icravenyc

Vegas Chili

In Cheese, Full Fare, Meat on March 10, 2013 at 5:50 pm

VegasChili_JeffreysGroceryOver the top.  Extreme.  Excess.  Vegas qualities that are not present in this dish.  Not even sure why it has “Vegas” in its name.  Perhaps because as soon as you see it, even before the sensual ritual of popping the soft poached egg, before its yellow lava starts oozing through the sea of beans, pork and brisket, you’re already salivating, flirtatious, giddy in excitement at what you’re soon to taste.  That first spoonful dilates your pupils out of sheer awe of what you just experienced.  Right then you just know you can’t have this every day, even though you really want to.  It’s way too good.  Way too special.  Hard to describe.  Just like Vegas.  It’s not chili.  It’s soft, smooth and savory.  Not spicy or salty.  When the eggs, sour cream and cheddar are fully mixed in, it transforms itself into a cohesive cream of beans, flanked by two crusty pieces of jalapeño corn bread to soak up all the goodness of the bowl ($16.00, Brunch menu).

You know you’ll come back for more.  Just like Vegas.  Your dirty little secret.

P.S. And those gorgeous pieces of avocado toast are a must order too.

Jeffrey’s Grocery, 172 Waverly Place, between Christopher & Grove.  646-717-2455.  http://jeffreysgrocery.com

Satisfied crave:  Winter 2013.

Age Gyoza

In Fish, Light Fare, Seafood on January 26, 2013 at 11:16 am

ImageGyoza tend to be pan-fried with a default filling of pork.  In some cases you can find them with a shrimp filling.  But that’s about it.  Pretty straight forward.  There are some rare exceptions when it comes to their preparation (see Pork Gyoza with Hot Oil) and in this case, a double whammy of unique preparation and filling. They are golden & crispy on the outside (deep-fried) so they feel more like mini empanadas than dumplings and are packed inside with a smooth puree of sea bass and shrimp.  Damn good.  Served with lemon on the side and the de rigueur Ponzu dipping sauce.

Part of my Thursday night food delivery ritual and a steadily growing fan club.

Takahachi, 45 Duane St., between Church St. & West Broadway.  212-571-1830.  www.takahachi.net

Satisfied crave:  Winter 2013.

Crisp-Fried Red Snapper with Chili Sweet and Sour Sauce

In Fish, Full Fare on January 13, 2013 at 4:03 pm

FriedSnapper_LotusBlueNot many places in the city serve whole fried fish.  It’s one of those dishes better enjoyed seaside, at an off-the-beaten-path shack in the Caribbean or on-deck, somewhere vast and remote.  In Manhattan, there’s a handful of places who cook it right, each with their own take on chili-lime sauce.  Lotus of Siam nails it and so does this other Lotus in my hood.  The fire comes from the medley of peppers, bright & proud.  There’s an abundance of greenery (cilantro & mint) which adds color as much as smiles.  The dipping sauce tames down the heat and is addictive, poured over jasmine rice.  The best part: it’s served whole but deboned, so you can Mr. Miyagi-away with your chopsticks ($25.00).

Nam started it.  Lotus Blue perfected it.  The fried red snapper legacy lives on at 110 Reade Street.

Lotus Blue, 110 Reade St & West Broadway.  212-267-3777.  http://lotusbluebar.com

Satisfied crave:  Winter 2013.

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