Momofuku Fried Chicken (Noodle Bar)
Location: 171 1st Ave (bw 10th & 11th St)
A friend expressed the desire to try any of the momofuku restaurants; and having tried noodle bar and ssam before, I wanted to try something “new.” I didn’t want to pay for the bo ssam dinner because my mama makes a killer home-made bo ssam and there’s a key ingredient to hers that momo lacks: motherly loooove.
I guess I got lucky with reservations because I got a Friday night reservation (11:55pm) on my 2nd try. The reservation process was meticulous (sign-up, cc, confirmation print out) and warnings were plenty (you will get charged the full $100 if you cancel within 24 hours). They wound up not checking the printed confirmation.
Prior to the chicken we were presented with 4 sauces, (bibim, soy, hoisen, and scallion), vegetables (lettuce, carrots, radish, mint), and mu shu wrap. Nothing really to comment about here.
The chicken itself. I preferred the korean style while a couple of the guys preferred the southern. I always hated old bay, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I wasn’t a huge fan of the southern style. I thought it tasted burnt and way too salty. The lettuce and wrap did make it a bit better though. The sauces, vegetables, and wrap does make the whole experience a bit more different and unique but it was A LOT of food for 4 diners. I would highly recommend a party larger than 6, even if the 4 diners have been famished for days.
I wasn’t crazy about the whole fried chicken experience; the chicken didn’t change my world nor expose my palate to a whole new level. It was decent fried chicken and honestly, it’s way too hyped for my taste buds.
maybe next time momo
Location: 184 9th Ave (bw 21st and 22nd)
Price: $3.25 – $4.50
I had to give Serious Eats a little more credit when they finally wrote a negative review on Lucy’s; surprisingly, they were brutal for once. So with a regained trust in Serious Eats, I had to try the pumpkin bar from Billy’s Bakery when I saw the picture of a perfect looking dessert from Billy’s Bakery. Even though I’m not a huge fan of Billy’s cupcakes, on paper, the bar seemed like everything I wanted; what’s there not to love? Cream cheese frosting, LOVE. Pumpkin cake, LOVE. Walnuts, LOVE. I was already in love even before I tried it because even my trusty NFT claimed Billy’s to be a favorite of theirs.
The pumpkin bar was severely disappointing (severely, maybe because my expectations were severely elevated?). The frosting lacked the flavor of cream cheese and the texture was grainy; it just tasted like pure sugar. I immediately stopped tasting the frosting and just proceeded onto the cake. Whilst the cake was moist, the cake lacked pumpkin flavor and spice; it was boring and disgustingly sweet. I stopped with the bar after the initial tastings.
Thank goodness my friend spotted and bought the pumpkin cheesecake because we were both pouting from the pumpkin bar. Unlike the bar, I was severely surprised at how awesome the cheesecake was (severely, maybe because my expectations were severely low?). The cheesecake was heavenly; the texture AND flavor was a mixture of pumpkin pie and cheesecake, more on the pumpkin side. The flavor of the pumpkin was right on and the cheese was more of the supporting flavor, which I loved. It wasn’t too sweet and it was the perfect companion to my cup of joe. The crust had broken pieces of pecans in it which made this dessert the perfect autumn treat.
I had Veterans’ Day off and it seemed like I was the only one, amongst my mostly banker friends, that had it off. And being the asshole that I am, I dedicated the day to myself as my “mental health” day, instead of honoring our veterans the proper way. So what does one do on a “mental health” day? It’s only natural that I would pick to do the most “couple-y” and “mom-y” things in the city, duh. Enter.. Guggenheim. If abstract art is your thing, it’s a good time to go
Alice’s Tea Cup
Location: 220 E 81st St (bw 2nd & 3rd Ave), 102 W 73rd st and 156 E 64th St.
While staring at Kandinsky’s art, all I could think about was the pumpkin scone that was soon going to be in my stomach. Once I got to Alice’s Tea Cup, I couldn’t get myself to sit next to moms having tea parties with fellow moms and daughters so I had mine to go. For $3, you get a huge scone and a side of preserves and cream. I tore off a small piece as I walked out the door and the first thought was “Oh shit, that’s good.” Afraid of becoming a victim of thoughtless eating, I placed the scone in my bag for later consumption. I thought the scone was seriously lacking the pumpkin flavor but too strong on the spice. A little more moist than the generic scone and it was actually topped with a caramel glaze that tasted nothing like pumpkin. It was the combination of the pumpkin scone and the slighty burnt caramel-taste glaze that I absolutely loved; too bad they didn’t drench the whole scone with the glaze. Muffin tops exist, why not scone tops?
Good, but doesn’t deserve a dedicated trip to the UES for it.
Ronnybrook Milk Bar
Location: Inside Chelsea Market (9th Ave bw 15th and 16th St.)
With so many mentions in the New York Diet (nymag), I was thoroughly excited to try Ronnybrook Milk Bar. Because my uneaten scone was still in my bag, I trekked down to the Chelsea Market for a leisurely lunch and to soak in the smell of heavenly butter produced by all the bakeries. I ordered the Pressed Mozzarella (pesto, tomato, basil, eggplant on olive panini). This sandwich was so disappointing, the pesto was lacking, there were maybe 4 pieces of basil (I opened my sandwich to check), the tomato wasn’t ripe, and I totally forgot about the eggplant because I didn’t taste any eggplant. It was so bland that I topped the sandwich with the side salad, making it a little better. I do give Ronnybrook credit with the fresh mozzarella and the olive bread. The bread was flavorable for bread standards and the mozzarella was fresh with the right texture. Such a shame the bread and the cheese flavors couldn’t shine through this sandwich.
Location: 33 Avenue B (3rd St, SE corner)
Price: $8 – $12 for small plates, $20-$24 entries
When it comes to group dinners, I immediately think tapas; it’s the best way to interact and share conversation with that person on the other end of the table by requesting and/or sharing a dish. We took several visiting Chicagoans to POCO and even before we arrived at the restaurant the service was great. We had last minute changes with reservations but they gladly accommodated, on a Friday night! The food was solid but there were only a couple dishes that really stood out, which were the Lobster Mac & Cheese and Seafood Paella (the Valencia); we had to get an extra order of both. Also, if a slightly sweeter red sangria is your thing, a pitcher for $35 is well worth it.
Price: $22 (includes unlimited mimosa/bloody mary/sangria and coffee/tea)
Again, they did not disappoint when it came to service. It was prime time for Sunday brunch but the staff stayed calm and relaxed and we were seated in about 10 minutes. Even when a crowd started to wait outside for a table, servers still went around asking if brunchers wanted a refill on their cocktails and coffees. I loved it that we never felt rushed to finish our meals. Brunch at Poco is pretty damn good. Get it: the Lobster Benedict (see a pattern here?). The lobster is plentiful and it’s placed on an arepa rather than an english muffin or biscuit. All brunch dishes come with a side of salad and potatoes. The BEST part of brunch though (at least this time of year), is that they start you off with mini spiced muffins and bread that’s made in-house. They are GLORIOUS.