Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fish, Elephants and Latkes

Monday, December 19, 2011

As promised last week, I went to Sushein, Kaiten Sushi Bar & Restaurant, 325 Broadway, today, the new Kosher sushi restaurant. It consists of two long, narrow rooms set at a right angle, framing the clothing store on the corner of Worth Street. I thought that Kaiten might mean Kosher in Japanese or was the name of a city or province, but I learned that it is a presentation style, that is, the plates of sushi circulate on a conveyor belt and you pick what you want. The front room has the belt running down the middle, with 20 high stools to the left and five roomy booths to the right. I recall that Nate Persily and I once dined in a sushi restaurant in San Francisco where the dishes floated by on boats. The back, or side, room does not have a conveyor belt, so ordering is done from a menu which is available to all. The place was semi-busy; all the booths in the front room were occupied mostly by observant Jews, but two young Japanese women seemed to be enjoying themselves as well. I was the only person on a stool.

All the sushi plates are round, but have different colored borders representing different prices, ranging from $2.50 to $6.75. At the end, the waiter counts the colors to get your total. Almost everything I grabbed off the conveyer belt was blue-bordered, $4 a plate, a little high if not for the Kosher certification which always exacts a toll. I had salmon and tuna, with and without avocado and a drizzle of sauce. It all tasted fresh. In addition, I had one roll, sliced in three half-inch pieces, of beef with avocado. It tasted like roast tenderloin and was quite good ($5.50). Desserts, which I skipped, included ice cream, but made with soy milk to keep the faith. My only complaint, which I wrote on the check when I paid, was that a glass of green tea was $3 and so was the second and on. Not hospitable and a deterrent to proselytizing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I spent my lunch hour at a White Elephant party hosted by two of my colleagues. Each participant brought a (presumably) desirable, but unwanted gift to be blindly chosen by another. I think this is preferable to Secret Santa doings, because I know that I am very hard to shop for. If America’s Favorite Epidemiologist is occasionally stymied by my tastes and interests, what might I expect from a relative (non-relative?) stranger.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When I walked up Mott Street at lunch time, television cameramen were just breaking down their equipment after recording a press conference dealing with the death of Army Private Danny Chen, a kid from Chinatown, who died in southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar province. Earlier, the U.S. Army said that eight U.S. soldiers were charged in connection with the October 3rd death of Pvt. Chen, a 19-year-old soldier. As it happened, I witnessed Pvt. Chen’s funeral procession on October 13th, which began at the bottom of Mulberry Street and drew a large crowd. At the time, it was only known that he died from non-combat injuries. Now, it seems that he may have committed suicide after experiencing substantial harassment and abuse, verbal and physical.

A month or so ago, Hoy Wong, 81 Mott Street, closed. A sign in the window claimed plumbing problems, but there was an indication that the Board of Health had a say in this. When I went by today, the restaurant was open and I went in hoping that there was a change of ownership, menu, name or operational style that would warrant counting it as a new establishment, since I had been there before on May 11, 2010. Alas, that was not the case, although the interior was notably clean and shiny for a classic Chinatown restaurant sitting below street level, and the photo mural that I observed previously was gone. I had salt and pepper fried jumbo shrimp at $13.95, about $2 per shrimp. Since the shrimp were more medium than jumbo, $1.50 would have been a fairer unit price. The food itself was pretty good with as much garlic as salt and pepper in the preparation.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Yesterday, I sought someplace new at Hoy Wong, but found no registerable change. Today, without any expectations, I found that Kam Man, 200 Canal Street, the Zabar’s of Chinatown, has opened a food counter at the rear of its main floor, called Kam Man Noodles. Eight stools are lined up at a marble counter. Most of the menu is devoted to drinks, tea hot or cold, and slushes, presumptively cold. However, a dozen hot food items are listed, soups and dim sum. I had Peking duck wrap ($4.99) and pan fried Shanghai won ton ($3.50, listed on the menu at $4.95). The won ton were a relatively good buy. Additionally, there is a sushi chef standing by ready to roll to order. I’ll be back to try the sushi even if it’s not Kosher and delivered merely by hand.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Monday is my official work day off, but I am staying home today in order to prepare for a vigorous weekend of candle lighting and latke (potato pancake) consumption. I hope that all of you are rewarded by the Hanukkah Elf for a year of Good Deeds, especially the Good Deed you are transferring to Mother Ruth Gotthelf in honor of her 102nd birthday.

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