When I went to Japan in 2008, I can honestly say I never had a bad meal (even the times where I ended up ordering a teriyaki burger from McDonald’s). The first thing I ate when I got off the plane was a Curry Udon soup, which was absolutely amazing, and was followed the next day by my first experience with Tonkatsu, a fried pork cutlet. Japanese comfort food at its simplest.
“Go! Go! Curry!”, located near the NYU dorms by Washington Square Park, brings authentic Japanese curry and yummy fried goodness is one tiny storefront. The restaurant is named in honor of NY Yankees baseball player, Hideki Matsui, whose number is 55. In Japanese, with their love of wordplay, Matsui’s first name means “Go! Go!”, so why not go curry! With a baseball theme for their menu and enough room to seat roughly a dozen or so people in the place, the freshly fried fare is served with a heap of curry sauce and white rice. It’s a lot of fun, and a lot of flavor.
My love affair with the mistress called Pizza has been well-documented on this site, so my hunt for the finest in the city will be my never-ending quest. Lactose intolerance, be damned! The sheer amount of pizzerias in each of the five boroughs is daunting, but you have to take it one slice at a time. On this day, my journey stopped me at “Numero 28” in the West Village.
Named after their building number on Carmine Street, “Numero 28” serves freshly made pasta and pizza a few doors down from another Italian restaurant, which is across the street from several more pizzerias. To say it’s a packed area would not do justice to how many slices you could accumulate in a matter of steps. However, the one thing that this place has that the competition does not have is the rare gem of pizzas, the Pizza D.O.C.!
Regular readers may remember my review of “Super Noodle”, a quaint and hip little noodle shop on the outskirts of SoHo. I was a big fan and a regular customer for some time, stopping my visits purely because I was not working near them for a short time. A few months later, I return to find out that the place has transformed into “70 Super Noodle”.
Retaining the original signage right down to the chalkboard on the sidewalk, the only way you would know the place changed hands is to walk inside. There, you will see that the innards are mostly the same, but gone is the menu that was another chalkboard, replaced by an easier to read and professionally-made sign. None of the old items are gone, in fact, they are all still there. However, the restaurant now serves Tibetan food, mostly soups, in addition to the predominantly Chinese menu.
The place seems to use the same ingredients as its predecessors, but alas, there appear to be some severe growing pains that “70 Super Noodle” needs to work on, and fast.
I know too many people in my office that don’t do anything for lunch beyond “Subway” sandwiches. The more daring/ elitist ones will venture around the block to go to “Pret A Manger”, exclaiming how they make the sandwiches fresh. I laugh at their pathetic safe lunches, and often challenge them to join me and do something different. Few take the plunge, citing price or distance.
Working near SoHo, there are plenty of places to get lunch on a budget, although nothing can beat a mediocre five-dollar foot-long with inferior toppings and animal by-products according to too many of my co-workers. If you feel adventurous, Thai restaurant “Peep” offers a prix-fixe lunch that allows you to sample a variety of flavors in one convenient and cost-effective way – their lunch boxes.
Originally based out of Mineola, “P.S. Burgers” has since opened a second NY location in downtown Manhattan. In this world of higher-quality burgers and fries like Five Guys and Shake Shack, the meat-eaters of America are evolving into more discerning carnivores.
With a logo that is awfully similar to Shake Shack (except their burger is on a stamp), this eatery has a more diverse menu of international burgers than its competitors, as well as sides, salads, and sandwiches with chicken, fish, steak, and even veggie burgers. It’s going to be difficult to do this review without constantly comparing it to Five Guys or Shake Shack, but it only seems fair to do so since these people are all direct competitors with each other. So, with that disclaimer out of the way, let’s take a big bite out of “P.S. Burgers”!
Formerly an antique store on the edge of SoHo, “Ciccio Bar & Alimentari” gutted this tiny basement and redecorated it to open a brand spanking new Italian food & wine bar. SoHo is already full of amazing places to eat, let alone an abundance of Italian restaurants. Moving into this turf is risky business (pun intended), but it seems that “Ciccio” is up for the challenge.
A very small restaurant tucked away on a busy street, it’s a surprising retreat from the very noisy city traffic above-ground. You would barely know there was a subway and a major roadway if not for the view of them from the large windows by the front-end. This is chef Giacomo Romano’s first solo-venture, but all signs point to what could be a good beginning to having a new home in SoHo.
“Epstein’s” has been serving traditional Kosher food in Westchester since 1943, forging a strong bond with the local community as well as deli-aficionados. The original owners passed on the restaurant to the DeGroat family, who have kept it a family-oriented business. Maintaining Jewish roots with a constantly evolving and updated menu, this restaurant has kept loyal customers for decades while courting the next generation of diners with their takes on courses that would never be seen in other Kosher delis.
With the look of a 1950’s diner on the inside, even down to the stools at the bar serving egg creme’s and the booth’s with that classic red cushioning, “Epstein’s” embraces and celebrates the origins of their restaurant. I was told to come to the place with an empty stomach, and I left not only feeling full but becoming a member of their family.
In New York, street food is usually not that spectacular. Typically, it’s either a hot dog, a hefty plate of Halal food that may or may not give you food poisoning (I have had my fair share of that), or tacos, if you luck out. They are cheap and filling, but it’s a risk not worth taking in most cases. Street food out of carts is not limited only to the five boroughs, but has been a worldwide way to sell food for ages. You can get Tako Yaki in Japan, rice cakes in China, and all sorts of things in India, which is where our cuisine will be originating from in this review.
Owned by Shiva Natarajan, “THELEwala” is a restaurant that specializes in Calcutta street food. About the same size as “Meatball Obsession” was from the outside, this diminutive eatery is slightly bigger on the inside, with enough room for a kitchen and some stools. Don’t let the size fool you, as what it lacks in scale, they make up for with their food.
I was a big fan of my first visit to “Boqueira”, an authentic Spanish Tapas restaurant that took the traditional bar fare and gave it a slight New York zest. However, one thing that I regretted not getting was the Paella. On my two trips to Spain, Paella was my big thing. I was even lucky enough to have Paella Negro, a type of paella made with squid ink that was special to Valencia.
It was only a matter of time before I went back for round two, and my mission was clear. I had to have the paella, end of story. I had high expectations of it from my last visit, but a burger is a vastly different world than Spain’s national dish. How did this visit compare to my first time at “Boqueira”? Let’s find out!
Hard to believe that I have yet to review a proper Mexican place, despite doing articles about tacos. We have seen tacos with a Korean influence and Japanese tastes, but nothing more authentic yet, or something close to that. I think we can safely consider “Dos Caminos” to be that classic Mexican dining experience, with a modern upgrade.
“Dos Caminos” is from the BR Guest Hospitality family of upscale restaurants, which also includes “Blue FIn”, “Ruby Foos”, and “Strip House”. While it is technically a franchise, it’s small enough to qualify for a review (just don’t ever expect one of “Olive Garden” on this site). Most of the “tradition” from this place would be the base ingredients and concepts, and while this is not Tacos Nouveau (imagine a deconstructed burrito… the horror), these are dishes adapted for an American palate.