Archive for the ‘takeout’ Category

New York minutes/Early July 2009

July 2009

The always great: The New French, yet again, where five of us managed to convene without remembering it was Gay Pride Day after two had just been to “Food, Inc.” and still wanted the amazing cheeseburger (as did a third). I had the house-made sausage for the first time, which was unsurprisingly outstanding although the greens with it were overly sweet and underwhelming. And the fifth among us was very happy with the salmon salad. We also shared a suspiciously generous pizza bianca topped with runner beans and ricotta (as I recall). Plus rosé. Part of the reason we go back over and over is that this is such a deceptively serious restaurant. When I asked about the curry, which I’ve never had, the waiter took his time describing it, then when I wondered about the sausage, he squatted down to ear level to really describe it well. And everything is done with such care, right down to the sliced caperberries that one friend was so captivated by in the huge salad. 522 Hudson Street near West 10th, 212 807 7357.

The not bad: Num Pang Sandwich Shop, where I dragged my consort after he expressed a craving for a bahn mi and I didn’t remember he’d had the real deal in Saigon (not to mention in New Orleans East). The Cambodian version is rather ordinary by comparison. But it was a cheap lunch on a gorgeous day in Union Square: I had the roasted cauliflower with eggplant and he the pork belly with pickled rhubarb, both on good bread and dripping with chile mayonnaise. We didn’t really need the corn slathered with that same mayonnaise and dusted with coconut, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t finish it. WIGB? Maybe. The people were nice, and the service was fast. But we’ll try Republic’s first. 21 East 12th Street, 212 255 3271.

The entertaining: The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, where we had to stop for a chocolate-dipped cone after our al fresco dejeuner. The balance of ice cream to chocolate was perfect because the latter component does not harden and shatter. It was mostly worth the $3, though, for the show and routine. First he was so busy chatting that the ice cream plunged off the cone into the hot chocolate, then he told us he also plays the reeds so ice cream cannot take all his time. Thanks to the weird weather, this is the best summer ever in the city of be-all-you-can-be, and an enterprise like this just makes it more so.

New York minutes/Late April/Early May 2009

May 2009

The always good: The New French, where I guiltily went to re-calibrate my appestat after the Wednesday Greenmarket. A-plus for Cheddarburger, fries, rosé and service. Would have given my compliments to the chef on the way out, but he was doing what chefs so rarely do: Cooking his ass off at peak lunchtime. 522 Hudson Street at 10th, 212 807 7357.

The not bad: Bar Artisanal, where I hooked up with my consort after the book party down below and where the pluses outweighed the minuses, maybe because the Boss Man was on the premises, in his whites. Manchego “beignets” were a rip, four little deep-fried dabs on long skewers for $9, but the $16 seared cod with cockles, chorizo and potatoes was actually big enough to share and the $15 tartiflette “pissaladiere” was a generous slab richly topped with lardons, potatoes and Reblochon. I had a half-glass of Brachetto at the bar while waiting ($7) and felt happier with a full glass of $9 Verdicchio at the table. The place looks pretty grand, but the hostess told Bob it was one restaurant one night and this one the next, so credit where credit is due. 268 West Broadway at Sixth Avenue, 212 925 1616.

The promising: Centrico, where I was a bad guest at a decent book party and where the passed apps and the margarita made me think, yet again, I have been remiss in never investing in a full meal there. Crab tostaditos were irresistible and the little meatballs . . . spicy. Bartenders were great; it was all almost enough to make me forget my one ignominious night cooking in the teeny kitchen there when it was 211, back in the last century. 211 West Broadway, 212 431 0700.

New York minutes/Mid-October 2008

October 2008

The pretty good: Porchetta in the East Village, where my consort and I trekked after the Greenmarket even though he would have preferred a sit-down lunch as Saturday-usual and where the sandwich alone was worth the schlep, as promised by the Robs. The perfect roll from Sullivan Street Bakery sopped up the fat and was just the right contrast between crusty and tender. The pork itself is outstanding, seriously seasoned and beautifully cooked (although also seriously salty, and I could eat salt as an entree), but it was better on bread for $9 than as a $12 plate with excellent broccoli rabe and nicely spiced white beans. We also split an order of roasted potatoes and burnt ends, also quite good. It all held up even though we shared it all on a park bench in bizarre Tompkins Square — a little unnerving to see a drunk getting hauled into an ambulance as we walked in; Central Park is Epcot Center by comparison. WIGB? Eventually. The pork is undeniably outstanding, but the order taker needs a better system for sure. 110 East Seventh Street, 212 777 2151.

The adequate: Thalia in the insane Theater District, where we ducked in for a glass of wine and Caesar salad as an alternative to Toloache after the unsettling “Religulous” (some scenes a little too close to a Palin rally for comfort). The hostess tried to shunt us off to a cramped little table in the noisy lounge, but we moved to the bar and the bartender was excellent. The good salad came almost as fast as the $9 wine. 828 Eighth Avenue at 50th Street, 212 399 4444.

New York minutes/Early September 2007

September 2007

The good: Land Thai, where the $8 lunch special was, as always, a better deal than it has any right to be. The vegetable spring rolls were dainty but perfectly fried, and the beef Thai curry was more decent beef than vegetables and just hot enough — I usually avoid cheap beef and now see why I’m usually let down. Bob had the daily dishes, some kind of chicken and rice noodle salad that was perfectly balanced and a shrimp thing (shrimp and I don’t communicate). Service gets an A, too. WIGB? Absolutely. 450 Amsterdam Avenue near 82d Street, 212 501 8121.

The better if bizarre: Hurapan Kitchen, where the kitchen was as attentive as the service was weird. Our table of three was the only one in the well-decorated house, and you can guess how that turned out. “Mussaman” curry with duck was light on the protein but fresh-tasting, spicy and lively, everything standard Thai is not. Charred rare tuna with a wasabi glaze was just as billed and came with exceptional crispy eggplant. Even the vegetarian summer roll with avocado and ginger-hoisin sauce was well above average. WIGB? I just wish it was closer. 29 Seventh Avenue South near Bleecker Street, 212 727 2678.

The surprisingly decent: Dishes in Grand Central Terminal, where I grabbed two sandwiches for the train ride up to Beacon for a party at a friend’s after an outing at DIA. The “media noche,” essentially a Cubano, was adequate if undergrilled, but a smoked turkey with Monterey Jack, avocado and chipotle mayonnaise on a huge soft sesame bagel was outstanding, melty and spicy. And both were done in not much more time than it took to buy the tickets. WIGB? Probably. It was the ideal prelude to a surprisingly great cappuccino at DIA and wines (Domaine Gaujaul rose and Vrak Macon Villages, each $9.99) from the new Artisan shop on Main Street in Beacon.