Upper West Side

Lincoln Ristorante

photo:  Gotham Magazine

Overview:

This Lincoln Center restaurant has been in operation for 7 years. Originally opened by chef Jonathan Beno of Per Se, the restaurant recently exchanged hands and is now being helmed by chef Shea Gallante. The glass walled space is large and elegant, with a sprawling open kitchen separating the 3 dining rooms. The space feels more modern than other upscale venues of its type. Following suit, the deceptively simple menu is contemporary; nothing feels over worked or exceedingly fussy. Beautiful renditions of Italy’s classic dishes are all over the menu like an insanely creamy burrata and perfectly cooked fresh pappardelle & garganelli. Entrees are a decent size, the best of which is the bistecca in padella -sirloin of beef, grilled sugarloaf chicory, spring onions & maitake mushrooms. This meal will set you back, but it is a lovely experience worth having if you want to be a bit fancy for the evening. 

Information:

Address: 142 W 65th St, New York, NY 10023

Phone: (212) 359-6500

Neighborhood: Upper West Side

Price: $$$-$$$$


 

Jing Fong

Overview:

Not all Chinese food is created equal. Some, like Jing Fong, are better. The expansive Chinatown dim sum palace can serve up to 3k people per day, with 100's of menu items being pushes around on dim sum carts. They recently opened a second, smaller location in the Upper West Side that commands a crows as well. They offer every type of steamed, fried, baked and broiled options that your heart could ever desire. Their dumplings, turnip cakes and shrimp noodles are beyond excellent. Both locations are a fun place to take a big group and eat massive amounts of food extremely inexpensively. 

Information:

Address: 20 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

380 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

Phone:    (212) 964-5256

Neighborhood: Chinatown, Upper West Side

Price: $$


 

Tavern on the Green


Overview

I don't know what there is to say about Tavern on the Green that hasn't already been said before. This place is an icon, a long standing New York City landmark. It has been slammed by many reviewers but I will say that I think it serves its purpose. The interior is beautiful and the setting in Central Park couldn't be more picturesque. Will the food change your life? No. The menu reads like the most approachable food on the planet: caesar salad, steak tartar, risotto, roasted chicken, seared scallops. The food is comfortably fine, nothing more or less. The service is professional and you can dazzle out of town guests here for sure. When the weather is nice the patio offers one of the most beautiful outdoor drinking settings you could hope for if you happen to find yourself in the area. 

Information:

Address  Central Park West & 67th Street, New York, NY 10023

Phone:  (212) 877-8684

Neighborhood: Upper West Side

Website:  https://www.tavernonthegreen.com/

Price: $$$

Good for: tourists, groups, outdoor dining, private events


 

Breads Bakery


Overview

Breads Bakery is the carb epicenter that I always dreamed of as a child, and now a fat adult. This really has to be one of the greatest bakeries in American. There are several locations the largest of which is in Union Square. They bake everything on premise so that all the offerings are artisanal and hand-made with love.  You'll find every type of carb designed to satisfy your sweet and savory cravings. I'll go ahead and say they have the best rugelach and babka in America. On the savory side there are freshly baked breads, assorted rolls, and challah. You can order shakshuka bread, with an egg baked in it (just let that sink in). If you want to hang out for the day on your computer they have salad, soups, sandwiches, and the nicest staff passing out samples. Keep in mind that Breads offers fantastic options for catering, baking classes, delivery, and holiday specials of every variety. 

Information:

Address:    

18 E 16th St, New York, NY 10003

1890 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

41 W 40th St, New York, NY 10018

Phone:   (212) 633-2253

Neighborhood: Union Square

Website: https://www.breadsbakery.com/

Price: $$

Good for: bakeries, sweets, coffee shops, sandwiches, holiday specials


 

Pizzeria Sirenetta

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Overview 

Restaurant vets of the Mermaid Inn and JG Melon have brought a new Italian concept to the Upper West Side )aka the land of "I don't know where the hell to eat up here"). The space is bright & airy, comfortably noisy with plenty of bar seating. The antipasti menu reads like my dreams: octopus a la plancha, housemade salumi, prosciutto & rosemary flatbread. You know what else I like? Carbs loaded with toppings. The Neapolitan-style pies are clad with ingredients like buffalo mozzarella, fennel sausage, or clams and parsley. Brunch is loud & packed but if you can snag a table the poached eggs with polenta & tomato hollandaise will set that hangover straight. 

Information:

Address: 568 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

Phone: (212)-799-7401

Neighborhood: Upper East Side   

Websitehttp://www.pizzeriasirenetta.com/

Price: $$

Attire: Casual

Good for: families, groups, pizza, brunch, takeout & delivery, all the carbs 

 


 

Cibo e Vino

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Information:

Address: 2418 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

Phone:  (212) 362-0096

Neighborhood: Upper West Side   

Website :  http://ciboevinony.com/

Price: $$

Attire: Casual

Good for: families, groups, brunch, takeout & delivery


 

Maison Pickle

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BACON STEAK - Maple syrup, cilantro, parsley, micro greens, candied pecans

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SHRIMP PILLOW DUMPLINGS -  Ginger butter, crispy scallions, chili & herb oil

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CHICKEN AND SHRIMP FRANCESE -  White wine, lemon butter sauce

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French Dip Royale – Beef & Hudson Valley foie gras ON HOUSE BAKED FRENCH ROLL WITH PAN-SCRAPED AU JUS AND HOUSE PICKLED PEPPERS

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FLOUNDER ROCKEFELLER - Whole stuffed flounder Rockefeller style, creamed spinach, hollandaise, gremolata, charred lemon

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Duck Fat Gaufrettes Fondu

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ICEBOX CAKE 

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Address: 2315 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

Phone(212) 496-9100

http://www.maisonpickle.com/

Kirsh Bakery & Kitchen

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FRENCH TOAST- Mascarpone Cream & Mixed Berry Jam

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FRENCH TOAST   - Cinnamon & Pear Chocolate Peanut Butter

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FRENCH TOAST- Lox, Crème Fraîche & Spring Onion

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FRENCH TOAST- Bacon Swiss & Egg

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FRENCH TOAST- Lobster

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Caesar Salad - bread crumbs, aged parm

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Shepherd Salad & Chèvre Za’atar spice mix, dry mint, olives

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Spiced Jasmine Rice & Lentils

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Sautéed Wild Shrimp & Artichokes - garlic confit, pickled lemons

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Roasted Salmon & Lentils

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Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich - chipotle aioli, milk bread roll, tomato, roasted onions, with French fries

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Cheeseburger lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, cheddar, bacon with French fries

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Mac N’ Gruyère

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Seafood Pasta

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Cheesecake seasonal fruit

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

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Bread pudding vanilla ice cream

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Chocolate Cake

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Pear & Almond Tarte Tatin vanilla ice cream

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Address: 551 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

Phone(212) 951-1123

kirsh.nyc

Parm

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Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Major Food Group can execute the shit out of a restaurant. Now on their fourth location of their hit Italian restaurant Parm, they have come to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The sprawling space is a far cry from the tiny original location in Nolita. The restaurant has an expansive dining room plus a 22-seat bar and private dining space. The menu has all the Parm favorites a few newcomers to the menu. They have done what they do best, simple Italian food with few ingredients, executed well, without the fuss. You'll find a great list of appetizers including rich meatballs, oozing mozzarella sticks, and bubbling baked clams. For pasta try my personal favorite, the Rigatoni fra diavola, slightly spicy in a pink cream sauce. They also have a generous sandwich selection, king of which is the overflowing eggplant parm which may stop your heart but hey you're still eating a vegetable! It's the kind of food that makes you feel at home in a relaxed atmosphere suited to any event. Here's what we had: 

Italian Fries

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Fried calamari local squid, mulberry long hot peppers

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Meatballs mamma Carbone's recipe

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Mozz sticks

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Penne pomodoro

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Rigatoni fra diavola

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Eggplant Parm Sandwich

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Italian Combo Sandwich

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Veal Parm 

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Address: 162 N 4th St, Williamsburg, NY 11216

Phone: (718) 408-7240

www.parmnyc,.com

Jacobs Pickles

 

There aren’t many reasons for me (or you for that matter) to go to the Upper West Side. I find the culinary scene lacking and I’ve been to more than my fair share of Lincoln Center performances. I also live in Brooklyn so the UWS is basically China to me. And if I’m going to trek up to China, it better be god damn good.

Jacob’s Pickles has been a hot spot in the UWS since opening in 2011 and with good reason. The lines that await you don’t lie. The place is almost too cute to function. It’s modern & industrial but still homey. There are two dining rooms split by a short hallway and a large bar in the front. You'll find exposed ceilings, brick walls, and dark wood lining the floors. It will be packed with people of all ages and buzzing.

The food at Jacob’s is like a cheat day for your cheat day. It will literally fucking kill you and I don’t even care. The menu is southern inspired and they have tons of beer, pickles, and biscuits to bring your way. Portions are massive; you could split each dish with 3 people. They have some of the best, juiciest fried chicken on the planet that you can get on fluffy pancakes, or in a sinful bacon & cheddar biscuit. They have great versions of southern classics like shrimp n’ grits or fried green tomatoes. The show stopper for me was the insane buffalo mac n’ cheese with giant chunks of chicken and oozy cheese. Every dish we had was worth every calorie, and worth returning for. Here’s what we had: 

Pickle Flight

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Deviled Eggs chives, paprika

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Grit Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes sour green tomato brine, house picnic sauce

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Steel Cut Organic Oatmeal steel cut organic oatmeal w/ strawberry preserve, toasted almonds, brown sugar, hemp seeds, dried fruit

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Chicken & Pancakes fluffy biscuits pancakes, buttermilk fried chicken, crispy sterling bacon, homemade syrup

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Chicken Bacon Egg & Cheese buttermilk fried chicken, sterling bacon, egg, picnic sauce, 2 year aged vermont cheddar

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Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

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Address: 509 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

Phone: (212) 470-5566

 

 jacobspickles.com

Dizengoff

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I could eat Mediterranean food pretty much every day. The cheeses, the breads, the vegetables, oh my. I first visited what is known as Philly’s top restaurant, Zahav, 5 years ago. It is a beautiful modern Israeli restaurant. Following the success of Zahav, the team opened a fast-casual version of their concept called Dizengoff. They did the right thing by me and opened their second location in NYC recently at Chelsea Market.

Dizengoff is modeled after the hummus stalls you find on the corners of Israeli streets. It fits in perfectly in the loud and bustling space of Chelsea Market. Locals and tourists alike pack into the space to shop, dine, and graze. It is the ideal location for a counter serving fast and delicious bites. Dizengoff offers a small menu of freshly made hummus, salatim (Israeli salads), and shakshuka. The hummus, which is among the best you’ll ever find, comes with a rotating roster of seasonal garnishes. I particularly loved the one with fava beans, olive oil, and mint. They all come with freshly baked warm pita for dipping. It’s the perfect snack; light & healthy. Definitely worth a stop as you stroll through the relative chaos of the market. Here’s what we had” 

Hummus w/ squash

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Hummus w/ fava beans & mint

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Hummus w/ french fries

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Salatim

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Address: 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Phone: (646) 833-7097

Dizengoffhummus.co

Porter House Bar & Grill

Photo: Eater.com

Photo: Eater.com

There's really nothing not to love about a steakhouse. Meat, booze, and men in suits all around. It's so god damn American. Add stunning views of Manhattan and you'd have to be a monster to not appreciate the place. 

Porter House sits atop the Time Warner building. It shares the dining floors with world famous Per Se and Masa. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to have a restaurant there that isn’t phenomenal. The dining space screams “NYC steakhouse” everywhere. It is chic and modern with polished marble everywhere. There is an ample bar connected to a large cocktail area. Beautiful chandeliers hang from a vaulted beam ceiling above white table clothed tables and tan leather banquets. The space is pushed way over the edge by massive floor to ceiling windows lining the whole dining room, with stunning views of Central Park and Columbus Circle. All around you have people eating expense account-fueled dinners knowing “I am the king of the universe.”

As the name suggests, they specialize in meat here. No real surprises on the menu, although it does have more choices than your average steakhouse. You are at a steakhouse so obviously you must start with the massive shellfish tower. Other classics like crudo, steak tartar, and crab cakes are well represented. Meat is obviously the star here and they knock it out of the park. If you want something casual, they have two stellar burger options and a steak sandwich. You can order any cut of meat you like and it is cooked, charred, and seasoned to perfection. Because you are here to spend money, go full force and add king crab, lobster, or foie gras to any steak. Round it out with black truffle mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. You need a drink, so choose from over 650 bottles of wine.. I really just fucking love a steakhouse, and this one is killer. Here’s what we had:

Clams

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tomatoes, burrata & basil

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asparagus, truffle, lardo, poached egg

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marrow bones & morels -  Herb Salad, Country Bread

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aged prime beef private blend burger - French Fries, Lettuce & Tomato grilled

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bar burger – double patty, cheese, japaleno

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grilled skirt steak sandwich - Toasted Garlic Bread, French Fries & Chimichurri

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porterhouse - USDA Prime Dry Aged Beef

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Address: 10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

Phone: (212) 823-9500

Menu: porterhousenewyork.com

Tessa Brunch

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My friends always come to me for restaurant recommendations. They give me neighborhood/cuisine type/price point instructions and I spit out a list. I'm like a human Yelp, but prettier. Yesterday a girlfriend asked me where to go in the Upper West Side for brunch. After offering The Smith, Jacobs Pickles, and Barney Greengrass I ran out of advice. Luckily I headed straight to Tessa and can now say I have another stellar spot to add to the list. 

The dining room is beyond beautiful. The space is modern industrial but still warm. The walls are white washed brick and there are steel dividers between rooms. The whole ceiling is double layered with blackened steel security gates which gives the space a stunning look. The staff could not have been nicer or more accommodating. The manager constantly checked on how we liked everything, the waitress was sweet & informative, and my coffee cup remained totally full.  We ordered a ton of food and they were kind enough to really pace it out and let us take our time. 

The menu takes inspiration from Italian, French and Spanish dishes. The breads & pastries are homemade which right away elevates everything I'm about to order because I'm a whore for carbs.  We ordered french toast which was particularly custard-like in the center. The homemade granola and yogurt were a great option since brunch menus are so often laden with only items that will kill you. I was particularly impressed with the “hangover cure” because the chicken sausage had the perfect texture. Our burger was cooked perfectly and piled high with pancetta and sweet roasted tomato. I thought a few of the dishes could have used more salt, but I’m a salt-aholic. Finally, the dessert was superb chocolatey-hazelnutty joy to experience. I look forward to returning for dinner. Here’s what we had:  

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Basket Full of Goodies- Blueberry muffin, dark chocolate brioche, pecan sticky bun, croissant & housemade marmalade

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Housemade Granola- Ithaca Farm’s yogurt, cherries, apricots, wildflower honey 

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French Toast- Custard dipped Brioche, caramel apples, maple butter

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Avocado Toast-Country bread toast, crushed avocado, preserved meyer lemon & harissa, sunny side up egg

The Hangover Cure- Slow poached eggs, chicken sausage, gigante beans, croutons, pancetta, grilled tomatoes

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TESSA Burger- Certified Angus Beef, caramelized onions, crispy pancetta, fontina cheese, housemade rosemary fries

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Chocolate Cremeux - salted caramel mousse, hazelnut ice cream, coconut chocolate chantilly

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Address: 349 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

Phone:(212) 390-1974

tessanyc.com

Ivan Ramen

Photo: Ivan Ramen

Photo: Ivan Ramen

 

I've always felt that there's a ceiling to how good ramen could be. You get some noodles, rich broth, some meaty bits. Don't get me wrong I love it. But most places are pretty interchangeable to me, as far as the bowl of soup and noodles you receive. It hits the spot but it's never terribly interesting in any way. Ivan Ramen changed all that for me. 

Ivan Orkin is a jewish kid from Long Island. After going to school at the CIA and cooking in NYC restaurants, he moved to Japan. He opened his first two ramen shops in Toyko. They were a wild success which is a huge feat considering his was a foreigner in the land where ramen originated. He moved back to the US and opened his first location in the states at Gotham West Market. Soon after, he opened his flagship restaurant on Clinton Street. 

The atmosphere of the restaurant is everything I want. It's packed with people, the whole staff is unbelievably nice, and the kitchen is semi open. There are two dining rooms, a dining counter facing the kitchen, and an outdoor space. The staff is ultra informative and enthusiastic about what they are serving. 

You come here for the ramen, but you stay and will return for the rest of the menu. The small plates and sides are insanely creative. The latke with bonito and salmon roe combined all my favorite Jewish and Asian flavors. I couldn't shovel the pickled daikon into my face fast enough. The dried shrimp on top tasted smokey like bacon. The Coney Island tofu is a hilarious and oddly delicious vegetarian version of the Coney dog. It looks horrifying, but my taste buds sounded a resounding YES. 

Now, on to the noodles.The spicy chili ramen was exceptional. The broth was rich, deep, and super spicy. The rye noodles were chewy and soaked up the broth. The cold masemen ramen blew me away. It was shocking in both flavor and texture. I loved the cold noodles topped with bits of crispy pork and soft tofu. I basically had my whole face in the bowl as I was eating it. This is not first date food my friends. The thing that makes the ramen so exceptional is that every topping, broth & sauce that accompanies it is a culinary adventure. Every bite is a total surprise. Go here, I fucking love it. Here's what we had:

Roast pork musubi with salted plum wasabi, roast tomato, and toasted nori 

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Latke nomiyaki with sour cream, fuji apples, ikura, wasabi sesame seeds, and bonito 

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Coney island tofu with miso mushroom chili, yellow mustard, scallion

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Pickled daikon with dried shrimp & scallop chili oil 

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Spicy cold masemen with crispy pork, koji tofu salad & pickled garlic vinaigrette

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Spicy red chili ramen with dashi, chicken broth, minced pork, smashed egg, and rye noodles

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