Well, first to Pho, which is consistently terrific for food and usually a bit frustrating for service. Last night was true to form.
As always, had to balance my craving for pho (it hits with the mere mention of going to a Vietnamese restaurant) against my desire to compromise with my dining companion, who knows we'll order fewer dishes if I fill up on soup. So the pho was no go. Instead we went for the bun with grilled chicken (so good it made a dark-meat believer of my white-meat lovin' honey,) sauteed watercress (done w/ garlic and ginger, the cress packs a bitter punch that I've grown to prefer to our former fave, the blander water spinach/hollow veg/whatever you like to call it,) and "sauteed short ribs in black pepper sauce," which a friend said sounds like it's Korean-inspired - thinly sliced beef with a teardrop-shaped bone in the middle, chewy but so steaky-tasting - mmmm. (We noticed that the entry wall features signs in Korean for a half-dozen menu picks.) The sauce at first glance resembled black bean, but in fact the color derived from a LOT of cracked black pepper, a little hot green pepper, and some scallion, all in a cornstarchy base. The whole effect was reminiscent of steak au poivre. We loved everything. The frustration was in waiting quite a while for - a bowl of rice! (The staff quite often seems overwhelmed.)
On the same little stretch of Prince Street we noticed a newcomer, Ozeki Noodle & Grill, featuring noodles, yakitori, rice ball (the menu lists 3 varieties of "grill rice ball," $2.00 a hit,) hot casserole, and a few other categories, including 3 kinds of nabe. (BTW, what's nabe?) The non-takeout menu is like a laminated placemat and features flattering color photos of the food. (I'm a sucker for that kind of thing.) Will be checking it out ASAP. (38-12 Prince St.)
Also, the car was parked on 39th Ave (is that right? The block w/ the Sheraton) between Main and Prince, just outside a place from which there was emanating a steady stream of takeout orders, and which contained a crowd of takeout and eatin customers. No English on the posted menu, save for the name and address. I'm sorry I didn't write down the name, I think it was Ku Shang. I inquired of a waiting customer, who told me that it was a Taiwanese restaurant, but that was the extent of her information. Anyone tried it?