Adventures of a Gastronome in Training (GIT)

One amateur foodie's quest for culinary enlightenment. Musings on cooking, dining, food products, basically all things edible are fair game.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Fish Tales - New Green Bo & Spike Hill

I apologize for my continued hiatus. I’ll keep trying to get back to this on a more regular basis…

In the meantime, I have hit a couple of places for fried fish that really stuck with me. The first was at New Green Bo (Bayard b/w Mott and Elizabeth Sts). We hit NGB for the first time for Chinese New Year – luckily we had a reservation. It’s a tiny place with a few 4-seater tables and several tables that seat 8-10 – if you go with a small party, expect to sit with other small groups. The décor is straight forward Chinatown basic. NGB is known for its soup dumplings, which we perhaps foolishly did not try. We did enjoy the fried pork dumplings, which still were a little juicy and full of porky flavor. I am a sucker for fried bread, so the scallion pancakes ($1.50) totally hit the spot. Theirs are not too greasy with a nice savory flavor. The Ma Po Bean Curd ($5.95) is a simple dish of tofu in a spicy sauce. The depth of flavor went beyond just heat, which made it stand out from similar renditions. For veggies, we enjoyed the sautéed pea tips ($10.95) served in a rich chicken broth. Finally, the surprise dish was the yellow fish with dried seaweed ($12.95). I kind of had to laugh when they arrived at the table – they look just like frozen fish sticks my babysitter made me as a kid. Looks can be deceiving – these tasty sticks were nicely seasoned and fried to a satisfying crunch. Plus, the firm, flaky fish hidden inside showed no signs of mushiness found in your grocer’s freezer.

On another fishy note…After reading the favorable review of Spike Hill’s fish and chips in the Times’ $25 and Under Column, Marty and I decided to head to Williamsburg to check it out. Spike Hill is conveniently located right on the main drag across from the Bedford L train stop. It’s a lively pub with a great selection of beers, but we were there for the fish… I started with the warm goat cheese salad in a blood orange vinaigrette ($7). It was a decent salad. The sweetness of the blood oranges seemed to overwhelm the goat cheese, but with careful bite construction it worked out fine.

The fish and chips ($16) arrived with tartar sauce, ketchup, and a bottle of malt vinegar. The fish was coated in a bread crumb batter, much lighter than the traditional wall of batter you typically see. The batter held up well to the shower of vinegar I promptly imposed on my fish. I must say I was impressed with the overall product, moist, flaky, firm fish with a crunchy, greaseless batter – what more could I ask. The skin-on fries were unremarkable. They did the trick, but didn’t really add to the overall appeal of the dish. But, keep in mind that where the fries left off, the fish made up for in spades. This crave-worthy dish will become a regular on my dining circuit.


Anonymous Shane said...

My girlfriend and I are adventurous eaters and decided to give this place a try judging from how busy it was. We ordered the pork shoulder in brown sauce, crispy duck, and rice cakes with pork. The food came out in about 5 minutes. First the pork shoulder, it was a luke warm very fatty gelotinous lump of meat bathed in a brown gravy-like sauce. Second the crispy duck, this was supposed to be half of a duck but somehow had two legs. It was cold, old and tasted like it had been cured in salt for a year. Last but far from least was the rice cakes with pork. I will eat anything but was not willing to give this one a go. But my poor girlfriend went for it and was immediatly repulsed, she had to spit it out. One, two, three strikes can we please have the check? We left the ammount specified on the bill with no tip. It was the second or third time in my life I had to do so. The waitress grabbed and counted the money before we were able to stand and informed us of the fact that "the tip was not included" and we told her we understood. She became angry, stormed up to a male worker at the front where I was forced to confront both of them with the fact that their food was inedible. All in all, not a bad night in Chinatown but the worst dining experience of my life!

8:39 PM  

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Jennie/Female. Lives in United States/Jennie Auster/New York, speaks English. Eye color is blue.