Chowing in Chelsea: Lunch at Rickshaw, Dinner at elmo

I live in Chelsea.

For those not from New York, Chelsea is the belly button of Manhattan. Ok, that’s not true. It’s a little lower—just so much lower, in fact, that to tell you where it is in an anatomical sense would be crass. Let’s just say that Chelsea is in the lower region of the city.

So while circumventing the scrotum, (haha–sorry—I couldn’t resist the anatomical humor), sometimes I get hungry. Lucky for me, just a few blocks down, a new dumpling bar opened up–Rickshaw. I saw it out of the corner of my eye while journeying for lunch the other day.

Here’s the thing about Rickshaw. It’s not that great. But it’s not that great in the way that Burritoville isn’t that great. Which is to say that it’s fine. It hits the spot. Not everything can be 4 star dining, right?

So I ordered duck dumplings–6 of them—in chicken broth (that’s one of the options) and a glass of Meyer lemonade. The Meyer lemonade cost $2.50 and I think this is a really good deal because Meyer lemons are really expensive and a glass of normal lemonade at The City Bakery costs like $3, so you’re having a more exotic experience for $0.50 less. With that said, the Meyer lemonade was tasty and unusual but had a strange undertaste like the chocolate mouse in Rosemary’s baby. I think Ruth Gordon made it.

Want to know who made my dumplings? You can see them here:

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There’s that big glass plate window while you wait. If you were in a 4-star restaurant it might be fun to watch the people at work. Here, it looks like a bunch of overworked unhappy people forced to smile for the customers. I liked it!

As for the dumplings, again, I liked them:

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Again, these aren’t great dumplings, they’re fine dumplings. Sure, they’re better in Chinatown, but you don’t live in Chinatown. You live in Chelsea. So why not eat these dumplings? I think you should.

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For dinner on Friday night, I joined Lisa and Ben at elmo. elmo is a place that doesn’t believe in capitalizing its name. I hope you respect that.

Ben loves elmo. He loves elmo for its tuna. “I love the tuna here,” he said. “I have dreams about it.”

First we ordered drinks. Ben and I ordered manly drinks called Ruby Reds—pink grapefruit juice and grapefruit vodka. They cost $10 each. I found that a bit much, but they tasted good. Lisa ordered a diet coke, but for this pic she and Ben switched drinks. DON’T BE FOOLED!

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Look how drunk he looks! Would he be so drunk if he was only drinking diet coke?

Now, as for the entrees, I decided to order something different from the tuna. I could try Ben’s tuna, so I ordered the sea bass. “Fool!” shouted Ben. “The tuna is glorious!”

Here is Ben with his tuna. He really loves his tuna:

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Me? I ordered pistachio crusted sea bass. It was really tasty. It came with leeks and clams and a garlic tomato broth: (sorry this pic is so bleachy, I’ve yet to negotiate the flash non-flash aspects of my camera in dark restaurants)

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So elmo is a fun place to go if you live in Chelsea. It’s a little pricey. There’s a little part of me that says, “If you’re going to spend that much money on dinner why not go somewhere really good like Babbo or Mesa Grille?” But that’s not really rational–those places are definitely more expensive and harder to get into. So elmo will have to suffice just like Rickshaw will have to suffice. Chelsea is all about compromise. But that’s what life’s like down here in the nether regions.

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