My desk is stacked high enough with restaurant receipts that The Cat Who Came to Live With a Food Writer can actually make a nest out of them to keep me company as I dick around on the internets. And all those are an accumulation of guilt for not writing about so many destinations as this joint has been gathering dust. So rather than just trying to catch up on all the good, the bad and, worse, the mediocre, here are a couple:
Saint Julivert Fisherie in Brooklyn had the most transporting food in donkey’s years: mackerel whipped into a creamy spread accented with piri piri oil; raw scallop in tacos formed of shiso leaves, with salsa macha; squid carbonara, with the tentacles cut into “noodles” and tossed with Parmigiano and spicy squid ink, with strips of Belgian endive to trick your eye and palate, and hamachi collar cooked jerk-style that almost had us sucking the bones. Service was unnervingly friendly, and the wines were all over the map, given that the theme of the place is oceanic. WIGB? I have recommended it to like 50 people, but next time we might head to the same owners’ La Vara just a couple of doors away.
And Momofuku in the dread TWC will leave you marveling “did we just eat in a mall?” It’s worth at least half an hour’s wait in line for just the Bang Bar options of extraordinary spicy pork wrapped in what Trinidad would be considered a roti and the “rip & dip” with the same flaky bread to dunk in either eggplant or chickpea dip, both phenomenal. But it’s better to snare a table inside at the Noodle Bar for both the service and the specials board behind the bar, which flips over the way the Amtrak announcements used to at Penn Station. I’ve been twice so far for the steamed buns enfolding shiitakes cooked so artfully they could pass for pork belly, the fried Japanese potato with “white sauce” (Alabamaesque BBQ), the lively cucumber salad with halved and smashed radishes in a sesame-chili dressing, the carrots roasted to intensity with scallions and pumpkinseeds and the ginger-scallion noodles, which are nothing like the homage to NY Noodletown you would expect but are amped up with pickled shiitakes. The one dish we shared that would have been better hogged was the mixed spicy noodles with herbs and fried egg. Chopsticking down to the incendiary sauce would have been more satisfying in one bowl. WIGB? Any chance I get. Not least for the soft-serve dessert made with Chang’s trademarked Hozon, based on chickpea water. It’s light but butterscotchy.