Archive | January 2011

Minetta Tavern

When Keith McNally opens a restaurant, it’s like someone unloaded a truck-full of people and told them to raid the place all at once (think Balthazar, Pulino’s, etc). The restaurant opens at 5.30pm, and by 5.31pm, the entire front area was packed to the brim.

I made the reservation a month in advance for one reason and one reason only: the Côte de Boeuf. Cooked medium rare, the aged strip was juicy within and exceptionally flavorful on the outside. Did it live up to my expectations? Yes. But sadly, that was the only thing that did.

A grainy depiction of the côte de boeuf

The service was spotty, and our waitress was giving us some really strange attitude. There was some rule about not being able to take pictures of the restaurant. The only people who didn’t disappoint were the busboys.

For a party of 5, we ordered a sardine appetizer, 2 Black Label burgers, the Pasta Za Za, the Côte de Boeuf and a bottle of wine. It was mildly satisfying, and if we were to do it again, we’d probably do away with the pasta and order another serving of the meat (though do note that it has a hefty $110 price tag).

I’m not a big fan of restaurants that are apparently frequented by a lot of celebrities because it’s a brewing ground for snotty behavior, weak-sauce service, ridiculous queues to get in and overhyped food. Minetta Tavern falls under that category unfortunately.

I would still recommend going just to try the aged meat: Black Label burger or Côte de Boeuf. McNally doesn’t disappoint in the realm of aged beef.

Minetta Tavern
113 MacDougal St (Minetta Lane),
Greenwich Village,
New York
(212) 475-3850


Osteria Morini

After our 10-day-pig-out-fest in Italy, I was burnt out on all things Italian, especially the food, as heavenly as it was. My take on Italian food is that the best kinds are the heartiest, i.e. lots of meat, carbs and wine. As much as I grew up on rice, there’s only so much pasta and pizza I can eat. However, Michael White’s latest addition to his string of restaurants (though at the time of this writing, his latest is actually Ai Fiori), Osteria Morini is a take on casual Italian dining, serving the food of Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy.

The genius of Michael White lies in the pasta. The first line of the New York Times’ review of Morini goes: “Michael White cooks pasta and people go crazy”. I don’t think there’s any more to be said there so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.


The hungry awaits...

The Polpettine: prosciutto and mortadella meatballs

The Mare: adriatic style seafood salad

The duck liver Tortellini

Grigliata Mista



My star of the meal: the Tagliatelle


Osteria Morini
218 Lafayette St,
New York, NY 10012


There’s something about loud, uncouth Chinese aunties that makes South-East Asian food so appealing, especially when consumed in a greasy, tight joint, big enough to only fit 8.

At least I think so, anyway.

If you’re one to pick out and dissect every single nook and cranny in a place, I wouldn’t suggest you try Yamo. There are definitely many indistinguishable corners that one shouldn’t be inspecting here. As far as I know, Yamo consists of 3 Cantonese-speaking Burmese aunties, one who does the cooking, one does the chopping and cleaning while the other mans the phone, takes orders and does some prep work for the cook.

I gotta thank Eileen for coming along on the ride. Exploring new places is always much more satisfying with another person (i.e. you get to order more). So we ordered the chicken noodle soup, mango salad and some kind of stir-fry (which wasn’t very memorable). The chicken noodle soup is definitely worth a mention, however. Soaked in a creamy, coconut broth, reminded me a little of the curry laksa back home (minus the spice).

For items under $7, Yamo is definitely worth checking out.

I think my favorite neighborhood in San Francisco has to be the Mission. There is just so much diversity and activity going on here: massive hipster-run cafes, bike stores, bookstores, pubs, crazy pirate stores, a whole neighborhood of great Mexican food, etc. If I ever do entertain the idea of moving out west, I would probably live around this area.

Anyway, Yay Yamo!
3406 18th St (at Mission St),
San Francisco, CA 94110