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Eating in New York

I love New York for its hundreds of restaurants everywhere. One is truly spoilt for choice. I stayed over at my ex-roommate Wendy’s place in the East Village this trip. I was drooling just from walking around!

We have our eating routine in New York down pat though: a nice restaurant the first evening, then Chinatown Sunday morning for cheap but delicious dim sum.

This trip, we chose Boulud Sud, which is conveniently located across Lincoln Center. Our last trip, we went to another of Daniel Boulud half dozen restaurants in the city, Cafe Boulud. While we enjoyed that meal, we found the ambience a little too stuffy.

Happily, Boulud Sud’s dining room has a much airier feel with its contemporary decor of high ceilings. The cuisine is Mediterranean-themed and the pre-fixed menu focuses on fish.

Our table of five weren’t too adventurous in our choices and stuck mostly to the same dishes. For the appetizers, we had the grilled octopus with almonds and pan seared mackerel that was meaty and immensely satisfying. Jeff ordered the eggplant and chickpeas falafel dish, which was unimaginative (on both his and the restaurant’s part) though decent.

For our entrees, 3 of us had the sea bass wrapped in scallions on a bed of polenta with a side of crispy potato gratin. It was delicious and paired really well with our Saar Riesling. Kat ordered the calf liver that I had been eyeing and it was so good! Mike had the wagyu beef and they were most generous with the cuts.

Dessert was also a highlight – orange dark chocolate tart with pomegranate sorbet. And grapefruit mousse with a caramel glaze served in a wine glass.

Haha, it was such a pleasure to indulge with seriously tasty food, instead of average fare dressed in really fancy presentation served by condescending waiters. Which was how our Alinea experience last week felt like. Alinea touts itself as a Mecca for molecular gastronomy, but thinking back, the only dish that really qualified as such was the distilled hot chocolate that looked like clear water but tasted exactly like chocolate. Otherwise, I’d say that the flavors were pretty distinct. In contrast, our meal at Boulud Sud packed a real punch in flavors.

On Sunday, we went to Shanghai Heping on 104 Mott Street, a newly opened restaurant in Chinatown, so new, they did not even have the credit card readers up and running yet. We went on a friend’s recommendation, and weren’t in the least disappointed. Their soup dumplings is the best we’ve had in recent memory!!! The skin was thin and delicate but sturdy enough to hold the ton of soup within. I was in such bliss sucking and slurping up the broth. Our table of 10 enjoyed the dish do much we ordered four steamer trays of it, on top of the 10 other dishes we ordered! Other highlights – Shanghai noodles, pea pods. Definitely worth a return trip!

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