Matzahbrei

(917) 215-1616 • http://www.matzahbrei.com

Yes, an entire restaurant devoted to Matzah brei. It’s almost hard to wrap your head around, because the concept alone sounds about as flawed as the screenplay for Sharknado, but I stand before you in awe as I write this. A dish normally reserved for Passover time is making a strong case for year-long presence, because I gotta say, it’s pretty friggin’ good. Well, depending on which one you get.

For example, the Monica, is awesome. And no, I’m not talking about Monica Geller from Friends. I was always a Rachel kinda guy anyway. No, the Monica of which I speak is made with sautéed mushrooms, spinach, fresh sliced mozzarella and honey Dijon.

Or there’s the Jasmine with eggplant, herbs and tahini, which I also liked. Whereas the Xavier (pictured) with avocado, mango salsa and cheddar jack is actually just eh, even though it looks and sounds like it’d be the best of the three.

But no matter which sammy is your pleasure, definitely do yourself a solid and pair it up with a side of their Sunshine Salad, made with sweet potato, chickpea and tomato, tossed in a date dressing. It’s enough to make the Trix rabbit swear off of cereal in favor of salad, because it really is magically delicious.

P.S. One caveat. If you go to their site you will notice that they don’t open a brick and mortar location until the fall. But until then, if you keep your eye out at food stands like Broadway Bites and Madison Eats, maybe you’ll get lucky.

Tocqueville

1 E 15th St. New York, NY 10003(212) 647-1515 • tocquevillerestaurant.com

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I haven’t been here in a while. Not since they were located where 15 East now resides, which is more of an indictment of myself, if anything, because I am a HUGE fan of this place. Just absolute perfection on every plate. So why haven’t I rushed back? I’m not really sure. Maybe chalk it up to the fact that I’m getting older and more forgetful. Or perhaps it’s that I’m like a kitten and thus easily distracted by new, shiny objects. My failings aside, there are very few, if any, at Toqueville, which was firing on all cylinders from my sashimi appetizer to the epic miso glazed kobe steak with wasabi mashed potatoes. Just simply phenomenal and a gnat’s eyelash away from being an Ultimate. Even the service was great.

In fact, the only exception to the awesome would be the decor. It’s a bit on the barren side. However, the more casual dining room at the entrance which was the non-reservation area was much more charming with its tile work, etc… Odd decision, in hindsight, but who cares- first, because the food is so damn good they could serve it in a black void and I’d still lap it up. And second, because they have since moved making the point relatively moo, as Joey from Friends once said.

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The Little Owl

90 Bedford St. New York, NY 10014(212) 741-4695thelittleowlnyc.com

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Just walking to the place already put a smile on our faces. Located on a charming corner in the village, Little Owl is equally charming with its modest size and friendly staff. And speaking of “friendly,” as a little pop culture trivia, it’s in the building from the famous TV show “Friends.”

As for the food, it was a touch hit and miss, with the hits winning soundly in the end. Here’s the breakdown:

The meatball sliders (pictured) live up to the hype and beyond. They are so damn good they could literally convert a vegan.

The gravlax, however, which was recommended by our server, was just okay. Nothing special. The pear salad, while better than the gravlax was also nothing special. In fact, my wife makes a similar one at home all the time. That said, in both of these dishes, the ingredients are very fresh, which is nice. But that only goes so far.

Now for the main event. The pork chop is up there with the best I’ve ever had. Blows away Vinegar Hill House– which I also love. But I gotta give it to the Owl. Perfectly seasoned. Perfectly cooked. As if it were grilled by God himself.

Unfortunately, the pork was my wife’s dish though. I went with the other Yelp reco, the crunchy lemon chicken, and what a disappointment. Not that it was dry or anything, but again, nothing special at all. If you want an amazing chicken, go to ABC Kitchen. Best fried chicken I’ve ever had.

Now for dessert. Both were very strong. We had the cinnamon bengiets with Nutella and the strawberry rhubarb crisp. Both disappeared in seconds. I recommend either or both.

And last but not least, the wine. Also recommended by our server, it was an appley Chenin Blanc, and I do have to say, it worked perfectly through the meal.

It’s a hard one to give less than 4 knives with such high highs (two Ultimates), but with so many misses, it’s also hard to give it more than 3. Guess I’ll have to go back to be certain I chose wisely. 😉

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