Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bits & Morsels

A selection of sides at Kunjip.

by Erin Frankel

Sunday Brunch is a ritual for many New Yorkers. And a new addition is always met with giddy (yet guarded) anticipation. So, I am happy to report that Zak Pelaccio's newest West Village addition, Fatty 'Cue, which debuted brunch this past weekend, is a keeper.

What do we want out of brunch? No (or a short) wait, perennial brunch favorites, and an excellent Bloody Mary, no?

If you like it hot, start with the 'Cue's Bloody Mary, a combination of smoked tomato juice, fresh horseradish, Tabasco, and celery; Or, if you prefer to start your day on the sweeter side, sip on the signature Watermelon Mimosa, a concoction of champagne mixed with Fatty 'Cue's fresh watermelon juice. It's oh so sweet. For those in need of a little extra hydration, the Whole Coconut filled with fresh coconut juice is for you. After you're done sipping down the natural electrolytes through a straw, ask your waitress for a spoon so you can dig out delicious pieces of fresh coconut.
Fatty 'Cue Bloody Mary & Watermelon Mimosa. Fatty 'Cue Whole Coconut.
The West Village's 'Cue is a slightly more dapper version of the Brooklyn original. The cuisine is still Asian Barbecue, but the dishes are more refined and the presentation, urbane. All of the typical American brunch favorites are made here (not lacking butter, oil, or grease), but with Pelaccio's unique sweet and spicy South-East Asian kick that 'Cue is known for.

If you want to go on the healthy-ish side, I'd go for the piperade-flavored spicy, soft scrambled eggs with creamy chevre; or the omelet with fresh farmer's milk cheese and salted chilies, accompanied by a small green salad ... probably the healthiest morsel on the plate.
Fatty 'Cue soft scrambled.
Fatty 'Cue Omelet.
Fatty 'Cue egg & cheese sandwich.
However, if you are making the trip to Fatty 'Cue for brunch, I'd suggest going for the savory and delicious. Fattiest favorites on the new brunch menu include the egg and cheese sandwich, a rendering of soft scrambled eggs with clothbound cheddar cheese daintily slabbed inside hot, crispy buttered pretzel bread; the ricotta flapjack stack, a foamy, tender ricotta-filled pancake topped with butter, crispy strips of bacon, and sweet smoked maple syrup. Yum. Or, the crowd-pleasing smoked Johnson burger, a thick juicy slab of beef with perfectly melted aged gouda, tangy B & B pickles, deep-fried tender strips of bacon, and a delicious mustard aioli sauce on a hot, crispy, perfectly toasted bun. it is hands down, one of the best burgers in Manhattan.

While brunch here is relaxed, don't let that fool you ... the scene is lively and cool and the service is fast and friendly. The waiters and waitresses doll the familiar Fatty hipster outfits, which are complemented by their typically laid-back demeanor. Most diners linger for hours, and no one rushes you out the door.

Fatty 'Cue
50 Carmine St
(between Bleecker St & Bedford St)
Fatty 'Cue Ricotta Flapjack stack.
Fatty 'Cue Fatty Johnson Burger.
An evening in K-Town at Kunjip. K-Town (as in "Korea Town") is a cultural haven in lower Midtown Manhattan on West 32nd Street that is heavily concentrated with reliably fiery Korean grub. On a recent Monday evening at 11 p.m., Kunjip was packed. This is nothing new for the 24-hour perennial Korean favorite that serves high quality, traditional, uniquely rustic Korean fare to hoards of hungry diners at incredibly low prices.
Kunjip spicy radishes.
The vibe is bright and lively and the food is undoubtedly some of the most authentic in New York. You will find familiar Korean staples like the perfectly spicy and sharply flavored Mae Woon Dduk Boki (otherwise known as spicy rice cakes), the crispy, tangy Mae Doo Gui (fried dumplings), the hearty Jun gol (otherwise known as egg casserole), the signature spicy radishes, the popular Kalbi (grilled, boneless short ribs marinated in a tangy soy sauce) and the Samkyupsai Gui (simmering pieces of grilled, marinated slices of pork); both of which are best eaten wrapped in lettuce with a sweet and spicy paste.

And, of course, you must try the plethora of fresh and refreshing side dishes ... perfect for sharing with a large group. Wash all of the spice down with a warm shot of soju, which will instantaneously warm your insides. Kunjip regularly draws a Korean clientele, so you know you're in the right place.

Kunjip Restaurant
9 West 32nd Street
Mae Woon Dduk Boki (spicy rice cake with vegetables).
Jun gol (egg casserole).
Kalbi (grilled, boneless short ribs marinated in a tangy soy sauce).
Samkyupsai Gui (simmering pieces of grilled, marinated slices of pork).