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Food Ketchup

Last week was a great food week. It started out with a dinner with friends at Persimmon – a new Korean place up in the East Village. Korean seems to be popping up everywhere and I think it has something to do with Koreans learning how to slightly cater their food to the American palate as well as us Americans getting a little better at venturing out of our safety zone. I think we’ll see a take-off of Korean food in mainstream America over the next 10 years. It has all the things American like such as bbq, interactive cooking tableside (at bbq), some good heat, new Korean places an emphasis on fresh ingredients.

I’ve really come around to the pickled veggies and fish too (banchan?)

Persimmon has a nice little concept going on. A very clean, modern and small place with a communal table that everyone sits at. Two servers handle all orders form the prix fixe menu. Each course has 5 options. Dinner probably always lasts a couple hours and the people are very friendly. It is also BYOB! I love BYOB.

The problems? The food isn’t incredibly flavorful. This is sad because I really wanted to love the place.

Bonjoo - Guess it is a good sign when all the food is gone...

Bonjoo - Guess it is a good sign when all the food is gone...

Because of this, I was still hungry for Korean food later that week and so K & I met our friend Andy for beers at Lunasa followed by another Korean dinner at Bonjoo. This dinner was exactly what I was looking for in Korean food. Everything tasted great, there was a bit of heat in almost all the dishes and the banchan was excellent.

Between these two Korean dinners, K & I finally got a chance to go to Union Square Grill for Seno’s b-day dinner with Molly, Laura & Seno. We’ve wanted to go here for awhile as it is a NY institution, widely praised as bringing back focus to seasonal, organic and local ingredients. It isn’t anything revolutionary. What it is though is classic American bistro food perfectly prepared.

Duck confit with roasted, balsamic figs and greens

Duck confit with roasted, balsamic figs and greens

Lamb Chops

Lamb Chops

Our entrees included duck confit with roasted balsamic figs (something to try at home) and sauteed greens, lamb chops with potato/gyuere gratin, ricotta gnocchi that was the fluffiest gnocchi I’ve ever tasted, osso bucco that fell off the bone with a creamy polenta and some sort of green bean summer pasta. We also ordered sides of garlic potato chips, creamy polenta with basil pesto, beef carpaccio and fried calamari. Everything was excellent. Dinner at Union Sq. was easily one of the best meals we’ve had in NY and I highly recommend it.

Polenta with basil pesto

Polenta with basil pesto

Pasta

Pasta

The next night, Molly, K & I had a slightly late night ramen dinner at Rai Rai Ken in EV. Rai Rai Ken seems like it could fit perfectly in Tokyo and is one of the things I love about NY. Maybe this place could exist in Seattle or maybe not, but it probably doesn’t work as a restaurant anywhere else in the country. I got extra corn with my Shiyo Ramen.

Molly & K @ Rai Rai Ken Ramen Bar

Molly & K @ Rai Rai Ken Ramen Bar

Ramen! with extra corn

Ramen! with extra corn

On Thursday, I made steak frites at home using hanger steak from Jeffrey’s Meat in the Essex Market, which is kindly spent 3 minutes preparing for me, removing the silver skin and slicing and pounding the $4.99/lb meat into perfect little steaks later to be covered in coarsely ground peppercorns, seared and finished in a onionly congac-y heavy cream sauce and surrounded by homemade french fries.

Steak Frites

Steak Frites

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