hear as 100 steps on the road. And while Joes’ Shanghai had a 30 minute wait for a table on a recent Friday night, Joe’s Ginger was half full. And you get your own table. Did I mention it’s also cheaper?

The only downside of Joe’s Ginger is the decor is more typical Chinatown, which is to say there is none to speak of. But if that’s something you’re willing to pay up and wait an extra 30 minutes for, you’re probably not reading a blog called The Dishelin Guide. Because in terms of the dishes, it’s right on par with it’s neighbor. Although it still charges a bit of a premium to lesser known Chinatown haunts for smaller portions, it’s still worth coming in to get our hands on the soup dumplings. Here’s what we had:

Xiaolongbao, Joes', Chinatown, NYCCrab Meat and Pork Steamed Buns (Joe’s Soup Dumplings) (3/4 stars) From the thin skin, to the salty broth to the sweet/savory blend of the sea & land, this is one of my favorite foods and these guys do it as well as anyone. Just remember the first rule of xiaolongbao: place the dumpling on your spoon and take a small bite first lest you want a soup explosion in your face.


chinatown, joe's ginger, nycKung Pao Chicken (2/4 stars) The Americanized classic of fried chicken with peanuts and peppers is everything you want it to be.

Shanghai Fried Flat Noodle w/ Chicken (2/4 stars) You can’t get Chinese without getting noodles. These are the ones you want.

Right Amount for 2? Soup Dumplings, 2 entrees

Joe’s Ginger
25 Pell Street (Mott & Doyers Sts.)
New York, NY
Joe's Ginger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Joe's Ginger


Posted in Chinatown, Chinese | Leave a comment