Friday, August 10, 2012

new york, new york!

And a final roundup of the other stuff I ate (and loved) in New York:

the Chairman Bao @ BaoHaus - braised pork belly w/ cilantro, haus relish and taiwan red sugar

smoke salmon & lox bagel@ the Bagel Store

best eggs bene and home fries I've ever had @ Schiller's

earl grey tea & olive oil gelato @ il laboratorio del gelato

best meal in NYC (shack burger and vanilla milkshake) @ Shake Shack

ShackBurger - cheeseburger, lettuce, tomato, shack sauce = heaven.

pizza w/ mushrooms, oven roasted peppers & ham @ Grimaldi's Pizzeria

huge vanilla cupcake @ Crumb's bakery

ridiculously good lobster roll @Red Hook Lobster Pound, Smorgasburg
ridiculously meaty brisket roll @ Mighty Quinn's, Smorgasburg

coffee gelato @ l'arte del gelato

another great lobster roll @ the Original Soup Man

Looking at all these pictures again makes me really miss New York food... If any of you are in the city, do check out these places - I highly highly recommend!

238 E 14th St

The Bagel Store
349 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn

Schiller's Liquor Bar
131 Rivington St

Il Laboratorio del Gelato
188 Ludlow St

Shake Shack
Madison Square Park

1 Front Street, Brooklyn

Crumb's Bakery
1675 Broadway

Smorgasburg (every Saturday)
45 Main St, Brooklyn

L'arte del Gelato
75 9th Ave (15th & 16th St.)

The Original Soup Man
259A W 55th St.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

peter luger

There's nothing better than a huge hunk of meat so I was beyond excited when my friend said she got us reservations at Peter Luger steakhouse. I've heard mixed reviews about the place with many claiming it's well past its prime but I figured any New York steak is better than the average steak in Hong Kong so none of the bad reviews dampened my enthusiasm. Luckily, the meal was everything I could have wanted from a steak house.

The room is far from upscale, with long wooden tables and a whole lot of noise, but I loved the chaotic atmosphere and the smells that hit you the minute you walk into the seating area. There were five of us so we decided to order the the USDA Prime porterhouse steak for four, along with two side dishes.

Some complimentary bread to start which I tried really hard not to eat as I wanted to save all my stomach for as much meat as possible...unfortunately our dinner reservations were for 9:00pm and I was starving by the time I got there so I dug into some very stale, cold bread :(

Luckily, our steak was right around the corner! First came the "special house sauce" which was amazing. Usually I'm a bit of a steak purist but this sauce was too good to ignore. Slightly sweet, it tasted almost like a cocktail sauce but so much better. I wished I had bought a bottle to take home to slather over all my burgers, hotdogs, meat patties, salads...

Our waiter was delightful :) Super efficient, attentive, and always with a smile on his face (probably because he was having fun hitting on one of my friends :P)

Steak for four! I believe this was USD170. It was a huge plate that we failed to defeat despite having five very hungry diners. 

It was broiled to a perfect medium rare and just oozing with flavour. The steak was really well aged and marbelized. So tender, buttery, absolutely delicious! While it might not have been the best steak I've ever had, it definitely ranks among the top. Sure it's kinda greasy, kinda fatty, and very very big... but that's all I would want in a steak! 

Our two sides were the German fried potatoes and creamed spinach (both about USD9). The potatoes were pretty good, but I've had better home fries at NY brunches. Creamed spinach was better and you definitely need it to get through all that meat. 

Ended a deliciously heavy meal with something even heavier - ice cream sundaes :D The amount of whipped cream they top this with was extraordinary!! And I loved that they gave us Peter Luger chocolate coins as well :) The sundae was pretty much what it looks like in the picture - very fudgy, very thick, very yummy. 

All in all,  this was a fantastic meal. Sure, it might not be the best steakhouse in NY but for USD60 per person for the quality and quantity of the meal above, I thought it was well worth a trek out to Brooklyn. 

Peter Luger
178 Broadway,
Brooklyn, NYC

Monday, August 6, 2012

colicchio & sons

I was lucky enough to be in NYC during restaurant week and managed to book a table at Colicchio & Sons for a delicious Friday lunch. All the lunch sets at participating restaurants cost USD24.07 while dinners set you back USD35. Definitely good value considering the caliber of restaurants and quality of food we experienced - very unlike the subpar "restaurant weeks" we get in HK... 

We tried the salmon tartare and house-made mozzarella for starters:

salmon tartare

The salmon was delicious and I liked that it was prepared with a distinctly Asian twist. The daikon slaw was a nice accompaniment, making this dish a perfectly light appetizer for summer. I thought the miso vinaigrette had a tad too much vinegar, but that was my only complaint.


This one blew me away though. It may possibly have been the best "caprese" salad I've had outside of Italy. The house-made mozzarella was so fresh and soft and creamy, and the cherry tomatoes super flavourful. It came with panzanella, basically small pieces of bread soaked in olive oil and vinegar. No complaints :)

For mains we ordered the hanger steak and duck confit:

hanger steak

We ordered the steak medium rare and it was grilled perfectly. While hanger steak is notorious for being tough, this one was actually quite tender and not too chewy. I loved how flavourful it was, accompanied simply by a small dose of bone marrow butter. The potato puree and tuscan kale were both delicious as well. Definitely a winner :)

duck confit

Duck confit used to be my favourite dish but these days I find it way too salty. Still, I continue to order it in hopes that I find one as good as I remembered them to be - probably a tall order as I'm sure it's just my changing taste buds that have made me less of a fan in recent years. Colicchio & son's version veers on the salty side and parts of the meat were a little tough but once you get down to the bone (and away from the skin) the duck meat was super tender and not too overpowering on the salt. I really liked the wheat berries and roasted mushrooms that came with it though, and ended up eating more of that than the duck itself! Oops!

panna cotta

Whenever panna cotta is on the menu, it's my go to dessert. This one was topped with blackberries (slightly sour) and honey graham crackers ice cream (delicious). A great end to a fantastic meal though :)

I was pretty impressed by everything we tried and especially the huge portion sizes. The ambiance is great and the waitstaff very knowledgeable and attentive. The only minor gripe I had was that the jasmine tea I ordered after the meal (thinking it was included in the prix fixe) ended up costing us USD15... For something I get free at yum cha restaurants, it was a bit much...Still, even with the tea included the whole meal was very reasonably priced and I would definitely return the next time I'm in the city! Plus, it's right next to the High Line so you can take a nice stroll after lunch to work off all that food.

Colicchio & Sons
85 10th Ave
New York