Archives for October 2013

Royal House Oyster Bar – The Butter, The Garlic!

I had grand plans to eat at Acme Oyster House.

I was going to order at least 3 different preparations of oysters. I was going to have my photo taken. It was one of my nonnegotiables on our New Orleans sojourn.

Needless to say, we never made it there.

We were too late, too early, too tired, too hungry, or all of the above to wait the line.

PS, lines for restaurants are a thing in New Orleans. They are outside almost every restaurant and everyone just waits pleasantly until they are seated. The open container laws might have something to do with how patiently everyone waits. 

However, being whiny New Yorkers, we all settled for a little oyster house down the street. And we are SO glad that we did!

IMG_20131027_143626_949 Royal House Oyster Bar is located in a typical French Quarter style home on the totally charming Royal Street. Flanked with antique stores and vine-lined iron trellises, the restaurant’s most lovely aspect is its second floor which opens onto a narrow balcony.

The whole time we ate, we heard jazz musicians down in the street playing. Eating whilst listening to jazz waft up from the historic street below? Does it get any better? IMG_20131027_143632_546 The restaurant is very relaxed, with a bar-meets-casual restaurant atmosphere. It is perfect fora  relaxed, boozy lunch, but it would be good for a low-key dinner, too.

IMG_20131027_144314_572 Bloody Mary

This city just loves my favorite cocktail! And this one was almost…almost…as good as my famous 3 Day Bloody Mary. It’s made with olive and pepper infused vodka, so the alcoholic kick is very slight. It’s zesty and very vegetal tasting – You really get that oniony-garlicky-tonatoey-olivey kick. It’s practically healthy! I drank two…and then I napped.

New Orleans involves a lot of napping, post eating. IMG_20131027_145811_783 Redfish beignets

Because our server told us that you can’t go to NOLA and not eat redfish. These are, as a dining companion put it “like General Tso’s chicken meets fish fingers.” By Jove, he is right! Meaty, mild redfish is encased in a thick, beignet batter and served with a sweet, spicy dipping sauce. The finishing touch is…wait for it…powdered sugar. It sounds horrible, I know, but somehow the sweetness negates any muddy taste and makes the clean flavor of the fish shine though. The bit of heat in the sauce keeps it from being too weird or sweet. This is a surefire way to get non-fish eaters to like a seafood dish! IMG_20131027_145817_754 Crab claws in garlic butter sauce

A misnomer. This appetizer should be called crack. Just plain old crack. It’s that addictive. Miniature crab claws, already cracked, swim in a buttery ,creamy, vaguely spicy sauce that is so garlicky that you might smell my breath right through your computer screen. It’s bright with lemon and the crab meat is so insanely sweet that I was gobsmacked. The sauce is just unreal. The server told us the garlic makes it special, but I’m pretty sure that the butter helps too. Wow.

chargrilled oysters Chargrilled oysters with butter, garlic, and Parmesan cheese

Notice a theme here? Garlic and butter are big players in the seafood dishes here, and with good reason. I find gulf oysters to be a little dull tasting and they really benefit from strong seasonings. This topping is perfect. The cheese might sound unconventional to pair with an oyster, but it just creates a nutty, crunchy aspect that enhances the mollusks mild salinity. The garlicky butter sauce is bread dippin’ good. This may be the best dish I had on the entire trip. It’s just so tasty – big and bright flavors in an unexpected combination. oyster po boy Oyster BLT po boy

Awww yeah. Fully dressed. Now THIS is a po boy. Lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo, bacon, fried oysters, and chipotle remoulade all layered on soft, dense French bread. The sandwich did need some more mayo, but it is a totally satisfying meal. A crunchy crust surrounds the piping hot oysters – soft but not mushy – really fabulous. The bacon is the perfect additional salty crunch and the pickles – what a revelation! Pickles and oysters are just delicious together – the salty, bright flavors work so well together and lighten up a rather heavy sandwich. I am a po boy lover, and though the accompanying fries were mediocre at best, this po boy is a winner.

The whole restaurant is a gold medalist! Royal House was a last minute stop, but it had some of my favorite food of the trip. Those buttery, garlicky oysters. That buttery, garlicky crab. The butter…the garlic! The atmosphere is totally delightful and just what I had imagineed before I visited The Big Easy. It’s all jazz and balcony and seafood and…lovely. Fair prices, efficient service, and really great food.

It’s relaxed NOLA at its best. 

What Not to Eat: New Orleans Edition

I loved the food in New Orleans. Most of it was intensely flavorful, totally diffrent from the food I usually eat, and actually lived up to the high reputation that it has.

Most of it, being the key word.

There were a few iconic N’Awlins eats that I just couldn’t seem to enjoy. These foods weren’t truly awful, they just paled in comparison to the shining stars that are the rest of New Orleans cuisine. I am bummed that I wasted stomach space on these items, and want to save you the same disappointment:

IMG_20131026_111918_517 Hurricane

BLECH! Like cherry flavored cough syrup pumped full of ice and enough alcohol to make you go blind with one sip. Know what’s worse than getting so drunk off one drink you have to take a nap? Getting brain freeze along with it. I love booze and I love sweet drinks but this is a mucus-y  saccharine concoction that makes Robitussin look like a gourmet treat. This was literally horrible and I couldn’t stand it – If you are not a fan of fake cherry flavoring, avoid this at ALL costs!
IMG_20131026_153856_243 Raw gulf oysters

I hate myself for not liking these. I had many preparations of oysters in NOLA and while I found that I love them cooked, raw they don’t do it for me. They have a very muted, bland taste compared to the salty, briny east coast and creamy, buttery West coast oysters that I know and love. They are watery and extremely liquidy, and need massive amounts of horseradish to be anything other than palatable. I feel just dreadful for not loving them and, truth be told, when I make it back to New Orleans, I intend to try them yet again to see if I can grow accustomed to their mild flavors.
IMG_20131027_103823_802 Court of Two Sisters

Form over function. This place has gotten rave reviews for its jazz brunch, and while its spicy turtle soup (like a very zesty Manhattan clam chowder) and King cake (doughnuts gone wild) are delicious, nothing else is memorable. The buffet is filled with New Orleans specialties, but they are not done well. They are made to please the masses, and as such, forgo any sense of seasoning or cooking methods. That’s a danger with buffets, but if you are a Creole joint, I expect to have some really pronounced flavor in most of your dishes. The surroundings are lovely, with expansive, elegant dining rooms and a gorgeous courtyard, and the service is quite good.  They even have jazz musicians on Sunday, which make for a fantastic atmosphere. But for the money, you can do so much better.

Like, for example, the fabulous lunch you will read about tomorrow. Vampires, beware: garlic ahead. 

Court of Two Sisters on Urbanspoon

Mother’s – Debris and Grits in The Big Easy

When you want breakfast in New Orleans, you have a few options. You can go to Cafe du Monde for some world class beignets. You can go down the street for a beer and a hot dog, at any time of day. Or you can go to Mother’s, one of the most delightful down home restaurants I have ever had the pleasure of visiting.

DSCN5404 The line for Mother’s is unrelenting. From the time it opens at 7 AM, you will be on line for at least 20 minutes, usually closer to an hour. It moves quickly from outside to the cafeteria line up inside.
DSCN5405 The walls of the uber-casual (verging on dumpy, but in that “you know you’re in for a good meal” way) space are lined with the rich and famous who have dined here.
DSCN5409 As you approach the counter where you order, you see the food in its steamed dishes – ham, grits, sausage, biscuits, and any other number of really traditional southern dishes. Bring some Lipitor.  DSCN5413 And above all, stay on line. There are always enough tables and it moves so quickly. It’s worth it.  DSCN5414 Bloody Mary

From a machine that usually dispenses fruit punch – what a brilliant idea! Especially when they are this tasty – really tomatoey and bright with a zippy, zesty spice and – thankfully – VERY little salt. It’s actually the flavor of the Bloody Mary, not a salt lick, that comes through. It’s strong enough to put a little pep in your step but not so strong that it will get you blitzed.  DSCN5417 I just love a place that has 3 kinds of hot sauce on the table. FYI, that’s almost everywhere in N’Awlins.  DSCN5420 Grits with debris

Yes, debris means garbage. And yes, I ate it. And it. Was. AWESOME.

You know when you make pot roast and there are all those wonderful bits of meat and crispy fat and charred bits at the bottom of the pan? THAT’S debris. The most savory, salty, meaty, crispy, juicy bits of the beef. Served to you with creamy (if under-seasoned) grits and a wonderfully round, homey tasting gravy. Add some Tabasco and it may just be the best breakfast that you ever ate.

Followed, of course, by a food coma.
DSCN5421 Ham

Mother’s is famous for it. It’s a little “hammy” for me. I prefer thin, salty Virginia ham, while this is thicker and a little more barnyard-y.  DSCN5422 Biscuit

The biscuit to end all biscuits. Steaming hot and soft. The perfect mix between rich and light. Flaky enough to dissolve in your mouth but substantial enough to hold eggs and ham if necessary. Slather it with some of the softest, richest butter I have had outside of Europe. Don’t eat more than one because they expand in your stomach like those little animal sponges the minute that you have a sip of water.

The bloat is worth it. These biscuits are legit.  DSCN5423 The prices are dirt cheap and the food is wonderful. More than that, the atmosphere is really special. Where else can you stand in line with people so overjoyed at eating soon that no one pushes you? Where else does the woman behind the counter call you “hon,” and recommend that you change your order so you get the best the house has to offer? Where else can you sit with some of your favorite people in the world for an  hour and a half without being bothered for anything except another cup of coffee?

Mother’s is a must-visit in N’Awlins. And don’t forget to eat the garbage.

Cafe du Monde’s Sugar Bombed Beignets

I went to New Orleans this weekend.

For the first time.

Yes, my pants are 2 sizes too small today.

And yes, I am totally proud.

Most of that weight was gained at this spot:

DSCN5424 Cafe du Monde. The world’s most famous maker of beignets, serving them up all day every day, 24 hours a day, since 1862. If you come her on Christmas, you will be disappointed by its closure, but any day other than that you are in luck. Just hop on the very fast moving line and inhale the scent of fat and sugar as you get hungrier and hungrier.
DSCN5426 New Orleans has extremely temperate weather, and even in late October, it was warm enough to sit outside in the cavernous, covered dining space. There are also inside tables or you can get your fried goodness to go. As you reach the front of the line, pay attention to the paper-capped servers who will direct you to a tiny table.

There’s only one thing on the menu. Order it.
DSCN5428 Beignets

Not those fluffy, puffy, ethereal bits of air from Disneyland. No, these are beignets on a mission. A mission to weigh you down and stop you in your tracks. They are incredibly dense – not quite heavy, but totally substantial – and are not sweet at all. They are just fried dough, lovely and golden on the outside and almost custardy within. The sweetness comes from the mountain – the avalanche – the Swiss Alps mountain of powdered sugar atop of them. This is where the genius lays – they are not too cloyingly sweet. They are actually perfect!
DSCN5429 Well, not quite perfect. They are really a little dense for my tastes. I prefer that light, whispery, Krispy Kreme style fried dough. But this is a New Orleans tradition and one that can not be missed. it’s delicious, it’s cheap, and it’s no frills dining at tis best. You aren’t rushed out of the door, you can get a phenomenal frozen cafe au lait (Deeply coffee flavored with a thick texture and a light vanilla aftertaste), and you can experience one of N’awlins’ most venerable traditions.

Next up: I eat garbage for breakfast?

Your Friday Lunch Plans!

Before I head out of town for the weekend, I thought I would leave you with a few ideas for lunch today…

why not…

IMG_20131001_201332_324 Hit up Madison Square Eats for its final day

Try any of my favorite dishes , including this ramen from Hong Kong Noodle Cart. It’s made with fresh artisanal noodles and served with a nicely medium boiled egg with a fluorescent yolk. The garlicky broth is punchy without being too strong and the other flavors of the broth – the ginger, the pepper, and the hearty beef-  just sing. The beef itself is tender and juicy, and the spinach in the bowl really fleshes out the dish. The noodles are bouncy and totally addictive – I finished this bowl no problem, even though it was huge and I was overstuffed. 

TWSS.

IMG_20131009_135254_885 Trek to the UWS for Amber’s great lunch deal

I love great sushi. I mean the really good stuff that costs as much as a small car and should take many hours to eat, each piece placed lovingly on a mother-of-pearl dish by a sushi chef related to Jiro. 

BUT…

For those occasions when neither money nor time will allow for such delights, I head to Amber. This Buddakan design knockoff  offers extremely fresh sushi made right in front of your eyes at the sushi bar, or you can sit at a table if you prefer. If you order the lunch special, for about $10, you get miso soup (bad), ginger-dressed salad(with pine nuts and raisins – surprisingly good!), and your choice of 2 sushi rolls. The spicy tuna might be totally trashy but hey, so am I – it’s fresh and well spiced, with excellent texture and slightly warm, vinegared rice. The salmon is also excellent – firm and mild, with no fishy aftertaste or tough texture. It’s absolutely one of my favorite well priced sushi restaurants! 

IMG_20131022_120013_746 Check out Michel Richard’s new fast-service restaurant Pomme Palais

Disclaimer – I work with Michel Richard. But honestly…the food at Pomme Palais is good. Really good. It’s sandwiches, soups, and salads done gourmet and to go. The croque monsieur is cheesy and creamy and super awesome. The turkey, cheese, and spinach crepe is what quesadillas always want to be – sophisticated and filling without being a total gut bomb. And the lemon egg-ceptional is easily the best dessert in Midtown East – sorry, Buttercup, you have been replaced. It’s a lemony, light mousse inside a creamy white chocolate shell, atop a crispy kataifi nest. It’s so textually interesting and playful – it really captures Chef Michel’s whimsy. Pomme is on the pricier side, so I would really recommend this mostly if you need a quick business lunch or if you can put it on the company card, but please try that lemon egg-ceptional on your own dime – I have!

Amber on Urbanspoon

What Kind of Dinner Date Are You?

Originally published at Whisked Foodie

Food means many things to many people. For some, it is just sustenance. For others, it is a connection to past, culture, and family. Still others see it as an addictive substance, something that they love and hate at the same time.

No matter what, food is often used as a medium to find a hubby or a wifey. That’s why the dinner date was invented. However, the kinds of food you order may, in fact, repel your prospective lover instead of entice him or her. What does your first date food say about you?

burger

Burger

You are low-maintenance, and your really do love to eat. You might shower every day, but you do call your mom on her birthday and donate to worthy causes.

mussels

Mussels

These are the hot wings of the seafood world. You are cocky, successful, and thrifty though you probably make a lot of money. When you don’t know the answers to Jeopardy questions, you just make them up and hope for the best.

charcuterie

Charcuterie plate

You went to Paris last year with money that you meant to save for your 401k. You can’t stand being alone on a Saturday night and were once known to click on your own blog from multiple computers just to get your page rank up. You own a cat. Or six.

seitan bowl

Quinoa bowl with teriyaki seitan

You wear your “I Voted” sticker year round and have no problem sharing your latest bowel movement habits with someone you just met. Your favorite gift to give someone is a burlap table runner made by women in Chile, and you secretly watch “Teen Mom” on your computer as a guilty pleasure.

steak

Cote de boeuf for two

You are in it to win it. You dress to the nines, think that poor people are a sad little myth, and would rather watch the movie than read the book. You are used to getting what you want, are very physically attractive, and have a summer home in the Hamptons.

chocolate cake

Chocolate cake

You are a winner. You want kids and a dog, and you want to make your loved one happy. You have a couple of extra pounds on you, but they look great. You like your job, love your sister, and are really good at video games.

Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen and Barf

For work related reasons, I went to Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen and Bar.

Oh yes, that Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen and Bar.

Full disclosure: I was there for an event. I did not have to pay for any of my food. I will not be commenting on the event or the staff only the food.

I actually don’t know what to say…it is almost as bad as Pete Wells claims it is.

Let’s review: IMG_20131019_221044_084 First of all, the space is great. It’s large and well laid out,with many areas to enjoy a full meal,a  beer and a snack, and even an evening concert (downstairs). Even with the jam packed event, I rarely felt squished for space.

That concludes the positive portion of this post.

IMG_20131019_221125_708 Turkey meatball

Pretty inoffensive – a little denser than I prefer, but juicy. Served in a rather sweet, bright sauce that could have used some salt. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good. If I ate this at a wedding, I would have nothing to complain about, but at a restaurant where I’m paying premium prices – I mean how much would it kill ya to throw some dried oregano in the sauce? IMG_20131019_221715_469 Australian lamb chops with pesto

Easily the most horrible dish of the night. Australian lamb is wonderful – mild with a slightly wild, earthy taste and it is especially good when char grilled to a lovely medium rare. This was served practically raw and lukewarm – not the ideal temperature for lamb chops. The poor chop is greasy and flabby with a sad, limp texture. the swab of incredibly garlicky pesto does the mild meat no favors. This could not be more disappointing.  IMG_20131019_220259_324 Sashimi Tacos

I know that we have all seen these before – the fusion mashup of Japanese and Mexican foods is all over menus these days. But this was lacking a little something. Namely – flavor and texture. Theere was no hit of soy or ginger in the fish (which was unbearably mushy). The  mango salsa was almost sickly sweet and next to the soft fish made the mouthful rather mushy punctuated by shards of tortilla shell. I have had excellent fusion dishes and sadly, this just isn’t one of them.  IMG_20131019_220244_171 Chinese Chicken Salad

Wolfgang Puck this ain’t. It’s overdressed, aggressively gingered, and topped with fried wontons strips way too early so they have already gone soft. This was a large event, so perhaps it would be better when made fresher but it didn’t show well. The chicken is, however, very nice – tender and served win a sticky, sweet , and salty glaze.  IMG_20131019_220711_358 Dorito dusted bacon mac and cheese

I love Doritos. I am practically the chips’ biggest fan.

BUT

When you tell me that you are flavoring something with Doritos, you had better deliver. Don’t throw some tiny crumbs on there and expect me to be wowed by the flavor. This  mac and cheese was really pretty good – creamy, not too gloopy, made with surprisingly al dente shells and served with crispy bacon and sharp scallions. But the Doritos really did throw me off. Dude…if you say Doritos, I want Doritos! IMG_20131019_220533_917 Pulled pork sliders

Oh what, you can’t see the pork? Me niehter because the pork was put on in such a stingy manner. It wasn’t that great – watery slaw, dried out meat and a way too cottony bun. It’s that old joke… “the food was awful…and there was so little of it!”

What can I say that hasn’t already been said? The food is too pricey for what it is – banquet hall food. I can’t comment on the overall experience, but if I paid more than a few bucks to eat this food, I would be annoyed.

And hungry.

Guy's American Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

Go to Dim Sum Go Go

Enjoying dim sum is one of my favorite dining activities. Usually because I love those little carts.

But this time…at a small, modern, clean, cartless place that is perfect for gringos who need pictorial menus to choose what they want…I came for the food.

And it is worth it.

IMG_20131018_120853_147

Dim Sum Go Go isn’t too crowded on a weekday for lunch, but I hear that it gets hopping on the weekends, so you might want to get there early. They serve dim sum every day of the week from 10 AM and though you do miss the carts (I certainly did), what they lack in atmosphere they make up in quality of food.

IMG_20131018_122500_314 Har gow

I’m not even a fan of shrimp dumplings.  I often find them muddy and iodine-y with weird-looking, ill cleaned shrimp. These blew my mind. So fresh and thin skinned filled with sweet, vaguely briny whole shrimp that pop in the mouth with  a pleasing “snap.” I took a peek (never a good thing to do in a dim sum restaurant) and the innards are pristinely clean. Dipped in some of the tableside xo sauce and leek-horseradish relish, it is savory, salty, and delicious. If you like har gow, you are going to love these – I surely did! IMG_20131018_122057_922 Bbq pork puffs

Like char siu bao wrapped in croissants. That’s right – sweet and sticky bbq pork inside flaky, buttery croissants. If you don’t like that, why are we even friends? IMG_20131018_123317_379 Eggplant casserole

Not on the dim sum menu, but totally worth ordering. Tiny chinese eggplants are peeled then steamed inside an earthen dish that is basically as hot as the surface of the sun. It emerges velvety and soft, slicked with an insanely garlicky, somewhat spicy sauce. It doesn’t taste too garlicky at the time, but trust me…its stays with you. and you don’t even care. Because it’s so tasty.  And – bonus! – vegetarian!
IMG_20131018_122048_218 Vegetable rice rolls

Always my favorite dim sum dish. Thick, chewy rice noodles wrapped around savory beef or – in this case – soft, ginger scented, peppery vegetables. It’s like an eggroll inside a warm, comforting, noodle-y blanket. Enjoy it with the sharp black vinegar that cuts through heavy, fatty tastes.
IMG_20131018_122504_389 Duck dumplings

Juicy, sweet duck scented with cinnamon and cumin inside gossamer thin wrappers. Not just sweet but savory, too. Tiny pockets of ducky goodness – the duck flavor is very pronounced, so don’t order this expecting a standard chicken dumpling. Order it expecting something much better.

This isn’t even all the food we ordered, and we couldn’t spend more than $20 a person. Really, it was so much food for so little money. ANd it was GREAT! More than that, it was easy to order. Even a dim sum newbie can look at the pictures and see what looks good. It’s clean, it’s easy to order, and it’s so tasty.

It’s called Dim Sum Go Go because you really must go go there.

Dim Sum Go Go on Urbanspoon

Mini Cheesesteaks and Other Fun Things to Eat When it’s Cold Outside

How is it Monday already?! Does anyone else feel like the weekends go faster as the days get shorter?

One of the only pluses is that dinner can start even earlier.

And if you need some ideas of what to get for an early dinner, check out one of these options…

IMG_20131014_205216_089 Duck liver and bacon cavatelli at Landmarc

Yes, it’s true, I’m a Landmarc devotee. But with food this good, how could I be anything but?!  This dish, while on the salty side, is so wonderfully rich,e amtty, and just fatty enough, that it’s the perfect cold weather dinner. The homemade cavatelli is just a bit firmer than al dente, with a dense texture. The sauce is all sweet onions and the bite of white wine and thick, crunchy lardons. And that liver. Those wonderful nuggets of chicken liver, savory and sweet at once. This is firing on all cylinders and could not be more satisfying. It’s like Spaghetti Caruso with wine instead of tomatoes.

IMG_20131016_121401_799 Radicchio and blue cheese pasta with Bertolli Olive Oil and Fabio Viviani

I go to a lot of press events and don’t write about a lot of them – even though I’m sure it seems like I am always talking about them! A lot of them aren’t great and don’t offer anything that I feel my readers really need to experience. However, this was just the opposite – how delightful!  Bertolli is debuting a few new olive oils and vinegars – the Robusto, with strong olive undertones, and the Delicato, which is almost sweet and fruity, are standouts. Their spokesperson, the totally charismatic and adorable Fabio (of Top Chef fame)demonstrated some uses for the  new oils, from cake to dousing cheese, and the best use of it was in this pasta dish. I took away several points from this demonstration:

1. I don’t use enough olive oil.

2. Blue cheese and radicchio, when cooked together, make a wonderful, piquant yet not too pungent, pasta sauce.

3. I overcook my pasta.

4. I don’t use enough olive oil.
IMG_20131019_123223_730 Cheesesteak sliders at Shorty’s

Beefy, cheesy, salty, and small enough to still fit in lunch later that day. This is junk food done right – it’s in a small enough portion to not weigh you down but is hearty enough to satisfy a craving. It’s absolutely ideal for a quick lunch with some of their wonderful Italian fries.  Enjoy these perfect little sandwiches -3 for under $10 – and you will be back for more soon.

So what was so tasty that it made you unbutton your pants this weekend?

That’s what she said.

Shorty's on Urbanspoon

Acqua at Peck Slip – Supporting the South Street Seaport

This was originally published about 3 years ago. Since that time, Hurricane Sandy ravished this part of Manhattan and many restaurants were badly hurt. So many closed and even more are struggling. I am republishing this in hopes to get people out of their ruts and into these restaurnts that want and deserve your business. 
If you think I spend a lot of time in the financial district…you are right.  I want to put the word in on a reliable, if slightly pricey, trattoria-esque option!
 Acqua Restaurant is located at peck slip downtown.  This is the oldest part of the city, and is covered in cobblestones and surrounded by buildings where Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill Cody used to eat and drink when they performed at Madison Square Garden!
White pizza with potatoes, onions, prosciutto, and house made mozzarella
 Just what you expect in the best way possible.  This is reminiscent of one of my favorite CPK pizzas of all time, the late, great, rosemary chicken potato pizza.  Many a tears were shed when that pizza was retired.  But replacing the chicken with salty, silky, gently charred, fatty PROSCIUTTO?!?!  OK, this pizza raises the potato pizza BAR!  The crust is thin, crunchy at the edges, and tender within.   The potatoes must be par-boiled because they are meltingly soft as well as fried to a crunchy crisp at the top layer.  The onions are sweet and the mozzarella is the final taste layer of creamy goodness.  This pizza is a salty, creamy, sweet, crunchy, flavor bomb. 
Steamed snapper
 The fish is excellently, if simply, prepared, and the moist, sweet flesh sings with just a squeeze of lemon.  The spinach is perfectly cooked, tasting of all it’s minerally, vegetal goodness without too much overwhelming garlic.  The potatoes are also great-crispy, rosemary flecked, steaming hot and fluffy within,..this place is great with tubers!
Great food, nice atmosphere, good service…are there any downsides here? Ummm…yes.  This is pretty overpriced.  The pizza was $16 and the fish is $26.  In the east village, those prices would never fly, and even in hell’s kitchen you can do better than that.  But this is the FiDi.  And pickins are slimmer.  So…they can overcharge.  Is it fair?  No.  Is it the way of the world?  Yes.  Is it insanely expensive and overcharged? No.  Will I return?…Probably, yes.  For that pizza.  Because I love it.  And because in this neighborhood, it’s one of the only places to get this kind of meal…and because, once again, it’s carbs on carbs.  How can you really put a price on that?