Tag Archives: Soups

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2017…

This year was another crazy ride. And while politics and breaking news stories often drifted into my anxious psyche, food still played an important role. And this year was full of surprising dishes that were nourishing, pleasurable, and a much-needed distraction. Here now are the top 10 dishes – the list includes an exciting mix of hearty classics like burgers and lasagna, along with some brilliant vegetable concoctions.

NUMBER 10: SPICY FISH STEW at HAO NOODLE AND TEA BY MADAM ZHU

When a dish comes out of the kitchen glowing red and spiked with peppercorns, I’m expecting some heat. The only thing that hinted at the spice level for this clear green fish soup was the name “spicy” and the two pepper symbols on the menu. This fish stew had a unique floral, numbing spice and was one of the most exciting dishes I’ve tasted at a Chinese restaurant – ever. Price: $25

HAO NOODLE AND TEA BY MADAM ZHU
401 Sixth Avenue (between Waverly Place and Greenwich Avenue)
Greenwich Village
(212) 633-8900
madamzhu.com

NUMBER 9: SURPRISE TRIP at THE UP & UP

I float toward cocktails that are unusual and surprising and the Surprise Trip is certainly that. It’s a gin based tipple with a syrup made from black trumpet mushrooms and a slew of “corns”. Szechuan peppercorn, pink peppercorn, black peppercorn, and unicorn (an herbal plum liqueur). It had a rich earthy flavor from the mushroom with a bracing spice throughout The gin was incredibly smooth as it played with all the other flavors (earthy, sweet, bracing, complex). It doesn’t get more (pleasantly) surprising. Price: $15

THE UP & UP
116 Macdougal Street (between Bleecker Street and Minetta Lane),
Greenwich Village
(212) 260-3000
upandupnyc.com

NUMBER 8: THE EDITH at ORCHARD GROCER

It’s pretty ballsy to hawk a bagel with vegan cream cheese and carrot lox in the Lower East Side. Despite the changing demographics of the neighborhood, the breakfast sandwich is still associated with the historic Jewish immigrants that once lived here. Yet the familiar combination works beautifully even when no seafood or dairy is involved. A soft chewy bagel is the vessel for cream cheese made out of cashew and smoked salmon made out of thinly sliced, cured, and smoked carrots. The masterminds behind this vegan deli would have made bubbe and zayde proud.  Price: $8

ORCHARD GROCER
78 Orchard Street (between Broome and Grand Street)
Lower East Side
(646) 757-9910
orchardgrocer.com

NUMBER 7: MAITAKE MUSHROOMS at FIFTY

Mushrooms don’t need much and Chef Luis Jaramillo from the somewhat under-the-radar modern American restaurant Fifty seems to know that. The meaty earth candy was nestled under some watercress and above a rich aromatic celery root-truffle puree. The only other addition was sweet sliced grapes that acted as a foil to all the earthy richness on the plate. But it was the chef’s deft hand with the mushrooms themselves that left a lasting impression. Each bite was crisp and tender leaving a lasting woodsy buttery flavor on my lips. Price: $16

FIFTY
50 Commerce Street (between Barrow and Bedford Street),
West Village
(212) 524-4104
fiftyrestaurantnyc.com

NUMBER 6: BANANA & WALNUT BREAD at TWO HANDS

This Banana & Walnut Bread was a bit of a sensation when Two Hands first opened and I totally see why. The bread itself was both impossibly moist and nicely crisped around the edges. On its own, it would have been perfect. But they go even further by schmearing a frosted espresso-laced mascarpone, garnishing it with toasted bits of buckwheat, and drizzling honey on top. This went from being perfect to off the charts. Price $8

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

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2017…

Xi’an Famous Foods has grown since I first visited their original location deep in the heart of Flushing, Queens. Since then the prices have grown and they’ve expanded to more than ten locations around the city. But I must admit the food flavor hasn’t diminished. Case in point were their famous cumin lamb hand-ripped noodles. I had tried this tingly meaty doughy plate of goodness but never with the addition of a complex lamb based soup. The soup was seasoned with bits of celery and a scattering of cilantro. It was spicy, warming, and thankfully just as good as I remembered. Price: $10.95

XI’AN FAMOUS FOODS
81 St. Marks Place (between First and Second Avenue),
East Village
(212) 786-2068
xianfoods.com

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

This year many restaurants opened specializing in mixian noodle soups. These rice noodles  from the Yunnan region of China were not as common as say udon or ramen. But for some reason, this was the year of the mixian.

I am always intrigued by new noodles and I visited a few of the spots, including Yuan, a new location of Deng Ji, and Just for Fen. They were all good but none of them really stood out in my mind from other similar noodle soups I’ve slurped.

That is until I ate at Little Tong Noodle Soup. By far, this corner East Village spot got the most buzz and the most praise for bringing this specialty to the city.

It makes sense that Little Tong would be the one on everyone’s lips since the chef behind it is Simone Tong, a Chinese chef who worked for Wylie Dufresene at wd-50 and Alder. But never mind the buzz and the resumé, these noodles were great.

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I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2017…

New York was pretty lacking with good pho until this year when it seemed like a new Vietnamese spot opened every week. Probably the most well-received was the meaty version at this slightly upscale restaurant in the East Village. The broth is cooked for 16 hours and you can taste it in the rich beefy flavor. The rice noodles are just a supporting player to the filet, brisket, and the healing soup. Price: $14

HANOI HOUSE
119 St. Marks Place (between First Avenue and Avenue A)
East Village
(212) 995-5010
hanoihousenyc.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2017…

Kubeh are Middle Eastern dumplings served in broth. Think matzo ball soup but more Sephardic than Ashkenazi. And the dumplings run deeper than just matzo meal. At the new restaurant with the same name, you can find lamb, beef, veggie, or fish dumplings. The fish was made up of ground cod, cilantro, and a hint of cumin. They were delicate and light (quite different than gefilte fish). You get to choose the broth you’d like and I thought the rich beet selek paired nicely with the fish balls. It was slightly spicy and very earthy with lots of veggie flavors. It was a nutritious and heartfelt meal. Price: $15

KUBEH
464 Sixth Avenue (at West 11th Street),
Greenwich Village
(646) 448-6688
eatkubeh.com

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

Every week in New York, there are a slew of great local restaurants that are forced to close due to rising rents, changes in the food world, etc. With all these unfortunate changes, it’s sometimes a relief to stop and think about the ones that are succeeding and growing.

The Gumbo Bros. started a few years back as an idea between two friends who went to school in New Orleans and started a modest stand at the pop-up markets around the city. I met them at the Vendy Awards and was very excited to see them committed to bringing authentic Cajun food to the city. Many of the businesses at those markets seem to come and go, but the Gumbo Bros. actually got to open their own restaurant on busy Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

This permanent space isn’t terribly bigger than their market stall but there are seats and beer and a larger menu.

When I found the time to stop by, I wanted to try more of their namesake – I’ll have to get the po’ boys another time. I remember their gumbos being good at the Vendy Awards but not quite this good.

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