An Italian Culinary Experience in New York with Zonin and Circo

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

 

 International Culinary Center, SoHo

Chef Alfio Longo and Marco Maccioni

Chef Alfio Longo and Marco Maccioni


Casa Vinicola Zonin
hosted an inspiring dinner at the International Culinary Center in SoHo highlighting wine from a selection of their wineries with the acclaimed Circo restaurant, bringing a true taste of Italy to New York City.

 

Marco Maccioni represented Circo at the event, the Maccioni family’s tribute to the woman behind it all – Mrs. Egidiana Maccioni.  He told stories of growing up with a father in the restaurant business, doing fine Italian when no one else was and of his mother who did her best to keep a traditional Italian household in the midst of it all. The food served, embodied just that – the home grown nature of the Circo restaurant and the woman who continues to call all the shots there.  Zonin’s humble and versatile wines paired seamlessly with the down to earth fare.

Tuna salad rolled into a thinly sliced pork tenderloin

Tuna salad rolled into a thinly sliced pork tenderloin


A simple tuna salad rolled into a thinly sliced pork tenderloin was a surprisingly fresh start to the meal and was paired with an equally as refreshing, yet full bodied wine – Zonin’s Vermentino Calasole –  IGT Maremma 2011 vintage.  Chef Alfio Longo was a charming addition to the presentation as he showed how to prepare the dish as we all cleared our plates.

 

Pasta paccheri all anatra, zucca, funghi

Pasta paccheri all anatra, zucca, funghi

A presentation by the DelVerde Pasta Sommelier was next, his thick Italian accent making everything he said about the pasta making process that much more believable.  Delverde’s paccheri pasta stood front and center in the next dish served, creating a bed of pasta for the braised duck, butternut squash, and mushroom delicately laid on top.  The wine featured with this course was an amalgamation of grapes from two of Zonin’s estates – The Berengario Zonin, a cabernet sauvignon and merlot blend – the dry red paired well with the richness of the braised duck.

 

Zonin’s Chianti Classico, 2009 vintage stood up to the next dish of a slow cooked Italian style tripe with artichoke, mellowing the rich flavors of both ingredients.

 

Italian style tripe with artichoke

Italian style tripe with artichoke

While I’m sure we could have all stayed far into the night to listen to more of Mr. Maccioni’s childhood tales of smuggling white truffles and salumi through customs and into the United States, the night ended with a classic tiramisu and an interesting Rosato blend of Moscato Bianco and Pinot Noir grapes from Zonin’s Castello del Poggio winery.

 

Galli brings new meaning to brunch

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

Galli
45 Mercer Street
SoHo
212.966.9288/gallirestaurant.com

Galli

Grapefruit @ Galli

If you close your eyes you can almost imagine yourself in the swank SoHo apartment you don’t have – a wide open space with 20 foot floor to ceiling windows, bathed in the morning sun as you sit at your breakfast table leisurely sipping a cappuccino and enjoying a croissant… At least that’s what I envisioned when I was delivered my cappuccino and croissant at Galli – a restaurant who prides itself on a neighborhood atmosphere serving Italian comfort food.

Galli launched its Buon Giorno menu this year, just in time for the first glimpse of Spring.  A light cafe style menu comprised mostly of fruit, yogurt, and pastries.  As I sat enjoying the simplicity of my half grapefruit sprinkled with raw sugar, I looked around the dining room to see only a few tables occupied – those who did have people at them were couples with young babies.  Although I had admittedly never put much thought into where a young couple with a new baby went if they wanted to treat themselves to brunch, I was happy to see that it was at Galli.  A type of safe haven – a family place accented by photographs from the owners’, Steve Gallo (Brio Downtown) and Michael Forrest, own family albums.

 

Galli2

House-made granola with Greek yogurt and berries @ Galli

Breakfast continued with fresh berries, Greek yogurt, and granola – a light and healthy way to start the day.  Bistro tables at the front of the restaurant near the bar are the perfect place to enjoy the homemade granola and the people watching of Mercer Street – the back dining room; the perfect place to hide out and soak up the sun streaming in from the skylights.
I often seek out neighborhood type places where I can enjoy breakfast without being rushed and leave not feeling like I just consumed my body weight in bacon and eggs or indulged in the all-you-can-drink brunch, which seems to run so rampant these days, leaving nothing of my Sunday but a sleepy lump on the couch.  After Galli, I am ready to take on the city – run those errands I have been meaning to run for the past three weeks or take a long walk to enjoy the beauty of the city at the first signs of spring.

Galli on Urbanspoon

Tennessee Whiskey for Lovers – Raising the Bar

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

So George Dickel is trying to break into the New York market? I think it’s about time another Tennessee whiskey rode into town.

Literally “Raising” the bar @ Dickel’s SoHo Party

Literally “Raising” the bar @ Dickel’s SoHo Party

George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey hosted a party last week in SoHo for the top mixologists in town touting their new offerings as well as showing off their tried and true recipes. Their new campaign ‘Raising the Bar’, does just that. It raises the bar, not necessarily on Tennessee whiskey itself, but on what most people know Tennessee whiskey to be; an already syrupy liquor best served mixed with cola. Dickel’s repertoire of four varieties provides a crisp, small batch take on Tennessee whiskey it’s George Dickel Rye, the newest member of the family.

The whiskey was surprisingly versatile with featured cocktails from some of NYC’s best ranging from a mojito-like ‘shake’ by Giuseppe Gonzales (Golden Cadillac) to a vibrant punch from Julie Reiner of Clover Club and even a twist on the Sherry Twist no. 2 from TJ Lynch (Mother’s Ruin). While each was decidedly inspired by the subject matter, Dickel’s products run the gamut from smooth and aged to earthy and spicy – all while remaining true to strict Tennessee Whiskey guidelines.

What sets Dickel apart?

Each batch of Dickel whiskey is chilled to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, double distilled, and filtered through a charcoal mellowing process before aging making each batch of Dickel the same as the last. With only a handful of people working at the facility, Dickel prides itself on being a small batch, hand-crafted distillery producing only a tenth of its capacity last year. John Lunn, master distiller for Dickel is only the 3 third set of hands Dickel has run through since its rebirth in 1958 ensuring that Dickel stays true to its roots.

George Dickel 2

Frozen Mint “Shake” – Photo courtesy of George Dickel Whiskey

Frozen Mint “Shake” – Giuseppe Gonzales

• 1.3 oz. Dickel 12

• .75 oz. Lime

• 1 oz. simple

• Mint leaves.

• 1 Dash of angostura bitters

Blend until texture is thick. Pour into baby coupes. Garnish with mint sprigs. Serve with Long straw.

Glass: Coupe

Garnish: Mint sprigs

Tennessee Rose Punch - Julie Reiner

Tennessee Rose Punch – Julie Reiner

• 18 oz. lemon juice

• 6 oz. ginger syrup

• 12 ounces raspberry syrup

• 1 – 750ml bottle Dickel Rye

• 6 oz. Amaro Nonino

• 24 oz. Ruby Slipper tea (Serendipitea makes this)

• 18 oz club soda

Large block of ice

Tennessee Rose Punch – Photo courtesy George Dickel Whiskey

The Classy Mother – TJ Lynch

• 1.25 oz. Dickel Rye

• .50 oz. Gutierrez Colosia Oloroso Dry Sherry

• .25 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao

• 2 dashes Regans orange bitters

• 2 dashes chocolate bitters

Stirred and served up

Flamed orange peel and Luxardo cherry garnish

 

 

Home of Manhattan’s Best Banh Mi Sandwich – Review of Sao Mai

BY ELENA MANCINI

203 First Ave.
East Village
(212) 358-8880 / Sao Mai 

East of the East Village bustle and trendiness, this family-run East Village Vietnamese restaurant serves traditional Vietnamese fare and the best Banh Mi Sandwiches on the Manhattan side of the East River.

Vegetarian Bahn Mi

Available in six varieties including pho, sliced pork, grilled chicken and vegetarian, these sandwiches make a quick, nutritious, flavor-packed meal that’s easy on the wallet (priced between $6-$7). The Bahn Mi are prepared on baguettes are consistently fresh and crusty with a soft and chewy middle. Independent of the filling you choose, the kitchen always strikes the right balance between bread and ingredients. Their vegetarian Bahn Mi is among my favorite comfort-food lunches. Prepared on two warm halves of choice baguette, they’re stuffed with toothsome strands of sauteed bok choy, straw mushrooms, seedless cucumbers, shredded carrot and abundant swaths of cilantro, the sandwiches and seasoned with lemongrass,  sriracha mayonnaise, that provides a subtle and reverberating pitch of complex heat. In sum, it’s a light, filling lunch that delivers high-flavor rewards.

Pho’ Sao Mai

Front: Summer Rolls; Far: Spring Rolls

Lest one think Sao Mi is just about Bahn Mi, flavor mavens and fans of traditional Vietnamese fare will find other  sections of its menu will prove well worth exploring. The Pho Sao Mai will not disappoint. A flavorful broth, rich in tender strips of brisket, sprouts, rice noodles and a medley of herbs will consistently hit the spot. Adding appeal to  Sao Mi’s attractions is its steal of a lunch menu, which includes the choice of an appetizer, entree and a soft drink, all for $10. Sweetening things further,  both the Bahn Mi and the Pho are included in this deal!

Ga Gary – Chicken Curry

With a wide variety of vegetarian options on its menu, Sao Mai is also a smart choice for a low-key dinner that guarantees value, quality and flavor. Pity that wait staff has not yet mastered the walk-in dinner crowd on weekends. During these times, the  friendly service  can turn into a source of frustration for those who do not suffer extended waits and uneven food delivery times lightly.

Sao Mai on Urbanspoon

What’s On… MacDougal? (btwn Prince and W Houston)

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

What’s On… MacDougal? (btwn Prince and W Houston)
Soho

Think of MacDougal Street and think of the heart of the Village.  That is, until you step south of Houston Street where MacDougal becomes a sleepy, more refined version of itself.  Named for Senator and the first president of the Bank of New York, Alexander MacDougall, MacDougal Street has been a fixture in the fame and overall boheme essence of Greenwich Village.  The 1950s brought with it, such literary greats as E.E. Cummings, William S. Burroughs, and Dylan Thomas who used Greenwich Village as their muse; and  the 1960s saw Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix strum some of their first public chords on this street, leading the way for a whole new take on rock music.

Fried chicken at Hundred Acres

38 MacDougal Street – Hundred Acres
You’ll feel like you’re at home (if your home looked like a French Country style restaurant) at Hundred Acres, whose menu sports the farm to table mantra dishing out comfort food done right.  The neighborhood feel and solid menu (with something for everyone) keeps the regulars coming back for more.  *Try the pork chop or fried chicken for dinner.

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Exterior @ Rouge et Blanc

48 MacDougal Street – Rouge et Blanc

While the sleek wood exterior may deter some, a few steps inside Rouge et Blanc and you’ll feel  completely different.  The French-Vietnamese food, and atmosphere are both welcoming and serene.  The tapas style menu can add up (as they always seem to) – try the fried brussel sprouts or the grilled quail and don’t miss out on the Gateau au Chocolat for dessert!

Rouge et Blanc on Urbanspoon

 51 MacDougal Street – Something Special

Grab a cup of coffee while you’re waiting for your ‘something special’ to be notarized.  This Village notary has bee a fixture here, for as long as anyone can remember.  There are mailboxes for rent, convenient,  if you’re trying to live under the radar like Something Special’s celebrity clientele.

56 MacDougal Street – 12 Chairs
The Israeli-Russian menu inspired menu at 12 Chairs is best suited for a lunch date with large salads and plenty of hummus to go around.  During the nice weather, this place always has a crowd due to the front doors they open creating a breezy hangout with nice street view.  It’s easy to linger with a cup of nana tea and some good company.

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58 MacDougal Street – Comodo

At the (very) recently opened Comodo, it’s all about family – and they’ll make you feel like you’re part of theirs.  The family run restaurant serves inspired Latin cuisine in a comfortable and friendly atmosphere.  Stop by to check out this new spot for yourself, just don’t forget to try to lamb sliders while you’re there!

Comodo on Urbanspoon

 

What’s On… Lafayette Street (btwn Spring and Kenmare)

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

What’s On… Lafayette Street (btwn Spring and Kenmare)
Soho

In uber trendy Soho, there are plenty of places that are all trend and no substance. Fortunately for us, Lafayette Streethas some can’t miss food finds – a welcome break to the plethora of shopping in the area. Stop by the Cleveland Place park for a second (that’s all it’ll take to check out this small piece of green), named for President Grover Cleveland who was also at one time the governor of New York City. Other noteworthy, if not morbid, places of interest on the block include former bar, The Falls, where graduate student Imette St. Guillen was last seen leaving with the bouncer who later raped and murdered her and the home of famed NYC DJ, DJ AM who was found dead in his apartment at 210 Lafayette.

Linguine with Clams at Café Select

212 Lafayette Street – Cafe Select
This European style bistro attracts the European style hipster set. The pleasant atmosphere complements the solid menu and carefully selected wine list, making Cafe Select a hot spot no matter what the time of day. Stop by for brunch and try the Croque Monsieur, but don’t forget your reservation or you might be in for a long wait!

Café Select on Urbanspoon

 218 Lafayette Street – Osteria Morini

This upscale Italian is the brainchild of talented chef Michael White . The rustic Northern Italian fare pays homage to Chef White’s time spent under his mentor, Gianluigi Morini in the Emilia-Romagna region ofItaly. Don’t leave without trying the pasta (any dish is worth your time), or any one of the antipasti and leave full – very full.

Osteria Morini on Urbanspoon

222 Lafayette Street- Subway
This sandwich chain is slowly taking over the city. Where there was once a Starbucks on every corner, there is now a Subway on every block!

222 Lafayette Street – Ed’s Lobster Bar
The lobster roll at Ed’s Lobster Bar rivals most that can be found on the New England coastline. It’s a bold statement, but when you take the first bite you’ll surely understand. Chef/owner Ed McFarland creates other New England Summertime favorites such as clam chowder and whole bellied fried clams at this flagship location as well as two other smaller outposts (Battery Park City and Lower East Side).

Ed's Lobster Bar on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

224 Lafayette Street – Jack’s Wife Freda
Jack’s Wife Freda’s cuisine can only be understood by looking at where husband and wife team, Dean and Maya Jankelowitz have come from. The menu blends Israeli and South African food in a way that only your grandmother could. The understated, simple (yet not cold) decor lends itself to the young and beautiful who romp Soho, but should be enjoyed by all. Great for brunch (try the Shakshuka), but go for dinner if you want to avoid most of the crowd.

Osteria Morini on Urbanspoon

62 Spring Street – Spring Street Natural
While this sprawling restaurant calls Spring Street home, its windows and outdoor seating take a good chunk of real estate fromLafayette. Established in 1973, Spring Street Natural has been a fixture in the diets of Soho residents for longer than most can say – which is a good thing; Spring Street Natural focuses on minimally processed, organic whole foods (a step ahead of its time, I’d say) with reasonable prices to boot. No wonder why this place is always crowded.

Spring Street Natural on Urbanspoon

Nespresso takes foodies on caffeine-fueled flight

BY BETH KAISERMAN

Nespresso Mojito

Nespresso affogato

Nespresso provided a delightful tour of their company Tuesday night at their SoHo store.

Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi led the airplane-themed journey, which included espresso mojitos and martinis, three espresso samples, and a tray of tasty bites. Dessert was Lakshmi’s delicious take on the Italian affogato — this one with espresso over vanilla ice cream, drizzled with caramel and chocolate bits.

Lakshmi talked about the warmth coffee brings to life — invigorating conversation and providing comfort.

“Coffee brings people together,” she said. “Senses of smell are the first tools that Mother Nature really gives us to experience.”

To captivate that wonderful warmth, we tried three varieties of Nespresso. The Nespresso types are known as Grand Cru, as they are grown under the most suitable conditions.

My favorite was Indriya from India, bold and with a hint of chocolate. The blend is actually from Lakshmi’s hometown, and would pair well with a cinnamon bun, she said.

The event was helpful in understanding espresso, and though I’m not yet halting my morning French press action, I look forward to enjoying more espresso as well.

Delicatessen Summer In Soho Tasting Event – Review of Delicatessen

BY STEPHANIE AMY COLLAZO

Delicatessen
54 Prince St
Soho
212-226-0211 / delicatessennyc.com

Downstairs seating area. Photo provided by Delicatessen.

            Delicatessen is known for being a NYC eater’s favorite stop for their lobster mac and cheese, but unknown to the general public if you slink your way through the crowd and down the stairs hidden in plain view you will find yourself in an entirely different atmosphere. 

            Entering the downstairs dining area of Delicatessen you find yourself surrounded by bright lights and a green seating area.  Looking for a taste of their signature cocktail of the night, I made my way to the mini bar tucked away down a short hallway near the bathroom area.  Once inside the dimly lit bar I admired the dark décor featuring black walls lined with a variety of glass bottles. 

Minibar. Photo provided by Delicatessen.

            While waiting for the bartender to make me a “Tilly,” fresh strawberries and lime muddled together with pomegranate and Satisfaction vodka, a line quickly developed behind me and didn’t dissipate until the end of the night.  This cocktail was amazing to say the least, you could barely taste the alcohol, which makes it dangerous for the careless drinker.  The flavors of the mint, strawberry and pomegranate meshed well making for the perfect summer cocktail.

Flash Fried Tuna Avocado Roll. Photo provided by Delicatessen.

            I decided to take a seat in the mini bar area, which could hold up to 20 seated guests.  Soon after I was joined by a fellow food blogger and the waiters began to bring out the long awaited sampling menu.  We first sampled the Flash Fried Tuna Avocado Roll ($14) which came with a creamy sambal chili sauce.  My acquaintance, who is not a fan of tuna, loved this dish.  We had to have about three pieces each, it was so good.

Tempura Mozzarella and Tomato Salad. Photo provided by Delicatessen.

            Next we had the Tempura Mozzarella and Tomato Salad.  The tempura mozzarella added a different texture element that was unexpected, but greatly appreciated.  After about four samplings of the mozzarella and tomato, we received the Pork Mole Tacos ($11).  The pork in the tacos was so juicy that I needed two napkins, but I am not complaining.

Sweet Sesame Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Photo provided by Delicatessen.

            While we didn’t get to try the Smoked Chicken Tacos ($11) that we had read about in the sample menu, we did receive a sample of the Sweet Sesame Chicken Lettuce Wraps ($10).  I found these a bit difficult to eat as they were tiny and the juice from the chicken dripped everywhere.  The chicken was sweet with a hint of spice, I would have liked them a bit more if they were bigger and less messy, but I have no complaints about the flavor. 

            Next we got a chance to sample three desserts off of the new menu.  First we tried the Cheesecake Lollipop, which is included in their “Hostess” Dessert Plate ($9).  The Cheesecake Lollipop was coated in white chocolate and the cheesecake filling was smooth and a bit lemony.  Following the cheesecake was the Chocolate Layer Cake ($10), this was your basic chocolate cake layered with chocolate ganache, very rich and dense.  Last but certainly not least was the Maple Bacon Beignet ($9).  I had been waiting for this since I arrived and I was not disappointed.  This dessert combined two of my favorite things bacon and crème anglaise.  The beignet was kind of like a bacon donut and the bourbon crème anglaise that they served on the side for dipping was the perfect glaze for that donut. 

            Though this was my first time visiting Delicatessen it certainly will not be my last.

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What’s On… Crosby Street?

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

What’s On… Crosby Street?

Downtown Manhattan

Photo by Carolyn Onofrey

Bordering Soho, Nolita, Little Italy, Chinatown and the West Village, Crosby Street is best known for its wide (though not overwhelming) selection of high-end boutiques where you can get anything ranging from a designer handbag and lingerie to refurbished vintage furniture and stationary. The west side of the block is a part of the historic cast iron district of New York; the east side however, unfortunately did not make the cut due to a large fire in 1884 destroying a large portion of the block.  Crosby Street is still a wonderfully quaint area with refined shopping and some great neighborhood food finds, some even paired with the shopping destinations Soho is known for!

9 Crosby Street – Imperial No. 9 (Inside Mondrian SoHo Hotel)

It’s all about the whimsy at Imperial No. 9 where seafood is the name of the game.  Executive chef, Sam Talbot (winner of Top Chef Season 2) created a sustainable seafood menu comprised of sharing plates.  Though some say the atmosphere, complete with mirrored tabletops and glass chandeliers, upstages the food no one can deny it’s a great place to grab a drink with someone you care to impress.

Imperial No. 9 – Photo courtesy M.T. on yelp.com

Imperial No. 9 – Photo courtesy M.T. on yelp.com

 

9 Crosby Street – Mister H (Inside Mondrian Soho Hotel)

Although Mister H has only been for a little over a month now, it is quickly becoming the IT spot with the fashion crowd in Manhattan.  The door may be near impossible, but if you get past the doorman, walk into a vintage inspired Chinese lounge dreamt up by Armin Amiri (mastermind behind, now defunct, Socialista) and dance the night away.

Saturday’s Surf

31 Crosby Street – Saturday’s Surf

Where do you go to buy a surf board in Manhattan?  Saturday’s Surf, of course!  Stop by for an interesting selection of surf inspired apparel, home furnishings, art work, and even coffee.  The baristas are seriously cool Aussie’s who know how to make a mean cup. In nice weather, relax with your coffee in the laid back patio space at the rear of the store.  Gnarly, dude.

33 Crosby Street – In Pursuit of Tea

Selling a large variety of tea by the cup or loose for enjoyment at home, In Pursuit of Tea is a tea shop for the serious tea drinker.  The friendly staff is knowledgeable and more than happy to chat about the product, even offering classes for the tea enthusiast.  Check them out online for a larger selection of all things tea.

33 Crosby Street – Ñ

Upon entering this tiny Spanish tapas restaurant and bar you’ll find it easy to forget you’re in New York, especially on flamenco nights when dancers crowd the tiny bar area for a true treat.  Stay for solid tapas and sangria and get cosy with your company.

On the corner of Crosby and Broome – L’Orange Bleue – 430 Broome Street (Entrance on Crosby)

Another stop in the area with flamenco nights (do I sense I trend here?), as well as other chances for live music, L’Orange Bleue is located in an airy French/Moroccan inspired space.   Simple food accents the great atmosphere.  Come early with friends and stay late.

79 Crosby Street – The Crosby Bar

A part of the swank Crosby Street Hotel, the Crosby Bar is a playful stop on Crosby Street featuring Afternoon Tea and Saturday Night Screenings in their private theater.  The prices are excessively Soho (read: expensive), but for those who can, why not?

On the corner of Crosby and Prince – Savoy - 70 Prince Street

(Entrance on Crosby)

You’ll feel like you’re walking into your parent’s dinning room at Savoy.  The New American cuisine can be hit or miss and when it’s a miss, it’s just not worth the price.  The ever changing seasonal menu and fresh ingredients however, make it a tempting stop when you’re in the neighborhood..

Housing Works Bookstore and Café

126 Crosby Street – Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

The Housing Works Bookstore Cafe is a part of the Housing Works organization; a community for those living with HIV and AIDS.  Proceeds from the Cafe go to the organization.  Stop by and enjoy a cup of coffee while you browse the used bookstore and support a great cause!

The back entrance at Puck Fair

Puck Fair (Back entrance on Crosby) – 298 Lafayette Street

Slip into the back entrance on Crosby or walk around the block for the main entrance, whatever your choice you will be greeted by 20 beers on tap and another 50 in the bottle.  The über beer geek will appreciate the draught beers which are kept at optimal temperature do to a high tech tap system.

A gigantic samosa from Lahore

132 Crosby Street – Lahore Deli

The Lahore Deli lies on the block between Jersey Street and West Houston and serves some super fresh, super flavorful Pakistani food.  Popular for lunch, especially with the Cabbies who often crowd the place, this is a great find if you’re working nearby or craving Pakistani and willing to travel to this otherwise sleepy block.  *Try the chai and samosas (just $1 ea.!) for a late night snack.

 

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Eclectic, Exotic, and Enticing – Review of KITTICHAI

BY STEPHANIE HARRISON

KITTICHAI
60 Thompson Street
Soho
212-219-2000 / kittichairestaurant.com

Kaffir Lime Leaf Pancake topped with maple syrup from KITTICHAI

Authentic isn’t the first word that comes to mind when thinking about this SoHo restaurant. KITTICHAI’s Thai cuisine is eclectic, exotic, and enticing. The lobby of the restaurant has a birdcage filled with fish for goodness sake. This place is Thailand’s home away from home, but with a nice, more upscale twist. Decorated with bamboo and wooden fixtures, it offers an original feel of Asian architecture that provokes a soft-spoken type of conversation. More importantly, the food is the heart of KITTICHAI.

Beginning with the Spicy and Sour Oxtail Soup with Kaffir Lime Leaves and Charred Tomatoes, you can taste every drop of sodium injected into the broth. If you dare to try oxtail, this soup is not a bad first choice. Their brunch menu offers many Thai classics, but it’s more fun to take an alternative route and nibble on something new. The Kaffir Lime Leaf Pancake with lemongrass butter and toppled with maple syrup is sure to get your brain twisted. You normally expect a margarine, sugary taste when it comes to pancakes and syrup, but within moments, the first bite of the pancake is filled with a curry aroma and flavor. If your brain can get over that, then try this fluffy, Thai inspired breakfast.

Delectable duck egg omelette

Following the exotic pancake was the Duck Egg Omelette (bacon, wok-fried morning glory with nam jim jaow sauce) and the Seared Duck Breast (Asian Pear Salad, light soy-vinegar dressing). Both phenomenal, it’s easy and crucial to jump back and forth from one duck to the other. You decide which bite you want taste last.

The Duck Egg Omelette had the perfect crisp combined with a soft fluffy texture of the egg. Dipped in the nam jim jaow sauce, a bit of a sweet and spicy flavor is added to enhance the duck flavors. This is sure to keep your mouth salivating. To take a break from the strong taste, dabble to the jasmine rice topped with lamb bacon on the side for a nice intermission. This dish has to be a popular one of many.

Fresh, thirst quenching seared duck breast

My last bite was decided on the Seared Duck Breast. It was a light, airy crunch with a sweet and sour bite to it. This small dish makes you not want to share even a little at all – you want every single taste of it, trust me. I loved it so much, I honestly had no idea and forget it had Asian pears in it. The light dressing did not overwhelm the natural flavors of the duck, it was just enough to make you want to eat it bite after bite. It is amazing what a simple dish can do – I could eat this everyday for the rest of my life. KITTICHAI’s duck entrees are surefire dishes to sample.

Banana spring rolls with burnt honey ice cream

No meal should end without dessert. Recommended with the Banana spring rolls with burnt honey ice cream – you might as well go home and take a nap after the ridiculously delicious finish. The banana spring rolls are no surprise; they taste exactly like it sounds, sweet, soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside. What is to die for is the burnt honey ice cream. I don’t care how they made it, it’s hands down the best tasting ice cream I’ve ever tried. Just think of the sugar that’s lighted fired on top of a crème brulee, add a touch of honey, and that’s the exact flavor minus however many degrees it takes to make ice cream. Warning: devour the scoop of ice cream before anyone gets a lick of it, or else you’ll regret sharing.

Next time you want Thai food and don’t want to break the bank and buy a air ticket to Thailand, head over to SoHo and treat yourself to KITTICHAI. Don’t miss out on the ice cream and the duck.

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