[Update: While FiTR may have enjoyed eating the barbecue, neighbors upstairs are apparently pissed at the smoke smells that have inundated their apartments, according to EV Grieve, which quotes one: "Our apartments and hallways reek of barbecue, all the way to the top floor -- It's coming up through the radiators, walls and floors." Supposedly, the barbecue revolution we're now experiencing is a result of effective "scrubbers" which can eliminate air pollution from smokers. Apparently not in this case.]
Last Thursday a new barbecue opened in the East Village. One might assume that it would be awful. Au Contraire, it's pretty good. Replacing Dutch bistro Vandaag at the corner of Second Avenue and East 6th Street, Mighty Quinn's is another of those places that make brisket the centerpiece of a seriously smoky menu. In fact the smoker thrusts its nose into the dining room like a locomotive crashing through a wall. In the back, a crew labors over dozens of briskets at once in a glassed-in room. This is a place serious about its brisket.
It's funny that no one thought of it before: combining a beer garden and barbecue into a single institution. Well, now it has been done in Astoria, Queens. Named after a movie theater that once lurked in the vicinity, the Strand Smokehouse is located a rib's throw from the Broadway elevated stop on the N and Q, making it a convenient destination spot as well as a hang for locals. But how well it serves both constituencies was not apparent until I arrived there this past Saturday night with a friend from the nabe to find the place mobbed, with long lines for meat and beverages, and only a few days after opening.
I've been making fun of Guy Fieri for a pretty long time. I mean, look at him: If we ever get dragged into World War III, the Axis powers will put his chubby, bleached-blond head on propaganda posters to illustrate what us awful Americans are like. But I'm not alone, everyone makes fun of Guy Fieri. He's the ankle-high, tattoo-covered, goateed orange in the forest of low-hanging fruits. That's why, when I first read he was opening a new restaurant in Times Square, I thought, "I better get there and write about it before anyone else can." Oh, to have those fresh, first zingers.
Guy Fieri's Facebook page
Clearly, this was the exact wrong approach because A) Pieces were written before the restaurant even opened and B) I'm pretty sure I saw at least five other bloggers at Guy's American Kitchen and Bar plotting their clever asides about the pun-filled menu. Most telling, though, was that there wasn't much to make fun of.More »
It's been over a year since the windows of 236 Ninth were lined with brown paper, and locals had despaired of the place ever opening, even though it was steps away from Co., Jim Lahey's celebrated pizzeria. Then all of a sudden, the doors were flung open last Friday (correction: Or so we thought, the actual opening was two days earlier on Wednesday, July 11), giving us a first glimpse of the splendors (well, maybe that's too strong a word) inside.
Without much fanfare, Little Tokyo old-timer Rai Rai Ken has moved into semi-luxurious new digs, just two storefronts east of its original East Village location on 10th Street. Bright red door-banners proclaim its glitzy newness, and a look through the plate glass windows shows counter seating along an L-shaped noodle bar, and neat wooden booths lined up against an opposite wall. Most are two-tops, but there are a pair of larger, more-secluded booths in back. Those who loved the cramped old space, and its darkened, cramped, well-worn look, with a bubbling pot of stock seemingly always on the stove - will be amazed.
You'd think the city had reached its meatball saturation limit. Following in the footsteps of the Meatball Shop -- which itself has sprouted branches -- there are plenty of places now willing to make you a premium meatball sub with exemplary cheese on good bread. Someone had to come up with another formula. Now they have.
The laminated place-mat-cum-menu at Izakaya Dodom Pa
There are certain storefronts in NYC that seem haunted. Restaurant after restaurant opens in the space only to be closed a few weeks later. Like the corner spot at West Houston and Varick streets that has hosted three restaurants in as many years. And 71 Clinton Street.
First, in December 2010, it was Patate Fellows, with a Japanese fried chicken focus, then in late May 2011 it was rechristened Hachember. Two weeks ago, the LES hole-in-the-wall was born again. This time as Dodom Pa.
Lauren Shockey The famous spicy fish taco
Transplanted West Coasters were pretty pumped when Wahoo's Fish Taco opened its doors at 333 Park Avenue South (212-466-3330) a few weeks ago, its first outpost east of the Mississippi River. The fast-casual Cal-Mex chain dates from 1988 and its branches in California, Hawaii, Colorado, and Texas soon developed a cult following for dishes like the Maui Bowl and the fish tacos, plus its low-key vibe that depicts skateboarding and surfing culture. With high hopes, we popped in to sample the goods, but left rather underwhelmed.
Yatagan, near the corner of Bleecker and MacDougal, was for over a decade the city's foremost purveryors of doner kebab, the Turkish mystery meat cooked in a vertical rotisserie, and sliced flamboyantly with a giant sword into a pita or platter. It's the cousin of Greek gyro and Middle Eastern shawarma.