Saturday, May 26, 2007

Waterzooi Belgian Bistro

This Belgian style bistro, located in Garden City, NY, has always been a favorite of mine. The atmosphere in the back is very nightclub'esque, with a crowd of young folks who enjoy the dimly lit, but colorful bar. I prefer the dining room, toward the front, which is always welcoming to guests of all ages.

The trademark dish is the "moule pot," essentially a giant pot of steamed mussels, served with frites, traditional Belgian fries, done perfectly crispy on the outside, but soft and potatoey on the inside. Before ordering be warned, one pot will satiate about three averaged sized individuals, or about six skinny individuals.

The pots come come in a vast array of international variations, from traditional Homard, with creamy lobster and scallions, to exotic Thai with grilled pineapple and spicy coconut broth.

I usually go with the paella:

Served with shrimp, Little Neck clams, crawfish, chorizo, chicken and rice in a saffron broth, this dish rivals the fare served in Spanish and Portuguese restaurants. At the top, is a well done paella; Digging further, the mussele content gradually increases. When one finally reaches the bottom, a lovely soup of saffron flavored broth, and leftover bits of mussels, clams, and rice is to be had. It is a good match for the loaves of crusty french bread served with the meal.

Also not to be missed is the Sweet Potato Gnocci.

While I will admit I'm not usually a fan of gnocci, this restaurant's take on the traditional Italian potato pasta is beautifully done. The gnocci has a sweet taste and a nice chewy texture, without the cheese flavor found in many Italian restaurants. The combination of the gnocci with andouille sausage, fresh peas, and rosemary cream makes this starter more of a meal than some of the entrees listed lower on the menu.

Waterzooi in Garden City

Friday, May 18, 2007

High Chai Tea Room

Tried this Lower East Side Russian style restaurant for the second time tonight. Tea infused vodka, and marTEAnis are their specialy, along with regular tea served "Russian Style," highly concentrated tea is mixed with hot water out of a samovar, a metal tank used for keeping water hot. My favorite tea was chocolate tea, had the flavor of chocolate, but suprisingly lacked the watery quality of badly done hot chocolate.

Monday through Thursday, they have happy hour, two drinks for the price of one. I decided to take the opportunity and sample what they had to offer. The rose petal martini was well done, they managed to get the flavor of roses, without too much sweetness. For my second drink I was seduced by the chilli margarita. It certainly packed a punch spicewise, and I would not recomend it for those who can't take heat.

Food was okay, but came in second to the drinks. The "wild mushroom julienne in a pastry shell" seemed to have been made with mushrooms of the canned variety." They ran out of pastry shells during the meal, but I was fortunate to get one. The salmon with lentils was well done, and the highlight of the meal. For dessert they were out of the lychee wontons I wanted to try, so I ended up with essentially a chocolate, chai brownie. It wasn't bad, but I can get a fancy chocolate desert anywhere in the city.

High Chai in New York