I ate a lot this weekend… (Kanoyama, Rubirosa, Momofuku and more)

I’ve been trying to keep vegetarian (mostly) during the week, but once the weekend comes around, I kinda go nuts…

Friday night dinner at Kanoyama with some friends:

duck

Kanoyama – Duck with miso sauce cooked on a persimmon leaf

baby conch

Kanoyama – Baby Conch with lemon and sea salt

corn tempura

Kanoyama – Corn Tempura

sashimi

Kanoyama – Sashimi Omakase

Kanoyama is my favorite casual sushi place in the city.  Very good quality and selection, you can end up spending A LOT here for a superb experience or you can scale back and still eat really well on a relative budget.  I think one of the best deals to be had here is the Sashimi Omakase, a selection of 9 different types of sashimi, about 2-3 pieces of each – all for $40 (includes soup/salad and ice cream).  They usually offer a pretty varied selection, on Friday, I had scallop, kanpachi, trout, tuna, toro, fluke, red snapper, and two kinds of mackerel.

Saturday late lunch with Kevin at Rubirosa:

Rubirosa - Vodka Pizza with mushroom and garlic

Rubirosa – Vodka Pizza with mushroom and garlic

Rubirosa serves a Staten Island style, super thin (almost cracker like) crust pizza.  The vodka pizza has the thinnest layer of delicious vodka sauce with blobs of fresh mozzarella distributed across the entire pie.  I added mushrooms and roasted garlic.  I love Rubirosa’s pizza for a light lunch, the crust is very light and crispy, no extra dough to weigh you down for the rest of the day… so you have room in your stomach for…

A perfect kouign amann from Dominique Ansel:

kouign amann

Dominique Ansel – Kouign Amann

A short stroll from Rubirosa over to the west side of Soho leads us to Dominique Ansel bakery, the only places that I know of in the city that makes kouign amann.  If anyone knows of another place to get this delicious treat, please let me know!  For those who have not yet tried this sinfully rich baked good, I suggest you RUN to Dominique Ansel to get it.  The best way I know of to describe this is:  it is like a really rich, buttery, dense, sweet, caramelized crossiant – only BETTER!  Check out some of the other offerings: here and here.

Capped off Saturday night with a late dinner at Momofuku Noodle Bar:

momofuku grilled corn

Momofuku Noodle Bar – Grilled corn with Benton’s bacon, lime and cotija

Momofuku grilled octopus

Momofuku Noodle Bar – Grilled octopus with piperade, radish and pistachio

momofuku ginger scallion noodles

Momofuku Noodle Bar – Ginger scallion noodles with pickled shitake, cucumber and cabbage

I really enjoy going to Momofuku Noodle Bar for late dinners.  Although you still have to wait, it is a much shorter wait compared to during the ‘prime hours’ and while you wait, you can enjoy one of their refreshing alcoholic slushies.  I had the creamsicle slushie made with soju, orange and cream.  I don’t like orange or cream separately but when you put them together I just cannot stop thinking… Oooooohhhh ORANGE JULIUS!!!!!  When it is summer time, I see corn on the menu and I HAVE to order it.  Over the years, Momofuku Noodle Bar has done great things with corn,  but I love this season’s incarnation – their rift on the Mexican elote.  Momofuku’s version adds a great smokey flavor with Benton’s bacon and it is served off the cob, I could eat this all day without having to worry about kernels getting stuck between my teeth.  Momofuku does a great job with the grilled octopus, super tender and very tasty, it is a great dish if you want octopus in a pinch but I don’t think it compares to other octopus preparations I’ve been having recently, here and here.  Ginger and scallion noodle is my tried and true favorite here – complete comfort food when you want something lighter than Momofuku’s ramen, which is delicious, but very very rich with the pork-y broth and pork belly pieces.

Ended up in Queens for a late lunch on Sunday and decided to have some Korean BBQ at Hahm Ji Bach:

assortment of banchan

Hahm Ji Bach – assortment of banchan

haemool pajeon

Hahm Ji Bach – haemool pajeon

kalbi

Hahm Ji Bach – marinated kalbi

bibim naengmyun

Hahm Ji Bach – bibim naengmyun

My first time here and I liked it a lot…  Their haemool pajeon is really good, not too thick, not too thin, the best part is their choice of ingredients.  Most restaurants should really call their haemool pajeon (seafood pancake), squid and tons of scallion pancake, but Hahm Ji Bach does it right and includes baby squid, scallops, shrimps and mussels in their version, soooo good!  I will be back to try their samgyupsal, which is apparently what they are known for.

  • Kanoyama – 175 2nd Ave (at 11th street)
  • Rubirosa – 235 Mulberry Street (between Prince and Spring)
  • Dominique Ansel – 189 Spring Street
  • Momofuku Noodle Bar – 171 1st Ave
  • Hahm Ji Bach – 41-08 149th Place (Flushing, NY)

Paul Qui Dinner at City Grit

City Grit is a “Culinary Salon” located smack in the middle of Nolita housed in an old school house. Sarah Simmons and Jeremie Kittredge, the co-founders, hosts a rotating line-up of creative and fun dining experiences. This past week, Paul Qui, winner of Top Chef Texas, James Beard Best Chef Southeast winner, along with other accolades, was the featured chef.

I was really looking forward to this dinner, especially after seeing this Serious Eats post.  But, I can’t say that the meal lived up to my expectations, keep reading for more details. Firstly, the venue – it is a very very cute venue. I love the look and feel, however, the A/C was not up to par. It was uncomfortably (extremely) warm. The acoustics in the back room was terrible, normal conversation noise levels were magnified so much that it was as loud as a packed bar. On to the meal…

paul qui menu

The menu looked really promising…

tuna jamon

The tuna jamon dish was lackluster. The tuna was not as fresh as it should be, however, that was hidden by the lardo it was wrapped with. My issue with the lardo was that it was not sliced thin enough. Overall, the flavoring on the dish was kinda off – I can’t really put my finger on what made it off.

tomato water

The tomato water dish was quite good. I like the smokiness of the mussels, but the tomato water could be more tomato-y and could’ve been served more chilled.

sunchoke dashi

The sunchoke dashi was very delicious. The dehydrated uni was perfect! One of my favorite dishes of the night.

smoked trout

The smoked trout dish was very average, nothing new or super interesting about it.

quail

The quail was delicious!  Perfectly cooked, the miso ‘soil’ was really tasty! My only issue with this dish was the strawberry, (1) it was not very sweet, (2) the strawberry leaf and stem was left on and (3) I don’t think it really fit with the flavor profile.

pork jowl

The pork jowl was really well seasoned and cooked perfected. My piece of pork was more fatty than I anticipated, it was tasty nonetheless. I think I would’ve preferred the corn grilled rather than uncooked.

I didn’t take a picture of the dessert but it was nothing to write home about…

I really really wanted to love this meal. I still think Paul Qui is great and I will attribute the ‘semi-fail’ of this meal to that fact that it was over 70 diners and the dishes probably had to be executed assembly line style.