We didn’t feel comfortable taking photos in either of the following instances, for different reasons- one out of respect/reverence for the dining environment, one out of fear of getting our heads bitten off. Both delicious, both unique, both NYC.
Restaurant Name & Location:
204 East 43 St (Midtown)
Chef Name: Naomichi Yasuda
Type of Meal: Dinner, at the sushi bar, by choice because it’s the best way to go!
The Experience: The room is serene, brightly lit, and although every table is seated, it somehow remains enjoyably quite. The master (Yasuda himself) stands dressed in white behind the sushi bar and we put our dining experience in his hands, trusting that the knowledge, passion, and respect for the fish at his fingertips far surpasses what we “think” we know or like about sushi. An attentive waitress lingers nearby to address our every need, never having to “wait”. They could sense when we were in need of something…anything. Clean, fresh nigiri creations arrive one after another, exquisite in their simplicity, and the warmth and enthusiasm from Yasuda kept us smiling throughout the meal.
Restaurant Name & Location:
163 First Ave. (East Village)
Chef Name: Peter Serpico
Type of Meal: Dinner, at the bar, because that’s the only choice!
The Experience: The Ramones blare in the background, 12 stools crowd the bar in the small space as 3 chefs, one wearing a baseball hat, work behind the counter in front of us. Grouchily, as eloquently described in the blog A Life Worth Eating, these gentlemen crank out 10 courses with intriguing and complex components, including crispy chicken skin, gruyère – comté broth, smoked eggs (from Ko’s signature dish, recipe below), riesling gelée, burnt onion powder, smoked beef broth, cured-cooked-flash frozen- then grated foie gras, and a biscuit whose “butter to everything-else ratio is pretty skewed”.
Soft-Cooked Eggs with Onion Soubise, Caviar, and Potato Chips
8 APPETIZER SERVINGS
Recipe by Momofuku Ko (via Bon Appétit)
• 12 ounces onions (about 2 medium), halved, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, room temperature
• 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
• 8 large eggs, room temperature
• 3 cups water
• 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke*
CHIPS AND SALAD
• 4 3×3/4-inch fingerling potatoes (about 4 ounces), scrubbed
• Grapeseed oil (for frying)
• Coarse kosher salt
• 1/2 cup mixed herb leaves (such as 1/4 cup chervil or tarragon, 2 tablespoons parsley, and 2 tablespoons 1-inch pieces fresh chives)
• 2 ounces American hackleback caviar or paddlefish caviar
• Smoked salt or Maldon sea salt
• 4 teaspoons purple sweet potato vinegar (see Ingredient Tip) or Sherry wine vinegar
• *A smoke-flavored liquid seasoning; available at many supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.
• INGREDIENT TIP: Chef Chang uses Benímosu, a purple sweet potato vinegar, in this dish. The potatoes have deep-purple flesh, but the vinegar is a stunning strawberry red color. The vinegar has an aroma similar to that of Sherry wine vinegar, which makes a good substitute. Home cooks can buy Benímosu at Dean & Deluca ($13 for 4-ounce bottle; deandeluca.com).
• Place all ingredients in small saucepan. Simmer uncovered over lowest possible heat until onions are very tender, and butter and water are reduced to silky sauce, stirring often, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool, cover, and chill. Rewarm before serving.
• Bring large saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Add eggs to water gently to prevent cracking. Cook 5 minutes. Transfer eggs to large bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, crack eggs gently all over on flat surface. Return to ice water and peel carefully. (Do not break eggs; yolks will be runny.)
• Mix 3 cups water and 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke in large saucepan. Add peeled eggs to water. Cover and chill overnight.
CHIPS AND SALAD
• Using V-slicer or mandoline, thinly slice potatoes crosswise. Rinse potato slices in small bowl of water. Drain. Rinse until water runs clear, 1 or 2 times more. Drain well. Place on kitchen towel; pat dry.
• Pour enough oil into large deep saucepan to measure depth of 1 inch. Attach deep-fry thermometer to side of pan. Heat oil to 360°F. Working in 3 batches, fry potatoes until beginning to brown and crisp, stirring frequently to prevent slices from sticking together, about 1 minute per batch. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Cool. Transfer to clean paper towels.
• Using slotted spoon, gently transfer eggs to medium bowl. Bring smoked water to gentle simmer over medium heat. Carefully slide eggs from bowl into water. Cook until heated through, about 4 minutes. Rewarm soubise. Mix herbs together in small bowl.
• Spoon generous 2 tablespoons soubise onto each plate, using back of spoon to create small indentation for egg. Divide potato chips among plates, creating small mound alongside soubise. Spoon small pile of herb salad alongside chips and soubise. Place 1 egg atop soubise on each plate. Using small sharp knife, cut 1-inch-long slit in each egg (yolk will spill out). Spoon small dollop of caviar atop yolks, dividing equally. Sprinkle with small pinch smoked salt. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon vinegar alongside soubise on each plate.