Tag Archives: Brooklyn

Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

It doesn’t seem like there has been much innovation in the local Vietnamese food scene. I think our options haven been so limited for so long that when modern Vietnamese restaurants open, the most innovative thing to do is to go back to tradition. Places like Bun-ker and Hanoi House have recently opened (or re-opened) and for the most part, they focus on authenticity which is very exciting and mostly new for New York Vietnamese standards.

Lucy’s Vietnamese Kitchen also focuses on tradition, but there are a few flourishes that make it very exciting and dare I say, totally innovative.

This tiny storefront (only one small communal table) sits in a still-changing area of Bushwick. It’s named for the grandmother of the young American-Vietnamese chef who grew up in the neighborhood.

You might recognize the Vietnamese staples like banh mi and pho, but there a few differences to what you might expect. (more…)


Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

In the last few months, there have been a series of big Japanese chains that opened their first US location in New York. Normally, I don’t like to eat at chain restaurants, but it’s a bit of a novelty and Japanese fast food is generally more nourishing and exciting than American fast food.

Wagamama, TsuruTonTan, and Ichiran were the three major Japanese noodle players that have debuted to long lines in New York City. The one that intrigued me most was Ichiran partly because they are located in a big factory in Bushwick but also because they have special solo dining flavor concentration booths.

In the booths, you are completely alone excpet for a button and a curtain. When the button is pushed, the curtain is partially raised and the torso of a waiter appears who will respond to your needs.

The entire experience, including the recommendations on how to be savor the soup is a little precious. As a busy New Yorker who often deals with many people, I did appreciate the opportunity to dine completely alone and not have to deal with anyone else. But I imagine the ramen would taste just as good if I was sitting at a table with a group of people.

You also get to customize your ramen from the firmness of the noodles to the richness of the broth to the amount of added toppings. I went down the menu circling the options the restaurant recommends for first timers.

So my soup ended up on the medium side of just about everything. And it was pretty great. The thin chewy noodles were truly fantastic and the complex super porky tonkotsu broth was indeed worth savoring. The other notable addition, besides some serious garlic, scallions, and a meaty pork chashu, is their signature top secret spicy red sauce.

It was one of the better ramen soups I’ve had recently. Like many, I was dismayed by the prices  here (almost double the price of the Japanese locations) and the gimmicky flavor booths are a little too serious. But there’s no denying that this is one seriously good bowl of ramen. Price: $18.90

ICHIRAN
374 Johnson Avenue (between Bogart Street and Morgan Avenue),
(718) 381-0491
Bushwick, Brooklyn
ichiran.com/en

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

Leave it to me to visit one of the best new speakeasies and not even have a cocktail. I studied the menu and watched the bartenders work their magic at Karasu, hidden behind the local restaurant Walter’s, but I didn’t order a drink because I was on my way to give a tour (and I try to stay somewhat sober for those). But I came here to check out the place (which is awesome) and have some dinner.  The food, like the cocktails, are Japanese-inspired. And the softly breaded and incredibly tender fried chicken pieces with dipping sauces almost makes up for the lack of alcohol. Price: $11
KARASU
166 Dekalb Avenue (at Cumberland Street),
Behind Walter’s Restaurant
(347) 223-4811
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
karasubk.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

Totonno’s should have been on a previous 100 best list, but it wasn’t until this year that I fully understood its greatness. I was unimpressed on my first visit many years ago, but goes to show variables can make me wrong. The pizza here is great and a true New York classic – thin chewy charred crust and a sweet tomato sauce tamed by a rich buttery tang from the globs of cheese. Price: $16.50/$19.50

TOTONNO PIZZERIA NAPOLITANA
1524 Neptune Avenue (between West 16th and West 15th Street),
Coney Island, Brooklyn
(718) 372-8606
totonnosconeyisland.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

Spice comes in all forms and while the fried chicken at Carla Hall’s Brooklyn restauarant may look harmless enough – it has a serious burn. This is especially true as you get higher in numbers on the sampler plate of her hot fried chicken tenders. They range from a bold honey and hot paprika marinate (Number 2) to a fiery pineapple and habañero (Number 4) all the way up to a hellish trio of banana, carolina reaper, and ghost chili peppers (Number 6). I couldn’t get through the last one, but it was a fun paleate-challenging journey to take. Price: $14.25
CARLA HALL’S SOUTHERN KITCHEN
115 Columbia Street (between Baltic and Kane Street),
Columbia Waterfront, Brooklyn
(718) 855-4668
carlahallssouthernkitchen.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

First they did it with sodas, like Root Beer and Cream Soda. Now Coney Island Brewing Company has turned to famous cocktails to inspire their beers. The Hot Toddy is an unlikely beer style, but it works wonders. The strong ale (12.5% ABV) is fermented with honey, cinnamon, and lemons. It is then aged on whiskey barrel staves before being served hot or cold. Yes, it’s beer, but you’d be forgiven if you thought you were actually drinking a cocktail. .Price Varies.

CONEY ISLAND BREWING COMPANY
1904 Surf Avenue (at West 17th Street),
Coney Island, Brooklyn
(718) 996-0019
coneyislandbeer.com

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