Corner Bistro Reviewed

Considering how much I love hamburgers, I can’t believe how long it has taken me to eat at the infamous Corner Bistro. I’ve always loved Corner Bistro, despite having never been there. I mean just the thought of knowing a classic neighborhood bar serves up dirt cheap, no frills burgers and $2.50 McSorelys in the West Village, is fantastic in and of itself. But then to actually go and experience it first hand, well I’m at a loss for words.

As a friend and I headed up towards Corner Bistro I noticed that it was quite crowded. I guess it being a Thursday night at 9pm, what more could you expect? I quickly learned that there is no jotting down of names but an old fashioned line in the middle of the place that you wait on in order to get a table. Since everyone else in line seemed to have a beer mug in their hand, my friend and I grabbed some McSorely Darks and began our journey. Clearly, with delicious beer in hand, we didn’t mind the wait.

I believe it was only two and a half beers later until we were seated, since the nice waiter was able to sneak us a table somehow ahead of a few other couples. When we finally sat down I noticed there was no menu but a board hidden somewhere on the left of the bar with five options:

  • Bistro Burger
  • Hamburger
  • Cheeseburger
  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich
  • French Fries

I ordered a hamburger medium while my friend ordered the Bistro burger. Both burgers are served with lettuce, tomato, onion, and to my delight, pickles on the side. The Bistro burger is also served with cheddar and bacon. We both ordered fries and another round of Mcsorely Darks. Before the waiter had left I reconsidered adding cheese and had asked if they had blue cheese. With a sly smile, the waiter said no and went off to place our order. Clearly they were only serving the basics.

Our burgers had arrived shortly after striking up a conversation about In-N-Out Burger with the patrons sitting next us. I mean the Corner Bistro burger was served up in a similar style to In-N-Out but has a completely different flavor. Though the In-N-Out burger definitely falls into the most delicious fast food burger category. But going back to the Corner Bistro burgers… boy did they look delicious. My burger was cooked to a perfect medium and had the right proportions of lettuce, tomato, and onion. And the few pickles on the side were a great addition. The Bistro burger, looking the most fabulous of the two (see pictures below), tasted as good as it looked, so I hear. Though I didn’t try it myself, I took my friend’s word for it. The fries were pretty standard, nothing special to speak of. But between the beer, the burger, the bar, and neighborhoody feel of the place, it was a great night.

How I never tried Corner Bistro after working in Chelsea Market for two and a half years is BEYOND me. I will certainly be returning and hopefully soon. Though I recommend NOT going hungry during peak hours, which might just be all the time.

Corner Bistro

331 W. 4th St. (at Jane St.)

The Bistro Burger

The Bistro Burger

Look at that height

Look at that height

Just a regular burger

Just a regular burger

Fries

Fries

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Corner Bistro

Considering how much I love hamburgers, I can’t believe how long it has taken me to eat at the infamous Corner Bistro. I’ve always loved Corner Bistro, despite having never been there. I mean just the thought of knowing a classic neighborhood bar serves up dirt cheap, no frills burgers and $2.50 McSorelys in the West Village, is fantastic in and of itself. But then to actually go and experience it first hand, well I’m at a loss for words.

As a friend and I headed up towards Corner Bistro I noticed that it was quite crowded. I guess it being a Thursday night at 9pm, what more could you expect? I quickly learned that there is no jotting down of names but an old fashioned line in the middle of the place that you wait on in order to get a table. Since everyone else in line seemed to have a beer mug in their hand, my friend and I grabbed some McSorely Darks and began our journey. Clearly, with delicious beer in hand, we didn’t mind the wait.

I believe it was only two and a half beers later until we were seated, since the nice waiter was able to sneak us a table somehow ahead of a few other couples. When we finally sat down I noticed there was no menu but a board hidden somewhere on the left of the bar with five options:

  • Bistro Burger
  • Hamburger
  • Cheeseburger
  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich
  • French Fries

I ordered a hamburger medium while my friend ordered the Bistro burger. Both burgers are served with lettuce, tomato, onion, and to my delight, pickles on the side. The Bistro burger is also served with cheddar and bacon. We both ordered fries and another round of Mcsorely Darks. Before the waiter had left I reconsidered adding cheese and had asked if they had blue cheese. With a sly smile, the waiter said no and went off to place our order. Clearly they were only serving the basics.

Our burgers had arrived shortly after striking up a conversation about In-N-Out Burger with the patrons sitting next us. I mean the Corner Bistro burger was served up in a similar style to In-N-Out but has a completely different flavor. Though the In-N-Out burger definitely falls into the most delicious fast food burger category. But going back to the Corner Bistro burgers… boy did they look delicious. My burger was cooked to a perfect medium and had the right proportions of lettuce, tomato, and onion. And the few pickles on the side were a great addition. The Bistro burger, looking the most fabulous of the two (see pictures below), tasted as good as it looked, so I hear. Though I didn’t try it myself, I took my friend’s word for it. The fries were pretty standard, nothing special to speak of. But between the beer, the burger, the bar, and neighborhoody feel of the place, it was a great night.

How I never tried Corner Bistro after working in Chelsea Market for two and a half years is BEYOND me. I will certainly be returning and hopefully soon. Though I recommend NOT going hungry during peak hours, which might just be all the time.

Corner Bistro

331 W. 4th St. (at Jane St.)

The Bistro Burger

The Bistro Burger

Look at that height

Look at that height

Just a regular burger

Just a regular burger

Fries

Fries

Hamburgers on Foodista

Laut Reviewed

Last Monday a few coworkers and I tried out Laut for lunch. I guess I’ve been on an ethnic food kick the last two weeks with the curry and Moroccan chicken posts. But today I decided to go with a Malaysian/Thai post. Wikipedia says that Malaysian cuisine reflects the multi-racial aspects of Malaysia. Various ethnic groups in Malaysia have their dishes but many dishes in Malaysia are derived from multiple ethnic influences. I probably wouldn’t have seen Laut if it weren’t for a previous trip to Cafe Medina, since they are on the same street. But because of how packed the restaurant was that day and the fact that the menu looked fabulous, I had to go back and try it out.

Laut has a variety of lunch specials priced at around $12 though doesn’t include any appetizer, drink, or dessert, which was a little disappointing. I ordered the Sambal Dish which consisted of beef, okra, eggplant, string beans, bell peppers, and onions in a spicy chilli shrimp paste sauce. My coworkers all ordered the Pineapple Fried Rice with chicken, pepper, green pea, carrot, egg, and onion in a mixed spice sauce. Although I didn’t try the rice dish, mine appeared to be more hearty and delicious. The mixture of vegetables added more depth to the dish, though it wasn’t as spicy as I’d hoped. So being that I love condiments, I added some of their hot sauce to it.

Overall I thought the food was very tasty and would be more likely return for dinner so I could try a few other items on the menu. I recommend trying this restaurant out if you’re in the neighborhood.

Laut

15 E 17th Street (between Bway & 5th)

Sambal Dish with Brown Rice

Sambal Dish with Brown Rice

Pineapple Fried Rice

Pineapple Fried Rice

Laut Reviewed

Last Monday a few coworkers and I tried out Laut for lunch. I guess I’ve been on an ethnic food kick the last two weeks with the curry and Moroccan chicken posts. But today I decided to go with a Malaysian/Thai post. Wikipedia says that Malaysian cuisine reflects the multi-racial aspects of Malaysia. Various ethnic groups in Malaysia have their dishes but many dishes in Malaysia are derived from multiple ethnic influences. I probably wouldn’t have seen Laut if it weren’t for a previous trip to Cafe Medina, since they are on the same street. But because of how packed the restaurant was that day and the fact that the menu looked fabulous, I had to go back and try it out.

Laut has a variety of lunch specials priced at around $12 though doesn’t include any appetizer, drink, or dessert, which was a little disappointing. I ordered the Sambal Dish which consisted of beef, okra, eggplant, string beans, bell peppers, and onions in a spicy chilli shrimp paste sauce. My coworkers all ordered the Pineapple Fried Rice with chicken, pepper, green pea, carrot, egg, and onion in a mixed spice sauce. Although I didn’t try the rice dish, mine appeared to be more hearty and delicious. The mixture of vegetables added more depth to the dish, though it wasn’t as spicy as I’d hoped. So being that I love condiments, I added some of their hot sauce to it.

Overall I thought the food was very tasty and would be more likely return for dinner so I could try a few other items on the menu. I recommend trying this restaurant out if you’re in the neighborhood.

Laut

15 E 17th Street (between Bway & 5th)

Sambal Dish with Brown Rice

Sambal Dish with Brown Rice

Pineapple Fried Rice

Pineapple Fried Rice

Moroccan Chicken

According to Wikipedia, Moroccan cuisine is one of the most diversified cuisines in the world. The reason is because of the interaction of Morocco with the outside world for centuries. The cuisine of Morocco is a mix of Arab, Berber, Moorish, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean African, Iberian, and Jewish influences.

The history of Morocco is reflected in its cuisine. Political refugees left Baghdad in the Middle Ages and settled in Morocco, bringing with them traditional recipes that are now common in Morocco, but forgotten in the Middle East. We know this because there are striking similarities between a 12th century (Christian reckoning) collection of recipes by Al-Baghdadi, and contemporary Moroccan dishes.

A signature characteristic is cooking fruit with meat, such as quince with lamb, or apricots with chicken (which the original Cooking Light Moroccan Chicken Recipe called for). Spices are also used extensively in Moroccan food. Common spices include cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, pepper, paprika, anis seed, sesame seed, coriander, parsley, saffron, and mint.

This was my first time both eating and cooking Moroccan food and I really enjoyed the mix of spices and sweetness of the raisins. I must admit that it’s not the most attractive dish but the combination of flavors are wonderful. As in previous recipes I’ve posted, I have slightly changed this recipe, and I believe for the better. I usually get most of my recipes from Cooking Light as they are a healthier version of the original, though they usually require additional steps and ingredients. Since many Cooking Light readers are avid cooks, the recipes are catered to people who have a stocked kitchen. And I know better than anyone, that this is usually not the case with NYC dwellers, which is why I always try to include helpful tips and substitutions.

So for example, in this recipe, you can use some of what you have on hand. The initial recipe had called for dried apricots but those tend to be both expensive and sometimes harder to find. I felt that raisins are a great and less expensive alternative. Another substitution I’ve made is using ground ginger instead of fresh and have actually doubled the spices to add more flavor. If you like your chicken a bit spicier, you can add some tumeric or cayenne pepper to heat yours up. I also chose to use bone-in chicken instead of boneless, as I feel it gives the dish more flavor. Though I would recommend using a mix of dark and white meat to give the dish more texture. I’ve also substituted butternut squash for chick peas, since it’s delicious and in season and used brown rice instead of couscous because I already had it on hand. But feel free to experiment with your own substitutions!

Servings & Cooking Time

8 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup)

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cook Time: About 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds mix of bone-in chicken thighs & breasts (you can use boneless but bone-in has more flavor)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups diced butternut squash (1/4 inch pieces)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup dry brown rice (+ 2 cups water or chicken broth)

Preparation

1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides and then repeat procedure with remaining chicken. Place browned chicken on a plate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2. Add onion to pan; sauté for 3 minutes or until tender. Add ginger and next 6 ingredients; sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

3. Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return chicken to pan and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until chicken is tender. (The chicken should be falling off the bone at this point)

4. While the chicken simmers, combine 1 cup of dry brown rice with 2 cups water or chicken broth in a small pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. You should check on your rice to make sure it doesn’t burn, adding additional water as necessary. After the 20 minutes, turn off the burner and let the rice sit for another 10 minutes.

5. Remove chicken from pan with a slotted spoon and cool slightly. Once the chicken has cooled, carefully shred the chicken into bite sized pieces.

6. Then add chicken, butternut squash, and raisins to pan. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

7. When the dish has finished cooking, spoon about 3/4 of rice into a small bowl and then 1 cup of the Moroccan chicken and serve.

Moroccan Chicken

According to Wikipedia, Moroccan cuisine is one of the most diversified cuisines in the world. The reason is because of the interaction of Morocco with the outside world for centuries. The cuisine of Morocco is a mix of Arab, Berber, Moorish, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean African, Iberian, and Jewish influences.

The history of Morocco is reflected in its cuisine. Political refugees left Baghdad in the Middle Ages and settled in Morocco, bringing with them traditional recipes that are now common in Morocco, but forgotten in the Middle East. We know this because there are striking similarities between a 12th century (Christian reckoning) collection of recipes by Al-Baghdadi, and contemporary Moroccan dishes.

A signature characteristic is cooking fruit with meat, such as quince with lamb, or apricots with chicken (which the original Cooking Light Moroccan Chicken Recipe called for). Spices are also used extensively in Moroccan food. Common spices include cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, pepper, paprika, anis seed, sesame seed, coriander, parsley, saffron, and mint.

This was my first time both eating and cooking Moroccan food and I really enjoyed the mix of spices and sweetness of the raisins. I must admit that it’s not the most attractive dish but the combination of flavors are wonderful. As in previous recipes I’ve posted, I have slightly changed this recipe, and I believe for the better. I usually get most of my recipes from Cooking Light as they are a healthier version of the original, though they usually require additional steps and ingredients. Since many Cooking Light readers are avid cooks, the recipes are catered to people who have a stocked kitchen. And I know better than anyone, that this is usually not the case with NYC dwellers, which is why I always try to include helpful tips and substitutions.

So for example, in this recipe, you can use some of what you have on hand. The initial recipe had called for dried apricots but those tend to be both expensive and sometimes harder to find. I felt that raisins are a great and less expensive alternative. Another substitution I’ve made is using ground ginger instead of fresh and have actually doubled the spices to add more flavor. If you like your chicken a bit spicier, you can add some tumeric or cayenne pepper to heat yours up. I also chose to use bone-in chicken instead of boneless, as I feel it gives the dish more flavor. Though I would recommend using a mix of dark and white meat to give the dish more texture. I’ve also substituted butternut squash for chick peas, since it’s delicious and in season and used brown rice instead of couscous because I already had it on hand. But feel free to experiment with your own substitutions!

Servings & Cooking Time

8 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup)

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cook Time: About 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds mix of bone-in chicken thighs & breasts (you can use boneless but bone-in has more flavor)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups diced butternut squash (1/4 inch pieces)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup dry brown rice (+ 2 cups water or chicken broth)

Preparation

1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides and then repeat procedure with remaining chicken. Place browned chicken on a plate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2. Add onion to pan; sauté for 3 minutes or until tender. Add ginger and next 6 ingredients; sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

3. Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return chicken to pan and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until chicken is tender. (The chicken should be falling off the bone at this point)

4. While the chicken simmers, combine 1 cup of dry brown rice with 2 cups water or chicken broth in a small pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. You should check on your rice to make sure it doesn’t burn, adding additional water as necessary. After the 20 minutes, turn off the burner and let the rice sit for another 10 minutes.

5. Remove chicken from pan with a slotted spoon and cool slightly. Once the chicken has cooled, carefully shred the chicken into bite sized pieces.

6. Then add chicken, butternut squash, and raisins to pan. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

7. When the dish has finished cooking, spoon about 3/4 of rice into a small bowl and then 1 cup of the Moroccan chicken and serve.

Moonstruck Reviewed

You might be wondering why I even bothered writing a review of Moonstruck, being that it is THE most typical slightly overpriced diner frequented by Murray Hillers. BUT, I happened to go to Moonstruck for lunch on Sunday afternoon and had a very pleasant experience that I wanted to share with all of you.

With five locations scattered around Manhattan, Moonstruck does quite a business. And no matter how mediocre the food may be, if that’s the case, you continue to return because it’s in the neighborhood and you are guaranteed to see someone you know there EVERY SINGLE TIME. For example, this Sunday I went to Moonstruck with my family after Memory Walk. Though we were having a fairly late lunch, around 3:30pm, we ran into my roommate and her family. Seeing as I had not spoken to her earlier that day, this was quite the coincidence.

In any case, I personally keep returning and ordering from Moonstruck because I think they have the BEST CHOPPED SALAD within a 10-15 block radius of Windsor Court, my beloved home. Moonstruck, at least the one on 31st Street and 3rd Avenue, is more than willing to customize your order (and with a smile) which is another very important reason I enjoy going there. But going back to the salad, it must be the finest chopped salad outside of The Great Dane in Madison, Wisconsin. And girls, you know what I’m talking about! And although Moonstruck’s salads might be slightly higher in price then their competitors, you are guaranteed to get two meals out of it! Though I must warn you that it becomes inedible after one day because it is so finely chopped, so make sure to eat your leftovers on day 2!

I usually begin my order with the Fandango Salad or the Turkey Salad and then customize to fit what I’m craving on that particular day. The Moonstruck salads come with a delicious side of toasted pita and dressing(s) of your choice. My staple dressings are the house balsamic vinaigrette and the honey mustard. I also love they way they serve the dressings, adding a Snapple cap to each bottle.

Another great dish that Moonstruck serves up is their Tuna Salad Sandwich, which has the perfect amount of mayo. My dad ordered the Tuna over Pita with Greek Salad and it both looked and tasted fantastic! The rest of my family had chocolate chip pancakes, eggs, and matzoh ball soup which were all pretty standard though I do happen to like their soup very much. One thing I dislike though are their omelettes. Every single time I’ve ordered an omelette at Moonstruck it comes out watery. So steer clear of those! But definitely go for the salads!

Chopped Turkey Salad

Chopped Turkey Salad