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Restaurant recommendations, new openings, and highlights from the NY Chowhound community.

Ouest Revisited: Eggy Ecstasy, for Starters

Hounds can’t stop talking about two delicious, comforting appetizers at Ouest. One is crispy poached egg with smoked duck breast and bitter greens. The other is a rich truffled “omelet souffle” with mousseline sauce.

This kind of hearty, well-conceived chow has won a devoted neighborhood following for Ouest, a five-year-old American bistro. Smart orders include roasted and braised meats and poultry, including roast chicken, grilled pork chop or rib eye, braised short ribs, and crispy pan-roasted squab. Also recommended: prosciutto-wrapped halibut, roast sturgeon with mushrooms and truffled rice, and a knockout appetizer of cauliflower custard with poached lobster, mushrooms, and leeks. Some find the dessert choices lackluster and dated.

Ouest [Upper West Side]
2315 Broadway, between W. 83rd and 84th Sts., Manhattan

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Big W’s Bar-B-Que Finds a Place to Park

Big W’s, which once dished up first-class barbecue from a truck, is now paying less for gas but more for rent. In a former deli around five miles up Route 22 from its old parking spot, it’s serving the same deeply smoky ribs, chicken, and pulled pork, among other things. Standout sides include slow-roasted potatoes and sweet, tangy, porky beans. “I drove 35 miles for the ribs–and I will do it again,” testifies steelydad.

Big W’s Roadside Bar-B-Que [Dutchess County]
formerly Village Deli and Market
1475 Rte. 22, Wingdale, NY

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big w’s (wingdale/dover plains) is open!
big w bbq

Sweet Stone Crabs at the Lobster Place

Stone crabs are here, and the Lobster Place has landed some champs. “Oh, man, was it good!” sighs skeetereats, who favors the tender knuckle meat over the prized claws.

The store sells mustard to serve alongside. Don’t bother. The crabs are sweet and delicious without embellishment. The season runs through March, but the supply is unpredictable, so call ahead.

The Lobster Place [Chelsea]
75 9th Ave., at W. 15th St., in Chelsea Market, Manhattan

The Lobster Place [Greenwich Village]
252 Bleecker St., at Leroy, Manhattan

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If you’re craving STONE CRAB CLAWS…

Amid Blintzes and Borscht, a Surprising Burger at Veselka

Veselka is loved–or loathed, by some–for its sturdy Ukrainian grub. But few have even mentioned its charbroiled hamburger–until now. “One of the most underappreciated burgers in the city,” declares livetotravel. “It was a true revelation the first time I ate one.”

eastvillagegirl credits high-quality beef supplied by East Village Meat Market across the street. In addition, livetotravel says, this kitchen knows the meaning of medium rare.

Veselka Restaurant [East Village]
144 2nd Ave., at E. 9th St., Manhattan

East Village Meat Market and Deli, a.k.a. J. Baczynsky’s [East Village]
139 2nd Ave., between E. 9th St. and St. Marks Pl., Manhattan

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Best Burger?

Catch of the Day: Lobster Sashimi at Ushiwaka Maru

When it’s man vs. lobster at Ushiwaka Maru, bet on the man. Sushi chef Hideo-san is undefeated, having ripped apart countless live crustaceans with his bare hands. The prize: sweet, sumptuous and obviously fresh lobster sashimi. Scope out the tank; if there’s lobster in there, it’s on the menu.

Others recommend Bond Street or Blue Ribbon Sushi for lobster sashimi.

Ushiwaka Maru [Greenwich Village]
136 W. Houston St., between MacDougal and Sullivan, Manhattan

Bond Street [East Village]
6 Bond St., between Broadway and Lafayette St., Manhattan

Blue Ribbon Sushi [Soho]
119 Sullivan St., between Prince and Spring, Manhattan

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Lobster Sashimi
Bond Street Question

Napa and Co.: Seasonal Bounty in Stamford, CT

Stamford hounds are buzzing about Napa and Co., an ambitious food emporium that brings something new and welcome to town. “Stamford finally has a ‘destination,’” exults Fairfield Foodie, who recounts a spectacular dinner highlighted by foie gras with apple, braised short ribs, sirloin with chanterelles, and a knockout custard for dessert.

Chef Bill Taibe, who gained a following at the now-closed Relish in South Norwalk, offers an upscale, weekly-changing American menu with a focus on local, seasonal ingredients. “Phenomenal. The food is New York caliber,” raves iheartoffal, who faults only a few opening-month service miscues. The wine list is deep and Napa-centric, as you’d expect, but also includes numerous Old World choices. Lunch sounds as promising as dinner. tdchow loves the Napa Burger, made of wagyu beef–$17, but “you get what you pay for.”

In addition to the restaurant (formally known as the Kitchen at Napa and Co.), there’s a takeout shop called the Pantry, a wine store, and a catering operation. The Pantry’s menu of salads, appetizers, cooked entrees, and more includes a very good Cuban pressed sandwich, Johnleah reports.

Napa and Co. [Fairfield County]
75 Broad St., in Courtyard by Marriott, Stamford, CT

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Napa & Co. in Stamford
Napa & Co. in Stamford

Killer Empanadas at Jackson Heights’ Chivito D’Oro

Grilled meats are the main event at El Chivito D’Oro, but the empanadas also rock. The ones stuffed with ground beef or spinach are fabulous, says jason carey. (The chicken filling, on the other hand, can be dry.)

MKS admires their optimal size and flavorful baked pastry–and gives them the edge over the smaller fried empanadas at another hound favorite, Empanadas del Parque.

El Chivito D’Oro [Jackson Heights]
84-02 37th Ave., at 84th St., Jackson Heights, Queens

Empanadas del Parque [Corona]
56-27 Van Doren St., at 108th St., Corona, Queens

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fantastic empanadas.. Jackson hts.

Fried Rice Surprise at Spicy and Tasty

Spicy and Tasty is a perennial hound favorite for lusty Sichuan dishes like cold noodles with chile sauce and pork in fresh hot pepper. So rose water wasn’t expecting much when someone at her table ordered the wimpy-sounding scallion-and-egg fried rice. Turns out it kills: full of fluffy scrambled egg, bright green from pureed green onion. “It was earthy and scalliony and surprisingly good,” rose water admits.

Spicy and Tasty [Flushing]
39-07 Prince St. #1H, between 39th and Roosevelt Aves., Flushing, Queens

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NY Times Awards Spicy & Tasty 2 Stars

Tigerland: Stylish Southeast Asian in the East Village

Tigerland applies a dash of French technique to top-notch ingredients to make slightly upmarket Vietnamese and Thai food. Even some purists are impressed. “Not really a substitute for home-style Thai, but a lot of great dishes,” says Simon, who singles out shrimp sauteed with garlic and Berkshire bacon. “It’s not exactly fusion, but more like updated home cooking.”

A don’t-miss appetizer is Angel Wings (deboned chicken wings stuffed with seafood, noodles, and vegetables). Also recommended: tom ka gai (chicken coconut soup), papaya salad with Vietnamese sausage, banh xeo (Vietnamese crepe) with shrimp and pork, Shaking Beef (seared cubes of meat with garlic, black pepper, watercress). Meats are naturally raised, produce is mostly organic, and seafood is wild, not farmed.

Early diners can take advantage of an attractive prix fixe special: appetizer, entree, rice, and dessert for $22 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. “An amazing deal,” declares jungirl. “It is a ridiculous amount of food.”

Tigerland [East Village]
85 Ave. A, between E. 5th and 6th Sts., Manhattan

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angel wings
Heaven chicken wings
need great thai or french vietnemese restaurant
Excellent Thai in les—Ama ya
Hip Intimate Ethnic Restaurant? Please Help

In Jackson Heights, a Burmese Discovery

Lephet thoke, or tea leaf salad–a brightly seasoned party-on-a-plate of fermented green tea, nuts, bean sprouts, and more–is a must-try at Jackson Heights’ promising new Burmese Cafe. It’s crunchy/smooth, dry/oily, fresh, surprising, and irresistible, says Peter Cuce.

Other winners: sour pork curry, chile-spiked fish cake salad, crispy squash fritters with sprightly sambal, and a rich, gingery duck soup, punched up by tangy pickled greens. The menu also offers Burmese-style Chinese dishes that include a stir-fried fish curry authentically redolent of garlic, onion, and chile, reports marachino–but also undistinguished kung pao chicken.

Prices are gentle, service exceptionally friendly. “Everything had a unique, different taste. I’m so glad about this new addition to the neighborhood!” writes welle.

In a city where good Burmese food is scarce, this place could be big news if it fulfills its potential. Burmese hound juhlee, who approves of the tea salad and fish curry–but is unmoved by mohinga (fish noodle soup) and coconut chicken noodle soup–ranks Burmese Cafe slightly ahead of Manhattan’s Village Mingala. “It does seem promising, and I would return to try other dishes since the options for Burmese food in New York are limited.”

Burmese Cafe [Jackson Heights]
71-34 Roosevelt Ave., at 72nd St., Jackson Heights, Queens

Village Mingala [East Village]
21 E. 7th St., between 2nd and 3rd Aves., Manhattan

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New ‘Burmese Cafe’ in Jackson Heights