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by Mik
It appears to be Tapas week here on the Gastronomist.

Boqueria, a relatively new spanish restaurant in the historic Flatiron district. Ever since its arrival, it has been earned rave reviews from numerous New York media, including but not limited to the New York Times, New York Post and the New York Magazine.

The restaurant is simply designed, enhanced by the warm glow of overhanging light bulbs. Named after the Boqueria market in Barcelona, it was no surprise that the menu names reflected its strong spanish influence.

Unfortunately, the famous quail eggs were sold out by the time we got there. Nevertheless, the rest of the Tapas did not fail to impress. Served up quickly, the exquisite arrangement of each individual dish was colorful and full of texture, whipping up one’s appetite instantaneously.

The Patatas Bravas (crispy potatoes) was crispy and hot with just enough seasoning to tantalizes one’s taste buds. Meanwhile, the Croquetas Cremosas (creamy croquettes) was absolutely perfect, melting in the mouth almost immediately after biting into it. The Pintxos Morunos (grilled lamb), served up on toasted bread, was one of the best lamb-on-a-stick I have ever eaten. The only complaint here would be that it was not served warm.



As for the specials of the day, the Coles de Bruselas (brussels sprouts) made me fall in love with brussels sprouts. It was not overcooked, a common problem with brussels sprouts, and was seasoned just enough to make it tasty. The Sardina y Alubias (Sardine) was given a thumbs up by those who ate it and the Soldaditos de Pavia (Saffron battered Hake) was definitely the best fried fish I have eaten in the longest time.



The Parlla Valenciana, the other thing on the menu that we tried that wasn’t Tapas was also absolutely fabulous. The rice was cooked to perfection, with a sauce that was both tangy and tantalizing. The mussels and clams were so fresh and did not require any lemon to mask the usual seafood smell.

All in all, Boqueria was a great experience and for its prices, it is definitely a great bargain. You will definitely see me visiting this wonderful, charming little restaurant soon enough.

53 west 19th Street

by Nathan

The idea of tapas has always appealed to me. I mean, there is so much variety and everyone eats from the same plate, what more could one ask for right? I think we tried up to fifteen different dishes. The better ones (and the ones that simply photograph better- the brie was delish but just wasn’t photogenic) are featured here.



A wine flight to start the meal off. I chose a selection of white wine–the riesling was a tad sweet, and I also ordered sangria, which was alright.


My favorite dish from spain–patata bravas. They were tasty but I was a little concerned about the burnt skin.


Definitely one of the highlights–shrimp sauteed with garlic and sherry.


The clams were nice too. But since we were sharing, I only got to eat one.


Salmon with beetroot. I’m just not a fan of beetroot. The fish was unspectacular.


My all time favorite dessert–panna cotta. Garnished with grapefruit and tangerine, it simply melted in my mouth.


Jac’s favorite, the chocolate souffle. Honestly, it was more like a molten lava cake. The flavor also wasn’t consistent from one souffle to another. Hah hah.

116 N Aurora St
Ithaca, NY

by Morris

Ask anyone from the East Bay where you can get the best Japanese food in the area, and chances are Kirala will come to mind. It’s easy to walk past Kirala and not notice it since it doesn’t have a decent signboard and the entrance is rather concealed. Nonetheless, once you enter, you’ll most likely see a huge crowd of a mix of locals, some college students and many Japanese (this often makes me wonder where do they all come from). And truly, the telltale sign for good ethnic restaurant is people of the same ethnicity patronizing it. Here, you get quality service by Japanese waitresses who are quick to respond to your orders. A minimum spending of $10 on sushi will also get you sitting by the sushi bar where you get to admire the art of sushi making by Japanese chefs.

From tempura to sushi, authentic Japanese ryori can’t possibly go wrong here. The katsu don, which is not at all oily and has a hearty layer of fried onions on top of the rice, brings back traveling memories in Tokyo. The soba is excellent and refreshing as well. Though of course, no soba I’ve tried so far can better Shimbashi Soba in the basement of Orchard Paragon (I’ll leave this to Bobby to review).This review is actually pretty lacking in the actual review department but I’m lazy and so I shall let pictures speak for themselves.

Tempura with soba.


Seafood tempura combo.

Kirala, 2100 Ward Street, Berkeley

by Mik

天仁 is a popular taiwanese bubble tea chain that somehow found its way to New York City. Having tried it in Taipei itself, I couldn’t help wondering whether the american chain can live up to its taiwanese namesake. Unfortunately, from experience, most american counterparts of asian restaurants are often, sadly, lacking as compared to their asian locations.

Upon entering the store, one is greeted by a list of top ten most popular drinks that New Yorkers often order and the writers of this blog ventured to try three of them (from L to R in the picture):

1. Japanese Green Tea (No.3 in popularity)

2. Passionfruit Green Tea (No.8 in popularity)

3. King’s Tea (No.2 in popularity)

Bubble tea

Upon first taste, the tea is smooth and well mixed, a perfect blend of sweetness and the bitterness of good green tea. Refreshing yet not too bland, the tea was a thumb’s up. Next up, the mainstay of bubble tea – the tapioca pearls. The pearls were soft yet chewy, with just enough of a texture to keep them from sticking together, which frequently occurs when the pearls are overcooked. In fact, all friends of mine who have tried the Japanese Green Tea have agreed that it is one of the best bubble tea they have drank in ages. In all, 天仁 was a good experience. Now, granted that one is in New York City and not in Taiwan, I will have to say that if one craves bubble tea while in NYC, 天仁 is definitely the place to go.

On a side note, the instant green tea powder mix is also a hit with many. A little on the thick side, but it gives all the strong flavorful cleansing power that one ever needs from a green tea.

天仁名茶 :
75 Mott Street
New York City, NY 10013

by Nathan


[picture from gothamist]

I guess I’m a David Chang fan. I’ve been to the Momofuku noodle bar three times (out of like, the six times I went to the City) and it always impresses the people I bring with me. I still enjoy dipping my somen into the cold broth, and the new larger location is less claustrophobic. So I just had to try the Ssam bar, which Mr Chang opened after the success of the first restaurant. I didn’t know what to expect, having read little about it, except that it is a new take on the asian burrito.

Anyway, the place is as usual, pretty inconspicuous from the outside. The interior is dark and appropriately filled with asian yuppies. The menu is like an asian version of tapas. It only occurred to us that we were supposed to order a few dishes and share them after the waiter told us. Service was good and enthusiastic.

And on to the food: They have the trademark Momofuku steamed buns. We didn’t try them, but I would expect it to be as good as the ones in Momofuku. This is a meat lovers’ paradise and there is a wide variety of ham. The ssam is actually a wrap done in the korean way. We had a ssam with grilled lemongrass pork sausage, fish sauce and bibb lettuce, and we had to sprinkle the sauce all over the meat and wrap it up with the lettuce. The sausage was tender and tangy, thanks to the lemongrass. We also had curried rice cakes, which really fill you up. I wouldn’t recommend that one. Then there was a fish, which was ok.

If I were to go there again, I would probably be more adventurous (and more willing to spend) and order the shellfish and ham. I also heard that there is a special late night menu.

207 2nd Ave and 13th St , New York