Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Belgian" Fries to Die For

Pommes Frites
123 2nd AveNew York, NY 10003

***** (Best in Category)

When thirty year old Suzanne Levinson resolved in 1997 to risk everything and open up a street shop in the East Village, she based her decision on just one enlightening trip to Belgium when she came across rows of street shops selling the perfect Belgian fries. She saw the need and the opportunity for one in her home city of New York and that, in a nutshell, is how Pommes Frites was conceived.

Wacked Out Goodness: Beware!

120 Essex StNew York, NY 10002

**** (Definite Must)

At the other end of the spectrum of dining experiences I’m normally used to, lies Shopsin’s - a small restaurant unlike no other, tucked away in one corner of Essex Street Market in Manhattan. This, I say, not because I had to wait in line for an hour and a half before I was seated for lunch. And not even because the menu I grabbed to idle time away during my wait was over 900 items long and so cramped that it hurt my eyes just trying to make sense out of it. Shopsin’s is different in that its approach is exactly the opposite of that of the typical ‘customer is always right’ one.

Cheapest Bite in Town

Fried Dumpling
99 Allen St
New York, NY 10002

*** (Worth a Visit)

This tiny storefront probably won’t dish out the best dumplings you have ever eaten. Also, the Asian woman behind the counter hardly speaks any English and some knowledge of sign language is probably necessary to be able to place an order.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Slurpy Goodness

65 Fourth Ave., New York, NY 10003

**** (Definite Must)

Okay, so I cheated on this one. Ippudo is not technically a dive—even by my lazy definition of one. It’s more of a semi-fine dining Japanese chain restaurant that specializes in ramen noodles. At least I got the price right. My $ 13 bought me a hearty bowl of steaming noodles drowned in a flavorful Tonkatsu (pork-based) broth with thinly sliced, slow-roasted Berkshire pork, crunchy cabbage, scallions, and sesame oil, and topped with their “special secret sauce” which I guessed was made from garlic oil and red miso paste.

Somethin' Fishy

A Salt and Battery
112 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011

**** (Definite Must)

Though British cuisine may not have the largest fan following, there are definitely at least a few things the Brits do know how to cook right. Principal amongst these is fish n’ chips. Having had remarkable newspaper-fulls of this delicacy in Britain about two years ago, my standards were pretty high when it came to reviewing a restaurant that swore by its fish and chippery. Nevertheless, I’d been craving some ever since my last experience and decided to give it a shot.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Always Open

Esperanto Café
114 MacDougal St., New York, NY 10012

*** (Worth a Visit)

In the city that never sleeps, Esperanto serves quite well as a café that never shuts. Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, the Bohemian capital of Manhattan in the early 1960s, the café’s interiors reflect an artistic, untraditional aesthetic that actually seems to fit into its infamous surroundings. A wall-hung old bicycle, a piano on its last legs, a rundown sofa, and a telephone booth are cleverly positioned in the café and interspersed with raggedy wooden chairs and tables to give a quite complete feel of a lived-in apartment, charming nevertheless.