Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tavern on the lean

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Diners are permitted them to build their own burger of beef, turkey or veggie with a dazzling array of choices. You can have your patty in a traditional bun or in a bowl with greenery and add one cheese from 10 options that include feta and horseradish cheddar and four toppings from among 20 that range from prosaic onions or tomatoes to unusual dried cranberries or hard-boiled eggs. And you’re not done yet, because you can also select from among 19 sauces, with peanut, roasted garlic aioli, and soy-ginger glaze among the most intriguing. The Papas estimate that also considering a grilled-chicken “burger” variation, choice of bun and additional “premium toppings,” they offer as many as 300,000 possible individualized burgers. And Burger King boasts about having it your way? But how do these creations taste? First, it is advisable to order the toppings on the side so that you can experiment with what can fit into your already ungainly burger and determine what goes best with what in what sequence. That said, all three burgers are thick and juicy, with the pricey and complicated veggie burger — corn, mushrooms, scallions, bell pepper, spinach, carrots, spinach and potatoes — a bit looser in consistency than its meatier counterparts but, according to my long-time vegetarian luncheon partner, competitive with our area’s best. The perfect accompaniment would be the grill’s signature French fried sweet potatoes ($3.79) cooked without trans fats. The other fare is praiseworthy, including baby backs ($12.95 for a half slab) a 14-ounce New York strip ($19.99) and grilled shrimp on a skewer. The wine list has some dependable California bottles ranging from $24 to $50.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Island breezes

Posted By on Wed, Mar 21, 2007 at 12:00 AM

The menu showcases seafood, of course, alongside jerk chicken and curried goat. But it’s also the homey side dishes that make Irie worth a trek. To try them, the appetizer sampler platter is positively the way to go. It comes with a mango-coconut-pineapple dipping sauce and well-browned but tender crab cakes, jerk wings, fried plantains, coconut-flavored shrimp that are crunchy and sweet, and, best of all, codfish fritters. Don't be afraid of goat, which in Irie’s curry is spicy, not goaty, and more like an island beef stew than anything else. Sides include rice and peas cooked in coconut milk; fried dumplings, which taste like a hard version of biscuits; and festivals, which are dumplings too, but with cornmeal. And the desserts are sublime. Hours are 11:30-8:30 Monday through Thursday, 11:30-9 Friday-Saturday and 12-7 on Sunday.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Seoul food

Posted By on Wed, Mar 14, 2007 at 12:00 AM

With four tables and four booths, this narrow eatery can handle around 30 customers at one time. Although the setting is diner-plain, the Korean cuisine is authentic, making few compromises for the American palate. Garlic is a key ingredient in at least half of the aromatic dishes from Hankuk’s kitchen. More than half of the menu items are either soups or preparations in broth. For example, duk-mandoo-guk is beef broth overflowing with scores of dumplings, rice cakes, beef, bits of egg yolk, green onion and garlic. The Korean fish stew is composed of large chunks of fish, small crab legs and squid, along with vegetables, red-pepper paste and garlic. Soybean-paste soup, buckwheat vermicelli in cold soup, and Japanese-style noodle soup all are available in their pure vegetarian state.

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