Don't Miss the $22 Cypriot Tasting Menu at Kopiaste Taverna

Sweep up the stairs and into the spacious dining room to begin your tasting menu of short plates from Cyprus.

Astoria newcomer Kopiaste ("Come in and sit down") Taverna presents the Greek cooking of the island of Cyprus, which is much closer to Turkey and Syria than to the other Greek islands. You won't be surprised to hear that the cuisine has all sorts of Turkish and Middle Eastern elements, making it one of the most interesting in the Mediterranean. The best way to experience it is with Cyprus Meze, a tasting menu that presents 17 dishes for the incredible price of $22 per person, along with toasted pitas and French bread. Here is the selection on a recent evening--you won't go away hungry.

Read the entire Counter Culture review of Kopiaste Taverna here.

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If You Play Your Cards Right, You Can Have a Great Meal at Full House

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Vegetarian Mock Duck - Made of tofu skin tightly rolled up with minced mushrooms inside, the recipe associated with Buddhist monks resembles sliced duck breast more than a little, right?

Full House is one of the new generation of Shanghai restaurants gradually materializing around town, places that not only do the standards of the cuisine, but also throw in some Hong Kong, Sichuan, Mandarin, Thai, and American cooking on top of that. The quality is high, especially on the iconic pork-crab soup dumplings. Here are six recommended dishes.

Read the entire Counter Culture review of Full House here.

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Brooklyn Is All About Clams

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The "stuffies" at Kittery are wonderful. Overflowing with fennel-flavored Italian sausage, they're Brooklyn on the half-shell.

In the 1630s, when the first Dutch settlers started poking around in the swamps between what are now Carroll Gardens and Park Slope with an eye toward turning it into agricultural land, what they found were Canarsie Indians pulling clams from the Gowanee ("leader" in their Indian language) Creek. Eventually, it and the complex of waterways known by the English as Mill Creek would be dredged and consolidated into the Gowanus Canal, the new spelling reflecting the Dutch version of the name. Since the earliest days, Brooklyn has had a love affair with the clam.

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Lambi and Other Haitian Delights

Lambi is a fricassee of conch in coconut milk with root vegetables, variegated bell peppers, and chiles.

This week, Counter Culture slithers into Cathedral, a Haitian restaurant right on Church Avenue on the edge of East Flatbush. Offering a shifting roster of dishes as the week progresses, the place offers a perfect thumbnail of the wonders of Haitian food--a more or less equal conjoining of French and West African cuisines. All dishes are served with rice and beans in various configurations, a green salad with orange "French" dressing of the bottled sort (no one quite knows how it got into the cuisine), and twice-fried woody plantains or accra, an African fritter of a vegetable something like taro.

Read the entire review of Cathedral here.

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Poutine Reconsidered: Five Great Dishes at Three Letters in Brooklyn

Three Letters' revolutionary poutine replaces cheese curds with shelled mussels in the Quebecois classic, and then sluices the platter with mushroom gravy lite.

This week, Counter Culture slides into Three Letters, a new bistro in Clinton Hill that seeks to render the usual bistro menu in Brooklyn terms, through use of seasonal ingredients, inspired substitutions, and ... plenty of homemade pickles! Here are five great dishes you can't get in this form anywhere else.

Read the entire review here.

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Crossing the Bridge Noodles at Lotus Blue

First to arrive at your table is a deep bowl filled with rice noodles, chicken, shrimp, pork, and edible blossoms (sometimes Lotus Blue skips the flowers).

As far as I can tell, crossing-the-bridge noodles has never appeared on a New York menu before. This specialty of China's Yunnan province features hot broth topped with a thick layer of oil, which keeps it piping hot until other ingredients including rice noodles are added raw, so that they cook as you eat the soup. This week's Counter Culture review recounts the fable behind the dish - which involves a disgruntled scholar and his patient wife - and explains why the version served at Lotus Blue is perhaps less than optimal. Try it and decide for yourself. Otherwise, you'll have to go to Yunnan.

Read the entire review here.

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6 Best Jerk Chickens in Flatbush, Brooklyn

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Typical sidewalk jerking operation

Brooklyn is the jerk capital of the world, more so than even Jamaica itself. You can't go very far in Brooklyn neighborhoods like Crown Heights, Rugby, East New York, and Flatbush without seeing a 60-gallon drum spewing smoke -- the universal symbol of some of the tastiest chicken on earth. On top of that, it's often spicy as hell.

This week, Counter Culture races around Flatbush to find the best examples, and here we offer you the top six versions we found.

Read the entire jerk chicken piece here.

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Aamanns-Copenhagen's Wildly Creative Smorrebrod

Pate of pork with parsley, aquavit, fresh hazelnuts, pickled apples, celery, and watercress

Smorrebrod are little Danish open-face sandwiches made on a dark nutty rye bread. At Aamanns-Copenhagen -- New York's first Danish restaurant -- the bread is homemade twice daily, and the sandwiches have been transformed with startling juxtapositions of modern ingredients. Indeed, the sandwiches have become little sculptures, as these photos indicate.

Read the entire review here.

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5 Don't-Miss Dishes From Le Philosophe

Le Philosophe's take on steak frites

This week, Counter Culture crawls into Le Philosophe, a new French bistro on Bond Street not far from the Village Voice offices on Cooper Square. The menu combines bistro commonplaces, rarely so well executed, along with adapted versions of more ambitious French fare - the kind you usually have to go to Midtown and blow over $100 per person to get. One of the best features of this place is the low-markup wine list, which allows you to explore several French producing regions at less than $30 per bottle. Here are five of the most remarkable dishes.

Read the entire review here.

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The Unusual Japanese Cooking of Chez Sardine

Maki Tempura -- a deep fried, nori-wrapped roll filled with shrimp and avocado -- is one of Chez Sardine's unusual izakaya offerings.

Chez Sardine is the fifth link in the Little Wisco chain, radiating outward from the statue of General Sheridan in the West Village's Sheridan Square. The place promotes itself as an izakaya, or Japanese gastropub, but if you compare it to Rockmeisha, a more normal izakaya on the other side of the square, you'll notice several differences, which Fork in the Road won't bother enumerating here. The point is that Chez Sardine does some pretty weird and sometimes fascinating stuff. Here are some of the offerings, from its smallish menu.

Read the entire Counter Culture review here.

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