eat. shop. love. nyc.

$16 pitchers and da bomb veggie burger at Korzo Haus
September 4, 2011, 10:13 am
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It makes me sad when cool neighborhood spots don’t get as much business as they deserve. It’s always a struggle, right? You want them to get a steady flow of business, but you also don’t want the place to get so busy that you have to wait for a table. Korzo Haus is just such a place. With its ever-changing daily seasonal menu, its locally-sourced grass-fed beef burgers, and its $16 pitchers of custom-brewed organic ale, it’s a wonder there isn’t a line out the door for this place on the regular.

Halušky with bryndza (Slovak feta cheese), crispy bacon bits, and chives ($6). A glorious eastern take on European mac’n’cheese. Or a Slovak feta spaetzle. Whatever makes it make sense for you. Quite rich, so good for sharing.

The Wunderwurst platter ($11.50). Not the prettiest wieners I’ve seen, but they certainly did the trick. (Badum-ching!) Hot and juicy, served with two types of mustard, housemade sauerkraut, and pickled something I can’t seem to remember.

The Haus Vegi on the night of July 7th was the best veggie burger I’ve had in my life. While Korzo Haus prides itself on using 100% grass-fed and finished Black Angus Beef from the sustainable and animal welfare approved Grazin’ Angus Acres in Ghent, New York, we opted to try the delicious-sounding veggie burger instead: walnut and black-eyed pea patty, edam cheese, caramelized onions, pickled something, and dressed greens on a made-to-order Langoš (Hungarian fried bread) bun ($11.50). The veggie burger option at KH changes based on what’s fresh at the farmer’s market, but they subscribe to an open source menu philosophy – tell Steve you really want to try this burger and let’s hope they make this a regular menu item.

A lingering dinner for 3 including some damn good beer came to $22 per person. Not bad, I say, for a dinner in a rustic little EV joint with a friendly staff and, wait, let me say it again: $16 pitchers of GOOD beer EVERY NIGHT.

Between 3-7 pm Monday through Thursday, they do a $12 burger and beer special. After you finish your free beer, you can share a pitcher with friends to make a happy belly even happier.

Eat/drink/be merry: Korzo Haus (East Village/ABCity) 178 East 7th Street, 10009. (212)-780-0181. Follow @KorzoHaus.


Hidden EV sushi gem Cotan
July 6, 2011, 12:29 am
Filed under: Eat | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Cold tofu dissolves on tongue. Scallion bits crunch.


Miso black cod melts in your mouth, hint of sweetness lingers.


Slightly warmed rice gives new life to fresh and succulent fish. Unctuous uni and silky botan ebi leave me with eyes aglaze.



Tempura fried bananas corrupt.

Cotan reduces me to poetry.

Seriously, though. This place is legit underrated. Quality of sushi vs. price makes it an incredible steal, and the non-sushi fare was excellent, as well. This is not the place you go for sexy ambiance or cheap sushi. You go here because the food makes it so effing worthwhile. The sushi deluxe (9 pieces) includes uni (sea urchin) and a tuna roll that made my eyes roll into the back of my head. Yeah. It was that good.

Eat: Cotan. 135 1st Ave at St. Mark’s.

Pop-up Filipino Brunch at Maharlika
April 23, 2011, 3:52 pm
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When pop-up restaurant Maharlika first began serving Filipino brunch over at the Resto Leon space in the East Village, it generated a lot of buzz. They are only open on weekends from 11 am to 3 pm, and reservations are strongly recommended as it’s always booked. You are not only competing with adventurous East Village hipsters for a seat, you’ve got to beat out the Filipino lolas.

I checked it out for the first time last weekend, and I was stoked. There was no pancit or lumpia there. Instead, Maharlika offers modern Filipino cuisine adapted for brunch – most menu items feature eggs – and the presentation is less home-style and more upscale. Shown below: arroz caldo (chicken porridge), sisig (crispy pig snout, cheek, ear) served with garlic rice and egg in sizzling cast iron griddle, stuffed adobo chicken wings with garlic rice and scrambled egg. This is not really light fare, so go with your appetite intact. It’s delicious.

GM Nicole Ponseca is absolutely charming. She bubbled on about the food at Maharlika and Filipino cuisine in general, and she mentioned Maharlika would be doing a special event on May 14th at Imelda Marcos’ former home (which is currently home to the ambassador of the Philippines). The proceeds from that event will go towards the Philippine Independence Day Parade taking place on June 6.

They’ve just been told they will need to vacate the Resto Leon space by May 15th, however, as Resto Leon has decided to start serving brunch. So this is (possibly) your last chance! (They’re looking for another spot in the East Village that will let them do brunch – I recommended that they approach The Redhead). Make your reservations now – there are only a few weekends between now and May 15!

Eat: Maharlika (at the Resto Leon space in East Village) 351 East 12th Street at 1st Ave, New York NY 10003. Saturdays and Sundays until May 15th, 11 am to 3 pm. E-mail for reservations. 917-710-5457. Walk-ins accepted for parties of 2 or 4, but be prepared to wait.

Parkside Lounge Crawfish Boil
April 20, 2011, 9:51 am
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Mark your calendars, folks. We’re gettin’ down and dirty, N’Awlins style with an all-you-can-eat crawfish boil at Parkside Lounge on Saturday, May 7, 2011 at 2 pm. For $35 per person, stuff your face with as much crawfish as your little hands can peel and your little mouths can chew. Cheap beer and hurricanes, bayou beats.

Tickets are on sale now – e-mail, see your friendly Parkside barkeep for details, or call them at (212) 673-6270.

Eat/drink: Parkside Lounge (LES) 317 East Houston Street at Attorney. New York, NY 10002. (212) 673-6270.

New York loves Japan Punch Party

Tonight, the New York Loves Japan Punch Party is going down at Summit Bar in the East Village/Alphabet City from 7 pm to 11 pm. Sample some tasty boozy punches and whilst listening to the grooves of DJ Kimiko Masuda and supporting Japanese disaster relief efforts. A $20 donation gets you unlimited open bar servings of six Japanese-inspired punch cocktails, and all proceeds benefit the Japan Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund.

Sponsors include Beefeater Gin, Pernod Absinthe, Tequila Corazón, Leblon Cachaça, Belvedere, Sailor Jerry Rum, The Tippling Bros. & Classic & Vintage Artisanal Spirits Portfolio.

Drink: The Summit Bar (East Village/Alphabet City) 133 Avenue C (between 8th and 9th). New York Loves Japan Punch Party from 7 pm to 11 pm today, Monday, April 11, 2011.

Sunday Funday at Manitoba
April 10, 2011, 3:51 pm
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Not just Sunday. Happy hour from 2 to 8 daily: $2 domestic bottles, $3 imported bottles and well drinks, $3 drafts.image

Air hockey and bubble hockey tables downstairs. Hardcore cider on tap.


Great ramen, no wait at Kuboya
April 4, 2011, 9:25 am
Filed under: Eat | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I didn’t want to fall in love with Kuboya.

A staunch Minca Ramen-goer, I was utterly appalled when Kuboya, another ramen shop, opened up right next door. The owner had posted a sign saying he was close personal friends with the owner of Minca, and that E. 5th St. was big enough for two ramen shops. The next day, the sign had disappeared, like the friendship, perhaps.

For months, I passed by Kuboya with my nose upturned. Then one fateful Saturday afternoon following a particularly dehydrating Friday night, I found myself craving ramen.

It was a soul-wrenching, tongue-prickling, heart-squeezing need.

I walked over to Minca, knowing I couldn’t be bothered to wait in line for an hour at Ippudo. However, when I arrived at Minca, all of the seats in the tiny ramenya were taken, and it didn’t look like anyone was going to be getting up anytime soon. As my need swelled from quiet hunger to panic and desperation, I grudgingly agreed to give Kuboya a chance (at a friend’s suggestion) and walked reluctantly next door.

The first thing I noticed was that it didn’t look anything like any ramen shop I’d ever been in. It feels more like a French bistro than anything else. Nothing about the decor says Japanese to me: black and white photos of cities around the world, green and white woven wicker seats, jazz music playing softly in the background… And it’s spacious. It has twice the seating of Minca, and enough room to maneuver with your chopsticks, maybe even to gesticulate wildly. When I checked out the menu, my anger began melting away slowly. $15 lunch special every day (even weekends!) from 12 to 4? This includes your choice of ramen, a half fried rice, and 5 gyoza.

Salmon tartar with guacamole and chips. Chicken tatsuta. Pork buns. Rock shrimp. And they accept credit card. Anger gone. And after the first sip of that chicken-pork-shrimp broth from the salt (shio) ramen hit my lips, I was like Minca who?

Since that fateful first encounter, I’ve been back several times. I’ve perfected the ordering process for two: always get one lunch special with the salt ramen to share, and two appetizers to share. My favorite is the salmon tartar.

I also have dreams about the crab croquette here, a special I have not seen again since the one time I ordered it. Impossibly smooth and creamy on the inside, perfectly deep-fried with crisp panko breading on the outside.

This might be cruel, since you may never experience the joy and magic that is the crab croquette at Kuboya, but it’s ok. The other stuff (chicken tatsuya) is pretty darn good, too, and always ask about the specials.

While I still suffer occasional bouts of guilt for jumping on the Kuboya wagon, I tell myself that with no wait, ample seating, jazz, daily lunch specials, non-ramen menu items, and being able to use a credit card, I’ve made the right choice. It’s also open ’til midnight most evenings and on Fridays and Saturdays until 2 am (last call for ramen at 1:30 am).

Slurp: Kuboya (East Village/Alphabet City) 536 East 5th St. between Aves. A & B. (212) 777-7010.