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Nam, New Green Bo, Nyonya…and the Regent Hotel (long)

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Nam, New Green Bo, Nyonya…and the Regent Hotel (long)

Deb Van D | Oct 9, 2002 08:35 PM

After a disastrous miscommunication with my companion of the day (which turned out to be entirely my fault), I set out to make the best of the beautiful weather on my own. I must say that four restaurants in one day tops my own personal best at this event. Walked from Pier 11 to Nam on Reade Street, and I liked everything about the place. Comfortable and pretty, accommodating waitstaff, the menu was fresh and exciting. I enjoyed the grilled prawns wrapped with coriander, vermicelli in rice paper and served with a peanut dipping sauce with its fiery dot of chili oil (although I would have enjoyed two dots). Not usually in love with grilled shrimps, this was a key flavor edge in the dish. Perfect, crisp and delicious. Tables nearby enjoyed them as well, and the steamed shrimp dumplings were remarked upon. Steamed sea bass with glass noodles, shiitake, cabbage and tofu was so lovely, over a fragrant, mysterious, five-spicy subtle sauce.

Was fleetingly jealous of the bottle of water ordered by another diner, which was a knockout. I have to have it! Has anyone run across Voss? Norwegian artesian well water, wonder where it might be sold. Garrulous diner behind me educated me to the fact that people don't hike anymore, they "do" hiking. They do kayaking. They do Maui (but NOT the Big Island).

After Nam I had a leisurely walk across to town and found myself at New Green Bo. Well, there is was, so I went in. No sign of The Evil One, heck, but had to try the crispy eel. That was a challenging dish to eat with poise, but it was pretty darned good, even with the sweet-sticky sauce smearing my face. I thought that it made me look earnest. Afterward I visited the Museum of Chinese in the Americas, a small, interesting place where I was able to digest a bit of the culture with a bit of the eel.

Back on the pavement I stopped at Nyonya to try their version of roti canai. I thought that this was a fine edition, the roti thin with a nice pull, crispy and not even a little greasy. I am on a roti quest and will take any suggestions. At $1.95 this was as good as I've had it. Nyonya is a pretty place, really, although with a curious smell something like mothballs in the air. So I had a Singha beer and forgot about it.

Walking back across town window-shopping I stopped finally at the NY City Fire Museum, not large but certainly very interesting and with a caring and informative staff. It was sobering, but I was glad to have gone.

Had my heart set on The Harrison for dinner, but they open at 5:30 and I was unsure if I would be able to make a 6:40 boat, so I spent half an hour strolling back to the Wall Street area to take pot luck. Oh, well. The pot I found myself in was hardly a Chowhound destination, over-priced, elegant , but really pretty good food, i.e. the Wall St. Regent. They were not serving until 5:30 either, but I was near my slip and enjoyed a martini at the bar, or nearly did. A man from Texas who wanted to upbraid me about the state of NJ politics chatted me up. Having only just recently endured a similar tirade from my redneck Florida cousin who thinks that I am the dupe of the liberal media, I'm afraid I was a little tart in my response. In his defense, he was on his third Manhattan (that's some defense). The bartender took pity on me and found me a Far Away table, where I was perplexed by my foie gras starter (I don't care, it was My Day-and I wanted foie gras). It was perfectly seared and succulent, but seated on some ill-textured, preserved quince. It was dressed with a delightful sauce, but had twists of licorice on and around it. It was good licorice, not your Twizzler-stuff, but the combination went over my head. A wild-mushroom risotto topped with seared sea scallops was enjoyable. I had a premonition, though, before I tasted the risotto and found myself praying that it wouldn't be too salty. It was, at least to my taste, and it definitely detracted from the delicacy of the dish. I have two other experiences recently, one at Annisa and another at Zoe where I thought something oversalted, and I am a salter. I hope it is not a trend.

Still digesting, thank you for the ear.

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