As part of catching up, I wanted to at least briefly post about a great weekend of eating, starting on Feb. 2, my birthday, and extending to the 4th.
Dinner on the 2nd was at the original Patsy’s in East Harlem. What an evergreen! My brother flew in from California to help me celebrate and couldn’t fully understand why this East Village resident picked an uptown pizzeria for my birthday dinner until he had some pizza. Then he understood.
On the 3rd, my Japanese sister-in-law was able to get to town. I was treated to a fantastic dinner at Torishin. I’ve often read raves about the place on Chowhound but hadn’t been there, whereas we all love Yakitori Totto, and I’ve been there repeatedly (it’s quite a good value if you don’t order sake). Well, it’s a lot more expensive than Totto, but it’s also a couple of levels up. Everything was cooked perfectly except for a skewer of ginkgos that were slightly bitter from being a tad overcooked. The chicken liver was impressive, and my brother doesn’t usually like chicken gizzards, but after trying one from my skewer, he had to get his own. Torishin is a really fantastic place. It’s a good deal more fancy than Totto to match the price point. I look forward to treating my girlfriend to dinner there if I start making much more money on gigs (I’m a flutist).
On the 4th, we met cousins at the Metropolitan Museum. They hadn’t been free to join me on my birthday. We saw great art, especially the new (to me, anyway) little room of fantastic perspectival ancient Roman paintings. My brother consulted Yelp (sometimes a risky move in New York, but their track record has improved for us) to find a Turkish restaurant after that cuisine was requested. We went to the somewhat ironically named Agora, which is not at all a Greek restaurant but genuinely Turkish. It proved an excellent choice, as the food was very well cooked and unusually delicious for a Turkish restaurant in Manhattan in my experience, though on a Saturday night, it was unsurprisingly quite crowded, pretty cramped, and got cold often from people opening the door on a night when it was in the 20s. I would go back without hesitation, especially on a weeknight.