Tag Archives: Underground Gourmet Review

Atla Is a Mexican Restaurant Designed For How New Yorkers Eat Now

Source: Grub Street NY

“There’s no such thing as a perfect restaurant,” a dyspeptic old critic once admonished the Underground Gourmet, and, of course, she was right. So in acknowledgment of this fact, let’s start this review off by listing all the flaws and defects that prevent Enrique Olvera’s new Noho canteen, Atla, …

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At Grand Central’s Great Northern Food Hall, Excellent Options Abound

Source: Grub Street NY

Like many food courts, Grand Central’s Great Northern Food Hall has a cinnamon bun. But it’s not what you think. This cinnamon bun is called a kanelsnurr (roughly “cinnamon spinning thing” in Norwegian). And it’s almost as notable for what it’s not (a colossal More »

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Té Company Offers an Oolong Education and Stunning Seasonal Small Plates

Source: Grub Street NY

Té Company

Tearooms are not known for their food. You’ve had one crustless sandwich and lackluster scone, you’ve had ’em all — or so the thinking goes. Well, that thinking became obsolete when Elena Liao and her husband, Frederico Ribeiro, opened their tiny West Village tearoom, Té Company, last fall. Rather than traffic in trendy matchas, Liao made the oolongs of her native Taiwan her mission, sourcing directly from farmers, brewing each pot with laser focus and effortless grace, and spreading the gospel of this overlooked category to anyone willing to listen.

So we hope Liao won’t take offense ...

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Underground Gourmet Review: A Colombian Expat Forges Her Own Cuisine at Maite

Source: Grub Street NY


Maite

You can often detect a restaurant’s DNA in its menu or décor — those formative influences from prior kitchens that shape the course of a chef’s career. In the case of Maite (pronounced MY-tay), which opened this winter in Bushwick, the Underground Gourmet, working like a culinarily inclined Holmes and Watson, quickly determined that there was a certain familiar melding of Mediterranean flavors with a few Latin American accents and a mismatched, rough-hewn rusticity to the room that evoked Noho institution Il Buco. And then there were the empanaditas: crisp-shelled and plump corn-flour pockets served hot from the ...

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Underground Gourmet Review: New Pop-Ups Lakh Lakh and Mr. Curry Celebrate Far-Off Flavors of Home

Source: Grub Street NY


Lakh Lakh

Today’s enterprising chefs have a multitude of ways to crack the competitive culinary market—a food truck, for instance, or a Smorgasburg stand, or a stall in one of the ever-proliferating food courts. And then there’s the trusty pop-up, the occasional meal staged in a borrowed setting and designed to road-test a concept or lure investors for future ­permanent locations.

The chief attraction of the pop-up is its limited availability, with the promise of an ephemeral taste of one passionate cook’s seldom-seen handiwork. Hence Brooks Headley’s foray from fine-dining pastry into meat-free patties at Superiority Burger, Mark Ladner’s ...

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Underground Gourmet Review: The Cooking at Vic’s is Big, Bold, and Batali-esque

Source: Grub Street NY

One of the hands-down best dishes the Underground Gourmet has tucked into this year is Hillary Sterling’s “crispy eggplant, dried tomato, Parmigiano-Reggiano” at Vic’s. It consists of inchwide strips of eggplant sliced paper-thin, soaked in buttermilk, dredged in rice flour, then fried before being blasted seemingly by paint gun with Parmesan and a crumbly powder made from oven-dried tomatoes, chiles, orange, and marjoram. Essentially, it’s eggplant parm that’s been alchemized into a crunchy snack food. Doritos, by comparison, are practically bland. The only problem is you’ll have to wait until next summer to get your fix: Sterling, a stickler ...

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Restaurant Review: Surrender to Wilma Jean’s Southern Grub for Northern Palates

Source: Grub Street NY


Wilma Jean

Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the commissioner of New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, shouldn’t blame Robert Newton if Brooklyn’s collective cholesterol count suddenly skyrockets. Nor should she find him at fault if that borough is seized by a gout epidemic. After all, at Newton’s recently shuttered Seersucker restaurant, the Le Cirque vet and Arkansas native tried to get New Yorkers to appreciate a more refined, less clichéd (and not-so-artery-clogging) version of southern cooking. In pursuit of that goal, he supplemented what he called his “cleaned-up southern” menu with rigorously sourced ingredients and not a few ...

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Restaurant Review: At Wilma Jean, the Southern Chef Surrenders to New York’s Fried-Chicken Fixation

Source: Grub Street NY


Wilma Jean

Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the commissioner of New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, shouldn’t blame Robert Newton if Brooklyn’s collective cholesterol count suddenly skyrockets. Nor should she find him at fault if that borough is seized by a gout epidemic. After all, at Newton’s recently shuttered Seersucker restaurant, the Le Cirque vet and Arkansas native tried to get New Yorkers to appreciate a more refined, less clichéd (and not-so-artery-clogging) version of southern cooking. In pursuit of that goal, he supplemented what he called his “cleaned-up southern” menu with rigorously sourced ingredients and not a few ...

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The Underground Gourmet: Former Shirtless Abercrombie & Fitch Greeter Brings Real Panini to Greenwich Village

Source: Grub Street NY


Mario Pesce’s panini shop is a family business.

The Italians, as everyone knows, have proprietary feelings about their foodstuffs — especially the holy trinity of pizza, pasta, and panini. And so you might look at Greenwich Village’s new La Panineria Italiana as part sandwich shop, part culinary lesson. (The shop’s name leaves no doubt as to what patrons should expect.) It’s one of a slew of new enterprises on West 8th Street, the up-and-coming strip that seems to be in a perpetual state of renewal. And it’s the manifestation of a lifelong dream of owner Mario Pesce, a native Neapolitan ...

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The Underground Gourmet: Emmett’s Serves Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza With a Side of Midwestern Nice

Source: Grub Street NY


Emmett's restaurant interior: Click to expand

One recent Saturday night, the wait for a seat at Emmett’s, a new South Village spot that specializes in Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, was being quoted by Dillon Burke, the barkeep brother of owner Emmett Burke, as two hours. That’s not unheard of in a town where people rise at dawn to form a line for the chance to buy six Cronuts. But that’s not all. After you’ve scored a seat, even before you’ve taken off your coat, Dillon politely asks you to consider placing your pizza order right now, as it takes 35 minutes ...

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The Underground Gourmet on Empire Biscuit, the Nugget Spot, and Potatopia

Source: Grub Street NY


Empire Biscuit restaurant interior: Click to expand

Have you ever been to a friend’s home for dinner and complimented her by saying something along the lines of “Wow, this tuna casserole is terrific! You ought to open a restaurant that serves only tuna casserole, but in 146 permutations!” Well, the number of people carelessly tossing off these sorts of remarks, oblivious to the consequences and never expecting that their hosts will actually take them up on it, must be on the rise. That, anyway, is one of the Underground Gourmet’s theories explaining the sudden increase of the micro-specialist novelty snackaurant. Three ...

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The Underground Gourmet: At Martha, a Sandwich Specialist Ditches the Bread, Pours on the Fish Sauce

Source: Grub Street NY


Martha's restaurant interior: Click to expand

Funny to think that future generations may grow up unaware of not only what a newspaper or a television is—let alone an 8-track tape—but also how terrified their ancestors were of Brussels sprouts. That was the thought that crossed the minds of the Underground Gourmet as we tucked into a dish of the pungent little cabbages at Martha, a homey, inviting, sort-of-new restaurant located along a leafy stretch of Fort Greene’s restaurant row. The Brussels in question were sliced in half and deeply charred, some would say burnt, but deliciously so. They came mingled ...

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The Underground Gourmet on Archie & Sons: Simple Food for Complicated Times

Source: Grub Street NY


Archie and Son's restaurant interior: Click to expand

In this supercharged

culinary wonderland of Cronuts and Umami Burgers, is there room for an old-fashioned tuna melt? That is the question posed by Archie & Sons, a throwback luncheonette recently sprouted just off St. Marks Place. Here, the bacon is not artisanal, the bread is not house-baked, and nothing is vaguely seasonal. (The Horman’s Best pickles are local, though—they come from Glen Cove, Long Island.) In the grand but waning tradition of New York landmarks like B & H Dairy and Eisenberg’s, Archie & Sons offers no-frills comfort in unfussy surroundings and ...

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The Underground Gourmet: Three Stars Each for Umami Burger and Sweetgreen

Source: Grub Street NY



Umami Burger restaurant interior: Click to expand

The first New York branch of the popular Los ­Angeles-based Umami Burger chain flung open its doors in Greenwich Village this summer, and judging by the three-hour opening-week waits and general frenzy of excited burger nerds, it’s about time. In a nutshell, umami, or the elusive fifth taste (after sweet, salty, sour, and bitter), is the savory flavor sensation associated with foods like beef, soy sauce, and Parmesan cheese. And Umami Burger owner Adam Fleischman is its biggest fan. What Colonel Sanders is to eleven herbs and spices, Fleischman is to umami. Like the ...

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The Underground Gourmet on Café Nadery and El Aripo Café, Two Humble Oases of Expat Culture

Source: Grub Street NY


Cafe Nadery restaurant interior: Click to expand
It has been quite some time since Greenwich Village — let alone 8th Street — represented artistic bohemia, political activism, or much of anything beyond NYU bloat and Magnolia cupcakes. But the seventeen Iranian-American shareholders who form the collective ownership of Café Nadery felt the enduringly schlocky block between Fifth and Sixth Avenues was the perfect home for their new public clubhouse, a Wi-Fi-equipped haven for art exhibits, film screenings, live music, and political debate. Its illustrious namesake, Naderi Café, opened in Tehran in 1928 and became for a time the city’s reigning literary and intellectual hangout. Although it was ...

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