Momofuku Ssäm Bar

207 2nd Ave. New York, NY 10003(212) 254-3500momofuku.com

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While I didn’t actually eat AT Ssäm, I did eat FROM there, thanks to a little site called trycaviar.com. For those of you who know seamless.com or grubhub.com, it’s basically the same thing only instead of trying to offer a ton places they focus on quality vs. quantity. Which means you can order delivery from some pretty awesome places… like Momofuku Ssam Bar. So, here’s what we ordered:

We went with three mains and three sides and shared everything. Of the mains the only miss was the pork shoulder wrap. It was bland by comparison to it’s brother from another mother, the lamb wrap. It was moister and much more flavorful than the pork. But both seemed to be adorned by the same Korean/Thai accouterments (I know it’s supposed to be Korean, but the use of peanut feels more Thai).

The other main was also pretty special. Apparently a dish so popular Momofuku serves it at more than one of their restaurants. It’s made with sausage and rice cakes and it’s packing some serious heat (pictured). Highly recommend.

And since we’re talking highs, the spicy potatoes are a must. Best I’ve ever had. Blows away the typical small plate you tend to find at every tapas restaurant from LA to Madrid.

The broccoli is also good, but compared to the potatoes they are at least two flights down from Heaven. And same goes for the bean salad granted it might be three flights down.

So a strong 3 knives for Ssam and a weak 5 for trycaviar.com, because while it is definitely awesome it is also pretty friggin’ slow. Meals take, on average, over an hour for delivery. So if you’re famished, trysomethingelse.com.

3 teeth

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Boqueria

53 W 19th St. New York, NY 10011 • (212) 255-4160boquerianyc.com
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Tapas/Small Plates are all the rage these days, but Boqueria is one of the reasons for that. For the last seven years they’ve been killing it. With their very cool decor and contemporary twists on authentic tapas classics. A tad hit and miss, as most tapas usually is, but they are more hit than most.

Some hits are definitely the blistered shishito peppers and the dates stuffed with almonds and cheese, wrapped in bacon. Also, for brunch, their egg sandwich with chorizo is perfection!

Other dishes that are worthy, but not headliners, would be the spicy potatoes and the charcuterie. Skip the salt cod fitters.

P.S. They also have one in Soho and it’s every bit as good.

4 teeth

Oenotri

1425 1st St. Napa, CA 94559 • (707) 252-1022 • oenotri.com

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Not sure if you saw it, but there was a recent article in Food & Wine Magazine about Thomas Keller’s favorite restaurants in Napa, apart from his own, of course. And on said list just happened to be the one and only Oenotri.

And as foodie recommendations go, it’s pretty hard to beat Thomas Keller so we went guns blazing, ordering every single antipasta, every single pasta pasta. Two of the three pizzas. A salami plate. A side of potatoes (of course). And every single dessert. Obnoxious? Undoubtably. But there were six of us, so it’s slightly less obnoxious than it sounds, because it basically broke down to one dish per person, per course.

Now, prepare for a ride on the Bipolar Express… The first thing to hit the table was the salami plate which was a solid good. And one particular salami was quite special, made yellowish by the saffron within it.

Then an Ultimate arrived on the scene. The best funghi pizza I’ve ever had. Even the other pie (meatball) was pretty awesome, with a terrific crust and buttery cheese that worked harmoniously together like edible Olympic synchronized swimmers.

But alas the perfection was not to last. On the antipasta course Oenotri went an abysmal 1 for 5. The only one rising above an “eh” would be the wax beans with meatballs and quail egg. So right about then I started to question ole Tommy. That is until the short rib pappardelle came around. So good I wish we would’ve gotten six of them. Not that the others were bad, but the only other pasta dish worthy of a shout out would be the paccheri ragu.

Similarly, the desserts fared about the same. The almond panna cotta was the winner and easily the best panna cotta I’ve ever had, even thought I’m normally not a panna cotta person. Also, an honorable mention goes to the sour cherry tart.

Service was very good. The Amarone wine went wonderfully with everything. And apart from the antipastas, the only other big miss is that the setting is a bit tragic, especially if you sit outside, locsted in the courtyard of a strip mall. But Keller never was big on décor, so I guess it didn’t bother him as much as me.

Oh, almost forgot the all important side of potatoes! They were actually excellent. Packing some nice heat. I would’ve eaten more of them had my stomach not lit up the “no vacancy” sign.

So, all in all, in terms of knives, I am very conflicted. I mean on the one hand when a restaurant has two Ultimates in the same meal, it’s pretty hard to go below 4 knives. But on the other hand, when a restaurant serves up over 10 misses it’s hard to justify going over the 3 knives. Now obviously half knives would solve this kerfuffle quite handily, but that’s a cop out. So, being that I am a “ferocious” foodie, I am going to have to go with harsher sentence.

3 teeth