Spicy Village (Formerly known as the He Nan Noodle House)
68 B Forsxth Street
New York, NY 10002
Ryan saw Danny Bowien rave about Spicy Village and we were sold. He even admitted that they knocked off a few of their dishes at Mission Chinese food off of this place. It’s near our favorite aquarium hobbyist store Pacific Aquarium, so we stopped by today before going to pick up some fish (We picked up 2 Platies and a Cory, if you want to know).
The place is a small hole in the wall with around 18-20 person seating. It was pretty empty when we went in, other than a party of monks (seriously), but the place smelled delicious.
I was all set to order the lamb soup with hand pulled noodles, but Ryan ordered the “The Big Tray of Chicken,” which is stewed chicken (some with bone) in a spicy broth and spices. You can order it with noodles for an extra dollar. I decided to share that with him and order some soup dumplings.
The soup dumplings: Ryan liked them. They were a little sweeter than Joe’s Shanghai, and they didn’t have much soup. The soup itself was delicious in flavor, less greasy, and had an amazing broth. I’m still partial to Joe’s Shanghai, since they have that vinegar ginger sauce and the dumplings are much saltier. The dough, was really nice. You can tell that it’s the same dough as the noodles and the texture is really great.
The Big Tray of Chicken: It was REALLY kick ass. It was large enough to share for 2 + Noodles. The tray comes with chicken and potatoes stewed with tons of spices and peppercorns. The broth was so good, we were dipping our dumplings in them. The flavors were complex, and not just spicy, but sweet. I can see where Danny Bowien’s inspiration came from. And when I say spicy, I don’t mean “hot,” but spicy, as in, herbs, if that makes sense. You can feel the seeds and some szechuan peppercorns through every other 3 or so sips (yeah, not sure if it was meant to sip, but I sipped the broth and it was yum). Honestly, despite all that it wasn’t very spicy. It’s also nothing like Szechuan or mainland Chinese food.
Next time I am going to try the lamb noodle soup. Sometime after that I should pick up some take out of the dry spicy lamb and hand pulled noodles. I’m going to make Ryan order the spicy beef brisket and hand pulled noodles. Maybe some of the dumplings. Then, I’ll be satisfied.
(and how I spent way too much money before and during the Holidays)
On our 5th anniversary, we decided to splurge a little and try a place we’ve been talking about going to for a whole year, The Dutch. It’s very much suppose to be comfort American food with tons of seafood. We were on a budget, but we wanted to get the most bang for our buck. (Otherwise we would have ordered the seafood platters.)
131 Sullivan Street
New York, NY 10012
I love love love their cornbread and butter. It was a great start to an incredibly indulgent meal. I ordered some Belgian style beer, Ryan ordered… oh I forget, but their beer selection was spot on. This is exactly what I needed to absorb the alcohol and get myself psyched for an amazing time. And it was a “loaf,” and a pretty serious time. Both of us brought our appetites, though, so it was on.
We started with the Snapper Ceviche with Aji Amarillo and popcorn. It was very good, with the popcorn being a really great touch. We were really surprised about the portions. They were very generous. I love ceviche, because it’s very refreshing. This ceviche was a little more indulgent and hearty. Really nice. Would I order this again? If I felt like it. In the end, it wasn’t memorable compared to… well, I’m getting to that.
The one thing that I loved that I did not photograph (since I was too busy stuffing it in my mouth) was the little oyster sandwiches we ordered. I don’t know how they do it, but it packed a lot of flavor in a small slider. They fry up a single oyster, put in a potato roll with little sauce, but it was amazing. Honestly, our final verdict was that we should have ordered 2-5 of these sandwiches and not bothered with the other appetizers. We were that much in love.
We followed the ceviche with the peel n’ eat sweet shrimp with red remoulade. It was good, but honestly it wasn’t the best thing on the menu. We would not order it again. If we wanted peel n’ eat shrimp, we would go to The Wren, which still has the most amazing peel n’ eat shrimp ever (and much more affordable). Anyway, it was perfectly cooked, but it didn’t rock my world. The remoulade was great, but overall, I still wished I ordered more of those oyster sandwiches.
We saw other tables order the Sullivan Platter (oysters, little necks, taylor bay scallops, ceviche, uni, and sweet shrimp – $75) and/or the Prince Platter (oysters, little necks, taylor bay scallops, ceviche, sweet shrimp, uni, crab claws, and lobster cocktails – $135), but we were on a budget. :P Next time I would have checked out the scallops with blood orange and mendochino sea salt. Their seafood wasn’t flashy and the flavors didn’t cover up the fish. It showcased a fresh selection of seafood. It’s really clean compared to their entrees, which is just the epitome of comfort food.
For our main course, Ryan ordered the Korean-stye hanger steak, kimchi fried rice with farm egg and I got the chicken fried quail with peach and bourbon. I was deliberating against this or the sea scallops with sunchokes bacon jam and meyer lemon. In the end, people raved about their fried chicken at brunch, and I wanted to try their staple dish (AC’s Homestyle Favorites – as it says on the menu). I was a little jealous of Ryan’s food, but my meal held it’s own. Ryan’s steak was marinaded and cooked well (medium rare – very pink in the center) and the kimchee fried rice was tasty. It was actually pretty spicy and perfect with the friend egg (also cooked to perfection). It’s really similar to the type of food we cook at home (rice, with pickes, fried egg on top of everything, etc.) and just really solid and satisfying. Ryan loved it. If we go back, Ryan will probably stick to the same thing.
My main course came with beans cassoulet. The beans were SO TASTY. The quail was fried to perfection and had the perfect texture. This was the perfect comfort food and totally filled me up. A little on the saltier side, which is what I prefer. It was perfect and totally filled me up.
In fact, the portions here were SO generous. I think by the pictures, we didn’t think that this would be true, so we basically ordered up a storm. By the end of this meal, we were done…we normally don’t order desert, but WE HAD TO SPLURGE!
We finished with their apple cranberry pie and three cheeses. We had them pick out 3 cheeses for us. The cheese was pretty amazing. Ryan wanted to get some cheddar to eat with his apple pie (apparently this is a thing), and it was a great pairing. Man. By the end of this, we couldn’t quite finish all the desert. They brought us a little biscuit at the end, which… I really didn’t need. Needless to say, it was a super indulgent and delicious dinner at the Dutch.
Next time: Oyster sandwiches and beer at their bar or oyster sandwiches and an entree for a special occasion. Mmmm!
Happy New Year! I apologize for the huge gap. There’s been a lot going on since the Summer. (Vacation, work conference, and somewhere between Vegas and New York, I traveled back in time and I was diagnosed with Whooping Cough. Yeah. Then some more craziness at work, and you get the idea. Then Sandy. Then the Holidays.
That’s not to say we haven’t been cooking and eating out.
Well, this year Ry and I are determined cook more, save money, and to be healthy. First thing was first, though… trying this new French restaurant that opened up in our neighborhood. Mominette!
221 Knickerbocker Ave (between Troutman St & Starr St)
Brooklyn, NY 11237
This place just opened up this fall. (After Thanksgiving, I believe.) It used to be a Spanish restaurant. The inside was revamped, new doors were put in and painted blue. It looked really cute and the menu looked affordable.
It definitely didn’t disappoint. Inside, the restaurant is adorable. Low lights, wallpapered with aged newspaper clippings, and a gorgeous bar. Cocktails are around $7-$11, which is phenomenal. Their Poiritini (Pear Martini) is amazing. The dinner menu ranges from $6 (small plates) to $20, which is more affordable than most places in the area. It has a good selection (cheese plates, salads, fish, beef, and chicken entrees, pastas, soups, and daily specials. There are vegetarian options (Mac n’ Cheese) that are delicious.
I had their fish special, which happened to be blackened salmon with lemon capers and seasonal vegetables. Ry had their Mac n’ Cheese. The Salmon was done well. The Salmon itself wasn’t the fattiest, but it wasn’t dry and the rub on the fish was delicious. Love the capers. However, my favorite of the night was the Mac n’ Cheese. They used some stinky cheese, and it was so satisfying. I demanded that Ry switch plates with me halfway through the meal. I’m going to try to recreate that.
All in all, a really good option with an amazing price point. With my cocktail, Ryan’s beer, and both of our meals, the entire bill came out to around $40 (not including tip).
Here’s to a new year with good food guys!
Ryan’s ancestors are very wise.
I’m sure it’s not hard to run into identity issues in this town, especially in Bushwick, Brooklyn. There have been tons of great places popping up. There’s New/American Italian, Fusion/New Japanese, great Mexican places, and now Ramen.
So, back in the summer, this beautiful Restaurant Bar opened up, called the Morgan. The space was large and gorgeous with wood interior. There was a whole space in the back and the basement for parties, for bands, etc… The beer selection was great and the food was pretty amazing. It got some flak for being overpriced or pretentious from the local Bushwick website, but I never thought that that was true.
The first time I went in there, I had their truffle fries (with parmesan) and was blown away. Ryan’s stopped by here to get his oyster and charcuterie fix. I loved their salad and steamed mussels. We never ordered their tasting menu, burger, or any other entree. We were happy with the bar fixings.
The fifth or sixth time we went in there, we found out that they got rid of almost everything on the menu that we liked. I just got off work and was enjoying a beer and waiting for Ryan to walk over. When he got there, we finished our beers and went to Roberta’s. For real. And after that we never really went back.
The other day, we were walking with Ryan’s sister on our way to brunch at Roberta’s, and she mentions that The Morgan is a Thai place now. ?!?!?!!? So, I insist on peeking in and lo and behold, it’s a freaking Thai place. WTH? WHY? Sadly, and maybe unfairly, I’m just not down with that. The flyers outside shows the burlesque and comedy shows they do in the back, the interior hasn’t changed, and everything is deceptively similar… except they changed their plaque and there is a dingy paper Thai menu stuck to the front.
How can I express my disappointment? That night when I looked at the menu and asked for the things I usually get, I gave one of the managers feed back that I really go there for the truffle fries, charcuterie, and mussels. They were sweet and said that they appreciated the feed back. Deep down, I was hoping that in a week or so it would be back on their menu. Now, I don’t know why all these changes are happening or whether the restaurant wasn’t able to sustain itself, or whether it’s doing better because of this change… I REALLY wanted them to be successful. I really loved their first menu, their craft beers, etc… I thought the neighborhood needed a place like this. I knew other people that thought the same thing. If the reviewers criticizing The Morgan of gentrifying the neighborhood spooked them… well, that’s dumb. I wanted them to hold their ground. I wanted them to eventually offer amazing brunches. I wished they would have just soldiered on with the original premise.
Ryan’s mentioned that the gentrification process here is a little different. With this whole mess I totally agree. Ryan’s observation is that there is a maintained effort to keep the neighborhoods looking the same. You don’t want to take away the mystique of pre-gentrified Bushwick. So you have all these bars with no signs out front, going about their business via word of mouth. (The Narrows, Tandem, etc…) You can’t really doubt that there are stereotypes about any restaurants out there. Most places here (even Burger It Up!) tout suppliers with self-sustainable organic farms, organic grass fed meats, and at times their own home grown vegetables. I feel like all of the establishments out here do a little bit of self-deprecating. Honestly, the prices are not cheap, but the food is good. And in this regard, The Morgan wasn’t different… except I feel like they lacked the self-deprecation that businesses here like. The Morgan was grand and beautiful inside. And maybe that’s why they got some flak. It’s a shame, because it is a great space and had really great food for those short months.
I really wonder why they thought to reinvent the place as a Thai restaurant? And a boring one at that.