Do I have to tell you how much I love my Top Chef contestants? Probably not. I said it before, I’ll say it again: their talent is unmatched, and I have NEVER had a bad meal prepared by one these guys. I have had 55 meals by them now, in pop-ups, restaurants and fundraisers, and it still is true. I’ll have even more as soon as I get a chance, that’s a promise. Here in New York the competition is stiff, and if you make it here, you can make it anywhere, and that it truer than ever, with the pandemic wreaking havoc on all the restaurants in the area. They are not allowed to serve food inside yet, some of them don’t have the space or capabilities to open up an outside area, and hundreds of them had to close the doors for good. Now, more than ever, we need to go eat out, order out, and tip well. If we can afford it. Some of us are still out of work due to the regulations, and I am not complaining, I prefer this situation to the states that are now run over with the Coronavirus. But nevertheless, I am out of money, and eating out is becoming an almost unattainable luxury. But I find my ways…
*Piggyback Bar is still temporarily closed, but will open as soon as indoor dining is back!
Dale Talde is probably one of my favorite Top Chef contestants, I have tried his food at his (now closed) restaurants Talde and Rice And Gold, and I was amazed. His Cantonese cooking is met with with American influences, and it works. I loved every bite I ever had out of his kitchen. His relatively new restaurant Goosefeather is just a bit out of New York City, but it is worth a trip without a doubt. Located on a little hill on the grounds of a hotel, nestled in a small town named Tarrytown, is a small palatial looking building, housing his eatery. Inside it is compartmentalized into smaller rooms, the interior designed to be decadent, plush and somewhat Asian. It’s just honestly beautiful. The drinks are yummy, and Old School Hip Hop is playing softly. It’s my kinda scene.
With my daughter in tow, we had a bunch of small plates, one better than the other. We started with Scallion Pancakes with Labne Brown Butter and Aged Soy-Vinegar, amazing. Then we had the Dry-Aged Beef Potstickers with Chinese Mustard Horseraddish, of which I could have easily had about 10. The Kung Pao Chicken Wings with Shaved Celery, Peanuts and Buttermilk Dill Ranch Dip were a must, I’ve had them before and I LOVE them. On the side we had an order of the Supreme Rice, which consists of Rice, red meat, poultry and some kind of seafood or fish, depending on the day. It is exquisite. And the pork belly, oh the pork belly! My favorite food in the world is most likely pork belly, and here it was served as Char Sit Berkshire Pork Belly with Grilled Scallions and Chinese Mustard. I can’t even begin to tell you how good it was, you’ll have to go see for yourself. You will thank me.
For more info on Goosefeather click here
Piggyback Bar is located in Midtown, basically right across the street from Madison Square Garden. It is owned by Leah Cohen, and feisty young lady, who also owns Pig & Khao, another spot not to be missed. The food at Piggyback is Southeast Asian inspired, and I promise you that nothing you eat here, can be found in any other restaurant. Not only is everything absolutely delicious, but it’s out of the box and a bit adventurous.
The dishes I tried here were first: The Crudo made with medai, coconut sauce, green mango, grapefruit, cashews and crispy pork, It was unbelievable. So different and so good. I then tried the Curry Puffs with curried beef, potatoes, onions, lime and cucumber relish. It’s kind of like an empanada, but there’s no way have ever had anything like that. At least most of you. I took some home, I loved it. Cheong Chee See Ew is more of a traditional dish, compared to the others, but don’t get it twisted, it’s one of a kind. Made with rolled rice noodles. egg, crispy pork belly, chop sum, bean sprouts and pickled chili, it’s a show stopper. Last, but not least, The Okie Toast is not only delicious, it’s also quite the sight. This beautiful dish contains shrimp, caggabe, Bonito, scallions, Kewpie mayo and Okinokiyaki Sauce. It’s a mouthful. A really good one.
For more info on Piggyback click here
Ok, Ok, Tom Colicchio is not a contestant. But as the head judge for over a decade, his restaurants will always be included in my hunt for Top Chef food. I have been to five of his other restaurants, this one being the sixth, and besides the fact that it is really delicious food, you can also taste the quality and care with which these farm-to-table dishes are prepared. You want to take a bit of time between bites, because even the simplest dishes taste like a treat or a reward. This restaurant in located in Garden City on Long Island, and I traveled from the Bronx, using a bus, the subway and the Long Island Railroad. I’m not complaining, I’d do it again.
I tried a few dishes here, some I had to take home, it was so much food! I started with Fried Goat Cheese. There isn’t much better to me than warm goat cheese, so I had to have it. It was served with grilled leeks, roasted red peppers, olive tepanade and marinated white anchovies. It was incredible. The Fried Hot Chicken with chili oil, spicy aioli and Bread & Butter pickles was out of control. The chicken was so crispy, yet tender on the inside, with a good old kick, I was chugging the water. The Whipped Ricotta Toast is a beautiful appetizer with dandelion greens, roasted hazelnuts and truffle. If you ever see truffles on the menu, order it, it’s always delicious, just like this toast. The Housemade Bucatini with spicy pork ragú was also delicious, spicy, fresh and one of a kind. Needless to say: Everything was top notch. A meal to remember.
For more info on Small Batch click here