New York Good Eats – The Smith; Nobu

January 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

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My friend, Britt, is someone who I can rely on to join me on my food adventures. We both love to eat and often appreciate similar cuisines and styles of food. When we both returned home from our semesters abroad, we completely embraced being back in New York and immediately started making city plans revolving around delicious food.

Note: This happened during the holiday season so that means eating this much in one day is technically allowed, right (although I doubt anything would’ve changed even if it weren’t)?

1. The Smith

1900 Broadway, New York, NY

We started the day having brunch at The Smith near Lincoln Center. The restaurant was warm and cozy, which was especially welcoming because of the cold weather, and had an unassuming atmosphere.

To share, we ordered the hot potato chips with blue cheese fondue. Britt and I don’t normally like blue cheese but Britt insisted that I had to try this because she absolutely loves it every time she orders it. Despite my hesitation, I trusted her judgment and agreed to try it.

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Ordering those chips was such a good move! The chips were cut at the right thickness so they could withstand the creamy blue cheese while maintaining a satisfying crunch.

Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the blue cheese fondue! I could definitely taste the blue cheese, especially since there were little bits spread throughout, but the flavor was not too assertive. Moreover, the creamy fondue paired really well with the crunchy chips to yield an addictive duo.

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Another great aspect was the chips and fondue were slightly layered so that you weren’t left with plain chips without cheese at the bottom of the bowl after you make your way through the top (you will get to the bottom, trust me).

I was in the mood for some hot comfort food so I ordered the turkey pot pie with cheddar chive biscuit top.

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Unfortunately, I was a little underwhelmed when I received it. From the menu description, I was expecting the biscuit topping to be firm and crunchy but instead it was soft and lacked real texture. It would have been nice if it at least was a flaky crust. Also, I would have liked for the filling to be thicker with less liquid; I felt as if I were eating the crust, meat, and vegetables separately instead of in one bite.

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The turkey-sage filling was flavorful, albeit a tad salty, but I wish that the dish was executed differently. It was good enough that I ate most of it but I would not order it again.

2. Nobu

105 Hudson Street, New York, NY

After lunch, we wandered in Central Park, strolled along Madison Avenue, and shopped in SoHo to slowly make our way down to Nobu in Tribeca for dinner. Despite all of the walking, I wasn’t as hungry as I would have liked after the big lunch so it’s really saying something when I tell you that dinner was fantastic.

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As is our tradition, Britt and I started the meal with Rock Shrimp Tempura with Creamy Spicy Sauce, which was delicious as usual. The shrimp come in bite-sized pieces but they are packed with huge flavor. The sauce tastes lemony and has a slight kick to it so the dish isn’t one dimensional. The combination of the fried shrimp and the creamy sauce make them irresistible.

The previous time I was at Nobu I ordered the Black Miso Cod, which simply melted in my mouth; my only complaint is that I wish the portion was bigger because it was so good! However this time, I was in the mood to try something different, particularly some of Nobu’s raw options. The waiter named the Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna as his favorite item on the entire menu. After he described it, I was intrigued and ordered it for my main course.IMG_7832

Wow.

If I were called onto Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate” series right this second, Nobu’s Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna would be one of my top contenders. I’m getting so excited just writing about it!

Simply put, the dish is a deconstructed spicy tuna roll but infinitely times better and more satisfying (I know, I didn’t think that was possible either).

The dish comes with eight small cubes of deep-fried sushi rice on skewers that are served straight out of the fryer. Next to it is a shallow dish of soy sauce, and on the end is a bowl of spicy tuna that has a smooth paste-like consistency, basically the inside of a typical spicy tuna roll. To enjoy this, you take a rice skewer, dip it in the soy sauce, and then spread the spicy tuna on it before popping the whole thing in your mouth (n.b. the rice is piping hot so be careful!).

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The flavor, temperature, and texture differences between all the components are out of this world. It is slightly sweet from the rice, salty from the soy sauce, and spicy from the tuna; hot from the rice yet cold from the spicy tuna; crunchy from the rice’s exterior but soft and sticky from the rice’s interior and the tuna. Moreover, the spicy tuna was extremely well prepared – it still maintained some texture and was not overly seasoned so the freshness of the high quality fish could shine through.

But don’t just take my word for it – you have to go and experience it yourself. Even its humble name, Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna, can’t do it justice. It’s one of those things that you might just skim over if you see it on the menu and you didn’t know better but now that I’ve let you in on the secret, I fully expect you to order it. You’ll thank me later.

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