Grub Match: Tri-borough Showdown

“I expected to be disappointed in one, and I was. The other one I expected to like, and was disappointed in that one, too. Oh wait, is this the part where I’m supposed to be nice?”

That was the kind of feisty, go-for-the-jugular attitude evidenced in our three Grub Match contenders before the match had even begun. Monisha, Marie and Roger had gathered to defend the honor of their own restaurant picks and discuss the merits and shortcomings of the other contenders’ choices. The sun was hot. The beer was cold. They looked ready to rumble.

ready to rumble

Let’s get this match started…. Continue reading

Marie’s Grub Match Pick: Taverna Kyclades

marie's grub match pickOur final fierce contender in this month’s Grub Match is Marie Argeris. A seasoned New Yorker, Marie was torn between many NYC favorites but decided to go with “her people” at Taverna Kyclades. Here’s more from Marie:

What is one item that is always in your refrigerator? Feta cheese, preferably imported from Greece and purchased in Astoria where they have the real deal out of a barrel.

You’re on death row and they’re warming up the chair—what’s your final meal? I don’t think they put limits on a last meal, so this will be la grande bouffe:

Appetizers: Greek country salad, grilled octopus, calamari, fried formela cheese, taramasalata, tyrokafteri, spanakopita, tyropita, two dozen oysters sampled from east/west coasts, stuffed quahog

Entree: Maine lobster, Dungeness Crab, lamb chops (Greek style), lemon potatoes, vleeta greens, some mushrooms I once had in Dali, China

Dessert: Dark chocolate covered caramels with sea salt, galactoboureko, blackberry pie with ice cream Continue reading

Roger’s Grub Match Pick: St. Anselm

roger's grub match pickAnd in this corner of the Grub Match ring, it’s Roger LaMarque (in the photo, he’s the one in the sweater). His pick is Saint Anselm, home of the Axe Handle Rib Eye and the Bourbon Brined Chop.  Here’s more from Roger:

You’re on death row and they’re warming up the chair—what’s your final meal? They warm up electric chairs? I guess something that would take a long time to arrive. The Indian joint near my house takes forever. I could get another appeal in.

What’s the single most memorable meal you’ve ever eaten? The most memorable meal would be my most recent one, since I have a terrible memory. And it was…er… Continue reading

Monisha’s Grub Match Pick: Yerba Buena

Monisha's Grub Match PickThe first contender in this month’s Grub Match is Monisha De La Rocha. Here’s a little about Monisha and her pick, cocktail haven Yerba Buena.

Do you have any food pet peeves? Many. Cold salads, cold butter that you can’t spread. The taste of burned garlic. Lemon juice from a bottle. Pre-grated parmesan cheese (wax, much!). Being served at a restaurant on a plate that’s clearly either just come out of the fridge or oven. Having my wine poured for me by my server the second my glass looks empty (I’m going to order a second bottle anyway, just let me drink in peace!).

Let’s pretend you’ve come into uncountable gobs of money—who do you hire as your personal chef? The truth is that if I had uncountable gobs of money, I’d quit my job and spend most of my time cooking each meal in my humungous Barn kitchen, and make all those things that require ridiculously expensive ingredients. I’d have every color and variation of salt, and I would think it made a difference in the food.

What is one item that is always in your refrigerator? An extra 4-stick box of unsalted butter. Butter makes everything better. Continue reading

Lunch at the End of the Line: Stir-Fried Bed Linen Edition

A free lunch really does exist, and I was walking the streets of Flushing, Queens recently, trying to hand it out. But I was having trouble finding any takers.

Allow me to explain. For our Friday series, Lunch at the End of the Line, I’m planning to ride one of the MTA subway trains to an unfamiliar stop and then offer to take a stranger to his or her favorite restaurant. As long as the place they have in mind is within walking distance of the train station and I, a longtime vegetarian, won’t go hungry there, I’ll pay for my lunch and up to ten dollars toward theirs.

But the good people off the Flushing-Main Street stop of the 7 train seemed skeptical. They were full of restaurant suggestions (including Szechwan Garden, a purportedly great place for spicy pork, and Nan Xiang, an excellent dumpling joint that I’ve actually been to before), but when I asked if they would accompany me, they began to avoid my eyes and find excuses. Continue reading

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!

The first official Grub Match gets underway this month with contenders Monisha, Roger and Marie. Here’s how it works:

  1. Three people recommend their favorite places to chow down.
  2. They eat at each other’s restaurants.
  3. The contenders get both drunk and brutally honest about each other’s picks
  4. We give one restaurant the title of Grub Match Champion

Stay tuned to see which restaurants in NYC this month’s contenders give their stamp of approval!