I was in New York last week for a meeting and decided to stay in Brooklyn to be closer to family there. Still feeling kind of “reoriented” from my trip to Japan, I found myself gravitating toward Asian restaurants.
Ganso is the borough’s best-loved ramen spot, and as it was right around the corner from my hotel, I hightailed it over there as soon as I arrived and found out my room wasn’t ready.
I thought the house shoyu (soy sauce) ramen with pork belly, memma (marinated bamboo shoots) and greens was pretty good.
The gyoza, though, were fantastic.
As you might be able to see in the picture at right, they have hane, or “wings” made from an extremely thin batter that the cook adds toward the end of the cooking time. It turns into a sheer patina of crunchtasticness.
Are there any restaurants in Atlanta that serve gyoza with hane? I’d drive a mile (many miles) for these dumpling wings.
The next day I visited a restaurant I had long wanted to try — Pok Pok NY, the Brooklyn branch of a much-lauded Thai restaurant from Portland, Oregon. Pok Pok’s no-reservation policy, non-central location and famously long lines had always worked as a deterrent. But I visited early on a stormy night and had no problem with seating.
So, I liked it pretty well. This dish at left was an absolute killer. Think of the laab (larb) you may have eaten in another Thai restaurant, typically made with ground chicken and herbs. Now picture it prepared with roasted duck, crackling duck skin and duck liver. Even the veg plate on the side was cool. Thai eggplants, fresh unwaxed cucumbers and fish mint kept company with the expected Chinese cabbage.
Other dishes — including a respectable version of green papaya salad — were fine. A curry noodle soup with ground catfish tasted a lot like khao soi, a northern Thai soup I’ve had elsewhere. Just not as as deep or funky, and not very hot (temperature). Kaeng hang leh, a sweet curry of pork belly and shoulder, was also a bit tepid on arrival, and the flavors were a bit too sugar-coated for my taste.
I’d be curious to know if anyone else has been to Pok Pok NY or to any other new-style Thai restaurant, such as the fantastic Little Serow in Washington, DC.
- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog