Category Archives: NYC Food Cart
New York Food Trucks Named Among Best in the Country

The Daily Meal food website released a list of the best food trucks in America on Friday, and five New York food trucks made the grade. From lobster to barbecue, the Daily Meal celebrated the best food vendors on wheels that the Big Apple has to offer.

The site ranked the Cinnamon Snail truck first among New York food trucks and the eighth best food truck in the country. Created by chef Adam Sobel and family, the Cinnamon Snail food truck features a menu full of vegan takes on popular dishes. From its famous Korean Barbecue Seitan to Bourbon Hazelnut Pancakes, the truck’s menu has been a hit with patrons both in New York and in New Jersey.

The distinctive blue and tan trucks of Luke’s Lobster have been trundling through New York since 2009. With their focus on sustainable seafood and penchant for slathering their delicious lobster rolls in vast quantities of butter, Luke’s Lobster has gained a loyal customer following over the years. The Daily Meal ranked the seafood restaurant on wheels 31st in the nation.

Taïm Mobile’s distinctive Middle Eastern cuisine has become a staple in New York City. Since 2005, husband and wife duo Stefan Nafziger and Einat Admony have been dishing out their tasty falafel to hungry diners. Their special roasted red pepper tahini helped them to earn a top spot on the Daily Meal’s list.

Although Korean-Mexican fusion started in Los Angeles, Edward Song’s Korilla BBQ food truck has captured taste buds in New York since 2010 with its tasty bulgogi burritos and pork tacos. The truck’s bacon kimchi fried rice and beef chosun bowl helped to snag the 78th spot on the list as one of the country’s best food trucks.

Uncle Gussy’s food truck earned the 94th spot on the list. The aqua blue truck can often be seen in Midtown dishing out grilled souvlaki and savory yellow rice to famished customers. Uncle Gussy’s also holds the distinction of being on Yelp’s list of the top five food trucks in New York City.

David Burke Unveils New Restaurant in NoMad

A longtime fixture of the New York dining scene, chef David Burke opened his latest venture on Monday. Woodpecker is located on the northern edge of NoMad on Broadway and specializes in American-style food roasted in wood-burning ovens.

True to its name, Woodpecker is built around two giant wood-burning ovens where much of the menu’s meat and vegetable offerings are cooked. Chef Carmine Di Giovanni of the recently shuttered Mulberry Project has taken charge of the kitchen. The space features a large 35-foot wooden bar that will eventually serve wine and beer. However, as of this week, Burke had not yet begun serving alcohol in the restaurant.

The food is mainly American, but some dishes have a Korean flair that hints at the restaurant’s close proximity to Koreatown. As culinary director, Burke has taken the popular Korean snack food of seasoned crickets and added it to the eatery’s mozzarella-drenched pizza. The pizza dough is made of flour mixed with ground crickets and the nutty-tasting insects are also used as a pizza topping. The menu also includes Korean-style chicken wings garnished with sweet kkwarigochu peppers.

Burke has had a long career in the kitchen. After studying at the Culinary Institute of America and training in France, he returned to New York to serve as executive chef at the River Cafe eatery in Brooklyn. In 2003, he started his own restaurant group, which opened 10 different restaurants in New York and other American cities. In 2015, he joined ESquared Hospitality group as a consultant and culinary partner, opening Tavern 62 and advising on the menus of the group’s BLT brand.

Burke has also been a constant fixture on culinary television programs, competing on Iron Chef and serving as a guest judge on Worst Cooks in America and Hell’s Kitchen. Both Burke and his restaurants have been featured on the Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate and Reservations Required on Voom HD Networks.

German’s Soup Headed to Brooklyn by Way of Guyana

New York City has always been a melting pot when it comes to population, which has translated into any number of different national cuisines being represented on the restaurant front. The country of Guyana is one Carribean nation that has a minimal imprint on the taste buds of New York, though that will be changing.

The reason is connected to the fact that German’s Soup will be opening up next week. Having become hugely popular from its home base in Georgetown, Guyana, 58-year-old Clinton Urling decided to export that enthusiasm into the Flatbush area of Brooklyn. The end result is that local residents will now have the chance to sample some of the establishment’s most famous creations.

Soups are the obvious area of expertise for Urling, who runs the business after taking over for his father, Hubert. Armed with a collection of enticing recipes, the elder Urling unleashed items on a menu that included such things as cow heel soup. Variations of chicken or oxtail versions can also satisfy the palate. This merry mix merges split-pea broth, vegetables and the lower portions of the respective animals.

Yet the scope of that menu is much more broad-based, offering pepperpot that allows the bittersweet cassareep to connect with beef to deliver a creative stew based in the West Indies. Stewed pumpkin can be a vegetarian twist along with that pumpkin that’s mixed into rice, spinach and stewed okra.

Washing down these foods can be accomplished with some mauby over ice. Here, using tree bark as its base, the drink also works in some spices and is properly fermented. Unlike some imported versions, this is made in-house.

Di An Di Set to Conquer Pho Cravings

Vietnamese cuisine has expanded greatly over the past few decades, with diners embracing what was once an exotic choice and now serves as a viable regular option. In the Greenpoint area, a new restaurant that’s opening this week will focus a good deal of its menu options in the area of pho-based meals.

That establishment is Di An Di, which is located on Greenpoint Avenue, near Franklin Street. The name is roughly translates to “let’s go eat,” which diners will have ample opportunity to do as the trio of owners have their menu crafted to address such hunger pangs.

That threesome of husband and wife Tuan Bui and Kim Hoang, along with chef Dennis Ngo are bonded by their connection to another Bui restaurant, An Choi. Ngo served as that place’s first chef, with all three shaking things up in dining circles.

At Di An Di, the emphasis on pho includes a soup that has a poached egg and seared brisket on top. Known as Pho Thin Hanoi, it’s an acknowledgement of the owners’ culture and their fond rememberances of the classic Hanoi restaurant, Pho Thin.

Those looking for salad will have the opportunity to partake in banh trang tron, which merges green mango, sour sausage, quail eggs and shrimp floss with rice-paper salad. That certainly is a step up from the standard iceberg lettuce with tomato and French dressing.

Another available soup brings together water spinach stems, mushrooms seared in a woke, rice noodles and yuba that resembles a sausage. The soup itself is a vegetarian-based combination of spice and lemongrass noodles.

Those trying the rice-paper pizza known as banh trang nuong may be momentarily perplexed by being presented with scissors instead of a knife. That’s how this partial mix of ground pork, eggs and additional items is sliced.

A Shortage Of Frito-Lay Route Drivers In NYC Has Made It Harder To Find Snack Chips There

On a regular basis, I purchase and eat several different brands and types of potato chips, including some Frito-Lay varieties. When I saw an article about a shortage of Frito-Lay snack chips in NYC on the Grub Street website today, I just had to read it.

According to the Grub Street article, bodegas and other small food stores throughout NYC are not receiving regular deliveries of Frito-Lay snack chips because many of the company’s local delivery drivers have quit their jobs.

It turns out that Frito-Lay is changing the pay structure for its delivery drivers nationwide, and some of the route drivers in NYC have been unhappy about the changes. The new pay structure will offer drivers a higher base salary, but will eliminate the highly profitable commissions that some drivers prefer to receive.

Approximately 20 percent of the Frito-Lay route drivers in Brooklyn, the Bronx, midtown and lower Manhattan have left their jobs because of the pay changes.

It is stated in the Grub Street article that some Frito-Lay drivers in urban areas that contain numerous small food stores were earning six-figure incomes with the commissions that were previously available.

While Frito Lay has been trying to cover the stores that were serviced by the former drivers, lots of store shelves in the city do not have any Lay’s potato chips, Fritos, Ruffles chips, Grandma’s cookies, Cheetos or Cracker Jacks to offer to their customers.

Some store owners are so desperate for Frito-Lay snack products, they are reportedly approaching drivers who are doing their routes, and trying to gain access to snack products from them.

Boru Boru Brings Kosher Japanese Cuisine to Manhattan

Since opening in February, Boru Boru has added a touch of kosher flavor to Manhattan’s Asian cuisine scene. With its kosher ramen bowls and pork-free braised meats, the Japanese-inspired eatery is the brainchild of Daniel Zelkowitz.

A graduate of Yeshiva University, Daniel Zelkowitz has extensive experience in the restaurant industry and has helped open several restaurants and sports bars. However, due to the strict kosher diet that he follows as an Orthodox Jew, Zelkowitz was never able to eat at any of his business ventures. Frustrated at being unable to enjoy Japanese and Chinese cuisine, he decided to launch Boru Boru, an Asian restaurant for patrons who follow a kosher diet. Instead of eschewing traditional dishes based heavily on pork and seafood, Zelkowitz developed kosher alternatives. The restaurant’s menu features chicken and vegetable-based concoctions that have been retooled from non-kosher pork-based broths.

Boru Boru officially launched on February 11 on Amsterdam Avenue. It is located in the space previously occupied by Joon’s Westside Fish Market, which closed in November after 30 years of operation. The space has been extensively renovated, and the new dining area now features plush leather booths, exposed red brick and Japanese-style murals. In keeping with its Jewish roots, the restaurant is closed on Friday and Saturday in observance of Shabbat.

Boru Boru’s dishes are primarily drawn from Japanese cuisine, although the menu does include Korean-influenced dishes like Korean-style fried chicken wings and Chinese-style baozi, succulent Chinese buns given a kosher twist by being stuffed with pastrami and mushrooms. Boru Boru has become known for its kosher and vegetarian ramen bowls, seasoned with mushrooms, chicken, cauliflower and tofu instead of pork. The menu also features a tasty char siu brisket, a fusion of Jewish and Chinese culinary traditions.

Caroline Fidanza New Culinary Director for Firth and Tarlow Group

Looking for a great sandwich in New York became a little tougher toward the end of 2017, when Saltie closed its doors. However, the proprietor of that establishment, Caroline Fidanza, who was also responsible for the many creative sandwiches on the menu. has taken on a new role that will get the attention of diners.

Fidanza has reportedly been hired as the culinary director for a restaurant group that includes Roman’s in Fort Greene. Tasked by the owners, Mark Firth and Andrew Tarlow, with giving some zip to their five restaurants, a butcher shop and bakery, her most prominent presence figures to be with Roman’s.

While there’s no guarantee that some of her past classics like the Clean Slate and Scuttle butt will find their way onto the restaurant’s menus, Fidanza will work with each establishment’s chef to forge new paths. Prior to that, she apparently is helping Roman’s introduce her former legendary Big Italian.

Though nothing other than a statement released to the media about that sandwich being introduced on St. Patrick’s Day has been announced, it’s clear that Fidanza’s fingerprints are already busy. That particular date is when the restaurant’s brunch will make a triumphant return, giving diners roughly a week to whet their appetites.

As opposed to chains, which rely on standard ingredients, Fidanza looks far beyond that scope to provide items like hot soppressata, sesame focaccia and agrodolce squash. That focaccia, along with cornichon has helped her set herself apart from competitors.

The reunion with Firth and Tarlow renews a connection that first began roughly two decades ago, when Fidanza was based at Savoy. Spotting her talent right away, the duo hired her to work at Diner in Williamsburg. There, something as simple as the lettuce sandwich was created along with uniquew items like oatmeal-caraway cookies.

Chef Hemant Mathur Adds to Restaurant Empire

Indian chef and restaurateur Hemant Mathur announced on Wednesday that he is planning to open a new eatery called Saar Indian Bistro. The successful chef, who already owns five other Indian restaurants in New York City, has not finalized the menu, but it will likely be based on cuisine specific to a particular region in India.

Saar will be located just off of Broadway on West 51st Street between the Neil Simon Theatre and the Gershwin Theatre. Like his other restaurants in Manhattan, Mathur plans to have a bar and a dining area with 64 seats. The eatery will also serve Indian-style tea to patrons and offer a catering service.

Mathur has become one of the most prominent Indian chefs in the country. A native of Jaipur, India in Rajasthan, he honed his cooking talents in opulent luxury hotels in India like the Maurya Sheraton in New Delhi and the Taj Bengal in Kolkata. He immigrated to the United States in 1994 and began working his way up the ladder at various restaurants like Tamarind and Diwan Grill.

In 2004, Mathur opened his first restaurant, Devi. In 2007, the Union Square restaurant became the first Indian restaurant in the United States to receive a Michelin star. Mathur left Devi in 2010 to open Tulsi, which became known for its signature dish of tandoori grilled lamb chops. In 2014, Mathur branched out and launched Fine Indian Dining Group, which manages a stable of five Indian restaurants in Manhattan.

Mathur’s specialty is focusing on certain regions of Indian cuisine, rather than forming pan-Indian menus. Each of his restaurants covers a certain region. Dhaba, his restaurant in the Curry Hill area around Lexington Avenue, offers Punjabi dishes like Amritsari fish and Punjabi murgh. Nearby, Chote Nawab focuses on Awadhi cuisine from Lucknow and Deccani-style dishes from Hyderabad. Mathur has not revealed which part of India he will draw on for the menu at Saar, but expects to make his final decisions in time for the resturant’s grand opening in April.

Marc Murphy Shutters West Village Restaurant

Chef Marc Murphy announced on Monday that he has decided to close Ditch Plains, a popular seafood eatery in the West Village. Citing the skyrocketing cost of space in the Greenwich Village Historic District, Murphy hopes to reopen the restaurant in a new location. Murphy was previously forced to close another branch of Ditch Plains in 2014. Located on the Upper West Side for three years, the restaurant also fell victim to the city’s rising rental fees.

Murphy was exposed to Italian and and French cuisine from an early age. Born in Milan, he also lived in Paris, Rome and the French Riviera commune of Villefranche-sur-Mer as a child. He trained at New York’s Institute of Culinary Education and gained experience at multiple restaurants in Europe and New York. In 2004, he opened Landmarc, a Tribeca bistro that drew on his European training. In 2009, he was introduced to a wider audience when he began appearing on the Food Network’s Chopped cooking competition series as a judge. He has since become a fixture on television, judging adolescent chefs on Chopped Junior and making dozens of guest appearances on shows like Rachael Ray, The Best Thing I Ever Ate and The Today Show.

Despite his success behind the stove and on television, Murphy has struggled to expand his restaurant empire in New York. In addition to closing two branches of Ditch Plains, he also was forced to scale back operations at Landmarc Tribeca in July. Currently, the restaurant is not available to the public and is only open for private events. However, Murphy still retains his Landmarc location inside The Shops at Columbus Circle.

Manhattan Chinese Restaurant Receives Zero Stars

The New York Times caused a stir Tuesday when food critic Pete Wells reviewed Manhattan Chinese eatery DaDong and gave it zero stars. Citing tasteless dishes and high prices, Wells expressed his displeasure with the Chinese chain’s first foray into the United States.

DaDong began life as a single restaurant in Beijing, China. Specializing in Peking duck, DaDong Roast Duck was founded by chef Dong Zhenxiang in 1985. Dong developed a special roasting method using a circular wood-burning stove to cook his version of a crisp, juicy Peking duck. His take on the traditional Beijing favorite proved to be popular and helped propel Dong to the position of one of the most famous chefs in Beijing. Due to this success, his flagship restaurant in Dongcheng District was soon joined by other branches in the city. Dong has since spread his eateries into Shanghai, where two of his DaDong restaurants have earned a Michelin star each. In 2017, he expanded DaDong into Manhattan.

Located near Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan, DaDong’s newest location opened in December 2017. Spread over two stories, the eatery’s menu is built around its Peking duck. However, due to New York City regulations, the duck is cooked over gas instead of traditional Chinese wood-burning stoves. The restaurant also offers other dishes like Pacific geoduck clams, sweet and sour pork ribs, steamed king crabs, Kung Pao chicken and shrimp, and Wagyu beef.

However, the New York eatery’s extensive menu has not impressed reviewers. Pete Wells wrote in his review for The Times that he found DaDong’s famous Peking duck dish dry and tasteless. He also cited an overabundance of sweetness in many of the restaurant’s dishes. Adam Platt of GrubStreet gave the restaurant a similarly uncomplimentary rating in January. Although not quite as dismissive of the Peking duck, Platt also cited an overuse of sugar in the menu and bemoaned the $98 price tag for the duck dish.

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