With our bellies full of chicken livers and smoked meat, The Astronomer, my sis-in-law Sonia, and I strolled over to Dominique Ansel Bakery for one final sugar rush.
Chef Dominique Ansel opened his eponymous bakery at the end of last year after toiling at Daniel for six years and at Fauchon in Paris before that. Even though the shop has been open for only a short while, there’s already buzz that it’s the best bakery in town. Hype in these here parts can be intense.
I had my sights set on the “Perfect Little Egg Sandwich” ($5) this afternoon, but unfortunately it is only available before noon on weekdays. I quickly switched gears and perused the pristine pastries on hand.
In addition to croissants, ice creams, sorbets, and sandwiches, the bakery offers an array of jaw-droppingly beautiful tarts and cakes. Each one was assembled with precision and was far too fetching to eat, really.
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Before boarding our flight home to Los Angeles, The Astronomer and I lunched at Mile End Sandwich to get a taste of Noah Bernamoff and Rae Cohen’s Montreal-style Jewish comfort food. The couple, he a Montrealer and she a New Yorker, opened the original Mile End Delicatessen in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn in 2010.
This tidy storefront north of Houston serves an abbreviated menu with over a dozen different sandwiches, seasonal salads, and poutine on offer. We placed our order at the counter and the food was delivered to the table as soon as it was ready.
Mile End, by the way, is the name of Montreal’s historically working-class Jewish quarter.
The “Hot Pastrami Sandwich” ($12), hand-cut Montreal smoked meat served on Orwasher’s rye, could not have looked any more enticing.
The adorably portioned sandwich was stacked tall with thick, tender, beautifully seasoned slices of smoked meat. A touch of mustard kept the protein’s richness in check, bringing balance to the entire creation.
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If you consume food and restaurant news with any regularity, then you’ve probably encountered the phrase “new Nordic movement” a dozen times over the past few years. The “movement,” which is most famously rooted in Copenhagen at Chef René Redzepi’s Noma, has made its way to the burgeoning borough of Brooklyn where Aska’s Chef Fredrik Berselius is leading the charge.
It is earthy and refined, ancient and modern, both playful and deeply serious. Instead of the new (techniques, stabilizers, ingredients), it emphasizes the old (drying, smoking, pickling, curing) with a larger goal of returning balance to the earth itself. – Julia Moskin, New York Times
For our final dinner in the big city, The Astronomer and I joined my brother and his friends at this modern Scandinavian restaurant. Located within Kinfolk Studios in Williamsburg, Aska is a pop-up of sorts serving dinner seven days a week and offering a reservations-only 6-course tasting menu ($65) Sunday through Thursday. Previously, Chef Berselius spent time in the kitchens of Corton, Seäsonal, and Freja, a similarly spirited pop-up.
Aska, by the way, is Swedish for “growth from the ashes,” according to the restaurant’s website.
Dinner began with bread service. This evening’s selection consisted of thin and crisp crackers served with a mild and creamy spread.
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Our final full day in New York was dedicated to exploring the burgeoning borough of Brooklyn. We started the day in Bushwick, “arguably the coolest place on the planet” and home to the much buzzed about restaurant Roberta’s.
Here at this cruddy shack located a short walk from the L train, Chef Carlo Mirarchi makes some of the most beautiful pies around. Born in Queens, raised in Long Island, and educated at NYU, Chef Mirachi is a self-taught cook with a knack for foods that comfort and flavors that pop. Roberta’s takes no regular reservations, which wasn’t an issue for us since we dined here for lunch on a Monday afternoon.
Prior to opening the restaurant, Chef Mirachi and his team traveled to Italy to apprentice with a pizzaiolo. While in Italy, they also procured this flashy red wood-burning oven from a bankrupt pizzeria and had it brought back and assembled in Brooklyn.
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This is the story about the Saturday night back in mid-December when my brother shut down Mission Chinese Food to celebrate his 35th birthday.
After pre-gaming at Katz’s Deli and sneaking in some sweets at Dessert Club Chikalicious, The Astronomer and I made our way down to the Lower East Side for a feast like no other. We’re certainly no strangers to multi-course Chinese banquets, but this one was wildly different with twelve tongue-numbing Sichuan delights masterminded by Chef Danny Bowien.
Mission Chinese Food arrived in New York City last summer from the shores of San Francisco. The subterranean restaurant, which is dimly lit in a pinkish hue and seats just three dozen diners, serves “whimsical Chinese” prepared by a Korean-born chef reared in Oklahoma City.
It’s not fine dining. It’s not authentic. It’s not from one region. We’re just trying to do everything backwards. – Chef Danny Bowien
The menu was curated beforehand by my bro and his lovely wife, so all that was left to do was to sit back, sip a cocktail, and settle in for the fireworks.
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