Side-to-Side Asian (rather than Pan Asian) at H-Mart
Generally speaking, among foodies, you won’t find fans of Pan Asian cuisine, the popular American restaurant genre that often exemplifies the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none.” The cuisines of Asia are just as distinct from each other as are the cuisines of Europe. Can you imagine a “Pan-European” restaurant serving souvlaki, tortellini Bolognese, pelmeni, Wienershnitzel, and gravlax? It would be scary.
That said, check out the three shoulder-to-shoulder kitchens at H-Mart, Hartsdale’s insane Korean-American megamart. Each long, skinny kitchen serves dishes from three distinct countries. The Japanese kitchen, called Sushi World, is all roiling pots (frankly, I can’t tell what’s in there—it’s all lost in a cloud of steam). It offers pre-packed sushi up front and, through the window, a variety of noodle soups. Try the miso or creamy tonkatsu ramen special, a rich concoction of boiled pork bones, noodles, egg, wood ear mushrooms, and pork. Or salt (shia) ramen, thought to be a primitive version of what has become, post-Momofuku Noodle Bar, the official cuisine of hipsters. All arrive with lavish meat slices, a hard boiled egg, seaweed, and scallions over curly noodles. In H-Mart’s Japanese kitchen, there are fat, bouncy soba noodles, some udon, and more… And that’s just the Japanese food.
CAPTION: Creamy Tonkatsu ramen with pork slices and egg
Next door, there’s a separate wok-centric kitchen called China House churning out classics like mapo dofu and sweet and sour pork, though many China House dishes show a distinct Korean tinge—ja jang mian and jap tang bap, a Korean take on Chinese food. The Korean kitchen, Aram Korean Cuisine, slings stick-to-your-ribs Korean classics like bibimbap, japchae, and bulgogi, all served with sides of kimchi. I can’t say that I’ve ever willingly eaten at a mall food court (unless we’re talking about Kam Sen’s funky takeout counter), but I will say that I never miss a chance to belly up to the noodle bar at H-Mart.
HotFlash!: Two Openings on the Horizon
So I ran into Chef Christian Petroni recently (actually, I’d been sort of stalking him for a story), and it looks like his Fortina Pizza will debut in Ardsley Square this winter. You probably remember Petroni—he was at Anthony Goncalves’s Peniche before decamping to the gold-mine restaurant group behind CT’s Barcelona Wine Bar. Now the warm, cuddly Petroni is out on his own, soon to offer wood-fired pizzas and casual New American and Italian specialties. Check the Fortina Facebook page here for updates.
Armonk Square, Armonk
Saigon Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine
That’s right, pho-lovers of Westchester—your prayers have been answered. Looks like this newcomer is stepping into the Tuscan Red Barn space on Central Avenue and will be slinging your Vietnamese pho-verates. Please—fingers crossed!—let it be as good as the Viet Nam Restaurant, a modest Spring Valley sleeper whose powerful attractions lure me right across the river.
158 S Central Avenue, Hartsdale
Phone and website to come
HotDate: Dalboso Family Vineyards at Plates on the Park
November 13, 7 pm
$75 per person, plus tax and gratuity
From the site, “We are startin’ to feel Chile! You feelin’ it? Then join us for a winemaker dinner featuring 4 wines from the Dalbosco Family Vineyards located in the Limari Valley of the Coquimbo wine making region of Chile. Originally from Trento Italy, the Dalbosco family now cultivates 32 hectares in the shadow of the Andes and produces organic, affordable wines with their 2 sons guiding the winemaking. We will pair these great value wines with a light bite at the bar and 3 seated courses from Chef Karp’s new fall menu. Well-known wine expert Alex Pagano will be on hand to take your questions and tell you about the wines and their debut tasting in the US.” For reservations: (914) 834-1244 or manager@PlatesonthePark.com.
HotPlate: Gyro-Spiced Beef Sliders at MP Taverna
Look, folks, I have been eating a lot of burgers…like, you can’t imagine how many burgers. (Please—keep sending your suggestions into the EaterLine, email@example.com!) Once in a while, I hit a burger epiphany, and this slider at MP Taverna was one. Imagine tender, ultra-beefy, ultra-juicy meat perfectly seasoned with just the right punch of salt and pepper, then picture it capped by a tangy tzatziki sauce and few slices of mouthwatering preserved lemon! Folks, it was beefy, it was tangy, it was bright, salty, and delicious… Best of all, it comes in a small package, so you’ll always want more.