This is my last installment of my New York Eats, boo hoo. I really miss all the unique little places that you find in New York, London is moving forward but still has a way to go to match the variety and value in the Big Apple.
First up is a MAJOR trip down memory lane, Vanessa’s Dumpling House might have been half the size six years ago but even then was ridiculously popular. Lines would snake round at lunch to pick up dumplings, soup and sesame pancake sandwiches (kind of like a bahn mi) each for no more than a few bucks. As a lowly intern I relied on Dumpling House for cheap and filling lunches, just a short skip away from my offices.
Going back was a little emotional, how is it that the most bargain basement places are often the ones you hold dearest to your heart? Well I do anyway. Dumpling House has expanded to the store next door and now boasts a few tables where you can eat but it’s still the rough and ready place I loved. I ordered the fried pork dumplings and a pork sesame bun, which came to about $3.50, unbelievable. It’s all cooked to order and majorly fresh, nevertheless it’s a major wodge of stodge and makes the perfect hangover cure. The seasme pancake is crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy inside, filled with grated carrot, coriander, scallions and shredded pork. Apparently there’s a branch opening out in Brooklyn soon, can’t wait to go back and visit. > Vanessa’s Dumpling House, Eldridge Street.
Another emotional trip down memory lane, the Garden was a deli at the end of my road in Greenpoint that made the ULTIMATE sandwich. Feta, tomato, alfafa sprouts and avocado on rye bread, it’s a combination made in heaven, the perfect balance of flavour and health. Walking around the store was so weird, I was instantly transported back to when I lived in a grotty sublet with cockroaches and mice and endless dog hair for company, ahh more innocent times. > The Garden, Greenpoint.
Every now and then I get a craving for a hot & sour soup and this place in Chinatown, somewhere between Chrystie Street and Canal Street. Nothing like a warming broth and some summer rolls to pep you up after a long day’s wandering and sightseeing.
Freemans is the cutest, most cosy, and fancy place I’ve ever been to, tucked away down an alley just a few streets from the raucous hustle and bustle of Ludlow and Essex on the Lower East Side. It’s a real old-world type decor, filled with cosy rugs, Americana textiles and a generous heaping of taxidermy, the effect is one of visiting a well-off relative, cosy yet sumptuous. We ordered the artichoke dip and the scallops, both delicious dishes and perfect for sharing with a few cocktails.
I don’t often do cocktails so I hesitantly picked the Montauk Fog, primarily because of the name. It’s a mix of gin, orgeat and lime juice, with a layer of bitters floated along the top and comes served with an inside-out lime filled with flaming chartreuse, very flamboyant! Cocktails to me usually mean boring, sugary-sweet confections but this was a gutsy flavoursome drink that was perfect for sipping. > Freemans Restaurant, Rivington Street.
Never had Korean tacos before, but these spicy, porky treats I picked up as a stomach liner before a Williamsburg drinking sesh were absolutely perfect, just need to find a recipe to recreate them at home.
Casa Mezcal is a lovely Mexican restaurant on Orchard Street in the Lower East side, their margaritas are legendary so we stopped in during happy hour for a few drinks. I had some delicious margaritas with salt and hibiscus along the rim as well as a stunning guacamole dip with homemade tortilla chips. > Casa Mezcal, Orchard Street.
The name of the place where I had this dish evades me, but somewhere in Williamsburg is a fantastic place that does fantastic fish burritos served on willow pattern china. The burrito was packed with sexy fried fish, but had enough finely shredded cabbage and greenery to not feel like the almighty cement lump feeling you get from burritos. This was also washed with a margarita, I love margaritas.
Last, and most definitely not least was the oyster platter we had at Maison Premiere. I’ve had a few oysters in my time, but nothing prepared me for a menu which featured over 20 kinds of oyster and plenty of seafood. Check the menu out here, it makes me weep to think I’m across the atlantic. We went for six oysters each which on reflection was STUPID, we should have got a dozen each. From the tiny Kumamoto oyster, to the fleshy and fruity Naked Cowboys it was an education in oysters. Washed down with a bottle of prosecco it was the perfect send off for our friend Sarah’s last night in NY. > Maison Premiere, Bedford Avenue.