Thursday, November 13, 2008

Surely the Best Schnitzel

My obsession with schnitzel began during my trip to Israel in July. Ever since we got back, I seriously think it comes up in conversation with my friends at least once a week. We prefer to pronounce it “schn-eeeeeeee-tzel.” For those of you not familiar with this delicious, fried chicken goodness, schnitzel itself is very similar to the American chicken cutlet. The difference lies in what it’s served with. But, I’ll get more into that later!

So, my friend M.F. and I were on a hunt for a restaurant in NYC that serves schnitzel, and came up with a few options. But, the one that caught our eye the most was Murray’s Falafel. As you may have read in an earlier post, I am equally obsessed with falafel, so finding a place that had a lot of great reviews for both schnitzel and falafel was fantastic.

Murray’s is a little hole-in-the-wall spot across from Stuy Town. They do a lot of take-out/delivery business, but we had just enough time before heading to a concert to fully savor our schnitzel experience and take advantage of their table service. This savoring was not a result of any special ambiance or super friendly service, but was fully about the food itself.

We started with an appetizer order of falafel balls, which came with 6 pieces (TWSS). The falafel was fresh out of the fryer, but not greasy at all. It had a great crunch, but still moist on the inside. The flavor was delicious and had a nice kick to it…very authentic. I’ve started to notice that I like having tahina sauce on every bite. Good thing there was an entire bottle on the table!

For my main dish, I ordered a schnitzel pita, which came with Israeli salad and hummus in it. The schnitzel was fried to perfection just like the falafel (am I sensing a theme here?!)…nice and crispy on the outside, and juicy on the inside. The Israeli salad had a nice, light flavor and complimented the schnitzel really well. I doused the pita with tahina, and I was a happy camper.

M.F. ordered the schwarma entrĂ©e which comes with Israeli salad, pita, and “double the meat of a sandwich” plus a side dish. For his side, he went with the vegetable couscous (what would have been my choice as well!). Schwarma isn’t my favorite thing, but I was happy to give it a taste, especially since I knew it was good chicken, and not the gross stuff you find with street meat. It had a great flavor and texture. The couscous was delicious…light and fluffy, and even the pita was fresh.

We left beyond satisfied with our meal, and even contemplated going back to Murray’s on the way home from the show! I HIGHLY recommend checking out Murray’s, especially if you want jump on the schnitzel bandwagon. I think it’s safe to say that schnitzel is becoming trendy! It also helps that Murray’s is as authentic as any schnitzel I had in Israel. It helps that the owner and wait staff are Israeli and Israeli music plays in the background! A quick note, Murray’s is Glatt Kosher, so they observe Shabbat and all the holidays. We tried to go back a few weeks ago and found it was closed…such a bummer!

Murray's Falafel
261 First Avenue
b/t 15th & 16th Streets
Menu Pages listing

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Everything But the Kitchen Sink - Tim Tams!

UPDATE: Someone from the PR agency that reps Pepperidge Farm was kind enough to send Miss Menu images of the Pepperidge Farm Tim Tams. The image I had included was of the Australian version. Hopefully this will allow you to spot them on the Target shelves even easier! Happy biscuit-devouring!


If you have ever been to Australia, are friends with an Australian, or even know someone who is, there's a good chance you've heard of one of the most delicious packaged cookies ever...Tim Tams. Now, these are not to be confused with Manischewitz's Tam Tams! One of my friends from Australia has visited NYC a few times in the past few years, and always comes with a huge supply for me and my friends.

When I was at the New York Wine & Food Festival last month, one of the tables at the Grand Tasting was for Pepperidge Farm, and what did they have samples of? TIM TAMS!!!! Miss Menu learned that Pepperidge Farm (owned by Campbell Soup Co., which also owns Tim Tam producer Arnott's) has teamed up with Target to bring Tim Tams to the US for a limited time. This is even more reason I wish there was a Target in Manhattan. Brooklyn, here I come!

Tim Tam Chocolate Cookies at Target Now Through March
*Grub Street*

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Synergy at Sinigual

In my "Everything But the Kitchen Sink" section, I've posted the openings of a few different restaurants around the city. I have gotten a lot of response from one in particular...Sinigual. Miss Menu finally made it to the restaurant to try it for myself, and am pleased to report that my experience went SO much better than at its sister restaurant Chevy's! I had the privilege of being joined by NYCFoodGuy, who you may remember from my delicious (but gluttonous!) East Village Food Tour.

The restaurant itself is has a very cool atmosphere. Hard to believe that it use to be a Casual Corner in that spot! The decor is modern, yet still has a rustic feel to it. Chandeliers hang scattered around the ceiling like an art installation. We learned that the large mural that runs the entire length of the restaurant is covered in real gold flakes. Ooh la la! There's a large bar area in the front that I could definitely see being a popular after-work spot, especially with Sinigual's extensive margarita and drink menu. I'm curious if El Rio Grande is nervous about another good Mexican restaurant/bar opening up just a few blocks away!

We were able to taste a lot of different dishes, so let's not waste any time here! First up were the fresh, handmade flour tortillas brought to the table instead of the typical chips. They were served with three dip/spread options: salsa roja, honey butter, and salsa pasilla.

The tortillas were delicious, and the two salsas both had a great flavor. The honey butter was a surprising addition, but when it melted on the warm tortilla, it was so good.

Goes without saying that I was very interested in sharing a few things so I could try as many dishes as possible. I usually don't eat shrimp, but the waiter's description of the Chipotle Barbecue Shrimp sounded too good to pass up: jumbo shrimp sauteed in jalapeno butter, roasted red peppers, and pasilla chiles, served in a chipotle raspberry-tamarind barbecue sauce. It sounds a lot more complicated than it was, which was delicious - plain and simple!

Next, we ordered two of the Mexican Specialties to share: Dos Favoritos and Fresh Fish Tacos. Each entree had so many components to it that it was almost like having three times the number of dishes to try. Needless to say, I was a happy camper. Part "Uno" of the Dos Favoritos was made up of a three-cheese panko crusted chile relleno that was topped with a pineapple-mango salsa. I have mentioned time and time again my love for cheese and for all things fried. So, when those two worlds come together, only good things can result! The taste of the chile itself was just so-so, but the three cheese (I would guess cojita, jack, and one other) deep-fried with panko breadcrumbs was just ridiculous. In a good way! Part "Dos" was a grilled chicken and roasted corn enchilada, which I felt pretty neutral towards. It surprisingly didn't have a ton of flavor, especially the chicken. It was served with refried black beans and pasilla-cilantro rice (hence the green color).
Next up were the fresh fish tacos. Grilled striped bass was mixed with pico de gallo and a fruit relish, and served in more of the great tortillas. The combination of the sweet and salty was great, and the fish was grilled to perfection. On the side was more of the rice, a delish sweet corn cake (imagine a super-sweet corn muffin), fresh guacamole, and to round it out, a bowl of red and black beans that was almost like a stew.

When our food arrived, we asked for more plates and then divided and conquered. What resulted was the chance to try eight different items from only two entrees. And A LOT of fantastic food! This was a serious Mexican feast!

Sinigual is a very welcomed addition to the neighborhood, and I am so glad I finally got to try it. The restaurant successfully takes typical Mexican dishes and adds great twists to them using interesting sauces or different preparations. I can see Sinigual becoming a great go-to spot, whether it's for a business lunch, a happy hour margarita, or a fantastic neighborhood dinner. Everything just really worked.

150 East 42nd Street
Actual location is 3rd Avenue b/t 41st & 42nd Streets