Zenkichi is an intimate izakaya in Williamsburg with a $65 seasonal chef’s tasting menu, omakase. The faint illumination and privacy screens of the romantic booths made it hard to take pictures — but here are some that I took of our favorite courses.
pickled persimmon, monkfish, scallops
cod milt (seminal fluid) and chrysanthemum tempura
sesame tofu in dashi
lobster roll (on a toasted marshmallow)
I recently had the most amazing dinner of my life at Atera. The $165 tasting menu included almost 30 different items. Here are some photos of my favorites.
“razor clams” – mini air baguette painted with squid ink and filled with clam ice cream and sorrel
tomato ice with sea urchin
lichen chip with aioli and malt sauce
beer macaron with sturgeon roe
sprouted grain ice cream
peekytoe crab with artichokes petals in herb broth
young vegetables with pastrami cured seared duck hearts
tomato with milk ice cream
rosewater ice rose
open kitchen with chef Lightner
edible black walnut shell
lamb tartare with burnt crisp
“ramen” – squid strip noodles and dissolvable seasoning packet
pine nut wafers
Blue crabs have been bigger and more plentiful this year because of warmer ocean temperatures last winter. I bought a dozen of some very frisky live blue crabs at N.Y. Supermarket in Elmhurst, Queens for $6.00
I boiled them for about one minute before removing them and placing them in the vaporera I use for steaming tamales. Each crab was positioned upside down and covered in Old Bay seasoning before being steamed for 12 minutes.
Elmhurst NY 11373
If you get a chance, try Tabata Ramen, which is right behind Port Authority. The staff was sooo friendly and the ramen was fantastic! Here’s a picture of the house Tabata ramen (which seems to have a Burmese influence). The thick, fragrant coconut broth is similar to ohn no khao swè and is topped with chicken, cilantro, and red onion. It was $10. A 16 oz. Sapporo is only $4.50.
I know what you’re thinking… Port Authority bus terminal is the armpit of New York. Don’t let that stop you from trying this place though! It’s like the diamond in the rough of that neighborhood! (Well, along with Piccolo Cafè and their awesome croissants!)
540 9th Avenue
New York NY 10018
This brothless ramen bowl (mazemen) was topped with crab and miso at Yuji Ramen at Smorgasburg this weekend.
The best thing I ate were the “Jersey style” (head on) fried anchovies with smoked paprika mayonnaise at Bon Chovie.
When I realized that Caesar salad on a stick was a whole head of romaine lettuce with their own Caesar dressing, croutons, and Parmesan cheese shoved into all the nooks an crannies of the lettuce, my jaw dropped to the floor. Isn’t it amazing?!?! The “stick” was a skewer that held the paper in place around the salad. I liked eating it even more than the original salad on-the-go, the McDonald’s Salad Shaker!
Nixtamal provides tortillas to many restaurants in New York such as La Esquina, Choza Taquería, and even Nobu. The owners, Shauna Page and Fernando Ruiz, make their own corn masa using a method called nixtamalization. The corn is soaked in mineral lime, which increases its nutritional value, allows it to be more easily ground, kills fungus, and improves flavor. In front of Nixtamal there are a few stalks of corn growing in a planter.
Roses and thorns about Pok Pok Ny? I like to start with the thorns. There is only one tiny toilet for the entire restaurant and the wait is typically 7-8 people long. The part that bothered me is that when the employees at Pok Pok have to use the bathroom they cut in line and say to everyone, “I just need to check to make sure the bathroom is clean for you!” In line last night one employee did this and as he was walking out he was adjusting his fly, clearly having just urinated. Moments later another employee cut in front of everyone again saying, “I just need to check to make sure the bathroom is clean for you!” My friend told her, “Somebody just did that 30 seconds ago.” The employee looked embarrassed, as it was apparent that we had caught on to their system. Pok Pok: rent some Porta-Johns.
The food was good but nothing was so memorable that I would actually go to Redhook again for it. In fact there was one “Vietnamese” style catfish over vermicelli dish that was covered in dill (I wonder if it was really pak chee lao) and it reminded me of a foul Slavic dish of carp with dill.
I felt kind of swindled after my Singha slushy arrived. The server omitted the part about it basically being a bottle of beer that was left in a freezer for too long. She pointed to a fanciful battery-operated wooden barrel that twists back and forth, mixing ice and salt around the bottles to lower the temperature and turn the beer into slush.
Did I forget the roses? I think I’m just focusing on the thorns because I’m so sad I live in Queens, so far away from this amazing restaurant. It really is a special place with herbs and ingredients hard (impossible?) to find elsewhere in the city. I suppose it’s a case of sour grapes because I know I won’t be able to return for a while and taste their awesome food! PS: the staff is super friendly even though they tend to exude a certain Portlandia vibe.
Pok Pok Ny
127 Columbia St
I want to go back again tonight for more delicious meat skewers. They had hatsu (chicken heart) and bonjiri (chicken tail), my favorite yakitori items.
255 W 55th Street
New York NY 10019