By Ari Moskowitz
After reading Alan Sytsma's article Grub Street's Restaurant Power Rankings: Modern Vientnamese, Del Posto's New Chef, and Ever-More Dumplings, I was inspired to share my top 3 highlights from this week.
He admits his criteria are vague and subjective (he mostly harps on which restaurants have the most "Buzz" that week), but overall I trust his assessment. Formerly a writer for Food Network Magazine and Gourmet, he has been writing for New York Magazine's Grub Street since 2010 and is unquestionably in "the know" of New York City's food world.
Executive Chef John Nguyen knows what he's doing even if no one else really does. His modern take on Vietnamese food in this East Village establishment feature classic staples like pho and wild creations like coconut grilled octopus and spicy frog legs.
Chris Crowley for New York Magazine affirms the wildness of Nguyen's style when he writes,"While there’s phô in the Hanoi style, there’s also rice porridge with roasted Manila clams, a pomelo and shrimp salad with roasted cashews, and the root vegetable curry known as cà ri chay."
75 different Mezcals and scratch-made Mexican cuisine is a recipe for perfection and that's what you find here at Madre Mezcaleria. Most people know Chef Denisse Lina Chavez for her older restaurant, El Atoradero, but this joint is making equally great food and has a deeper bar to boast.
Alan Sytsma describes Lalo as "Gerardo Gonzaliz's Cali-Mexico-Chinatown mash-up," which is perfectly ambiguous to characterize this restaurant that has a "Mex-American core seasoned with accents from Japan, the Middle East, and even the Ashkenazi-Jewish tradition." Their full liquor license allows for a wholistic dinning experience and exceptional cocktail pairing.
Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite at New York Magazine write, "The menu caters to variously sized appetites (and parties) with dishes that range from a nearly four-ounce dry-aged strip 'baby steak' to corn-nut-strewn carnitas portioned for 'single,' 'lovers,' and 'familia.' The chef hopes to escape the tyranny of traditional dining with a mix-and-match, choose-your-own-adventure format."