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  • - November 26th, 2013, 9:18 pm
    - November 26th, 2013, 9:18 pm Post #31 - November 26th, 2013, 9:18 pm
    I spent a long weekend in New York this past weekend. Thursday night was a visit to Sushi Yasuda with friends for an early dinner, my first return since Yasuda returned to Japan. Luckily, all was still very good. Rice is outstanding here, though in a couple of instances a little too delicate such that it came apart immediately upon being picked up. I'm more forgiving of that than rice that seems glued together. And Yasuda still prepares its rice better than the vast majority of sushi restaurants in the US. I'd like to do a side by side with Kabuto in Vegas however . . . still stands out as maybe my favorite pure sushi experience in the US.

    Lunch Friday at Katz's - do I need to say anything? Katz's pastrami is my very favorite pastrami. I prefer it to Langer's and all others out there - so tender, just fatty enough, rich and just enough spice. So pastrami on rye with mustard, and a potato knish on the side, was just perfect. Though I'll admit I couldn't even finish the pastrami sandwich - so damn rich.

    Friday night was a quick return visit to Shake Shack since I was headed to MSG for a college basketball game. I was more impressed than my first visit, though fries were room temperature. Ultimately, I still prefer In-N-Out. I did grab a sesame noodle salad from the Jean George fast food spot at MSG and it was beyond awful - I mean, this guy should have his head examined for putting his name on that crap. But overall, MSG is so much improved, having just undergone a major renovation.

    Saturday, I met my brother and family for breakfast at Ess-A-Bagel where we shared a number of items. I'm always a fan of their bagels and cream cheeses. I think this was the first time I tried their tuna salad (not impressive). Black & whites are fine although I prefer them to be more of a cookie than cake, and these are more cake-like. But I go to Ess-A-Bagel almost exclusively for their bagels and they never let me down in this category. One thing my family has always agreed upon.

    Saturday visit to Dominique Ansel. So many impressive items - a friend and I shared several. DA's version of the kouign amann is really nice, but Bad Wolf Coffee's is better. DA's canneles are great too . . . but Bad Wolf's are better, seriously. A croissant, though buttery, was definitely past its prime by the time we had it. The only items that failed to impress were the macarons. Some seemed held over too long, slightly stale and unacceptably mealy and/or too crumbly, rather than crackly and soft.

    The best meal of the weekend however was a post-Glass Menagerie meal at Red Farm, at their new UWS location (Broadway b/w 76th and 77th). Add this to a restaurant we could really use in Chicago. Creative Chinese food, creative more in presentation than substance, with devotion to excellent ingredients. Most importantly, every item we ordered was excellent. We shared a number of dim sum items which were fantastic, easily better than anything I've tried in Chicago.

    Pac-man shrimp dumplings were not only delicious, with various accompaniments to the shrimp, but indeed shaped and colored like the characters in the game. Most impressive really was just how delicious the shrimp were.

    Red Farm pac man dumplings.jpg Pac-Man Dumplings

    Equally delicious were duck and crab dumplings, fried crisp, and served with a curry sauce for dipping (and drinking). They were also beautiful, looking a little like stingrays on the plate.

    Red Farm duck crab dumplings.jpg Duck and Crab dumplings

    There were a couple of others I can't recall very well at the moment, including a duck dish that was a special item for the evening, but the star of the evening was unquestionably the soup dumplings. I don't know if I'm ready to proclaim them better than Nan Xiang's (the best I've ever had), but they were right up there with them and just outstanding - great wrappers that were beautiful and not too sticky, loaded with soup and just delicious. There were four per order, each served in its own steamer, and I accepted the $14 price tag knowing that I was not eating at a no frills restaurant in Queens. I think they were actually a little larger than your average XLB too. I apologize that I can't offer a better picture, but here it is.

    Red Farm XLB 2.jpg Pork and Crab Soup Dumplings

    There was also a terrific bacon and egg fried rice, featuring Nueske's bacon. Service was terrific, which was most impressive since we were told this was their first Saturday night service. I would highly recommend a visit. I look forward to returning and checking out more of their menu.

    Red Farm website