NYT Critics’ Picks: Restaurants on Flipboard

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Tibetan Food Finds a New Home at Punda

Tenzing Tsering grew up as a Tibetan refugee in the northeast Indian state of Meghalaya, whose Sanskrit name means “abode of clouds,” perhaps because more rain falls there — more than 400 inches a year — than anywhere else on earth. His résumé could be a case study in culinary diaspora: He cooked …


Restaurant Review: Aquavit in Midtown

Time to cheer for Aquavit and its power to defy the forces of gravity.

Time drags down restaurants in New York. It turns hot spots into castoffs and grand dining rooms into whispery museums. Hakan Swahn opened Aquavit in 1987. Over the last 27 years, it made the reputation of one Marcus Samuelsson …


Crêpes Canaveral Spreads Itself Thin

On a drizzly evening, two glum young men peered into the shut window of Crêpes Canaveral. Above them hung a lantern, its candle still unlit. “You really want to go through this for a crepe?” one asked. They tromped off around the corner, but within a minute they had slunk back to wait with the rest …


Restaurant Review: Fung Tu on the Lower East Side

It can’t have been much fun for Jonathan Wu, the chef and an owner of Fung Tu, when Mission Chinese Food set up shop virtually around the corner in December. For his first year in business down in the headwaters of Orchard Street, just off East Broadway’s warren of Fujianese places, Mr. Wu was the …


Restaurant Review: Mu Ramen in Long Island City, Queens

Before telling you how impressed I am by the new Mu Ramen in Long Island City, Queens, I want to clear up my role in the demise of the first Mu Ramen.

Last March, I wrote an article about New York’s quickly diversifying ramen landscape. One place I discussed was Mu Ramen, which had found a temporary …


At HanYang BunSik, Snacking Is Encouraged

Don’t be distracted by the tented stalls outside the 24-hour HanYang Mart in Flushing, Queens, with their promises of baked eggs and potato pancakes shaped like hearts. There will be time for them.

Go in, past the stacks of 15-pound bags of rice and the clothing nook. (If you’ve reached the counter …


Restaurant Review: Minton’s in Harlem

The revolution ran on grits, ham hocks, ribs, black-eyed peas and biscuits.

When he opened Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem in 1940, Henry Minton, the first black delegate to the local musicians’ union, knew that jazz players were frequently in need of a meal and a place to give their instruments a …


Memories of Chinatowns Gone By

Once there was a woman on Mosco Street in Chinatown who made nothing but egg cakes, spheres of dough like a waffle’s dimples turned inside out. Each had a near-crisp shell and chewy guts, with a puff of steam cradled between. There were other vendors, other cakes, but hers were the ones everyone …

New York

Restaurant Review: Santina in the Meatpacking District

The calendar said January when Santina opened early this year. The temperature outside hovered just above freezing. That said January, too.

But almost nothing inside did. Santina’s new glass-box building sits under the High Line like an unwisely located greenhouse, but oranges grew on the branches …


At Casa Del Chef in Woodside, Queens, the Goals Are Lofty

At the end of each day as head cook at Academy of the City Charter School in Woodside, Queens, Alfonso Zhicay hops onto his bike and makes his way a mile south to Casa Del Chef, the restaurant he opened last August near the No. 7 train tracks.

It requires a gentle shift in the mind to go from a gym …

Union Pacific

Restaurant Review: Meat Hook Sandwich in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

A normal sandwich was what I had in mind one day in January. Normal is not what Meat Hook Sandwich does, though, so I ended up eating something that I would call the greatest cheeseburger I’ve ever tasted if not for the inconvenient fact that it wasn’t a cheeseburger. What I ate was a chopped …


Restaurant Review: Little Park in TriBeCa

It is as colorful and otherworldly as a coral reef, this row of fried cauliflower knobs in purple, ivory and marigold yellow. Wrapping each floret is a pale-gold skin of batter. It’s almost invisible, but you feel it as you bite, its soft snap reinforced by the full-on crunch of chopped almonds. …


In Curry Hill, a New Kid on the Block

On the menu it is called an egg roll, but what arrives looks more like an elongated turnover, with squared-off ends as sharp as hospital corners. The crepelike wrap is crisp but doesn’t crackle, so that all the attention goes to the interior: lamb minced fine but still juicy and shot through with …

New Kid on the Block

Restaurant Review: Eleven Madison Park in Midtown South

Can a restaurant still succeed when it fails at what it says it wants to do?

This is not a question critics ask every day. But then the place in question, Eleven Madison Park, is not a restaurant where most of us would or could eat every day.

This, in fact, is one of the sticky issues raised by the …


Restaurant Review: Bowery Meat Company in the East Village

I’m starting to worry about the steakhouse.

It used to be a rock of stability. The shifting winds of fashion did not bend it. Its basic formula was so firmly set that you could go to a steakhouse in San Bernardino and then one in Baltimore and have the same meal without looking at the menu.

Now …


Restaurant Review: Via Carota in the West Village

Hanging from Via Carota’s ceiling, menacing a large farmhouse table that had been surrounded by smiling customers just a few minutes earlier, was a row of long iron spikes, bent into hooks at their ends. They’d been retrofitted with light bulbs to make a functional if terrifying chandelier, but …


Opening Oaxaca to the World

The meatball is burly but yields in an instant, spilling its secret: a whole green olive, buried at the center. The olive is a small, powerful thing, radiating salt and vinegar, almost pickling the meat from the inside, transfiguring it.

This is but one surprise at La Morada, a Mexican restaurant in …


Restaurant Review: Semilla in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

I came up with my nature-preserve theory of tasting menus while eating a cabbage sandwich at Semilla, a new restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, across the street from Jack’s Cancellation Shoes and Rachel’s Corset Discount Center (“specializing in hard to fit sizes”).

Semilla had taken two cabbage …


Restaurant Review: Shuko in the East Village

“You like spicy?” Jimmy Lau asked from behind the counter at Shuko, the new restaurant just below Union Square where he and his partner, Nick Kim, prepare an elevated and memorable species of Japanese food. Before I could answer, he handed me a spicy tuna roll that would casually knock over my …


Plantains, Top to Bottom

The cachapa is enormous even flopped in on itself, a thick pancake of ground sweet corn with whole kernels peeking through. Inside is mozzarella, caught mid-ooze, and two bands of double-smoked bacon, each as broad as a strop, juicy with brine and curling black at the edges. No distinction is …


Restaurant Review: Kao Soy in Red Hook, Brooklyn

Only half of the tables inside Kao Soy were taken, but the delivery guys were coming and going through the door on Van Brunt Street every few minutes. The December wind off the harbor that was shaking the little brick buildings in Red Hook, Brooklyn, was keeping everybody at home, ordering pad see …


The Earth and Heat of Nigeria

“You don’t eat, we fight,” said the woman who had brought out the heaping platter, hands on hips. Then she leaned forward and gently folded up the ends of my sweater sleeves, which were drooping dangerously close to the food. “So they don’t get dirty,” she said, before disappearing into the kitchen.


Restaurant Review: Cosme in the Flatiron District

A woman I once worked with had a facility for languages that was matched by her self-assurance. The rest of us had a hard time keeping track of her various proficiencies, and one time we asked her to remind us whether she knew Chinese.

“Oh, I would love to learn Chinese,” she said. “But I just don’t …


Restaurant Review: Blue Smoke and North End Grill

If you hooked a seismograph to Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, the readout for most of the last two decades would be boringly predictable. Regular spikes would indicate the orderly arrival of restaurants, with just a few aberrant tremors here and there: the closure of Tabla and, very …


A Buffet of Filipino Specialties

Fish are stacked on the glass over the steam table, fried whole without interfering batter, all crackly veneer and quick-tearing flesh. There are galunggong, like swollen cigars with the flavor of a shyer mackerel; pompano in puckering silver; and, best of all, bangus (pronounced ban-GOOSE), or …


Are Those Steel Drums I Hear?

There is no grill on a sawed-off oil drum, no lick of breeze or view of the sea in sun-shocked blue. But behind the frosted windows of LoLo’s Seafood Shack, which opened in Harlem in October, the extemporaneous spirit of the lolo — the kind of open-air barbecue joint found on the beaches and …

West Indies

Answering the Call of Friends

It’s only at the end that the blood is tipped in, just before the bowl of num tok — an opaque, nearly black Thai noodle soup — is brought to the table. This is time enough for the blood to disperse in the broth and lose its drawn-sword tang. What I tasted was more elliptical: salt, minerals, a …


Restaurant Review: Upland on Park Avenue South

“Go to Upland” is my current answer to anybody who asks for a good new place to eat in Manhattan. It will probably remain my answer for some time. The recommendation is the same for fetishists who unwind by reconstructing recipes from the court of Catherine de Medici as for parishioners in the …


Restaurant Review: Botequim in the East Village

Restaurants hide in all kinds of ways. There is the coy, unmarked-door hiding of the neo-speakeasy. There is the romantic hiding of restaurants whose positioning at, say, the end of an alley allows men to seem clever and their dates to seem impressed. There is the snooty hiding of exclusive …