PEr FYI

July 29, 2017

Minetta Tavern Restaurant and Bar, New York City…The black label burger renders other burgers meaningless

This place opened in the 30’s so it’s wonderful to see the vintage décor of the old saloon-era interior intact. Being a full house, I sat at the refinished oak bar in the front of the room, elbow to elbow with other diners. The vibe is buzzy, exclusive, and properly chaotic.

The food rocks as much as the scene. The US$33 Black Label Burger – selection of prime dry-aged beef cuts with caramelized onions and pomme frites is without question a mind-blowing rivetingly intense experience. Named the best burger in America by CNBC, a continent full of burger connoisseurs, The Daily Meal,  calls it “the stuff of legend.”  The beef is a blend of four different cuts—short rib, skirt, brisket and rib-eye. It’s like eating a dry-aged steak in burger format. The bun was airy but not spongy. There is a chewiness and lushness in the same bite. Each bite of this burger was lingered over and savored. Even the fries were perfectly seasoned, and nicely crisped. It held to the quality of the burger.

This is now my must-go place in NYC, but frequent Minetta too often and I’ll be broke and really fat. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 30, 2016

Jean-Georges, Shanghai…all the dishes fell just short of wowing me

Most foodies know about the lunch at Jean-Georges, which is often cited as the best value in fine dining.

One of the great things about 3-Michelin starred Jean Georges at the Trump Tower in New York is that the hospitality begins as you get out of the car, even before you enter the restaurant. Here in Shanghai, the service is professional and confident throughout.

This glorious restaurant at Three on the Bund has high ceilings and tall windows which were lovely, while the sweeping view of the Bund outside through the windows provided a nice contrast to the color scheme.

From the simplest dish of sea scallops with caramel used cauliflower, caper-raisin emulsion to the roasted beef tenderloin potato blintz apple-jalapeno puree, all the dishes fell just short of wowing me. Don’t get me wrong, it was still good, but was it OMFG-I-will-sell-my-children-and-my-soul-to-eat-here-every-day good? Can’t say it. My lips don’t lie.

I’d take Jia Jia Tang Bao over Jean-Georges any day, star or no star. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

JG Shanghai

December 12, 2015

Jimmy’s American Grill & Bar, New York City…epically twisted dining experience

I’ve eaten in a lot of bad restaurants, but I can’t recall an experience as epically twisted dining in Jimmy’s American Grill & Bar. This place is a complete joke. The food is atrocious…lots of leftovers that would make me feel guilty even giving to my dogs. Service is just as bad!

This is what “good” American food tasted like 20-30 years ago, in the days of Sizzler’s and TGIF’s.The overcooked sirloin steak with mashed potato and vegetable was a travesty. We requested for medium rare and instead was  served a piece which was very strong, dry and hard to chew. The kitchen should show a little respect to the animal: don’t cook it so that it has the texture of shoe leather. The seafood pasta with salmon, grilled shrimp, mussel, clams and grilled calamari served with garlic sauce was bland, tasteless.

Mostly we were frustrated by the unbelievably atrocious service. A drinking straw was shockingly thrown to us. Request for a spoon went by forgotten the entire evening. Even several requests for the bill went unheeded. It was just very poor service.

I’m surprised this place is still open. I can’t imagine this gross place will be in business much longer. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

jimmy's nyc

June 21, 2015

Galaxy Diner, New York City…Fantastic breakfast place within a stone’s throw of Times Square

I can’t believe this kind of place – good food with a lot of choices (serving everything from bagels to steak and everything in between) and generous portions,  attentive staff, great service, and REASONABLY PRICED! – exists anywhere in Manhattan anymore, much less in Hell’s Kitchen/Theater District.

The meal was absolutely delicious, eggs perfectly poached. Decent coffee, too. The place is open 24 hours. Had a cool atmosphere which resemble outer space. Pretty clean. It is a diner and certainly not a fancy upscale kind of place but the service and food were much better than iHop. As diners in NYC go, this one’s a goodie. If you find yourself walking around Times Square and you’re hungry, don’t eat there. Prices are through the roof and many restaurants don’t even post a menu outside. For a good meal, walk west on 46th two blocks to 9th Avenue where you’ll see the Galaxy Diner in front of you on the NW corner of 9th Avenue.

Short story shorter: Fantastic breakfast place within a stone’s throw of Times Square. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

galaxy hell's kitchen ny

galaxy diners, nyc

May 1, 2015

Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N., New York City….doesn’t deliver enough bang for the buck

At this Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. (Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network), we went through an “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” recruitment simulation and given an ID card and then led to a debriefing room.  We were then taken right into SHIELD and the Avengers HQ with supposedly what is meant to be interactive displays devoted to Captain America, The Hulk, Iron Man and Thor, with all kinds of computer screens and places where you can test your grip against Captain America, see Iron Man’s armour.

The Captain America room was first, in which you could take a number of physical tests showing the difference between what Captain America could do and what you could do. In The Hulk room. witness the neurological effects of Bruce Banner’s transformation into the Hulk. The Thor room boasts a hologram representation of his hammer and is filled with Asgardian memorabilia like Loki’s helmet and scepter and the obligatory Chitauri costume. The Iron Man display, is the most polished of the lot, but even this feels somewhat barebones because of how few artifacts they have for a rather oversized room. The animatronic hand (which was broken down when I was there) and the motion detector showing technology similar to video-game technology we already have,  wasn’t as fulfilling as it could have been.

At $30 a pop, this exhibit doesn’t deliver enough bang for the buck. Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. may be a co-production of Marvel and NASA, but it is not as revolutionary as one might expect. IT certainly won’t convert anyone who finds superhero movies immature. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

avengers station ny

April 25, 2015

Happy Fortune Chinese Restaurant, New York City…a decent hole in the wall Chinese place

I’ve never tried Chinese food in New York…..until now. The entrance is a bit dingy with poster board notices and doesn’t look very inviting at all but this is a decent hole in the wall Chinese place.

Looking around, I guess hot pot must be a big deal here but we ordered dishes from the ala carte menu. The steamed pork juicy buns (8) siow long bao have plenty of flavourful soup inside and has a soft skin wrapping it. Some places have a thicker skin but this is not the case here. The roast duck with hand pulled noodle was pretty good but the roast duck, which was served in the bowl of noodle soup was soggy. Despite its name the pached seafood (fish, shrimp, squid) in chillli broth was not spicy at all. They gave a generous slick of chilli oil instead of adding chili into the broth. The interestingly named mixed seafood on fried rice turned out to be sweet and sour sauce on one half of the fried rice and hor fun gravy on the other. Gravy is more than just a condiment; it’s liquid comfort and this is in interesting dish.

The kitchen does gets things wrong, but when it’s on song – the food is fairly delicious.  This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

chinese ny

February 15, 2015

Hudson Eats, New York City…..gourmet options from popular NYC restaurants in a food court

To review a food court is a difficult proposition because, at least in this case, each vendor has a primary residence elsewhere. Hudson Eats is a fancy, airy, marbled and luxurious food court by Two World Financial Center with floor-to-ceiling windows offering sweeping killer views of the Hudson and the Statue of Liberty. There are 600 seats over 35,000 square feet of sleek space.

This is a one-of-a-kind food court with over 14 gourmet options from popular NYC restaurants. Grilled cheese specialist Little Muenster is a vendor. You would be able to enjoy the diet-friendly, delicious Buffalo cheese pie from Skinny Pizza and seriously sugary cupcakes from Sprinkles. There’s Umami Burger, proudly peddling flavor bombs on buns and made-to-order salad maestros like Chop’t.

Overall Hudson Eats is an OK place but $20 lunches is not for the everyman. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

hudson eats

January 13, 2015

Mr Green Laundry, New York City…..just 2 blocks away from Times Square

Laundry, laundry, laundry. A chore and obligation that could cost a bomb when you are on holiday in NYC for two weeks. Mr. Green Laundry offers customers the choice of doing their own laundry  in the self service area(change for the machines and soap / bleach / fabric softener available at the counter)  or dropping their clothes off (wash / dry / fold) to be completed by one of the attendants. I’m so happy to have found them. They are like godsend. T

I was staying in Times Square and needed the closest one I could find. It turned out to be just 2 blocks away and the prices are really fair for Hell’s Kitchen. Mr Green Laundry is well lit, bright, with plenty of space to walk between washers and well-distributed folding tables. It has new looking and clean washers (no mold in the cracks!). The dryers are similarly clean and also come in two sizes. The only bummer is that the last wash is at 8.20pm.

The pastries in the cafe next door is amazing too. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

laundromat hell's kitchen ny

laundromat 2 hell's kitchen ny

January 3, 2015

Statue of Liberty, New York City…it is imperative you plan ahead

Who has never seen the Statue of Liberty on television or in photographs?  Nothing is better than viewing the grand lady than in person!! If you do want to take the tour—and I recommend it—it’s extremely important to order timed tickets in advance online. If you want to visit the crown inside the statue, be sure to get your tix very early as they are limited and sell out fast!!! 354 steps to get to the top, and the bit up the pedestal is fine, but the narrow, spiral staircase to the crown is a lot tougher. Views from the top aren’t really any better than from the top of the pedestal, but it’s one of these things it’s nice to say you’ve done.

There is tight “airport style” security to go through prior to proceeding to the ferry that transports you to the Island. The ferry ride is relatively quick and painless. I highly recommend getting one of their audioguides when you get off of the ferry at the Statue of Liberty because you can learn so much about the history as you walk around the island. There is a museum to wander round to pass the time, though it’s not that big.

Go at least once in your lifetime. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

liberty ny

December 21, 2014

T.G.I Friday’s, New York City…far from the pinnacle of American cuisine, but they are decent

First I should say, I have never been all that crazy about this chain restaurant in the first place. Let me be clear on that. They’re far from the pinnacle of American cuisine, but they’re not terrible – they are decent.

Waking away from watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, after 3.5 hours of standing by the roadside on 6th Avenue in the blistering wind and light snow, we tried to get into a couple of restaurants in Times Square but was told that waiting time is at least 30 minutes. We took a chance and jumped into the next restaurant with vacant tables, TGI Friday’s. Like all the TGI’s I’ve been to, the walls at this TGI Friday’s at Times Square are covered with everything but the kitchen sink.

We had the slow-cooked, fall-off-the-bone (or should I say peel-off-the-bone) tender and juicy baby back pork ribs basted in Tennessee BBQ sauce, then fire-grilled and served with seasoned fries and ginger-lime slaw; and the Philly Stacked Burger (Braised shredded beef, mozzarella, Asiago & Parmesan, roasted cremini mushrooms, spicy giardiniera and green onion between two fresh burgers with Swiss cheese, horseradish spread, onion bacon jam and peppered bacon). The food was pretty damn good – definitely not the horrific, inedible trash-heap I was expecting – but the staff and general lack of care for customers negated all that. But…the ribs…I will return just for the ribs.

The prices were steep — most of the entrees are between $20-$30, with the sandwiches in the upper teens — but what else could you expect from a restaurant in Times Square? You’ll get the same at the Hard Rock or Bubba Gump nearby. This is the true truth, as I say it as it is…

tgif ny

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