Weekday Breakfast at Le Grainne

This is a short and to the point write up:

Le Grainne is a lovely weekday breakfast spot.

It’s on 9th avenue, in that stretch of Chelsea just above Chelsea Market – you know, that street where there are still graceful brownstones and cute boutiques, like NYC wasn’t about to become one big shopping mall.

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There is a very small but pretty sidewalk seating area, and inside it’s cozy and Parisian-feeling. The perfect place to catch up with a friend over a bowl of cafe au lait and a crispy croissant.

20140911_093912 Goat cheese and leek crepe

Maybe this isn’t how Parisians do breakfast, but this is how they should do it. Because this is both delicious and wholesome – sure beats that chocolate croissant in the “keeping you full” department. The goat cheese is melty and soft, less dense than cream cheese and with an unmistakable tang. The leeks are a little crunchy for my tastes, so next time I might go with goat cheese au naturel. The crepe itself is expertly prepared – whisper thin and crispy, substantial enough to hold the goat cheese but not at all doughy. The salad alongside is lightly dressed in a mustardy vinaigrette – fresh and tasty.
20140911_093916 This place is charming! The food is lovely, the prices are fair, and the service is a little more laid back than I prefer, but hey…it’s faster than it would be if this place actually was in France!

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Thrice at Cookshop

Continuing with revisiting places I love…

Cookshop.

It’s not all about huevos rancheros but it IS all about eggs

20140326_095026 Egg white fritatta with roasted squash, DiPalo’s mozzarella, and walnut pesto

If you don’t think this looks good, just stop reading my blog. This is the PERFECT healthy breakfast. The squash is really sugary, which balances out the verdant, piquant pesto adds flavor to the egg whites. The mozzarella is creamy and stretchy, giving a little richness. And that pesto…wow. Fresh, garlicky, filled with basil and crunchy walnuts. This is just everything breakfast should be – filling but not heavy, multi-textured, and flavorful. Wow.
20140326_095030 Roasted broccoli and cheddar scramble

And if this doesnt’ get you salivating, please forget my name. I mean, for realsies. This is awesomely delicious. Ribbons of tangy cheddar cheese, stalks of sweet, tender but not mushy broccoli, and tons of sweetly caramelized onions. Creme fraiche enriches the scramble and makes it positively creamy. It sits atop a buttery, fluffy biscuit that is more doughy than flaky – hearty stuff that is the perfect antidote to the underdressed salad on the side. This is a great way to feel like a fatty without eating animal products.

Of course, a bellini doesn’t hut either – they make them strong and tasty.

If Cookshop was closer to my home, I would be in serious trouble.

Morimoto – Sensational the Second Time Around

I haven’t been to Morimoto in years. When I went back recently, I almost wept.

How much time I have wasted! How quickly I forgot how delicious the food is!

For a quick description of the ultra modern, dreamy interior, check out my previous review.

And yes, have a laugh at my expense…if I’m not a great blogger now, I was an ABYSMAL one then!

Now, onto the good stuff!

IMG950637 Morimotini with wasabi vodka and cucumbers

A drink worth mentioning. Not too spicy, but with a very slight nasal-clearing aroma that comes off as clean and crisp. It’s almost like a salad – it is light, fresh, and really stimulates the appetite. The alcoholic tang is really tempered by that slight wasabi kick.  It’s easy to drink this too quickly…be careful with this one!

IMG950638 Yuburatta with black truffles and dashi

This delightful play on burrata is actually better than it even sounds. Homemade creamy, smooth ricotta is wrapped in tissue thin yuba skin. When you break it, it indeed resembles burrata both in texture and rich taste. It’s soaked in a salty, savory dashi broth and topped with truffle shavings. Spread on chargrilled sourdough bread, it is UMAMI (in capital letters). It’s so intensely savory from the broth – it really enlivens the cheese and helps the milky, clean flavors shine true. And those truffles almost take it over the top but not quite – it takes the flavors right to the brink of being overpowering without overstepping its bounds. This is a must order.
IMG950639 Yosedofu

Some tableside magic that should make Benihana hang its  head in shame.

Did I just really mention Benihana in the same post as one on Morimoto? I really am FRITOS and foie.

Imagine a 140F bowl brought to your table, filled with soy milk. Imagine a server pouring a few ingredients in there, stirring it, then leaving it in the center of the table with strict instructions to leave it alone. Touch it at the risk of losing a layer of skin and being rebuked by your server.

When the server returns…
IMG950640 The soymilk has transformed into silken tofu! It is cut with a spoon and served with a mushroom broth, dashi soy, and crisped rice.
IMG950642 Transportive. Very light but intricate in flavor and texture. Soft, crispy, silken, meaty…the mushrooms provide heft and earthiness and the pops of crisped rice are unexpected and fun. That tofu is otherworldly. It’s soft but not mushy, with a cloudlike mouthfeel. The broth is very full bodied – meaty, somehow, and savory but not at all heavy or muddy. It’s a clear, clean midcourse…and it beats the hell out of sorbet as a palate cleanser! IMG950643 Miso glazed bone marrow with ikura and chimichurri

The standout dish of the night. In fact, a destination worthy dish. This is unbelievable – by FAR the best marrow that I have eaten in a restaurant ever. Sorry, Ai Fiori. You have officially been displaced. This shows me what marrow can become when it surrounds itself with good influences. The marrow is unctuous and smooth but not totally liquid – it spreads like liquid gold on the thick bread. It is laquered with garlicky, herby chimichurri and salty, briny pops of sake cured salmon roe. It’s a little spicy from the miso glaze, a little floral from the chimichurri, and soft and decadent all on its own. Creamy, zesty, garlicky, and salty…it’s indulgent and it’s perfect to share. It would be far to decadent to enjoy alone but as part of a suite of shared dishes…it’s unbeatable.  IMG950644 Foie gras and eel with Meyer lemon gelee and Asian pear

Decadent and rich. Well seared foie with a crunchy exterior and a still pink, soft interior. The bbq eel is sweet and fatty – it really doesn’t taste fishy – it’s the prime rib of the seafood world. However, next to the foie, it does taste brinier and actually leaner. Of course, next to foie, anything seems like a diet food. The teriyaki glaze is sweet, the Meyer lemon gelle is sour, and the entire dish – minus the sour Asian pears – is unique and delicious.

There were no missteps in this meal – not one. From the excellent service to the hip but welcoming decor to the truly memorable food, it is a night out to remember. Who cares if it’s old hat by now? Who cares if the sushi isn’t the main draw? What matters it that the food – especially that bone marrow – is not only commendable but destination worthy. It isn’t a cheap night, but it is well, well worth the money.

Even the second time around.

Chelsea Market Treats

This weekend, I wound up at Chelsea Market. I LOVE that place! The restaurants, the clothing shops, the food stores…it’s like the mall of my dreams!

And, after all, no matter how I may try to escape it, I am a valley girl. I am bound by my birth to love a shopping mall.

One of my favorite aspects of Chelsea Market is the large food court area with tons of different vendors. Tiny homemade doughnuts, vegan salads and soups, and gourmet grilled cheeses abound. Here are a couple of my favorite treats:

IMG_20131215_145110_551 Thai chicken curry pot pie from Tuck Shop

Australians don’t only get cute accents, they also get meat pies. Aussies love this stuff, and why not? A flaky, buttery crust surrounding savory, hearty fillings is just the thing for a snowy winter (or in their case, a snowy summer) day. This pie really fits the bill. The crust is a little dense and tough, but the filling is excellent. It’s creamy but not gloppy, with a surprising kick of spice – those little plastic cups of Sriracha are not necessary. The creamy coconut sauce is loaded with tender chicken, spinach, soft onions, and other vegetables. There are the aromatic note of kaffir lime and coriander. It’s large enough to satisfy for lunch but small enough to eat quickly. Heartily recommended!

IMG_20131215_180104_694 S’mores candy bar from Liddabit Sweets

It’s not just this bar, it’s everything from Liddabit. The chocolate is all rich and thick, with just the right balance of creamy and bitter. The fillings, from fluffy marshmallows to boozy pecans, are all high quality. Their signature honeycomb candy, in delightfully irregular icebergs, is enrobed in such a thick layer of chocolate that it is more like fudge. The bacon caramel corn is enough to cause a frenzy in our home, resulting in pulled hair and hoarding of said corn.

Liddabit is totally awesome.

As are all of my Chelsea Market favorites!

Arepas, Tartare, and Aweseome Gelato

I have eaten a ton of great food lately – here are some of my favorite gems!

IMG_20130812_140327_739 Arepa from Palenque

When I hear arepa, I think of those floppy, thick cornbread discs filled with rubbery cheese – you know, the kind you find at street fairs. This arepa truck, quite frankly, spun my head right round, right round. The food truck offers all sorts of Colombian food, and the arepa is Columbia’s greatest contributions to the food world. This one is corn (though you can have it made out of yuca, brown rice, or other options), and is topped with incredibly moist, tender Angus beef. Served with mozzarella-like queso de hebra, chipotle mayo, salsa fresca, and spicy cilantro pesto, it is a really filling lunch. For only $8, you can’t really do much better than this. Spicy, crispy, juicy, and awesome.

That’s also the name of my imaginary band.

montmartre 002 Steak tartare at Montmartre

Gabriel Stulman’s Chelsea bistro isn’t’ cheap, but it does have tasty, inventive twists on Parisian bistro classics. Take this steak tartare. Hand chopped beef in a very mild dressing with tangy mustard and briny capers. The beef isn’t’ too mushy nor too chewy. The egg yolk is rich and the shallots are just sharp enough. Smear the beef on the airy toasted baguette, and it’s the raw burger of your dreams. Best of all is the lettuce alongside. Yes, I said that the lettuce outlines the beef. The long romaine leaves are dressed in a warm garlicky oil that softens the lettuce and totally elevates the meal. They are crispy, incredibly savory, and when eaten with the beef, brings out the rich, mineral notes. I would come here for the oysters and sweet/salty mustard-dusted fries, but would stay for the tartare.

pix 002 Ferreroand Pistachio Gelato at Fresco

What can I say? This place just makes perfect gelato – yes, I said perfect. There aren’t any awesome toppings or wacky flavors(except for the awesomely tangy/sweet goat cheese flavor). Just thick, dense gelato with intense flavors. It’s the most perfect pistachio gelato that I have ever tasted – deep and nutty and buttery and rich. The chocolate hazelnut flavor is sweet and velvety, like frozen Nutella. It’s uber creamy and rich, with a velvety texture and a taste that is so vibrant that you won’t even want any toppings. It’s a schlep from where I live, but the flavor is so divine that I still say it’s worth the trek.

Willow Road – A Brunch Addiction

Another Sunday, another brunch.
The great thing about bunch is that you can eat a burrito and beer at 9 am or coffee with eggs at 3 pm.

There are no rules and no limitations.

Which is kinda the theme of Willow Road.

pics 001 This Chelsea restaurant (helmed by Top Chef alum Grayson Schmitz, who was in the kitchen the entire time that we were there) is the quintessential NYC spot. Spacious but bustling, trendy but with a cohesive menu, upscale but fairly priced. The feel is very cool but not pretentious – I would eat there by myself at the bar, on a double date with friends, or for lunch with my mom. It’s a really great, unpretentious vibe.

pics 002
pics 005 Grilled graprefruit with mint sugar

The best grapefruit this side of Florida? Yes, I think it is. the grapefruit is juicy and tart but not at all bitter. The edges are crispy and sweet with the caramelized sugar. The mint sugar alongside is the game changer. It’s pulverized until it is super fine and powdery. The mint is herbaceous and fresh without being too menthol-y. Its really just sweet and refreshing. As it melts into a gossamer green liquid over the hot fruit, you may be tempter to lick the sauce off the plate.

If you aren’t invite me over. I’ll do it.

pics 007 Crispy black kale with pecorino, chile, and garlic

Excellent. Crispy, saturated with olive oil but not at all greasy, flecked with spicy chile, salty cheese, and pungent slivers of garlic. This would be at home in any Italian restaurant, and I could imagine that tossed with pasta, it would be an ideal main course.

pics 008 Jar o’ pickled vegetables

Awww yeah. Garlicky, vinegary, storng and pungent. Cucumbers, carrots, turnips, cauliflower, and sweet cipollini onions. These pickles are crunchy, bright, and fantastic. I love them and could order these with a cocktail at the bar for a great happy hour.

pics 011 Seabass escabeche po boy with cucumber, fried shallots, and lemon garlic aioli

This is very tasty, though not what I thought it would be. I imagined  an acidic ceviche style fish. This was more like traditional tuna fish – creamy with crunchy cucumbers and sharply fried shallots on wonderfully crisp bread. It was good, but not outstanding – if I loved tuna salad, I would probably love this more.

pics 012 Mussels a la plancha with chili and green garlic butter

Hands down the best way I have ever eaten mussels. I LOVE the smoky taste of the mussels. Still plump and sweet but with an added savory, almost bitter edge of being grilled, not steamed. The butter is overtly garlicky, somewhat spicy, and perfect in every way. It provides fat and juice for the meaty muscles. Add a spritz of lemon and it’s literally perfect.

pics 014 Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Chocolatey. Peanutty. Not too sweet or light – nice and salty/sweet and dense as a brick.

Just like I like it.

Willow Road is a fantastic destination. The service was a little distracted, but extremely sweet and quick to rectify small errors. We arrived 15 minutes before the kitchen closed, and once we were pleasantly asked to order quickly,we were invited to stay for hours, even while the staff started to prep for dinner. The prices are fair, the menu is broad, and the food is wonderful.

Like brunch, this restaurant has many options.

And, like brunch, it’s totally addictive.

Co(pane) Was Worth the Wait

From the lost archives – my review of Co(pane):

I am not the kind of person who runs to a restaurant the day that it opens. I can’t stand lines or being on call-waiting for 30 minutes just to get a reservation. I figure, if the restaurant is great, it will only get better with time and practice. And if it isn’t, then all the better that I don’t waste my time and money while everyone else is doing just that!

So now you know where I stand…but that still does not excuse me.

 Co.(pane) opened in 2009, and I JUST made it here. Jim Lahey, bread guru behind no-knead bread (which, yes, I still have yet to make) and Sullivan Street Bakery (Home to truly delicious pizza bianca and other treats), opened this casual pizzeria as his first foray into New York’s competitive pizza world. Some people loved it, some were less than charmed. So how did it measure up?

 Co is a casual, breezy restaurant with lots of sunlight and a long communal table in the center of the room.

There is also a film projection of a fireplace. Consider me obsessed. Yes, there is a pizza oven behind that somewhere, but really…fake fire is just about the most fascinating thing ever.

 Veal meatballs with homemade sauce, Parmesan and basil, served with bread and butter.

I tried these mostly because Serious Eats had named them some of the 15 best meatballs in NYC. They are indeed delicious, but not what I would call the BEST. All of the flavors were spot on – mild, juicy veal, salty Pecorino and nutty Parmesan cheeses, fresh, acidic tomatoes and sweet basil. It was a textural thing for me. The balls were just too dense for me.

The bread served with it is totally exemplary. Sour, crusty, bouncy, with a loose crumb and some soft, sweet butter on the side.

Escarole salad with bread crumbs, capers, lemon, olive oil and anchovies

A truly awesome Caesar-type salad. Though it lacks the garlicky punch of Caesar, the salty, acidic, pungent dressing is like a breath of salty sea air and is totally amazing. No cheese is needed, with the brine and salt of the anchovies and capers giving the necessary salinity. The breadcrumbs were really freshly toasted croutons; thick, crunchy without and tender within. The escarole has the mild, verdant taste of romaine but the velvety mouth feel and stiff texture of endive.

Bird’s Nest Pie with Oma and Tallegio Cheeses, Asparagus, Quail Eggs and Truffles.

I was originally going to order the Margherita pizza, to see how they do a plain old ‘za, but…hello…truffles.

What kind of heathen doesn’t order truffles when the opportunity arises?

The aroma of truffles was apparent the second the pie hit the table, along with the deep scent of the Tallegio cheese.

Upskirt shot: charred in spots, but not burnt. Pliant but not flimsy. Exemplary crust.

And the pie itself is…fantastic. 

Fresh, light asparagus is shaved thin and piled on raw. Some pieces are snappy and fresh and some are charred to a crispy, almost sugary, carcinogen filled delight. The Tallegio cheese is melty and funky and the Oma cheese is buttery and rich. The eggs are delightfully runny and when broken  they create a rich sauce.

And the truffle. The bewitching, intoxicating, deep but heady truffle. Four thick and hearty shavings of it.

I love truffles.

The dough itself is excellent – not cracker thin, but still managing to be light and pliant and crispy at the same time.

I love this place. Great service, reasonable price point and some really amazing food. The Caesar salad was out of this world, and the birds nest pizza is something I could eat every day of my life.

Co was definitely worth the wait.

Co. (Company) on Urbanspoon

Korean Restaurant Guide Launch at Hanjan

My love for Korean food is well documented. Whether traditional or nouveau, I love me some kimchi, gochujang, and bibimbap. However, it isn’t as mainstream as, for example, Chinese or Thai cuisines. It just isn’t as well-known, and whereas any small city in northern New Hampshire will have at least one place to get lo mein and an almond cookie, if you live in a place without a big Korean population, you probably haven’t’ gotten a whole lot of chances to eat Korean food.

Luckily, when you visit NYC, you now have a guide to help you.

The launch of the Korean Restaurant Guide is incredibly exciting for all of us who know and love banchan. It’s a guide curated by the Korean Food Foundation, Chef Hooni Kim, and food writer Matt Robard that highlights the 40 best Korean restaurants in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. From high-end multicourse meals to fusion fries topped with cheddar cheese and bulgogi, this guide covers the best of the best in both English and Korean printing, tells you what the best dishes are, and how much you can expect to spend for your meal. Don’t want to schlep around the small guide? Just give the app a try – it should be available in March. This is exciting because now people have a guide to help them become acclimated to the world of Korean food. It’s garlicky and spicy and deeply satisfying. It’s the best, most vibrant colorful parts of other Asian cuisines fused into its own special collection of flavors and textures. If you haven’t tried Korean food, this guide may change your culinary life.

Of course, the guide isn’t the only reason I had to write this post. The luncheon to announce it was held at Hanjan, the new restaurant from Hooni Kim, who runs the incomparableDanji. This slightly larger, causal restaurant features many small plates and we were treated to a few items that chef Kim personally prepared for the meal.

Butternut squash porridge

The first realization that this would not be a traditional Korean meal. There was no garlic here, no fiery pepper paste of scallions. Only smooth, silky butternut squash soup that was as sweet and comforting as Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house. Even the rice was in the form of rice powder, used only to thicken the soup and give it a very smooth texture. This is a rich but not at all heavy or gloppy way to start the meal.

Bean Sprout, Napa cabbage, and bean sprout kimchi

Here was where the traditional flavors started to shine. The spinach kimchi is clean tasting and bright, with a slightly spicy taste of garlic. The Napa cabbage is the most traditional, spicy and salty and just a bit briny from the fermented fish that was likely used in the recipe. The bean sprouts were crunchy and slippery, nutty with sesame oil. This kimchi trio isn’t overtly flavored, it doesn’t leave you feeling like you sucked a sachet filled with the world’s stinkiest ingredients. It’s more subtle, luring you into the flavorful, intricate world of Korean food.

Grilled beef short ribs, winter lettuce, and ssamjang

Some of the best galbi I have ever had. Rich and falling apart tender, with a really pronounced beefiness that is almost funky, like an aged steak. Marinated in a sweet and salty sauce and served alongside ssamjang, bitter, pungent, and spicy with fermented beans and peppers, it is just wonderful. It’s your favorite bbq short ribs kicked up and moved far East. Wrapped in stiff winter lettuce, it was a bite that was hot, cool, crisp, and fatty all at once. I would come back to Hanjan for what they can do with meat.

That’s what she said.

Five Grain Rice

Sorry, I hated it. I like beans and I like rice and I like seeds. Put them together and they taste like mushy grass. I just can’t do it.

Korean citron sorbet

Unbelievable. A standout in a very tasty meal. Tart like lemon, sweet like orange, fresh and fruity like lime. It has a hint of bitterness like yuzu and the texture is so creamy that it might as well be ice cream. It’s sweet and refreshing – a perfect ending to a salty, spicy, beef heavy meal.

Though I haven’t tried the normal menu yet, I can already tell that I will love Hanjan. The long communal table, the inventive and flavorful food, and the prices that seem fair for the quality I will certainly be back soon to see for myself. And I will also be headed to the other tasty restaurants listed in the new Korean Restaurant Guide.

Kimchi, come to mama.

*This was a press meal. I was not required to write about it, and my opinions are my own and unbiased.*

Hanjan on Urbanspoon

Doughnuttery – Outrageous Doughnuts in Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market has done it again. The old-fashioned Nabisco factory in the heart of the Meatpacking district has a plethora of interesting restaurants and food shops, ever-changing and always interesting. None can be more interesting than the brand new Doughnuttery.

Why, you may ask? Because not only does this small cart make handmade doughnuts on the spot, it makes them in insanely cool flavors.

The doughnuts are continuously made right in front of you, then when they are piping hot they are plucked from the oil…

rolled in flavored sugars or glazes, and…

delivered into your gluttonous little hands. The doughnuts aren’t just special because they are fresh and well made, with an airy texture and light, yeasty taste. It’s because of the glazes and sugars on hand.

How about sugars like PBCP (Peanut Butter, cayenne, pretzel), The Purple Pig (Maple, purple potatoes, bacon​), and Mistletoe (Ginger, cranberry, and sage)? Or perhaps you would like your doughnuts covered in a sugary icing, like the Raspberry balsamic sauce or the Pumpkin beer caramel sauce? Look, you can of course get a plain old cinnamon sugar doughnuts here but why would you? This place doesn’t just exist to give you a quick sugar high, it strives to challenge your tastebuds and expand the way that you think about this classic fried treat.

Cacaoboy with Sea salt, cacao nibs, and black sugar

This is one of the more tame offerings, but even it is so head and tails above your average sugared doughnut that it’s almost laughable. This doughnut is intensely flavored – salty, bitter, vibrant with chocolate, and of course, pleasantly sweet.

The different grains in the sugar provide interesting textural contrasts – a large cacao nib cracks pleasingly next to a melting grain of sea salt upon a fluffy, pliant tuft of doughnut. This is every bit as complex and well crafted as a $15 dessert in a fine dining restaurant.

The Doughnuttery is a welcome addition to Chelsea Market. Grab a half-dozen for a few very reasonable dollars, find a seat in the main thoroughfare and watch the world pass by.

​​​Scratch that…get the full dozen. They go that fast.

Doughnuttery on Urbanspoon

Buon Italia, Txikito, and Hakata Tonton

I go out to eat a lot – at restaurants, at food trucks, and at street fairs. Though most of the food I eat is pretty tasty, some of it is really exceptional, and that’s the food we are talking about today – 3 recent bites that are so phenomenal that they deserve a post all their own!

Buon Italia Bruschetta Caprese

I have long loved this Chelsea Market store for its wonderful Italian imports. If it’s Italian, you can find it here. From truffled cheeses to Nutella the size of an Olsen twin, to homemade porchetta, everything Italian is either imported or house made here. I have come here many times for artisanal pasta, rich cream, and imported olives, but I have rarely stopped at the small counter just outside the store, selling prepared food. A recent lunchtime visit proved that I have been a moron, yet again. This is the best bruschetta I have had since I was a child in California. One bite of this brought me back to the first time I ever tasted the Italian delicacy. The bread is toasted but not thick crusted, so it can be easily bitten and its surface is saturated with sweet tomato juices. Overtly garlicky, strewn with floral basil and very light, clean olive oil. Salted enough to bring out the tomatoes’ juices, then finished with three slices of mozzarella so creamy that they could practically be burrata. This isn’t a particularly big or inexpensive bite, but it is so perfect that it is worth every calorie and every cent.

Albondigas at Txikito

This tiny Basque-style tapas (which are called pinxtos) restaurant is hardly a sleeper hit, but it has taken me way too long to get here. Along with the cinnamon and apple tinged sangria, the don’t miss dish here is the albondigas. These little lamb meatballs are juicy and soft. They are crisp and caramelized on the outside and robustly lamb-y on the inside. Served in a broth made with white wine, garlic, and chiffonades of sharp mint, the dish is at once bright and deep. I could easily make a meal of this alone, with a side of bread. That is the only issue I have with this dish – stop being stingy with the bread, folks! Give a gal a piece!

 

Hakata Tonton Pork Belly

When I ran headfirst into a ramen festival on the Upper West Side, I was reminded again how much I love this city. Where else can you head out for pancakes and eggs and find yourself walking amidst ramen, gyoza, obanyaki, and other Japanese delicacies?! Even at 10:30 AM, I knew what my first bite would be. Hakata Tonton is famous for making all things pork – ear, belly, shanks…if it comes from the pig, it’s at Hakata Tonton, and it is delicious. These freshly grilled pork skewers proved that the restaurant deserves its excellent reputation.

The smoky and crisp meat is tender, contrasting with bouncy ribbons of pure, opalescent fat. If you don’t like the texture of fat, this isn’t  for you, but I love it.  Slathered with a tangy-sweet Japanese BBQ sauce and a smattering of sesame seeds, I could have eaten this entire skewer then had another.

 But, as you see, there are just so many delicious bites in NYC – I always like to save some room for the next serendipitous dish.

Txikito on Urbanspoon