Salumeria Rosi


283 Amsterdam Ave, New York (btw 73rd and 74th Street)

Phone: 212-877-4800

We first knew about Cesare Casella from Daniel Boulud's food program call After Hours with Daniel. The chef was hosting a late night feast with Daniel Boulud for some famous people/chefs in New York City at Marenma, the chef's Tuscan restaurant which was since closed (in June last year). But don't feel sorry for Cesare just yet; The chef has been keeping himself busy as a dean in the International Culinary Institute near Soho, and spending time preparing for his new salumeria/restaurant venture with the Rosi family. The Rosi family owns Parmacotto, which is an Italian company that specializes in producing a wide variety of traditional italian salumi such as prosciutto, panchetta, guanciale, salami, mortadella etc. So in Salumeria Rosi, the Rosi family provides top quality cured meat, Cesare cooks regional Italian food - match made in heaven.

We found out from our friend Nick (not this Nick Choo) last week that Cesare has a new salumi shop that sells awesome guanciale, but I didn't realize that the shop is also a restaurant until I read it somewhere. I thought that is a unique restaurant concept for NYC, and that Gan and I should check it out before the restaurant gets too popular. We went there on a Thursday night around 8pm and the restaurant was packed. Upon entering Salumeria Rosi, there was already a crowd gathering in front of the meat counter, ordering cured meat to go. On the right is its small dining area, where Ceasare's hot (and cold/cured food) is ordered and served.

As Gan and I were evaluating the menu, I noticed Chef Cesare appearing in the kitchen. Star strucked, I immediately went to say hi and took a picture with him. I was surprised by how genuinely nice and friendly he is, no wonder he has a big army of followers in New York City made up of celebrities, top chefs and regular diners like myself.

There were quite alot of items on the menu that stood out for us, but we decided to go with Zuppa Carbonara, Trippa Alla Parmiagian (honeycomb tripe), Insalata Pontormo (Cesare's signature salad), Salumiere selection of 3 cheeses, a plate of selected salumo and Risotto Di Zucca, and we picked Chianti as the wine with go with the food. The dishes were all outstanding, with our favorite being the Trippa Alla Parmiagian (tomatoes + tripe + parmigiano = two thumbs up!), Zuppa Carbonara or Carbonara Soup (the broth soaked croutons in the soup reminded me of a very very mild version of a superior french onion soup), and the Guanciale, our new favorite cured meat! Imagine smokey, fatty pork cheek/jowl that melts like butter when you eat it. It is often said Guanciale is one of the critical ingredient in making a perfect Carbonara. I am not sure if they also have Lardo, which is cured pig fat, but I certainly would like to try Parmacotto's own Lardo next time if they have it.

For dessert, I ordered the bread pudding and Gan had the Poached Pear dessert. The bread pudding was one of the better ones I have eaten, very nice and not too sweet. Gan said it reminded him of British's Treacle Pudding, but better. The poached pear dessert was not bad, but a little to sour for my taste.

Gan and I thought that there seems to be an emerging trend of regional/specialized cuisines in New York City, and we believe it all started with Japanese regional food restaurant opening here. Compared to French and Japanese diners, New Yorkers is still in the phase of learning and developing appreciations for less common, less American and more regional foreign food. That being said, it is definitely an exciting time for foodlovers in the city since we can now taste delicious specialty/regional food without actually traveling across the globe for it.

Cured meat counter - order to go

Small dining area, reservation recommended

After stalking the chef with my camera for a while, i finally decided to be brave and request to meet the chef. Surprisingly, he was one of the nicest/friendliest chefs I have met. No wonder so many New Yorkers love him.

Salumeria Rosi kitchen staffs. Meredith, who I believe is the sous chef, is extremely camera shy, but still nice :)

Cesare's trademark bouquet of rosemary

The restaurant's salumi menu

Guanciale - cured pork cheek/jowl. This is excellent! Thanks Nick for introducing Guanciale to our lives!

Salumiere selection of 3 cheeses with fig jam

a plate of selected salumo - there were prosciutto, mortadella, salami etc

Zuppa Carbonara

Trippa Alla Parmiagian

Insalata Pontormo

Risotto Di Zucca

Poached pear dessert

Bread pudding

One of the diners there asked me if I am going to take a picture of him, since I was snapping pictures everywhere. So I did. A nice man, they asked for my blog information as well.

Salumeria Rosi on Urbanspoon



Address: 214 East 10th Street, New York

Phone: 1-866-60-28779

I really like Curry-ya. Not because it's more of a gourmet curry place with nice bar seatings (which I don't care), but because the curry is prepared really well here. In Japan, curry rice is call kare raisu, and curry is also normally eaten with udon or bread. One big difference between Japanese curry and other curries is that Japanese curry is thicker (thickened by roux) and is sweeter, because fruits such as apple is added. Curry was introduced to Japan during Meiji era and it's one of the most popular dishes in Japan partly because it's so easy to make. That's why I rather cook Japanese curry at home using the ready made "Golden Curry" sauce mix rather than ordering from restaurant. But Gan convinced me to check out Curry-ya last weekend and I ordered the vegetables curry while Gan had the Berkshire Pork Katsu Kare. I was surprised that my curry was so light but flavorful. Gan's katsu kare was also amazing - the pork katsu was fried perfectly and juicy! I thought the owner of this place (the same owner as Sakagura, Sobaya, Rai rai ken etc) is really good in bringing Japanese fast food culture to New York city and make it work. I can't wait for them to open the first Tempura only restaurant in the city, really missed those good tempuras I ate while in Tokyo.
There is a good article on Japanese curry on Chopsticks NY, a magazine about Asian (mostly Japanese) cuisine in NYC metro area, that we read regularly. You can also get a printed copy from most Asian restaurants in NYC metro area (look for it at the entrance of the restaurant).

Bar seating at Curry ya. Nice marble table.

Curries are being prepared

Berkshire Pork Katsu (Cutlet) Curry

Seasonal Vegetables Curry

Curry-Ya on Urbanspoon



103 West 77th Street, New York

Phone: 212-362-3330

Dovetail is such a clever name for a restaurant, it means to join together harmoniously. Not an easy name to live up to, unless you have a proprietor/chef like John Fraser, who is said to be one of America's top up-and-coming young chef. As a chef who chose to be trained at some of the best kitchens in the world (French Laundry in Napa Valley and Taillevent in Paris to name a few) rather than attending culinary school, John's success in Dovetail proves that passion and drive (and talent of course) are extremely important in making it in the restaurant industry. His cooking style is classic European, and his food focuses on seasonal and local ingredients.

Dovetail has been generating buzz ever since its door opened more than a year ago, and it was on our to try list since the beginning and finally we went to check it out last week. I went with the 5 course lunch tasting menu ($48) while Gan had the restaurant week menu ($24.70). I was very impressed with the flavor, creativity and quality of all the dishes presented, and I almost couldn't believe my eyes when the winter truffle potato gnocchi dish came with very generous shavings of truffles! Other dishes in the lunch tasting menu were equally memorable: the first course was a delicious salad of brussels sprouts leaves, pears, serrano ham and manchego cheese; the second course was winter truffles potato gnocchi, followed by a perfectly cooked piece of cod served with fennel, basil, peppers. The last dish before dessert was the pistachio crusted duck with endive, apples and dates. The duck was cooked perfectly and I thought it was ingenious to use pistachio for some added texture.

Gan had the 3 course restaurant week menu and he was completely satisfied. His first course was the pork belly with coco beans and oloroso sherry. I tasted some of the pork belly and it was absolutely perfect. Imagine crispy skin followed by soft, moist and juicy pork belly that just falls apart. For the second course he had braised lamb shoulder with almonds, orange marmalade and escarole. The wine braised lamb shoulder was extremely tender, flavorful (but light) and goes well with escarole, sweet carrots, and sour cream. I thought it was smart not to serve the typical carbs such as mash potatoes or couscous etc with the meat dish at Dovetail (lamb shoulder and duck dish in this case). Most restaurants do that, and I always thought it was too heavy, at least for me.

Desserts were Caramel cake with peanuts and popcorn sherbet from the restaurant week menu and bittersweet chocolate mouse with chocolate devil cake and blood orange segments from the lunch tasting menu. Both desserts were delicious, but the popcorn sherbet was definitely something new to us ( although it tasted somewhat like butter pecan ice cream).

After eating at Dovetail, I understand why so many people like the restaurant (and the food). The service was good, the food was creative and exciting, and the whole dining experience was just pleasant and comfortable. I can see that the restaurant is on its way to becoming something great. And if I live in Upper West Side, I would probably dine there very often; This is definitely a restaurant where haute cuisine can be enjoyed without ever breaking the banks.

Dovetail dining room

Cheese cornbread

Amuse bouche #1 - sweet potato with marshmallow

Lunch Tasting Menu - Brussels sprout leaves with pears, serrano ham and manchego cheese

Restaurant Week Menu - Pork belly with coco beans, cranberry-mustard relish

Lunch tasting menu - Winter truffles with potato gnocchi, fines herbes

Lunch tasting menu - Cod with fennel, basil, peppers, olives

Restaurant week menu - Braised lamb shoulder with almonds, orange marmalade, escarole

Pistachio crusted duck with endive, apples and dates

Palate cleansers

Amuse-bouche #2 - coconut milk with sago

Bittersweet chocolate mousse with chocolate devil cake and blood orange segments

Caramel cake with peanuts and popcorn sherbet

Dovetail on Urbanspoon

La Nacional


239 West 14th Street (Bet 7th & 8th Ave), New York

Phone: 212-243-9308

Ever since we rewatched Anthony Bourdain's No Reservation on Spain, we have been actively looking for good tapas bars in the city. There seems to be a few new tapas places opening in the city lately (Txikito by Alex Raij is one of them), but our friend recommended La Nacional, which is owned by Lolo (Jesus) Manso, who is also the owner of Socarrat Paella Bar that Gan and I really like.

La Nacional is located at the Spanish Society on West 14th Street, and it used to be that only members are allowed to dine there. The membership fee is not expensive, I heard it was just $1. When we went there last week, there was no longer such requirement, but I don't mind becoming a Spanish Society member just to eat there. For the 5 of us, we ordered Esparragos with 2 Salsas, Boquenores en vinagre, Croquetas, Gambas al Ajillo, Batatas Bravas, Campero and Paella de la casa. I couldn't helped but compare the tapas and paella at La Nacional to the ones I ate at Socarrat. Those dishes I ate at Socarrat were definitely more refined, while La Nacional's were more simple and home-cooked style, but still delicious.

White wine sangria





Batatas Bravas*

Gambas al Ajillo*


Boquenores en vinagre

Paella de la casa

La Nacional on Urbanspoon

*recommended dish