Sel et Poivre Revisited

sel et poivre etx

 

ADDRESS: 853 Lexington Avenue

(Between 64th and 65th Streets)

New York, NY 10065

WEB SITE: www.seletpoivrenyc.com

TELEPHONE: (212) 517-5780

FAX: (212) 517-4785

HOURS: Lunch: 12:00 Noon – 4:00 PM, Mon.-Fri.

Dinner: 4:00 PM – 10:30 PM, Mon.-Thurs.

4:00 PM – 11:00 PM, Fri.-Sat.

4:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Sun.

Brunch: 12:00 Noon – 4:00 PM, Sat.-Sun.

PRICE RANGE: Lunch (entrées): $12.95 – $29.95

3-Course Prix Fixe Lunch Menu: $19.95

2-Course Prix Fixe Lunch Menu : $15.95

Dinner (entrées): $14.95 – $32.95

3-Course Prix Fixe Dinner Menu: $29.95

Brunch:

1-Course Prix Fixe Brunch Menu

(With Mimosa or Bloody Mary

and coffee) $15.95 (Sat.-Sun.)

CUISINE: French Bistro

CREDIT CARDS: All major

DESIGNERS: Christian Schienle

Pamela Schienle

EXECUTIVE CHEF: Christian Schienle

WINE DIRECTOR: Christian Schienle

OWNERS: Christian Schienle

Pamela Schienle

OPENING DATE: June, 1989

________________________________________________________________

SEL%20ET%20POIVRE%20INTERIOR%201%20--%20PHOTO

In our quest to review the newest and most trendy restaurant openings, let’s not forget New York’s heritage of charming family-run establishments. Whether they be American, ethnic or a charming French bistro such as Sel et Poivre (Above), they are worth revisiting, remembering and add focus to a constantly changing restaurant scene, where the venue or clientele is often the main feature.

SEL%20ET%20POIVRE%20INTERIOR%203%20--%20PHOTO

The stylish, sophisticated dining room is enhanced by a 12-foot high ceiling, candlelit wood tables with white linen tablecloths, The: Intimate, romantic ambiance includes leather and fabric-upholstered banquettes, classic wood bistro chairs, antique sconces, pale yellow walls,wood floors, classic mirrors, black-and-white framed family photos of international travels alongside prints from renowned European photographers, and mood lighting to create a classic Parisian bistro setting.

Owner/Chef Christian Schienle, formerly at L’Absinthe, is handsome, charming and prepares classic French bistro dishes with a refined, updated flair. He has created one of the most honest value-oriented bistros in Manhattan, which will celebrate its 25th birthday in June 2014.

Favored appetizers include crunchy Celery root remoulade with red beets, an intensely flavored Terrine de Foie Gras with red wine grapes, and wonderful, Escargots with garlic butter and herbs. For something lighter, try Cold Lobster salad with Avocado mousse and grapefruit coulie.

Go for the signature bistro classics in such delectable entrees as Brook Trout Almandine, Frog Legs a la Provencal, Pork Chop with Braised Onions and Apples in a heady calvados sauce with crispy herb roasted potatoes, tender, juicy Aged New York sirloin steak with Roquefort or Poivre sauce and crispy Duck a l’orange with wild rice. The Cassoulet is one of the best in the city and don’t miss the superbly elegant Frog legs in a pernod sauce, with wild mushrooms and basmati rice.

sel steakpic_6

Inquire about the daily specials such as (Friday) Cassoulet , (Saturday) Cous Cous Royal

sel sausagepic_7 and (Sunday) Roasted leg of lamb.

Go easy on the excellent warm baguettes. You want to save room for the terrific desserts.

sel des2pic_16

I loved the layered Chocolate Mousse, traditional Profiteroles and  light and  elegant Fresh Fruit Tart.  There is cheese and a nice selection of sorbets as well as a terrific molten chocolate cake.

sel dessert pic_15

SEL%20ET%20POIVRE%20INTERIOR%208%20--%20PHOTO

The 10-foot long custom-made L-shaped oak bar, located in the front of the Dining Room, features a predominantly French and American wine list with an international flair. It features handsome wood barstools. An impressive variety of wines are available by the glass. In addition, a premier selection of spirits,liquors, digestifs, dessert wines, imported beers,and classic cocktails are also available. The Lunch,Dinner, and Brunch Menus are available at the bar.

We found the cocktails well made and generous. Red wine glasses are attractive and large enough to allow wines such as the excellent  2010 CHATEAU LES HAUTES TUILERIES LALAND-DE-POMMEROL ($15.00, per glass) room to breathe. This is a fine red vintage wine from the Lalande de Pomerol region in Bordeaux France. Or splurge with a glass of Moet for just $14. The wine selection by the bottle is both well chosen and fairly priced.

Service and reception at the door and warm and friendly, so take our advice and revisit Sel et Poivre. If this your first time, you’re in for an affordable and eminently pleasant dining experience. A personal favorite!

SEL%20ET%20POIVRE%20EXTERIOR%201%20--%20PHOTO

_________________________________________________________________

Copyright 2014 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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Masq Offers A Serious Kitchen And A Fun Experience

masq party room

Masq  Party Room

306 East 49th Street (Between First & Second Avenues) New York, NY 10017

WEB SITE: www.masqny.com

TELEPHONE: (212) 644-8294

HOURS: Lunch: 11:30 AM – 4:00 PM, Mon.-Fri.

Dinner: 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Mon.-Wed.

4:00 PM – 1:00 AM, Thurs.Sat.

(Closed Sunday)

Happy Hour: 4:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Mon.-Sat.

(1/2-price on specialty cocktails and select global wines

by the glass.)

masq Asiago-Cheese-Wedge

Asiago Cheese Wedge Above

Live Music Night: 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM, Thurs.

(Acoustic Blues, Jazz, Zydeco, Rock)

CUISINE: New American with New Orleans flair

(Executive Chef Marc Getzelman crafts a menu

featuring an eclectic selection of innovative

New American dishes and New Orleans

inspired classics.)masq Fresh-Mozzarella-Flatbread

Flatbread Above

CREDIT CARDS: All major

PRICE RANGE: Lunch (entrees): $10.00 – $14.00

2-Course Prix Fixe Lunch

(with wine or beer): $10.95

Dinner (entrees): $12.00 – $26.00

Late-Night Dinner Menu:

(10:00 PM – 12:00 Midnight, Thurs.-Sat.)

DRESS: Smart Casual

RESERVATIONS: Recommendedmasq roast-beef-sandwich1

The Roast Beef Sandwich Above

Masq is a New Orleans inspired restaurant with some very appealing food, and a convivial

feeling of the Big Easy.. The stylish, sophisticated dining room is enhanced by vintage

custom-made tables and chairs, an exotic New Orleans wall mural, wood floors, hand-painted

porcelain masks, and mood lighting to create a private home in New Orleans.  A New Orleans

inspired Private Party Room (THE Red Room) is  located in the back of the restaurant and

separated from the Dining Room by a red velvet curtain, features vintage red fabric-

upholstered chairs, red velvet divans, antique mirrors and Mardi Gras masks.

masq Strawberry-Fields1

Strawberry Salad Above

After hours, the venue transforms from an eatery into a lounge featuring "Live" Acoustic acts

performing Blues, Jazz, Zydeco, Rock, Country and more chefs have created an imaginative

New American Cuisine Menu with a New Orleans flair. From spicy Jambalaya to Flat Iron Steak

with Avocado & Pico de Gallo, to the best Crabcakes this side of Maryland, the cuisine is

extraordinary! Alongside Flatbreads, Toasty Grilled Panini and MASQ Mini Burgers on Sweet

Hawaiian Bread, the menu includes Artisanal Cheese Plates ideal for sharing and crisp, fresh

Salads.Daily Lunch and Dinner Specials offer large portions for affordable prices, and the daily

Happy Hour features Draft Beer and Cocktail Specials from 4-8pm, and all night Saturday. 

There is good quality here and friendly service. Masq, 306 East 49th Street, (Between First &

Second Avenues).

masq crabcakes

The Amazing Crabcakes Above

The cuisine is New American with a New Orleans flair and the theme is Mardi Gras.

It opened a few months ago and it is really unique.  It has charming small rooms filled

with antique furnishings,big comfortable easy chairs and plush sofas.  The dining area

has large, expansive tables.  The bar specializes in New Orleans drinks like a Mint Julip, and a

terrific Sazirac and Absinthe.  They also have a large wine list. On the menu are such favorites

as Jambalaya, Crab Cakes, Macaroni and Cheese, Bananas Foster and many more. Look for

promotions such as the current Mardi Gras Menu, featuring Mardi Gras Food Specials!

Etoufee, Muffaletta (A traditional style muffuletta sandwich consists of a sesame muffuletta

loaf split horizontally and covered with layers of marinated olive salad, mortadella, salami,

mozzarella, ham, and provolone. The sandwich is sometimes heated to soften the

provolone), Louisiana Crabcakes, Jambalaya and the chef’s rendition of Bananas Foster, here

tucked inside of fried dumplings and flamed in the kitchen.

There are also outstanding specials like a perfect wild salmon, cooked in Asian spices and

served on fresh salad greens with sweet tomatoes.

The draught beer selection is excellent, offering Stella and Blue Moon, with a slice of fresh

orange.

Masq is a fine addition to the neighborhood and will soon be offering takeout

through Seamless. Highly Recommended.

Click Here To Make a Reservation On Open Table

 

masq Flourless-Chocolate-Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake Above

Copyright 2014 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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Oak Knoll 2011 Unoaked Chardonnay

image

VINEYARD:
100% Dion Vineyard
Dijon 76 clone
GROWING SEASON:
2011 growing season was one of the
wettest in Oregon wine history. Many
winemakers shot the gun early out
of nervousness that the rain may keep
coming. Jeff took the risk to let the
grapes hang a bit longer, he knew the
brix of sugar would not rise in the cold
temperature but had hopes that with
more hang time that flavors would
develop. His risk paid off, in early
November there was about a week of
dry weather and we hit the crush pad
full steam ahead. Flavors developed
nicely, we were even impressed with
the results after such a cool weather
year.
FERMENTATION:
Fermented in stainless steel tanks
and stainless steel barrels.
MALO-LACTIC:
No
RESIDUAL SUGAR:
.87
TOTAL ACIDITY:
.81 g/100M
PH:
3.39
ALCOHOL %:
13% by volume
PRODUCTION:
1,623 cases
Oak Knoll Winery is one of
Oregon’s oldest wineries,
producing fine wines since 1970.
www.oakknollwinery.com

TASTING NOTES:
Citrus aromas upfront with added notes of gooseberry and lemon zest.
Star fruit and pineapple at the close of the nose. Grapefruit opens in the
mouth with tropical notes mid-palate of passion fruit and more pineapple.
Nectarines and a touch of basil in the finish. Great with seafood, nuts a, goat cheese.

Copyright 2014 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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Artezin Petite Sirah Is A Winner

image

Once used primarily as a blending grape to provide color
and structure, Petite Sirah has proven it can stand on its own,
yielding complex, intense and ageworthy wines. Mendocino
County, with its warmer Mediterranean climate, is an ideal location
for this varietal. Warm days allow the fruit to ripen fully, producing
powerful, richly flavored wines. This Petite Sirah comes from several
vineyards in eastern Ukiah Valley, near Lake Mendocino.

The color is dark red, almost black, with violet hues. Bright aromas
with dark and brooding fruit of blackberries, dry forest and exotic
spices with nuances of leather and tar. Flavors of black cherry,
cassis, nutmeg and allspice with a mouthfeel that is highly textured,
like velvet, and a very slight grip that is beneficial for aging. This
reflects the mature tannin profile gained by extra “hang time” on
the vine, a hallmark of “new era” Petite Sirahs. This wine pairs with
hearty fare such as grilled meats, osso bucco, venison and red pasta
sauces. It also goes well with blue cheeses like Stilton and Gorgonzola
and other strong cheeses. For fun, try it with chocolate truffles or a variety of nuts.

artezin wines | 4411 redwood rd | napa, ca 94558 | phone 707.255.1144 | fax 707.253.1682 |
Click Here to Visit The Website

MENDOCINO
Appellation: Mendocino
Blend: 97% Petite Sirah, 3% Zinfandel
TA: 0.64 gms/100ml
Harvest Dates: October 21-22, 2010
Alcohol: 14.3%
Bottling Date: March 7, 2012
Aging: 100% French Oak, once
used
pH: 3.67
2010
Mendocino
Mendocino’s Mediterranean climate is notable
for warmer days, which provide optimal ripening
conditions, producing powerful, richly flavored
wines, while cool evenings help Petite Sirah retain
balanced acidity and good structure.
MENDOCINO

Really lovely and elegant with a subtle finish and good nose. Can be found for around $25, depending on where you live and shop.

Copyright 2014 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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Dopo East Ristorante Italiano Introduces Executive Chef Patrizio D’Andrea & Some Remarkable Food

Dopo East-13

Dopo East is located at 345 East 62nd Street, (Betw. 1st & 2nd Aves.) Click Here For Website & To Reserve, 646-484-6548, and is open for dinner Tues-Thurs from 5-10pm, Fri-Sat from 5-11pm, closed Sun and Mon.

From the creators of the popular theater district Trattoria Dopo Teatro comes a modern Italian restaurant created and designed to suit its home—a gracious, contemporary townhouse on the Upper East Side—with a creative new Italian menu from the young and talented Executive Chef Patrizio D’Andrea.

Owner Emilio Barletta, an architect and restaurateur, also known for Zanzibar and Cascina, and partner Pino Manica, together with Director of Operations Gianni Onofri head the rest of the team at this elegant and intimate space. For the dining room, they have selected soothing, warm neutrals with detailed crown moldings and crystal Venetian sconce. Through a partnership with gallery Artioli Findlay (www.artiolifindlay.com/events), the walls are adorned with carefully curated paintings and lithographs.There is a cunning bar in the front room and guests will also be delighted by the outdoor space, enclosed and heated in winter, an open garden in warm weather; as well as live piano music and a private dining room downstairs.

Dopo-East-fish

Chef Patrizio D’Andrea, in turn, designed the menu to reflect the space and the owners’ vision. He traces his passion for cooking first to his mother’s farm kitchen in Italy. The family business was agro-tourism, catering to guests who were fed direct from the land; chickens, pigs, produce, all sourced just steps away. But he formalized his training with a degree from the highly respected Aurelio Saffi Culinary School, Firenze Italy, graduating with honors. After a stint as Chef de Partie at Excelsior in his hometown, D’Andrea spent a year each cooking in Spain and Switzerland, before signing on with Cipriani’s, a tour of duty that took him from Harry’s Bar in Venice as chef de cuisine, to Hong Kong, and then to New York to Cipriani’s Rainbow Room and Cipriani Downtown. Now at Dopo East, he combines the best of his experiences, creating a healthy, Italian menu that is locally inspired with produce from the Union Square market, and a selection of organically grown vegetables (frequently baby vegetables because they are more tender and have more flavor), hormone-free meats, and fresh seafood.

The difference is apparent on the plate from the first course, not only because everything is fresh and light, but also because of the way the food is presented. His caprese is prepared with peeled, organic tomatoes, basil sprouts, with fresh Buffalo mozzarella, that is kept warm to bring out the complex flavors and then re-shaped; piovra all griglia is an artistic presentation of tender grilled octopus, baby artichokes, cherry tomatoes, new potatoes, and a lemon-garlic emulsion. A beautiful selection of farm vegetables with roasted garlic and an infusion of basil and olive oil, verdure alla griglia, is always a bit different everyday, as is the chef’s crudo del giorno, inspired by the season and the market. We adored impeccable raw and thinly sliced scallops, kissed by extra virgin olive oil and garnished with pomegranates and fresh beet sprouts. Truly a standout. Grilled octopus, baby artichokes, cherry tomatoes, new potatoes, in a lemon garlic vinaigrette is also delectable.

Dopo East-38

Primi include house made fresh pastas, whole wheat and gluten-free options, and a daily risotto. It’s hard to choose among them, but some favorites include an unusual gnocchi al sugo di agnello, homemade ricotta gnocchi with baby lamb ragout, is the best I’ve ever tasted and the kitchen turns out a terrific version of tagliatelle paglia e fieno, with spinach and egg hand-mixed into the dough by the chef), and served with a black trumpet and chanterelle mushroom ragout that tastes rich, yet feels light; and the very simple, yet elegant spaghetti alla Checca, with fresh tomatoes, roasted garlic, basil and shaved Parmigiano. Best of all, a special of thin housemade noodles, sauced in an intense truffle reduction and served with a raw egg that the waiter whisks in at the table. The memory still makes my mouth water. It should become the house signature.

Dopo-East-meat

For the secondi, there’s poletto al forno, roasted Cornish hen with black mission figs, colorful bell peppers and Port wine reduction is sweet, savory and inventive, and gamberoni alla primavera, jumbo head-on grilled shrimp, infused with the surprising flavor of smoked butter and served with perfectly diced vegetables. Both are delectable. Meat lovers will adore 28 days dry aged rib-eye steak, green scallion puree, porcini mushrooms, rosemary potatoes, aged balsamic vinegar and a special of rack of lamb that is first class in every way.

Dopo-East-pasta jpg

Like the rest of the menu, dolci are light, fresh and hard to stop eating. Tiramisu is shot through with dark chocolate powder, just the right amount of bitter to offset the sweet and semifreddo contrasts the semi-frozen cream with the crunch of almonds.

Dopo-East-dessert

Wine, of course, is a very important part of the dining experience at Dopo East. Under the direction of Gianni Onofri, the list is expected to grow to a selection of 600 bottles, predominantly Italian, but with a strong selection of wines from around the world. By the glass, Dopo East offers 6 whites including Prosecco Abati Regali and Domodimonti Deja V Passerina and 9 reds including a Super Tuscan Integolo and Cicarello’s Nero D’Avola. Stay tuned for more information about a wine bar to come and special wine dinners.There is also a full bar and excellent cocktails. We enjoyed 2 excellent wines by the glass: Kuddia Gialla – Sicily 201: Zibibbo or Muscat d’Alexandria takes on a unique persona in this Sicilian wine. Fermented in barrels and casks and aged longer than most young whites. I loved the delightful spritz. Also an intriguing, Saola Intelogo 2011, was rather like a baby Supper Tuscan. Deep and complex.Both fine values and served in lovely glasses.

A welcome addition to the neighborhood, Dopo East  brings fine dining, fun and great food to the upper east side, coupled with attentive service and elegant atmosphere and is a worthy destination. Let’s hope Chef D’Andrea gains the audience he truly deserves. This could become one of the best Italian restaurants on the east side.

Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir From River Road Is A Holiday Delight

rIVER rOAD-2013_Rose-Of-Pinot-NoirThe 2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir is a
Nouveau-style wine produced from
hand-selected Pinot Noir grapes.
We harvested the Pinot from our lovely
Russian River Valley vineyards, when
the flavors of the berries were juicy
and ripe. The grapes were then gently
pressed during the winemaking process.
The free-run juice from this method has
created the hallmark characteristics for
our Rosé of Pinot Noir.

TASTING NOTES:
Beautiful bouquet of raspberry and
cantaloupe with a hint of peppermint
and trailing aromas of honeysuckle.
Palate follows bouquet with more ripe
raspberry flavors upfront, a touch of
rosehips mid-palate and a long finish
of blood orange and strawberry jam.
Delicate and easy to enjoy with vibrant
fruit flavors.

FOOD PAIRINGS:
This wine will pair perfectly with
Grilled Eggplant, Chicken Tetrazzini,
or Vegetarian Taro Egg Rolls.

APPELLATION DETAILS
Russian River Valley
PRIMARY FERMENTATION
DETAILS
HARVEST DATES
September 5th – 19th, 2013
TYPE/SIZE OF
FERMENTATION VESSEL
Stainless Steel Tanks
FINISHED WINE DETAILS
ALCOHOL 13.2% PH 3.43
TITRATABLE ACIDITY 5.1g/L
BOTTLING DATE Nov. 20, 2013
PRODUCTION 212 cases
SUGGESTED RETAIL $14.99
RESERVE ROSÉ
OF PINOT NOIR RUSSIAN
RIVER VALLEY
http://www.riverroadvineyards.com

The  2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir is a
Nouveau-style wine produced from
hand-selected Pinot Noir grapes.
We harvested the Pinot from our lovely
Russian River Valley vineyards, when
the flavors of the berries were juicy
and ripe. The grapes were then gently
pressed during the winemaking process.
The free-run juice from this method has
created the hallmark characteristics for
our Rosé of Pinot Noir.

TASTING NOTES:
Beautiful bouquet of raspberry and
cantaloupe with a hint of peppermint
and trailing aromas of honeysuckle.
Palate follows bouquet with more ripe
raspberry flavors upfront, a touch of
rosehips mid-palate and a long finish
of blood orange and strawberry jam.
Delicate and easy to enjoy with vibrant
fruit flavors.

FOOD PAIRINGS:
This wine will pair perfectly with
Grilled Eggplant, Chicken Tetrazzini,
or Vegetarian Taro Egg Rolls.

APPELLATION DETAILS
Russian River Valley
PRIMARY FERMENTATION
DETAILS
HARVEST DATES
September 5th – 19th, 2013
TYPE/SIZE OF
FERMENTATION VESSEL
Stainless Steel Tanks
FINISHED WINE DETAILS
ALCOHOL 13.2% PH 3.43
TITRATABLE ACIDITY 5.1g/L
BOTTLING DATE Nov. 20, 2013
PRODUCTION 212 cases

SUGGESTED RETAIL $14.99
RESERVE ROSÉ
OF PINOT NOIR RUSSIAN
RIVER VALLEY
Click Here To Visit Website

Wine On Line Rating A Major.

Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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From Michaels of Brooklyn’s Kitchen to Your Kitchen

MOB Home Style GravyAuthentic Italian Sauces You Won’t Believe Come from a Jar, Now Available in Stores Nationwide

It’s not so unusual for a landmark Italian restaurant to bottle their famous sauce and sell it to the public. But what sets Michaels of Brooklyn apart is that they cook their sauce entirely on premises in their Sheepshead Bay restaurant—from scratch, using only fresh ingredients that are prepped, sautéed, and blended by hand every day in the restaurant kitchen, with no additives or preservatives of any kind.

Michaels of Brooklyn traditional Italian tomato sauces taste like homemade because they use the same ingredients a talented home cook would use. It’s very simple—imported tomatoes from Italy, fresh herbs and spices, garlic or onion, and olive oil—but the result is an extraordinary range of fresh, delicious sauces in six distinctive flavorsMarinara, Tomato Basil, Filetto di Pomodoro, Puttanesca, Arrabbiata, and the newest flavor, Home Style Gravy.

The family-owned restaurant had modest beginnings almost 50 years ago. Michaels first opened in 1964 as a small pizzeria (just a pizza oven and four tables). The patriarch of the family and the namesake of the restaurant—Michael Cacace—was a fisherman from Puglia. He first learned his new trade aboard a cruise ship and honed his skills by working in restaurants in New York City and Brooklyn. He gradually grew the business from a small pizzeria to a Neapolitan restaurant, then took over more and more space, until Michaels evolved into the significant fine dining Southern Italian restaurant and bakery it is today. The senior Cacace left the restaurant in the very capable hands of his sons, John, who oversees the kitchen and is the chef and Fred, who manages the front of the house and day-to-day operation along with his son Michael, who heads up the wholesale business.

In recent years, the pasta and other sauces that were served in the restaurant were very popular, so popular that patrons asked to take it home with them. At first, they would send regular customers home with a small batch. But the desire for these delectable sauces kept growing. As the demand grew, John suggested it was time to jar it in shelf-stable containers and make it available for wholesale purchase.

The sauce you can buy today in gourmet markets and groceries across the U.S. follows the same recipes that Michael followed—recipes that have been in the family for generations. They soon discovered that the only way they could maintain this quality, style and flavor, was to continue to make it on site, using their own restaurant kitchen.

Downstairs in the restaurant, a dedicated staff cooks the tomato sauce each day. They begin by loading 80-gallon kettles—just like a giant pot—with imported Italian plum tomatoes. The production manager makes the spice mix each day to ensure consistency of flavor. Other ingredients (depending on the variety—garlic, onions, basil, oregano, spices, olives, etc.) are brought from the kitchen and added to the pot. Then it is cooked to 215 degrees F, a temperature that guarantees that the sauce, because of the high natural acidity of tomatoes, is preserved and safe to keep on the shelf unopened for years. Though they add no preservatives, Michaels of Brooklyn sauces will keep indefinitely when sealed, and is approved and certified by Cornell University. However, because of the freshness of the ingredients—it must be refrigerated once opened.

The difference is clear from the moment you open a jar—from the aroma of the fresh herbs, to the large chunks of garlic, to the whole capers and meaty slices of olives in the Puttanesca, to the tender leafs of green basil, contributing to the very distinctive differences in their range of traditional sauces. With just a few simple ingredients and subtle variations, they are suitable for a wide range of dishes, delicious straight out of the jar, for dipping bread, as pasta sauces, served with poultry, fish or seafood, Italian sausage, braciole or chicken cacciatore.

The classic Marinara, made with just garlic, olive oil, tomato, basil and oregano is the perfect sauce for spaghetti, but is also excellent simmered with seafood, or as the basic sauce in your lasagna or parmigiana recipes. In the fresh Tomato and Basil, the simplicity of fresh tomatoes shines through, enlightened by lots of fresh basil, for a light sweet flavor that is ideal with any pasta, even straight out of the jar, or you can add in sautéed eggplant or zucchini. Filetto di Pomodoro combines prosciutto and onions, fresh basil, olive oil and spices—and is especially nice over penne with lots of freshly grated imported age pecorino. Puttanesca is a heady combination, chock full of hand cut green and black olives, anchovies, capers, parsley, basil, spices, that adds passion to any type of pasta. Or try simmered with boneless chicken breasts, served over rice. Arrabbiata is for those who like it hot! Cooked with hot peppers, fresh basil, olive oil, parsley, and spices, it adds zest to pasta and seafood. Home Style Gravy, the most recent sauce to be placed in a jar, has a thicker base, made from ground tomatoes instead of crushed, and sweet caramelized onions instead of roasted garlic, it’s main reason for being is to be served with the braised meats of Sunday Gravy. However, there’s no meat in this sauce, so vegetarians will be pleased by the rich, hearty flavor, too.

Michaels of Brooklyn sauces are distributed nationally and are available in all major stores. It can be found at most supermarkets and grocery stores, as well as specialty gourmet stores such as Gourmet Garage, Whole Foods, Fairway, Eli’s and Grace’s. The sauce is sold in economical 32 oz. jars that are 33% larger than most brands (and generously feed a family of four). These products can also be purchased directly online at http://www.michaelsofbrooklyn.com.

Michaels of Brooklyn retail products are manufactured at 2929 Avenue R, Brooklyn, New York, 11229, 718-998-7851. The sales offices are located at 1000 Route 34, Suite 401, Matawan, NJ 07747, 732.888.5525.

And for a quick and excellent substitute for tomato sauce in recipes, use Michaels. Delicious with chicken legs, green peppers garlic cloves, and onion. Just brown the chicken and onion, pour in the rest, cover and braise for 45 minutes. (We used Puttanesca).

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The best purchased pasta sauces we have tested. Walman Report Rating: A Major

Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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Kokum: A tribute to the Cuisine and Culture of Kerala

kokum-71

Kokum is located at 106 Lexington Avenue, 212-684-6842, www.kokumny.com.

Officially opening on October 9, 2013.  Kokum is open for lunch every day from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with Lunch Box specials available daily. Dinner Sun.-Thurs. 5 to 10 p.m., Fri & Sat. 5-10:30 p.m.


A South Indian Thrill Spices Up Curry Hill

Ask any well-seasoned New Yorker where to go for the best bite of any regional cuisine and she is likely to steer you away from any of the city’s popular “food districts.” For it would be a foodie offense of the highest order to venture to Chinatown, Indian Row or Little Italy for their respective fare (or, God forbid, a slice of NYC pizza!)  Despite having once been considered “safe bets” for visitors, locals have often regarded these areas as unsavory, offering diners sub-standard cuisine lacking in authenticity.

The one exception to the rule is the ever-evolving Curry Hill, due largely in part to the trendsetting palate revelations of restaurateur Shiva Natarajan (of Chote Nawab, Malai Marke, Dhaba, and Chola fame). Natarajan has repeatedly reinvented Indian cuisine with a simple yet effective formula: keep it authentic. And while it may seem to purists that tradition and creativity can be at odds when it comes to food preparation, he has consistently debunked this theory by combining unrelenting authenticity with enough inventive flair to excite the most sophisticated palate. His latest creation, Kokum, is a solid testament to that precision. Unlike the standard fare of dosas and daals found in many of the area’s other restaurants, Kokum is a tribute to the genuine, enchanting offerings of exclusively South Indian cuisine, with a menu unlike any other.

kokum Eggplant Chennai Curry

Credit Protech NYC All photos.  Eggplant Curry Above

Kokum (which is a souring agent native to South India, similar to Tamarind) is a tribute to the cuisine and culture of Kerala, a state in Southern India known for its lush vegetation, crustaceans, coconuts and exotic spices; all of which account for it’s coveted cuisine. The simple, casual yet stylish décor is modeled after the interior of the “Snake Boats” used in the boat races that are also popular in the region. A prominent spice exporter since as early as 3000 BCE, Kerala is also famous for its Ayurvedic practices, and so it would follow that an outstanding feature of the Kokum menu is a distinct attention to spice and flavor-combinations that manages to both soothe and excite, but not overwhelm, the palate.

For instance, the Veg Upma appetizer (steamed cream of wheat implanted with tender veggies) is almost a comfort food—until the exotic flavors kick in to excite. The Kumily Chicken, tender chunks of perfectly (but not overly) spiced chicken with green chilies and curry leaves, is a divine starter for those who may want to venture into the taste sensations gradually, while the Lamb Oolarthiyathu—succulent pieces of meat sautéed with coconut peppercorns and shallots—will satisfy even the most demanding spice aficionados. For a dose of the proprietary spice, try the Shrimp Kokum which is marinated and sautéed with shallots.

Kokum - Meen Pollichathu

The entrees feature a variety of mains from every category, from poultry dishes to seafood to the lamb and goat delicacies more traditional throughout the country.  The Kerala Chicken Stew is a creamy concoction of coconut, veggies, and whole masalas. The Meen Pollichathu (Above), flaky fragrant fish roasted in a plantain leaf and gorgeously presented, is almost a holistic experience—pleasurable to four of the five senses; or the absolutely trance-inducing Crab Ullarthu, cooked in coconut, garlic, and coriander, and whose texture satisfies almost as much as its flavor.  The Soft Shell Crab roast, cooked to medium-spicy perfection black pepper and shallots, is also sure to wow the taste buds.

There’s an extensive selection of vegetarian entrees on the menu, most of which are also vegan. Quite a few are prepared with healthy root vegetables, and some with veggies that are delightfully unexpected, such as the Jackfruit Thoran, which features the exotic and tender Jackfruit, stir-fried in coconut and has a consistency and flavor similar to chicken. The Avial Malabar is an eclectic mixed vegetable dish with yogurt, coconut, and curry leaves, and the Erissery is a delicious combination of red pumpkin and black-eyed beans with southern spices. Pair any of these a side of the several specialty rices (tamarind, coconut, and lemon infusions, among others) and you have a meal that would satisfy even a stout religious carnivore. 

Kokum - Dosa

One notable feature of the Kokum menu is the substantial dosa and Indian “street food” selection that includes a Dosa Stall (Above), Uttapam (Indian pancake) Stall, andMuniyandi Dosa Villas featuring the most addictive, gigantic dosas this side of the Ganges served with six dipping sauces ranging in flavors from sweet and spicy to tangy and thick.  The dosas come with a variety of fillings, like spiced potatoes and onions in the Masala Dosa or spicy Chettinad pepper chicken in the Pepper Chicken Dosa.  Or there’s the Onion Chili Uttapam, studded with onions and green chilies.

Just when you think the meal can’t get any more exciting, there’s an otherworldly cocktail list that truly takes Kokum’s fabulous flavor-combinations to level next. TheTadi Fling mixes light and dark rum with sweet vermouth, lime, and pineapple juices, and the Tropical Kerala is a surprisingly light concoction with gin, Saint Germain, lemon juice, triple sec, and mint. The Kokum, featuring its namesake along with cardamom-infused vodka, lime juice, honey, green tea, and a splash of tamarind water, should probably not be missed.  There is also an extensive beer and wine menu, with offerings by the bottle or by the glass and outstanding cocktails. Service is warm, efficient and helpful.

Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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