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Bye Bye To Bindi

For various reasons, Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney decided to close Bindi, their indian restaurant. I’d never had a chance to go, so we stopped by on their last day in business. I’m happy to say that it was full and hopping. It was a beautiful space! And all of the food was delicious. It’s a shame to see it go!
E’s mango lassi. Who doesn’t like mango lassi?
Papadum with chutney for dipping. You know, it’s like the chips and salsa of indian food. I love this stuff.
We both ended up getting their prix-fixe, which has a limited menu, but pretty much covers most things from their regular menu. It’s not necessarily a better deal or anything, but I’ve just been into prix fixes lately. Here’s E’s spring pea and potato samosas, served with mango-date chutney and raita. These are adorably hot, flaky, and not greasy.
I got the salt roasted beet and mixed radish chaat. It’s a salad of local beets, watermelon, jicama, chutneys, sprouted moong, and yogurt. This thing was awesome. There are so many different flavors in this, it’s hard to describe.
E’s indian bbq braised shortrib with masala roasted potatos, grilled corn-cabbage slaw, and watermelon rind chutney. Bindi’s food is interesting because it doesn’t always look typically indian, and then you taste the intense indian flavors.
I got the seafood goozoo which comes with shrimp, scallops, and mussels in a spicy tomato-tamarind curry, with ginger, garlic, green mango, and lime rice. When I first tasted this, I wondered why this dish was being served at an indian restaurant. Then I moved onto the bottom of the bowl and then all the indian flavors hit me. This had tons of fresh seafood. I really enjoyed this.
The bread we got was a potato paratha. It was a slightly spicy potato griddle bread with ghee, sea salt, and a house raita. I love me some indian breads. They should be part of my daily life.
E gushed about the cardamom cake, so that’s what we both went with. It’s an individual sized warm cardamom cake topped with indian spiced chocolate pot de creme, salted caramel, cacao nib crumble, whipped cream, and a giant shard of sugar glass. Man alive, was this thing amazing! If the salted caramel budino is the must-have at barbuzzo, then this is the must-have at bindi. I hope that they end up still serving this at one of their other restaurants. This entire meal was lovely, and so was the service. I’m just happy that I got a chance to check it out! Bindi, we’ll miss you!

Bindi on Urbanspoon

Little Fish

I’d never gotten to try little fish at their old location, but have been wanting to go to the new one for awhile. So finally, I went! Oh, this was right after my camera met a wet death, so unfortunately, all these photos are going to be a terribly lit and grainy cell phone camera mess. Trust me, all the food looks tremendous in person. But the place does have incredibly low “romantic” style lighting, so it’s not all the cell phone’s fault! As you can guess by the name, it’s all about fish and seafood here. The menu is small and changing.
The place is teeny tiny. You must make a reservation. Those of you who’ve been to salt & pepper in their original location know how tiny it is. It was also ungodly hot out, and they don’t exactly have what I’d call ideal climate control. And we were sat at the table furthest back and closest to the kitchen. It all made for a warm evening. The old couple next to us, they had one of those fake ice gel packs that you put in coolers and lunch boxes and what not, and they were using it to cool their laps and handing it back and forth to each other during their meal. What a brilliant freakin idea! I wasn’t being super nosy or anything, it’s just that the tables are close, I couldn’t help but notice! Ok, onto the food. I was pretty starving so I was so happy when they brought the bread around. The bread itself is delicious, nice and crusty, but I absolutely fell for their herby pesto vinaigrette type thing they give you for dipping. It was super zesty and perfect for soaking up with the bread.
Here’s the beet salad! It had both red and golden beets plus fennel, sliced radish, creme fraiche, and pistachio. This thing was excellent! Especially because I love me some beets. And even if you don’t like beets, you should try it anyway! The most surprising bit of this was that the crushed pistachio nuts were in the creme fraiche, so that it was smooth and crunchy at the same time. I was facing the kitchen, so I had some extra fun watching the chefs prepare the food. As I’ve said in the past, I love open kitchens because it’s like dinner and a show!

Here is the skate. It’s a pretty enormous helping of pan fried skate with polenta cakes, corn, chanterelles, pancetta, cherry tomatoes, and what I think is some cucumber thing at the top. This was definitely a winner. Now listen up. If you don’t like a fish that is actually fishy, then don’t get this skate. It definitely has a “I’m from the ocean” taste and smell to it, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, and it’s cooked perfectly. And everything else on the plate was also delicious.
Here is my striped bass dish. There are two honkin pieces of perfectly cooked striped bass, topped onto potato zucchini hash, all sitting in a giant bowl of coconut curry broth swimming with mussels. It was also topped with some kind of tomato based relish stuff on top, which was amazing. Everything was so good! And may I repeat, the fish was perfectly cooked. There’s certainly no undoneness at all, but there’s absolutely nothing overcooked here either. It’s just right. I loved the hash, which was a mix of extremely thinly sliced potato and zucchini. It looked like that fancy ratatouille from that Ratatouille movie. And I don’t even like stuff made with coconut milk most of the time, but I loved this thick broth, which was rich and creamy. These entree portions were nothing to scoff at, there was plenty! This place totally lived up to my expectations, and then some. Service was quite good. I can’t wait to go back, especially for their sunday prix fixe!

Little Fish on Urbanspoon

JG Domestic – Sunday Supper

E and I went to one of JG Domestic‘s Sunday Suppers and had a veritable feast. When we saw the menu in advance, we thought oh, ok, we get to pick a starter, pick our meat, and pick some sides. Then we were informed by our server that we got EVERYTHING on the menu. We were floored… and also totally excited! There was also live music!
We first stared with the house baked dinner rolls, served with whipped vermont butter and apple gelee. Whoa, these were warm and buttery and delicious, but we both limited ourselves to one. We weren’t going to ruin ourselves for the rest of the meal. It’s all about pacing!
Next up was the louisiana style gumbo with okra, pulled chicken, and andouille sausage. Man alive, I love gumbo! And I loved this version! It was rich, thick, and hearty, and I love me some okra!
We moved onto the jersey tomato salad with garlic crouton, basil, and fresh ricotta. Tasty tomatoes are sometimes hard to come by, I know I often buy sucky ones. But these were sweet and juicy and full of the right flavors. They must have all the right connections!
We also got a big bowl of local baby greens, seasoned baby veggies, with a citrus vinaigrette. This wasn’t a particularly exciting salad, but all the ingredients were top notch.
Onto the meats! The smoked baby back pork ribs. Yum! There was plenty of tender meat on this and it had a nice smoky flavor.
The other main entree was the fire roasted bbq london broil. Delicious! There were a few chewy bits but the sauces were nice and zesty.
Here is a giant bowl of vermont cheddar and roasted garlic whipped potatoes. This was the only dish that we possibly could not finish. It was so much! We also had the chilled cucumber, roasted peppers, and feta salad. I love cucumber salads! Again, all their ingredients were of the highest quality. I need a connection to their hook-up!
I am crazy about corn, and I am especially crazy about new jersey corn. Oh how I love jersey sweet corn on the cob!
Here we have the bbq baked cranberry beans and some pickled green beans and pearl onions. Man, I think these baked beans were some of my absolute favorites of the night. And I loved these green beans as well, as I love beans when they’re very crispy and practically raw. I can’t stand limp green beans!
As if we could eat any more, we ended the meal with the peach cobber with vanilla ice cream. The peaches in this were amazing and ¬†you could tell they were totally fresh! The topping to the cobbler was delicious as well, being some kind of lemony poppyseed bake. And the ice cream was plain yet perfect. The service was excellent and we just sat there for a long time after the meal and hung out and talked. They didn’t rush us and just let us enjoy ourselves. Considering the amount and quality of food you get, this is one of the most worthwhile prix fixe deals in the city. Go and give it a try!
JG Domestic on Urbanspoon

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