Friday, February 20, 2009

San Marzano pizza

San Marzano pizzeria is a newish pizza place on the lower east side, at the corner of Clinton and Rivington. It has a simple, homey atmosphere with a takeout counter right up front and a menu prominently displayed on the board behind the counter.

SM has both pizzas and calzones. I opted for the former, and got a pomodoro (fresh mozzarella, vine-ripened tomatoes, garlic, basil, parsley), and half of that with caramelized onions and roasted peppers. The pie came out thin, but with a nice, slightly smoky twang to the crust. The crust was partway between crisp and fluffy, and was delicious, though perhaps a hair too dry. The cheese and ingredients were both delectable, with the tomato-cheese-garlic combination reminding me a little bit of the pizza at either Sally's or Pepe's in New Haven -- I can't remember which!

Anyway, really delicious, and a top contender for some of the best pizza in New York.

Stars: 5/5

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dessert Truck - Molten Chocolate Cake - EAT NOW

I had the molten chocolate cake with pistachios at the Dessert Truck this evening and it was simply out of this world. A rich, hot puddle of molten chocolate oozes from the velvety embrace of a thin layer of chocolate cake. As you eat it, they swoon into each other, and are tricked out with just a bit of an edge by salty roasted pistachios. Just unbelievably good. Fantastic. You must seek this dessert out immediately if you have any love for warmth, chocolate, and cake.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Delhi Heights

Delhi Heights is an Indian restaurant located in the highly Indian Queens area of Jackson Heights. Like many of its counterparts in places like Edison, NJ, it feqtatures a very long menu with South Indian, North Indian, and Indo-Chinese specialties. The ambiance is that of a fairly standard relatively inexpensive sit-down place. They offered a buffet, but we opted to go a la carte.

We started with a fried cauliflower Manchurian, an Indo-Chinese dish whose rendition was decent but nothing special. It is ultimately hard to screw up a dish like this, whose combination of a tasty vegetable, oil, and spices left it reasonably good. But the dough in which it was fried could have been fresher, and the cauliflower crunchier. We also got a papri chaat -- a dish with yogurt, sweet and spicy sauces, pieces of boiled potato, and crunchy pieces of fried dough all mixed into a melange. It was fine, but the yogurt was a bit excessive and the whole felt heavy and not really worth in taste the price in heaviness.

For a main course, we got a lentil dish ("Dal Delhi Heights"), and also a "paneer bhurji" dish made with Indian cheese. We also got some naan for accompaniment. The dal dish disappointed despite the extensive overnight preparation required to make it. The paneer dish was pretty tasty but nothing I would go back for. The naan was also fine but very standard.

Overall the restaurant was an extremely average restaurant, and not the extraordinary place many reviews have made it out to be.

Stars: 3/5

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dirt Candy

I had dinner at Dirt Candy in the East Village recently, and it was a wonderful and organic-y experience. Dirt Candy is a relatively small space with reasonable but not great ambience, tucked into a niche on e 9th st. They are a very new operation, have few tables, and, because they're so popular, practically speaking require a reservation to get a table. You can get one on opentable.

To start with, their bread is outstanding, which is not surprising considering its provenance: it's from Sullivan St. bakery. Its memorable chewiness and floury goodness is an example of the excellent DC strives for.

I ordered jalapeno hush puppies as a starter, and they are deep fried balls of dough with japalenos in them. Unlike most deep fried foods, these were not heavy. They were light but at the same time crunchy and had the deep fried goodness you would expect. The lightness and complete lack of after-taste in the batter along with nice accent of the jalapenos made for a great start. They were served with a maple butter that was a little hard for my taste but beautifully cut the mild spice.

My main course was a tofu ragout on greens. The greens were beautiful and varied, the dish came out a vivid verdant shade. The website claims this is cooked in a keffir lime "beurre blanc," or butter sauce, and that's precisely how it tasted. The vegetables were cooked to perfection, and had a beautiful crunch, though not too much. The taste was understated but highly satisfying.

Overall, this is a superb vegetarian restaurant that takes seriously its mission of making great food that just happens to be vegetarian.

Stars: 5/5

Brunch at Dovetail

I had brunch at Dovetail, a restaurant on the upper west side. They do a prix-fixe menu with automatic starters and desserts, and you pick a main course. Their food, in a nutshell, is kind of expensive, and while good, is not startingly good. That's all I really have to say.

Stars: 3/5

Second Stop, Bespoke Chocolates

Second Stop:

Second Stop is an idiosyncratic and delightful new coffee shop in Williamsburg (524 Lorimer), close to the Lorimer stop off the L line. Full of tables surfaced with hammered copper and an old-style coke machine front as a bathroom door, SS has plenty of charm. Its Stumptown coffee is also particularly good, especially its "bees' knees" honey lattes and its definitely addictive doughnut muffins, coated as they are with granulated sugar and a slightly-crunchy, slightly melt-in-your-mouth texture. The only downside is that it's only been open a few weeks and it's already quite popular. Seating can be at a premium.

Stars: 5/5

Bespoke Chocolates:

This new chocolatier in the East Village off of 1st St. between the Bowery and 2nd Ave has only a small selection of chocolates so far, but they are superb. I tried an espresso milk chocolate truffle, with a semi-soft coffee filling on the inside. Its rich milk chocolate was mild and not cloying, and complemented the coffee taste very well. The Southampton tea truffles are large and beautiful and have a subtle tea flavor that blends in beautifully with the dark chocolate. Finally, the single origin dark chocolate truffle was probably my favorite. This chocolate confection was rich, soft, intense, and clearly fresh, and its dusting of cocoa powder made the experience just a little magical.

Stars: 5/5