Sunday, July 08, 2007

Wasabi Hibachi Steakhouse (LI)

283 Main St, Farmingdale, NY-11735


Cost per person: $25 (hibachi)
"YGWYPF" factor: 8/10 (you get what you pay for)
Food: 8/10
Ambiance: 8/10

Now that it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to check out new restaurants in New York City - the 60 mile drive somewhat demands that we end up in a tried and tested place, rather than meandering into (our, yet) unchartered waters, I should follow suit from the Dabbawalla review, and have a few more notable places in the great suburbs writted up.

Here's one of our favourite places for a show and dinner - Wasabi Hibachi, in downtown Farmingdale. If you are coming off 495 exit 49 / 110 S / Route 24 West, it's left off the third light - and if you turn left into the rear parking lot of the strip mall just before you reach the light, then you are at the perfect spot.

Hibachi presentations probably demand spaces that are unavailable in the City - or it may be that I just haven't yet seen where they are hidden. We discovered this place from a coupon that we came across, and have visited several times in the last year or so.

The menu is pretty obvious - hibachi chicken, shrimp, steak, and so on. The chirashi was nice, and so was the sushi platter. If you are ordering hibachi, it helps if you order fried rice with your order, and a side of noodles, or the other way around. The noodles and fried rice are done really to our liking.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


230 E 58th St / 3rd Ave, 212.339.0090


Cost per person: $40
"YGWYPF" factor: 8.5/10 (you get what you pay for)
Food: 8.5/10
Ambiance: 9/10

Yash and Chhordibhai (Madhumita) decided to give Soma a graduation treat at Yuva, and I got to tag along. 53rd between 2nd and 3rd is jam packed with really nice, upscale Indian places - there's this, of course, as well as Dawat, and Chola, and Ada. All in one block. Must have the highest per-square-foot consumption of Taj Mahal beer in the entire United States (assuming the cheaper, and less elite, places down on Curry Hill - Lex and 20's - have their clientele order mostly water, no ice).

This is a smaller place than Madhur Jaffrey's Dawat, but a rather cozy one. Just don't click on their website - it's a horrible mess of Flash animations, the kind that forces you to wait for animations to finish before you can click. Reservations are a must - and I'm glad to say ours was right on time, if not a little early.

This being one of the rare occasions with more than just the two of us at a table, we had a little more leeway in terms of entrees. For starters, the [Kakori Kabaab minced baby lamb flavored with fresh herbs, cardamom, mace & grilled] was really well made - soft, yet tandoored to a perfection. For entrees - [Chicken Tikka Masala roasted chicken simmered in a rich tomato cream sauce, accented with fenugreek leaves] was right as expected, and a little better than the same at most other places. The [Paneer Tikka Masala roasted paneer cheese cubes spiced in herbs & slow cooked in crushed tomato cream sauce] was exactly the same, with large cubes of paneer instead of chicken. The [Parda Biryani spiced basmati rice slow cooked in a casserole covered with dough to seal the moisture & aroma of the spices. our specialty.] was mysteriously missing the full definition - as well as the option to spike it up with seafood or goat (other options: veg, chicken or lamb) - in one of our menus. Their menu version control probably needs a looking into. The biryani was very well presented - in a clay pot sealed with a tandoori roti - and was very flavorful, though my bias still rests with Kabab King Diner. The most notable mention of our dinner was the [Chicken Kali Mirch boneless chunks of marinated chicken slow cooked with peppercorn, in a spicy onion & garlic sauce] - the innovative flavor was a very welcome change from having seen the same menu over and over at all Indian places, and definitely makes this menu stand out, if only by a little bit.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dabbawalla (NJ)

427 Springfield Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901, 908.918.0330


Cost per person: $40 (full menu, not the lunch menu)
"YGWYPF" factor: 9.5/10 (you get what you pay for)
Food: 9.5/10
ambiance: 8.5/10

I must say, it's been a while since we've visited an Indian restaurant and been impressed. For one, there aren't that many that we have not visited. The ones in Curry Hill are good for lunches, the ones in midtown east (50's and 2nd-3rd) are great for upscale dinners, but have already been tried out. Nothing like a bit of an attitude to pique interests. The Kati Roll Company has abundant amounts of it, but the regular restaurants are rather bland. Dabbawalla, I'm glad to say, fits in perfectly.
Soma and I drove 75 miles to get to this place on a sunny Saturday morning. The decor is - for the lack of a better word - interesting. Loud, Warhol-esque colors, "dining hall" feel with rows of sofa/benches (but rather nice to sit on), and an oversized cooking area - everything to make people feel "in touch with the masses of Bombay", but still be confined in the creature-comforts of a spick and span area, brushed steel and retro pictures everywhere, and good seating. If anyone here were to really visit the regular dining halls that this mimics, I doubt if s/he would be able to touch any of the food - or, rather, anything at all - there.
Anyway - it's all good so far, and we sit down with the menu.

Note: this was last year, and the entry was never published, so I'm publishing this half-baked review in for now. I definitely recommend Dabbawalla! If I can remember what we ordered, I'll fill it in. Sorry!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


253 Church St/ bet. Franklin & Leonard St, 212-334-4598


Cost per person: $15 (lunch)
"YGWYPF" factor: 8.5/10 (you get what you pay for)
Food: 8.5/10
Ambiance: 9/10

Great place for a nice lunch, if you are in the area! I have not really hit the nerves when it comes to Korean cuisine, and I feel I am still scratching the surface - far away from the hole in the walls. Still, Kori was one satisfying lunch, and the lofty ambiance of Tribeca spaces is a relief from the cramped accomodations of many a Midtown / Chinatown fare. Note that I had been to a lunch here, so the space may have appeared a lot more on the "vast and calm" side than what you would expect for dinners here.

As for our orders - the Pa-jun Scallio Pancake (vegetable or Seafood-shrimp, Squid) and Mandu Steamed or Pan-fried Dumplings (vegetable or Meat) were nice, tasteful, and well sized (read: small). For entrees, between the 4 of us, there were orders of Dolsot Bibim-bop Assorted Vegetables, Meats, and Fried Egg In Sizzling Ceramic Pot, and Bulgogi (sliced Beef) Lunch Box, both of which were excellent dishes. My dish, the bibim-bop, comes in a hot, heavy stone pot (pictured), a sizzling combination of veggies and meats over a bed of rice, with an egg dropped on the top. A sauce on the side allows you to choose the degree of spiciness - the entire contents, in my case - and you mix it all up before you eat. With the many different things that go into this dish, every scoop brings a different taste to the mouth, and it keeps things interesting till the last spoonful.
One entree per person is good, since serving sizes at this place is closer to normal human proportions.