Tag Archives: small plates

Joe & Misses Doe: Awesomeness in the East Village

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A few months ago I woke up hungover, and didn’t really feel like posting an article. However, it was the morning after the James Beard Awards, so I figured it would be totally irresponsible for a food blogger to not write an article. After I posted it, and put up a tweet, my phone lit up with a tweet from a local chef:

“@JOEDOEchef: So. Where are the new winners?? So sick of the circle jerk those awards are. #politicsoverfood”

After laughing out loud in my cubicle, I realized I totally agree with his view. There are so many small places, or low-key places, or neighborhood spots that do not get the acclaim they deserve by JBA. Thats when I decided I would reach out to Chef Joe Dobias at Joe & MissesDoe and learn more about their place. I use the term ‘their’ because it is actually owned and operated by both Chef Joe and his wife, Jill Dobias, aka Misses Doe.

After bullshitting on Twitter, they invited us in for dinner one night to test out their new summer menu. How can I turn that offer down, especially when they mentioned one of the items on the menu had three of my favorite things – ravioli, ricotta, and marrow butter.

We walked over a few blocks east, over to 1st and 1st, and found their little neighborhood joint. Realizing I was a couple hundred feet away from Dirty French, I told Nicole if we were still hungry after we could stop over there for some of their charbroiled oysters – that was definitely not the case. When we walked in we were greeted by the famous, Misses Doe. Along with her awesome presence, we were greeted with a bar full of small plates. We started with some of their ‘quirky cocktails’ while Misses Doe gave us some background on the place. I had their Spring Old Fashion – bourbon, honey, and grilled lemon (excellent touch). The old fashion was great, and the honey mixed with the bourbon gave it a nice sweetness while the grilled lemon, which was pretty much blacken, gave some acidity. Nicole started with The Livins Easy, which is like a pina colada but without the horribleness of sugary pre-made store-bought mixtures. It was made from rum, coconut cream, caramelized pineapple. She liked it a lot, but definitely felt it was one of those drinks you can start the evening with rather than go all night with.

As we sat with Jill, we learned more about the restaurant and their relationship. The whole time I kept thinking this hot-head chef was going to walk over and question why I liked James Beard winners and highly-publicized spots such as Charlie Bird, PUBLIC, Carbone, Mercer Kitchen … But then he came over to us. The only way I can describe him is a gentle-giant, as Jill is more of the sparkplug I saw via Joes Twitter (in the best way possible – she is awesome). Between the two of them, and their outside the box concept on culinary cuisine they can definitely expect to see me sitting at their bar more often. Now onto the food …

To start we snacked on their assortment of finger-foods. Nicole grabbed a piece of matzah, which I kind of scoffed at. Out of all the food she chose a piece of unleavened bread, but hey she seemed happy as she spread the ‘beer cheese’ over it. Once she bit into it, I felt compelled to try it, and I was shocked how much I enjoyed it. It was matzah, but with a twist kind of like a Wheat Thin flavoring but a sweetness kind of like the bottom of the cereal bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. This matzah was so good I contemplated converting. The beer cheese had bleu, pecorino, cream cheese, cheddar and was dope. Next up, a deviled egg. Something I would never try due to the fact the yolk is whipped with mayonnaise, aka my worst enemy. However, Nicole assured me it was good and I gave it a shot. Pretty delicious, and if I didn’t know it had mayo – I would eat it again.

Next up, the real food. We had the Green Gazpacho with cucumber, almonds, and grapes. This combination of flavors was surprisingly enjoyable and very refreshing. Then we had their Beets & Watermelon Radish, which was one of Nicole’s favorite dishes. I ate around the beets and radish concentrating on the ricotta. Nicole devoured the beets and seemed pretty happy that I left my portion for her. I am going to skip over the next course, Sausage Bread, and leave it for last, since this was one of my favorite things. We then tried their take on Potatoes Bravas, but with a better name ‘Brave Potatoes’. This was no ordinary potato, it was more of a mini latke that was perfectly fried and crispy. This was served over an anchovy dressing and fried herbs. This was great, and do not be afraid of anchovies they are delicious. The first main course was the salmon, which was served with roasted garbanzo beans and a yogurt sauce. Normally I wouldn’t gloat about salmon, but this salmon was cooked to absolute perfection on the restaurants electric stove. The roasted garbanzo beans were crunchy, but soft at the same time. The yogurt sauce was also awesome, even dipped some of the potatoes in it. All together a perfect combination and if I happen to ever crave salmon, I would definitely come back for more.

Now we will discuss my three favorite dishes, and the reason I left with a huge smile on my face (or could have been their waitresses bringing me old fashions on an every-twenty-minute schedule). First up, the Summer Ravioli, as I mentioned above, was with ricotta, marrow butter and summer vegetables. It came out as one large stacked ravioli that was cooked perfectly al dente, with the creamy richness of the marrow butter drizzled over it. I wish they would give me a weekly supply of the raviolis that I can make from the comfort of my own apartment, hungover. This was crack, and once again do not fear the fact that it is made with marrow, because marrow is delicious (see my obsession with the it here). Back to the above mentioned Sausage Bread, which I figured would be bread baked with sausage in it, kind of like a typical focaccia bread. NOPE. This was freshly made amazing soft bread which came with a side (more like mountain) of crumbled up sausage with oils and a tomato vinaigrette. This was truly perfection, and since having this I could not get it out of my mind. Kind of like getting to second-base for the first time, you will never forget it. I cannot stress enough how much I loved this, and writing this is making me want to go back tomorrow (or now). Nicole who rarely eats meat scoffed this and begs me to go back for it daily. Last up, Joe’s famous dish – Hot Dipped Chicken. The way I kind of described this was like getting round-house kicked in the mouth by non other than Chuck Noris (yeah, bold statement). This thing had so much flavor, but with a nice crispy exterior and perfect white juicy interior. Joe takes regular fried chicken, and once again puts his spin and vision into it to make it more than just a boring piece of poultry. All of my friends who say they are in the mood for fried chicken I now send there – and they all tell me a variation of ‘that was one of the best things I have ever eaten.’ I never tried crack before, but I am going to say this is as addicting as crack.

Overall the food was great, environment was great, and best of all – its family owned and you see their love for the place while spending time with them. This place is truly their baby, despite Jill’s dog she treats like a human (check her Instagram), and their pride in their establishment is what makes it even better.

Queens Food Festival: May 12th

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Tomorrow night I am going to Queens. Not something I normally say, and despite a Mets game last week – it has been a while. However, on May 12th they are hosting a food event, so I will have to make the trip over.

The event, Queens Taste 2015, will have over 50 different food/drink vendors giving out some samples of their offerings. Tickets are going for $125, which is a small price to pay for eating some small dishes with Mr.Met…

Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (ET)

Location:
New York Hall of Science
47-01 111th St.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Charles Tyrwhitt

Toro NYC: Tapas, Octopus, Paella, and Churros

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I knew from the beginning, it would be extremely hard to beat last years Valentines Day dinner at Carbone. But, I had a good feeling Toro might be able to do it – or at least get close. Toro definitely impressed me, and I already want to go back.

Last summer we went to Boston for a music festival called Boston Calling. This was held on Memorial Day weekend and included bands such as Bastille, The Neighbourhood, Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, Jack Johnson and Brand New. Before going I spoke to some friends for recommendations – everyone came back mentioning Toro. While eating brunch the next morning at The Beehive (Great Place to check out) the bartender also said “Do not leave Boston until you goto Toro.” So we decided to call up, book a reservation and were told that is not possible. So we decided, let’s go for brunch. While there, we ordered up a storm. We started with the olives, foie gras, patatas bravas, escalivada catalana, and finished the apps up with an order of jamon serrano. We then moved to some egg dishes (since it was around 11:00) and moved to the creme de la creme, duck prosciutto and an order of Asada de Huesos aka Bone Marrow with Oxtail. As you can see from my reviews on Minetta Tavern and Charlie Bird, I hold the marrow from Toro in high regard.

When we got back to Manhattan we all said we need to make it a point to goto Toro over in Chelsea. With everyone’s busy schedules, it seemed difficult to get everyone together to book a reservation. So, I said fuck it – Nicole and I are going for Valentine’s Day. Since the day I made the reservation, I kept thinking about the absurd amount of dishes I would be ordering. Removing the romantic aspects of the day and replacing them with a gluttonous sloppy feast. As we were running around doing errands in the neighborhood, I made us stop at Alidoro to get a sandwich early – and avoid ruining my appetite.

We arrived for our reservation, and once we walked in through the maze of wind-blocking tunnels, I was amazed by the size and decor of the restaurant. There we definitely a nice amount of aspects from their Boston location, such as exposed brick, distressed wood, and open ceilings showing the HVAC system. But, they definitely threw a New York/Meat Packing vibe into the mix, which was beautiful. We spoke with the hostess, which didn’t catch her name, but she was extremely nice and she walked us over to our table. Once we sat down, and looking around, I heard the great soundtrack – some songs of Nas’ Illmatic, some Tribe Called Quest – once again, similar to Charlie Bird, it was awesome to hear some hip-hop with amazing food.

The waiter came over, and we ordered our drinks. Nicole mentioned she was looking for something similar to a Pinot Noir, and he recommended two different ones. Initially she ordered the Bodegas Ponce ‘Pino’ Bobal, which she really enjoyed. After she wet with the Cvne Real, which was a little more Old World and earthy – another winner. I went with the Estrella (couple of Estrella) followed by a Smuttynose ‘Brown Dog Ale’ with dessert.

After the first round of drinks came, we placed our order. I gave the waiter a disclaimer to stop me if ordered to much – but then disregarded it and decided to surpass his ‘rule of thumb’ of 6 plates per two people. Here is our order:

  • Pan Con Tomate: Toasted bread with tomato, garlic, Spanish olive oil and sea salt. This dish was so basic, but the pureness of it brought me back to Barcelona. I highly recommend this as a great way to start, and won’t fill you up to much for the other items on the menu.
  • Tuna Tartare: The most amazing thing about this is the way it is listed on the menu “tuna tartare with stuff that we really like“. I mean, come on – how can you not order that? The tuna is served in a anchovies tin – and was delicious. I wanted to order the Tuna Belly initially, and might go with that next time, but the tartare was good.
  • Jamon de Pato: which is aged duck prosciutto, which was great. Nice mix of fat/meat, and was really nice. Tasted even better when I threw it on my Pan con Tomate ***Make that happen***.
  • ColesBrussels sprouts with olive oil and maldon salt. Probably some of the best brussels I had in a long time.
  • Costilla de Carne: Braised beef rib with pigeon peas, farro, and persimmons. This was one of those dishes you will be scraping the dish with your fork, picking up every last molecule of the items. The ribs were nicely cooked, and went extremely well with the farro and peas. I would suggest this if you want some red-meat, but don’t want to fill up on ordering the Chuleta de Buey – which is the 40 Day Dry Aged Rib-eye. **Order this dish**
  • PulpoGalician octopus with potatoes and charred onions. This was one of the best pieces of octopus I have ever tasted. Additionally, I would like to see the size of the octopus this tentacle was cut off – as I immediately yelled in my head, in Liam Neeson’s voice, “Unleash the Kraken!” If I were to take the time to straighten out the tentacle and measure it, I would say it would be 12 inches, thats what she said. Instead, we began to cut this into chunks and devour the Galician Greatness. At first taste I got a bit of a sweet tangy taste, but once I bit threw the charred outside and into the tender inside, I picked up a smokey taste – possible paprika. The potatoes were delicious, kind of looked like mini caramelized scallops and went nicely with the onions and tentacle. Hard to compare with the pulpo from Charlie Bird Noodle Pudding, Rubirosa, or Peasant – since those are more Italian style. This octopus is extremely unique, and I would definitely say this is some premium pulpo,  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS DISH ****
  • Paella Langostino: Lobster and black summer truffle paella. This was the final item of our order, and since we ordered a lot, and I had full intentions of ordering dessert, I decided to go with the half order. This was a great choice, the pan that comes out is a great size for two people who just ate a ton of tapas. The paella was moist, and full of flavor. I highly recommend ordering the half size, which at $45 isn’t too bad considering it is a large portion with lobster and black truffle.
  • Dessert: The semifreddo was good, however the CHURROS WERE AMAZING. These were by far the best churros I have ever had – better than Barcelona, Madrid, and anywhere in Manhattan. They had the perfect blend of cinnamon-sugar, kind of like taking the bottom of the cereal bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It came with a chocolate dipping sauce, which is not even needed. Trust me, Order these Churros.