A +/- Look at NYC Food

Chinatown Brasserie

A lot has been made about whether or not this place is “good” or “bad”, “worth the price” or not.  But these are all silly arguments, because in the end- it all depends on the diner.  Can you get a cheaper meal in Chinatown?  Of course you can.  You can get a cheaper chinese meal on almost every street corner in New York City… and some of them might have General Tso’s Chicken that tastes better then the one at Chinatown Brasserie- but that doesn’t mean it deserves to dismissed outright.  If you want to have a fancy meal out, at a destination restaurant- and you want the food to be straight up Chinese, well then, Chinatown Brasserie would be the perfect place for you.  If you are a Dim Sum nut looking for an authentic (and cheap) Chinese food experience, then steer clear of this place.

I’m a huge fan of Chinese food.  I love Dim Sum, and have eaten at Dim Sum in many Chinatowns (including NYC, San Francisco, Boston & Los Angeles).  When I lived in Boston we practically lived at a place called China Pearl every Saturday for a year.  My girlfriend indulged me (and it’s one of the reasons we’re married today!).  I also love cheap Chinese food.  The take out kind, and the kind you find at crappy buffets.  I like it all.  In my mind, Chinese food is already perfect… not a lot of room for improvement- so with that in mind, I went into my meal at Chinatown Brasserie, expecting exactly what I got.  Decent Chinese food, in an upscale setting that would appeal to any eater… something I can’t say about any of the places I’ve been in Chinatown.  And for that… you pay a price.

Shrimp & Snow Pea Leaf Dumplings ($9)

How could you not want to eat a dumpling that has eyes?  All the Dim Sum we ordered was very tasty.  My personal favorite were the Shrimp and Chinese Chive Dumplings… but that’s because I’m partial to chive dumplings.

Shrimp & Chinese Chive Dumplings ($8)

Roast Pork Bun ($8)

It says Roast Pork Bun on the menu, but I think that’s a typo… you get three.  And they were very good.  One of the people I was with had never had a steamed pork bun, and he enjoyed it.

Shanghai Style Soup Dumplings ($10)

If you never had a soup dumplings, they’re exactly what they sound like.  Dumplings that are filled with soup.  They should be eaten with a big spoon, so that when you take a bite, the soup fills the spoon rather then your lap.  They may not be the cheapest or best soup dumplings in Manhattan- but they’re very good, and none of the people I was with had ever had soup dumplings before, and they were pretty much everyone’s favorites.

Chicken & Garlic Rolls ($8)

It is very difficult to improve immensely on the concept of a spring roll.  Most things you fry taste good.  These were fine… nothing extraordinary.

Entree food porn and the +/- after the jump… Continue reading


July 23, 2006 Posted by | Food: Chinese, Location: East Village, Price: Expensive, Price: Moderate | 18 Comments

Bouchon Bakery (To Go)

Sunday in the Park w. the PoopsterSUNDAY IN THE PARK w/ Thomas K.

Living in a city like this, there isn't a more relaxing thing to do then having a picnic in Central Park (with the Poopster- seen left).  So when the Bouchon Bakery opened in the Time Warner Center I knew my first food purchased there would be taken to go, and eaten just across Columbus Circle in the Southwest corner of Central Park. 

It's actually a no-brainer, if you think about it- if for no other reason then you don't have to stare at the much ridiculed Samsung sign that hangs over the dining area of Thomas Keller's (Per Se, French Laundry) new french style boulangerie.  The food here is not exactly cheap eats… but then again with Per Se costing over $200 per person (and that's just for the food), and just one floor above, you don't mind paying the extra couple bucks per sandwich… especially if it's good (which thankfully it was!)

Bouchon Bakery To GoI've actually been to the Time Warner Center 4 or 5 times since the Bouchon Bakery has opened… staring through the glass cases at the sandwiches, pre made salads and soups, declicious pastries, french style macaroons, and cakes… but never actually ordered anything.  The situation just didn't seem right- until this weekend.  With the sun out, and picnic blanket in hand, we walked over to Columbus Circle from our Hell's Kitchen apartment ready to see if the acclaim Thomas Keller's has gotten for his expensive french food, could be transferred to a $9 sandwich. 

What we got, the pictures and the +/- after the jump… Continue reading

June 20, 2006 Posted by | Food: Bakery, Food: Cafe, Food: French, Food: Sandwiches, Location: Midtown West, Location: Upper West Side, Price: Moderate | 2 Comments


Nook, Hell's Kitchen NYCNook is definetely an appropriate name for this tiny Hell's Kitchen restaurant. You could easily miss it walking down Ninth Avenue… and it's that kind of carelessness that has you missing out on some of the hidden treasures of the city!  Loser.  This one might not necessarily be worth the trip out of your way, but if you live in Hell's Kitchen, or are going to be in the area- it's definetely worth a visit. Features Chef Rachelle Rodwell formerly of Bouley.

What we ate, and the +/- after the jump… Continue reading

April 8, 2006 Posted by | Food: American (New), Location: Hell's Kitchen, Price: Moderate | 1 Comment

Fatty Crab

LogoI think I'm in love.  This is my favorite restaurant in NYC.  Small and cramped, Fatty Crab is the casual joint that Zac Pelaccio has opened up around the corner from his popular, more upscale Meatpacking restaurant 5 Ninth.  Unlike some universal New York favorites (like Grammercy Tavern) I wouldn't recommend this place to everyone… but for me it is perfect.  From the type of food, the price, atmosphere… everything.

First the food.  It's described as Malaysian street food, but this wasn't like any street food I've ever had (and the prices are certainly a little higher then what you might pay a vendor in Kuala Lampur!).  That's not to say it's toned down…

What we ate, and the +/- after the jump… Continue reading

December 3, 2005 Posted by | Food: Malaysian, Location: Meatpacking, Price: Moderate | Leave a comment

Hell’s Kitchen

hellskitchenAfter living in L.A. for two years, I'm usually the first to complain that the Mexican food sucks in NYC.  But I love Hell's Kitchen.  I can't tell you what a great meal we had at this restaurant.  It doesn't stop me from saying Mexican Food in NYC sucks, but truthfully to call this place Mexican is sort of a disservice.  First of all it costs more then $6 (all you should ever have to spend for authentic, and delicious Mexican food).  And there are no burritos to be found on this menu… But what you do get is Mexican flavors infused with a New York chef sensibility in a hip, pretty romantic (and by that I mean dimly lit) Hell's Kitchen wrapping.

What we ate and the +/-, after the jump Continue reading

November 10, 2005 Posted by | Food: Mexican (New), Location: Hell's Kitchen, Price: Expensive, Price: Moderate | 1 Comment