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.

*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.



$1 oysters and $1 clams at BLT Fish
August 27, 2010, 2:10 pm
Filed under: Drink, Eat | Tags: , , , , ,

Per Eater’s DEALFEED, more $1 oysters! This time at BLT Fish Shack in Flatiron. BLT Fish Shack has a pretty well-rounded raw bar and also serves classic New England fish shack fare like chowders, steamed lobster, fried clams, etc. I love $1 seafood!

The Deal: New happy hour: $1 oysters, $1 clams, $5 drafts of Shack Ale, $6 Shark Bite cocktail.

When: Mon – Fri, 5 – 7 PM; 212-691-8888.

BLT Fish Shack
21 West 17th St., New York, NY


Self-constructed 3-course meal

Yesterday’s eatventure with Sara consisted of three stops (unplanned) and a self-made three-course meal.

First stop: Jo’s (SoHo/Nolita)
Ate: 1/2 dozen $1 HH Miyagi oysters – these were normal sized, not on steroids – still buttery and meaty
Drank: HH draft of Ommegang Witte $4 for me, glass of Vouvray for S $10
Note: Angus the Aussie bartender has fabulous hair – he works Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Pardon the crappy camera but can you see how deep this Miyagi shell is? Not at all like the European flat oyster.

Second stop: Sachiko’s (LES)
Ate: Spicy Crunchy Rice (Spicy tuna on crispy rice) 6 pieces $8 – I am addicted.
Drank: HH sake for me, a very full champagne flute for $4; HH sake Cosmo for S $6
Note: We only ended up at Sachiko’s because when we arrived at CSBC (below) at 7pm, there was a 40+ minute wait for a table and we knew Sachiko’s has happy hour till 7:30 on weekdays.

The Spicy Crunchy Rice is good every time. Your choice of tuna or salmon. Also very good for HH is the tonkatsu ($10 – normally $14 if not HH). Sapporo drafts just $2.50 but I was afraid I’d be too full for Stop 3.

Third stop: Clinton St. Baking Company (LES) – February is Pancake Month!
Ate: BBQ Sugar Bacon Cheeseburger (BBQ sauce on the side) $16 & Fresh Blackberry Pancakes with Pecan Streusel and Warm Maple Butter
Drank: Water. We were already tipsy from HH boozing.
Note: 1/2 price bottles of wine on Mondays and Tuesdays. Also, they’ve just introduced a $16 Crab Cake Sandwich & Amstel Light combo deal on Mondays & Tuesdays. By the time we finished dinner at 9pm, there was an hour+ wait! Get there early, put your name on the list, and grab a drink elsewhere until your turn is up.



Can’t stop thinking about Miyagi oysters
February 23, 2010, 1:01 pm
Filed under: Eat | Tags: , , , , , ,

Photo credit: James Antrim, IST

Last night was much like any other: get off work, feel like happy hour, head to Jo’s. Oddly, I wasn’t much in the mood for oysters, but when we sat down at the bar, owner Jim Chu (also of White Rabbit) told us he’d gotten in a shipment of Miyagis and that we should try some.

We ordered a half dozen oysters ($1 each till 8 pm!) along with the last Meat in a Cup ($9) – they make limited portions because it has to cook for 8 hours, and they don’t make it every day so you’re never sure if they’re going to be sold out of it or not. The Meat in a cup is a metal cup of warm-ish meat slow cooked in a rich gravy, served with toasts and a tart frisee salad. Hearty + homey with a dash of acid and greens = yum. Wish there had been one more slice of toast, though, as with 5 pieces of toast there was leftover meat in the cup and it had to be eaten as meat on a spoon.

When the oysters arrived, the first thing I noticed were that they looked like they’d been taking steroids. I thought Royal Miyagis were supposed to be small and delicate. I don’t know if these were the prissy Royal kind; they were fit for the hungry laborer! Even more surprising was the depth of the shells. It turns out that the shell is quite concave, housing a deceptively large bit of oyster meat. The texture was very creamy, but the flavor was a bit salty, a bit fishy, and very meaty – all of that in a very good way.

The other bar patrons were friendly and funny, and Jim was hilarious. There was a group from the nearby Gawker offices and a Juilliard-schooled violinist from the antique lighting shop on Houston. Great mix.

I have plans to have pancakes with blackberries, pecan streusel, and warm maple butter for dinner, but I am tempted to go by Jo’s beforehand to see if there are any more Miyagis as an appetizer…



Add Jo’s to your SoHo happy hour rotation
February 19, 2010, 1:02 pm
Filed under: Eat, Go | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I booked it to Jo’s with Sara N. after work on a Monday night around 7:50 and by 8:00 was already on my second $4 Ommegang Witte (fresh keg – have never tasted beer head quite so delicious – citrusy and wheaty with some darker sweeter spices). We ordered the $1 happy hour oysters (5-8 pm weekdays) and, by god, were they big. Normally, I prefer smaller oysters because they taste more delicate, but maybe it was the beer (perfect pairing!) but these big oysters also had big, briny flavor. I’ve been to Jo’s once before and the oysters were good, but not as good as that night. I’m drooling a little thinking about it.

I went back to Jo’s the very next day because it’s close to work and because I could not get the Jerk and a Slap (three types of house-cured jerky and a Pork Slap beer for $9) and Meat in a Cup (slow cooked meat served in a cup) out of my head. Sadly, they were out of Meat in a Cup but they did have some jerky and Pork Slap around. I was disappointed with the jerky, as I found it to be too salty, too tough, and too small. On the upside, I loved the Porkslap Pale Ale. It’s hard to find beer in a can that actually tastes good, and I think this is it. Not overly hoppy and just the right amount of carbonation with very slight citrus notes. I’ll be having that again. The gruyere gougeres were not what I expected, but man, those warm little cheesy bread balls are dee-frickin-licious with some sriracha sauce! Continue reading



Food Porn Daily makes me feel naughty
February 4, 2010, 1:11 pm
Filed under: Eat | Tags: ,

Today: Plump Pacific Oysters on the half-shell with kiwi and ginger mignonette. Tomorrow: who knows?



NYC Oyster Happy Hour Roundup

[tweetmeme]Another reason to love living in NYC – oyster happy hours! Below is a list of restaurants in lower Manhattan (sorry, I rarely make it uptown) where you can find great oyster and/or drink specials during happy hour:

Oyster happy hours I have tried:

  • Jo’s (Nolita/SoHo. 264 Elizabeth St. at Houston. 212.966.9640) My fave oyster happy hour. Dimly lit restaurant with $1 oyster happy hour (and $4 beers on tap, $5 well drinks, $7 select wine) weeknights from 5-8pm, only available in the bar room which has seating at the bar and along the walls (can accommodate groups of 4-6 at the tables). Service is slow if you’re not seated at the bar, so you’ll have to go to the bar to order and to pay. Oysters change daily depending on what the fishmonger brings by – I’ve had Blue Points and Miyagis here. Jo’s isn’t crowded on weeknights, happy hour goes until 8 pm, and the people here are awesome.
  • Lure Fishbar (SoHo. 142 Mercer St. at Prince. 212.431.7676) Stellar happy hour from 5-7pm on weeknights, at bar area only. Arrive early to grab seats as it gets really busy, you may have to throw some elbows to place your order at the bar. $1 oysters and $1 littleneck clams are the best bet; top quality oysters. See happy hour menu here. Shrimp tempura with black sesame seeds is delish. Do not get the lobster croutons. You’ll be sad when you realize there are 4 extremely teeny (MAYbe 1cm squared) cubes. Select beer $5, select wine $6, and select cocktails $7.
  • Essex (LES. 120 Essex Street, entrance on Rivington. 212.533.9616) On Mondays and Thursdays, $1 oysters all night and half price drinks (except for pitchers) from 6-9pm. I think that makes the beers $3, the wine $4, and most cocktails $5-$6. The oysters are decent, but not as good as Lure’s or Jo’s. Still, it’s a great location for grabbing a drink and a snack before doing a Thursday night out in LES, and you really can’t complain when you get to drink an Ommegang brew for $3. Also, this is a huge space, and can accommodate large groups.
  • Bondi Road (LES. 153 Rivington St. between Suffolk and Clinton. 212.253.5311) If quantity is more important to you than quality, and you like shrimp cocktail, then this is the place you will want to be spending your Thursday night. On Thursdays, Bondi Road does all you can eat raw oysters, shrimp, and Oysters Rockefeller (though I have read that sometimes they have oyster shooters instead) for just $9.99. Of course, they will try to convince you to take the $20 all you can drink for 2 hours deal on the side, but you can politely decline and just order as many beverages as you need.
  • Ulysses Folk House (Financial District. 95 Pearl Street between Coenties Aly & Hanover Sq. 212.482.0400‎) This is not really for happy hour, but Ulysses does have an all you can eat Sunday brunch that includes all you can eat oysters on the half shell for $20, along with fruits, breads, cheese and crackers, bagels and lox, sausages, corned beef, roast beef, ham, turkey, potatoes, veggies, salads… and a dessert tray. It also includes a Guinness, a (not very tasty) bloody mary, or a mimosa. It’s best in warm weather when you can eat outside at the picnic tables on the cobblestone street, but don’t expect 5 star food.

Oyster happy hours I have yet to try: Continue reading