AB: The search for oysters in New York these days can lead you all about town. There are so many places hocking dollar oyster specials that you might express your unbridled economic enthusiasm or a contort your face (and your stomach) in a queasy dismay.

Fried Oyster Bun at Momofuku Noodle Bar, 171 1st Avenue, East Village

The happy compromise to at least satiate your appetite may be to fry those oysters. A fried oyster is something like the popcorn of the sea (popcorn shrimp is not real shrimp…), a light delectable bite. Blueribbon in Soho makes one of my favorite fried oysters made on a bed of creamed spinach and served in the shell. I recently had fried oyster bun at Momofuku Noodle Bar, that reminded me of eating a haute version of a chicken biscuit. Served in a soft rice bun, with some pickled onions, shredded lettuce and mayo, ahem…aioli… the oyster bun is a fun little treat though when considered against the dollar specials all around town, you  may find yourself reconsidering the safety of mercury. Its some tough economic times.

How many glasses could you get through? Corkbuzz Wine Studio 13 East 13th Street, The Village


How many glasses could you get through? Corkbuzz Wine Studio 13 East 13th Street, The Village

Glass of sweet sparkling beaujolais, selection of meats and cheeses.

AB: They say a man’s testosterone begins to decrease after 20…and so it was as I went to dine at the recently opened wine bar, restaurant, event space, and drinking education center, Corkbuzz Wine Studio. The wine list is diverse and eclectic including an easy to drink glass of sparkling beaujolais that will easily keep you amused. The menu is just sprawling and the few items i managed to try were if anything, as professional as the wine list and surprisingly tasty. From an array of high quality meats and cheeses to a melody of bucatini pasta, brussel sprouts sauteed in wine and garlic, a generous shaving of fried brussel sprouts that gave the pasta a good deal of flavor heft and reminded me of crispy shallots, and a dusting of red pepper flakes that marry altogether to create a soulful plate of pasta. You’ll encounter good food and drink at Corkbuzz Wine Studio and a plethora of women as well, if that be your leisure. There are some cultured men there, too…

Bucatini with sauteed brussel sprouts and shaved brussel sprouts.

Stable Cables!

What I'm Wearing: Vintage Pierre Cardin Mocha Cable Knit Sweat with Black detail

AB: It snowed this past weekend and had me wanting to pull out my variety of sweaters and knitwear. Who says climate change has to force you to resign yourself to end of days wear? I can still rock out in a cable knit, ya heard! This is not like watching the Knicks in Manhattan, y’all. I got cable!

Hard Body; Tet; Bet; Real Talk.

Ring in the Lunar New Year with fatty pork belly!

AB: 2012 is all about sculpting our bodies into tip top shape. But before all of that agony, we celebrate the Lunar New Year or,  (Tet in Vietnam) and engorge on the delights of the Asian holiday. That includes a particular treat, a sticky rice cake made with mung beans, fatty (and I mean fattie pork belly), wrapped in banana leaves and slow cooked. There are other renditions both savory and sweet including vegetarian ones and dessert one. But all renditions of  thistraditional dish is served with love around the lunar holiday and is a nod to porkening up for the trials of the new year.  So happy new year to y’all!

Chawanmushi, egg custard with medley of seafood and chicken, at Kyo Ka 94 East 7th Street, East Village

The First Memorable Meal Of The Season

Chawanmushi, egg custard with medley of seafood and chicken, at Kyo Ya 94 East 7th Street, East Village

AB: There was a Japanese restaurant on Great Jones Street that I frequented when I was in college. And when I say frequented, I mean I went there everyday. They had a great happy hour but they also served extraordinary food but unfortunately was sold and had to close. It has since been replaced with a Japanese butcher shop and a nouveau sort of Japanese restaurant where VIP Japanese businessmen take all sorts of guests through a secret entranceway…

Brood over the lighting and the uni...

Uni rolled up in nori with wasabi and shiso leaf.

Asari Miso Soup with little clams

Kyo Ya in the East Village just might be a restaurant worth remembering as fondly. The place feels secretive and precious, tucked in an underground space just off the main thoroughfare and serves some beautifully delicate and intoxicating dishes that are worth return trips. I’m a sucker for ordering a particular type of meal at most Japanese restaurants almost as a litmus test. Miso soup; a sushi or sashimi selection, usually, uni (sea urchin); a grilled or broiled fish with a bowl of white rice. I am also a big fan of, chawanmushi, a japanese egg custard cooked and containing wonderful surprises as you continue to eat. Crab claws and chicken, scallops and mushroom that bejwel the custard but also accentuate it with their flavors. The uni sashimi selection is served with little sheets of, nori (seaweed) and a couple of leaves of shiso. You scoop some of the luxurious and voluptuous uni and tear some of the shiso and roll it up in the nori and eat it like little rolls of heaven. Its something sweet and saline with a spicy and pepperminty accent from the shiso. I also always make sure to order asari miso soup, a version of miso soup cooked with small clams. The clams enrich the broth and add a depth of flavor that has you feeling comfortable and nostalgic, like you’re eating really good chicken soup. Kyo Ya’s asari miso soup hits the spot. The miso broiled black cod, a buttery rich piece of fish glazed with a miso sauce seems to be on every haute  Japanese menu these days. But not everyplace executes this dish properly. Kyo Ya’s miso cod is perfectly tender and not dried out as it can be when broiled for too long and the flavors are a nice harmony of sweet and savory. Miso cod should fill you up with pleasures of eating dessert but it shouldn’t be eating dessert. For what its worth, I finished my meal with a homemade seaweed ice cream. Memorable meals stay with you but I still plan to return to Kyo Ka to indulge in those good feelings.

Broil Miso Black Cod with Japanese berry, Cauliflower and pickled eggplant puree, & sauted shallots

Happy Meal.