A Fantastic Party

January 8, 2014

Barbuto will be celebrating ten wonderful years on February 11, 2013.  On that Tuesday, Jonathan will be welcoming back his illustrious alum chefs to help us cook an amazing Barbuto family feast! 
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January 8, 2014

Ice in the river. So cold your face freezes after the first block.  Perfect day for ramen: there's nothing so warming as a big bold bowl of righteous noodles.  

What made me order the raw octopus and wasabi appetizer?  Curiosity mostly.  It hardly seems to belong on the Ippudo menu, which rounds out the noodle offerings with a few dishes that approach fast food.  Sticky chicken wings fried to a crisp. Buns filled with sweet fried chicken patties slicked with chilied mayonnaise. And a delicious – but almost laughably expensive cucumber.  One sliced cucumber, regally presented on its own long dish: $8.  What's the restaurant's profit on that little item? 

So when I saw the raw octopus in wasabi sauce for $5, it seemed like such an anomoly I ordered it. Strictly for science. I was not expecting this textural delight. The raw octopus was as tender as velvet. It was soft, chewy and slightly tacky in the mouth.  It demanded your attention.  Right behind it came the crunch of celery and the insistent heat of wasabi. A single slice of lemon was hiding at the bottom of the bowl, radiating flavor so that the taste of the octopus changed as you worked your way down. A single teasing leaf of shiso on the side. The dish was so intriguing that when it was gone I ordered another. 

In the end I have to say that the noodles, good as they were, were kind of beside the point. 



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Things I Love

January 7, 2014


There's ice floating on the river. It's the coldest day I can remember. Still I'm sitting here, wishing I had some White Mustache Sour Cherry Yogurt.  Wondering if it's worth a trip into the arctic blast to get some.

I found the yogurt at Brooklyn Kitchen in the new Gotham West Market.  The pretty glass jar was crazy expensive, but I was so happy after slurping up a bowl of Ivan Ramen's fantastic noodles that I plunked my money down. Then I got home and discovered that the yogurt was thick, smooth and incredibly rich, with a satisfying tang.  It was perfectly set off by the tart cherry compote. I got to the bottom of the jar and all I could think was:  Why didn't I buy more? 

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