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I Like It Raw

May 09, 2017
Celia Sin-Tien Cheng

When the Cravings journey first started twelve years ago, I was at the height of my love affair with fat: the fattiest cut of steak, butter and cream all the way, bacon on my cheeseburger, and so on. As Cravings has evolved, so have my palate and preferences. These days, I crave more seafood and cleaner foods, so I am always drawn to raw bars and the myriad interpretations of raw foods. Here are some current favorites in the raw category.

Tuna Tartare at Flora Bar / Nancy Matsumoto A. Flora Bar

This is one of the best tuna tartares I’ve ever had! Perfectly well-balanced, and reminds me of really good poke in Hawaii — fresh fish, precisely seasoned (not like the cheap fast food poke trends that have popped up all over New York City recently). Flora Bar’s tuna is finely diced, which imparts a different mouthfeel than larger... full article

Sushi at Sushi Katsuei / Celia Sin-Tien Cheng B. Sushi Katsuei

With few Cravings-worthy sushi restaurants downtown these days that offer omakase options under $250, Sushi Katsuei saves the day. Seasonal and daily recommendations are key. For example, firefly squid is now in season, and the golden eye snapper couldn’t be fattier. As always, sit in front of chef Aung Ko Win and nowhere else.

Fluke Tartare at Atoboy / Celia Sin-Tien Cheng C. Atoboy

Fluke with radish, pomelo and sesame seeds was one of my favorite dishes at Atoboy. Fluke is such a delicate fish with such mild flavor that the pairing of pomelo was just the right touch to add mild acidity and sweetness. The menu changes frequently so don’t be disappointed if there’s a different fish tartare on the menu. Embrace the adventure!

Beef Tartare at Little Tong Noodle Shop / Celia Sin-Tien Cheng D. Little Tong Noodle Shop

Little Tong is impressive in that every dish on the menu is a surprise and well-executed, not just the mixian noodles that chef Simone Tong made the focus of her restaurant. For example, the beef tartare with Sichuan butter pairs so well with the roti-like pancakes; chef Tong says they initially experimented with fried mantou for this dish,... full article

Sushi at Sushi Inoue / Celia Sin-Tien Cheng E. Sushi Inoue

Dining at Chef Inoue’s counter is a lot of fun as he’s such a good entertainer while he prepares your nigiri. The omakase counter is pricey but worth it — I usually prefer just sushi omakase rather than the entire omakase experience, but in order sit at the counter, you must order the omakase counter. Chef Inoue was previously at Sushi Azabu,... full article

Beef Tartare at The Four Horsemen / Celia Sin-Tien Cheng F. The Four Horsemen

The Four Horsemen’s beef tartare stands out vividly, as the taste of sambal chiles in the dry aged sirloin mixed with buttermilk instead of egg creates a memorable experience. The crisp of the sesame crackers offers a layer of textural contrast from the tartare.

Madai, Brown Butter, Lemon Condiment at Mimi / Celia Sin-Tien Cheng G. Mimi

Chef Liz Johnson is so incredibly talented, and young! I had the pleasure of meeting her and her boyfriend (at the time, now fiancé) Will Aghajanian in San Sebastian — they sat at the table across from mine at Ibai for lunch — before she became the darling of the New York restaurant scene. I’ve been overjoyed to... full article