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Restaurant Reviews: Pigging out with Jing

Diesel’s co-worker and friend Jing was here for work this week, so she stayed with us over the weekend. The big plans for that girl included 6 hours of power shopping (she did get some good deals and miraculously was able to fit everything into one suitcase!) and food. LOTS, and LOTS of food.

Jing and Tim

Day 1: Casa Mono
A self-proclaimed foodie, Jing had some big food plans for the week/weekend. First off, Casa Mono, Batali’s tapas place. Both Jing and Tim were impressed by the Catalan-style tapas, but I found it too greasy. The worst part was that the most popular dish of the night seemed to be the whole grilled trout. The fish smell permeated through the whole restaurants and into my clothes.

Day 2: Momofuku Noodle Bar
On V-Day, we decided to celebrate good friends and good food by going to the Momofuku Noodle Bar. Just like it’s Ssam counterpart, which I had been to with Heidi, this place is a must for great reinterpretations of old Chinese classics. I had the veggie ramen, which was surprisingly bold and flavorful. Tim had the Momofuku noodles and Jing opted for the kimchi stew. We shared the famous buns and the brussel sprouts (just like the gnuddi two years ago seem to be pervasive and “in” all NY up and coming restaurants, so are brussel sprouts and beets nowadays). For a sweet finish, we ordered the ice cream on a cone, which Jing accurately described as the “most complex ice cream she’s ever tasted.”

Day 3: Joe’s Shanghai Restaurant and Kambuchea

We wanted to share one of our very favorite restaurants here in NY, Joe’s Shanghai. In a late celebration of Chinese New Year’s, we invited all of the Asian people we know in NY, which ended up being just Seno, Jing and myself. We let Jing do all the ordering, giving her the green light to order whatever weird dish her heart desired. Sure, we ended up with tons of leftovers, but everything was delicious including the soup noodles, turnip cake, sesame noodles and lion’s head dish.

For dinner we wanted to go light, and after six hours of power shopping, we girls were in no condition to walk, so we ended up at Kampuchea in our hood. From beginning to end the whole experience was a disappointment for me. We waited for 40 min to be seated, followed by another 30 min until our food was out–even though the two finishing chefs would stand there doing nothing for several minutes at a time. The starter, sardines ($6 EACH, for a whopping 18 bucks for three units!) were less than satisfying. The stuffed crepe was also miser in quantity and bland in taste compared to Seattle’s wonderful Green Leaf Cafe‘s richly stuffed crepes. The three noodle bowls we ordered left a lot to be desired drowned in a broth that was overwhelming, hiding the taste of what assume were fresh ingredients. The total damage was $30 bucks a person, which in the grand scheme of things is pretty reasonable for NY. However, it was painful to pay that much when we paid half that at Green Leaf and when the meal was at best ordinary. Like I said, this restaurant is to Cambodian food what P.F. Chang’s is to Chinese: bereft of authenticity, overpriced and plain mediocre.

Day 4: Spicy and Tasty
The highlight of our pigging out weekend was our meal at Spicy and Tasty. We left at 11 and endured the 60 min train ride to Flushing, the section of Queens that has been taken over by my peeps. This place is well worth the long train ride. I had the BEST lamb I have ever had in my whole entire life. I love lamb chops, I enjoy lamb shank, but this spicy dish of tender, juicy lamb strips with veggies is simply heavenly. Here we practiced a little more self-control than the previous days, and ordered only four dishes: spicy lamb home style, sesame cold noodle (I know, we had this the day before, but this stuff is addicting), mapu tofu, and fish with sour cabbage soup. Everything was amazing, and I’m excited to eat all the leftovers! We need to go back there and try other dishes.

All in all it this was a great week of extreme gluttony and pleasure.


2 Responses

  1. Check out my nice double chin! I’ve tried to tell K not to squeeze our pics, they come out all jagged, but she’s very stubborn the Chowster…

  2. I’ve been curious about Casa Mono. My favorite restaurant was once in this space – Irving on Irving. Maybe I’ll just stop by for a glass of wine after reading your review.

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