New & Noteworthy

This week’s additions to the New & Notable list are both restaurants that have been open for a bit, one for six months and the other for over twenty years.  I’m reinvested in checking them out because of their new menus. Golden Diner, the Chinatown spot from ex-Torrisi and Momofuku vet Sam Yoo, is now serving dinner.  While the website menu looks pretty sparse, the images on the GrubStreet article shows more, e.g. wontonini en brodo and black bean vongole. Um, yum.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten has no fear in changing a winning formula.  He is eliminating the a la carte option and offering only tasting menus for lunch and dinner (meat and seafood; and vegetarian and vegan) at his celebrated restaurant in Columbus Circle.  We have seen JGV’s inroad into plant-based and vegan dishes take place over the last few years at ABC Kitchen and abcV. I have enjoyed the veggie-focused dishes at both and would love to have a new go-to for a high-end veg/vegan experience.

New & Noteworthy (week of Sep 16)

Ayada      Opened late-June

Golden Diner  Dinner service early-September

Gotham Bar & Grill     Reopened early-September

Hutong      Opened early-July 

Jean-Georges Revamped Tasting Menus early-September

The Jones Opened late-August

L’Accolade    Opened mid-July

LaLou Opened late-June

Llama-San Opened early-September

Malibu Farm  Opened early-September

Pastis         Opened early-June

Red Paper Clip Opened late-July

Red Peony Opened late-August

Sullivan Street Pizza Opened mid-June

This weekly list is not comprehensive of every new place but a short alphabetized list of new places that I think are notable.  Restaurants that have been opened for more than three months will not be included.

Side Bar

Meat Substitutes: Beyond Burger, Impossible Burger, Meatless Chicken, Fake Shrimp, etc. etc.

When the so-called ‘plant-based’ meat substitutes starting hitting the market, I was keen to try them. I had not yet found my go-to veggie burger –most were too bean-y and cumin-y.  After the Impossible Burger IPO giving them unicorn status, I started to read story after story of their popularity and more meat substitutes.

I am a supporter of plant-based cooking and keenly aware that our planet cannot sustain the way we have been eating.  I’ve taken classes from Matthew Kenney Culinary on plant-based cooking. To that end, I decided that I was going to have the next Supper Club menu be a battle of the new burgers. It would be fun!

But as I started crafting a plant-based burger battle menu, I started thinking about my own cooking and eating philosophy of trying to avoid packaged and processed foods. While I support decreasing the consumption of animal meats, I wasn’t sure if I was that enthusiastic with replacing them with processed substitutes.

I decided to look at the ingredients of some of these ‘plant-based’ meats.

Here is what is in an Impossible Burger according to their website: Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12.

And here is what is in a Beyond Burger: Water, Pea Protein Isolate*, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Rice Protein, Natural Flavors, Cocoa Butter, Mung Bean Protein, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Apple Extract, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Pomegranate Fruit Powder, Beet Juice Extract (for color),  This list read a little better but what are ‘natural flavors’?

I wonder if we are just in a liminal stage where we cannot let go of meat that we are now going to such lengths so recreate it vs. eating more plants and finding new ways to prepare them as they are. 

In the end, I ditched the Impossible Burger vs. Beyond Burger Cook Off concept. The thought of burgers and all that goes with it, from ‘meat’ that was full of other ‘stuff’ and ‘flavorings’ was unappealing. Also, it was early summer and I was starting to see some awesome produce hit the green markets.

Separately,  M was advised to introduce a meat protein to her diet given mercury concerns — she was good with pork.  I also recently learned that bok choy repairs DNA (!) so decided to go Asian. We started with fresh farm veggies with edamame ginger and garlic scape dips; local lettuce salad with ginger dressing; pork-kimchi, and bok choy-tofu-ginger dumplings; bok choy with shiitake; and pickled yuzu beets. Dessert was dark chocolate and fruit. 

I will have an Impossible burger soon enough.  In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy cooking up dishes using summer produce from our local farms. 

Summer Cooking

I neglected my Weekend Cooking posts for most of the summer but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t cooking!  I had the great fortune of having friends and family staying with us which meant I was able to draft menu plans keeping in mind my guests preferences (ages ranged from 8 to 80 years old), some dietary intolerances (read: gluten) and get creative so as to leverage the summer produce. 

I did not have a camera on hand all the time e.g. my pictures for my daily baking classes with my nieces but we did capture a good bit.  Here are some of the highlights.

Summer Salads: Of course, we were blessed tasty produce all summer. I started to invent more ways to use lettuce, zucchini, beets and corn.

Zucchini Batons with Pecorino, Basil and Crushed Almonds
Beet and Apple Salad with Pecorino and Pistachio
Corn Salad with Tomato, Cucumber and Feta
Beet, Grapefruit and Avocado with Basil Salad
Lettuce Salad with Shallot-Mustard Dressing
Fresh Pico de Gallo with Blue Corn Chips

Baked Goods: Here are some snapshots of my contributions to Independence Day and neighborhood parties, and baking with my nieces.

Independence Day Treats: Homemade Twinkies and Mini-Lemon Cupcakes
Coffee Cake with Cinnamon-Brown Sugar Topping
Cornbread with Honey Butter
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Warm Dishes: I missed Asian food so made a few on my own over the summer. I also loved using the fresh summer produce simply mixed in with pasta.

Matcha Soba with Vegetabe Tempura
Mixed Tempura (Eggplant, Zucchini, Carrots, Onion, Shiitake)
Fried Wontons with Cream Cheese and Chives
Farfalle with Corn and Feta
Mixed Grill: Halibut, Hot Italian Sausages, Green Peppers and Vidalia Onions
Beef Gyoza with Steamed Rice

Cold Dishes: I don’t know how many Caprese sandwiches I ate this summer but no other sandwiches seemed to exist when fresh tomato and basil were in such abundance. I also loved using cucumbers in maki rolls (again, sating the Asian food craving).

Baguette with Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, Basil and Olive Oil
Kappa Maki and Miso Soup

I can’t wait for fall!

Hutong

Observations from my first visit

Hutong restaurant from the Aqua Restaurant Group (which has locations in London, Hong Kong and Beijing) opened its first US outpost in the former Le Cirque space.  It positions itself as a high-end Northern Chinese restaurant and bar, so in my mind, the immediate comparisons were going to be Hakkasan and Mr. Chow and Shun Lee.  I used to pooh-pooh such places but I enjoy dining at them more. Frankly, it is nice to go to a fancy restaurant that is not Western-inspired. I went having read the early reviews from Robert Sietsema’s First Look “Midtown’s Glam New Chinese Restaurant Excels at a Luxe Dim Sum Service” in Eater New York and Jiayang Fan’s The Unapologetic Decadence of Hutong in The New Yorker.

Dress: The dress request is “elegant casual” but I saw some younger diners in un-hip tee-shirts and sorta grubby sneakers, which was a disappointment. I dunno, sometimes making an effort is a delight.  The mix was definitely more motley than one would find at say, Blue Hill. 

Atmosphere and design: The design is Art-Deco and the place just feels opulent– lots of marble, glass, silver and overall heavy materials. My husband even approvingly commented on the heft of the chopsticks.   Music with a beat plays overhead but it is not too loud; just enough to fill in the space of diner din. 

Menu & Dishes: I found the size and breadth of the menu, at four pages, to be just right. I skipped over the soups and tofu dishes that had received lackluster reviews, and went rather meat-heavy in our order. The sichuan shredded beef aka crispy beef was an amazing presentation of uniform size and shape; each piece super crispy and shiny with sweet chili glaze. My husband is crispy beef aficionado and was ready to put in another order.

From the dim sum section, we sampled the wagyu beef millefeuille and yu xiang crispy pork mochi dumpling. The former was tender beef chunks in a peppery demi glace, which had a nice lingering finish. The millefeuille pastry layers looked like yarn wrapping, and was light and crispy. The crispy pork dumplings looked like they were dipped in black charcoal and covered in glitter. The mochi layer is thin and the pork filling light.  Both were delicious.

The plate of zhenjiang pork ribs were tender and generously covered in a flavorful deep brown/black vinegar sauce.  Wet naps were definitely called for. And for good measure, we ordered the chef’s fried rice, which was frankly the least inventive of the dishes we sampled; indeed, it was a close cousin of your regular run-of-the-mill fried rice from almost any neighborhood Chinese joint. 

The dessert menu was small and had flowery names but decided to skip the final course.

Overall: Some reviews have called out the cost but I would say it is in line with other upscale Chinese eateries, including Red Farm.  And for those who are seeking ‘authenticity’ or ‘value,’ I would recommend they steer clear.

As for myself, I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner experience and would go again to continue selectively sampling the menu.

Hutong, 731 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022

New & Noteworthy

BTS time!  The sun is bright and the air is becoming more crisp.  People have a pep in their step. NYC after Labor Day is always busy with the US Open, Fashion Week etc. and after being out of the city for awhile, I am excited to be back and will be busy eating at new restaurants.  Tonight, I am going to try Hutong. I’ve read two cursory reviews and I think it will be tasty but I have to admit that what I also kind of like about it is that they have a suggested dress code — ‘elegant casual.’ And I will be checking out Llama-san in a few days. 

I’ve added three restaurants this week: Llama-san, Malibu Farm and Red Peony. Oh the places to go this fall!

New & Noteworthy (week of Sep 2)

Ayada      Opened late-June

Hutong      Opened early-July 

The Jones Opened late-August

L’Accolade    Opened mid-July

LaLou Opened late-June

Llama-San Opened early-September

Malibu Farm  Opened early-September

Pastis         Opened early-June

Red Paper Clip Opened late-July

Red Peony Opened late-August

Sullivan Street Pizza Opened mid-June

This weekly list is not comprehensive of every new place but a short alphabetized list of new places that I think are notable.  Restaurants that have been opened for more than three months will not be included.

New & Noteworthy

I pass by three or four restaurants from Gabriel Stulman every day as I walk to the subway and run errands.  He has eight spots mostly in the West Village and at the Freehand Hotel in the Gramercy area. I have dined at many of them and his track record alone puts his latest venture, The Jones, on my list. 

But this is also a revival of The Great Jones, a neighborhood spot located across the street from where Jean-Michel Basquiat lived; Andy Warhol and Madonna would drop in.  The revamp did not touch the blue and orange exterior, the Elvis bust and neon EAT sign, but the interior and the menu are completely different. In perusing the menu, there is a Filet O’ Fish that clearly is a take on the classic McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish, which was a favorite of mine growing up so I know what I will be ordering on my first visit. The Jones website notes that it is currently open for weekday breakfast and lunch. Articles mention that starting mid-September, it will be open on weekends as well as adding dinner service. 

New & Noteworthy (week of Aug 26)

Ayada      Opened late-June

The Fulton    Opened mid-May

Hutong      Opened early-July 

The Jones Opened late-August

L’Accolade    Opened mid-July

LaLou Opened late-June

Le Jardinier    Opened late-May

Pastis         Opened early-June

Red Paper Clip Opened late-July

Rezdôra    Opened mid-May

Sullivan Street Pizza Opened mid-June

This weekly list is not comprehensive of every new place but a short alphabetized list of new places that I think are notable.  Restaurants that have been opened for more than three months will not be included.

New & Noteworthy

Interestingly enough, there are again no new additions to this week’s New & Noteworthy list.  That said, I’ve updated a few of the links to include recent restaurant critic reviews, mainly of Rezdôra. I have been trying to get a reservation there for months (and ahead of the glowing reviews) with no luck. Maybe a 5pm weekday supper is in the cards.

New & Noteworthy (week of Aug 12)

Ayada      Opened late-June

The Fulton    Opened mid-May

Hutong      Opened early-July 

L’Accolade    Opened mid-July

LaLou Opened late-June

Le Jardinier    Opened late-May

Pastis         Opened early June

Red Paper Clip Opened late-July

Rezdôra    Opened mid-May

Sullivan Street Pizza Opened mid-June

This weekly list is not comprehensive of every new place but a short alphabetized list of new places that I think are notable.  Restaurants that have been opened for more than three months will not be included.

New & Noteworthy

There are so many openings that piqued my interest but for some reason, I am not in any rush to add any to the list this week. Call it tasting menu/ramen/pop-up fatigue and disinterest in schlepping to Hudson Yards to visit the Equinox Hotel.  That said, folks with pedigrees from NYC and indeed all over the world are opening their doors. These include Luthun, Tenho Ramen, and Mastercard Priceless’ Lyaness, Teruzushi and The Rock installations. 

I have removed Bar Wayō and Bar Pisellino from the list.

New & Noteworthy (week of Aug 5)

Ayada      Opened late-June

The Fulton    Opened mid-May

Hutong      Opened early-July 

L’Accolade    Opened mid-July

LaLou Opened late-June

Le Jardinier    Opened late-May

Pastis         Opened early June

Red Paper Clip Opened late-July

Rezdora     Opened mid-May

Sullivan Street Pizza Opened mid-June

This weekly list is not comprehensive of every new place but a short alphabetized list of new places that I think are notable.  Restaurants that have been opened for more than three months will not be included.

New & Noteworthy

Even though we are entering August, the summer month that seems the most quiet in NYC, there seems to be no shortage of openings of interest. This week, I’m adding the latest in the David Chang empire, Bar Wayō, in the Seaport District. The name, in Japanese, is a combo of East and West and the menu has uncomplicated casual gestures to such fare, e.g. onion rings with ranch and roe.  I think the view may be the main draw so worth checking out if you are in the area.

The other is a fine dining restaurant coming from two former Blue Hill at Stone Barns alumni, Red Paper Clip. After a series of pop-ups, Tashi Gyamtso and Kevin Chen, have a permanent 24-seat spot in the West Village. I could not find the menu on their website but articles mention dishes like oysters with yuzu kosho mignonette, beef carpaccio with Sichuan chile oil, soup dumpling agnolotti and sea bass with umeboshi and spring onion.

New & Noteworthy (week of July 29)

Ayada      Opened late-June

Bar Pisellino    Opened mid-May

Bar Wayō  Opened late-July

The Fulton    Opened mid-May

Hutong      Opened early-July 

L’Accolade    Opened mid-July

LaLou Opened late-June

Le Jardinier    Opened late-May

Pastis         Opened early June

Red Paper Clip Opened late-July

Rezdora     Opened mid-May

Sullivan Street Pizza Opened mid-June

This weekly list is not comprehensive of every new place but a short alphabetized list of new places that I think are notable.  Restaurants that have been opened for more than three months will not be included.

New & Noteworthy

My interest in natural wines continues which is serendipitous as another natural wine bar/restaurant has opened its doors. Last week, I noted the opening of LaLou in Brooklyn. This week, L’Accolade opened in the West Village and like last week, the team has strong street cred. The executive chef is Ben Traver who hales from Modern and Cafe Boulud the chef de cuisine is Nate Kuester, who has worked at Aquavit. Felix Campos of Atla oversees the cocktail list and Clément Lapeyssonnie put together the natural wine list. The 38-seat restaurant will soon open a garden area.

New & Noteworthy (week of July 22)

AyadaOpened late-June

Bar Pisellino    Opened mid-May

The Fulton    Opened mid-May

Hutong Opened early-July 

L’Accolade    Opened mid-July

LaLou Opened late-June

Le Jardinier    Opened late-May

Pastis         Opened early June

Rezdora     Opened mid-May

Sullivan Street Pizza Opened mid-June

This weekly list is not comprehensive of every new place but a short alphabetized list of new places that I think are notable.  Restaurants that have been opened for more than three months will not be included.