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February 2008 Archives - Restaurant Girl: Best Food Blog & Restaurant Guide
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Dovetail’s Butterscotch Pudding

Posted on Feb 29, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

By Pastry Chef Vera Tong (Yield: 8 portions) Ingredients: Sugar ¾ cup Water ¼ cup Heavy Cream ¼ cup Muscavado Sugar ½ cup Cornstarch  ½ cup Kosher salt 1 ½ teaspoons Milk 3 cups Egg Yolks 4 Unsalted Cold Butter 4oz and 2 tablespoons ¼ cup Scotch Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon Preparation: Caramelize sugar and water in a heavy bottomed sauce pot until color is deep amber. Meanwhile, heat heavy cream in another saucepan. Slowly add to caramel. In a 4-quart saucepot, combine muscavado sugar, cornstarch, salt, milk, yolks and caramel. Cook on medium flame, whisking constantly until very thick. Immediately transfer pudding to a separate container. Add butter and stir until completely emulsified. Add scotch and vanilla and mix until uniform in texture. Pour into 4 oz ramekins and set in refrigerator for 4 hours (If you prefer...

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Gizmo Girl’s Edge Brownie Pan

Posted on Feb 28, 2008 in Gizmo Girl

For the finicky brownie eater who is partial to the crust – this brownie pan is for you. It’s strategically shaped so every brownie has the crispy and slightly overcooked edges. If you’re not a fan of the edge pieces, consider yourself saved from eating a pan of brownies… Edge Brownie Pan Want to share your favorite kitchen gizmo? Email...

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Q & A With Alfred Portale

Posted on Feb 26, 2008 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

With Gotham Bar & Grill, Alfred Portale has successfully managed to build a 24-year old East Village institution with exemplary modern American fare.  Portale has earned numerous high accolades, including two James Beard Awards and multiple 3-star reviews in the New York Times.  This Wednesday, February 27th, the Careers through the Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) is honoring him at their 10th annual benefit dinner.  Not only a leader in the restaurant industry, but Portale also generously donates time to underserved high school students with culinary aspirations. Portale produces some of the city’s finest “vertically-inclined” dishes, including a roast squab with potato puree, sweet corn, snap peas, pine nuts and a smoked ancho chile sauce as well as juniper-spiced muscovy duck breast with sour cherries, butternut squash puree, foie gras and an apple cider jus. Status: Single/Married/Divorced Married What did...

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Greenwich SteakNBurger Opens in Tribeca

Posted on Feb 26, 2008 in Gourmet Gossip

Owner Stephen LoCastro has transformed what was formerly Tribeca Studio Deli into Greenwich SteakNBurger.  Don’t be deceived by the name as LoCastro (Tre Scalini) to implement an American bistro menu with an impressive selection of gourmet burgers (ten to be exact) and homemade sauces. Highlights include a New Zealand lamb burger with smoked onions, Maryland crab burger, and Sicilian veal burger with sweet potato gnocchi.  There’s also a sizeable bistro menu with a signature “NY steak tartar burger” appetizer, grilled skirt steak with coffee barbecue sauce as well as grilled salmon with balsamic reduction. The 70-seat space is outfitted with cherry hardwood floors, iron chandeliers and Morroccan benches.  Come spring, Greenwich SteakNBurger will also offer al fresco sidewalk seating. Address: 369 Greenwich St., corner of Franklin St. Hours: Mon-Sat, 11a.m.-11p.m., Sun, 11.a.m.-9p.m. Phone: (212)625-1010 Until we eat again, Restaurant...

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Zenkichi

Posted on Feb 26, 2008 in Reviews

A hidden gem in Brooklyn ADDRESS: 77 N. Sixth St.,at Wythe Ave., Brooklyn PHONE: (718) 388-8985 DINNER: Tues.-Sat.,6-11:30 p.m.; Sun., 5:30-11 p.m. CUISINE: Japanese brasserie VIBE: Clandestine speakeasy OCCASION: Romantic date; under-the-radar dining DON’T-MISS DISH: Grilled miso oysters; scallops tempura PRICES: Small plates $5-$14; desserts $6-$6.50 RESERVATIONS: Highly recommended If James Bond were craving Japanese in Brooklyn, I imagine it would look a lot like Zenkichi. An air of mystery and glamour begins at an unmarked wood door on a lonely street corner at the edge of Williamsburg. As you descend a flight of stairs into this three-story labyrinth of corridors, you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled upon some hidden “otherworld” decorated with Japanese lanterns, bamboo and pebble-strewn floors. Diners are escorted to dimly lit wooden booths and secluded from other guests by bamboo shades. There are tabletop call buttons...

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2008 South Beach Wine & Food Festival

Posted on Feb 25, 2008 in Gourmet Gossip

In keeping with a seven-year tradition, swarms of foodies descended on South Beach for the 2008 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food festival this past weekend.  Rachel Ray, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay and Giada DeLaurentis were on hand for the four-day long celebration. Vegetarians need not have attended this year’s “Burger Bash” where guests dined on 17 unique renditions.  Though Radius of Boston officially beat out the competition, other noteworthy competitors included chef Laurent Tourondel (BLT) as well as chef Tim Love (Love Shack), who served up a flavorful patty topped with homemade pickles, bacon and the chef’s signature “love” sauce. The gluttony persisted the following evening at the “BubbleQ” with champagne and barbecue, prepared by Patrick Neely (Neely’s Bar-B-Que), Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill), and Kenny Callaghan (Blue Smoke) – to name only a few. Though it had...

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15 East’s Ikura Shoyu – Soy Marinated Salmon Roe

Posted on Feb 21, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

By Executive Sushi Chef Masato Shimizu (Serves 4) Ingredients for the ikura: 4 oz ikura (salmon roe)  Salt  Yuzu zest Ingredients for dashi jiru: 6 ½ oz   katsuo dashi (bonito broth)  0.3 oz    mirin  0.3 oz    soy sauce To prepare ikura: In a medium bowl, wash roe in salted ice water to separate the eggs then strain.  In a large bowl, wash the roe in fresh cold water and strain.  Repeat three times, straining well each time.  To make dashi jiru: In a medium pot, bring to boil katsuo dashi, mirin and soy sauce.  Chill in an ice water bath. To marinate the ikura: In a medium bowl, combine the washed roe with 1 ounce of dashi jiru.  “Wash” the roe with dashi jiru then strain.  In a large bowl, combine roe with half (about 3 ounces)...

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Q & A With Joe Campanale & Gabe Thompson

Posted on Feb 20, 2008 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

First-time restaurateurs Joe Campanale and Gabe Thompson have recently opened the instantly successful West Village wine bar, dell’anima.  With Thompson in the kitchen and Campanale focused on the wine, the two have formed a partnership that brings a new outlook into the trendy NYC wine bar scene. Campanale brings his experience as a sommelier from Babbo to dell’Anima, where he has not only installed a rigorous Italian wine program, but also leans on his travels through Italy when creating cocktails.  Thompson spent time in various acclaimed kitchens including Le Bernardin and Del Posto, where he perfected the art of homemade pasta, including kabocha squash ravioli with almonds, brown butter and sage, as well as a splendid tagliatelle alla bolognese.   What do you two want to be when you grow up? Joe: I don’t know yet. I’m having so much...

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Bar Boulud

Posted on Feb 19, 2008 in Reviews

Address: 1900 Broadway, near 64th St. Phone: (212) 595-0303 Dinner: Sun.-Thurs., 5-11 p.m; Fri. & Sat., 5 p.m.- midnight; Lunch: Mon.-Fri., noon-3:30 p.m. Cuisine: Contemporary French. Vibe: Bustling wine bar. Occasion: Charcuterie quest; casual UWS dinner. Don’t Miss Dish: Pate grand-mere; braised flatiron steak. Price: Appetizers, $8-$18; entrees, $17-$28; desserts, $6-$12. Reservations: Highly recommended. Chef Daniel Boulud’s new French bistro, which opened across from Lincoln Center, is unlike any other Boulud production. This is the iconic chef’s answer to Manhattan’s demand for informal wine bars. His talent for producing outstanding French cuisine is matched by equally impeccable service (Daniel, Café Boulud). At Daniel (his haute flagship), servers glide gracefully through the dining room. At Bar Boulud, they frantically weave through the narrow quarters, crowded with oenophiles, locals and Boulud devotees. Guests swarm the hostess stand; the less desirable front...

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Buddakan’s Spicy Chocolate Cremeux

Posted on Feb 15, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

(with Roasted Bananas & Whipped Cream) By Pastry Chef Daniel Skurnick Ingredients Chocolate Crémeux Milk 1 c. Heavy Cream  1 c. Cinnamon Sticks 1 each Star Anise 1 each Small Dried Chile 1 ea Egg Yolks 5 each Sugar 1/3 c. Dark Chocolate, chopped 14 oz. Roasted Bananas Bananas 2 each Palm Sugar  1 T. Butter 1 T. Dark Rum 3 T. Sea salt 1/8 t. Preparation: (for the Chocolate Crémeux) In a small sauce pan, bring the milk, cream, and spices to a boil, and then remove from heat.  Allow the milk to cool and the spices to steep for at least 30 minutes.  Strain the spices out of the milk and discard.  Meanwhile, in medium sized bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks.  Return the spiced milk and cream to a boil, then pour over the...

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Gizmo Girl’s Valentine Fondue Set

Posted on Feb 14, 2008 in Gizmo Girl

The reservations are booked and the tables are set, but for those who would rather stay in the comforts of their pajamas tonight, take part in some chocolate fondue and dip your heart out in this ceramic heart shaped bowl with some veggies and sweet fruits. Heart Shaped Fondue Set Want to share your favorite kitchen gizmo? Email...

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Q & A With Josh Eden

Posted on Feb 13, 2008 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Chef/owner Josh Eden has fully embraced the nickname given to him when he worked at upscale French eatery, Jojo.  After twelve years of diligent service in Jean-Georges’ artillery of kitchens, Eden ambitiously launched his first restaurant in SoHo.  Though his training may be in fine French cuisine, his menu is packed with inventive spins on comfort food fare.  He douses codfish and caramelized onions with a rich, gruyere broth, evoking a “French onion soup” twist.  There’s also an outstanding roast chicken with garlicky green beans and mashed potatoes. Status: Single/Married/Divorced Single What did you want to be when you grew up? Fireman How did you get into food? My mother was phys-ed teacher, and she worked three jobs to support us, so she used to fill the freezer at home. I used to come home from school and defrost...

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Bar Blanc

Posted on Feb 12, 2008 in Reviews

Address: 142 W. 10th St., at Waverly Place. Phone: (212) 255-2330. Dinner: Tues.-Sun., 5:30-11 p.m. Closed Mondays. Cuisine: Creative European. Vibe: Stylish lounge. Occasion: Intimate date; chic dining. Don’t Miss Dish: Four-cheese ravioli; ginger-roasted red snapper. Price: Appetizers, $12-$18; entrees, $26-$36; desserts, $10. Reservations: Recommended. Everyone looks beautiful at Bar Blanc. Perhaps it’s the way the candlelight bounces off the polished white tables that casts an unmistakably flattering glow throughout the space. It’s a stylish stage set in the West Village, where diners lounge on shimmery banquettes in the 65-seat dining room. Bar stools wear plush leather and even the servers are fashionably dressed. But make no mistake: Bar Blanc is an ambitious restaurant in a laid-back disguise. This supposed “wine bar” offers a four-course tasting menu ($72) that begins with steamed foie gras and follows with sea scallops...

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Valentine’s Day – Dining Out

Posted on Feb 8, 2008 in Best Of, Spring Eats

It’s getting down to the wire for Valentine’s Day and you can probably write off all the usual dining suspects.  Yes, they’re completely booked.  But there are still plenty of restaurants and some off-the-beaten path spots to celebrate the romantic occasion.  Without further ado… Meskerem 124 MacDougal Street New York, NY 10012 (212) 777-8111 There’s nothing more sensual than eating with your hands.  This dimly lit Ethiopian spot affords an exotic and lowbrow evening, where couples can dine on wonderfully tangy flatbread as well as fiery stews spiced with berbere pepper.  Round out the meal with the spongy rum cake. Saul 140 Smith Street Brooklyn, NY 11201 (718) 935-9844 This intimate spot on Smith Street always manages to dazzle without a hint of pretension.  Chef Saul Bolton issues a refined, five-course meal ($100) for lovers as well as their...

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Gizmo Girl’s Valentine’s Day Stencils

Posted on Feb 7, 2008 in Gizmo Girl

With Valentine’s Day next week, it only seems fitting to tout this romantic cupcake accessory.  Crate & Barrel’s cupcake stencils add an artful finishing touch, as long as you don’t eat all of the batter first.  A nearly foolproof gadget, just place each stencil atop each cupcake, iced or not, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and suddenly you’ll design desserts as crafty as a professional. Valentine Cupcake Stencil Want to share your favorite kitchen gizmo? Email Us. Until we eat again, Restaurant Girl **Don’t forget to subscribe for Restaurant Girl’s Weekly...

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Q & A With Josh Gripper

Posted on Feb 6, 2008 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Pastry chef Josh Gripper has most recently garnered attention for his dazzling creations at A Voce, a prominent Italian newcomer on New York’s dining scene. A native New Yorker, Gripper jump-started his career as a child baking for his family in Queens.  Upon graduating from the New York Art Institute, Josh joined the opening team at downtown Butter, but left soon after to work at Cafe Boulud where he first met chef Andrew Carmellini. He would later team up with Carmellini again at A Voce.  Though this Flatiron destination is often praised for its duck meatballs and homemade pastas, Gripper delivers equally as flavorful desserts, including the “Bomboloni alla Toscana,” Tuscan doughnuts with chocolate sauce, and buttermilk panna cotta with roasted pineapple and basil sorbetto. Status: Single/Married/Divorced Single and dangerous What did you want to be when you grew...

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Dovetail

Posted on Feb 5, 2008 in Reviews

Address: 103 W. 77th St., at Columbus Ave. Phone: (212) 362-3800 Dinner: Mon.-Sat., 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 5:30 pm.-10 p.m. Cuisine: New American Vibe: Understated townhouse Occasion: Destination dining; civilized date Don’t Miss Dish: Salmon a la plancha; grilled venison Price: Appetizers, $12-$16; entrees, $28-$36; desserts, $10. Reservations: Recommended Eating salmon on the upper West Side doesn’t sound particularly thrilling, but at Dovetail it’s a religious experience. The rosy fish, grilled à la plancha, is exhilarated by a creamy horseradish gribiche (egg and mustard sauce) and bursts of caviar. With its buttery finish, it’s an intense and entirely satisfying appetizer. So is much of the sophisticated cooking at Dovetail, a New American restaurant that recently opened up on the upper West Side. Chef-owner John Fraser isn’t concerned with the trend toward hypercasual dining. With a rigorous sherry menu and...

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Best Valentine’s Day Chocolates

Posted on Feb 3, 2008 in Best Of, Spring Eats

If your special someone is the type who gets teary-eyed over those Jared jewelry commercials, she/he will be probably expect a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day.  Of course, you could take the easy way out and grab a Whitman’s Sampler or even Russel Stover’s “Private Reserve” from Duane Reade.  Instead, we suggest you seize the opportunity to indulge in the city’s finest chocolates.  We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite chocolatiers and their truffles: Jacques Torres Chocolate (pictured right) 350 Hudson Street at King Street New York, NY 10014 (212) 414-2462 One of the world’s premier chocolatiers, Torres celebrates Valentine’s Day with his “Champagne Kiss,” a box of champagne-laced chocolates for $15.  Torres takes a more daring turn with its dark chocolate sauce labeled “Love Tonic” and raspberry “Body Paint,” both for $9. Roni Sue’s Chocolates...

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Abboccato’s Spaghettini with Razor Clams & Bottarga

Posted on Feb 1, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

By Chef de Cuisine Jake Addeo (Yield – 4 portions) Ingredients: 16 oz. Spaghettini Pasta 4 0z. Extra virgin Olive Oil 3 Garlic Gloves, sliced thin 1 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes 12 oz. Razor Clams, Cut in 2 inch Pieces ½ Orange, zested 1 oz. Seasoned Bread Crumbs (see recipe below) 2 oz. Bottarga, thinly sliced Instructions: Boil 1-2 gallons of water in a large pot. When water comes to a boil add fine sea salt until the water tastes like sea water. Add pasta and set a timer for 6 min. ~ In a large sauté pan add ½ of the olive oil with the sliced garlic.  Sauté until the garlic is translucent.  Add red pepper flakes, then add 1 cup of the boiling salted pasta water. Turn off heat. ~ When there is 1 min left on...

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