643 Hudson Street between Gansevoort and Horatio Streets
about $70 for two, with three drinks, without tip
Chef Zak Pelaccio is my kind of guy because he would fry pork belly until it’s crispy and serve it with watermelon chunks and its rind, pickled. The result is a delicious balance of saltiness with juiciness and just the right amount of sourness. I can live with just this dish for a while.
The rest of the menu is also good. During our first visit, we tried the quail egg shooters after I was alerted by a reader about an oyster-sake version. Four quail eggs are lightly poached and topped with sambal oelek, a traditional Indonesian spice; the other three come with a single anchovy and shredded dried pork floss. We also ordered the Jalan Alor chicken wings named after what used to be the Red Light District of Kuala Lumpur but where the best street food stalls are now located. It was a messy ordeal trying to eat them with our fork and spoon, and then later, with our hands. A very large serving of short rib Rendang came braised with kaffir lime, coconut and chili. It was absolutely delicious but I wished it wasn’t $20–I would like it in a smaller portion for half the price.
We sat at the bar at 7:30pm on a Monday night and just made it before people started lining up outside to get the next table. It’s warm near the kitchen and with all the spicy food we were eating, we felt like we were actually in southeast Asia; Tiger and San Miguel beers flowed between my brother and I. An extra star for the spoon and fork setup, the oscillating fan on the ceiling, Chef de Cuisine Corwin Kave in baseball cap, and of course, the porn in the bathroom.