new york – last few tidbits.
You would be mistaken if you thought we didn’t splash out a little while in the Big Apple. We did eat at three Michelin-starred restaurants: Eleven Madison Park (3*), Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (3*) and Momofuku Ko (2*), but unfortunately I won’t be blogging any of these as the latter two specifically forbade cameras at the table and my photos from the dimly-lit Eleven Madison Park were totally unusable. Quick verdict? Brooklyn Fare was up there with the best we have had as we were utterly blown away by the genius of Chef Cesar Ramirez, while the others, despite fleeting moments of brilliance left us disappointed overall.
Besides those meals, a dedicated eating trip to NYC would not have been complete without some stolen bites between meals…
Day one was a deep-fried poultry fiesta – not only did we have Hot Fried Chicken at The Dutch and half a Buttermilk Fried Rabbit at Fatty ‘Cue, we also chomped on spicy wings from not one, but two Korean Fried Chicken joints. At KyoChon we boldly went for the spicy Signature Wings – they were ridiculously tasty with a nice crunchy crust, but were so crazy hot that after a few bites the burn set in and we lost all sensation in our taste buds. After furious gulps of icy lager we popped next door to BonChon for more wings. Mouths still on fire, we opted for half soy garlic and half hot sauce – the texture of these weren’t as good as Kyochon’s and tasted a lot greasier. We found both just ok and were bummed that Mad for Chicken nearby (the place we had initially travelled to Koreatown for) was closed that day.
Next day, en route to Fatty Crab we passed a branch of Gray’s Papaya so we stopped for their “recession special” – two dogs and a drink for under $5. The snappy dogs, topped with sauerkraut and onions, were tasty and not bad considering the price but on the salty side. The papaya drink alongside however tasted completely artificial and just plain weird.
Later that same day we sampled another hot dog, this time at Madison Park’s Shake Shack. The bun was better, but the vienna beef dog, having been split and griddled, was a tad dry. We of course also had a ShackBurger which was good as far as fast food burgers go (fresh ingredients and a good toasted bun) but we thought the patties too soft and lacking deep beefy flavour.
We wanted to check out a few food trucks while in town but only managed one – Korilla, pitched near our hotel at Varick and Vandam. The burrito stuffed with bulgogi ribeye and bacon kimchi fried rice sounded awesome but yet again, we were headed to lunch, so settled for a trio of tacos – two bulgogi ribeye and a pulled pork (the chicken had just gone on the grill and wasn’t ready).
We had them with all the fixings: Korean hot sauce, shredded monterey jack, tomato salsa, and a selection of homemade kimchis – red kimchi on one beef, summer kimchi on the other, kimchi slaw on the pork, and cucumber kimchi on the side. Each tasted distinct from the next, but all had a great balance of spicy/salty/sweet/sharp and had us licking our fingers. Worth a try.
Given the magnificent weather, it wasn’t long before we were hankering for something frosty to cool down. A soft serve from Big Gay Ice Cream Shop (I had seen it featured on an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate) seemed just the ticket, so we trotted on down after our lunch at Mary’s.
The Salty Pimp cone was a revelation – creamy vanilla soft serve sprinkled liberally with sea salt, piped with rows of dulce de leche, and dipped in chocolate that hardened to form a crisp shell. We happily devoured them in the park opposite until a drug-peddling Downton Abbey-loving bum scared us away.
And that’s all folks. To close, a shot of the Dou Fu Fa gleaned from the tofu lady in chinatown. Silky silky goodness.
Kyochon 319 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016
BonChon 325 5th Ave, New York NY 10016
Gray’s Papaya 2090 Broadway Ste 1, New York, NY 10023
Shake Shack various locations – check website.
Korilla BBQ various locations – check schedule.
Big Gay Ice Cream Shop 125 East 7th St (1st Aven & Ave A) NY 10009