Tag Archives: East Village

My search for the best hot dog in New York continues….

It’s funny – when I first started this blog, the easiest reviews to write were the negative ones. Not that I enjoyed knocking a restaurant, but the writing came a lot easier thanks to punchlines. Now I find it harder to write the bad reviews and much prefer to focus on how great something is.

So let me start with the great things at dinner table. It’s a very cool reverse speakeasy-style establishment. Instead of sneaking through a restaurant to get to a bar, you go through the bar (in this case The Garret East) to get a to an unmarked door. It looks like it leads to a back alley or maybe an employees only area. Instead, if you flick a switch on the wall, the door slides open to reveal a secret intimate little restaurant.

This is dinnertable. When they opened last year, those in the know heard about the great menu created for the special VIP guests who found their way here. Since then, the chef has changed and the food has shifted to a more Japanese gastropub-style menu. Great – my kind of food.

When I got to dinnertable, I found plenty of availability (this place really is a secret!) and I sat at the bar where the chef served me himself. I ordered the hot dog (since it sounded fascinating with its Japanese-inspiration) and a cooling cucumber trout salad,.

Unfortunately, I was greatly disappointed. I won’t harp on the blahness of the $13 cucumber salad, since I’m using this space to review their hot dog.

The hot dog is made special for them at Dickson’s Farmstand in Chelsea Market. The chef has decided to meld the pork sausage with miso and sugarcane juice, grill it, and serve some kewpie mayonnaise and a sweet brown sauce on top, and then a sprinkle of wasabi salt on the side. It sounded intriguing enough although the $17 price tag was jaw-dropping.

Even more jaw dropping was that I couldn’t bring myself to finish the dog. The flavors might have been ok, but I was immediately put off by the gray color and soft texture. The grilled dog showed signs of char marks but the interior of the link was so soft. I found it mealy and fatty and quite unpleasant. I like my hot dogs to snap or at the very least to be a bit firm. This was as soft as the potato bun so there was no textural contrast.

The chef explained that it was from the high fat content of the pork and the miso addition. Ok, but I really didn’t like it. It pained me to take only two bites of a $17 hot dog and to leave the really cool establishment hungry (and poorer).

I imagine other menu items are more successful and that this chef (who seemed nice enough) has other exciting offerings. But the hot dog is not the thing to get here. In fact, I found it rather off-putting. And I don’t find it easy (or fun) to say that.

Does dinnertable have the best hot dog in NY? The fact that I couldn’t take more than a few bites of the pricey specimen speaks volumes. Afriad I have to give it a 5 out of 10 for unpleasant texture and a concept that just did not work for me.

DINNERTABLE
206 Avenue A (between East 12th and East 13th Street),
East Village
dinnertablenyc.com

Category: Hot Dogs

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

I just got back from another trip to Philadelphia. And while there, of course, I had to try another of the city’s famed cheesesteaks. One day (after many more trips to Philly), I will have an answer for what I think is the best cheesesteak in the city of Brotherly Love. For now, I say it is Dalessandro’s.

No question, you need to head 90 miles southwest to appreciate a real cheesesteak. But I often get asked (mostly by international visitors), where to get the best cheesesteak in NYC. I have a few suggestions (Phil’s Steaks, Shorty’s), but my newest discovery will definitely be the most controversial.

(more…)


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

This unique combination had been on my radar for a few years and I finally got to taste the Jamaican-Japanese mash-up. Miss Lily’s switches out the Japanese pork bone broths for a spicy jerk broth. Alongside the springy noodles is jerk chicken, ackee, jerk pork belly, and a soft boiled egg. It’s warming, firey, and a very cool mash-up. Price: $16
MISS LILY’S 7A
109 Avenue A (at East 7th Street),
East Village
(212) 812-1482
misslilys.com/locations/east-village-7a/

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

You may hear saganaki and think a showy flaming plate of cheese complete with shouts of “Opa!” There is not quite as much of a visual show at Pylos, but the version here is about as good as it gets. Three tangy Greek cheeses are cooked in a clay pot until melted and rich. Squeeze some lemon and scoop some pita. Or just eat it with a fork! Price: $12
PYLOS
128 East 7th Street (between First Avenue and Avenue A),
East Village
(212) 473-0220
pylosrestaurant.com

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

2016 was a tough year. From a whirlwind political circus to the loss of many beloved celebrities to worldwide tragedies, the news was full of sad things. But there was still joy out there and as usual, I found a lot of that joy through food. And here in New York, these are the 10 dishes that gave me the most joy….

NUMBER 10: HOT DOG at FELTMAN’S OF CONEY ISLAND

A Coney Island historian named Michael Quinn bought the Feltman’s brand this year. For those that don’t know, Charles Feltman was the originally creator of the hot dog in 1867 and was the employer of the more famous Nathan’s. Pepper and garlic flavors explode with each snap of the lamb casing. The warm grilled sauerkraut and homemade apple cider vinegar mustard plus the addition of no nitrates or chemicals help put this in the running for best hot dog in the city. Price: $4

FELTMAN’S OF CONEY ISLAND
80 St. Marks Place (between First and Second Avenue),
Inside William Barnacle Tavern,
East Village
https://www.facebook.com/Feltmans-of-Coney-Island

NUMBER 9: PUEBLA DRINK WITH NO NAME at MAYAHUEL

It’s no secret that I love Mayahuel. It’s become one of my favorite bars, visiting it often on the Craft Cocktail tour but also bringing friends who are in town by for a drink. I was looking for a smooth, chocolatey drink to pair with their excellent churros and one of the servers suggested this classic. It has no name (well, sort of) but lots of intense flavors – spicy and smoky mezcal infused with chile de arbol, a moscatel sherry infused with ancho cili, some aged rum, cacao, and mole bitters. It’s modeled after a Oaxacan mole sauce, but it’s also the perfect final sipper to a night out. Price: $15

MAYAHUEL
304 East 6th Street (between First and Second Avenue),
East Village
(212) 253-58888
mayahuelny.com

NUMBER 8: KUBANEH BREAD at TIMNA

It’s hard for me to justify paying for a basket of bread. But this is not just any basket of bread. It’s called kubaneh and is a traditional Yemenite breakfast bread with a yeasty, steamy center. It arrives in a flowerpot with accompaniments of jalapeño salsa, crushed tomatoes, and a dollop of yogurt. Each piece rips apart easily and releases aroma and steam that adds to the experience. This slightly sweet, soft and tender bread disappeared too quickly. It had the sweetness of a brioche, the softness of a popover, and the brownness of a pretzel. Imagine that lovechild. Price: $12

TIMNA
109 St. Marks Place (between First Avenue and Avenue A),
East Village
(646) 964-5181
timna.nyc

NUMBER 7: CLASSIC BURGER at SALVATION BURGER

After Salvation Burger finally re-opened following a debilitating fire, I finally made it up to check out April Bloomfield’s hip, swanky burger palace. I was hesitant to spend so much money for a burger and even more doubtful that it would be worth it. It well-exceeded my highest expectations. The classic burger is modelled after thin-patty fast food burgers but it’s full of meaty char and topped with a secret cheesy sauce, sweet caramlized onions, and bold tangy pickles. If McDonald’s burgers tasted this good, I would have a serious problem. Price: $17

SALVATION BURGER
230 East 51st Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue),
Inside the Pod 51 Hotel
Midtown East
(646) 277-2900
salvationburger.com

NUMBER 6: PANDI-ICE CREAM at HOUSE OF INASAL

We’ve all probably had an ice cream sandwich, but not necessarily one quite like this. The popular Filipino street food is composed of sweet eggy pandesal bread that is toasted and liberally painted with thick halaya, which is ube (purple sweet potato) jam. Then it’s topped with a scoop of the same deep purple-colored ice cream. And finally, it’s garnished with some pinipig (crunchy rice) and young coconut. It’s sweet, warm, cold, crunchy, and absolutely luxurious.  Price: $5.50

HOUSE OF INASAL
65-14 Roosevelt Avenue (between 67th Street and 65th Place),
Woodside, Queens
(718) 429-0709
houseofinasal.com

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

What used to be a little wine bar called Terroir has transformed into a temple for oysters, oysters, and more oysters. The bivalves are available in all forms – I really loved the baked oysters with seaweed butter, prosciutto pieces, and shaved eggs. Take that Oysters Rockefeller! But if raw, fried, or pickled is your thing, those are available here and all with fresh curated varieties. Oh and there’s still plenty of wine. Price: $9.75
ZADIE’S OYSTER ROOM
413 East 12th Street (between First Avenue and Avenue A),
East Village
(646) 602-1300
zadiesoysterroom.com

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