My brother always claimed that no dumpling place in L.A had matched Dumplings the ones’s he’s had in N.Y. So I was really looking forward to trying what N.Y had to offer, in case of dumplings.
Unfortunately the dumpling place that he went to was closed or something. The door was open but everything was dark and empty. So we ended up going to his second best place for dumplings, this place was the famous one that always got written up with all these reviews a Zagat ratings in the Window.
But sadly, the dumplings came up short. Dumplings are supposed to be small delicate things with the right amount of filling and not too thick. These seemed to be “americanized”, huge, thick and overstuffed. And you know what’s the first thing that suffers, flavor. The bland dipping sauce didn’t help neither.
These had nothing on Mei Long Village’s delicate things.
Il Bagatto: Truly Living The Good Life
This was the real highlight of the day. Since I didn’t come prepared with any addresses or specific places I’ve heard about, we ended up going to another one of my brothers “usual” places, this place it was Italian Place in the East Village that started his whole infatuation with Penne Arabiata, Il Bagatto. Having Lombardies the night before and having that stupid idea that if I “over-eat something” , I’ll eventually get tired of it. I didn’t really want to have “Italian again”. I know its really complex with many variations but for the most part or what’s offered in most restaurants, it’s the same garlic, tomato, starch deal. How truly stupid of me for thinking that.
After walking ninety-something blocks from Times Square to East Village, I was in some serious need of some nourishment. Especially after only having those dappy dumplings all day. It was 8:30PM, we were still waiting for someone so they sat us down in the bar and my brother and his friends started drinking. I actually could of also since the bartender also asked me, but I didn’t want to sound like an idiot ordering a “martini, shaken not stirred”, since that was the only thing I thought up when I thought of drinks. Soon it was 9:00 PM, then 9:15. I was growing more and more delirious from food deprivation every second. Finally I realized how stupid I was for not ordering an appetizer.
I ordered these Canneloni Beans cooked with tomatoes, garlic, shallot and rosemary. Man, frijoles never tasted so good, and I should know. The beans were cooked to a creamy consistency. First I spread it on some bread, but being used to eating it with a tortilla this was just weird. So I started eating “straight de la hoya”. Think Refried Beans, Italian style.
After this, my brother’s friend had finally came and it was really time to eat. They ordered some fancy Italian wine and the waiter even gave me a glass. Of course, I started drinking it. I still don’t know much about wine but I could tell, this was a good wine. There were 10 specials that night. But I was still curious about “Vegetables Marinated in Mom’s Secret Sauce” they had in the menu so opted for that.
We agreed on having some Anti-Pasto plate with Figs and some Grilled Calamari as an appetizer. The grilled squid was very chewy, almost gummy and tasted like smoke. Nice change from the usual fried calamari that’s offered mostly everywhere else. The Anti-Pasto Platter was brilliant. Italians have a gift for pairing foods, they have perfected it. The deep saltyness of the Prosciutto brought out the natural sweetness of the already candy sweet Fig, add a little sliver of the basil and you got the perfect combo of sweet, salty and flavor. I normally cringed at the thought of eating deli meats but this changed me.
To Be Continued.(I just wanted to post this one already so you could read everything else.
192 East 2nd Street (btwn Ave. A & B)
New York, NY 10009