Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Croissant notes

These are from a while ago.

Pret a Manger: good shatter, nice and soft, warm, decent-good chocolate, tasty overall, little lacking ina wholeness of buttery flavor. 6.5

Amai Tea House (now closed, sadly) - flaky on the outside, a little spongy on the inside, almost as if there were a touch of pastry cream. Both the dough and chocolate were very savory. A touch greasy. 6

Claude Patisserie - flaky on outside, a little too thick/bready on inside. Also lacking in flavor. Not a great fan of the chocolate used. But warm. 5.5

Madeleine - choc croissant light, partially flaky. Pleasant. Choc good. Choc-almond is much denser, more brioche-like, tasty thick pastry cream-like filling. Good. 7/7

Petrossian - superflaky, mod greasy on bottom, excellent choc, wonderful buttery flavor, made me want to finish it. 8.5

Tisserie chocolate almond: like Madeleine. Not flaky - a little soft. Avg ingredients incl chocolate but overall effect quite tasty. Powdered sugar + choc + flour always good combo. 7.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Locanda Verde

Locanda Verde, located at 377 Greenwich St. in Tribeca, is the latest incarnation of a Robert Deniro-owned restaurant formerly known as Ago. When the name was changed, the chef was as well, and Andrew Carmellini, formerly known for his superlative work at A Voce, took over. The prices dropped too.

When I visited LV, it was filled -- even on a Tuesday evening. The restaurant sports a contemporary but woody atmosphere, and the servers and hostesses were without exception friendly and charming.

The food was delicious. The appetizer bread, a sort of pizza focaccia, was crusy, earthy, and had a delicious covering of melted cheese on top. It was served room temperature, and its thick fluffy dough and heartiness made me ask for another.

My main course was a pasta course, a malfagliatti, which was cooked in a pesto sauce with parmesan. The pasta, the pesto, the accompanying pine nuts, and the parmesan were all excellent. No missteps here, except for the fact that the portion was too small. There is no way you could eat just that portion and be full.

So I also had a side of broccoli cooked in olive oil and gratings of cheese. Also fantastic. The broccoli was perfectly cooked, the garlicky spices delectable.

Finally, and certainly no slouch, was dessert. I got a panna cotta with strawberry and rhubarb on the side. The panna cotta -- and I'm usually not such a fan -- was like an incredible cozy vanilla pudding. The strawberry and rhubarb were fresh and complemented it. They were accessorized with a small chocolate biscuit, also baked with excellent technique. The dessert as a whole was scrumptious, although, again, perhaps too small. Though given health issues maybe that's a good thing!

All in all, the reinveted restaurant at the corner of Greenwich and N. Moore is a warm and very human creation, with a menu that conveys the charm, personality, and culinary acumen of its creators.

Stars: 5/5

Monday, March 23, 2009

Num Pang

Num Pang is a new Cambrodian sandwich shop that jsut opened on 12th St. between 5th Ave. and University Pl. It's a spin-off from Malaysian restaurant Kampuchea on the lower east side. I ordered their sole vegetarian sandwich, a scrumptious grilled cauliflower and eggplant that is a spiritual cousin to banh mi. Moderately spicy (and the spice level can be increased with the little pods of Sriracha they'll give you for hot sauce), tender eggplant, slightly chewier on the cauliflower, and good, warm sandwich bread (though perhaps this is the sandwich's weak point all said and done) -- this sandwich is a clear winner.

Stars: 4/5

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Cream is a relatively high-end Mexican restaurant in Chelsea, on w 17th st. between 6th and 7th. I loved the look inside, especially its bathrooms, which had a natural motif -- pebbles were layered in the washbasin, and the water drained into them, and pebbles were also embedded into the bathroom floor.

I ordered a vegetarian "royale" platter (as opposed to the regular veg. platter, which came with fewer things), which came with a bunch of things:

* yuca fries - which were thick and garlicky and tasty, though perhaps a touch undercooked
* a truffle empanada, quite tasty, although the empanada was baked rather than fried - this is not my preference usually
* black beans and rice - both quite good though not standout. The rice was not the usual red Mexican rice.
* grilled vegetables - good
* a potato enchilada - this was excellent, small and fat and tasty

Overal the foods had a set of earthy tastes and textures, and were accompanied by a small "shot" of an extremely spicy and tasty salsa.

Well that's all I remember. I think the food as a whole was good, although perhaps expensive for what it was. I personally am much more excited by the thought of a more traditional Mexican restaurant with awesome guacamole and salsa than I am by this kind of fusion high-end Mexican, so I don't think it's on my list of revisits, but it's good to know that the cuisine is being pushed.

Stars: 4/5

Zero Otto Nove

Arthur Ave is of course the "Little Italy" of the Bronx, if you will, and unlike Little Italy, it still retains a relatively untouristy character. Small, active Italian grocery stores and old-school restaurants line the streets. Zero Otto Nove departs a little from this ideal, at least in its interior, which is a beautiful, high-ceilinged space backed by a fresco of a picturesque Italian town.

ZON is an Italian place known for its pizza, and the pizza is what we tried there. I had a margherita, while friends tried a quattro formaggio and a caprese (this latter had arugula, among other things). The crust was was wonderful, perfectly in-between chewiness and crispness, and the sauce and cheese were delicious and fresh. The cheese was from the highly-renowned mozzarella maker Casa Della Mozzarella. All in all, this was a highly recommended pizzeria, and properly so.

Stars: 5/5

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Keep checking My Favorite Restaurants

Keep checking my favorite restaurant list, since I update it more often than I post new posts to the blog :-). Today I compiled a list of eleven guaranteed blow-your-mind NYC food experiences...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop

Eisenberg's is a jewish deli and a veritable institution. Its sits on 5th Ave. between 22nd and 23rd, and a friendly guy mans the place and infuses it with his attitude - jokey and casual. I ordered an egg salad sandwich, a chocolate egg cream, and onion rings (a gluttonous meal!). The egg salad was creamy and simple, pure in its eggy tastes and perfect smooth texture. The bread was good but could have been better. The onion rings were also tasty, and I especially liked the fact that the onion inside was cooked such that biting into the ring I didn't drag the whole onion out. The onion took well to the bite, in other words. The chocolate egg cream was excellent, with a great balance between chocolate, milk, and seltzer. Finally, a chocolate chip cookie with a hint of espresso made a great dessert. Its medium-size and dense texture reminded me a little bit of my favorite chocolate chip cookie -- the one at Chocolate Bar.

Stars: 4/5