Category Archives: Restaurant Reviews

L&L Hawaiian BBQ Mixed BBQ Combo Plate

Restaurant Review: L&L Hawaiian BBQ

L&L Hawaiian BBQ Mixed BBQ Combo Plate
L&L Hawaiian BBQ Mixed BBQ Combo Plate

When I moved to Battery Park City, one place that was recommended for cheap eats was L&L Hawaiian BBQ.  I’ve passed by the restaurant a few times, and to be honest, it looked a little run down and dirty, even by New York standards.  However, I checked out the prices on one night, and everything was super cheap!  I figured there was no harm in checking it out.

I ordered the Mixed BBQ Combo Plate ($9.99) which came with a combination of beef, short ribs, and chicken, rice, salad, and macaroni salad.  All of the meet was super soft and tender and were flavored with a sauce that could only be described as “Asian”-it wasn’t quite teriyaki, and not quite Korean BBQ, but it had similar sweet garlicky soy flavors.

The macaroni salad was the best I’ve ever had (I normally don’t even like macaroni salad!) and the rice was cooked to perfection!  What I really want to know is how they get everything from the rice to the meat so incredibly soft without getting mushy.  Every bite was delicious, and the plate was enough for just over three whole meals- definitely the best 10 bucks I’ve ever spent!

Masubi Combo from L&L Hawaiian BBQ
Masubi Combo from L&L Hawaiian BBQ

I also got to try the Musubi Combo ($4.49) which included one Spam Musubi, one BBQ Chicken Musubi, and one Chicken Katsu Musubi.  They were all covered in the same sweet BBQ sauce, and despite the fact that the seaweed had become soggy, it was still really soft!  Usually, warm and soggy seaweed is really hard to chew and bite, but somehow, even though it wasn’t crisp, it was super easy to chew through.

The Chicken Katsu somehow managed to stay crispy- crispier than any Katsu I’ve ever had!  My favorite, however, would have to be the Spam Musubi, mostly because I like strange unidentifiable salt ridden processed meats.  The Spam and sweet BBQ sauce was a match made in heaven, and I would happily eat this for lunch everyday, blood pressure be damned- just don’t tell my doctor!

Bon Chon on John versus Chambers Street Location

Bon Chon Showdown: John Street vs. Chambers Street

Bon Chon on John Chicken Wings
Bon Chon on John's chicken wings!

As those of you who have lived in the area for a while may know, the block on Chambers St between Church and Broadway used to house a place called “Bon Bon Chicken” that served Korean Fried Chicken.  In the past year or so, however, the shop was bought out by Bon Chon, a Korean Fried chicken franchise from South Korea.  In addition to this take over, Bon Chon opened another restaurant on John Street, not too far from the Chambers Street location.  In the past when I had visited the Chambers Street location, it never seemed busy-in fact, I’ve never had to wait, and their deliveries never took very long.  Wasn’t opening another store less than 10 blocks away a little redundant?  What did the new Bon Chon on John have to offer besides its catchy name?

After visiting the two establishments on a Sunday night, I can see why BonChon decided to open up a new restaurant.  First of all, the Chambers St. location is a hole in the wall; it’s a tiny store front with four picnic style tables, one of which only seats two people.  The only differences I can detect from the store’s Bon Bon days are the new logos and packaging, and they now use flat screen TVs to display the menu.  This location clearly focuses more on delivery and take out, and looks more like your typical fast food joint.  And the food did come out super fast; although there is a disclaimer on the wall stating that their chicken is cooked fresh to order and we should expect a 30 minute wait, we got our small order of mixed flavored chicken in less than 3 minutes.

After the Chambers St experience, Bon Chon on John took me completely by surprise.  As we walked down John St, I initially thought the restaurant was closed because it looked so dark inside.  I expected the same florescent lighting and fast food feel as the Chambers St location, but Bon Chon on John is a, dare I say classy, restaurant and bar, complete with mood lighting for people on dates, and two flat screen TVs at the bar for people trying to catch the game (a much more appropriate way to use a TV, don’t you think?).  They provided us with actual plates and silverware, and even gave us a bucket for our chicken bones!  I felt so civilized.  The only downfall here was that in order to try two flavors of chicken, we had to order the medium sized meal, and the wait time was about 15-20 minutes.

As for the actual chicken, both locations used good quality meat, but you could tell that Bon Chon on John’s chicken had just come out of the fryer- it was steaming hot, super crunchy on the outside, and still juicy on the inside.  Bon Chon on Chambers was just as crunchy, but the meat was a little less juicy.  The chicken wings and drumsticks seemed a lot smaller at the Chambers location, but that could have been due to the way it was presented.

Another thing that set the two locations apart are the side dishes.  Chambers only offers bread and rice, while John offers fries, rice, bread, coleslaw, or kimchi coleslaw, and every order comes with a side of pickled radish.  Of course, we got the fries at John St, and I have to tell you, these might have been the best french fries I’ve ever had!  They  had a really thick crispy outer layer, but were tender on the inside, and not at all mealy.  The fries were just as crisp as their twice-fried chicken, which makes me think that perhaps their fries are twice fried as well!  They were also extremely generous with their side portions, and they gave us an entire cone of fries!

Bon Chon on John was much more expensive, however, than the Chambers location.  The small meal that we ordered at Chambers was $7.99, and came with one drumstick and six wings.  The medium order at John was $13, and it only came with one more drumstick than the small order at Chambers!  That being said, we did get bigger pieces of chicken at John St, and they did give us a huge portion of fries.  Plus, the ambiance of Bon Chon on John is worth paying a little extra money, as is the fully stocked bar!  The bartender was very generous, and offered a free shot of his own unnamed concoction to everyone in the restaurant.

So, do we really need two Bon Chon locations in lower Manhattan?  When it comes to fried chicken, the answer should always be yes!  At the end of the day, both locations serve crispy, delectable Korean fried chicken, and I think each location serves its purpose.  Chambers St is perfect for those times when you just need that chicken NOW, or if you just want to grab a box on your way home.  Bon Chon on John is perfect for happy hour, or those of you who want to enjoy the game while snacking on crisp juicy chicken and a beer, or who are just looking for a more civilized fried chicken experience.

Just so you know, Bon Chon on John offers some of the best happy hour deals in the neighborhood.  They offer a buy 1 get 1 free deal on drinks all week from 4pm-8pm, all day on Saturday, and from 4pm-11pm on Sundays.  Plus, Tuesday night is Ladies Night, which means that on top of the BOGO drink deal, girls also get a free special entree!

We pit Burritoville versus Blockheads Burritos

Race to My Place: Burritoville vs. Blockheads

We pit Burritoville versus Blockheads Burritos
We pit Burritoville versus Blockheads Burritos

We’ve all had those days. It’s 7 PM, you’ve just come home from work, exhausted, and the last thing you want to do is cook up some food- especially if you’re feeding more than one mouth.  You consider ordering delivery, but you’re starving and don’t want to wait an hour for your food to get there.  That’s where we come in.

For each installment of Race to My Place, we pit two restaurants with similar cuisines, estimated delivery times, and prices against each other to see whose delivery reigns supreme! We will compare delivery speed, packaging and presentation, quality and taste, and value.  This week, our contestants are Burritoville and Blockheads.

Ever since the advent of the “food blogger” there has been an ongoing debate as to whether LA or NYC has better food. Our lack of decent Mexican food has always been a point of contention for New Yorkers, one that LA-ers never fail to bring up.  Today we will test that theory right here in Battery Park City with a Burrito Race!

It’s important to note that Blockheads does have a burrito lunch special that comes with chips, salsa and a drink for $8.95. In order to fairly compare the two restaurants, however, we had to order the exact same items from both places. We ordered Chicken Fajita Burritos, Guacamole and Chips, and two Diet Pepsi’s from each. Continue reading Race to My Place: Burritoville vs. Blockheads

Where’s The Best Sushi for Battery Park City?

A map looking for the best sushi in Battery Park City
Where is the best sushi in our neighborhood? (Courtesy: A Small Array)

Where is the best sushi in Battery Park City? This has been a conundrum for residents and visitors of the Downtown Manhattan area.

What is more confusing is that according to a map released by the site Very Small Array, we in Battery Park City primarily eat Japanese, Italian and French food. Say wha…Huh?!

Off the tops of our heads we can only think of a handful of sushi places in our area. Including Yushi and Kaijou — the latter gets honorable mention for being here the longest and having the best views from the restaurant… but a claim to best sushi in the neighborhood is arguable.

So it’s even more boggling that apparently to the rest of the people outside of our area — we are now known for this cuisine. Don’t we have more American/Irish Pubby type of food down here? We digress and must focus on finding the answer to our original question.

In order for us to put this sushi question to rest and we’re present an informal and unscientific poll to help vote on where the best sushi is. We’ve added a handful of the closest restaurants to our neighborhood as choices– but welcome write-in nominations in the comments area! Quite frankly, if we knew more sushi restaurants we wouldn’t be putting out a call to action such as this one !

So vote on and may the best sushi place prevail!

[poll id=”2″]

Subway Sandwich Trailer in World Trade Center site.

Subway in the Sky: A Birds Eye View

Subway Sandwich Trailer in World Trade Center site.
Subway Sandwich Trailer in World Trade Center site.

If you live or work within a 1 mile radius, you might not have a difficult time procuring a $5 dollar footlong.
Now for those who work at the World Trade Center, they won’t either as workers have called a new Subway trailer their lunch home a top the construction site.

It’s a far cry from a PB&J and thermos, but it’s a close meatball hero. Who doesn’t like the smell of fresh baked bread at the office?

Ed's Lobster Bar at World Financial Center

Claws Come Out On the Plaza…The Lobster Type

Ed's Lobster Bar at World Financial Center
Ed's Lobster Bar at World Financial Center

Anyone who has strolled through the World Financial Plaza might have noticed a few things recently. A big ol’ country house built smack in the middle of the esplanade, a glass encased metal contraption that has something to do with the weather, and not just one — but two new food stands on the upper level of the plaza.

The trend seemed to have started last year, when Merchants opened up a satellite BBQ stand on the plaza. The food was ambitious — filling in a gap for smokey bbq that doesn’t quite exist on this side of the highway. BBQ is not the easiest thing to cook up or serve to transient tourists and button down banker crowds. This year, they decided to forgo their spitfire aspirations and flip things up with a “quality burger.” Merchants has seemed to monopolize the majority of eateries this side of Broadway owning Merchants, Southwest, the newly acquired Steamers Landing and now Quality Burger.

So I was quite surprised to see standing right next to the expected Merchants fare — Ed’s Lobster Bar. One might plausibly expect that it’s just another Merchants restaurant, but this is not the case. Bringing their claws out on the plaza, Ed’s Lobster Bar serves up an easy to eat, summery and refreshing lobster roll. Some other sandwich offerings are a Grilled Shrimp Po’ Boy, Peekytoe Crab Roll, Tuna Roll and a Soft Shell Sandwich.

The average price for a meal is around $20. Which is not cheap, but unlike the impersonal burger conveyor belt service served at Quality Burger — customer service at the Lobster Bar is exceptional. Case and point, after arriving just before closing at 7pm– they stayed open long enough to receive a few late coming customers. After running out of grilled corn on the cob, they were able to procure a few stalks and offered them up to a patron for free. They were communicative towards the time it would take to grill shrimp skewers and lobster roll — all with a friendly smile and that it was no problem to stay open later than they needed to. Making the meal taste that much better.

So with open hearts and stomachs, we whole heartedly welcome Ed’s Lobster Bar to the neighborhood.

Happy Hour: SouthWest NY

Happy Hour: SouthWest NY

Happy Hour: SouthWest NY
Margaritas at SouthWest NY

This new Eats segment will focus on finding places to wind down after work and enjoy a drink with coworkers, friends or even a hot date. Every week, we’ll be taking one for the team and hitting happy hour at a different Battery Park City watering hole. We’ll report back on the quality of the venue’s libations, the specialness of their specials and the tastiness of the food on which we nosh to prevent ourselves from descending into a stupor.

For our seminal happy hour, we headed to SouthWest NY, which, it ironically turns out, does not have any happy hour deals of which to speak. Still, now that the weather is warming up, the venue’s waterside location in the World Financial Center Plaza and its bountiful outdoor seating make it an ideal place to grab a drink and watch the sun set.

Continue reading Happy Hour: SouthWest NY

Race to My Place: Health Food

Race to My Place: Health Food

Race to My Place: Health Food
Energy Kitchen's tuna steak proves that ordering in can be healthy.

We’ve all had those days. It’s 7 PM, you’ve just come home from work, exhausted, and the last thing you want to do is cook up some food- especially if you’re feeding more than one mouth.  You consider ordering delivery, but you’re starving and don’t want to wait an hour for your food to get there.  That’s where we come in.

For each installment of Race to My Place, we pit two restaurants with similar cuisines, estimated delivery times and prices against each other to see whose delivery reigns supreme! We compare delivery speed, packaging and presentation, quality and taste, and value. For this health food race, our contestants were Energize Me Foods and Energy Kitchen.

After eating greasy take-out everyday for a week, my stomach was begging for a break. I decided to reward it with more delivery, but this time, with health food!  Today we are comparing two similarly named restaurants, both claiming to serve food that will boost your energy AND keep that spare tire off your midsection. Let’s see if there’s any truth to their claims.

Continue reading Race to My Place: Health Food

Caruso's pizza pie, half pepperoni half plain

Review: Caruso’s Pizza

Caruso's Pizza on Fulton Street Pizza Box
Caruso's Pizza on Fulton Street

When I was asked to blog about food (my one love) in Battery Park City (my favorite neighborhood), there was no way I could turn the opportunity down. I recently moved back to Battery Park City after living in the East Village for four years, so you can imagine my surprise when I couldn’t find any recommendations for decent Pad See Ew on or any website besides Yelp.  My goal for this blog is to be able to remedy that. I’ll try my best to seek out the hidden gems in BPC, FiDi and lower Tribeca, and maybe along the way, steer some people away from places that didn’t quite hit the mark.

For my first assignment, I had planned to compare delivery from two different pizzerias, but due to a personal technological muck-up, I was left with just one pizza from Caruso’s.  We ordered a large plain pizza, half with pepperoni ($22).  The pizza came in exactly 35 minutes, which wasn’t too shabby, and it came with an entire bag of paper plates, plastic utensils and even small plastic containers full of the standard NY pizza condiments. Things were looking up.

Caruso's pizza pie, half pepperoni half plain
Fast pizza might mean haste makes waste

We opened the box, and an oddly white pizza stared back at us. They must have used fresh mozzarella, which is one of my favorite pizza toppings, so I couldn’t wait to shove a slice in my mouth. Without even using any of the condiments they offered, I quickly took my first bite.

And was quickly disappointed. The mouthful I got was chewy and bland. The crust was more doughy than crusty. The sauce was oddly sweet and somehow tasteless at the same time.  While the fresh mozzarella added a nice touch to the pie, it did absolutely nothing for the flavor of the pizza. The condiments that they so graciously delivered did improve the flavor, but then it just felt like I was eating bread with red chili flakes and oregano.

Now, the pizza wasn’t completely awful, and perhaps if I walked by at lunch time I’d grab a slice fresh out of the oven. However, there were two other people helping me eat the pizza, and at the end of the night, there were still three slices left in the box. You do the math.

When I sampled a slice of the pepperoni, the meat added some much needed sodium. That’s really all this particular pie was wanting: salt and perhaps a few extra minutes in the oven.  I may try a slice from Caruso’s in the future with some added toppings, but I am not inclined to try their plain cheese pizza again. It was just, well, plain.

140 Fulton Street
New York, NY 10038
(212) 267-2927