What Charmin Bears Love: Food|Dogs|Sephora

Our foodie instincts take over when we're out and about.

New York City: June 4 – 7

on June 20, 2010

I finally went back to the Big Apple! Oh how I miss the wonderful food. Of course, I wouldn’t pass on this opportunity to pig out! I actually started my trip with Korean BBQ from Kun Jip but completely forgot to take pictures. Some of the restaurants I went to were repeats, like Ippudo, so I won’t talk about them. Here we go!

Bianca @ 5 Bleecker Street

I’ve been wanting to come here since my friend Jon recommended it. The place is your typical homey hole in the wall Italian restaurant with very little space. When you first walk in, you probably would have trouble locating the host/hostess. It’s really hard to tell if there’s even a podium for him. They don’t take dinner reservations so be prepared to wait. It gets really loud in here during dinner time. If you’re looking for a quiet place for dinner, don’t  come here. Oh and bring cash!

To start off our meal, we got the Gnocco Fritto. It’s a fried dough that you have the option of eating with cold cuts or Stracchino cheese. We picked the cheese! The dough comes out warm and puffy of course, but the inside is mostly empty soI used it as a vessel to hold my cheese. The Stracchino was really soft, creamy and easy to spread. The taste was really delicate and addictive.

Bianca - Gnocco Fritto

Gnocco Fritto

I ordered the lasagna. The bechamel and meat sauce was really rich in flavor. It comes out as a small square, but is extremely filling. Don’t let the size fool you.

Bianca - Lasagna

Lasagna

Brandon ordered the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese. He originally wanted the lasagna, but I called it first! I really liked this pasta dish also. It had a similar tomato meat sauce, but the taste was not nearly as rich or savory. I also like my pasta cooked a little softer, but that’s a personal preference.

Bianca - Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

Primehouse @ 381 Park Avenue S

For lunch the next day, I picked another Jon-recommended restaurant: Primehouse. It’s normally a steakhouse, but also good for brunch. We were promptly seated and there was tons of space. I got the Crabcake Benedict and Brandon had to settle for the regular Eggs Benedict. I ended up giving him half of mine to share though :)

The Crabcake Benedict was really good. It had a tomato bearnaise sauce instead of the hollandaise that comes with the traditional Eggs Benedict. It’s pretty similar in texture, but not in taste. I like both a lot, but the crabcake version definitely takes the gold!

Primehouse - Eggs Benedict & Crabcake Benedict

Eggs Benedict & Crabcake Benedict

Sakagura @ 211E 43rd Street B1F

So it’s been awhile since I’ve actually updated, so forgive me if I am not too descriptive. Ironically, this probably should be one of those places you write about immediately after. Anyway, Sakagura is a nice little restaurant that is located in a very unassuming location. It looks like a dull office building on the outside with no yummy food to offer. You actually have to go in, take the stairs down to the dungeon, I mean… basement. Lo and behold, there’s this beautiful little Japanese tapas and sake bar right beneath the street.

We ordered a huge variety of things since it was all small plates. We started off the night with a seared scallop dish. The mango sauce on top was thick, creamy and sweet. Nothing too special to rave about.

Sakagura - Scallop

Seared Scallop

The Maguro Tartar was not bad. It had a light simple taste. I probably mentioned this before, but I’m not a huge fan of citrus flavors, so I didn’t really like the yuzu sauce they used. It’s rare that I like any fruity sauces on my food actually.

Sakagura - Maguro Tartar

Maguro Tartar

I read a lot of reviews and a ton of people recommended the Jaga Dango. Just imagine a corn dog, but replace the hotdog with mash potato. Meh.

Sakagura - Jaga Dango

Jaga Dango

Charmin Bear J loves Chawan Mushi from what I noticed, so we ordered a bowl for her. It was really flavorful and sweet, but it had a giant mushroom in it. I’m surprised she even ate it after the fungus contamination (She hates shrooms and I love the stuff). Not sure if Sakagura’s version of Chawan Mushi is that special, but pretty well done.

Sakagura - Chawan Mushi

Chawan Mushi

The Uzaku is an eel and cucumber dish that uses a vinaigrette sauce. I was pretty disappointed in this. I love eel, but I like it in it’s heaviest form, steeped in flavor. They managed to make it taste very light, which is pretty impressive in its own right, but not preferable for my palette.

Sakagura - Uzaku

Uzaku

Yum! This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. I love stewed meat. I’m sure the name doesn’t explain itself. It is basically beef back ribs stewed in miso. The meat was really juicy, soft and savory.

Sakagura - Gyu Miso Nikomi

Gyu Miso Nikomi

Charmin Bear J and I have probably mentioned countless times, we love pork belly meat! I love how it falls apart so easily and is very tender. It has a slightly different sapidity compared to the beef stewed in miso, but delicious nonetheless.

Sakagura - Buta Kakuni

Buta Kakuni

This is just a bunch of sashimi mixed with kim chi and rice. It was okay. The kim chi could’ve been better, but we are in a Japanese restaurant, not a Korean one.

Sakagura - Kaisen Kim-Chee Don

Kaisen Kim-Chee Don

I tried finding the official name for this but failed miserably. It’s basically raw beef/steak with a cube of butter, salt and soy sauce. You cook it yourself on the little hot stone plate. This is something you have to eat quickly because the hot stone loses its heat and you’ll quickly find yourself eating raw meat.

Sakagura - Steak on Hot Stone

Steak on Hot Stone

The highlight of my night! I came just for this dish. I love creme brulee and I will try all sorts of Asian flavors. I’ve had the usual green tea, red bean, but never black sesame. The sesame taste wasn’t actually as strong as I expected. It was pretty light. I basically ate it by myself since no one else really wanted any. I want another one :(

Sakagura - Black Sesame Creme Brulee

Black Sesame Creme Brulee

Overall Sakagura was a really nice restaurant.  I particularly like the decor, especially the cute bathrooms that look like giant wooden water barrels from the outside.  I don’t know if I’d come again to eat considering the price tag on all the food. Our bill came out to around $40 a person and none of us were full.  I would call it a fine-dining experience, not an “I’m hungry and I need food” kind of place. If you have an appreciation for food presentation (cooking is an art afterall) and subtle tastes, I highly recommend coming here. If not, just steer clear away from Sakagura.

Joe Shanghai @ 9 Pell Street

I’m sure every Asian person who’s been to New York has heard of Joe Shanghai, so there’s no real need for me to go into details. The place is almost always busy. Be ready to share tables with strangers. They ask you right off the bat if you want soup dumplings because it takes awhile to prepare. Get the Crab Meat Soup Dumplings! (Note: It’s not actually all crab meat, it’s mixed with pork meat also).

Joe Shanghai - Soup Dumplings

Crab Meat Soup Dumplings

I also usually order the Shanghai Fried Noodles to fill me up. The real reason I go to Joe Shanghai though is for the soup dumplings. We also ordered General Tso’s Chicken, but we ate from it before taking a picture. The photo isn’t very pleasing to the eye, so I’m just not going to upload it.

Joe Shanghai - Shanghai Fried Noodles

Shanghai Fried Noodles

It’s located on a small street in Chinatown, so you might want to write down the address or get directions for it first. There’s also two other locations, one in Midtown and one in Flushing. They’re all pretty good :)

That was the last meal on my trip :( Hopefully, I get to make another trip again soon.

– Charmin Bear T

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