Monthly Archives: May 2010

No. 7 Sub

Rating:

Location: 1188 Broadway (btw 28th & 29th)

Price: Sandwiches $9

Near the Empire State Building where I work in  Midtown Manhattan, there haven’t been much new places to eat for lunch during the last year or so.  Luckily I have all my Korean food places in K-town to keep me busy but, a dude like me needs as much variety as possible.  Since the beginning of Spring, we’ve had Kyochon chicken pop up on Fifth Ave., soon a Bon Chon will be opening few doors down, and there’s an okay new Mediterranean place (Nanoosh) on Madison but, nothing great.  The Ace Hotel on 28th & Broadway has managed to bring in some class and some food spots into a relatively desolate wasteland of perfume & cellphone stores.  The first and only stumptown coffee outpost in NYC is there and most notably The Breslin Bar has been getting some great reviews and I’m waiting to try that.  In the mean time, I managed to hit up the newly opened No. 7 Sub located around the corner from the entry of the hotel in an almost undisclosed entry.

The sandwich shop is nice inside with a cool art piece and quality finishes but, felt a bit cramped with no seating.  We saw some people eating on the steps outside but, luckily we planned on going over to eat outdoor at the nearby Greeley Square anyway.  The menu is very straight forward with ten different sub sandwiches, each with at least one unique ingredient.  Based on some other reviews I read prior we opted for the Lamb meatloaf sub, Roast beef sub, and a half-moon cookie (basically a black and white cookie).

Lamb meatloaf sub – Strawberry Pico de Gallo, Curried Crema, Cheddar, Pappadam

Roast beef sub – Horseradish, Pickled Endive, Fried Scallions

Half moon cookie ($3!?!?!)

(The guy at the counter convinced me that this cookie is MUCH better than a regular B&W cookie and hence I made this irrational purchase)  note: this cookie is NOT that much better than a regular B&W cookie…

I did enjoy the sandwiches at this spot and they were tasty and satisfying but, it’s not something that stuck out to me even though they did use ingredients that are different than a typical deli type sandwich.  The sandwiches are a bit pricey but, I realize that you are paying for the freshness of the bread and the special ingredients that make the sandwiches what they are.  I definitely want to try some of the non meat sub options now that I’m doing this no meat on weekdays diet thing that I started recently.  The panko crusted tofu with pickled rhubarb, peas, and roasted garlic OR the broccoli sub with fresh mozzarella, thai basil pesto, and fried lemon seems like right up my alley.  Definitely worth stopping by at least once and if you’re not happy grab a coffee from stumptown, and blog about your good/bad experience using the free wifi inside the comfy Ace Hotel lobby.

.:cL

4 Comments

Filed under Flatiron, Sandwiches, Under $10, Vegetarian

Golden Unicorn Restaurant

Rating:

Location: 18 East Broadway (nr Catherine St.) 2nd & 3rd Flr

Price: $2-$9 / dish

http://www.goldenunicornrestaurant.com/

(unexpectedly decent website for Chinatown restaurant, plus good food pics)

Pop question: What did Gramercy Tavern and Golden Unicorn Restaurant have in common back in 1996?

Answer: They both were named top five restaurants in NYC by Food & Wine magazine.

Okay so 1996 is a LONG time ago and although there is no way they would get a title like that in this crazy restaurant world of 2010 but, Golden Unicorn has managed to gain some nice recognition for their quality food throughout the years since then.  Located on East Broadway away from the craziness of Bowery and the tourist filled mayhem of Canal Street is this restaurant somewhat tucked away on a block which I rarely go.  Gold Unicorn is known for their dim sum and that’s what brought some of us there for typical Saturday morning outing.  The restaurant is located on the 2nd and 3rd floors of a commercial building and upon taking the elevators up and entering the restaurant I am greeted by the array of golden colors everywhere.  Didn’t see any images of unicorns anywhere nor golden unicorns.  I liked the spaciousness of the restaurant and at 11:30am we were able  to sit right away with ample seating around the restaurant.  This is a bonus because some of the other popular dim sum spots in Chinatown tend to have ridiculous wait times during brunch time.

We sat by the kitchen so we were hit by the dim sum ladies right away and there was nice variety of stuff coming out.  We got some shrimp shumai, sticky rice inside lotus leaf, sticky rice molded to bowl shape, fried shrimp balls, wide rice noodle with pork, & the best dim sum dish was the fried taro ball (first image).   Lets just say there wasn’t anything that I didn’t like that we ordered.

You have to excuse me for botching the name of these dim sum dishes because I never know the actual name to these thing since my Chinese/Taiwanese always order the dishes.  I’m just glad those same friend didn’t order the BBQed chicken feet, because that is one dish I WILL NOT EAT…long story.  The food was solid good dim sum but, nothing crazy amazing rock my world type of dim sum.  If I were to meet friends in Manhattan chinatown for dim sum I’d probably go back to this place for solid food and accommodation for large parties.  AND yes, I do have to go out to Flushing, Queens to try dim sum there and YES maybe it will completely rock my world?

.:cL

2 Comments

Filed under Chinatown, Chinese, Dim Sum

Luzzo’s

Rating:

Location: 211 1st Avenue (btw 12th & 13th St.)

Price: $12 – $24

After my endless failed attempts at finding a good pizza place in Manhattan, one of friends suggested I check out Luzzo’s in the East Village.  He claims that this is “the best” pizza in New York, which obviously is a huge claim.  So, I took a break from all those $1 pizza places for once and had a sit down with some friends at this First Ave. restaurant.  This is not one of those new school pizza joints popping up everywhere in the village but, this place has been around for quite a while serving up not only coal oven pizzas but, a whole Italian menu consisting of pasta and antipasti.

First impressions of the interior of the restaurant were good and we didn’t have to wait at all to get a table for five people.  Service was prompt and they were ready to take our order right away.  We came here for the pizza so decided to with the following pizzas:

Diavola – tomato sauce , bufala mozzarella, spicy salame, basil


Salsiccia – tomato sauce, bufala mozzarella, sausage, basil


(no longer on menu?) –bufala mozzarella, broccoli Rabe, sausage

All of the tomato sauce pizza have the same baseline ingredients of tomato sauce, bufala mozzarella, & basil which, by the way aren’t the normal kind of sauce and cheese.  The sauce has a pretty special complexity and sweetness you don’t find in normal Neapolitan pizzas and the bufala mozzarella gives a nice different flavor to the pizza.  This all topped with basil was a nice touch because in my opinion, basil is the most amazing green ingredient in the world.  We figured we couldn’t hurt the pizza by adding some tasty meaty ingredients to the pizza so we went with the sausage & spicy salame.  I didn’t have much thoughts on the pizza with the Broccoli rabe other than the fact that it was our “healthy” option and lacked flavor without the tomato sauce and basil.  That’s probably the reason it’s no longer on the menu.

My biggest gripe about our experience was that when we got our pizzas we tasted a sandy substance in the basil and asked if we can get some fresh basil on our pizzas.  The waitress was trying to argue that there shouldn’t be any sandiness and that it should be clean, basically five guys against one.  After some back and forth they finally brought us some fresh basil and recovered our pizzas with the greenie goodness and we were happy.

So my final conclusion is that YES it is a good pizza on par with Patsy’s or Lombardi’s but, better than Totonno’s, Motorino, Co., or any of those other places.  I disagree on the opinion that is the best pizza in NYC and still hold my belief that Brooklyn has the best pizza in all of NYC.  Still lots of pizza places to try and my pizza journey will continue at Keste? Pulinos?…we’ll see.

.:cL

4 Comments

Filed under East Village, Italian, pizza

The Meatball Shop

Rating:

Location: 84 Stanton Street (btw Allan & Orchard)

Price: $3-$12

I feel like The Meatball Shop & I have a long complex relationship ever since I heard about this place back in February.  Jenni had informed me about this great new meatball shop in the Lower East Side and I acknowledge its presence and told myself I’d go there VERY soon.  I knew I wanted to go there before all the blogs and media so that its not a zoo up in there.  I kept putting it off and scheduled a couple of gatherings there with some friends and it got canceled and simply just could not go there. More friends were going and telling me that its a great place and I have to definitely go…why didn’t they invite me?  At this point I was going to go on my own and sit at the bar but, the opportunity knocked to go with Sang, Joe, Young, & Theresa and I seized it.

Let me give you a warning, if you’re going with a larger party its best to go there really early or really late because we ended up waiting about an hour and a half to sit down when we arrived at 7:30.   Luckily we held back our hunger pains by taking a little walk to Vanessa’s dumplings and got some $1 dumplings and sesame bread.  Even with the long wait, standing out in the cold, & giving evil stares at people inside to finish their meals, I appreciated the cute hostess and being patient with us even though I kept bothering her about when our table would be ready. Also  conveniently they’ll take your number and call you when a table opens up.

The dining area itself isn’t that big but, has a decent sized bar, handful of two seater tables and a large communal table in the middle for large groups or to be shared with smaller parties.  After the attentive waitress explain simply how to order our meals for 5 mins we realize that this method is super efficient.  They have laminated menus with check boxes and you simply write the quantity of each of the items you want with magic marker… brilliant!

The food consists of essentially five types of meatballs (classic beef, spicy pork, chicken, vegetable, & the special) and four sauces (Tomato sauce, spicy meat, mushroom, & parm cream).  With the choices you choose the quantity of meatballs by the type of sandwich you want and the sauce…simple really.

The sliders which are $3 each probably gives you the most variety to satisfy your hunger.  I thought the best combinations were the Spicy meat w/ spicy pork and Chicken w/ parm cream.  I would go back to this place to get a large hero with those combinations.

My friend got the a la carte classic beef w/ spicy meat over spaghetti and he liked this classic combination.  We also got a side of risotto which I thought was surprisingly fantastic, a daily roasted veggies that had a sweet glaze which had a unique tasty flavor, and a steamed spinach that was fresh.

We could not pass up on the dessert since the choices are unique, and once again the matrix effect. You choose your cookie, your ice cream, and they make an ice cream sandwich out of it.  We got this ordering thing down so we got a chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream and peanut butter cookie with chocolate ice cream.  I was a big fan of the chocolate cookie with vanilla but some of us preferred the other.  Lastly, the two sandwiches seemed perfect to share for five people after a meatball meal.

After our meal we all pretty much unanimously agreed that this place is about a 4 out of 5 sporks in rating.  The beauty of this restaurant is that even though they specialize in meatballs they’ve managed to customize everything else so that you have control over size, sauce, bread, quanity, cheese, meat/vegetarian or whatever.  They have three beer sizes for heaven’s sakes!  As simple as meatball gets, they’ve manage to make this particular food special and tasty as it can get.  I’m not sure about rest of the group but, I can start a nice normal steady relationship with this place.  So, I’d definitely go back , just without the wait.

.:cL

1 Comment

Filed under Dessert, Lower East Side, Sandwiches, Specialty, Under $10

Cong Ly Restaurant

Rating:

Location: 124 Hester St (btw Bowery & Chrystie)

Price: Pho $5-6

I recently had conversation with a vietnamese dude whom I met through dodgeball and our conversation went like this:

Me: So you’re Vietnamese…which Vietnamese restaurant in the city is the best?

Vietnamese dude: None

Me: oh…

Vietnamese dude: You kind of forget and get used to how bad Vietnamese food in NYC is until you go to another city and realize how good it can be.

Me: oh…

Okay so MAYBE there is a mysterious Vietnamese place out there in the outer boroughs that have an amazing pho or some random French fusion Vietnamese street food.  Who knows?  I’ll keep looking out there but, for now I went to Cong Ly and they had a solid Pho.  Its right off Bowery at a very unassuming location recommended by a friend.  The noodle and broth were great and I like that they had a Pho option with a sweet beef roll thing on the side.  The noodles were definitely higher quality than other places I’ve been to off mulberry and mott st.  Yes I still need to go to Vietnam and experience the real thing.

So the ultimate question is…are the noodles more important, or the broth, or the other misc thing that go into a Pho (cilantro, lime, tripe, beef, etc)??

.:cL

5 Comments

Filed under CHEAP!, Chinatown, noodles, Vietnamese

Boqueria

Rating:

Location: 53 West 19th Street (btw 5th & 6th Ave)

Price: $7-$19 per dish

I feel like Spanish tapas is one of those food where I just don’t really know what to expect.  In NYC where every Spanish tapas restaurant is trying to do something different or special with each of their little dishes, there isn’t much consistency…maybe the only consistent thing is the paella.  So without much choice or say about a dinner spot, I ended up at Boqueria over on 19th street. First off, what is it about 19th street, I mean all the Tapas/Spanish spots?  There is Sala 19 right next door, you got Pipa a block down & you have Socarrat a couple of blocks down the other direction…I guess no reason.  I’ve only been to Sala 19 before which, was reasonably solid place & Boqueria reminded me or a smaller, more lit, quieter, & slightly cheaper version of Sala 19.  Bonus was that despite the restaurant being very crowded, we got a large 4 person round table right away & our servers were quite attentive & kind.  Everything started off decently well  and as we started eating I thought the small dishes at Boqueria were excellent.

The patatas bravas, a pseudo Spanish hash browns drizzled with a delicious sauce was great as well as the croquetas cremosa, a cream puff with mushrooms and a flavorful cream inside.  The two items off the special menu which we got (pictured below) had well cooked meat and very fresh ingredients which we were all impressed by.

At the beginning of the meal we put in a order for Paella de Mariscos and were were going to top off our stomachs with this large dish made perfectly for 4 people.  Unfortunately we were sorely disappointed with this dish b/c the rice didn’t seem well cooked and the dish wasn’t piping hot.  The flavor wasn’t quite there either considering all the seafood & spices they had in there.

The redeeming factor was that the waitress had told us they were trying out a new recipe for this paella dish and it was in it “experimental” stage & so when we expressed our thoughts on their flavorless “experimental” paella, they gave us ½ off the price of the paella.  I’ll take that considering we still killed off the entire dish of the paella to fill us up.

I think this is really a great place to go for wine or sangria and get a couple of tapas dishes with a friend or with a group to share.  The flatiron location on 19th  makes this spot not TOO crowded & the interior environment is great for conversation…and if your conversation gets boring you can always stare at the array of cured meats hanging on the walls to keep you entertained.

.:cL

Leave a comment

Filed under Flatiron, Spanish, Tapas/Small Plates, Uncategorized