Thursday, August 11, 2011

Small Bites

- Slate tries to explain why so many restaurant Web sites are really terrible'. 

- One way to use Google + — host a live cooking class.

- The recession means newer restaurants are opening in tight quarters; that shouldn't be new to most New Yorkers.

- Decreasing intake of red meat by substituting it with nuts or low-fat dairy reduces the risk of diabetes.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

wd-50 Review

For a city with such a grand array of dining options, New York comes up short for those interested in and intrigued by molecular gastronomy, most prominently represented by Alinea in Chicago and the recently closed El Bulli in Spain.

Maybe that explains why reservations are still tough to come by at Wylie Dufresne's wd-50 eight years after it opened in 2003. When I went looking for one, the only reservations available were at 10 p.m. for most of the next month.

wd-50 does play around with the traditional notion of food, presenting it in forms other than what you might be accustomed to. Some of it is delightful and divine. Some of it is fun, but you’ll find it fails to serve the function of feeding you.

My dining companions and I did notice that Dufresne was in the kitchen. It was nice to see a chef in his own restaurant, despite having reached the level of Top Chef fame.

The delicious Tommy-O (orange peel gin, lillet, clarified o.j.) and Catch o' the Day (cantaloupe, Campari and gin) cocktails.

A papery-thin sesame cracker reminiscent of papadum, an Indian cracker. It's so light and addictive, you'll be reaching for pieces nonstop until it's gone.

Each of the appetizers came with three sets of the featured composition, which worked out well for our party of three. The corned duck with purple mustard and horseradish cream atop a rye crisp was fabulous. The meat wasn't too gamey and the flavor was in the same family as pastrami. The horseradish really muscled its way through and worked well in this dish.

Friday, August 05, 2011

La Fusta Review

Sometimes you need an extra little push to make the effort to get to the outer boroughs to eat — a personal invitation brought me to La Fusta, in Elmhurst, Queens. But don't let its location stop you if its Argentinean food you seek.

The restaurant sits across from Elmhurst Hospital, but off the main road. Because I was a guest, the menu for the evening was taken care of. But given that everything was delicious, I had no problem with that. We tried a bit of everything.

To begin — a shallow platter of broiled, bubbling provolone cheese. Hot and melty and delicious on bread.

Though Argentinean food might be more typically associated with meat, don't let it stop you from ordering the fried calamari or this watercress salad. The calamari was lightly breaded but tenderly cooked.

The watercress salad was a fun mix of hearts of palm, tomatoes, sliced hard boiled eggs, red onions, avocado and large, sweet shrimp.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Restaurant Week: Colicchio & Sons Review

Though I had previously been to Colicchio & Sons and was underwhelmed, I chose to return because my first experience was only brunch, which often isn't representative of a restaurant's best efforts. Dinner was better, but it wasn't without its flaws.

In the plus column, Colicchio & Sons did offer its entire regular menu for Restaurant Week, meaning that this meal would give my dining companion and me a good sense of the restaurant's abilities.

The raw salmon with celery and pink peppercorn was bright and flavorful, but the portion was on the small side, the equivalent of what felt like just a few bites of food.

The roasted bone marrow with truffle vinaigrette and drunk onions was the best dish of the evening. The marrow was rich and unctuous and perfectly paired with the earthy truffle sauce. The marrow, served in the bone, also came with toast.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Shake Shack August Custard Flavors

It's hard to believe it's already August. But here's another new month of flavors.

Monday: Vanilla Almond Fudge
Tuesday: Caramelized Peach
Wednesday: Fromage Blanc Raspberry Swirl
Thursday: Strawberry Shackcake
Friday: Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
Saturday: Blueberry Coffee Cake
Sunday: Basil