Thursday, December 9, 2010

Where schlubs have been eating...

It's Thursday and you know what that means:

Max Gross's weekly restaurant roundup and food update!

(If you didn't know that this was a regular feature, that's OK. I just instituted it. And, besides, I realized I hadn't quite chronicled my food outings in some time.)

1) Wall & Water, the new restaurant in the Andaz Hotel.

I went last night with some friends, and I have to say: Pretty darn good.

If I lived in the Financial District and I didn't want to spend a fortune on BLT every time I left the house, I'm sure I'd think the place was a godsend. Not that the place is cheap, exactly. (The people I was with had a "friends and family" discount that made everything half price.) But you can get a burger for $17 and a beer for $6. Most of the entrees were in the mid-$20 range.

We started with the raw bar with some extremely good crab's legs, a spicy shrimp cocktail (which I didn't care for, but everyone else at my table loved) and oysters on the half shell. It was a really well put together platter of shellfish.

Also for an appetizer, I got a pheasant sausage with roasted apples which was simply delicious.

The mains were also quite good -- one of my friends got an outrageously good mac and cheese. (And this is said by a person -- me -- who doesn't even like mac and cheese!) It was served bubblingly hot in a iron skillet with a browned, cruchy layer on top, like a good baked ziti. It was probably the best of the main dishes. (Although as a word of warning: the portion is not huge. I recommend ordering it as a sidedish to be split amongst the whole table.)

I ordered the snapper (a special) which was perfectly well cooked in a broth with muscles (which I liked slightly less) and another of our diners ordered the short rib which was very tasty.

Finally, the cheese plate and the desserts should not be skipped.

The cheese plate for two was a ridiculous amount of cheese -- and they were all very tasty. One of my fellow diners ordered a "rocky road" dessert which was chocolate mousse studded with nuts and marshmallows. It was excellent. But my apple pie with ice cream was stupendous -- a mini-apple pie (also served in a skillet) with a layer of crystalized sugar on top. Oy vey! It was deeeeelicious!

2) Glaze in Midtown.

This is a teriyaki focused lunch spot that just opened yesterday. I got a peek inside for the press dinner. I went with a friend and ordered pretty much everything.

It ain't bad, either. (This city had a sad lack of good teriyaki options. The place I once frequented near my office, Teriyaki Boy, I stopped going to after it made me ill a few months back.)

The teriyaki sauce is a little too sweet for my taste, but it certainly wasn't bad. But any person going into the restaurant should try the charred pork rib. Fell off the bone. Not too fatty. Nice sauce. (It almost tasted like eating brisket.) That was the big winner.

The chicken and pork gyoza are also worth trying. And the miso soup was terrific. (Avoid the cold soba noodle salad. Meh.)

3) M. Wells might officially trump Balthazar as NYC's best breakfast.

Those were hard words for me to write. I love Balthazar. I think it's one of the best restaurants in the city. And their English breakfast is better than anything I ate during the 6 months I lived in the U.K. But I stopped by M. Wells on Sunday for breakfast and my god. My GOD! I don't know how they did it, but it was by far the best egg-and-sausage mcmuffin I've ever tasted (there was a little drizzle of cheese and green tomatoes, and something else I could quite figure out).

And the week before last, I had a weird eggs benedict -- with roasted root vegetables, that was spiked with bacon -- which was also outrageously good.

If you want to go schlub gazing, this might be my new regular Sunday breakfast spot.

4) Finally, I would like to recommend my editor, Andy Wang's, roundup of Singapore snack spots. It made me hungry. And made me want to travel to the far east.