The Best and Worst Restaurants of 2012

Just like last year, here’s a summary of the restaurants I reviewed in 2012, grouped into two categories: recommended (rating > 6), and not worth a special visit (rating between 5 and 6). As a reminder, I usually mention decor and service in my posts, but only the food is being rated. Luckily, no establishment made it to the third category (avoid, rating < 5). My ratings, especially below the 7 mark, are generous — I’m sure most people would feel that there’s no point spending over an hour on the subway to eat somewhat average food, when you can get so much better in so many closer places in the city.

Unlike most Best of/Worst of NYC lists coming out these days, which concentrate on places that opened or were trendy this year, I just list places that I happened to visit.  A few of them did open in 2012, but it’s not that important.

You may notice that I reviewed significantly less restaurants this year, partly because my reviews became more thorough and required more visits, and partly because the 2011 round-up also included two months of 2010 reviews. I also started the year with two restaurant reports from Paris: La Maison Géorgienne and Boukhara. To make matters worse, Dacha has already closed, leaving many later customers with an aftertaste of bad service, watered-down vodka shots, and non-honored coupons.

Finally, I’ve published a number of Red Alerts that are well worth checking out: Almayass, Kutsher’s Tribeca, Moscow 57 Under The Tracks and Iron Curtain.

What restaurants would you like me to review 2013?

Continue reading

Happy Holidays 2012!

Happy New Year!

Dear readers, I wish you all happy holidays, and a lot of success in the kitchen for your dinner plans! Of course, this is the perfect time of the year to try some of my most festive recipes!

Previous year:
Happy Holidays 2011

Dolma Shurpa, Uzbek Stuffed Vegetable Broth

I’ve previously posted a pepper dolma recipe from Azerbaijan, but today’s dish hails from Uzbekistan and is prepared fairly differently. Shurpa means soup or broth in Uzbek, and the stuffed vegetables here are served in a flavorful broth. My recipe is loosely adapted from Hakim Ganiev‘s Oriental Feast, but I’ve made many changes, such as the use of my beloved pressure cooker.

Uzbek Cuisine - Dolma Shurpa

Continue reading

Food Perestroika at the Dalton Chorale Winter Concert

Food Perestroika - Dalton Chorale

As a holiday surprise, a program ad was placed for Food Perestroika at the Dalton Chorale Winter Concert by my partner (she’s an alto). They sang works by Franz Joseph Haydn, the famed Austrian composer (who, incidentally, spent the majority of his career under the employment of the wealthy Hungarian Esterházy family). It was a beautiful concert.

Thanks! And if you’ve found my site through the Dalton Chorale program ad, welcome!
I’m told that the Spring Concert, on 15 May 2013, will be titled “Music from Eastern Europe” and will feature Hungarian and Czech composers. If I play my cards right, maybe I’ll get another ad…

Restaurant Review: Café Glechik

A note about my restaurant reviews: New York City counts many Eastern European restaurants scattered across the five boroughs, most of them ignored by restaurant critics and diners alike. I intend to visit as many as I can and report!

Brighton Beach - Café Glechik

Recently, I reviewed Café Glechik of Sheepshead Bay, a mostly Ukrainian restaurant. Try as I might, it’s impossible to taste every dish on such a lengthy menu, and I only sampled a small but hopefully representative fraction of what they have to offer. To refine my review, I decided to pay a visit to the other (and orginal) Café Glechik, in Brighton Beach.

Continue reading

Duck Breast Kebab, Pomegranate Narsharab and Corn Plov

Azerbaijani Cuisine - Duck Breast Kebab

When it comes to making kebabs, duck probably isn’t the first meat that comes to mind. And yet, duck breast has all it takes to be a success on the grill: tender meat and an ample layer of fatty skin. In fact, by assembling two breast halves together, the meat is completely wrapped in fat, which produces perhaps the juiciest and most tender duck breast you’ll ever eat!

A drizzle of narsharab (reduced pomegranate juice) and grilled vegetables is all you need for accompaniment. However, if you want to add some variety to your kebab routine (and because this blog is called Food Perestroika, not Food Stagnation), try my Azerbaijani corn plov. Granted, I have over 60 recipes of Azerbaijani plov, and not a single one of them contains corn (incidentally, I found renditions with goose and wheat). But not to worry: there’s corn in Azerbaijan, and there’s nothing stopping the locals from adding it to their plov. The reason why I’m so adamant about the corn is that it goes well with duck, upholding a theory that pairs meat with common foods eaten by the same animal.

Continue reading