Sunday, May 31, 2015

Nothing Ugly About This Kitchen

Before leaving our stately pleasure dome by the Florida shore I researched unique NYC dining venues. As soon as I saw balut on the Ugly Kitchen menu I knew that I had to be there.

For the uninitiated, balut is a fertilized duck egg that is boiled and served in the shell with a side of salt or condiment of some sort. I first had balut in a little Vietnamese restaurant in Biloxi a number of years ago. I tried it and I loved it.

Unfortunately, outside of Biloxi, it is hard to find this delicacy in the South. That is certainly true in the gastronomic armpit that is Tampa Bay. My bride and I made reservations before leaving for NYC so at the appointed time we wandered in to a rather rough looking restaurant with super friendly people.

We were promptly seated and presented with menus. I immediately requested the balut that is listed under Filipino Specialties as Ugly Duck. The diner is presented with two for $5. These two duck eggs were as I remembered, although they both seemed either too old or too over cooked. They were better in Biloxi.

My dining partner went with the Beef Pares, slowly braised beef stew in a sweet star anise sauce served with garlic rice, as her entree. The beef was fork tender with a delightful savory sauce.

I requested the Sizzling Sisig, spicy minced pork belly, liver, cheek sautéed in onion and soy sauce served on a sizzling plate and topped with an egg. Our server advised that this is normally an appetizer, but it could be a main course if served over rice. So, I said to bring it on. This was a very tasty dish and even without the rice it would have been enough for at least two people.

There is nothing ugly about this neighborhood treasure. This was the least expensive meal we enjoyed in NYC. Two Red Horse beers, a mimosa, glass of prosecco, a purple ice cream dessert (taro I think) and food brought our bill to $74.03 and we added 20% for the delightful Rica.

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Ugly Kitchen

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