New York’s David Chang Makes Very Good Food: I am not sure how we narrowed down the choices to Ma Peche on our first night in New York, but most of our original list came from my daughter who lives in New Orleans, and she had to be reminded that David Chang was one of the chefs who took in the wayward Treme cook who worked in exile for a time. Ma Peche is the backroom for the Momofuku dining experience. The plan is that you order a smallish plate and an entrée plate and wait staff comes around with carts, kind of like the old dim sum days and you share everything. I am just a tiny bit ashamed to say that in spite of having outstanding fish dishes at every restaurant we want to, the desserts were so over the top, they were impossible to forget. The first night was Chang’s cream cheese ice cream with the cornflake candy garnish that made him famous --- there are dozens of photos of this soft serve dish online --- it is an achievement. But, we did eat at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon bistro, which was right across from our hotel, twice, and his desserts---memorably the chocolate soufflé and a cakey bread pudding with toffee ice cream on the side---were as decadent as anything. Though, with Bouchon you get these very, very rich broths and sauces that are cooked for hours ---- we had a garden vegetable soup that was made that way, mussels with curry sauce too --- that tend to rival anything made with cream. We also ate Mexican at Hell’s Kitchen, which seems to be cornering the market on guacamole, fish tacos and enchiladas suazas there. But the biggest surprise of the food scene was the Hudson, our hotel on 58th Street, where you could get outstanding cheeseburgers in the middle of the day or night, along with anything you craved to drink (We picked Manhattans.) and a large enough order of fries for three people ($6).
Never Overlook Sushi Just Because It’s Everywhere: New York consumes a lot of raw fish and that’s good if you are a person who likes raw fish. It is not something you have to worry about because it moves so quickly through the restaurants, it doesn’t have time to get old. I had oysters at Aquagrill and sashimi at Sushi Damo down the street on the way home from the theater. At most restaurants where we ate the portion issue seems to have gone away. Plenty of food, plenty of time to eat it and not much left at the end. We did try to pay homage at the Carnegie Deli---our one slip-up---but the deli or delis had a three-deep line bending down 8th Avenue, that brought back memories of trying to get into Uno-Due’s at the wrong time on holiday break. Not worth it anymore. We’ve done it. It’s over. There was nothing more exciting that walking from the original Grant Park bandshell on a summer night to Gino’s Pizza somewhere on Rush Street miles away, but those days are gone. I’ve moved on to delicate slices of raw fish eaten with rectangular sticks.