eat. shop. love. nyc.

Fancified Filipino cuisine at Umi Nom

Nom nom nom.

The deep fried oysters served with crispy shoestring fries at Umi Nom totally blew me away with their crunchy, warm, creamy, oyster-y-ness. There was no need for the creamy sweet and sour dipping sauce which was served alongside the oysters. I’m sad to report, however, that these were a daily special, and not a regular menu item, though if I lived closer to Umi Nom, I’d be petitioning their addition to the regular menu relentlessly.

Chef King Phojanakong’s Brooklyn restaurant Umi Nom is a solid second offering from the man who brought us Kuma Inn on the Lower East Side. Umi Nom’s cuisine reflects Chef King’s influences, ranging from the home cooking of his Filipino mother and Thai father to the French techniques he picked up in other esteemed NYC kitchens (Daniel, Bouley Bakery, Jean-Georges).

Umi Nom is a place to go with a group of friends and order several small plates to share family style. If you order an average of 1.5 to 2 small plates per person, everyone should be satisfied (but make sure you include a rice and/or noodle dish for something a little more substantial).

Our dinner began with a crab rangoon amuse-bouche, fried wontons filled with cream cheese and crab. I’ve never met a crab rangoon I didn’t like, so it probably means little that I enjoyed this one, but free crab rangoon? Somehow more delicious.

Next up were the Umi Nom crispy wings, deep fried wings tossed with salt and Anaheim chilies. I prefer sauceless wings to saucy ones, so these were a big hit with me, especially with the chili kick (though I wish they had given me more chilies on the side).

The Bahay Kubo fried rice was fairly standard in terms of fried rice. It consisted of chicken, sausage, and shrimp stir-fried with white rice, egg, garlic, and soy sauce. Nothing to write home about as it was not particularly memorable, but it was a good stomach-filler since some of the other small plates were smaller.

We ordered another daily special – the pork belly adobo. The heavily charred pork belly was served with a soy, garlic, tomato, and adobo chili sauce and a sprinkling of green onions. I like my pork belly slices to be thick and juicy with a nice fat to meat ratio, and while the pork belly was very good, they could have done better by making the cuts just a little thicker and reducing the char a bit. Some char is nice, but too much makes for tough meat, and pork belly should really melt in your mouth. Still, I’d order this again as I feel like ours may have been just an off-batch. The sauce was fantastic!

Let’s revisit the deep fried whole oysters here again for a moment. Maybe even observe a moment of silence.


Food nirvana. THISCLOSE to being as good as the deep fried whole-bellied clams I had at Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, Maine over the summer. THISCLOSE.

On to the beef. We ordered ma-banh’s beef tapa, a dish of fried, thinly sliced dried beef served with a smoked adobo (?) and chipotle chili sauce. Basically, hot beef jerky. If you’re into that, you’ll like this. If you’re like me, you might want to pass.

We also enjoyed the sauteed sweet sausage in a Thai chili-lime sauce (but it was so popular that I forgot to take a pic of the kielbasa-like sweet sausage cut on the diagonal) and a passable (but also forgettable) pancit canton.

What I really want is to find someone’s Filipina tita to make us some pancit and some chicken adobo in her kitchen at home. Anyone want to lend me a Filipina aunt/mother/grandma for a day?

Eat: Umi Nom (Clinton Hill) 433 Dekalb Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11205. (718) 789-8806.


Meat & 3 Mondays at Seersucker Brooklyn
September 29, 2010, 9:12 am
Filed under: Drink, Eat | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Southern-inspired cooking at this well-loved Brooklyn eatery has been praised by NY foodies and food critics many times over. The Seersucker Tuesday night fried chicken special is already popular, and now they’ve introduced $17 Meat & 3 Mondays. There’s a menu of meat specials (meatloaf, country ham, stew, etc.) and sides (collard greens, grits, mac & cheese, green bean casserole, etc.). You pick one meat and three sides. Simple, right? The hard part is going to be deciding what to pick. They’ll also serve cornbread and all you can drink sweet tea. The menu changes weekly, but you can check out Zagat here to see what the usual fare is like. If that’s not enough to get you there, Dixie Beers are just $3.

Go: Seersucker (Chef Rob Newton) 329 Smith Street between Carroll and President, Brooklyn, NY 11231
*Coffee: Mon-Fri, 8-3 *Lunch: Mon-Fri, 11-3 *Dinner: 6-10:30 seven nights a week *Mondays: Meat & 3 *Tuesdays: Fried Chicken *Brunch: Sundays 11-3

Twitter: @seersuckerbklyn

CSBC to fill my Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles void?

When I moved to LA in 2004, I was told that I should make it a point to eat at legendary Los Angeles eateries Pink’s Hot Dogs and Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. Now that I live in NYC, I have filled my Pink’s deficit with Crif Dogs, and I have been skating by on a rather delicious but daintier version of chicken and waffles (buttered cornmeal waffle with fried chicken, $10.50, served with apple compote – pictured) from the Alias brunch menu. The Alias chicken and waffles isn’t the artery-clogging, rib-sticking taste explosion of fatkid heaven you get at Roscoe’s, but it’s still mighty tasty and you don’t feel like you’re going to have a heart attack.

The perfect bite at Alias:

Given my enthusiasm for chicken and waffles, maple butter, beer, and Clinton St. Baking Co., when I read on the Strong Buzz that CSBC has now introduced Fried Chicken and Waffles Wednesdays, I jumped for joy. You get buttermilk fried chicken with honey and Tabasco sauce on a crispy Belgian waffle with warm maple butter and a frosty bottle of Rogue Chipotle Ale for $20 on Wednesdays.

Be still, my heart.

Go: Clinton St. Baking Co. (LES) 4 Clinton Street, near Houston, 646-602-6263. Wednesdays only.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Eastern Alley
February 16, 2010, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Drink, Eat | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Eastern Alley is the new Pan-Asian restaurant helmed by Bao emperor Michael Huynh’s former right-hand man Sean Scotese in the old Thailand Cafe space on Clinton St., right next to Clinton St. Baking Co. When I called to reserve a table for Saturday night and the guy who answered said, “Yes, we allow BYOB,” I was sold. It’s just until they get their liquor license in a couple weeks, so get there soon. East Village Wine & Liquor on Stanton/Clinton is just around the corner and had a bunch of chilled sakes ready for immediate consumption. (We picked up the Gekkeikan Black and Gold for $18.99 and it paired wonderfully with the Asian flavors.)

I wasn’t sure what to expect when we went in for dinner because Pan-Asian fusion can mean just about anything these days, and I hadn’t yet seen a menu. What I found at Eastern Alley were traditionally Asian ingredients and flavors cooked with a more Western hand: the soy-braised oxtails with yucca cake was an unusual combination where the sweetness of the yucca really balanced out the saltiness of the meat; the pork loin and pea shoots in the sweet sesame mustard sauce (the Japanese kind that is only slightly sweet and slightly mustardy with whole sesame seeds) were very nice and light (recommended for dieters) though the adobo potatoes that came with seemed a little disjointed in terms of flavor and heft; the extra crispy fried chicken thighs with curried green lentils were flippin’ amazing – think boneless Southern fried chicken with Indian spices and bacon thrown in; the ginger beef brisket with taro and miso (shown below) must have been awesome too because there was absolutely nothing left on that plate, not so much as a single drop of sauce.

You can order a side of jasmine rice, rice cakes, or steamed buns to share for $2.50 to sop up whatever meats and juices are left on your plate, or to make little sandwiches. Totally worth it. We got the steamed buns, but I’m very intrigued by the idea of eating my meat with rice cakes… I wonder if they’re Korean style?

The dessert menu will be served starting tomorrow. I’m excited (I want to try the Salted Ice Cream and Black Pepper Marshmallows). Apps are $6-$9, mains run $14-$18 or so, and desserts are $5 – pics of the full menu below! Continue reading

Chicken Kiev is not Ukrainian, nor is it Russian
September 22, 2009, 1:56 pm
Filed under: Eat | Tags: , , ,

According to food historians and Alton Brown, Chicken Kiev, also known as “Chicken Supreme,” is actually a French dish named “Kiev” in New York City by Frenchman Nicolas Appert (1749-1841), brewer, pickler, confectioner, and chef who is also credited with discovering the principles of canning and preserving food.

Chicken Kiev is a flattened boneless chicken breast that is then rolled around a chilled piece of herbed butter, breaded, and then fried. It is generally thought that early New York restaurants catering to Russian immigrants popularized the name Kiev. The name has now spread worldwide, and is often used to describe Chicken Supreme.

Chicken Kiev recipe: Alton Brown

Personal note from Mel: Unlike Alton, I prefer fresh herbs, fresh garlic, and a high herb to butter ratio. Like Alton, I like Panko breading because it’s lighter and crispier. We used a high heat safflower oil. Full recipe after the jump. Continue reading

Thank you, David Chang, or I heart Momofuku Fried Chicken
August 12, 2009, 3:02 pm
Filed under: Drink, Eat | Tags: , , , , ,

Upon learning that Momofuku Noodle Bar was going to be launching online rezzies for its new fried chicken dinner (or lunch, as it turned out for me), I was ecstatic. There are few deep fried things in life that I dislike, and the thought of triple fried anything makes me swoon a little. Glowing reviews from those lucky enough to partake in the Momofuku dinner only whetted my appetite, and I suffered three excruciating weeks after making my reservation that I finally got to experience David Chang’s chicken wraps in their full glory.

We were warned before ordering that it was going to be a lot of food. Internally, I scoffed. This little waitress has no idea how much we can eat. Fool. Still, I took heed of her warning and refrained from ordering a la carte right away. You can always order more later.

Joe and Natalia decided to try something new and got the steamed buns with pork, chicken, cucumbers, and shiitake mushrooms. They said it was amazing, although I didn’t try it in order to save myself for the triple fried goodness.

Continue reading

Momofuku Fried Chicken Dinners launch
July 21, 2009, 2:36 pm
Filed under: Eat | Tags: , , , ,

This Eater post made me so happy. Momofuku’s David Chang has launched online reservations for his Fried Chicken Dinners at Momofuku Noodle Bar in the East Village. I’ll be going with some out-of-town friends for lunch in August! (The reservations are going fast, by the way.) From their FAQ:

q: what does the fried chicken dinner include?
a: the fried chicken dinner includes two whole fried chickens, one southern style and one korean style. the dinner comes with mu shu pancakes, long spicy peppers, baby carrots, red ball radishes, shiso leaves, bibb lettuce, four sauces and a herb basket.

q: how do I reserve a fried chicken dinner?
a: on the momofuku website here.

FYI: Their Korean chicken is TRIPLE FRIED with a light glaze. $100 feeds 4 to 8 people. That’s right, gather all your friends. It’s fried chicken time!