The Madelyn [Click the photo above to go to the Madelyn’s website]
82 W 3rd St (between Thompson St & Sullivan St) New York, NY 10012
My dream in life is to get free food, and it finally came true when I went to my very first tasting at the Madelyn.
Here’s how it went:
The first decision I had to make was who was I going to take? I felt it was appropriate to invite my friend who I went to the Madelyn opening with, but he told me he had plans, so he’s a dill hole.
I could invite my friend who also has a food blog, but he’s going to some art show. He gets gayer and gayer (politically incorrect I know, but it is what it is) I swear.
I also had my holiday office party the night before so I was not in good shape to say the least. Who could I invite where I wouldn’t have to over extend myself for at dinner?
“Mom, do you want to go with me?”
Ding ding ding ding.
I unfortunately told her while I was still at work, and might I add a busy day, and she was a machine gun of questions.
“Where is it located?”
“How do I get there?”
Text me this. Text me that. I think my favorite suggestion of hers was she wouldn’t pick me up at my apartment, but I could have the cab drop me off somewhere on the west side, and she could pick me up from there.
So I would tell a cab driver a random corner, so I could drive downtown with my mom and her GPS, which she fights with…constantly…absolutely not.
“I’ll meet you there.”
Dinner was at 8:30, and of course my mom arrived at the restaurant at around 8 o’clock. I have to take extra care with whatever outfit I put together for my mom, because according to her I almost always a. need to iron it b. need to fix my hair c. need to put on more lipstick. I decide on a button down with a sweater.
When we arrive I order some wine, and we are seated at a couch in front of the fire place.
It is very romantic, and hot. I start pulling off my sweater, and I see my mom make a face.
“It’s ironed. Don’t worry.”
I can see she didn’t believe me until she saw the shirt for herself.
Lucky for us, a couple next to us found the fire place very romantic, and proceeded to make-out the entire meal, which was 5 courses by the way.
“How drunk do you think they are?”
“Why do you think they’re drunk?”
“Who makes out like that sober?”
The waiter and owner ask us if we have any special requests, and the only piece of information they need to know is that my mom is allergic to tomatoes.
“Did you tell them I’m allergic to tomatoes?”
“I just did.”
First course arrives: oysters and champagne. I am not an oyster person, but had I brought a man: champagne, oysters, fireplace…that’s like out of a movie. Except in reality I was trying to figure out a way to slip an oyster on my mom’s plate so it looked like I ate more, and my mom drank the champagne before I could cheers her.
Next course arrives: Guanciale “pork jowl” pizza with black truffle and egg.
They had this at the restaurant opening, and I picked at it, but this time I had to hold myself back. It was sooooo good. The egg is cooked in the center of the pizza, and you dip the pizza into the runny egg. I asked for this pizza to go, because if I finished it I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat anything else.
I’m already in reclining position on the couch.
Home made burrata cheese on naan bread with pesto and tomato. My mom’s portion had no tomato (touché). The naan bread was toasted perfectly, and I never ever everrrr don’t like burrata cheese.
As the courses continue, my mom and I are served different dishes to accommodate mi madre’s allergy.
I get spicy shellfish soup. She gets fried artichokes on a bed of lettuce.
“I can’t find my contacts list anymore on my phone.” My mom got her first Iphone, and before that she was using the Blackberry Pearl, so you can imagine the delightful questions my sister and I get asked.
“Is that why you emailed me that you were here, and didn’t text me?”
You probably put it in another folder.”
“How do I call people now?”
“You have the address book in the “phone” section when you make a call. The green button.”
I get eggplant parmesan. She gets pork belly.
“Why is it green now? I need the brown button.”
“It’s two different buttons.”
We both get veal ravioli, which tasted exactly like my grandmother’s kreplach. It’s always exciting with a restaurant dish reminds you of a home cooked meal.
And finally: apple crisp.
“Do we tip the waitresses?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never had a tasting before.”
“What are we supposed to tip?”
“I’ll give it to them. You know, like the mom, doing it. It’s a mom thing.”
As long as I don’t have to do it. Miss Awkward over here.
The owner Lou comes over to ask us how our meal was. He plops down next to me, so I’m a little sandwich between him and my mom. I can barely focus, because I keep staring at the couple next to us.
“You ready to go home?”
I grab my coat as the guy grabs his lady’s butt, and off we go.
Champagne and Oysters.
These are East Coast oysters, hence their size. I am not a fan of the texture of any oyster, but I did enjoy the flavor of these.
Guanciale “pork jowl” pizza with black truffle and egg.
This is just sooo delicious when cooked right. Bacon, eggs, cheese, bread (no tomatoes)…its like a food pyramid of yummyness. I was beyond excited for leftovers, but my mom ate it instead.
Home Made Burrata Cheese: grilled naan bread, pesto, roasted tomato
This bread had the perfect amount of crunch. Creamy cheese, and pesto. It’s not a cute thing to eat: potential green in the teeth, and requires more than one bite, but seriously I don’t care. It’s worth it.
Madelyn’s Spicy Shellfish Soup: shrimp, scallops, little neck clams, garlic, tomato broth
This is perfect for the winter weather. It’s hearty but not heavy. I had a few bites, because soup fills me up very quickly, and I had to save room.
Fried Baby Artichoke Salad: parmesan cheese, chili oil lemon vinagrette, parsley
This was light and crunchy. They served this to my mom, while I received the soup, and I popped one of those chokes right into my mouth. I actually preferred this, and I think my mom preferred the soup (but she couldn’t eat it heehee).
My mom was again jealous that she couldn’t eat this. Solid eggplant dish.
Berkshire Porkbelly with vinegar sauce.
I sort of died for this. The porkbelly was crispy on the outside and a little fatty, and the vinegar just gave the dish some acid. This was the first time they made this dish with the vinegar sauce, and I loved it. The waitress even brought over the vinegar they used, so my mom could use it for cooking at home. Here it is below.
White Vinegar for pork belly, sold at specialty markets.
Veal Ravioli with balsamic reduction.
I try to stay away from pasta dishes at restaurants that have a lounge/bar vibe. It just seems too heavy for a cocktail, however this was delic. If it tastes like something my grandma made it’s a great sign.
FYI: this was just for me, and they served another apple crisp just for my mom. I was about to keel over at this point. My mom lovesss apple crisp, and it was very good. However, it was still very hot when it was served to us, so I think the crisp needed to sit for a bit longer so it wasn’t so oozy. Still a great end to the meal 🙂
Tertulia [Click the photo above to go to Tertulia’s website]
359 6th Avenue (between Washington St and Cornelia St) New York, NY 10014
Guess who got to go their first restaurant opening? Meee. But this post isn’t about that, because they only served appetizers and I was hungry afterwards. This is about the dinner after the restaurant opening (don’t worry, I’ll be blogging the other restaurant another time) at Tertulia.
I went with my schmoozy boozy foodie friend to the event, so I figured I’d give myself the night off and let him pick the restaurant (or I had no idea where I was, and didn’t know what restaurants were nearby…or that).
Tertulia it is. The hostess tells us there is a slight wait, but two people are eating dessert so we should be seated shortly.
“So free drinks on the house while we wait?” You can guess that was not me, because I barely have the balls to tell waiters I’m a food blogger.
She smiles and tells us no.
I decide I need water while we wait, because I have already had 3 drinks, and well frankly, there’s not much more I can handle.
We are seated rather fast, and we are handed menus.
Him: “Do you like quail eggs?”
Me: “Blech no”
I lean back against the booth, I give up, he can do it.
“I’ll just wing it.”
The waiter struts over.
“Can I get you two something to drink?”
“Glasses or pitcher?”
It’s late, we might as well order. Off he goes!
“We’ll get the shishito peppers.”
“Do you like prosciutto?”
“Yeah that’s fine.”
Suddenly our waiter looks extremely irritated. “I can come back.”
“No it’s fine he’s winging it.”
Final decision: shishito peppers, prosciutto, squid specialty, and brussel sprouts.
“He hated us.”
We both obviously turn to look at him. I mean who doesn’t look at the person they’re talking smack about..and there this little shit is giggling and loving it up with all the other patrons!
What did we do to him?
Lucky for him we didn’t hate the food, but the prosciutto came with nothing else, and it was just a mountain of meat, which is weird. Offer us a piece of bread.
Well we know our waiter isn’t going to offer, so we ask another waitress about cheese plates, and order that with bread. This meal just got exponentially larger.
The remainder of our meal was spent focusing on our waiter.
“What do you think his name is?”
I guessed something like Walter, I’m not sure. Something absurd.
Turns out his name is Dantrice. I don’t even need to write a funny comment about that, because nothing will do it justice. My waiter’s name is DANTRICE. OF COURSE IT IS.
“He definitely does pilates.”
Visual of our waiter doing zumba is in my brain. Possibly screaming “ay ay ay ay!”
“You have nice eyes. They’re like olive green.”
Yeah that’s me. ROY G BIV.
Dantrince saunters over yet again. Doesn’t even think to ask how our meal was or ask why all the squid was left on the table (because it was blechh). However he does tell us “It’s last call.”
Oof Dantrice all the things I could think to call you. You’re lucky I’m drunk and tired, and embarrassed of how little we tipped you, so I’m not going to say anything. I’m just going to go home.
Pretty right? It was good, but everything is good after 3 drinks. Also, it’s a really bag sign if you serve bad sangria.
Pimientos De Padron: Fried Padrón peppers with lots of sea salt
You either love these or hate these, because every 1 out of 5 is supa dupa hot. Dantrice informed us that a lot of them were spicy right now. I happen to be a big fan!
Most tapas restaurants have brussel sprouts and they’re usually pretty legit. These were yummy. A great side, but they never should be the star of a meal.
Here is our pile of meal. It was tasty, but who eats prosciutto like this? At least tell us first so we can order Pan Con Tomate with it. We fixed the problem though and ordered bread don’t worry.
It looks so pretty, but it was very very chewy and served cold. I don’t know if it was on purpose or Dantrice was too busy zumba-ing in the back and forgot about us.
I am so dumb and didn’t take a picture of my FAVORITE part of the meal, the CHEESE. They described it as a texture like brie, but with more flavors. It was also served with a raisin and nut bread with a gelatin. Looking back I would have been happy with a cheese plate.
5 Napkin Burger [Click the photo above to go to 5 Napkin Burger’s website]
150 East 14th Street (corner of 3rd Avenue)
Being the lamest of the lame, I was really not in the mood to go out the Saturday after Thanksgiving (sometimes it’s nice), but my sister convinced me to go to dinner with her and her friend.
It really went more like:
“I don’t know if I wanna go out.”
“Come with me and Jamie to dinner. It’ll be fun.”
“K, where do you want to go?”
So, now that I was in for dinner, guess who gets to decide where we go? Me.
Having a food blog everyone assumes you always have a restaurant suggestion at the tip of your tongue. (every bar conversation: I have a food blog…what’s the best restaurant in the city? Shut up.) All it means is that I like to eat, and weird things happen to me when I go out to dinner. Anyway, I reached into my magic hat, and I picked out 5 Napkin Burger.
It’s reasonably priced, supposedly good fare, and considered relatively cool.
I still wore heels though and looked like a complete idiot. Everyone was casually dressed, and here I was with a collared necklace, sequin booties, and dark lipstick on (OVERDRESSED, OVERDRESSED, is all I could hear the other patrons saying in their heads).
Being that this was right after Thanksgiving, I decided let’s try the Dukan Diet again. Lets cleanse this body of mine, so I ordered two burger patties with no bun, and no fries as my dish. I love that meat is “cleansing.”
My sister and her friend however decided to split a rainbow roll. Yes, 5 Napkin Burger has both sushi and burgers, and then they each ordered a salad.
I decided to order the side of cabbage and vinegar to start, so I didn’t just watch my sister and her friend eat.
“How’s the sushi roll.”
“It’s ok. It’s like a California roll.”
“Yeah, but is it good?”
“Would you order it again?”
So, it’s supermarket sushi. Got it.
The cabbage salad I kid you not: amazing. I know it’s weird. It’s cabbage, but it’s crunchy and acidic, and I was munching the bejeezus out of it.
Then the mains arrive (come to mama). My burgers (notice the plural) were pretty effing delicious, with caramelized onions and pickles on top (vegetable garnish is allowed on the diet).
My sister got a salad with a burger patty on top so I don’t know, but one can convince themselves that anything is healthy when there’s lettuce. She ordered the dressing on the side, but the dressing was Thousand Island dressing, and she dunked each bite into the dressing, and ordered more. She didn’t say she was on a diet, nor does she want to be.
Her friend (my friend too) got the Asian chicken salad, and as it turns out it is actual chicken salad, not a salad with chicken.
“I wish it wasn’t chicken salad,”so she was pretty disappointed not gonna lie.
Don’t worry we fixed this problem, “we’ll have an espresso brownie sundae please.”
Oh, good-bye diet. I dumped you for ice cream.
Next thing you know my sister is practically making out with the ice cream so I managed a few bites (probably eight).
“Share the sundae!”
“You gotta get in there,” she says as she digs for brownie pieces.
After 2 courses, 2 drinks, and dessert, maybe an hour has passed by, so don’t give yourself to much time if you’re going straight to the bar after.
“This went by so fast!”
“Let’s just go to a bar before we go to the open bar,” my sister’s friend says.
Oh, to be young.
“Yeah, I’m gonna go home,” I say.
Guess I did spend the Saturday night in afterall.
Vinegar Slaw: now I know this look sort of meh, and it’s just a side, but it was sooo good!! It’s a great side dish to get to avoid fries or mac N cheese.
Rainbow Roll: It looks nice right? Don’t be fooled by the colorful row of fish and avocado. The rolls are thick with rice, and the sushi is not bad per say, but it’s not the freshest and best in town.
Burger Patties: I swear, they were delicious, and filling, and they didn’t overcharge for ordering two patties. Who knew the bun would increase the cost so much, because you know I’d have to pay full price for two burgers??
Burger Salad: beef, , endive, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, green beans, red onion, radishes, celery, blue cheese, pickled onions, red wine vinaigrette & 5n sauce.
5n sauce is Thousand Island dressing,and my sister loved every bite of this. It’s like a deconstructed Big Mac, so I don’t think of this salad as wimpy.
Asian Chicken Salad: napa cabbage, watercress, romaine, cucumbers, celery, apples, onions, scallions, peanuts, radish sprouts, creamy sesame – soy dressing & ginger vinaigrette.
Somebody show me where in that description they tell you it’s “chicken salad” and not grilled chicken. With exception to that crucial error in the menu, my sister’s friend seemed to like it, and was able to look past the chicken incident.
Espresso Brownie Sundae with 3 spoons
Do I think the brownie was homemade? No. Do I care? No. It’s a friggen sundae. Look at those nuts sprinkled on top, and whipped cream is my favorite. It’s not exactly breaking the mold in the dessert department, but I don’t think someone goes to 5 Napkin Burger for something innovative.
Miss Lily’s [click the photo above to go to Miss Lily’s website]
132 West Houston Street (corner of Sullivan street) New York, NY 10012
I finally made plans with an old (Is it old, or was college yesterday? I don’t know) college friend for dinner. She told me I had to try Miss Lily’s, and since the food description was Caribbean, and not my usual, I was all for it.
I decided I’m a grown ass woman (eh), and I need to learn how to take the subway. You don’t even know. I managed to take the appropriate subway downtown, but once I got off, oh my dear Lord. Google maps: what are you? I don’t even bother using the navigation, because I need to see the whole area, one street at a time, I don’t think so. Maybe there’s a way to change this, but I don’t know how, and I’m already panic’d by my sheer confusion of where I am: I cannot handle technical things.
And the Lower East side, South village, whatever you are? Why do you have names? Are those cooler than numbers? I didn’t get the memo, but you’re hard to figure out. You’re not alphabetized; you’re random words: Mac Dougal? That’s not even a real word. That’s Trey’s last name.
Needless to say I went the complete wrong way, and my friend called me twice, very concerned as to what happened to me.
“Hil, are you lost?”
“I’m lost, but I am using my google maps, so I need to hang up so I can read them.”
I was approximately 20 minutes late. I’m trying to grow up. I didn’t say I was succeeding at it.
When I finally walk in, I hear my friend and the male host go, “here she is!”
Here I am.
My jacket is already half off (I get hot when I’m stressed), we sit down, sangria is ordered, and I feel better. My friend is very accommodating, which is nice, but I need help ordering.
Mandatory dish we need to order: Jerk chicken.
“Should we share it?”
“Or will it not fill us?”
“I don’t know. Last time I ordered the wrap, not the chicken.”
“Do you think we should get more appeteizers, or one appetizer and two entrees?”
“You need to try the chicken though.”
It’s so hard! I need to figure out the proper ordering amount. That fear of under ordering is always in the back of my mind.
Our decision is 3 appetizers, and the jerk chicken. What are the appetizers you may ask? I’ll tell you. It is a food blog, but whatever.
Jerk grilled corn, cod fish fritters, and grilled pork ribs.
Words really cannot describe the deliciousness of the corn. It was like dessert on the cob. I don’t know why coconut crushed it, but it did.
The cod fritters: fried balls. Done. Cream dipping sauce. Pretend like you don’t like it because it’s filled with fat, I don’t believe you.
The grilled pork ribs: I looked like an animal. How does one eat ribs like a lady? Oh, wait you don’t. You get drunk with your friend and eat them on a Thursday night.
“We’ll have another round of sangria please.”
Our waiter was a nice young man, and I’m pretty sure my friend and I were competing to see which one he’d like better, secretly, and for no reason. But whatever, we’re nice to the wait staff. There are worse things to compete over.
We scan the crowd with our sangria in hand, and notice there are a ton of dudes in suits.
“Why are there so many guys here? In suit? I didn’t realize this was an after work place.”
“Either did I. It’s weird. There’s a discoball on the ceiling.”
It truly made no sense to me. I didn’t know guys ate Caribbean food after work with their beer. Ok.
Jerk chicken arrives. Totally enough for two people to split, and spicy, and fabbb! I always feel weird giving chicken high marks (it’s chicken), but it was goooooood!
I get up to use the Ladies room and run into a white guy with long dreads who lets me cut him on line. This is more like it.
I return as our dessert is being placed on the table. Coconut Cake. Coconut on coconut on coconut: so good. Light and fluffy cake.
“Should I take the subway home?”
“I’ll take the subway with you so you don’t get lost.”
Jerk Grilled Corn with toasted coconut. Unreal to the max. Who knew shredded coconut could taste so yummy with corn (I guess people from the Caribbean)? I also love that it’s a little burnt.
Cod Fish Fritters with Curry Dipping Sauce
Just enough to have a bite, and not feel that bad about it (if you split it). Eat it alone and you’ll feel like a greaseball. It’s not the best dish to order, but it’s a good addition.
Look at those suckers! They are pretty effing delicious Those peppers on top? SPICY. I like spicy, but if you don’t, stay far farrrrrrr away.
Jerk Chicken: slow cooked and grilled, marinated cucumber salad
Look at that drumstick calling my name. The cucumbers help calm down whatever spice is causing your mouth to burn. It’s a generous portion, and very yummy in the tummy.
Bowl of Rice
They warned us that it was spicy, but I’m just going to give you an additional warning: it’s spicy.
Here we are after the completion of our meal: happy, a little drunk, and full.
Commerce [Click the photo above to go to Commerce’s website]
80 Commerce Street New York, NY 10014
Stupid sandy has really affected my blogging and eating. If it wasn’t Ritz crackers it was Tate’s chocolate chip cookies, and if it wasn’t a snack it was mac ‘n cheese for dinner. People are suffering, but my biggest complaint was my nutritional sustenance (and no power for 5 days). So this is my version of an apology for anyone who has missed my amahzing blog posts!
So to kick off my return to GirlyFoodie I give you a delicious restaurant I got to try: Commerce.
I went with my friend after not seeing her for weeks, possibly months, on end. I was starting to feel like a nagging girlfriend: why didn’t you call me back? Why don’t you call me ever? Work is not an excuse…you get the idea.
You would think she would pay for me with the way this was going, but that is not how it went down.
She lives in midtown so she scooped me up in a cab going all the way to the West Village. It seems that after Sandy all I see are cabs with a final of of $15 and up (mother effing traffic) so I was not surprised to see this sucker ring up at $20.00 as we turned on to the quaint little street of Commerce.
We arrive, and I’m already patting myself on the back for this restaurant pick. It has warm lighting, it’s crowded but not overcrowded, and it’s a mix of young and old, and I was able to squeeze into a spot at the bar, while we waited for our table.
“I’m so excited to try this place. I heard the bread basket alone is amazing.”
“I was hoping to skip the bread basket, but I guess not now.”
“What do you want to drink?”
“I think I want Rose.”
I then see the bartender pour a woman a glass of red wine and hear her say, “this one is my favorite.” I have no mind of my own.
“I’ll get that.”
A few minutes after we pay for our drinks we are seated.
“I think I want to get the red snapper.”
“I hate you. I wanted that. I’ll get something else if we can each have a bite.”
“Of course.” Thank God!
I go for the lamb meatballs with creamy polenta. It’s cold out, and I love polenta. I think it’s got the comfort food vibe.
I haven’t dined with my friend in a while (we usually order in sushi, drink wine, and then get too tired to go out, yes we do sound like we’re dating), and I am unsure what else she wants, but I don’t do just entrees…you crazy?
I offer for us to share an appetizer, but not some crap salad. I want something wild. The waitress has recommended the Hamachi, but the last thing I want is raw fish.
“How about the sweet potato tortelloni?”
“And maybe a side to share?”
“The waitress recommended the broccoli.”
Great! 1 app, 2 entrees, and a side..and dessert.
My friend is rocking a full blown sock bun, that I still have yet to perfect.
“I like the bun. You look dressed up.”
“It’s not. It’s just that I’m lazy.”
“It looks nice and big. When I do a bun it’s small and weird.”
“I YouTube’d how to roll my hair with the sock. I like your hair”
“I learned how to curl it with a straightening iron on YouTube.”
As the conversation of hair could go on forever we are distracted by the plates being passed around. The table next to us was seated ahead of us so we keep watching each platter get served next to us.
There was a point where my friend’s face was actually in our neighbor’s plate as she tried to smell the dish as it passed our table (to be fair we were seated very close).
The bread basket arrives, and it’s so pretty and warm and amazing. I start snapping photos of the bread, the butter, the pasta (very low carb meal to begin), and I see a group of older diners sitting at a round table nearby staring at me like I’m an alien.
I’m a little drunk (I ordered a second glass), so I figure I’m probably imagining this.
The main dishes arrive, and I really can’t begin to describe how delicious it was. I look at my friend and she’s not really digging into her fish.
“What’s happening here? I look crazy compared to you.”
“My stomach hurts.”
“Move past the pain. Let’s go.”
But instead I just continue to eat her meal, while she reluctantly puts her fork down in agony.
It’s time for dessert!
We have been watching the waiters carry out plates on plates of the coconut cake, so I mean let’s do it right? I get that with some tea, but sicky says she’ll never go to sleep with the tea, so she’s out.
As I’m snapping my final photographs of the cake, a lady at the round table musters up enough courage to turn around and go, “Excuse me, but why are you taking pictures of the food?”
“Oh, I’m a food blogger!” I reply.
The whole table erupts, “OHHH SHE’S A FOOD BLOGGER!”
Commerce (bread basket & butter)
Look at that bread all bundled up in that napkin. Each piece of bread was delightful, and yes I had a bite of each. There was one loaf of bread that had pancetta in the center when you bit into it. You had me at pancetta.
Commerce (Roasted sweet potato tortelloni with hazelnuts, pomgrante & buerre noisette)
I don’t know what buerre noisette is, so I’ll just say that outright.
This dish was a. beautiful b. interesting flavor combiniations
The sweet potato made the dish sweet, but then there was a tart flavor in the sauce. I would say that it was a very thoughtful dish.
[Please click on picture to see full photograph. Tumblr is not working properly at the moment]
Commerce (Veal meatballs with creamy polenta, creamy polenta 7 charred mushrooms)
Fab dish! If you’re ever in a bad mood and want to eat your feelings, order this. You can convince yourself it’s healthier than ordering the spaghetti carbonara.
[Please click on picture to see full photograph. Tumblr is not working properly at the moment]
Commerce (Red snapper with eggplant & bok choy in a Thai inspired herb broth)
One word: UNREAL. I could have eaten the broth alone, the fish alone, I would eat any and every single part of this dish. I can’t remember the last time I had an outstanding fish dish. Well, now I can.
Commerce (coconut cake)
Delicious way to end the meal. It tasted a bit like pound cake with coconut mixed in. Did I make it sound good? Because it was!
Beyond Sushi [Click the photo above to go to Beyond Sushi’s website]
229 East 14th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue) New York, 10003
After attempting to get back on track with the gym, I figured I could try on and stay on track with food as well…I could try.
I decided to try this vegan/vegetarian sushi joint in Gramercy with my cousin. The restaurant is supa dupa small, so we figured we’d pick it up, along with some Trader Joe wine (around the corner!) and watch the Presidential Debate/Yankee game (I mean pay partial attention).
We were supposed to meet at 8, but my stomach felt that 8 was too late after the gym, and I was ready at 7:30, so I called to say I was on my way downtown and I’d meet her at the restaurant.
I brought my water bottle in the hope it would curb my appetite while we waited…eh.
I arrived first and decided to just stand on line instead of waiting outside for my cousin to arrive. Even though there is minimial seating, there is still seating, so while I waited on line to order, I watched these colorful vegetable sushi rolls get gobbled up two feet away from me. It was absolute torture.
The restaurant has pictures of the sushi rolls on the wall, and I’m pretty sure a group of diners thought I was grilling them when I was really just hardcorely staring at a piece of avocado sushi above their heads.
“We should probably get up so other people can sit,” I hear them say as they made awkward side glances at me.
This is so embarrassing. I wanted to scream, “don’t do it for me! I’m getting it to go! I’m just very hungry, and staring at sushi above your head,” but instead I buried my face into my scarf, and awkwardly turned around pretending to examine the beverages, “I’ve never seen lemonade before, what’s this?”
My cousin arrives, and we have to decide on rolls. However, she tends to ramble a bit, so we didn’t get right down to business.
“I just came from Trader Joe’s…You like rose right? I remember us drinking that last time. I was going to get this other wine that I loved, and I thought it was such a find, but when I went to get it, it was sold out, so it turns out other people like it too, so I got this one instead. I hope you like it….” I love her, but I mean you could give me grape juice and call it wine.
Rolls come in sets of 8, and even though this is common, whenever sushi comes with more than 6 pieces, I feel like I won the lottery, JACKPOTTTT!
“Should we get 2 or 3?”
“I’m so hungry!”
“I want one of these lettuce wraps. Those look good.”
“Me too, definitely one of those.”
“We could get 3 rolls and not finish them.”
“We’ll probably finish them if we get them.”
“Let’s just do it. It’s healthy anyway.”
Final decision: 3 rolls, and a lettuce wrap.
It’s our turn at the counter. They also make the sushi in front of you, so it was just a closer view of the food when we got up there.
“We will have the nutty buddy, spicy mango roll, the pickle me roll, and the green machine.”
The cashier says the green machine isn’t his favorite. Oh dear God no! Did we pick the wrong roll??
We switch out the green machine for the roll of the month, the October roll (very creative).
Waiting for the rolls were momentary torture. I heavily considered purchasing a bag of chips while we waited, but I didn’t, mostly because my cousin wasn’t into the idea, and I only wanted to do it if we were on the same page about it.
The to-go bag is placed in our hands and I’m practically racing to her apartment. As we’re maybe 20 feet from her apartment a biker almost gets run over by a cabdriver.
He starts punching the front of the cab, “hey watch where you’re going! Asshole!”
The cabdriver then pulls over, and they start screaming in each other’s faces.
I want nothing to do with this, this is just something else standing in the way of food going in my mouth. As I start walking I realize my cousin is riveted, and just staring.
I am so evil.
We get to the apartment and I begin unloading our food as fast as possible so I can take the pictures before we chow down. My cousin was attempting to make some brussel sprout dish before she met me, so I hear her scream something about how she’s gonna chop up some shallots and refrigerate the wine…blah blah blah. Food’s in front of me…
She walks back into the living room, and I have already divided our food up like a psycho into different containers.
“Here are yours. Here are mine.”
“Do you mind if I put the tv on?” Do people sit in a living room without the tv on? This is a foreign concept to me. I truly have no idea what she is talking about.
“Why wouldn’t you put the tv on?”
Debate is put on, after we peruse the channels, RHONJ reunion is on again. I’ve seen it a 100 times, and every time I’m riveted. I can’t stop watching.
“I don’t watch,” my cousin informs me, “but we can still watch if you want.”
The answer is yes, yes I do. I want to see Teresa point and scream. I want to stare at Melissa’s face and figure what work exactly she has gotten done, and wonder why Caroline’s cheeks sag the way they do. Yes, yes, please watch.
“Ok, maybe we’ll watch if there isn’t anything else on!”
My cousin sporadically (I hope not sporadically!) gets up to check the brussel sprouts and wine, while I try to slow my pace down on the rolls, which were amazing. I can hear her screaming from the kitchen.
“Did I tell you how I got this truffle olive oil in Croatia.”
“Yeah! You told me already!”
“Well, I wanted to get more of it…Here are the shelves I want to put up in the kitchen, because I don’t have room for anything, but we haven’t put them up yet. I hate the way it looks right now. I don’t have room.”
Straining to hear her I see a fish tank in the corner of her apartment.
“Hey, do you have fish?”
“It’s actually a frog. His name is Jerry, he’s very friendly. We originally had two but the other one just died. We’re not sure if Jerry killed him.”
The Nutty Buddy lettuce wrap was a little miracle wrapped in lettuce. “This is so good! Do you want some of the sauce.” The sauces come on the side in little tubes, which look a little medical. I’d say it’s the ugliest thing about this restaurant. It’s weird. It has no top, and just a little hole at the top where it squirts out. I am also 13 years old and see how that sentence might sound dirty, but it’s what it looks like.
My favorite roll was the pickled roll with avocado on top. One of the rolls came with a sauce that looked identical to spicy mayo, which was really toasted cayenne sauce. It doesn’t even taste like spicy mayo, and is way healthier, but it feels like a splurge, so you trick your body into thinking you’re not depriving yourself. I sort of fell for it.
We finish the food, and I’m sipping on my wine on the couch. “I sort of want frozen yogurt.”
“Should we get some? I don’t need it, but I’m not opposed to it.”
“No, I shouldn’t. I’ve been getting 16 Handles a lot lately.”
“You could get it on the way home.”
The thought of not going straight home so I could sit alone in my apartment and eat frozen yogurt sounds so sad, “No, I’m good.”
“What channel is the Yankee game on?” I did wear my Yankee shirt, Granderson, and turned it on just in time to watch him pop a ball right up in the air, while at bat. That was stupid. [Sports reference completed for the blog]
My cousin’s husband walks in just as her brussel sprout dish is completed. What timing!
“Did you bring dessert?” I ask.
“Hummus.” Ugh, he’s Israeli. Shut up.
As I get up to try some brussel sprouts my cousin starts showing me where her shelves are going to go, and shows me how she painted her entire fridge to act as a 6 foot chalkboard.
“But doesn’t it get dusty with food?”
“I don’t know, but it was so ugly before.”
“Look, I meant to write tomatoes, but I got distracted and wrote potatoes.”
Whatever, I’m doodling on your refrigerator.
“Ok! I think I need to go home.”
“Ok! Write something nice about tonight!” Ok.
Beyond Sushi (interior)
Since the restaurant is so small, I just wanted to give everyone an idea of why I didn’t eat there.
Beyond Sushi (Nutty Buddy: 8 Inch Wrap Buckwheat noodles, crushed peanuts, cilantro, jalapeño peanut butter, avocado, sesame oil, carrots, baked tofu and romaine. Served with Sweet Soy Mirin Sauce)
Look at that deliciousness! It was the first item of food I took a bite out of it, and it was hard for me to let go of it. They give you the soy sauce on the side so I continued to dab the wrap with it after I took a bite.
Octoberroll (top): 8 Pieces Black Rice, Roasted Kabocha Squash, Avocado & Baby Arugula, Charred Carrot, Mint & Lemon Zest Topping (Charred LIVE). Topped with Roasted Harissa- Pumpkin Seed Purée.
Spicy Mango roll (bottom): 8 pieces Black Rice – Avocado – Mango – Cucumber – Spicy Veggie. Served with Toasted Cayenne Sauce.)
They were both great! The Spicy mango sort of looks like tuna for some weird reason. I’m also immune to spicy foods so I didn’t think it was that spicy.
Beyond Sushi (Pickle Me: 8 pieces Six Grain Rice – Gobo – Carrot – Pickled Daikon – Avocado. Served withCarrot Ginger Sauce)
I loved it! The pickled veggies were crunchy and salty, and the avocado was sweet and creamy. So good!
My cousin’s awesome chalkboard fridge. This is what I did when I finished all my food, the debate got boring, and the Yankees sucked ass.
Please note that it says potato/tomato and also looks like the Paragraph symbol when editing papers.
Taureau [Click the photo above to go to Taureau’s website]
558 Broome St (between Varick & 6th Avenue) New York, NY 10009
It is now autumn in New York City, which means it’s back to going out to big group dinners and then attending 4 Facebook birthday events in the two days that make up the weeknd, and I obviously did just that!
I set up dinner with my gal pals at Taureau in Soho for Friday night. What is Taureau you might ask? It is a byob fondue restaurant with a prefix menu of 3 courses of fondue: cheese, oil, and chocolate.
You dip bread and vegetables in the cheese, meat in the oil, and fruit & bacon (yes bacon!) in the chocolate. There is a stove in the center of the tables where they place the fondue bowls, so they remain heated throughout your meal. Quite an idea!
Just to get more specific for you, if you’re bored, just skip this information:
First course, you pick a cheese, and then any number of vegetables you would like to dip in the cheese.
Second course, you pick a type of oil (some are more fattening than others), and each person picks a meat they would like to order with the oil: could be chicken, filet, bacon, pork etc.
Third course, you pick a type of chocolate, and the fruit & marshmallows etc are standard.
Each table of two has a burner, so that means 2 people to 1 pot. So, if you go to dinner with 1 other person, then you share one burner. If you go with a party of 4, then there are 2 burners, party of 6 is 3 burners, you get it, you’re not dumb. So this means that since I went with a total of 6 people, we ordered 3 different combinations for all 3 courses…it was a lot of food!
I have been here multiple times, but I have yet to blog about it, because it’s hard to get a cute snapshot of a tub of cheese. However, despite the lack of aesthetic beauty, a tub of cheese is delicious, and I always get drunk from the bottle of wine I bring for myself, so basically it’s an amazing place.
I arrive second, and see my friend standing outside on the phone giving directions to our other friend. I then hear, “Nancy is here I gotta go.” For the record, my name is not Nancy, she just likes to call me that.
I decided right away that I wanted the cheese flavored with truffles (who wouldn’t?) for my first course, so we ordered the Perigord (parmesan, white American cheese, with truffle mushrooms and truffle oil) and I didn’t really care what everyone else picked.
However for your benefit they ordered:
Pyreneese: swiss with whine wine, garlic & nutmeg
Cheddar Monterey: tangy & milk, cheddar Monterey.
So boring right, well it took like 20 minutes for everyone to figure this out, and then pick the cheeses and vegetables.
“Do you like squash?”
“I like broccoli.”
“I don’t like broccoli.”
“I don’t eat squash.”
“I love asparagus.”
“I like potatoes.”
“What did we order last time?”
“Did we like that?”
Final decision: broccoli, white asparagus, and potatoes.
“Where is the bathroom?”
“Do I look like I work here?”
“You do work here.”
“I think it’s over there where the sink is.”
One second later…
“You’re already back?”
“I just wanted to wash my hands.”
2nd course! I got chicken, my fondue partner got hangar steak, so we just shared, and we ordered vegetable oil.
The other table got vegetable oil as well, and they both ordered steak.
Then there was the other table, the vegetarian table. What is this weirdo gonna do if she can’t eat meat? Don’t worry! Taureau offers a second cheese course as a substitute that includes an order of 4 vegetables as opposed to meat.
So they ordered the alpine (gorgonzola and swiss blend with hazelnut notes), and we took this as an opportunity to pick different vegetables we haven’t ordered yet, two of them being the squash and cauliflower, and the other being miniature pickles.
“If you could only eat one vegetable for the rest of your life what would it be?”
“Tomatoes. Are tomatoes a vegetable?”
“No, they have seeds.”
I picked onions, because there are so many different kinds and you can cook them. I’ll smell but I’ll be happy inside.
I also asked, “is garlic a vegetable?” Do you think it’s a dumb question? Because no one had the answer.
It is a vegetable, and is part of the onion family. Score, even smellier.
“I love asparagus. Asparagus.”
“Your pee is going to smell all the time.”
Dessert time! This was easy we ordered: one dark chocolate, one milk chocolate, and one white chocolate!
I was the only one wanted to eat the bacon dipped in chocolate (you’re all so dumb!) so they put 3 trays of bacon in front of me.
“I said I liked it, it doesn’t mean I want to eat all of it!” as I dip a chunk in the dark chocolate.
“Is anyone else sweating?”
“Yes, is it hot in here or is it the alcohol?”
Check comes…someone didn’t get the memo that this place is cash/Amex only, so she didn’t bring enough cash. I’m not spotting her, that’s for sure. Off she goes to an ATM and one of the nice girls offers to go with her.
“What are we doing later?”
“Who are you texting?”
“We have to split up in 2 cabs.”
“I don’t understand if we should meet them now, or they’re leaving. Help me write this text.”
“No, I don’t like that. I’ll write this.”
It’s freezing out! “Nancy let’s go!”
Taureau (First course: 3 cheese, broccoli, white asparagus and potatoes)
The best course of course (see what I did there). It’s fricken cheese! Obviously the truffle’d cheese was by far the best one! It’s the close up pot with the whitish coloring.
The yellow is the Cheddar Monterey. I don’t recommend that one.
Taureau (2nd course: vegetarian option with squash, cauliflower and pickles)
Here is the vegetarian dish. Yes we got miniature pickles. Sort of weird to dip in cheese, but whatevs, we were running out of vegetables. It was a limited menu of produce!
Taureau (2nd course: vegetable oil and meats)
Both tables got vegetable oil, because it is one of the healthier options. It takes about 30 seconds to cook the meat, they say. I personally kept taking my skewer out of the pot, and either awkwardly bit into the chicken/steak or tried to cut a piece off to see if it was still raw. It’s not an easy game to play.
This course also comes with an assortment of sauces for dipping as you can see. It’s fun to try all of them!
Taureau (3rd course: fruit platter)
Here is the final course! By the time this rolled around I could barely look at food, but bacon is a fun addition! Can you see my friend’s little finger blocking the plate? She is blocking the strawberry cake, although she claims she was “pointing” to it.
Taureau (third course: white chocolate, milk chocolate, [dark chocolate not pictured])
Here is the beautiful dessert fondue! Dark and milk looked the same, and I was getting sick of taking pics. The white chocolate is not heated. It’s the only fondue dish served cold, crazy!
Here we are! I asked our amazing waiter to take the picture for us. Also please look around and notice how no one is sitting near us. We were the last people to leave the restaurant!