Halloween in New York City

Posted November 7th, 2009 by Deepa and filed in Food, Travel
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1 Comment

Photos: New York City Trip

Although Seejo & I have differing opinions on almost all things related to New York City ( I love the crowds, the noise, the buzz & Seejo dislikes them), we both agree on two things about the city: it has some of the best restaurants in US & it has some of the quirkiest people on the street.  This Saturday we got a chance to confirm our opinion of both these issues.

I had already made brunch reservations at Mesa Grill—a restaurant owned by Chef Bobby Flay.  Ever since we saw Bobby Flay in Iron Chef America, we have wanted to try his “bold flavoured South-west style” cuisine.  We were there with our friend Atha (meeting up with him was the real reason for this trip), who was on an official visit from India. We were seated immediately, served with a breadbasket with jalapeno spiced blue & yellow corn-muffins, some flaky cheese biscuits & fruit coffee cake served with a red pepper relish. Between the three of us , we polished off the whole basket & licked the relish dish clean in less than five minutes. (There are no photographs of the bread-basket, we were too hungry to wait!).

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We had ordered three appetizers to share. The spicy tuna and salmon tartare was served with both red and green chili sauce along raw plaintain chips.

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The chilled caramelized grapefruit with mint & blackberries was a wonderful complement to the spicy tartare. What I especially liked was the trick of making sure that the grapefruit was cut in such a way that we could scoop out each section of fruit leaving behind the pith and the fibers.

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I wanted to try the blue corn tortilla chips as soon as I saw them on the menu simply because Bobby Flay makes this on every single Iron Chef show that he competes in. There is really no way to go wrong with a goat cheese-dip accompanied by crisp tortilla chips. However the blue corn tortilla chips were a bit of disappointment –  they tasted exactly like regular tortilla chips.

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Of the three entrées that we ordered, Seejo’s ancho chile rubbed chicken was easily the star of the meal. The chicken was well flavored, the green tomatillo sauce was refreshingly piquant and a nice complement to the chicken.

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My grilled Mahi Mahi was presented beautifully topped with pineapple salsa and a tiny quantity of risotto. Although the plates had a dash of the trademark red and green chili oil, the dish was surprisingly bland. The risotto & the salsa were delicious but the sauced did little to add flavor to a mild flavoured fish.

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Atha’s eggs with aged sirloin tortilla turned out to be a colorful fajita plate with the avocado guacamole, grilled red onions, roasted red , green and yellow peppers, warm tortillas and perfectly cooked steak.  The steak was tender , delicious and we just ate it by itself.

All in all it was an excellent meal at a very reasonable price. Every dish was cooked perfectly and served beautifully.  However the “wow” factor was missing in a couple of them.   I expected some more magic from a restaurant that was owned by Bobby Flay, the food did not just make your eyes pop.  While each component was individually nice, when it all came together it was just that— a lot of great components together— it didn’t become one super-great morsel, which is what I would expect from a renowned chef.

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After gorging ourselves, we waddled our towards Broadway Street.  There was an open air market near Broadway— We strolled up and down the streets, looking at the fresh produce, meat, jams and jellies that were on the display.

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Atha was fascinated by the plump NY squirrel who was nibbling away at a colorful Indian corn off the cob.

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It was Halloween & there were many people dressed in weird costumes.  There was a catwoman, a vampire and a bloody bride. These people were dressed in these outlandish costumes and simply walking along hte street, doing the normal shopping or watching the outdoor performances.

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There were open air performances. These three kids performed quite a competent tap dancing routine.  People with weird  hairdos and costumes mingled with the crowd. A group of ghouls roamed around clanging chains and trying to scare the passing people.

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The costume shops had a large queue outside –people waiting to get their costume. One of the problems of NYC is that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish costume from the everyday style statement.  We spent a few hours happily people watching— and then turned back to normal sedate suburban Germantown!

One Response to “Halloween in New York City”

  1. Rajeev Varma says:

    Nice !!! .. iron chef’s the one which was hosted by william shatner right ? … you should also work as a food critic .. nicely described .. you shuld replace padma laxmi on top chef :)