So there I was pounding my head on my laptop (The Book is due, folks, it’s due!) when I get a little tinkle on my Facebook account. Turns out that the boys over at Birdsall House want to recommend a new place to me, RameNesque in Peekskill. Click goes the laptop and I am out the door. Free!
Here’s what I love about RameNesque, other than that it is quite cheap and not located on my desk. This is a restaurant that adds value—with sheer style—at every step. Not only is Ramenesque’s interior simple and yet remarkably chic, but its vintage plastic plates are stylish and its bowls are elegantly pitched and colorful. Even the bamboo chopsticks that come with your meal have a thoughtful little twist—literally, just at the handle. At RameNesque, the thinking seems to be: Even though you’re only dropping your twos and fews, you might as well get an eyeful.
And then there was food that was all, to a dish, delightful. We started with a hearty eight-piece spicy beef roll ($6, marinated and roasted beef rolled in sushi rice with cucumber and roasted seaweed). With a dab of wasabi and dip of soy, this was just about the perfect dish for that particular moment in my life. All I’d eaten that day were a few carrots. Don’t ask: food writing is a strange gig. Anyway, we also snagged a cucumber and crab stick salad in which the weirdly filamented crabsticks were shredded in a clean tasting, albeit mayo-based, dressing that was studded with black dots of tobiko. Generally, I find crabsticks suspicious—they’re not crab at all, but an extruded seafood slurry (I mean, yum!). But here, shredded and not pretending to be a crab leg, they work as a chewy contrast to the watery, crisp cucumber. Plus, this salad was all of $3.50.
But that’s not why I ended up at RameNesque—it was for the ramen, a personal obsession of mine that has recently been re-ignited by late night Netflix binge viewing of The Mind of a Chef. RameNesque’s ramen was some of the best I’ve eaten in Westchester. The broth in the miso ramen ($9) was creamy and thick with pale miso, studded with two cool slices of roasted pork, sweet popping corn kernels, and chewy, spiral-candy fish cakes. Even better, under the scallions, the halves of hard-boiled eggs, and sheets nori, were piles of bouncy, straw-colored noodles that were lovely to hoover up. Folks, the chill wore off my body and my cheeks turned pink. Even better, I dipped into my partner’s special ramen, which contained all of the ramen standards above piled into a fiery, orange-tinged potion described as Thai style. Folks, this stuff warmed my soul and washed away my looming deadline drama in a nearly psychedelic tide of saturated golden-red lightly dotted with swirling beads of oil like a trippy lightshow. Mmmmnn. I’m telling you: run, don’t walk.
Restaurant North Goes Non-Profit with White Truffles (Sort Of)!
Truffle hounds, you’ve got until New Year’s Day to get all up on this. Restaurant North is shaving truffles at cost onto any damn thing at all. Here’s the bulletin that I received from some unnamed source this insane restaurant: “We are going to start a White Truffle campaign… hahaha! I know we are totally nutz, but s***, you know that by now. We are getting a pound of white truffles into North tomorrow and hope to do the same every week until the New Year. We are going to offer the truffles AT COST, no mark up at all. We are going to offer 4 oz at something like 30 bucks and 8 oz at something like 60 bucks. We are going to offer to shave them tableside on any dish on the entire menu, I mean anything…. even cocktails!
Our thought on this is much like our thought on Champagne. My quote is ‘if everyone is drinking Champagne, then everyone is having a good time.’ We feel the same about white truffles. We want people to be eating truffles this season—white truffles, that is. I mean, s*** why not?”
Why not, indeed, folks? I’m thinking, let’s all meet up and get white truffles shaved all over our bodies. I mean, s***, why not?
Hot Flash (Part Deux)
Chef Michael Cutney Returns with Twisted Oak
You remember Chef Michael Cutney, formerly of Café of Love and 42 the Restaurant? He was at Union Square Café with Eric Gabrynowicz way back in the day. Well, it turns out that young Cutney has partnered with FOH guy Jacob Parenti and the duo will be opening their own joint in the 61 Main Street spot in Tarrytown that formerly housed Isabella’s. You can follow Twisted Oak’s progress on Facebook, but I’ll give you the skinny right here. According to Cutney, The Twisted Oak will be slinging “an innovative twist on farmhouse food.” He’ll have an in-house pasta program, charcuterie, and his ingredients will be mostly locally-sourced. They’re planning a seasonal cocktail list and a wine list that features NY State wineries. Cutney says that The Twisted Oak slots nicely into the Tarrytown scene because, “the idea of the restaurant is to be artistic in its approach to food.” The restaurant’s name is inspired by a painting by Vincent Van Gogh and Cutney plans to open sometime in the New Year.
PFC (Portuguese Fried Chicken) at Restaurant 42
First of all, screw you. It’s absolutely delicious. We’re talking a bizarre Portuguese take on Korean fried chicken thighs that winds up being garlicky, crunchy, sweet, juicy, and tangy. Did I mention that it’s also deep fried chicken? Its sin factor is only slightly modified by garlicky kale, cheddar cheese grits, and tomato honey.