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Bustan NYC

Bustan

Sometimes we feel like everything is so ‘been-there-done-that’ it isn’t even motivating enough to write it up, as evidenced by my lack of motivation for the last year.  We tend to take a few Instagrams and call it a day.  Well, Bustan NYC was a most refreshing change.  It is a rare thing for us to head to the Upper West Side for any reason.  We happened to plan an outing to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade float inflation just to see what it was like.  And coincidentally, we had some friends of friends from Sweden contact us that they were arriving in NYC on Wednesday evening.  So the more the merrier!  We prayed it would be good.  I had made a note to go there on my iPhone some time ago but had no idea what inspired the note.

I did some quick checking and Bustan NYC is a pan-Mediterranean restaurant featuring a taboon oven, or the Middle Eastern version of a wood-fired pizza oven.  I’d also noted from the New York Times opening announcement that the chef was formerly of Barbounia.  And it turns out he was one of the original partners of Taboon which opened back in 2002.  All good signs.  Well, we could not have imagined how great it would be.

One warning, the decor is totally bizarre.  The hostess station is giant wood spherical sculpture resembling falafel?  And the rest is quite the mix of decor.  Perhaps, like the food, a pan-Mediterranean blend of elements?  Stripes, oranges, blues, purple, black & white, yellow, wood, tile, marble and calf hair?  Below is a screen shot from their Virtual Tour.  The blues and purples are not popping as much as in person.

Bustan

Virtual Tour www.bustannyc.com

The cuisine is a meld of Italian, Spanish, French, Moroccan, Greek, Turkish and Israeli flavors, ingredients and techniques.  Most of the dishes are prepared in the taboon oven. And the chef has cooked in many if not all of these countries.

Bustan

Taboon Oven www.bustannyc.com

We started with the Mazettim or an array of Mezze appetizers in Greek.  Basically, it was a loaf of fresh baked focaccia or flat bread served with your choice of 1, 3 or 5 traditional dips.  We chose the hummus, spicy feta and smoked eggplant (baba ganoush).  Other available options were tzatziki, green tahini and taramasalata.  You absolutely must try 5. The waiter recommended against it as he said many fill up on too much bread.  But here’s why – you’ve never had a more fantastic hummus.  The spicy feta blew us away.  And the smokey baba ganoush?  OMG.  We asked for more bread even with the 3.  So what?  Fill up.  Enjoy.  It’s $3.50 for a second loaf.  The first is included.  And we used the dips on everything that followed.

Homemade Flatbread www.bustannyc.com

Homemade Flatbread www.bustannyc.com

We did not order the Hummus Bowl, which may be a regret.  But you’ll need to decide between a hummus bowl and the Mazettim as it is a bit repetitive.  Either way, you need to get falafel with your Hummus OR the Falafel Basket Small plate.  The falafel was out of this world and a gorgeous shade of green inside.  And they come with tahini and pickled mango dip.  More sauces for your meal.

We decided to try a bunch of small plates rather than order entrees, although it looks like they are shareable as well.  We became fascinated with two things – everyone was ordering a giant puff pastry filled with lamb (Lamb Terracotta) which looked insanely good.  The other was the Greek Salad which came with the most huge slice of feta on top.

Bustan

Lamb Terracotta www.bustan.com

Another specialty of the house we did try was the whole heirloom cauliflower roasted in the taboon oven with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, anise honey and seasoned lebane cheese (Israeli thick, yoghurt based cheese).  Wow.

Burrata was served over spaghetti squash with balsamic glaze, speck, majol dates, Thai basil and EVOO.  This was the most unique preparation I’ve had to date of this Italian specialty mozzarella filled with stracciatella.  It was too small would be one complaint on this dish.  The other was the price.  $16.50 is over-priced.

Two dishes I could have passed on were the Lamb Shawarma and the Sizzling Shrimp.  The shawarma was served on a steamed bun which was a bit too similar to a thick, Chinese pork bun and detracted from the lamb.  I’d probably select the Lamb Merguez Sausage instead or the Lamb Terracotta. However my husband thinks maybe I just didn’t get a big enough bite since we shared two 4-ways. So I need to give it the benefit of the doubt!  But for sure the shrimp was on the fishy side and was overpoweringly garlicky as well as floating in olive oil.

Bustan

Lamb Shawarma www.bustannyc.com

I think we left a few amazing choices ‘on the table’ so we must go back and have another taste.  Of course we say that…maybe we can plan a special outing the Museum of Natural History or something to take us to the neighborhood.  After all, 84th and Amsterdam is not a big destination spot.  But we found it worth the long subway ride.  Although better when we took the Express train for part of the ride from downtown!  We’ll also try to go in daylight.  The darkness and the orange lighting does not make for good food pics, thus the credits on the pics.

http://www.bustannyc.com
487 Amsterdam Avenue @ 84th Street – Upper West Side

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Strip House Downtown

Strip House

We have not been to Strip House in what we think is 13 years?  Our first visit was well before blogging and even Smartphones.  Wow.  One thing remained the same; we left as stuffed as we did the first time.  The first occasion was our Wedding Anniversary and this time we tried Thanksgiving Dinner at Strip House.  The Thanksgiving Menu was their standard steak-centric offering with a Turkey special for $42.  Absurdity, but this is to be expected.

The decor there is bordello all the way with red brocade, red lighting,  and black and white photographs of burlesque dancers on the walls.

Strip House

We arrived 10 minutes early for our reservation and were told to go to the bar until it was ‘closer to six’.  We assumed they’d retrieve us when our table was available.  20 minutes later the Manager came over and asked us if we wanted to eat at the bar.  We said no, we have a reservation.  And he said he knew, but we had the option.  We thought that odd.  It seemed to be clearing out and they still don’t have a table?

So by 6:20, Steve went to the hostess and asked if our table was ready.  He got an ‘Are you done at the bar?  Are you ready for your table?  Have you closed your tab?’  Apparently they were waiting for us.  That was some very poor communication; twice.  It might have been nice if the Manager asked ‘Are you ready for your table’?  And we’d have said ‘Yes’. We had no clue we needed to pick up a drink and go back to the hostess station!  But what do we know, right?  We don’t get out much.  We let it go.

Also a bit mind-blowing, the male staff stopped at the bar every free moment to stand and watch the football game.  Manager included.  At any given time while we were at the bar there were at least 3 guys in standing there watching.

We were then seated in the bar area, next to the bussing station and between two families with infants and toddlers.  This is quite the combination of bad seating.  Intentional?  Again, we let it go.

The service was very quick once we were seated, so ultimately we were glad we got to enjoy a dirty martini at the bar beforehand and take our time.  And it was a great dirty martini.

Strip House

We ordered a bottle of Burgundy first while we decided.  We went with Turkey and a 16 oz New York Strip to share.  Those 16 oz steaks are a killer, but it is the smaller option of two. The other is a 20 oz bone-in for $57.  We started with the special Market Salad which was a nice pairing with the Turkey and a Caesar Salad to go with the Steak.

The turkey was served with stuffing, sweet potato puree and haricot vert.  The portion was generous with 4 slices of white meat on a pile of dark.  The sweet potato puree was the star, buttery and rich.  I was also very fond of the balsamic cranberry sauce, pungent and tart.

This was our only useable photo, as it was quite dark and red lighting.  The balance of photos are all from Strip House’s website.

Pinot Noir – Burgundy, Brialles Savigny $75

MARKET SALAD, $14.00
ORGANIC TURKEY, White & Dark Meat, Stuffing, Sweet Potato Puree & Haricot Vert $42.00

Strip House

Steve’s steak came with a giant head of roasted garlic and he ordered a side of whipped potato puree.  It was absolutely divine and entirely too much food.  Sharing was smart.

CAESAR SALAD hearts of romaine, paprika croutons, shaved parmesan $14.00
NEW YORK STRIP 16oz $49.00
WHIPPED POTATO PUREE $12.00Strip House 

All of the children were well behaved luckily with only a few minutes of crying and screaming.  Our placement by the waiters station insured swift service and table clearing. So in the end it all worked out.

See ya in another 13 years, maybe.

http://www.striphouse.com
Strip House Downtown – University Place
13 East 12th Street
New York, NY 10003

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The Dutch

11/23/2014 Third Update

Now 3 years in, The Dutch has established itself as a consistent best in class restaurant. Andrew Carmellini continues to add restaurants to his growing empire.  Since the original writing of this post, Locanda Verde and Lafayette both opened.  Each one is fantastic in its own way and we’ve been to both on several occasions.  Unfortunately, for almost two years I have neglected to post anything!  Instagram only, which is a damn shame.  We are now looking forward to trying Little Park, which opened near us in Tribeca only weeks ago.

It has been quite some time since we had brunch at The Dutch.  My most memorable lunch was the soft shell crab sandwich I will never forget.  On this occasion, Dad was in town for a visit and we did a rather gauche 2-day food fest.  It all started at the Dutch.  My dad said his dish was the best brunch he’s ever had.  And based on the reaction we’re getting to the pics (including a ‘nice shot’ from Andrew C himself), I believe it.  I went with a simple omelette and Steve had the Kimchi Fried Rice & Eggs which I really want myself.  But the poached eggs really were the winner.  Also don’t miss the Fried Chicken although not advisable in the morning hours as it is a huge portion.

OMELETTE, OYSTER MUSHROOM, COMTE CHEESE, FRISÉE…………………………18

The Dutch

SHRIMP & KIMCHI FRIED RICE, TWO EGGS, GRILLED PORK BELLY…………………19

The Dutch

POACHED EGGS, CHEDDAR BISCUIT, HAM, CHIPOTLE & TOMATO ………………..19

The Dutch

And it seems there’s almost always a bloody involved here.  There are now two options…the original and a Caesar

BLOODY MARY 13

VODKA, CHIPOTLE, SMOKED PAPRIKA SALT, HOUSE PICKLES, CHORIZO

BLOODY CAESAR 15

KROGSTAD AQUAVIT, CLAMATO, CORIANDER SALT, SHUCKED OYSTER

The Dutch

 

6/29/2013 Second Visit

Almost two years after my first visit I decided this review needs to be either confirmed or denied.  While the first visit did not impress, the second most certainly did.  I duly noticed the oyster sliders had gone from the menu.  I went for soft shell crab as I read The Dutch was doing a great sandwich.  I got in some of my own pics too, which for some reason back in 2011 I neglected to do!

The restaurant is still a hot spot and there wasn’t and empty seat in the house at 2pm in the afternoon on a summer Friday.  The raw bar had some space, but otherwise the place was bustling.  We had a lovely window seat.  The noise level was a bit high, but I’d classify it as an energetic vibe.

We started with Bloody Marys, which were even better than the last time.  Packed with spicy veggies and still rimmed with spicy salt, this is among my ‘best of’ Bloodies.  The drink was garnished with pepper stuffed olives, a spicy green bean and a gherkin.  ‘Delish’ and the perfect complement to an assortment of oysters.  We ordered two of each type on the menu – Blue Point, Ninigret, Shigoku, Wasenauk and Wellfleets.  Two of the ten weren’t shucked properly, which is always annoying at a high end restaurant specializing in raw bar!  We’d just had a better assortment at Aquagrill.

The Dutch

I ordered the  Soft Shell Crab Sandwich which was crisply deep fried and served with Green Goddess dressing and sliced chilis for a pop of heat.  It looked like way too much bread when it arrived, but the roll was actually perfect for absorbing the juicy crab.  There was a rather lovely watercress and cucumber salad served on the side which I enjoyed quite a bit as well.

The Dutch

Steve ate light, which I should have done but did not regret chowing down that crab!  He had the local beet and avocado salad with Cloumage and Sicilian pistachios.  What is Cloumage, you ask?  Other than amazing?

‘Cloumage® is a fresh lactic curd made from our cows’ milk at Shy Brothers Farm. When cooked, Cloumage® has the texture of a baked ricotta.  The lactic tang of the curd marries well with both sweet and savory flavors.’

The Dutch

So I’d go back for sure, perhaps regularly!  I must say while we got a great seat I enjoyed the vibe in the bar more than the dining room.  I am sticking with the idea that munching at the bar is the best way to go.  They’ve got a rather nice selection of small plates great for sharing.  And in the summer who doesn’t love a pile of fresh seafood?  But timing is everything here as there is always a crowd.

9/13/2011  First Visit

I am probably going to get some flack for this one, but I FINALLY went to The Dutch and it was underwhelming.  The crowds have been pretty absurd, so it’s been on the wait list.  On a Sunday evening, my friend Paula and I decided to go to ‘The Oyster Room’ for early cocktails and a light dinner.

The Dutch is an Andrew Carmellini restaurant featuring the latest version of comfort food plus a raw bar and cocktail bar.  Naturally everything is locally sourced.  The menu offers something for everyone.  And they are open late night as well.  What more could you ask for?

The Dutch

The cocktails were delicious…it started out quite well!  The bloody was served with a pickled ramp, which was a nice touch.

Bloody Mary – Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Chipotle, Smoked Paprika Salt, Pickle

The second cocktail was the Miss Elliette, which was made with Tito’s Vodka, Cocchi Americano,  Lavender & Lemon.  Cocchi Americano is an Italian Aperitif wine made in Asti.  Overall, this was a lovely light and lemony cocktail with the scent of lavender

We ordered a variety of items to taste.  We began, of course, with the oysters.  They were fresh, shucked perfectly, and we ordered 2 Malpeques, 2 Moonshoal,  & 2 Shigoku.  Neither of us had a Moonshoal before, but both love any East Cost Oyster, these included.  I am a fan of Salty, briny and fresh. The Shigoku were really nice.  I am generally not a West Coast oyster lover, although I like any oyster.  These were creamy, but not too creamy and the shells were small and very deep.  Great oysters.  Still looking good, right?

Next up, Peel & Eat Shrimp w/Red Remoulade.  We got a bowl of 6 Prawns boiled in a spice mix. The flavor of the spice was nice, but the prawns were very underdone.  A couple were nearly raw and we really had trouble getting the shells of as a result.  Strike one.  And the spice was messy, so you need to be in the mood for getting a bit dirty.

For our third round, we had the Dressed Crab, Bloody Mary, Green Goddess.  We saw a couple of girls with this dish and it looked quite nice.  A large pile of lump crab surrounded by Bloody Mary. It was good, but nothing stellar.

The Dutch

Last up, we did the Little Oyster Sandwiches.  These are essentially Fried Oyster Sliders. Again, we saw them going out to quite a few people and they looked great.    The oysters were on the large side which is totally fine for an oyster slider.  Unfortunately, their bellies were really full of black silt.  It was rather vile tasting and overwhelmed the flavor of the entire thing.  I am a pretty big sport when it comes to this kind of thing.  I got it down without issue, but it was bad enough that Paula had to set hers aside.  At $6 for one oyster that was a bit of a bummer.  We kind of expected perfect.

So, as with any Celeb Chef, highly acclaimed hot spot I will give it another chance.  Next time, full ‘Supper’ menu  as they call it with a reservation in the dining room.  I will keep you updated. As of now, my only recommendation is DRINK and have OYSTERS.  This is never a bad thing.

http://thedutchnyc.com
131 Sullivan Street – Soho

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North End Grill – Battery Park City

11/23/14

We’ve now been to North End Grill on countless occasions, including a Thanksgiving.  We’ve done all meals.  But now Chef Floyd Cardoz has moved on to White Street, which we are trying tomorrow. We decided to try brunch under the new chef, Eric Korsch.  The new chef most recently opened Calliope and prior was the Executive Chef at the Waverly Inn.  The menu has changed a bit.  But overall we were generally impressed.  Here’s a photo collage of our breakfast feast.  We just came off of brunch at The Dutch, which is hard to match in flavor and uniqueness.  This might score better on presentation?  But we aren’t unhappy by any means to have this place in our neighborhood.  We’ll give dinner a try.

The Bloody Caesar is a party in your mouth with pickled flavors, spice and topped with a raw clam.  Winning for most interesting twist was the Eggs Mayonnaise (center), chilled poached eggs topped with deviled egg filling.  They were ‘de-lish’ with a side of mixed lettuces.  Of the two Benedicts, go with the crab and spinach version for something fresh.  The sides of bacon and the merguez sausage speak for themselves.  One pic we missed was the 3 scoops of ice cream – we had pumpkin, vanilla honeycomb and butter pecan.  We’d go back just for the ice cream alone.  The combination was perfect for Thanksgiving season and we were particularly fond of the vanilla honeycomb.

North End Grill

6/29/2012

Battery Park City has long been a culinary wasteland. Thanks to Danny Meyer’s expanding empire and Chef Floyd Cardoz (formerly of Tabla and Winner of Top Chef Masters), those days are over. It began with Shake Shack, then Blue Smoke, and now the pièce de résistance, North End Grill. We had an epic meal there on Saturday night; a 3 hour culinary tour. We were guided by Allen, a most knowledgable server. He helped us pair wines and dessert wines with our meal, describing the wine flavors with an incredible clarity.  I could not resist the Gaia with my lobster because of his vision of the Greek surf and the essence of ocean.   While we did not have so many questions, the table next to us quizzed him on every menu item, which he effortlessly explained from ingredients and preparation to flavors. This man knows his food!

The interior is huge and so tastefully done.  From the photos, I was expecting it to be very masculine, but in person it is clean, modern, open and airy.  The walls are done with a black washed wood,  which really enhances the vibe of fresh grilled food.  The lighting fixtures are not only stunning, but very effective in lighting the food.  I am tired of dark restaurants where I cannot see the colors of the food on the plate.  Much less get a descent iPhone shot without annoying people with my flash.  All of my food pics are as close to perfect as they can be with a phone!

Also impressive is the massive wide-open kitchen.  We saw Floyd himself working with his staff as we were escorted to our table.  The grills and every workstation are in plain view.  To top it off there is a sushi bar-like counter facing directly into the kitchen.  No room for yelling or mishandling food in this kitchen.

The bar area is also rather large.  There is plenty of room at a long bar and there are communal bar height tables for overflow.  There were even tables along the wall.  Based on the extensive list of appetizers on the menu, I can see this being a frequent stop for a nosh.  The cocktail list is creative , wines by the glass extensive and sometimes expensive – $28 for the French Pinot Noir so I had to go with the Willamette Valley!  Steve had a Six Point ‘Crisp’, a pilsner, which came in a crystal glass served at the perfect chill.  I had a Bloody Caesar which came with a raw clam skewered on the bottom of my celery.  I know where I am going  for brunch if and when they serve it!

This is just a little segue here because Brunch = Eggs.  We were so in love with the ‘Eggs’ section of the Small Plate Menu.  Who doesn’t savor a perfectly cooked egg?  More please!

Soft Scrambled Eggs with Hen of the Woods Mushrooms and Grilled Bread 12

We had our meal in three courses.  We each decided to have two small plates and of course we shared everything.  Generally we contrasted lighter dishes and rich dishes.  For the first course, Steve had the scallops and I had the bone marrow.  The scallops were served with blood orange juice, sushi-style.  This was so light, fruity and refreshing, not to mention beautiful.  This is a must-have!  My bone marrow was served with trout roe on top.  The texture of the roe was such a great contrast to the marrow.  This dish had veal trotter (feet) on the side.  This was a large and rather rich dish.  This should be shared.  And for the less adventurous eater, skip it.

Nantucket Bay Scallop Cocktail with Ginger and Blood Orange Juice 14

Roasted Marrow Bones with Trout Roe, Trotter and Cress 16

For our next course, Steve had the scrambled egg with hen of the woods mushrooms pictured above.  I think it speaks for itself.  My course was really interesting.  I chose the turnip, fennel and pecorino salad.  Truly, I did not know what to expect.  I saw lightly shaved turnip, fennel and pecorino.  That it was, however, it was roasted and all a deep yellow.  On the top were the most gorgeous greens.  Again, this dish should be shared.  It was not filling, but the portion was quite large.

Shaved Turnips, Fennel and Pecorino with Black Pepper Vinaigrette 12

                                                                

For the third course  I took it over the top with grilled lobster and Steve had the Lamb Loin.  There’s nothing better than a grilled lobster, so that one needs no explanation.  The lamb was out of this world.  It was served on a bed of lightly minted chick pea and lemon concoction.  Wow!

Grilled Lobster, not on the online menu $39

Elysian Fields Lamb Loin with Minted Chickpeas and Preserved Lemon 32

                                                                 

And  no, it didn’t end there.  Amazingly, we were not stuffed to the gills after this meal.  We were allowed to savor every course and enjoy our wine.  We had plenty of time to digest and move on with more tastings.  We opted for after dinner wines and TWO desserts!  Allen helped us pair our desserts with after dinner drinks.  I had the lemon meringue paired with  Pacherenc, which blew my mind.  The lemon flavor just explodes.  Steve had the Sticky Toffee Pudding with a fortified wine, Banyul.  This was another amazing pairing.  But I liked mine better 🙂

Lemon Meringue Pie with Candied Almonds $8

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Ginger Ice Cream $8

                                                                

In conclusion, this was one of the more amazing meals we’ve enjoyed in quite some time.  And we eat out every now and then ;).  Thank you, thank you, thank you Danny Meyer and Floyd Cardoz.  I might even have to thank Goldman Sachs for throwing everyone out of every building they bought and filling it back up with good stuff.  Battery Park’s days of Chili’s and Applebee’s are over.  Ahhh.

Update 7/14/12

Since our first experience, we’ve always wanted to go back and try the bar area.

                                               

We felt if the bar snacks were anywhere near as good as the meal we’d had, we had a great new hang in our neighborhood.  All started very well with the Kachumber Kooler – Gin, Cucumber, Cilantro, Green Chilies, Lime $13.  Delicious.

                                                                

Next up, we each ordered a little appetizer.

Black Pepper Shrimp with Lime $12

                                                                  

This was a big ‘meh’.  Too much pepper.  Overcooked.  4 pcs for $12?  Unimpressive.

Halibut Taco with Chipotle Mayo $5

                                                                    

Steve loves a fish taco.  How could Floyd Cardoz present such a lame one?  Ok, so it was only $5 but we had a better one at Oaxaca Taco outside at the North Cove Marina!

Understood these fries look amazing.  Nice job with the consistent size and shape, excellent presentation. Dry.  Tasting of powdered spices.  We didn’t finish them.

The best item we had?  Free bar snack, deep fried garbanzo beans.  I ate the whole bowl.

                                                     

So surprise, we weren’t impressed with the bar and for what we ate, we felt robbed when we got the bill.  We won’t be running back to hang at North End Grill’s bar.  Seems like nobody else is either.  We were there on a Saturday evening and there were only a couple of locals at the bar.  The restaurant looked fairly busy, but nothing like the launch.  Then again, it is July in downtown Manhattan.  No doubt we will go for a third trial.  More then!

http://northendgrillnyc.com/ 
104 North End Avenue – Battery Park City

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Marta Manhattan – Martha Washington Hotel

Marta Manhattan is yet another notch on the bedpost of Danny Meyer.  His empire continues to grow and as usual he delivers; this time with Chef Nick Anderer (formerly of Maialino) at the helm. The theme is thin crust wood fired Roman pizza and other Roman fare with seasonal and local ingredients.  The space is absolutely cavernous, taking up the entire ground floor of the Martha Washington Hotel on East 29th Street.  That area is now quite the mecca with the Ace Hotel and April Bloomfield nearby!

We’ve read nothing but complaints about the decor, but frankly it is quite impressive.  While it isn’t cozy, the ceilings are incredibly high and dramatic.  The decor is clean and there’s nothing wrong with that.  The ceiling does make it quite loud when it is packed to the gills. We opted, for once, to have a late-night 10pm meal after a show at The Cutting Room nearby.  The place was booked solid and hopping with chic folks noshing on pizza and enjoying cocktails.  We think it would be worthwhile to try a lunch sometime for us tamer folk.

Marta by Bloomberg

Service was surprisingly fast considering the hundreds of people in the place.  We got everything at once – apps + pizzas + drinks.  That would be the only annoyance we had. Order up your drinks, savor them, then place your order.  Ask for apps first.  Sad that one would have to specify, but we’ll chalk it up to trying to keep it moving in there.  Grand openings and the buzz draw constant crowds and they want to keep everybody happy.

Most importantly, the pizza lived up to the high expectations, as did the rabbit polpettini. The cocktails are quite nice as well.  I am loving the now-trending aged Negroni, which they offer as well as a Mortoni, a twist with vodka and Campari.  It was late and dark, but we got descent enough lighting to get some pizza shots.

FUNGHI • 18
Fontina, Hen of the Woods, Chanterelles, Red Onion, Thyme

Marta

CAPRICCIOSA • 17
Mozzarella, Artichokes, Prosciutto, Olives, Egg

Marta

BOTTLE-AGED NEGRONI 14 Beefeater Gin, Campari & Cinzano Rosso

Marta

 

http://martamanhattan.com

29 East 29th Street – NoMad (North of Madison Square Park)

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Ma Peche

Update 10/21/2014

I dined at Ma Peche for about the 4th time tonight and feel compelled to express my massive disappointment with our meal.  I took work people thinking it would be cool to go to a famous chef spot that’s a bit hipper than the usual uptown fare.  They changed the format to dim sum carts, which seemed fun until we ate a bunch of lukewarm foods.  They of course added the pork bun from Momofuku Noodle Bar to the cart.  And the large format fried chicken (half or whole) is now on the Ma Peche Menu as well.  The bun was about the best thing, but pretty meh.  The chicken had been pre cooked and brought to our table a bit dried up.  It was overdone on the outside, flavorless and dry.  What a supreme bummer!

And this matches my last visit to Momofuku Noodle Bar as well.  The momofuku ramen is nothing to write home about.  And the bun was actually better at Ma Peche because they offer you Sriracha sauce with it.  I guess back in the beginning it was all very exciting and now everybody’s doing it.  Better.  But we still expect the best from the original master or start over and change it up.  The empire may have gotten to large to handle.  It isn’t good when there is availability at every time slot for a table for 4 the day before.

Update 7/20/12

I was uptown in the neighborhood and had the opportunity to stop into Ma Peche for lunch on a Friday afternoon.  I was seated at the bar upstairs, which has a bit less of the yellow light that makes it so difficult to photograph the food.  I had the Duck Ramen with miso, bok choy and Xo Sauce, which is a Chinese spicy sauce made from shrimp, scallops, garlic, chile and additional spices.  This was a truly tasty bowl of ramen.  It was pouring rain outside, so it was the perfect warm me up bowl.

 

12/27/2011

French Vietnamese, Notable Chef
http://www.momofuku.com/restaurants/ma-peche/
15 West 56th Street – Midtown West

At 35, David Chang is one of the biggest chefs in New York City these days, and rightly so. He has introduced such a cool vibe to the dining scene. Casual, amazing food inspired by the flavors of Asia. Mr Chang is Korean American, but seamlessly fuses Asian flavors in innovative ways. The Momofuku bars are so small and crowded, not to mention difficult to get into. But, Ma Peche, while we rarely go uptown, is a cavernous restaurant. It combines the concept of 3 Momofuku spots in one space. As you enter and leave, there is Milk Bar. Upstairs there is Momofuku Bar, and downstairs Ma Peche. The empire continues to grow world wide. His first restaurant was Momofuku Noodle Bar, a Japanese noodle shop. Momofuku Ssam is known for duck. Ko does a $175 prix fixe lunch which I understand to be insane. And the newest in New York in Ma Peche, which means ‘Mother Peach’ in French-Vietnamese.  We used to frequent Sapa, now closed, and so enjoyed their French-Vietnamese cuisine.

The Ma Peche space was formerly a rather uptight restaurant called Town.  It is no longer recognizable in any way.  The entrance is an outpost of Milk Bar, where they serve ready to go desserts.  The famous product there is cereal milk, which now also comes in soft serve form.

The main dining area is downstairs.  The bar area is upstairs in a balcony overlooking the dining area.  The room is covered with gigantic canvas sails in a warm yellow, creating a soft warm vibe for such a high-ceilinged space.  It makes non-flash pics look orange so I bugged people with my iPhone flash.   Rock and roll is blasting from the speakers and the only artwork on the walls is a piece by Mexican Artist Miguel Calderon who we’ve seen in Juxtapoz magazine.

Miguel Calderon’s ‘Bad Route’

As for the food and service, both were excellent.  Our waiter had a very cool and relaxed vibe.  He commented  on our choices as being excellent…’a nice little lunch you got going’.  We took his recommendation for the daily special as well, which was a terrine salad.  Everything was complete perfection from the refreshing Moscow Mules to the Banh Mi Sandwiches.   We particularly LOVED the pork belly steamed buns.  If we had more room, we’d have had another round!

cocktails
moscow mule − tito’s, ginger, lime  14

small plates
summer rolls – pork/shrimp/tofu, lettuce, hoisin, peanut  9

steamed pork buns – hoisin, cucumbers, scallion  10

 three terrine salad  12

banh mi maison – three terrine sandwich, cilantro  10

beef & pork belly hero – crab mayo, green papaya  10

We can only say that we’d love to go again for a full dinner.  This was such an outstanding lunch.  Perfect for a chilly afternoon.  More later on Ma Peche, we promise!

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