Pilot. Work mostly to Hawaii. Also San Salvador,San Juan,NYC&major US cities. Don Quixote-esque quest for the best high to lower end.Travel world-wide. Fun is in the adventure and the character's I meet along the way. Not to mention the great food.
(My bad, it was actually the lead-in pic on Pulse News Service....not Serious Eats.)
Also, though not captioned pic lead-in photo, has to be a James Hook roll.....?
Good article, Daniel. Spent much time in Boston, and generally agree with your assessment. Unfortunately, the time I had the Neptune Connecticut-style (butter), either it was an angry lobster, or they overcooked it. The bun was somewhat untraditional, but, who cares, it was the best bun of all the lobster rolls that I experienced in Bean Town. That being said, it was a pretty pricey $26 (two-yrs ago) before tax and tip bun. I realized that it definitely had the potential to be spectacular (plus a generous helping), and I truly believe it must've been bad timing. On the other hand, the simple James Hook was always consistently simple and solid. The bun was it's slight weakness, but the lobster was always perfectly cooked and dressed. Not to mention the best bang for the buck. I think it was only $16, and worth it. Very important to mention: Though not advertised, always ask for it toasted, because you then get it fresh made in the back. Great stuff!
I'm way behind the power-curve, here (time-wise), and understand Keji's quest for the best "slice" in S.F. / Power-read all comments (why do we talk about best whole pizza pies when the subject matter is: pizza by the slice?) So, knowing I'm stretching here, a little, but not by S.F. old school standards...I'm thinking the Kenji Master might have missed out on the opportunity to give a pretty strong shoutout to true S.F. legend, for great reason (and still follows quite close to the original premise..): Liguria Bakery Pizza-style "cut." Perhaps editorial issues with the terms: Slice, and, Cut, became a factor, dunno.
Regardless, thx as always, Kenji! / After my trek a few mos ago, I do think Tony's made a respectable slice.
However, I am still a solid Dom Demarco fan, and--thx to you-- Prince Street Spicy Grandma Slice straight out of the oven - eater. / S.F. has great pizza, and I love it, but there is no substitute....
I can't believe that I have an omission. The Sesame "Pancake" at Vanessa's is a true value winner. It's fried bread (in a good-way), with a sort of Vietnemese/Chinese filler. The Duck option is not on the menu, you just have to ask, and you will receive. Good people eat here. It's a must stop on your quest.
I just completed the route Kenji created in Little Italy.
It was my last days of NY up/down town layovers. I was on a mission...
He was spot-on.
Prince St. Pizza Diablo "or whatever it's called" (Spicy Spring) is as described. Ridiculously good. You've earned it. Dampen the grease chalises and bite in.
The buns from "Golden Shower" or whatever they are called, were very fulfilling, for what they are...just good buns for cheap. Salted Egg was a nice surprise. Eggs in light-custard-ish symphony works more savory than a custard donut. A good thing.
Taim is spot on. I was tasting the city, so I just ordered the three flavored falafel for $4. They were all good. I'm along with Kenji, again, Harissa was a favorite, but the Greenie's were a close second or close first--you try. Both great. They have Isreali food down to a fulfilling, absolutely enjoyable, Isreali-science. Why have falafel anywhere else?
Di Palo, was classic, and described perfectly by our second overloard, Kenji.
I took my ticket, and waited, and waited. My patience paved the way to utter heavenliness when I placed that crackly, fatty greatness of porchetta between a respectfull great roll, a day later. Yes. That good. Rock Star.
On the side, I worked a few other venues, when in town: Curry Lentil Soup at Num Pang was quite average in my estimation. Fine, but lacking in the "wow" "that's great factor." I found it to taste fine, but it was pedestrian.
If you want a great late night eats, go for the cornmeal-crusted columbian ground meat at Empanada Mama (2-locations in Manhattan.) It's pretty stellar. Crispy, crunchy outside, Meaty inside. Almost like a more perfect crunchy taco your Mom used to make, plus requisite green sauce... better than ever...
Duck Buns are no longer on the menu at Momofuku. / You must commit to the $15 plate of Duck on Rice. I'm certain, that it is worthy, if you are willing to commit to one meal.
Gilding the NY Lilly, I went to The Pork Store. Now known as Faicco's Italian Specialties, it is still the Pork Store.
They are what America is all about.
They take pride in their product, like no other.
The man behind the counter made me the best Italian Special, ever recorded.
I've got a picture. I just love the place.
If you go to NYC and don't stop in and buy something from Faicco's, you are missing out.
You would also be missing out if you dont have Kenji's map of crazy cheap, and great eats from Di Palo (pay for the Porchetta... and Mozz (not cheap, but trust me, great value...))
The Ricotta from Alleva, and their Meat Arancini, are the best.
The Chinese Mart was very fun.
Pigs heads, snails, whatever you want. Perfectly NY. That's why you live in NY, to compete and live like no other.
That's a great shot of the good people "getting it done."
This gent has a lot going for him. In a cut-throat business, he brings a grand breath of optimism and life to the table. He showed that same great human quality during Top-Chef Masters, and continues to do so. I can't wait to go to his "newer" restaurant. I'm sure the food will reflect his passion. Isn't that what makes it great to go out for dinner?
My comment is more ancient than the more expensive booze not talked about in this article...but...I, of course, found the article entertaining, and relevant. I think that Old Crow Reserve is a great buy, thanks to Will's piece. Without his article coming through on my iPhone at Hi-Time Liquor Store a few mos ago, I would've wasted a lot of time and future liver processing capacity by trying less quality product. Instead, I found a great product for the price. It mixes famously with Ginger Beer, crushed ice, and a good squeeze of 1/4 fresh lime. (Sound familiar??) Forgiving the Dark and Stormy commentary--post article--I just want to be one more guy giving kudos to Will. Thanks!
@Dietsch: Is it okay to just say, "Great Article!" Thanks. Very articulate, informative, and interesting. Keep up your great passion and superior writing.
Finally had opportunity to check out Hide-Chan (followed obvious advice and went for the Kuro.) It was exceptionally good. Just to update: they (Hide-Chan) "do" offer your choice of "bite" of noodle and "richness" of broth--however, "Stay for the Pork Toro" is a foregone delight, as it is no longer on the menu, and can't be requested. (FYI, I just had some Ajisen Hakata Pork Rib Ramen, and it was good, but the Hide-Chan had "more" umame--as does my local Santouku. I still will put up Honolulu's Goma-Ichi or Tei's Korean-esque Ramen against the best -- as well as Hamura's in Lihue, if eaten with proper procedure. / Happy New Year--and thanks for all the great food writing. You guys and gals really are the best!
Before I read the article, I told my girlfriend that: "Before I read this, I trust that Kenji is going to signal out The Counter for what it is." Of course you did. Amazing the amount of good press and long lines they have.
"C'mon Man..." came immediately to mind when I gave them my 1st and only chance/ as it turns out. Spot on, Kenji, as usual. Sooo overrated. Looking forward to a Smashburger coming to my hometown soon...
Whoever took the pic of the chicken...well executed. It fit Kenji's description. I envision oozing Foie Gras waiting to vet with the slice of a sharp knife through the enticing crisp exterior.
Faicco's didn't make the cut, or were they not interested?
You gotta love it. It's a "C'mon Man," kind of moment.
I'm just playing. I'm sure you're represented well. But who's got the best Italian Stallion Sandwich in the City??
It's okay to agree that Otto produces probably some of the best mainline great veggie sides-plus the rest of their menu-- in the city. It's always surprising how good something can be, when executed properly.
We aren't going to talk pizza-talk here, and their's is fine--I'm talking about the big picture of delicious, enormous, value and taste.
Wow. Sorry. Dumpling was a great foil to the many human stories you write, and, obviously, very special to you. --Brent
Tough to write a review like that, thanks for your integrity.
They can make it in the biz if they learn from their mistakes.
The concept was interesting enough for S.E. to review, so they have more opportunity to improve process.
Just the sound of "Gravy" is enticing when in the mood for that kind of food.
But if you're gonna put out "Gravy" as your name, the gravy and it's accompaniments better stand up--cause that's what you are going for at 5PM or 1AM.
Gravy is challenging unless you use Kenji's Thanksgiving recipe/ comboed w/ Cook's/ which made all ideas sing "dipping, dunking, grave boat hymns of pleasure." GRAVY. Yumm.. Maybe they should check out his archived piece. "Yah. Uh huh..."
Spell correction: (Minetta Tavern) Sorry..
Can't believe I'm commenting...but I've had all 3-burgers, prepared in the correct, respective geographical & neighborhood areas of origin.
As usual, S.E. editors/staff got it right / of course, because they've all had the originals hot off the grill. (I do whacky cross-country experiments as well--all in fun, just like S.E.did.) And talk about generating buzz for their extreme day-old burger comparison--very humorous.
Kenji's breakdown nails it. In sum:
SS is the highest quality burger experience in it's whole and, overall in it's parts. Fast food-style, yes, along with a couple exceptional gourmet touches (meat/bun) plus correct meat treatment at the grill. For this, you pay a little more--not to mention SS likely has the highest rent for it's "scale" of operations. (non-issue, their product is very reasonably priced...please.--and, yes, I know that 5G has a Mid-town location.)
INO delivers a super All-Americana burger that has a terrific exponential quality to it. Each quality ingredient layered on top of the other, along with good training, ends up producing an American-Burger-ie/Cheesy w/ California-fresh produce as "toppins" that is great in it's "sum of it's parts" kind-of-way. Great for the greasy Cheeseburger-loving person in you, and the product is very accessible to the masses in California. (..so there are legions of lovers..and for good reason.)
In a final tongue in cheek comment between the two most popular contenders, perhaps the edge goes to SS for having just a little more je ne sais quoi. Hence, as Kenji put it, "I did it by popular silent vote." Meaning..based on "knowing" nods, the burger geniuses (I mean that in a good way...just see Kenji build a burger on Cooks Illus video & you'll understand) went a little more for the composition of the slightly more premium product and burger cooking process that cost a couple/few bucks more. Well done!
(To be fair, 5G is very good. We like it because you truly can have it "your way" and then some. Tastes fresh, and makes us automatically assume the "hunch" while in the eating position. Great overall product.) It just isn't as uniquely special / "finally" executed (cooking process) product as SS and INO, but fun and delicious nonetheless.
Irony is, for all this fun conversation, there are better hamburgers out there. These just fall into the "approachable" lunch burger with large sales numbers category. (which is a huge category...so all these burgers are winners.)
With the burger nation engaged, do yourself a favor, and (at the risk of sounding snobby) try the Black Label Burger at Minneta Tavern. The experts were "right" on this one. Don't let $26 scare you off, trust me. Just do it.
Thanks, James! I appreciate you and your team's fair appraisal. I perceived a blind-taster's sense of let down--but you know what you know. As we know, during these SE tastedowns, it's impossible to eat everything in it's prime moment; however, the shining stars will usually show their true colors (esp. when it comes to ribs) even if they've been sitting on a picnic table for an hour. Way to go, and thanks for inflating SE's credibility, and not the food. Cheers!
Thanks for the piece. Makes an opportunist want to do some homework on the stock. Not sure that I'd pass over other great foodie venues when I do my monthly visit, but the case for Nate is a good one--even if it's Mexican for the masses. At least the company appears to be "Serious about their Eats!"
Thanks for the article.
How about: best ribs in America?
1. Pork (Southern) - Dreamland in Tuscaloosa, AL
2. Pork (Asian) - Roy's (Szechuan) (sp?)
3. Beef - any Hillstone Group product (Bandera, Houston's, etc.)
4. Pork (Texas) - Angelo's in Ft. Worth.
Enjoy! And don't pooh pooh Roy's and Hillstone product until you've tried them.
Their are two good uses for 2 buck-
1. Room temp White Zin over a filled pint glass of ice for a Summer elixir.
2. 2-buck Cab used in mulled wine in the winter.
Thanks for the review. It was on target.
To answer any "Non-SousVide'rs" out there: and to address the Slow Cooking method via Crock Pot (bad news...if you like Kenji's temperature model):
This is the correct answer for (Standard Crock-Pot / Manufacturer: Rival/Jardin Inc)
What’s the difference between "Low" and "High" cooking?
--Both High and Low stabilize at the same temperature, it is just a matter of how long it takes to reach the simmer point. Once food reaches the simmer point, total cook time is dependent on cut and weight of meat to reach the point of maximum flavor and texture potential. (Most dishes can be prepared on either High or Low.) (Me: Hence, always cook on High, I assume...)
What are the typical cook times for Crock-Pot® slow cookers?
Typical cook time for Crock-Pot® slow cookers to reach simmer point (209°F) / (Me: Aargh!--not possible in Standard Crock Pot to adjust to Kenji recommended 180deg) :
Low: 7-8 hours to reach the simmer point
High: 3-4 hours to reach the simmer point
After spending a bit of product knowlege time researching the Crock-Pot: another valid suggestion from Rival/Jardin Inc is to not peak--as it's a serious heat killer. (Lots of recovery time, just by opening the lid for a short amount of time.
Wish I had better news!