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Category: Foodie

Alder

More casual-ish offshoot of WD-50, located in the Lower East Side.

What We Had

Like WD-50, the menu at Alder is arranged from smaller dishes to larger dishes and sharing is encouraged.

Smaller Dishes

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Foie gras with pumpkin pie taste, pomegranate jam, maple flakes and cookie crostini — This dish was the first we had and really kicked the meal off properly. Just rich and luxurious enough for foie, with pretty much the essence of fall right there.

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Scotch quail eggs with onion marmalade and arugula — And now I’m spoiled on Scotch eggs forever. Yum.

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Pigs in a blanket – Chinese style duck and pork sausage with Japanese wasabi mustard and sweet chili sauce — I, for some unknown reason, wasn’t expecting much from this dish. I’m happy to say that I was woefully wrong.

Pickled Beets with clouds of coconut ricotta and crunchy Thai basil — Holy wtf. Fan. Freakin. Tastic, and the perfect mid-meal veggie.

Larger Dishes

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Day boat scallops with delicate little hushpuppies, Swiss chard wrap, and fresh kimchi — prefect scallops, little puppie pillows, and some nice little texture going on there.

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Tongue with smoked yucca fritter, pickled cippolini onions, and chimichurri dashi — if tongue could ever be considered sexy, it would be because of this dish. Luxurious and velvety meat tangle with some nice back bone from the fritter and a delicate broth.

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Root beer pudding with smoked cashews — this was so good it made me angry. I kind of had my way with it.

Our food was unreasonably good. I could be redundant and say each and every dish was Amazeballs, but suffice it to say – they all were, and sadly it’s unreasonable to expect every meal to be this fabulous.

My DH had the Reserve Special Black Ale and I had the Doc something to drink. Both very tasty.

Decor

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Modern and cool with slates and woods.

Service

Stellar.

Overall Impressions

There was no doubt that we were going to love this place. We love WD-50, and Alder was no disappointment.

Rating

5 out of 5 for unreasonably good food in a great atmosphere.

Pork Slope

Pork-centric casual sandwich restaurant/dive bar in Park Slope from the mind(s) behind Talde and Thistle Hill.

What We Had

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My DH had the Mother Porker – a classic porky melt (cheddar rolled pork bratwurst, grilled onions & mustard) with bacon, egg and pickled jalapeño – This sandwich was a flavor bomb of porky goodness. Great sausage, killer balance, and an egg. Lots to love here.

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He also had the Crispy Mac & Cheese – Delicious, with a lovely layer of almost-burnt cheese.

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I had the Pulled Pork Sandwich – 24 hour brined & hickory smoked pork shoulder with BBQ sauce and pickles – the Texas toast came out a little too wet for me to eat everything as a sandwich, but the meat was killer. The porcine gods are smiling.

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I also had the Smoky Collard Greens – I had high hopes, given Chef Talde’s prowess with other green veggies (I’m thinking specifically of his brussels special at Talde) and I was not disappointed. Vinegary, smoky, cooked until slippery and luxurious; this was one tasty bowl of greens.

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My DH continued his citywide bloody mary sampling with a Michael Collins – Irish whiskey and fresh house made Bloody Mary mix with a house smoked rosemary and sea salt rim – This was a crazy good bloody. I think Char No. 4 is still his favorite, but this version is right up there (with the more Asian-inspired version served at Talde) in the pantheon of greats.

I had a Brooklyn Mule – Brooklyn Republic vodka, ginger beer & fresh lime – This drink was everything I wanted it to be – light, refreshing and a nice summer sip.

Decor

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Pork & Brooklyn -centric decor ala local punk dive bar with great music (if you like a heavily punk soundtrack played at a comfortable volume for listening an talking).

Service

Decent for a bar.

Overall Impressions

Yum. This is one of those spots that successfully straddles the line between local hangout and somewhere worth taking the train to visit. It feels homey without being exclusive and simple enough to be a no-brainer weeknight choice for those days when you don’t want to think too hard and just want something good.

Rating

4.5 out of 5. I was leaning more toward 4, since there aren’t many options for the sandwich-challenged (although you can order just a side of meat), but the DH had pork in his eyes 🙂

The Green Table

A local farm-to-table joint serving updated American classics in Chelsea Market.

What We Had

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We started with Deviled Farm Eggs 4 Ways (Classic Southern, Wasabi, Bacon Relish, Pimento Cheese) – The bacon was, not surprisingly, our favorite.

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I had the GT Burger- Wrighteous Organics beef, kimchi, bacon & tomato relish on Amy’s roll – in a word: fantastic. Juicy burger, nice bright pickled punch from the kimchi, and round sweetness from the relish made for a well-balanced dish. Great dressed greens side, good bun.

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My DH had the Mac & Cheese – Goat, Colby, cheddar, and Parmesan with organic pasta and breadcrumbs – Cheesy and delicious with a nice dressed greens salad alongside.

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To drink, my DH had the Bloody, which was fantastic and spicy.

I had the Gin & Basil & Lime – It tasted like those green icee pop things in plastic tubes from childhood in the best possible way.

Decor

Tiny dining room – great if your fellow diners don’t cackle like great whooping loons on ecstasy.

Service

Attentive.

Overall Impressions

The food was great; the overall experience, not so much. Still, we want to re-visit. Just hopefully on a quieter day.

Rating

3.75 out of 5, though the knife through the temple caused by the aforementioned table of desperation really wasn’t the restaurant owners’ fault. It is something to be on the lookout for in small spaces.

Char No. 4

Bustling Southern bar & food in Cobble Hill.

What We Had

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I had the Bacon & Eggs Benedict – biscuits, poached eggs, honey ham, bacon gravy – how can you go wrong? And they didn’t. This dish was heaven in the mouth – rich, with not-too-dense biscuits, luscious egg yolks, and the taste of wonderful bacon. A southern staple gussied up proper for the big city.

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My DH has the Sausage Biscuit with Cheese and Potatoes – Amazeballs potatoes; sausage that tasted like a hopped up Version of Neese’s (this is a very good thing indeed); and a really good biscuit.

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And we split the Bacon Grits – Stellar. Deeply bacony, with just enough scallion to being it home. Knocked it out of the park with this one.

Decor

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Big open windows in the front, lots of wood, inviting. Campy surf punk over the radio (we went on a Sunday early afternoon – if they were playing XM Radio, in time for the surf punk show).

Service

It was really busy the day we went and we sat at the bar. The service wasn’t horrible at the bar, but they were busy.

Overall Impressions

Must. Go. Back. Looks like a great place to explore bourbons – their selection is extensive and their mixers look to be house made.

Rating

4.5 out of 5. We need to come back and take our time to get to know the menu and fabulous looking drinks list before we can cement the 5 rating. But, if a rushed brunch while waiting on results from the vet around the corner is any indication, a 5 will be an easy score.

Mission Chinese

Much lauded by chefs American Chinese restaurant in the LES.

What We Had

Thrice Cooked Bacon – This dish was bizarre. We’re not sure what to make of it – mouths felt buzzy from spice, like pop rocks. Crazy salty.

Our palates were bewildered. Strangest dish either of us had ever had, and that’s saying something.

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Ma Po Tofu – The tofu was silky and luxurious. Weird layer after layer thing going on with the Sichuan peppercorns and pork nibblins.

Leaves mouth watering ridiculously. Odd – not sure if we liked it – bite in, don’t like – too peppery. And then you eat more… Kind of like a drug. Feel like if we eat enough, might trip out.

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Chili Pickled Long Beans – Crazy salty, loads of taste.

Sweet corn tea

Brooklyn lager

Decor

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Racuous party atmosphere in the tiny dining room. Good music and lots of reds with as much seating as is humanly possible in the small space.

Service

Strangely good, and very friendly. You get the feeling they’re used to bewildered first-timers. Our server said we did end up jumping in with both feet and to maybe try 1 dish with the Sichuan peppercorns and 1 without next time for some respite from the buzz.

Overall Impressions

Crazy busy – 45 minute wait for people lined up outside 10 minutes before dinner service opening on a cold rainy night. We came back a few minutes early for our table, and people were being turned away – at 6:45, the wait was already 3 hours, and the list wasn’t opening back up until 9.

But, these guys are well organized and seem to know how to handle the craziness.

Rating

I can’t honestly rate this place. We are completely unsure if we loved it, hated it, or if we’ll be back on the regular like addicts. I can tell you that in the week+ since our visit, neither of us has stopped thinking about that MaPo Tofu.

I will throw out words of caution about the odd quality of the spice and the daunting amount of salt in each dish.

The Modern

Upscale dishes and cocktails Inside MoMA. Plates are served in categories by size – small, medium, large.

What We Had

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Tarte flambĂ© with creme fraiche, onion & applewood smoked bacon – This was like a very tasty, very smoky pizza. Good flavor.

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Slow poached farm egg in a jar with Maine lobster, hon shimeji mushroom & sea urchin froth – Good, but not the belle of the ball I wanted it to be. The egg could have gone a hair longer. The lobster was perfect & the mushroom was fabulous. The uni taste was so subtle I was sad to have missed it. I liked; DH not so much.

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Foie gras terrine with muscat gelee & toasted brioche – Crazy good and very decadent. The gelee was a perfect bright and snappy counterpoint to the silky and sexy foie. The toast was a little brittle. This was the hit of the day and a dish we are both still thinking about.

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Black angus beef tenderloin with Munster gratin, onion confit & cumin jus – nice sauce; something different. Really great beef. A very solid dish.

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Saffron tagliatelle with cider braised rabbit, chanterelle mushrooms and kale – fantastic. Perfect pasta, tender rabbit, jus I wanted more of. Wanted more rabbit – only 3 tiny pieces – but overall a success.

Decor

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About what you’d expect – very modern and clean-lined, but very busy and a little in the noisy side.

Service

Slow service. The restaurant was packed, but the service was still slow.

Overall Impressions

A good find in a museum. Not somewhere I would want to spring for every museum visit, but good. The atmosphere was a little too institutional cafeteria feeling for the food and price for me, despite the nice decor. This would be a great happy hour spot, or nibbles on a date after seeing an exhibit, but not a full dinner – too noisy for that.

Rating

4 out of 5 for really great food, but slow service. A little pricey for what it was. Trying but just short of mark for the price point.

Crif Dogs

Crazy good hot dogs in Williamsburg.

What We Had

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Chihuahua Dog – Bacon wrapped hot dog covered with avocados and sour cream.

Good Morning Dog – Bacon wrapped hot dog smothered with melted cheese & topped with a fried egg.

Both were really great dogs. The good morning slightly edged out the chihuahua solely because of my love for eggs.

Fries, which were also good.

Decor

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Cool decor with Star Wars toys lining the walls, old games & cool tees.

Service

Friendly counter service.

Overall Impressions

A great place for a light meal. It’s small and was packed the evening we went, but the crowd was good. The music was also great – totally can’t not love a place that plays Old Crow Medicine Show’s Wagon Wheel and serves RC Cola.

Rating

4 out of 5 for great dogs, great atmosphere, and friendly service.

Bareburger

Bareburger

“Healthy” burger bar with locations throughout NYC. We visited the Park Slope location.

What We Had

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I had the Roadhouse Burger (pepperjack, roasted red peppers, avocado) with elk on a tapioca rice (gluten free) bun.

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My DH had the Maple Bacon Burger (maple bacon, sharp cheddar) with bison on a brioche bun.

Both burgers had great taste, were juicy, and were wholly satisfying. My bun was also great.

Decor

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Lots of bright colors and Scooby Doo on the TV.

Service

Not terrible.

Overall Impressions

I can’t really argue with this place’s ethos – grass fed everything; buffalo, boar, elk & ostrich on top of beef, poultry & vegetarian options. Gluten free & paleo friendly. This place represents one of the very best compromises in my DH and my eating styles – it’s a burger joint, which he loves, but a burger joint with slightly less horrible for you options, which I need in my life.

I can take exception with the screaming gaggle of children that finally, mercifully, left after holding the door open so every shred of warmth escaped the building – sometime after the onset of unruly child-induced headaches set in. But, it is a burger joint, and it is in mommy-drone central, so that just has to be worked around. We have since been back and the children weren’t as cringe-inducing in subsequent visits.

Rating

4 out of 5, despite the screaming groups of children.

Momofuku Ssam Bar

Small plates-focused offering from David Chang of Noodlebar fame.

What We Had

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Honey Crisp Apple Kimchi with Maple Labane, Jowl Bacon, and Arugula – Good balance of sweet/salt/acid/heat. Crazy good bacon. Goat cheese like yogurt – a great addition.

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Fried Duck Dumplings with Romanesco and Sriracha Mayo – Really tasty little flavor bombs, but a touch salty. Nutty, rich, ducky nuggets of love.

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Veal Sweetbreads with Goat Cheese, Watermelon, and Almond – Perfectly fried sweetbreads; silky, velvety goat cheese; I want a bucket of the almond brittle; best watermelon I’ve had all year (compressed with lemon).

Decor

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Minimal with warm dark woods and natural light.

Service

Good, even though we snuck just under the quittin’ time wire.

Overall Impressions

Great flavors, an inventive menu, and a relaxed atmosphere make this a great spot for a quick bite or long meal with friends.

Rating

4.5 out of 5 for no other reason than we love noodle bar just a tick more

Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles

Fresh noodle house in Chinatown.

What We Had

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I had the House Special Noodle Soup #2 with chicken, shrimp & beef.

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My DH had the Dumpling Noodle Soup with mixed dumplings and noodles.

The noodles (both hand pulled) were spectacular. Silky with a bit of resistance; the perfect noodle texture.

The broth was also fantastic.

Decor

Minimal – a big wooden desk for the server/cashier/hostess to sit behind and small tables wedged into every square inch of the floor.

Service

Perfunctory, but you’re not there to see the waiter; you’re there to stick your face in a bowl of silken delight.

Overall Impressions

This is one of those amazing little hole-in-the-wall joints you hope to find down a twisting side street in Chinatown.

Rating

4.5 out of 5, even though the beef was a mite fatty for my taste, and one of my shrimp was a tad muddy. The noodles are just that good.