Brisket bulgogi sliders; hwe dup-bop (spicy hamachi salad over sushi rice)
Korean tapas? I had no idea what that meant, but I couldn’t wait to find out at Danji, a newish 36-seat restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. FYI, Korean tapas turn out to be absolutely delicious, so delish that I can’t decide which dish was my favorite. I’m obsessed with this whole place, from the spoon door handles, to the modern decor, to the little table drawers that hold the menus. If you like vibrant food at affordable prices, served in a stylish, discreet location, you will love Danji. Can’t wait to return, although not ordering what I had last time will be a challenge.
Mooncake is my new favorite restaurant in my work neighborhood. The cafe is bright and minimalist, the prices are cheap, and the Asian comfort food is delicious. It’s all made from scratch and is as healthy as possible; there are no woks, fryers, or microwaves in the restaurant—a true feat for a diner. Lucky for me, there’s also a Mooncake in my Soho neighborhood, and one in Chelsea.
From top: Pulled pork sandwich with curry lime BBQ sauce, seared tuna and arugula salad with soy lime vinaigrette, spicy roasted pine nut hoisin fish tacos.
**This post is dedicated to Miss Meggie, who first introduced me to the amazingness that is Mooncake.
Thai cravings are THE WORST! They always hit out of nowhere, and once you have ‘em there’s no turning back. Chai is right around the corner from my office and has a sweet lunch special: $7 for appetizer and entree. It’s not the best Thai in the world (where’s the spice??!), but at that price I’ll take it. Plus the modern Asian decor is a nice departure from the typical kitschy or bland Thai restaurant ambiance.
I’m now realizing I haven’t found much awesome Thai in this city. I love Lovely Day Cafe in NoLita, but that’s almost more eclectic than Thai. It sure doesn’t beat True Thai in Minneapolis, my ultimate favorite.
Have any recommendations for me?
New York’s trendy restaurant scene is a lot of fun, but this year I’m making an effort to try as many authentic ethnic restaurants as I can. I’ve lived on the cusp of Chinatown for almost two years now and feel pathetic that I’ve not taken proper advantage.
Thursday nite I was invited along to XO Cafe for hot pot, the Chinese version of fondue. Luckily I was with a cast of characters who knew what they were doing, so I sat back, sipped my almond bubble tea, and enjoyed hot pot without any worries.
Hot pot starts with a pot of spicy broth boiling in the center of the table. You order all the ingredients you want; we did tofu, chicken, beef, scallops, clams, dumplings, and a wide array of veggies. Some participants ordered tripe, or cow intestines. I definitely was not ready to try that.
The contents come to the table raw. You throw whatever you want into the pot, let it cook, then fish it out to enjoy.
It was a feast for the ages.
Although so far on my cultural culinary trail I would say I enjoyed my dim sum brunch a wee bit more, this was a unique experience and I would definitely return. The $24 all-you-can-eat hot pot includes beverages, appetizers (like the pan fried dumplings, below), and dessert.
On Sunday I finally accomplished my dream of having dim sum. Although we didn’t go to the most authentic of places (no food carts, BOO!), the food at Red Egg was outstanding. And we got to write down our orders on little score cards with mini pencils. I felt like I was mini golfing!
Besides all that, this seemingly unlimited amount of delicious food came to just $12 a person. My New Years Food Resolution is to try every dim sum place in New York. Once a week baby, once a week. Who’s with me?!
Here’s a smattering of tasty treats we enjoyed:
Vegetarian Spring Rolls
Shanghai Bun. Can’t remember exactly how this tasted, except that it was delicious.
Roast Pork Bun. If you know me, this is not something I would normally eat, but I didn’t feel like I would really experience dim sum without it. Thank God. This was the best thing ever.
Sweet Sesame Ball for dessert.