Taiwan Pork Chop House

A friend of mine was craving Taiwanese Pork Chop, so we ended up at none other than the "Taiwan Pork Chop House" in Chinatown.  Knowing that Good Taiwanese Cuisine is quite lacking in NYC Chinatown, we were a bit skeptical…even with a restaurant named "Taiwan Pork Chop House". 

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For an appetizer, we got the Red-Oil Wontons, a dish that I was looking forward to trying after seeing all the photos posted on Yelp. Unfortunately it didn't live up to my expectation. It was totally bland and had only the tiniest bit of meat filling. My friend enjoyed it because he was all about the wonton skin and didn't care much about the fillings. 

Photo Credit: DH 

Photo Credit: DH 

The Salt and Peppered Chicken, a classic Taiwanese street food, was overly oily, under seasoned, and basically bare no resemblance to the classic that it's meant to represent. 

Photo Credit: DH 

Photo Credit: DH 

The fried chicken over rice was definitely the most well executed dish of the meal. The chicken was lightly fried on the outside and perfectly juicy on the inside. The minced pork and mustard greens that came with the rice made the dish even more authentic. I would come back for this dish.

Photo Credit: DH 

Photo Credit: DH 

Even though the pork chop wasn't really a "traditional" Taiwanese pork chop, it was a yummy nonetheless. Very tender and juicy. 

Photo Credit: DH 

Photo Credit: DH 

I have never met a Taiwanese shaved ice that I didn't like...until now. The taro tasted like it was half thawed and not fresh.  The red bean and green bean weren't quite sweet enough. The fact that I didn't even bother to finish this dessert speaks volumes! 

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Verdict: BBB.  I have come to terms with the fact that good Taiwanese Pork Chop just doesn't exist in NYC. With that realization, I guess this is not a bad place to get cheap, chicken or pork chop over rice. 

Taiwan Pork Chop House
3 Doyer Street (off of Bowery Street)
http://www.taiwanporkchophouse.com

Il Buco

Perfect day for lunching alfresco!

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I arrived at the restaurant on the early side, so I got a chance to browse. I was surprised to find a rustic interior, with farmhouse details.  The space felt cozy and homey, not at all what I had imagined for this upscale restaurant…but in a good way.  If it wasn't such a beautiful day outside, I would have chosen to dine "in".

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The appetizers were small in portion, average in taste, and way overpriced!  I mean, $19 for 4 measly prawns?!  The prawn shells didn't even peel off easily, which made me think that something wasn't quite right…  

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The housemade pappardelle with porcini mushroom was fresh, light, and tasty. 

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The risotto tasted more like Asian rice than Italian risotto. The portion was big, but it didn't have much flavor. 

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The star of the meal was definitely the chicken. Moist and full of flavor. 

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Verdict:  A.  I was a bit disappointed with the food here. I love Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, the more casual sister restaurant to Il Buco, so I assumed the original Il Buco would be even better.  Maybe my expectations were too high...  While I love the atmosphere of Il Buco, I much prefer the food at Il Buco Alimentari.   

Il Buco
47 Bond Street (Between Bowery & Lafayette)
http://www.ilbuco.com

Rosemary's

Sunday Brunching in what's becoming my favorite neighborhood for food and architectural eye-candy. 

I have always liked the open, airy feel of Rosemary's.  I was surprised that there wasn't a wait for a table for Sunday brunch. Then my friend reminded me that everyone who lives in the neighborhood is out in the Hamptons for the Summer…but, of course.  

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We shared the Burrata with olive oil and basil.  My friend loved the burrata here, but I found it to be a bit plain and not quite creamy enough.

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I got the Stringhe Di Funghi, which is poached eggs on top of a bed of oyster mushrooms, prosciutto, and arugula. I am usually turned off by healthy choices, but this dish was delicious!  Even the side of crispy potatoes were super yummy.  

My friend's bucatini with a side of housemade sausage was also spot on.  

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The Olive Oil Cake was nice and light, but the blueberries were a bit too tart and didn't really add to the dish. I probably could have done without the dessert. 

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Verdict: A+. Great neighborhood restaurant with nice atmosphere and solid italian fare.  Perfect for any time of the day. I wish there is a nice neighborhood restaurant like this in my hood. 

Rosemary's
18 Greenwich Avenue (@ West 10th St.)
http://rosemarysnyc.com

Left Bank

Casual Saturday night dinner with friends….

Even though I am not a huge fan of raw fish, my friends insisted that I try the tuna tartare.  They said it was of excellent quality.  I had a taste and agreed it was quite nice. 

The pastas are house-made and really delicious.  I especially loved the Farfalle (bow-tie shaped pasta) with wild mushroom medley.  It was very light and healthy…as healthy as pasta can be. 

The Capricci bolognese with pancetta, egg yolk, and black pepper was definitely heartier.  It had a nice bite to it.  

The Iron Roasted Split Chicken, with eggplant puree, roasted beets, pine nut & currant was amazing!  Crispy skin and the juicy meat made a perfect bite.  I didn't really care for all the veggies, which is really just  fancy  garnish to me.  I would come back just for this chicken! 

Verdict: AA.  Great relaxed place for a homey meal.  I would like check out the restaurant's sunday night movie screenings. 

Left Bank
117 Perry Street (@Greenwich Ave.)
http://leftbanknewyork.com

Brindle Room

It's that time of the weekend again...when my friend and I spend half an hour (or more) on the phone debating where to go for brunch.  Whenever we can't agree with each other's choices, we usually end up with the lowest common denominator.  Today, it's Birdle Room in the east village because we could get a reservation and it's on the East side.  

What a relief to find a relatively cute space that was about 80% full when we arrived. We were tempted to get the homemade donuts, but when we saw the portion size, we quickly abandoned that idea. Instead, we got one savoy dish and one sweet dish to share. 

The biscuit topped with pork carnitas and poached eggs, covered with chiptole sauce was the special for the day. It was yummy!  The pork was nice and tender and there was plenty of it! (smile) The biscuits at the bottom was the weakest link. The rest of the dish was so solid that I just glossed over the biscuits.

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The Challah french toast with Nutella and banana was nice, but the fact it's not served with proper maple syrup was a bit inexcusable.

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Verdict: BBB+.  Perfectly OK meal. 

Brindle Room
277 E 10th Street (Between !st Ave & Avenue A)
http://brindleroom.com