The Park Slope Gastronome

Back in Park Slope.

Monday, December 04, 2006

4 on Fifth

Friday's Lunch: Taro Sushi (ok, technically on Dean, but steps from 5th Avenue)

I took a personal day from work on Friday and wound up having lunch with the China-Latina Chowhound. She was fiending for some sushi, so I suggested Taro, a tiny spot around the corner from O'Connors. Taro offers up some great deals during the day. I went with lunch special #1, a bento box of unadon, whitefish tempura and 4 pieces of sushi along with miso soup and salad for $8. My box was portioned off into four squares: a mount of rice with two pieces of glazed eel; two pieces of fish, a broccoli floret and a small slice of acorn squash all tempura'ed up; a dish of tempura dipping sauce (the wonderful combination of soy, mirin and dashi) with a healthy amount of grated radish; ebi, tuna, salmon and mackerel nigiri. Beth went with a sashimi appetizer and combination #4, which was a plate of chicken teriyaki, dumplings and spicy tuna roll (you can also choose a California roll, but why would you want to?). While neither of us would go out of our way to order chicken teriyaki, Beth needed some additional protein and seemed very happy with her choice. I already had a bounty of food in front of me, but would up eating one of Beth's spicy tuna pieces, all of her noodles that came with the chicken, half of her salad and also one of her peppery dumplings. Wow, that makes me sounds like a pig! Oink, oink.

Friday's Dinner: Bogota
The rain started coming down pretty hard during lunch so afterwards the CLC came over and we had a plan to watch something great on television. By something great, we were hoping for Glory Road or While You Were Sleeping, but instead cable television decided to play a joke on us and only offer up real crap like Must Love Dogs. We wound up spending the rest of the afternoon YouTubing "We Are The World" and Kenny Rogers/Dolly Parton duets, and creating a special rainy day playlist that included lots and lots of Rod Stewart. Obviously, we worked up quite an appetite and decided to meet up at Bogota for dinner with DMR, who would be coming from his squash game.

We started with an order of plantain chips with cilantro black bean dip which was really flavorful. For my main, I went with the ropa vieja, simmered in a cilantro red wine sauce here, accompanied by a side of tropical slaw and garlicky kale. Man, this was a tasty dish. I love shredded meat dishes, whether it's barbacoa or yook gae jang. Each bite was juicy, as the meat retained the sauce well. The crunchy slaw was composed of shredded red cabbage, coconut flakes, mango and a couple other fruits. Thankfully, I spotted only a single raisin in the dish.

DMR ordered the skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, which turned out to be a very nice portion of meat. There were three thin strips of beef on his plate, half of which he placed on my plate in exchange for a mound of ropa vieja. He went with rice and beans and sweet plantains for his sides. The CLC went with a taste of Bogota, the Bandeja Paisa, a smorgasbord of Latin treats including: grilled skirt steak, an arepa, rice & beans, fried egg, maduros and best of all, glorious chicharron.

By the way, the folks at Bogota really couldn't be nicer. DMR had stopped by his work to pick up a package before dinner. On the way out, knowing the weather was terrible, one of the co-owners stopped him and went to get a plastic bag to cover up the box. By the time we stepped outside, it had stopped miraculously raining, but it was still a very thoughtful touch. Also, we were seated moments before Happy Hour was to end, so the same guy rushed over to our table to see if we wanted to put in an order while there were still specials going on.

Saturday's Dinner: Stone Park Cafe
DMR and I were planning to attend a fundraiser in lower Manhattan, but instead decided to stay in. Then we decided to go out and get dinner in the neighborhood. We decided to try Palo Santo again, but once we arrived at the corner of 5th and Union, I realized I didn't want Latin cuisine two nights in a row for dinner. So we headed back south and decided to eat at the bar of Stone Park Cafe. Overall, DMR and I have had our most satisfying dining experiences here sitting at the bar, whether it's for brunch or dinner. I'm a big fan of the night bartender - I think his name is Cliff or Clint. He was also tending the other time we had dinner at the bar. DMR ordered a bacon and jack cheese burger and a pint of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. Very DMR. I once again went with the frisee salad, which I love for its ingredients list: lots of bacon chunks, crisped shitake mushrooms, Yukon Gold potatoes cubes and a poached egg with a breadcrumb coating. I also ordered a side dish of homemade tagliatelle with pork belly. The sauce in this dish reminded me a lot of the broth in tonkotsu ramen, which is made from cooking pork bones for a long time. It had that same thickness and stickiness to it. I remember feeling a little overwhelmed by the broth in that ramen, but here it seemed just right, coating the light noodle strands and tiny squares of pork belly with velvety richness. We ordered a root beer float for dessert. The menu touts Virgil's root beer, so I was somewhat disappointed when a bottle of Olde Brooklyn showed up - not exactly my favorite as I find it a tad syrupy. We're both big fans of the chocolate chip marshmallow sandwich cookie that accompanies the float. With a little more than a quarter of the cookie left, DMR declared that he was going to eat the rest of it, which made me laugh so I didn't put up a fight. Oh, one more thing about the dessert that wasn't great - in addition to vanilla, there was chocolate ice cream! Who wants chocolate ice cream in a root beer float? Certainly, not I.

Sunday Brunch: Perch
I want to like Perch but having to wait 20+ minutes for a couple of egg sandwiches to go, doesn't so much to help that. There's something oddly inefficient about this place despite so many servers zipping back and forth and so many people behind the counter. The egg sandwiches were good (his: eggs, cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions, jalapeƱos; mine: green eggs, ham and cheddar), but they're not exactly cheap and not really worth waiting all that time for. When my sandwiches were up, I was kind of taken aback when the woman behind the counter asked me if I wanted a bag. It's our own damn fault for being lazy.

I guess at most places, if you order for delivery or take out, your ticket in the queue jumps. Maybe I'm just spoiled by places like Joya, where it barely takes 10 minutes from hanging up the phone to having your doorbell rung. The coffee was nice and hot though.

Taro Sushi 446 Dean Street (b/w Fifth Avenue and Flatbush)
Bogota Latin Bistro 141 Fifth Avenue (b/w St. John's Place and Lincoln Place)

Stone Park Cafe 324 Fifth Avenue (at the corner of 3rd Street)
Perch 365 Fifth Avenue (b/w 5th and 6th Streets)

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Blogger Listmaker said...

>DMR ordered a bacon and jack cheese burger and a pint of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. Very DMR.

i think a need a t-shirt made to this effect. very dmr. hah.

that cookie was damn fine.

December 04, 2006 10:10 PM  
Anonymous ez said...

you know, for all the eating to be done in Buenos Aires...

I kinda miss Brooklyn. Just a little bit.

December 12, 2006 6:26 PM  

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