Eaten, Barely Blogged: Seeing Double
FOUR at YOTEL: I don’t know that I’m the target market for clubby far West Side hotel bars with amazing terraces (and a Yobot) but the cocktails and chef Richard Sandoval’s small Asian-Latino plates were fun (and gratis, it must be mentioned). See the full set of photos. The tiny crunchy shrimp coated in a lemon sake aioli, stood out in particular because they reminded me of a more refined version of Bonefish Grill’s signature Sriricha-mayonnaise-sauced Bang Bang Shrimp. That is not an insult because I happen to love Bonefish Grill (see below). Superficially, I also enjoyed the tuna causa because it sat atop a rectangular mound of purple potato that resembled clay, and I love blue and purple food.
Tacos Nuevo Mexico: The Park Slope branch has been remolded for some time now. It’s all well and good, but the English-only menu poses problems. I fear being pretentious by asking for my tacos by their Spanish names, yet when I want carnitas, I’m unsure if that’s the listed roast pork, grilled pork or spicy pork. I’m guessing grilled pork, though I’m not taking any chances. Why we don’t have real tacos, even gentrified Mexican-produced tacos, in Carroll Gardens is a question I’ve had for seven years. A live guitar-playing duet, not really mariachis exactly, gave way to piped-in Credence Clearwater Revival’s greatest hits.
Bonefish Grill: If asked (I never am) I would likely say that this seafood restaurant is my favorite chain. And I just realized that I only gave it a half-review back in 2007–that needs to be rectified, um, because I've been many times since. Even though it’s in the same Iselin, New Jersey parking lot as the renovated Red Lobster and I am truly curious about the more established chain’s current four courses for $15 deal (really, how do they do it?) and unlimited Cheddar Bay Biscuits, I still went with Bonefish. It gives the illusion of being upscale, at least in comparison to Red Lobster. Martinis with blue cheese-stuffed olives are only $6.90, entrees like my soft-shell crab stuffed with a crab cake are in the teens and you can choose healthy sides like the simple green beans and sautéed zucchini, as I did. Instead of our usual appetizer order, yes, the above-mentioned Bang Bang Shrimp we had ceviche and wagyu beef dumplings instead because we’d just eaten a Manhattan-ized version of the prawn dish three night’s previously. Also of note, FOUR was serving a blueberry shiso caipirinha while Bonefish had a blueberry martini. Blueberry is in season in both the suburbs and the city. I preferred the caipirinha–while I love chain restaurants, their cocktails are always too sweet for my taste.
Der Kommissar: No Falco was played, but Sheila E., Prince and Michael Jackson did their ‘80s duty. Normally, I wouldn’t be in South Slope twice in a weekend, but there was a new condo I wanted to take a peek at on 15th Street. The building didn’t do much for me, but a glass of Ramstein Double Platinum Blonde and a pretzel, more like a mini baguette, with a blue cheese, dried cherry and walnut spread (not particularly Austrian—but they hadn’t made the liptauer yet) made for a fine Sunday afternoon pit stop.