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Restaurants & Bars

A good day of eating: Cafeteria and Funky Broome (again)

Fred | Mar 10, 200111:55 PM    

After a rather rough week, my friends and I decided to do some much needed catching up on self-indulgance.

We started off at Cafeteria (7th Ave and 17th Street) for brunch. My friends ordered the silver dollar pancakes with fresh fruit and creme and the french toast crossants. I had the fried chicken with waffles and we all shared sides of homefries and macaroni and cheese. My friends seemed pretty happy with their choices which they said were good, but standard. The waffle that came with my fried chicken dish was a little cold but the fried chicken itself was superb. It definitely satisfied a fried chicken craving that's been nagging at me for a while. Finely chopped herbs sprinked on the plate might have been used for garnish, but the flavors occasionlly peeked through and made every bite of the crispy chicken interesting. The homefries were decent and nicely seasoned, but the macaroni and cheese were perfection incarnate. It came piping hot, covered with a perfect crust of melted cheese and breadcrumbs. The macaroni was perfectly cooked and held together with the perfect amount of cheese (fontina I think). If I used the word "perfect" too many times, it's because the dish was handsdown the best macaroni and cheese I've had in my life. The dish single-handedly restored my faith in something that I've hated since I first had it in the 4th grade cafteria (amusing I think).

After several hours of shopping, I was able to recover just in time for dinner. We ended up at Funky Broome yet again (the last consecutive visit, I promise). The meal was a great success. We ordered the crispy fried tofu stuffed with shrimp paste, the pan-fried flounder, the crispy chicken with preserved vegetables, and the mini-wok spicy jumbo shrimp with sweet and sour sauce. The fried stuffed tofu and the pan-fried flounder were excellent. I've been searching for these two dishes for a while now. The tofu was crispy on the outside and almost custardy on the inside. As for the flounder, it was fried to the point where the fins and the tail become edible (my favorite parts). When eaten with the slivers of scallions, the fish was near perfection. Both dishes have to be eaten immediately though. Once cooled, the tofu is not nearly as impressive and the fish begins to pick up excess sauce. The chicken dish was also very good--the chicken was moist and the preserved vegetables went well with rice. Even the spicy, sweet and sour jumbo shrimp impressed me. I usually don't like sweet and sour sauces but the shrimp were huge and the meat had a nice spring when you bit into it. The sauce was surprisingly well done too.

After 3 consecutive visits, I would have to say that the fried tofu and the pan-fried flounder are a must. I doubt that you will find better renditions elsewhere in Chinatown.

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