Monday, September 14, 2009

Floyd Cardoz of Tabla

Back in late July, I was fortunate enough to see one of my favorite New York chefs demonstrate his lamb roasting skills live at Google's New York offices. It was only over the weekend that I found this clip of the event, and (even though it already appeared on Grub Street), I too wanted to share it with my readers. Because I was there. And they weren't!

11 Madison Avenue
(at 25th Street)
(212) 889-0667 Read More!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Top 10 Cheeseburgers (... Okay, Top 11)

Meat Source: Piccinini Brothers blend
Patty Weight: 8.5 ounces
Cooking Method: Grilled
Roll: Balthazar Bakery pain de mie
Toppings: Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, and served with pommes frites
Price: $16

Blue 9 Burger
Patty Weight: 3 ounces
Cooking Method: grill
Roll: "p/fglain bread."
Toppings: Lettuce, tomatoes, double cheese
Price: $4.75

Burger Joint
Patty Weight: 6 ounces
Cooking Method: grill
Roll: Arnold bun
Toppings: lettuce, tomato, onion, sliced pickles, mustard, ketchup, mayo. Cheese: Colby and Cheddar
Price: $7.50

Meat Blend: short rib, brisket, and chuck combo
Meat Source: Eco Friendly Foods
Patty Weight: 8 ounces
Cooking Method: grill
Roll: homemade potato roll
Toppings: Applewood bacon, Vermont Cheddar, chipotle ketchup
Price: $17

Corner Bistro
Meat Blend: chuck and ground sirloin
Patty Weight: 9 ounces
Cooking Method: broil
Roll: sesame-seed bun
Toppings: bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, American cheese
Price: $6.75

Patty Weight: half pound
Cooking Method: grill
Roll: onion roll
Toppings: lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, mushrooms, bacon, chili, choice of cheeses
Price: $8.75 plus toppings

Minetta Tavern
Meat Blend: short-rib blend
Meat Source: Pat LaFrieda
Patty Weight:: 8.5 ounces
Cooking Method: griddle
Roll: Balthazar Bakery brioche bun
Toppings: caramelized onions and cheddar cheese
Price: $16

Shake Shack
Meat Blend: mostly brisket with chuck and short rib mixed in
Meat Source: Pat LaFrieda
Patty Weight: 4 ounces
Cooking Method: griddle
Roll: griddled potato bun
Toppings: American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion
Price: $4.75

Spotted Pig
Meat Blend: secret beef blend
Meat Source: Pat LaFrieda
Patty Weight: 8 ounces
Cooking Method: grill
Roll: brioche bun
Toppings: Roquefort
Price: $17

Meat Blend: ground chuck 70-30 ratio
Meat Source: Pat LaFrieda
Patty Weight: 7 ounces
Cooking Method: grill
Roll: bun from Long Island City bakery Pain d’Avignon
Toppings: red onion, lettuce, tomato, sliced pickle, homemade ketchup, Dijon mustard
Price: $9

Stoned Crow
Meat Blend: freshly ground chuck
Meat Source: proprietary
Patty Weight:: 2 three-ounce patties
Cooking Method: griddle
Roll: Tom Cat Bakery bun with a semolina crisp
Toppings: sheep’s-milk cheese, pickled onions, sliced cornichon, and special sauce with Indian-pepper-pickled basque pepper
Price: $11 Read More!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Minetta Tavern

I have found a new favorite burger joint in New York City: the Minetta Tavern.

The Tavern first opened in Greenwich Village in 1937 (and it was named after the Minetta Brook, which ran southwest from 23rd Street to the Hudson River – who knew?). For the last 72 years, it has been a notorious hangout for some of America's great writers and poets, including Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Eugene O'Neill, E. E. Cummings, Dylan Thomas, and Joe Gould.

After decades of serving Italian cuisine, the Tavern was purchased by Keith McNally and his chef-partners Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr (Balthazar, Pastis, Schiller's, Morandi, etc.). Their goal: to turn the Minetta into a "Parisian steakhouse meets classic New York City tavern." After it finally reopened, it had been transformed into an 85-seat bistro, with the vintage murals and photo intact.

The French framework of the menu fits in perfectly with McNally's other eateries, and so does the cuisine. On one end, you have the classics, such as oxtail and foie gras terrine, stuffed squid, or filet of trout meunière. But there is also a section of the menu devoted solely to the tavern-esque fare that you'd expect.

Despite having an appetizing menu, I limited myself to only have one thing: one of the Tavern's infamous cheeseburgers. I was advised by a friend that the Pat La Frieda “Black Label” burger (for $26) had not lived up to his expectations, mainly because it lacked cheese. So instead, I chose the Minetta Burger. It's a hearty short-rib blend from the legendary West Village meat purveyors Pat LaFrieda, which is topped with caramelized onions and cheddar cheese and served on a Balthazar Bakery brioche bun (naturally). Eight and a half ounces for only $16. And it comes with a plate of amazing frites. I ordered it medium, and ate it right at the bar with a Gin Blossom (Plymouth Gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Aperol and fresh grapefruit juice – $14). As soon as I tried the burger, I was in heaven. It was cooked perfectly, so juicy and tender.


I also ordered a plate of delicious wild mushrooms, that had been heavily cooked in butter and a variety of herbs. Plain and simple. But they were an absolutely perfect side for my cheeseburger.

All that I have to say is GO! The Minetta Tavern has a fantastic environment; it was crowded when I went over the weekend, but like McNally's other restaurants, it was a crowd of beautiful people. Give it a try, you'll love it. Next on my list was the bartender's recommendation: the Tavern Steak with pommes frites ($21).

113 MacDougal Street
(at Minetta Lane)
(212) 475-3850 Read More!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Located just off of Bleecker Street in the heart of the West Village is L'Artusi, the younger sister of one of my favorite restaurants Dell'anima.

Also run by Gabe Thompson and Joe Campanele, graduates of the Batali empire, L'Artusi has both an excellent menu as well as clean and comfortable decor. The small Italian plates are inviting, and the neo-Regency décor of Dell'anima has been splendidly recreated. While there are plenty of tables downstairs (in addition to seating upstairs), an extensive bar with 30 seats dominates the first floor of L'Artusi, as well as an excellent raw bar and cheese bar.

Before coming to L'Artusi, I naturally did my research and checked it out online, where I learned that cheese snobs speak highly of the restaurant's selection. Naturally we decided that our meal must then start with cheese. After speaking with the waitress, she recommended two: tomme du berge ($6) and ossau iraty vielle ($6), both of which came from Murray's. The tomme had a buttery richness and was remarkably fruity, with ripe pear flavors, which went nicely with my glass of Syrah (by the way, there are quite a few reasonably priced bottles). On the other hand, the ossau had an excellent smoked flavor, which gave us a nice balance with the tomme.

For our meal, we ordered both a pasta and a carne. For our pasta, we chose the tagliatelle ($18) which was topped in a lovely bolognese bianco. The pasta itself was a dual sided tagiatelle – one spinach, one egg. And even though it was not a cream sauce, there was enough pecorino that when it blended with the sauce, it became decadent and creamy.

Our carne was the hanger steak ($20) which was simple but quite good in my opinion. On the inside, the steak was still tender and juicy, but on the outside it was charred to perfection. It was served with a delicious salsa bianco as well as crispy roasted potatoes.

L'Artusi in my opinion was an excellent restaurant. The cheeses were excellent, and both plates were delicious. And I appreciated the fact that I left feeling full, but not obese. I would definitely recommend going, especially if you enjoy the atmosphere of a good wine bar. Great date spot as well.

228 W. 10th Street
(near Bleecker Street)
(212) 255-5757 Read More!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fancy Fast Food

... for garnish and a touch of irony!

I first heard about this web site over the summer, but after it appeared on The Huffington Post as one of the best web sites that "You Should Be Wasting Time On Right Now," I decided that I too should post about the excellence of Fancy Fast Food!

My personal favorite? Tapas de Castillo Blanco.

It begins as one White Castle Sack Meal #1, with cheese and bacon (four bacon cheeseburger Slyders, a box of french fries, and a medium Coca-Cola), one White Castle Sack Meal #8 (two chicken sandwiches, a box of onion rings, and a medium Hi-C Poppin’ Pink Lemonade), one order of fried clams, as well as a few packets of tartar sauce and ketchup.

In the end however, it has been transformed into a delicious tapas cuisine: onion rings draped with a dollop of dressing, cheese croquetas, clams wrapped in bacon, chicken papas rellenas, meatballs served on a drizzle of Coke syrup, the remaining bacon (a.k.a. jamón) garnished with parsley, and chicken breast garnished with parsley after being brushed lightly with sweet Coke syrup.

It's really an amazing web page, with excellent recipes from McDonald's, Burger King, Dunkin' Donuts, Subway, and even 7-Eleven! Read More!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


When I first moved to New York in August 2006, I remember hearing about the Roman-inspired pizza slices available in Hell's Kitchen, at the Sullivan Street Bakery. I was told by a co-worker that they had some of the best pizza in the city, but it tended to always fly under the radar.

Little did I know that Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street also owns a local Chelsea eatery: Co., an intimate pizzeria, serving Lahey's newest creation: round, thin-crusted, Nepolitanesque pies with standard, yet delicious toppings.

One key difference between the pies at Sullivan Street and Co. would be the temperature. At Sullivan they're served at room temperature, while at Co., they are baked in at around 700 degrees in a wood-burning oven imported from Modena. And the result is quite appetizing, providing a light, fluffy crust with a slightly charred flavor.

Since the pies are relatively small (4 slices per pie), we decided to order two. First was the Ham and Cheese ($14) which was topped with prosciutto and caraway, and then covered with a 3-cheese mixture of pecorino, gruyère, and buffalo mozzarella. I must say, the prosciutto was outstanding; I would have willingly ordered a second pie simply to devour the ham on top! Our second pizza was the Flambé ($16) which a mixture of parmesan and buffalo mozzarella, with caramelized onions and lardons, covered in a béchamel sauce. At first I was concerned the the sauce was too heavy for the pizza, but I was certainly wrong once I bit into the pizza; the flavors blended together perfectly, creating a truly delicious piece of pizza. I was recommend cutting back on the lardons though, I thought it made the pizza a little too salty at times.

We also ordered an Escarole Salad ($7 – topped with bread crumbs, capers, and anchovies in a lemon and olive oil dressing) which was, well, fine. If I could go back in time and do it all over again, I would have picked something else.

Overall? Co. was a really enjoyable experience, with a friendly staff and excellent food. I would highly recommend giving it a try, but I must say that it was definitely overpriced for pizza. Between the two pies, one salad, and a bottle of wine (with tax and tip), the bill was almost $100!

230 Ninth Avenue
(at 24th Street)
(212) 243-1105 Read More!

The Park

Last weekend, I took my mom to The Park for brunch...

While the food was fairly standard, I must say that the space is phenomenal. At a time when so many restaurants are opting for minimal and modern, The Park is wild and exciting. The main dining room is spacious and organic, filled with a National Geographic decor and a vibrant bar. And then of course there is the Garden, which is more than just your average garden. It is an enclosed jungle, covered in twinkle lights. It's obvious that The Park is a late night hot spot.

That being said: the food. I had a bowl of Gazpacho ($6) and a Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken ($10). I know, boring choices. My apologies. The Gazpacho was quite good, although it was quite wet and lacked enough raw vegetables to make it exciting. And the salad was your standard run of the mill Caesar. My mom on the other hand had the Crab Cake Benedict ($14) which looked quite good.

While I will not be going back to The Park anytime soon for food, I will certainly make a point to return in the near future for a fun night of debauchery.


118 Tenth Avenue
(near 17th Street)
(212) 352-3313 Read More!