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.

Mayhem & Stout

711 2nd Ave. New York, NY 10016(212) 986-1600mayhemandstout.yolasite.com

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I grabbed a bite from the Madison Eats stand during lunch on a workday, so I forewent the Stout side of the offering, but fully embraced the mayhem side, jumping in both feet on The Dragon, a pulled pork hero heavily sauced with fiery goodness (aka Asian BBQ sauce) and topped with slaw. And while I scored points for the smarts it took not to get all boozy before going back to the office, those points were quickly takeneth away by how ridiculously messy it was to eat, making me look like a two year old trying to eat a bowl of spaghetti for the first time, sauce all over my hands and face. Scarfing it down as fast as I could to minimize how many co-workers saw this and judged me.

But beyond the mess, I haven’t enjoyed a Dragon this much since Game of Thrones. It’s not life changing by any means, nor is it an Ultimate, but it is a nice departure from the usual pulled pork par. And like Untamed Sandwiches and No.7 Sub, Mayhem has a plethora of inventive twists on the sandwich scene, so if the Dragon doesn’t do it for you, rest assured you’ll find something to please your puss.

3 teeth

The Gumbo Bros.

Columbus Circle New York, NY 10019(347) 719-4579thegumbobros.com

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This is another food-only review courtesy of Madison Eats so definitely don’t take it as a holistic restaurant review, because it’s truthfully only a very narrow sampling. But sometimes you can tell a lot from a first impression, so I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Funny you should mention water, because that’s my first gripe. I find their gumbo way too watery. I much prefer it thick and hearty, loaded with chunks upon chunks of spicy goodies. But to be fair, within their soupy shrimp and okra bowl (pictured, although I assure you it looks nothing like that in person) there was still a decent amount of both floating about. Floating being the key word here. For example that scoop of rice you see above, it dispersed into the watery depths like someone firing gunshots in a crowd.

Also, I found the shrimp itself disappointing on two levels. First because it was shrimp instead of crawfish. WTF?! Isn’t that gumbo 101? And second, the shrimp was a touch under cooked and thus slimy. Luckily the impending stomach ache was averted, perhaps due to the ample use of heat, which was very much too my liking and probably the thing that killed off whatever the under cooked shrimp might’ve been carrying.

So let’s chalk it up to a bullet dodged and I’ll chalk up Gumbo Bros. as a pretty weak showing worthy of a deuce.

2 teeth

Bar Suzette

Chelsea Market 425 W 15th St. New York, NY 10011, Chelsea(917) 727-2169

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I know this place is technically a creperie, but having admired this burger from afar for several years, I finally bit the bullet (and the burger, obviously), going all in on Suzette’s crown jewel of overloaded meat. But did I stop there? Oh no. I went truffle fries too! Oh yes. And so close to bikini season too! Because I live on the edge people. You want Timid Foodie, you go elsewhere.

As a name, the Park Royal (pictured) just sounds amazing, right? In fact, the moment I laid eyes on that chalkboard menu I was in. Topped with caramelized onions, bacon, cheese and a fried egg, all stacked on a brioche bun, the Royal isn’t exactly breaking the mold in terms of inventiveness, but they stick the landing on proportions, so the flavor nets out pretty bang-on. It’s messy as all get out though, so move over 5 Napkin, I easily burnt through twice that on this puppy.

And speaking of burning through things, I normally don’t finish my fries because I’m either too full or feeling too guilty to do so, but these were so good I dug deep and closed the deal. Good thing “dad bod” is en vogue, otherwise I’d be Park Royally screwed.

3 teeth*And a half

Pig & Khao

68 Clinton St. New York, NY 10002 • (212) 920-4485pigandkhao.com

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I have only eaten at the Madison Eats representation, but what I had while respectable, was also not quite as worthy of the praise it’s been getting on the street.

The Bahn Mi is solid. The meat perfectly moist and the roll very nice in texture. But the flavors from the rest of the toppings just didn’t seem to cut through, so it ended up tasting like meat, bread and Sriracha. Granted there are worse things I suppose, but there are also better Bahn Mi sandwiches.

And as for the spring rolls, while delicious, they are so damn oily I couldn’t help but feel I was drinking a bottle of Soul Glo from “Coming to America.”

But to judge them by such a myopic sampling seems a touch unfair, so please take this review with a grain of oil- er, I mean salt.

2 teeth