Monday, November 2, 2009

Detox And Retox

I was "keeping it clean" this past week, in preparation for yesterday's ING New York Marathon. (Yes, I finished; no, I did not qualify for Boston.) That meant a bunch of whole grains, vegetables, and lean meats leading into the race. On Tuesday, a friend and I opted for nice, clean Asian cuisine, and, for lack of better ideas, stumbled upon Indonesian at Minangasli in Jackson Heights.

I've never had Indonesian food before, so I'm not sure what I would compare it to. An egg pancake was more like the delicious skin of an egg roll, deep-fried and served with a viscous soy sauce that was almost good enough to eat straight. Our satay combination platter included beef, lamb, and chicken (though the meats were virtually interchangeable) and came with the traditional accoutrement: peanut sauce, cubed cucumbers, red onion. It was tasty enough. But the true meaning of Indonesian food was best expressed to us upon the arrival of our noodles.

They were medium-width noodles like the ones you might find in Pad Thai, covered with browned mushrooms, bean sprouts, and ground meat. On top, three delicate fried wontons greeted us. They were stuffed with an equally delicate meat. On the side arrived a bowl of fragrant broth with tiny, perfect meatballs. We divided the broth, squeezed in some of whatever hot sauce happened to be on that particular table, and dumped our noodles in. The result was perfumy, light, and all in all worth the trip.

That was my last real meal of note until last night, when, in celebration of my own feat (and feet), I lined up for a rib-eye at Prime Meats in Carroll Gardens. I've written about Prime Meats in the past, but I have been waiting for the select opportunity to sample their 36-day dry-aged prime rib-eye (bone-in, of course), priced $1.80/ounce. If you know anything about steakhouses in New York, you know that this per ounce price is criminally low. I hoped it would be worth it.

We began with a crispy salad of celery and celery greens, a plate of addictive (and addictively fatty) lamb ribs, and a soft pretzel with butter and mustard. The salad was dressed with sunflower oil, showcasing the celery-ness of it. The lamb ribs were smoky, charred, and perfect, accompanied by beautiful roasted slices of local squash.

And then the steak. Nearly fifty ounces of it. By the time it arrived, by body had started to revolt. I wasn't hungry, but I soldiered on, making not even a small dent in our chop. The dickle, pure fat, melted. I skipped the chimichurri sauce--an applaudable version--in favor of the steak on its own, showcased only by Maldon salt. The char was perfect, the meat tender (it almost did not require a knife). I ate two pieces and packed the rest up, a moment of clarity that will bring much joy during tonight's Yankee game. Our big bowl of perfect French fries remained untouched and I offered it to the kitchen gods. It was my mistake for over-ordering. But I brought the tender mushroom spaetzle home; it, too, was not worth parting with.

8610 Whitney Avenue
Elmhurst, NY 11373

Prime Meats
465 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

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