More on food in New York

Just a collection of pertinent observations:

  • It’s amazing how so many restaurants which might get classified as “fine dining” in Bangalore are run out of such small places in New York. Of course, in Manhattan real estate is at a premium but the amazing thing is how these restaurants maintain their class despite putting tables within a foot of each other.
  • Tipping here is serious business. For the first time in my life I’ve left a minimum of a 15% tip wherever I’ve gone. And despite paying the tip by card, I follow the standard Indian policy of rounding off so that the total amount is a round number.
  • I’ve had mediterranean food thrice in three different places and each has tasted much different from the other. Hummus and pita bread has been the common factor in each.
  • Went to an Indian restaurant once during these two weeks (when I was catching up with some IIM friends) and it was surprisingly good. Especially since my benchmark was the Bangladeshi places in London, I suppose
  • As I had mentioned in an earlier post, large cosmopolitan urban agglomerations such as New York lead to extremely niche restaurants. What are the odds of finding a “high class vegetarian” Korean restaurant (called Hangawi; brilliant food and even more brilliant ambience) or a Caprese (serving food supposedly native to the island of Capri) restaurant?
  • I’ve taken a fetish for soup – had soup thrice this week. Veg dumpling soup at Hangawi, fawa beans and green peas soup at the Capri Caffe and a mixed vegetable soup at The Hummus Place. All extremely thick and excellent. I should try soups at more places.
  • I had the much-recommended ethiopian food the other day. The main item is some dosa-type thing. It’s a bit sour and is served cold, though. Extremely large and similar to home-made plain dosa. I had a veg platter for the main course. Got four dals (two of which tasted like the pappu you get in Andhra meals and one had wine) and four sabzis. Not ideal with dosas but was good only.
  • The Greenwich Village area seems to have a good congregation of high quality (but cheap looking) restaurants.
  • The way they make the omlette in my office cafeteria is interesting. First they just put the vegetables onto the tawa and then they take pre-beaten egg/egg white and pour it on top of the vegetable using a bowl. And they spray something on the tawa so that it doesn’t stick. And they actually toss the omlette in the air to flip it around on the tawa!
  • When we were kids we would hear that American kids can’t do arithmetic and use a calculator even to add two single digit numbers. Restaurants have taken advantage of this. For example, on today’s dinner bill, at the bottom it said something like “for 20% tip leave $4.64” or something. So basically since most people don’t have patience to do the arithmetic for 15%, they just take this number given to them and put it. Profit for the waiters!
  • I hope to eat many other kinds of tasty food in my one remaining week here.