Archive for December, 2005

Tia Pol (NY) – Don’t Believe the Hype

I had heard great things about Tia Pol – diverse fare, fresh ingredients, and excellent technique – all at fairly low prices. Sometimes the first two get lost w/ tapas in the States since the strong flavors can often mask subtleties in freshness or expertness to the average taste bud. So it was off to Tia Pol, which i missed on my last NY trip, in hopes of finding a cheap alternative (re: excellent food) to the Bouleys & Jean Georges of NY.

1. Chorizio w/ Chocolate
Bread, chocolate spread, & chorizio. The sweetnes of the chocolate tempered by the spiciness of the chorizio but it didn’t quite work. Perhaps if the chocolate were warm?

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Momofuku & Chikalicious (NY) – Perfect Neighbors Part 2

Chikalicious only serves desserts in a small tasting menu format – 3 desserts for $12. The name is not great out of context (it’s named after the chef), 3 desserts sound like too many, and how good could they be for $12? Those were the thoughts dancing around my skeptic mind but everything was put to rest immediately upon walking in.

It’s a husband (host) & wife (chef) operation with a small bar and 3-4 tables dressed in white. The host, whose name i forget, is thoughtful and articulate – a former jazz musician who’s a joy to talk to. You can watch the extreme care taken for every dish – fresh ingredients, thoughtful applications (cappucino ice cubes for a cold cappucino to prevent it from diluting), and perfect execution.

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Momofuku & Chikalicious (NY) – Perfect Neighbors Part 1

Only in NY could you find 2 exemplary & complementary, yet completely different, restaurants less than a block away from each other. Momofuku is deserving of any lunch or late night dinner while in NY, but save room for dessert at the excellent Chikalicious just a half-block away. A trip to both is mandatory for one NY afternoon.

Momofuku

If ever there was a restaurant to dispel the myths of the ‘cheap eats’ crowd, Momofuku is it. The argument goes that authentic food, and thus good food, doesn’t have to be expensive to be great. No one denies that cheap, ethnic food can’t be tasty. The counter-argument is that by using better ingredients than their industrial wholesale suppliers provide, the food could be better yet. Momofuku shows that ‘cheap’ food can be even tastier w/ high-quality ingredients.

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