The Park Slope Gastronome

Back in Park Slope.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Adrienne's Pizza Bar

The dilemma: Where to eat before catching Camera Obscura at South Street Seaport?

The Wall Street area is totally weird. I don't really know any of the streets and always get turned around. Despite all the great bands that have played here, the last time I caught show at the Seaport was back in 1993 or 1994 when saw Meat Puppets and the Grays.

A little Googling leads us to Adrienne's Pizza Bar on Stone Street, which is this beautiful cobblestone street with gorgeous low buildings. Before I turned the corner onto Stone, I could hear a buzzing. The stretch of street was overtaken by some gigantic finance frat party. DMR and I unanimously decided to eat inside. Many of the reviews I had read complained about how slow the service was so we gave ourselves a big cushion. None of the salads sounded too exciting but we opted for the Cinque Fegile, mixed greens with blue cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette. The salad was served in minutes! And then, not too long after, our square old-fashioned with pepperoni arrived!

The pizza disappointed. I liked pillowy foccacia-like crust, but the pepperoni was overwhelmingly salty and I had a difficult time getting my water glass refilled. As we made our way towards the middle of the pie, each piece got wetter and soggier. The middle of the pie turned into a such gloppy mess that when you picked up a square, the cheese would slide off.

For dessert, we shared a perfectly respectable tiramisu. DMR also ordered a coffee, but as our plate was set in front of us we learned a whole new pot needed to be brewed. It was an interminable wait.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Weekend Eating in the Neighborhood

Saturday August 25

Headed to Bittersweet on Dekalb for an iced coffee. No iced coffee here, so I ordered an iced Americano. The Americano was poured over a plastic cup of ice and the barista began pouring water over it, telling me to say when. As the coffee changed hues from deep brown to more of an iced tea shade, I got nervous and spit out, "When...uh...can I get another shot?" Also bought an almond croissant, which is supplied to Bittersweet by Balthazar. Spent 5 and change. Need to remind myself to get there earlier for more of a pastry selection. It was slim pickins when I got there.

Walked about two blocks east before realizing that I wanted to hit the farmers market. Bought a couple of tomatoes ($.90) from a produce stand, and a half and half and some garlic cheese spread from the Ronnybrook Farms Dairy stand ($4.50, I think?). Before heading back home, I abandoned the idea of eating my almond croissant and went to L'Epicerie for a baguette ($2.75) and some black forest ham ($2). At home I cut off a hunk of baguette and spread both sides with the a little garlic cheese. Then I layered ham, fresh mozzarella and slices of tomato and popped it on the panini press. Yum. Later that day I snacked on baguette and cheese spread and gave the croissant to Dan.

That evening we headed over to Balgavy's to play some board games. Papa John's was eaten, but for fear of being mocked, I won't delve into.

Saturday August 26

On Sunday early afternoon, we decided to eat at Bonita, which we eat at often. I like their brunchy options, though I didn't love the chicken enchiladas smothered in guajillo sauce with eggs any style I had last time. We started with a bowl of deliciously tangy lime soup served with chicken falling the bone and lots of cilantro, onions and tomatoes and a few tortilla strips sprinkled on top. Dan got steak tacos and I ordered one of the day's specials, sopas with chorizo (which is handmade every day according to our server). The duo of sopas were topped with crumbly sausage, lettuce, white cheese and crema and a liberal dose of tomatillo sauce at my doing. I have learned to stay away from their habanero sauce, which has caused me great pain in the past.

For dinner, we got cheesesteaks from the BB Sandwich Bar cart at Shea Stadium as the Mets stunk it up. I've gottencheeseteaks from their flagship on W. 3rd Street a couple times and have liked them, but the thin slices of meat on the Shea variety reminded me a little of Steak-Ums. It's a nice alternative to all the fried options and the cart is right by our section.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Asia Report #13: the Lost Tokyo post

I forgot to write about Tokyo during last summer's Asia Reports. Better late than never!

Though DMR would continue on to Hanoi and other destinations, Tokyo was my last stop in Asia last summer. There we met up with the inimitable Yu Bando who escorted us around town. First up was dinner at Gonpachi Nishiazabu, the somewhat trendy, bi-level space that was used as the location of the epic fight scene with the Crazy 88s in Kill Bill Vol. 1. Trendiness aside, this was a really handsome restaurant serving some tasty, traditional Japanese tapas.

In addition to many Kirins, the three of us ordered a ton of food including:
- Spinach salad with tiny little sardines
- Gyoza with yuba wrappers
- Sunagimo yakitori (chicken gizzards, Yu's idea!)
- Tebasaki (grilled chicken wings)
- Negima yakitori (chicken with scallions)

A wedge of the homemade tofu served in the bamboo basket it was formed in:

Tsukune, basically a Japanese version of kefta kebabs made with chicken. We ordered it with an egg on the side to use as a dipping sauce.

For dessert, I ordered the kuzumochi, ice cream served with cubes of arrowroot flour mochi and a black sugar syrup. Yummmmmm.

The following day, we headed to the Yebisu Gardens, an enormous complex in Shibuya where Yu works. We got there a little early so Dan could hit a photography exhibit and I the Yebisu Beer Museum. This was my kind of museum. When I walked in, I was greeted by employees in the gift shop who were pouring beers and putting out snack samples. I stuffed myself with beer flavored chocolates, something called Sapporo Beer Crackers and bits of tender beef jerky. I was tips by the time I began the exhibit.

Of course the exhibit ended with a place to sample the brewery's wares. I inserted a few hundred yen (about $3) into a machine and retrieved a token for a beer flight. In addition to four kinds of beer, I got some more Beer Crackers! I wound up buying some more of these and some beef jerky on the way out.

We had some time to kill before meeting up with Yu, so we decided to get some more drinks and snacks at the beer garden that was housed in the Garden Place complex. These deep fried potato balls were my favorite snack. I don't remember what else we ate because by now I was definitely drunko.

Later that evening, we found ourselves at this salary man stand bar called Fujiya Honten.

I'm so glad we had Yu with us because everything was written in Japanese and DMR and I would have been helpless. You have to take a flight of stairs down and there are no seats in this bar. All the cooking and drink dispensing is done in the center of the room and you elbow your way onto the perimeter. We had a variety of tastes, like steamed asaparagus with mayo, some croquettes, eggplant in a delicious, salty miso sauce, maybe some grilled saba. At first we sidled up to a ledge against the wall of the bar, where we could see some of the baseball game that was being aired. Eventually folks cleared out and we were able to get some space along the main bar area.

Afterwards we went to a great rock bar called BYG, and we drank too much.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lotsa Eating, Little Writing

Some meals of late:

Taro Sushi - Jim popped his sashimi cherry this night, while Beth and I tried the omakase here for the first time. I went with the sushi and sashimi combo, while Beth was sashimi all the way. We started with an appetizer of monkfish liver atop a ponzu dressed sunomono. The liver had a really interesting texture. It was denser than I thought and reminded me of a smooth version of mentaiko, which I ate a lot of when I was younger. Anyway, everything tastes great with ponzu, IMHO. Next came the fish parade, including sardine, mackerel, butterfish, hamachi and a red-skinned whitefish which I think was called kinmae. Following that was a fatty tuna roll and a California roll made with real crab. But there was still so much more to be had, including variations on tuna such as bonito, which I love and some uni, which is not really a favorite. The uni nigiri was composed of two small orange oblong pieces atop the seasoned rice and I ate one of the pieces but left the other. I was incredibly stuffed after the meal, which I feel does not happen often when eating sushi.

Jim tried many new tastes and I think hamachi and mackerel came out on top as favorites. Hooray for Jim for trying new tastes!

Kushi Q - I discovered this futuristic hole in the wall Japanese place the other week when I had to stop by a friend's office to drop off Mets tickets. Though only half a block from Oms/B, where I go for lunch from time to time, I'd never noticed it before.

I ordered a atsuage tofu bento set with salad (you can also choose rice) and miso soup for $6.50. There was a trio of sticks, each with three cubes of battered tofu. Underneath the light and crispy shell was soft, creamy tofu. The salad was basic, composed of chopped romaine, carrots and corn, but filled me up nonetheless. I'd like to go back and try the butabara (bacon) and so-se-ji (little Berkshire sausages with pineapple). I've read some complaints about the portions not being big enough, but I felt more than satisfied.

Hibino - I did a bunch of small plates with the CLC and Dani before heading over to Floyd for bocce practice. The presentation on the fresh tofu is so cute, it's hard to pass up. It's amazing how rich and nutty tofu can taste. On this night, it was like eating a custard. It's also difficult to pass up the beef kakuni, a big hunk of braised short rib sitting atop a round of daikon. I rounded out the meal with one of the special daily obanzai - shitake and shisito pepper tempura, which unfortunately came sitting in sauce. I prefer to keep the tempura as dry as possible to maintain crispiness and do my own saucing.

Brio - I had lunch at this Upper East Side restaurant on Thursday with my coworkers Molly and Kendel to celebrate the latter's birthday. Molly knows the family who owns it, so we got treated to some lovely surprises, like a bottle of Prosecco and these two ginormous portions of tiramisu for dessert. To begin we noshed (am I allowed to say that to describe an Italian restaurant?) on a cheese plate and carciofi fritti, pan-fried baby artichokes. The cheese plate featured aged provolone, parmegiano and a deliciously milky salted fresh mozzarella. Kendel and I then shared the garganelli in salsa aurora rivista, which was a tomato-bechamel sauce, green peas, prosciutto and porcini. It was super rich, so a half-portion was the perfect amount. Then I wanted to take a nap, but I had to go back to work. Boo.

Sura - This Korean restaurant has undergone a bit of a makeover since I've last been. The setting seems a lot more serious and mature as the servers now dress in hanboks. The food was just as tasty as I remembered. Heidi and I shared the "pear and pork delight" to begin with. Layers of barbequed pork alternated with slices of Asian pear to create a nice contrast in textures. I just wish the kitchen was a little stingier with the sauce, which was a mixture of chili miso, raspberry and soy. It was too much and too gloppy. A light brushing of one of those flavors would have been more than sufficient. My main, the doobu kimchi bokeum suffered from the same over saucing but otherwise it was pretty damn tasty. The kimchi was gently sauteed with discs of rice cakes and surrounded by wedges of plain, steamed tofu. It was served with a small ping pong sized ball of mashed potatoes with cubes of Asian pear, what I guess is one of their trademark touches. It sounds weird, but provides a nice, cooling crunch in between bites of spicy.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

First time for Babbo

DMR and I recently celebrated our wedding anniversary with a dinner at Babbo. Exactly one month out at 10 AM, I began calling their notorious reservation line. After about 50 redials, I got through! The only seatings available were for 5:45 and 10:30 PM, neither of which perfect but at least we got through. I opted for the early reservation.

We were seated upstairs, where everything was oxy-clean white. The brightness was enhanced by the light coming through the skylight. Early on, there were more servers and employees than diners which made me nervous at first, but they were hardly obtrusive. I had been waiting for this day for a long time. I studied the menu, read post after post on Chowhound and asked questions of friends who had eaten there.

Soon after being seated at our table, our server presented us with an amuse bouche of chickpea tapenade crostini. Yum, although there was a bit of pit on my piece. As Dan popped the last piece of bread into his mouth, a server appeared and placed a new piece on his plate.

While I drink wine, I really don't know anything about it. The wine list at Babbo is massive, but the sommelier did a nice job of guiding us through it and pointing out various options at different price points. We got a very modest bottle that was about $30 and turned out to be perfectly fine. It didn't hurt that the label had a cute little red dog on it! I swear I had no idea. I love that they decanted it and also put a little metal tray under the bottle to prevent drips from hitting the tablecloth.

To begin with, we ordered the grilled octopus and Armandino’s Salumi. The octopus was super tender with bits of char marks that offered up some additional smokiness. It was served atop borlotti (similar to kidney beans) and basil, with a garnish of watermelon radish, chive and drizzling of limoncello vinaigrette. The plate was also a knockout visually. The salumi platter consisted of lamb proscuitto and hot sopressata, and two hunks of grilled bread. The lamb proscuitto was interesting, but not my favorite as it was a little gamey and I'm not the biggest lamb fan. But I really wanted to try Armandino's wares. The sopressata, on the other hand, I could have eaten all day long. Sopressata is such a magical meat!

Here's where all my research came in handy. Most everyone will agree that the secondis are very good. However, the consensus seemed to be that if you were going to get one thing, you get the pasta. So that's what we did. I had also read that if you tell your server you're sharing, they'll actually bring the meal out in two portions, which is what they did. Funny, I'm not a lamb person at all, but we opted for another lamb dish, the Mint Love Letters as well as the Beef Cheek Ravioli, which made Dan scrunch up his face even though he had no idea what a beef cheek is and even though I told him the meat would not be recognizable at all and that it would be delicious.

The love letters were rectangular packets of al dente pasta filled with a pea puree and topped with tomato based sauce and spicy lamb sausage. The ravioli followed and it was as rich and decadent a pasta dish you could get. The sauce, made of the liver, was flecked with bits of black truffle. I haven't had truffles much, but each time I can't get over their texture, which I love. It's dense and soft and hard and delicate all at once. We also ordered a side of Babbo Greens, which turned out to be escarole that day. There was a lot of escarole on that plate.

How do people eat appetizers and primis and secondis? Before our pastas arrived, I wondered out loud if we had ordered enough food. By beef cheek ravioli time, I was really getting stuffed! Even at half a portion each, it was a lot of food. Still, we ordered two desserts, the ricotta cheesecake with strawberries and balsamic vinegar and the pistachio and chocolate semifreddo.

The cheesecake was yummy - creamy but light and I've never come across a plate of strawberries, balsamic and fresh whipped cream that I did not like. The semifreddo, which had a similar texture, only cold, was dynamite, worthy of plate-licking, which we did not do. But something tells me the folks at Babbo would be ok with it.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

KFC at home

I was craving Korean Fried Chicken big time earlier in the week. After work I hopped over to Bon Chon in K-town and picked up a large order of the #1 that I had placed about 20 minutes earlier. The #1 is called the special and is a mix of wings, drumettes and drumsticks. I asked for a mixture of hot & spicy and garlic soy.

I must admit, I was quite self-conscious toting my big Bon Chon bag on the subway. The word chicken is written in the bottom corner and though I brought a plastic bag to help rein in the smell, I'm sure the other passengers were noticing something was up! I just kept telling myself that there are many smells one can encounter on the train that are a lot worse than spicy fried chicken.

Bon Chon holds up ridiculously well. After the hour plus commute, the skin was still crispy and the chicken still hot. The box was divided in half, which each side containing 2 full drumsticks and 5-6 small pieces, maybe even more!

To drink, we busted out a bottle of Hitachino Red Rice Ale. The beer's sweetness played really well with the chicken, especially the spicy pieces which were at extra strength that day.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Does this mean no more Bubba Burgers?

Via Grub Street:

The greatest hamburger mystery of our time has been solved: We have it from a high-level source near the situation that the location of the long-awaited sequel to Shake Shack is Citi Field, better known as the new Shea Stadium. (Citi Field is currently under construction; it will be finished in April 2009, in time for opening day.) And that most definitely is not all: The Union Square Hospitality Group also plans a Danny Meyer sit-down restaurant there. (We’re waiting to hear back from Meyer on both of these reports.) As for the new Shake Shack, well, if you thought ball games resulted in long lines to the bathroom …

This has potential to be really, really great. What I'm worried about though is who is going to man the station? While Shea easily outperforms that other ballpark in New York when it comes to variety and quality of food served, the food service workers are slower than slow. The set up is illogical and it couldn't be more inefficient if they tried (well, actually....).

Since I don't eat the dogs that have been stewing in the steam case, I have to go to a stand and order from there. Here's how it usually plays out. Place your order with the food service worker (FSW). Oh, it's already the bottom of the first and hot dogs are not ready? Ok, find another stand. Place order with FSW. FSW then goes to put on rubber gloves. FSW walks to get the hot dog bun out of the plastic bag. FSW then struggles to split the bun. FSW comes back to you and asks, "You wanted a hot dog, right?" FSW over to the hot dog grillers and gets a dog. FSW starts talking with another FSW. FSW then put the dog in paper holder. FSW is about to ring you up, oh wait, FSW gets distracted and walks away. So close! FSW comes back and can't remember what you ordered. FSW finally rings you up. FSW takes your money. FSW eventually gives you your change. FSW has taken 5 minutes to put a fucking hot dog in a fucking bun.

Getting a burger at the Shake Shack is an ordeal (with delicious payout, however), after typing out the hot dog retrieval process, getting a burger at the Shake Shack at Citi Field might be something I have to stay away from.

Yesterday I went to the Mets vs. Braves with work and it was the first time at Shea for everyone in my department but me! I steered my meat-eating coworkers to the Mama's stand, which was a big hit. Thank god the sandwich was good because the game left me wanting to throw up.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

It Crawled from the South Part IX: 24+ Hours of Nonstop Eating All Over Texas

On our second and final night in Austin we decided to hit the Alamo Drafthouse for a showing of Ratatouille. The brilliance of this theater is that you can order really good beer and pretty decent food while you watch your movie. There are little counters in each row for your food and drink as well as a silent ordering system. This is not the place to come for a fine cinema experience, but for a movie like Ratatouille it was the perfect venue, save for the screaming kid (at a 10PM showing, no less!) with the completely passive parents who chose to pretend it wasn't their kid. Dan got a burger and I got some queso and chips. That's all I wanted and I'll take it over gooey theater nachos any day. I am making up for all the years queso was not a part of my life.

Oh, earlier in the evening we had some snacks and drinks at the courtyard of our hotel, easily the most chichi place we've ever stayed. I had a very refreshing bottled beverage called Topo Chico, a mineral water. I had the version flavored with lime. Where can I get this in Brooklyn?

The following morning we left for Houston, but we still had a few more stops to make along the way. First off was brunch at Juan in a Million. We met up with Bill and his lady friend and upon entering the restaurant were personally greeted by Senor Juan himself! I had a chorizo taco and a migas taco, with cheese on both as well as a huge horchata. I really did not think I had ordered much food, but I got stuffed and would come to regret being so full a few hours later.

Next on our agenda was Lockhart, the barbeque capital of Texas. Ok, so not as many hours have passed and I'm not nearly has hungry as I want to be. Still, I want to hit two of the big three: Black's, Kreuz and Smitty's. Kreuz was my one definite, but as we near the gargantuan barn, I decide we should skip it and do Black's and Smitty's instead.

Photo from (I forgot to take an exterior shot!)

Black's is the oldest barbeque joint in Texas that's been run continuously by the same family. The inside reminded me of a camp dining hall.

We shared a chopped beef sandwich and a hot ring. I wish I had been hungrier so I could have tried more of the menu! The sausage was interesting. It was was composed of finely ground meat which was unexpected and was also on the dry and crumbly side. To drink I made an Arnold Palmer. Then it was off to Smitty's which is like a block away.

Smitty's is housed in the market that used to be known as Kreuz. Apparently there was a split in the family. One side wanted to expand and the other wanted to stay of the people. I guess the side that wanted to expand was allowed to keep the name, while the traditionalists got to keep the space.

We hit the jackpot with Smitty's. I loved the way it looked and smelled. I loved how hot it was by the pits. I loved that your order was served on butcher paper or wrapped up in it depending on whether your were staying or going. I loved that there were no forks to be found at all!

I needed a taste of everything so I ordered a piece of brisket (they gave me two), a sausage and a rib.

The brisket was moist and fatty and had the most delicious bark. I would have had more bark, but the guy in front of me kept asking for all the end pieces. When I cut into the sausage juice just oozed out. By this point Dan is offering me no help - he's content with just some of the brisket and a piece of sausage. I ate as much of the sausage and rib that I could, but at the end, I couldn't fit it all in. I should have packed up the leftovers and brought it to Houston. I'm so glad I finally made it to Lockhart.

Then it was off to Minute Maid Park to see the Astros take on our beloved Mets! It would be the final stop on Dan's quest to see a baseball game at all current ballparks. I got hungry around the 7th or 8th inning but we decided we'd eat after the game. There was a milk and cookies hour at our hotel which I wanted to check out, too. Only the game went 17 innings! Thank goodness the Mets won! After the game we headed to Mai's, a Vietnamese restaurant, on the suggestion of Bill's friend. We picked up some takeaway and feasted on delicious Goi Cuon Thit Nuong (barbequed pork summer rolls) and Bun Thit Nuong (barbequed pork with vermicelli). In just a few hours we'd be on our way back to Brooklyn.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Circular things eaten at a wedding

Christy and Carl were married over the weekend and for the reception Nils made 200 cupcakes in chocolate, almond and ginger. I really wanted a ginger one, but I knew it would be tough as he only made 40 of them. I picked up a non-chocolate one thinking I had the elusive ginger in my midst, but it turned out to be almond. It was still delicious. DMR and I shared that and a chocolate one, which was also delicious.

Nils is no joker in the kitchen. He makes his own gravlax. Who does that?

As day turned into night, 10 pies from Joe's showed up! I don't know who ordered these but you're the best! A fresh mozzarella slice helped to soak up all the alcohol and allowed me to keep on truckin'. Then DMR and I shared half of a buffalo hot wing slice that Blaine couldn't handle. In his defense, it was a lot hotter than expected, with no bleu cheese to provide a cooling effect. Then another food miracle happened.

SkipJackBonito appeared before our eyes carrying a bunch of these delightful treats and we scored one! I've seen these in the freezer case at Bierkraft and have always wanted to try one. Delicious creamy gelato from Il Laboratorio sandwiched between chewy discs of brownie. Yum. We shared ours with Christina and Charles. The rest of the night is a blur.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

It Crawled from the South Part VIII: The Salt Lick

While in Austin, we took a little side trip to Driftwood, TX, to each some barbeque. Our destination was the Salt Lick, which many barbeque snobs seem to be down on but I am no barbeque snob, unless you're serving a gnarly grey mass. I've wanted to go to the Salt Lick for many many years, but the only time I've ever been in Austin previously was for SXSW (for work, might I add) and just never found the time. Many purists believe if you're going to drive out to Driftwood, you may has well drive out to Lockhart, which was part of our agenda anyway so why not spread the barbeque love?

The open pit were your meat gets delicious-fied. The hanging sausages are just a lovely sight.

I think this guy here slicing the brisket is the son of the founders, Thurman and Hisako Roberts.

Gettin' ready to dig in! DMR can barely contain himself.

In attack mode.

We both got the meat combo plate - beef, sausage and pork ribs. They were served with ample portions of beans and non-mayo-y potato salad and cole slaw, as well as a plate of onions and pickles and a hunk of warm bread. All this for $10.

I thought it was ALL good. I think the brisket was my favorite - it was lean, but moist. I also really liked the snap of the sausage skin. The ribs were my least favorite, but I still really liked them. I liked all the sides too. If anything, maybe it was a little to saucy for me, but that didn't deter me. Don't be a hater.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

It Crawled from the South Part VII: LBJ and Lady Bird

In Austin, we visited the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library. Momofuku Ando died about 4 months after we visited the Instant Ramen museum outside Osaka and Lady Bird Johnson less than a week after our visit. Is there a G.W. Bush museum we can visit?

The top floor of the museum had an exhibit on the Lady Bird Express. That lady was all class. I love looking at old menus and was pleased to see these. Check out the prices!

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Last Night's Dinner

Yesterday after work Youthlarge and I met up for pedicures in the East Village. Originally, our plan was to go to Dashing Diva on Smith and Dean (has anyone ever been to one of these?) and then hop on the B65 to Taro to finally check out the omakase situation, which came highly recommended to us by a PSG reader several months ago. Sadly, we had to abandon our perfect plan because Dashing Diva was completely booked. I usually only go to Rescue Beauty Lounge on Centre Market, but its location just wasn’t that convenient for us in terms of what we wanted to eat, so after much deliberation and kvetching, we decided to go to Spa Belles in the East Village. In addition to not being at all thorough, the pedicures there were not even that inexpensive (approx. $40 w/ tax and tip). Also, Youthlarge’s pedicurist was being really mean to her… Don’t worry - this is not becoming a beauty services blog. I just wanted to describe how fully down in the dumps we were after our Spa Belles experience in order to emphasize how much Kenka really saved the day.

Most readers probably know that Kenka is a favorite here at the PSG. Like my co-blogger said in a previous post, Kenka is not great, but it is really solidly good and never disappoints. Everything there is super tasty, absurdly inexpensive (a Sapporo or Kirin draft is a jaw dropping $1.50) and the little tapasy size dishes allow you to sample lots of different goodies instead of having to commit to just one.

Per usual, I got the kaki fry teishoku (fried oyster combination served with a refreshing little salad with deliciously creamy sesame dressing and miso soup). I also got the miso grilled pork and eggplant off of the specials menu. I’ve had this before and loved it. This time was no exception. Youthlarge got the saba (mackerel) combination and the grilled squid (the squid sort of tasted like lobster last night). We also shared an order of fried tofu sprinkled with bonito flakes, which was a surprise favorite of the meal. Toward the end of the meal, we were still feeling a little hungry, so we ordered some french fries (I love how they come here, with cute little lines of mayo and ketchup crisscrossing over the crispy goldeny mound of lightly seasoned fries). Youthlarge did not want to partake, but I also got an order of grilled chicken skin. I know that sounds disgusting, but I had been wanting to order it ever since I spied it at another table a few times ago. The couple who ordered it looked like they were on a second date, so it went almost completely untouched! YL offered to reach across and grab a skewer for me, but we both chickened out. So this time, especially since I was feeling disappointed by my pedicure, I finally pulled the trigger on the chicken skin. It was ok, but could have been grilled for longer. I don’t think I will order it again, but now at least I don’t have to wonder.

Anyway, thanks to Kenka to for coming through for us yet again!

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