Tag Archives: Red Hook

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 5 dishes that gave me the most joy….

NUMBER 5: RICOTTA HOT CAKES at TWO HANDS BAR & RESTAURANT

Australian-owned coffee shops and cafés are taking over the city. And if they all do brunch as well as Two Hands, I’m happy to give it to them. I’m especially taken with their amazingly gluten free ricotta hot cakes. The large hotcake is browned to the edge yet the interior is cheesy and doughy (although not with actual dough). It’s topped with a tangy whipped ricotta, seasonal berries, and pecans for crunch. Of course, as any brunch cake should, it’s served with a side of maple syrup. Price: $14

TWO HANDS RESTAURANT & BAR
251 Church Street (between Leonard and Franklin Street),
Tribeca
twohandsnyc.com

NUMBER 4: U & I at MU RAMEN

This is an appetizer fit for a king. I probably went a little overboard eating it by myself, but it’s been a tough year. If translated into English terms, the uninitiated might not want to try the sea urchin gonads (uni) and fish eggs (ikura), but these are two of the greatest culinary pleasures I can think of. And together, they are just amazing. The bright orange uni is as creamy, sweet, and rich as it gets. The four lobes sat on a bed of warm rice and a spicy tuna mixture. More texture was provided in the abundant briny roe which was tamed by the strips of toasted dried seaweed. And then on top, sat a round of potent and fresh wasabi. Market Price

MU RAMEN
1209 Jackson Avenue (between 48th Avenue and 47th Road),
Long Island City, Queens
(917) 868-8903
ramennyc.wixsite.com/popup

NUMBER 3: PASTRAMI BACON at HOMETOWN BAR-B-QUE

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Hometown Bar-B-que is the best barbecue we have in New York. It’s worth trekking out to Red Hook to get a taste of anything they smoke. This year, I was brought to meat heaven by a slab of grilled, smoked bacon. It was seasoned generously with pepper and pastrami spices and featured char marks along the exterior. It had the perfect layer of fat, which was buttery but not unctuous. Each bite was peppery, smoky, and luscious. I can’t think of a better pairing than the accompanying sweet and spicy honey mustard sauce. I’m excited to see what smoked meat from Hometown will end up on next year’s list. Price: $14 per 1/4 pound

HOMETOWN BAR-B-QUE
454 Van Brunt Street (at Reed Street),
Red Hook, Brooklyn
(347) 294-4644
hometownbarbque.com

NUMBER 2: CARROT CREPE at OLMSTED

This particular dish is not just at the top of my list, but many restaurant critics and bloggers around the city. Olmsted was hand’s down one of the top dining experiences of the year. And this crepe made from carrots was impeccable. Yes, it’s a crepe made from carrots, but it’s similar in texture to a giant tender ravioli. Inside littleneck clams are buttery and briny and pair perfectly with the creamy complex carrot reduction. Sunflower seeds and sweet carrot ribbons provide crunch and texture. It’s a gorgeously plated dish and one of the rare ones that tastes as good as it looks. Price: $15

OLMSTED
659 Vanderbilt Avenue (between Park Place and Prospect Place),
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
(718) 0552-2610
olmstednyc.com

NUMBER 1: SHIITAKE “CACIO E PEPE” at NIX

Cacio e pepe is a classic Roman pasta dish that is as simple as it gets: cheese and black pepper. It has also somehow become quite trendy in NYC lately. Chef John Fraser’s version loses the pasta and replaces it with rich polenta and tender peppery shiitake mushrooms that are sliced to provide an al dente texture. The rich woodsy notes of those shrooms are countered with sweet bites of corn kernels and a few bright green beans. Of course, as is appropriate, the dish is showered with plenty of sharp pecorino cheese. It’s honestly a dish I have been thinking about since I tasted it and it’s the best thing I tried all year. Price: $24

NIX
72 University Place (between East 10th and East 11th Street),
Greenwich Village
(212) 498-9393
nixny.com

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

HOMETOWN BAR-B-QUE, 454 Van Brunt Street (at Reed Street), Red Hook, Brooklyn

I unequivocally claim that the best barbecue in New York City (and perhaps in the northeast) is at Hometown Bar-B-Que in the hard-to-reach neighborhood of Red Hook. People in the food world have made the pilgrimage to Hometown. And after eating there for the second time recently, I know that there is nowhere better.

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Come back every Wednesday for another funny, informative video documenting my inept food adventures. NY Craft Cocktail Tour explores the craft cocktail culture of New York from local distilleries to specialty spirit shops to amazing cocktail bars and speakeasies. 

If you didn’t know, Red Hook might be the booziest neighborhood in Brooklyn. In addition to a winery, a brewery, some great bars, and an excellent wine store, there are three distilleries operating within a few blocks from each other. Van Brunt Stillhouse is the most traditional of the bunch. They are making a range of American whiskeys, an amazing rum made from sundried sugar from the Himalayas, and a range of grappas and vermouths. Best part is, they can mix their spirits into cocktails in their adjacent bar. Learn more about the local distilling scene on the Urban Adventures Craft Cocktail Tours that I lead.

Van Brunt Stillhouse


Category: Video

My search for the best cheesecake in New York continues….

FAIRWAY MARKET, 2127 Broadway (at West 74th Street), Upper West Side

I never thought it would come to this, but I’m about to review a supermarket on this blog. Albeit the supermarket in question is a New York born company that is dedicated to the community and still a family-run business. In a way Fairway is truly iconic to New York. And it’s still only in the metro area with no more than 15 locations (at the moment).

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Category: Cheesecake

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

COURT STREET GROCERS HERO SHOP, 116 Sullivan Street (between Van Brunt Street and Conover Street), Red Hook, Brooklyn

The guys at Cout Street Grocers have a way with turkey. The usually bland and dry meat is always treated with respect at the three locations.

Their most out-of-the-way outpost is near the dock in the semi-secluded neighborhood of Red Hook not far from their original Carroll Gardens location. Here, they focus on heroes offered to the neighborhood at affordable prices and with chef-driven ingredients and preparations.

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

KAO SOY, 283 Van Brunt Street (between Pioneer Street and Visitation Place), Red Hook, BrooklynAny notable (and lucky) restaurant will get their fair share of press in the New York food universe. It’s rare that I’m ahead of the game and visit a restaurant before the major food reviewers publish their take. So I was happy to get to Kao Soy before too much excitement had been built up.

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