GOOD EATS NYC 2023 (A Blanket Thread)


Deep-fried lasagna is a thing that I like. As long as someone else makes it (Cadence, here).


Here is the NY beef rendang from Indo Java served with some reheated green chickpea/potato and cabbage curries (with some turmeric and cilantro added this time. The rendang had intense chili heat and deep spicing, and read more as a rice condiment than a “main dish” - typical. I liked the flavors but not the beef so much, overcooked as it often is. Much prefer lamb and goat (or fattier cuts).


Spur of the moment early dinner at Maison Harlem after an event at The Apollo. It’s a very cute neighborhood place; the menus are attached to double album covers, there’s a lot of collage-y stuff on the bathroom walls, the floor’s a little cracked and beaten up, you get the idea. The menu’s straightforward bistro French (think L’Express or the other one, you know the one I mean), and what we had was very solid: Tagliatelle with seafood in a saffron cream sauce for him, dorade with sauce vierge, asparagus and fingerling potatoes for me. Reasonable prices and good service, too.



French Roast. Now I know the one I mean.

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Whereas the subjects in that photo do look sedap sekali (very tasty, in Indonesian), dabu-dabu usually has more of a pico de gallo-look.

It’s a sambal from my favorite Indonesian food region, Manado, and typically made with raw ingredients including tomatoes, bird’s eye chilies, red onions/shallots, and salt. Occasionally I’d see chefs throw in cooking oil (blech), but it generally had that fresh heat from the cabe rawit (bird’s eye chilies).

Last year, I took a video at Beautika, one of my customary Manadonese restaurants in Jakarta, if anyone is interested in watching.

Unfortunately, the regional Indo cuisines I most crave – Manado and Batak – are nigh on impossible to find in the U.S., let alone anywhere but Indonesia and perhaps the Netherlands/Singapore. But I reckon they are the two spiciest ones!

Here’s a not-so-good photo of dabu-dabu from another Jakarta restaurant, called Ikan Tude Manado. The dabu-dabu is on top, followed by cakalang (smoked dried skipjack tuna, very popular in Manado), and finally kue lapis (a rice flour and coconut layer cake, this time with chocolate and pandan).


@FindingFoodFluency, this purchase was of a “set” in a plastic box, with a sauteed green, sambal , mackerel layered over coconut rice, The dabu dabu was fresh chopped herbs, chile, scallions, lime etc and on top of and around the fish in the box but I had to take the set apart to put on a plate and reheat, so the look of the dabu dabu suffered. thanks for all the additional info

Dinner tonight at Masalawala in Park Slope.
Really popping on a wet cold night. They have just introduced an updated menu - we had phuchka, tasty, served one by one, but IMO a little too big for one bit, the fish fry. , very delicate the filets were covered with an herb paste and the assembly was coated lightly and fried, along with the prize dish, kheema kaleji, made with minced goat and liver, topped with chopped egg, served with a paratha and marinated onions and beautifully , spicily seasoned. We ate this delliciousnesss as slowly as we could. Finally we had Bhapa Maach, a sizeable branzino partially boned (I think, there were still a fair number of bones) to which a mustard cream seasoning had been applied, and the whole thing steamed in a banana leaf. It was of a mild deliciousness, and served with some very lovely buttered rice, ghee bhat.
A very fine fish, we brought the leftover home for tomorrow The room is packed with two tops and rather noisy, and we were not there for long, with the quick service, we felt a bit rushed, but the staff were lovely and the meal dellicious. Will hope to find a quieter hour and return.


This place used to be on Essex Street, and I think the menu was not so interesting then.

Different restaurant, same name. This is from the Dhamaka / Semma group.

Different restaurant, same name, same backers, yes?

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Pre- the Unapologetic Foods machine & team – Chintan Pandya was not involved, it was Roni Mazumdar & his father, and a mostly standard Indian restaurant menu.

(The Bk spot is under the UF group umbrella, rebranded, mostly different menu – “origin story” foods of where the UF founders are from, Calcutta and Bombay mainly.)

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Thanks for the clarification!

It was still open after the Dhamaka / Adda publicity blitzkrieg and still co-owned by Roni (though his father ran it), so I’m guessing their (excellent) PR people had to spin the story to encompass it.

Sounds like you enjoyed everything, which is a really positive review.

So it’s not Ilish / Hilsa anymore?

They really do have some Bengali stars on the menu, need to get over there and try it one of these days.

they had hilsa too and I like it but Jim wanted the branzino . I cant explain but when I walked in and smelled the smells of cooking I knew it was going to be a good meal! They weren’t exactly going for pretty and I did not get good pictures. They somehow fit three rows of tables into this tiny storefront,


PS I had not looked at Pete Wells review before. I think he overdramatizes the spicing and flavor levels a bit!

I don’t think Pete Wells has any understanding of indian food (plenty of what’s written looks like it was copied over from the PR packet). “Village food”? No, Kolkata is not a village, nor is most of the menu not to be found at Bengali restaurants. And dahi vada is not a street snack.

Doesn’t he review Thai restaurants? I’d venture that any Isan place makes my eyes water and nose run more than anything cooked in smoked mustard oil ever could.

(Also “the seasonings can be rough and slashing in a way that excites me” as a description for Adda was pretty much all I needed to read, given that the spices at Adda are uniformly undercooked.)

Sushi Yasaka (UWS)

A pleasant sushi dinner at a small neighborhood place I have been meaning to try for years, but it took HO to get me there (thanks again @ninkat)!

Apps: tuna tartare, hamachi collar, and sautéed mushrooms.

The tartare was a nice rendition of the Nobu-style finely minced / pasty version of the dish. (I prefer the chunky version in general, but that’s apples and oranges>

The hamachi collar was nicely grilled, but the smallest collar I’ve come across yet :joy:

The mushrooms were just lovely, an assortment of types in a soy-butter-and-more sauce. I wanted something to soak up the sauce!

We each got our own mains: mini omakase, sushi deluxe, and an assortment of rolls and sushi.

I like that they have a mini omakase, though I didn’t order it. All the fish in my sushi deluxe was well cut, well-sized for a single bite, and the rice was lovely — slightly warm, well-flavored, and not packed right but not so loose that it fell apart on the way to my mouth (looking at you, SugarFish!)

I also had a spicy scallop roll: the scallop was sweet and fresh, and I appreciated that it was not minced up into a paste like spicy tuna filling sometimes can be.

Reasonably priced for the quality and quantity of food.

I’ll be back!


Here be the mini omakase, which I thought was very good assortment, and an excellent value. The roll was too loose, though. And the nigiri was a little sloppy.



Have had this on my list for a while. Did their take out during COVID and while they were UES. It was great. Ready to go in person.