Thursday, November 23, 2006

Week in Review

You know how marathon runners train the week before the race? Well, I don't, really, but I assume they do something of the sort. Anyways, this week was the week before Thanksgiving. Like any good fat kid, I did as much eating as humanly possible in order to prepare myself for the big day. Here are some highlights.

I think shopping at Uniqlo whet our appetites for the finer things in life - after a show at the Knitting Factory, Trent and I were feeling particularly fancy and came here to eat. We found it about two blocks north.

This is what it looks like inside.

All high ceilings, wine barrels in the wall, loft-like Tribeca feel, with an open kitchen. It made me feel like I was in a restaurant in the French Alps.

Tribeca bread.

Or rather, what was left of it after about 2 minutes. I was really hungry.

What I ate:

Sauteed squid, potatoes, tomatoes, and olives. the combinations of textures, flavors, and colors made this a really intense, but delectable, appetizer. The squid was perfectly tender and just the right amount of chewy (which is not a lot, but with a healthy amount of elasticity)

You can see Trent's vegan pasta with tomato sauce in the background. Boring, but still pretty good.

Since my meal was an appetizer and we didnt' get drinks, I think our meal only came out to $40 or so. Not bad for a really decent place.
Food: 8.5 Service: 8 Atmosphere: 8.5 Value: 6 Overall: 8

I've been coming to this sushi joint for about ten years now, and this was the first time I've been there when there wasn't a line. I think that was an indication, because I found this experience to be both sup-bar and overpriced, which is truly sad for what was once my favorite Japanese restaurant in the city.

Toro Nakitori (around $9)

This is cooked toro ina sweet sauce. It was really tender, and the flavor was quite nice. However, I found it to be a too heavy, especially eaten as an appetizer.

Sashimi Regular (around $27)

The sashimi, which is really what makes Tomoe stand out, did not let me down. It is still amazingly fresh and well-cut into the biggest sashimi pieces I have ever seen.

It's a great deal - so much sashimi that even I couldn't eat it all. It's so beautiful.

What made the experience subpar was really owed to the uni handrolls, which were shameful. The uni was too mushy and had a bit of an aftertaste - not fresh. Plus they were $8.50 each. I was so sad I couldn't even take their portrait. The ones I had been eating all week at Marumi (on LaGuardia between Bleeker and W. 3rd), which were only around $5 each, were much better.

Food: 6.5 Service: 7.5 Atmosphere: 6.5 Value: 5 Overall: 6

2nd installation of the Chinatown food blog: This is another random place my mother and I stumbled into tonight. We'd never been there before, but decided to go because it was raining, I was starving, and it was right next to the parking garage. All excellent criteria for choosing a Chinese restaurant. 81 Chrystie Street.

This was a Cantonese place, which, in Chinatown, is really hard to go wrong in since the Cantonese are more obsessed with food than any other Chinese (as the saying goes, they'll eat everything with legs except the table, and anything that flies except the airplane). Actually the same can be said for most restaurants in Chinatown since they are primarily catered towards Chinese people and not "westerners." But the caveat here is that you have to know how to order. That is why, Jeffrey Max, you are wrong, wrong, wrong.

Pork lo-mein, Hong Kong style ($6.95)

There are infinite varieties of lo-mein, and each restaurant does it differently. This is not what we were expecting, but it was very good. The noodles were thin but bouncy, the bean sprouts added a pleasant crispy element, and the flavor was just right.

Fried Japanese tofu with assorted mushroom (regularly $12.95 but part of the weekly special, so $6.95)

A great choice for vegans and those who love mushrooms of all kinds. There were four, to be exact.

T-bone steak with black pepper (also a special - normally $16.95, but $10.95)

Cooked just right so that the meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender,and NOT well-done, which is a sin. The sauce was typical Cantonese - thick, soy, and robustly flavorful. It worked very nicely.


Cantonese restaurants usually provide complimentary "sugar water" for dessert, and soup to start. We didn't get a soup, but settled for the "sugar water" (this one was sweet red bean soup with an orange zest) and the honeydew.

This was one of those Chinese restaurants that I had an immediate prejudice against because they sold sushi. Of course we didn't order any of that nonsense, and the dishes we did order were quite satisfactory for what we were looking for - quick, filling, and delicious. Oh and cheap.

Food: 8 Service: 6 Atmosphere: 6 Value: 8 Overall: 7.5

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