Tag Archives: Gastropub

Now that I’ve eaten my way through somebody else’s list (Time Out New York), I’m ready to compile my own 100 spectacular things I’ve tasted in 2012. Look for another five dishes every few days.

NUMBER 50: STEAK TARTARE at POST OFFICE

Sure, I’m a carnivore, but I don’t go bonkers over meat like many food bloggers. Strangely enough steak houses are probably my least favorite kind of restaurant. That being said, when a modest cut of meat is prepared exquisitely with the right seasonings and sauce, I could easily forget vegetables ever existed.

And while Post Office’s steak tartare is not cooked, it is certainly exquisitely prepared. This whiskey lounge serves some of the best bar food in Brooklyn, including their zippy version of raw chopped steak. Fresh filet mignon is tossed with the most perfect ingredients to provide a wonderful balance of flavors and textures. Bright, spicy, and rich, this version (with a side of seasoned and buttered toast points) has the potential to convert even the staunchest of vegetarians. Price: $14

POST OFFICE
188 Havemeyer Street (between South 3rd and South 4th Street),
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
(718) 963-2574
postofficebk.com

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For the third year in a row, I’m going to attempt to eat every single item on Time Out New York’s annual 100 Best Dishes list. In no particular order, here’s my take on their Top 100. Let the gluttony continue…

The first time we went to St. Anselm, we were hopping for fried bar food. Instead we got their new updated menu of simple grilled ingredients. We were disappointed only because we couldn’t get the now unavailable disco fries.  We were, however, pleasantly surprised by how good everything was – most notably the eggplant trio, shishito peppers, and Butcher’s steak.

We didn’t order any of those items on this second visit. And I sort of wished we had because only one item lived up to our mighty expectations. I still love this place. It’s warm, comforting, and smells absolutely delicious. The open kitchen gives off whiffs of smoke and fat and makes the salivary glands go wild. The service is helpful and the prices are surprisingly reasonable for this quality food.

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For the third year in a row, I’m going to attempt to eat every single item on Time Out New York’s annual 100 Best Dishes list. In no particular order, here’s my take on their Top 100. Let the gluttony continue…

Most of my meals during my freshman year of college consisted of frozen, microwaveable dinners – salisbury steaks, Hot Pockets, and pot pies. And then one day, for shits and giggles, I looked at the back of one of those icy boxes and saw the calorie count. At that time, I didn’t care much about what food labels said, but I had never seen that many calories or fat in a single serving. The calories were well in to the triple digits and the fat content was higher than any I had ever seen. The idea of consuming all that unhealthiness in one little box soon lost its excitement.

Now when I eat out, of course, I don’t ask to see the nutritional facts otherwise I might never eat again. Plus the food world in New York City is a little different from the microwavable food I was consuming in my dorm room.

I think those potpies all those years ago had a scarring effect because pot pies are still not something I’m normally attracted to on a menu. I don’t dislike them, I just think I know better. Yet the version at the ever popular The Dutch made its way onto Time Out’s Top 100 list so I had to make room for the calories.

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For the third year in a row, I’m going to attempt to eat every single item on Time Out New York’s annual 100 Best Dishes list. In no particular order, here’s my take on their Top 100. Let the gluttony continue…

Without a doubt the hottest restaurant to open last year was The Dutch. And it’s not because they didn’t have air conditioning in the summer (they did), but instead because Andrew Carmellini, who also has a home-run with Locanda Verde in Tribeca, pleased both critics (this restaurant topped many top ten lists) and patrons alike with his southern-influenced menu in a private club/brasserie setting in the celebrity happy neighborhood of Soho.

I would have been shocked if this place went unrepresented on Time Out’s list. And it was no surprise that there ended up being two dishes. The rabbit potpie was unavailable the night we stopped in (it’s now a rotating special and we’ll be sure to return to test it out), but the much-heralded little oyster sandwiches are always listed under snacks. They come one to an order at $5. That’s pretty steep if you ask me, especially considering the result was reminiscent of a McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish.

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I’ve devoured Time Out’s 100 Best dishes and now, once again, I’ve been inspired to create my own list. These are the 100 dishes I have continued to think about since tasting them at some point in 2011. Look for another five dishes every few days. These are in no particular order. 

15. MEATBALLS at RUBIROSA

Meatballs may have been the new cupcake this year. Could you imagine a meatball cupcake? They seemed to be everywhere – just meatballs, not meatball cupcakes. Not only did a second restaurant open specializing in different versions of the little guys, but they found themselves on the menu of many restaurants. And while some can be overly bready or too spicy or flat and dry, the ones at Rubirosa were none of those things. And quite a bit more.

Rubirosa, which comes from the owners of Joe & Pat’s out on Staten Island, is getting well-deserved praise for their thin crust pizzas. But everything (including the service and the music) was memorable, especially the homemade meatballs in a classic red sauce with parmesan and herbs. You can get them as a side, on a bruschetta, or with a plate of spaghetti. However you choose, you may finally understand the new meatball craze. Price: $8 (side), $3 (brushetta), $16/$26 (with spaghetti)

RUBIROSA
235 Mulberry Street (between Spring and Prince Street)
Nolita
(212) 965-0500
rubirosanyc.com

14. JALAPEÑO HUSH PUPPIES at DIRT CANDY

One of the most exciting meals I had this year was completely vegetarian. Amanda Cohen is a genius with vegetables (she calls them “dirty candy”) and could convert even the most stubborn carnivore. The best way to start that conversion is with an order of her beautiful jalapeño laced hush puppies.

These modestly sized irregular-shaped balls are fried golden. When you bite into the dough, in addition to plenty of warming steam, you also get crunchy jalapeño bits which give a healthy kick, along with sweet and yeasty flavors. And with a dip into the provided whipped maple butter, you understand why Amanda Cohen calls this place Dirt Candy and you’re now prepared for a consistently delicious meal. Of vegetables, no less. Price: $6

DIRT CANDY
430 East 9th Street (between First Avenue and Avenue A)
East Village
(212) 228-7732
dirtcandynyc.com

13. KIMCHI ARANCINI at KIMCHI TACO TRUCK

This year we saw many food trucks popping up serving Korean tacos – a fusion of Mexican and Korean flavors. But only one truck attempted to combine Korean flavors with other cuisines. Kimchi Truck, which serves its fair share of Korean tacos, features a dish further down their menu that is a play on a classic Italian dish.

Arancini balls are breaded and fried rice balls usually stuffed with meat, tomato sauce, and cheese. Chef and founder Phillip Lee has the audacity to take this classic and spin it on its head with the addition of Korean flavors. And amazingly, it works wonders. These tender bites are stuffed with mild kimchi flecked rice, a generous helping of Oaxaca (keeping it Mexican) cheese, parmesan, garlic, and spices. They’re fried in Panko breading and are endlessly addicting. A dunk into the special hot sauce makes this rival the original version. Price: $3

KIMCHI TACO TRUCK
Locations Vary,
Follow on Twitter: @KimchiTruck
kimchitacotruck.com

12. CAPPELLETTI at OSTERIA MORINI

Michael White really took off this past year with three hot new restaurants: Marea (which technically opened in 2010), Ai Fiori (which I’m dying to go to once I save up some money), and this place. I already sang the praises of the tiramisu on this list, but now it’s time to focus on what Osteria Morini is all about: rich, decadent, delicious pastas.

These little balls of surprise packed so much flavor they practically knocked me off my seat. It’s an exercise in textures: the soft pillowy ravioli melt away to a sweet, creamy mascarpone center. Through it all are crispy, salty bits of fried prosciutto and the wonderful aroma of truffle. They’re perched in a rich butter sauce that makes this a dish you’re dying to order four more of, but you know you better save room (and arteries) for some of the other dishes. And you’ll be glad you did. Price: $20

OSTERIA MORINI
218 Lafayette Street (between Kenmare Street and Spring Street)
(212) 965-8777
Soho
osteriamorini.com

11. WILKINSONS at HENRY PUBLIC

These little balls were one of the most delicious things I tasted from Time Out’s 100 Best list this past year. We discovered them at Henry Public, a gastropub that underwhelmed us the previous year. But I don’t care what anything else at this restaurants tastes like, these alone are worth the trip.
Named after consulting chef Shannon Wilkinson, these are a hybrid between pancake and doughnut. They’re airy balls of sweet, rich batter that have been fried just long enough to develop a beautiful yeasty exterior. Inside they’re still creamy, eggy, and complexly flavored. At dinner, they’re served with an amazing rum caramel sauce that puts all maple syrup to shame. Sweet, sweet shame. Price: $9

HENRY PUBLIC
329 Henry Street (between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street)
Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
(718) 852-8630
henrypublic.com

I’ve devoured Time Out’s 100 Best dishes and now, once again, I’ve been inspired to create my own list. These are the 100 dishes I have continued to think about since tasting them at some point in 2011. Look for another five dishes every few days. These are in no particular order. 

NUMBER 75: POTATO CHIPS WITH AWESOME SAUCE at WEATHER UP TRIBECA

I do have a weakness for potato chips, but it takes a superior version for me to stop the automatic hand-to-mouth process and pay attention to what I’m actually crunching on. Weather Up Tribeca is a cocktail bar (in Tribeca, duh!) that has a small bites menu furnished by Chef Tyler Kord, of No. 7 and No. 7 Sub Shop. And thanks to him, the chips almost overshadow the cocktails.

The menu says they’re served with “awesome sauce”, which is truth in advertising. The orange hued sauce is reminiscent of a thicker, smoother Thousand Island dressing. It’s the perfect sweet, tangy topping for the homemade chips which are browned to perfection and salted to addiction. And so my weakness continues. Price: $5

WEATHER UP TRIBECA
159 Duane Street (between Broadway and Hudson Street),
Tribeca
(212) 766-3206
weatherupnyc.com

NUMBER 74: SWEET POTATO FRIES at SCHNITZEL & THINGS

Schnitzel & Things, which now has both a mobile truck and a storefront on 3rd Avenue, is known mostly for their breaded and fried meats. But vegetarians and lighter eaters can rejoice in their selection of delicious side orders. There’s no shame in skipping a schnitzel one day and just ordering a sampling of sides, like roasted beets with feta and cucumber salad.  When the storefront opened, they added another magical side option to those favorites.

When I tasted the sweet potato fries for the first time, I wanted to share them with the world. But I couldn’t because I ate them way too quickly myself. They’re thin-cut and fried to the perfect crispness. The generous seasoning of salt plays off the sweet candy flavors of the potatoes to make that perfect sweet, savory, salty combination. I could eat these for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With schnitzel or without. My visits to this store will never be the same again. Now if only they’d start serving them on the truck, life would be perfect. Price: $3

SCHNITZEL & THINGS
723 Third Avenue (between 45th and 46th Street)
Midtown East
(212) 905-0000
schnitzelandthings.com

NUMBER 73: ROSEMARY FRIES at STRONG PLACE

There’s nothing better than a pail full of golden fried french fries. Well, maybe if you add some flavorful seasonings to it. And maybe some special homemade dipping sauce. At gastropub Strong Place, all those things are taken to the next level and that’s why these are the best french fries I tasted all year.

The fries here, which are simply seasoned with rosemary and salt, have the proper balance between crisp exterior and soft starchy center. Each bite is a burst of flavor. These golden nuggets are served with a bottle of homemade ketchup. The ketchup is much darker than the store bought variety and has a deeper, truer tomato flavor with just a hint of sweetness. It doesn’t get much better than that. But Strong Place’s huge selection of craft beer sure helps.

STRONG PLACE
270 Court Street (between Butler Street and Douglass Street)
Cobble Hill
(718) 855-2105

NUMBER 72: CRACK KALE at WHITMAN’S

Kale is the favorite green leafy vegetable of hipsters and foodies in New York. You’ll find a kale salad on every single locavore and market-driven menu in Brooklyn and the East Village. But I wouldn’t say it’s the favorite food of meth addicts, yet Whitman’s, a burger shop in the East Village has brought those two ideas together when they created crack kale.

I’ve enjoyed kale chips that I’ve bought in health food stores and even made roasted spiced kale at home that turns out incredibly crispy. Both of those recipes hint at what crack kale is, but neither come close. Here they flash fry the green leaves until they resemble crackly shards and then dust the chips with salt and seasonings. It’s a flavorful, crunchy, dangerously addicting experience and the healthiest type of crack you could possibly consume. Price: $4

WHITMAN’S
406 East 9th Street (between First Avenue and Avenue A)
East Village
(212) 228-8011
whitmansnyc.com

NUMBER 71: FRIED EEL BONES at EN JAPANESE BRASSERIE

We came to En Japanese Brasseries to experience their monthly Fish Heads, Eel Bones, and Beer dinner. The tuna collar was on Time Out’s list last year, but we also got lots of well-prepared interesting leftovers – the parts of the fish and meat that they don’t serve to customers. Waste not, want not.

And while I enjoyed the tuna collar and many of the other dishes, the one thing I kept adding to my plate from the buffet were the fried eel bones. These are not something I ever anticipated eating in my life. They just don’t sound digestible. Well, they certainly are. There are basically two layers of crunch: a lightly Panko breaded and salty exterior and then the fragile bones themselves that crunch away much easier than you anticipate. Part of the fun is realizing you can eat through these delicate little bones. The flavor isn’t much aside from salty and greasy with very subtle hints of the sea. But with all this beer and fish parts, what more do you want? Price: Only available with $45 dinner

EN JAPANESE BRASSERIE
435 Hudson Street (between Leroy and Morton Street)
West Village
(212) 647-9196
enjb.com

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