The Best Sushi in Park Slope is at Taro Sushi


The title of this post is a strong statement, one that requires research. And so, after titling this post “The Best Sushi in Park Slope,” I decided to do the required research: I Googled “best sushi park slope” and guess what came up first? A post I wrote last January (click here) that basically said that the best sushi in Park Slope is at Taro Sushi. What does that mean? I’ve officially jumped the shark–I’m repeating myself. I’ve reached the end of food blogging, there’s nothing left to say.

Well, no, Adam, settle down. Your last post didn’t definitively declare Taro sushi to be the best sushi in Park Slope, you simply said that it was some of the best sushi you’d ever had. But what your readers don’t know is that you had a falling out with Taro. A few months later, I had lunch there and I had some bad sushi. There’s no other way to describe it: I know it sounds strange to say that the fish was too fishy, but that’s how it tasted. Too fishy. It left a bad taste in my mouth, one powerful enough to keep me away for a few months.

Where did I go during my exile from Taro? Why I went to Kiku, another Park Slope sushi joint, and a place that certainly does not have the best sushi in Park Slope. The place is wildly inconsistent: sometimes the sushi is cut so expertly you want to photograph it and hang it on your wall. Other times it’s such a mess that if you traced that sushi on a piece of paper and gave it to a geometry student as a final exam, he’d fail out of school. Yet, despite the inconsistency, Kiku is a very pleasant place to eat. There’s a little flat bowl on a glass table with fish in it; the place feels like a spa. And it was the soothing atmosphere that kept me coming back, not the sushi. In fact, I went to Kiku today for the soothing atmosphere. Not the sushi.

My sad story might end there, but last month I returned to Taro to give it another shot–Craig was with me–and we were blown away. It was lunchtime and the place was packed (always a good sign). We saw the men behind the counter filleting whole fish, also a good sign. And the sushi, like the sushi you see in the above photograph (taken last week), was gorgeous–fresh-tasting and prepared with love. We’ve gone back many times since then, and I’m happy to report that once again Taro sushi is the best sushi in Park Slope. In the category of best spa-like atmosphere to eat sushi, Kiku gets it.

And thus concludes my deeply researched post on the best sushi in Park Slope.

Crispy Dough


I am bad with secrets. I’ve always been bad with secrets. You shouldn’t tell me any secrets, secret holders, because I will give them away.

Case in point: the brunch you see above. What is it? Where can you get it? Why do I love it so?

If I were a good secret keeper, I’d end the post here. But I am not a good secret keeper and alas you shall know…

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Eating While Standing Up (Banh Mi Saigon Bakery & The Bagel Hole)


In the current food issue of The New Yorker, Calvin Trillin wonders–in another one of his hilarious food essays–if “through some rare genetic oddity, my sense of taste is at full strength only when I’m standing up.” He wonders this because of his deep love for street food. As a participant of the Calvin Trillin walking tour last year, I was lucky enough to eat street food standing up with the man himself. And the best bite of the tour was, by far, the bite you see above.

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Brunch at Flatbush Farm


Brunch, more than any other meal, celebrates abundance. We don’t want one pancake when we go to brunch, we want a stack of glistening, syrup-coated chocolate-stuffed pancakes. Yet one pancake–a solitary, singular pancake–is one of the peculiarities you’ll find on the brunch menu at Flatbush Farm, a lovely neighborhood gastropub in Park Slope.

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February Is The Kindest Month (August, Palo Santo, Five Points)

I love having a February birthday. If I see the light, some day, and I’m born again I hope it’s in February. Having a February birthday means that in the dead of winter, when it’s cruelly cold outside, you have a big happy day to look forward to. Add to that Craig’s birthday, also in February, and Valentine’s Day and you have a month worth celebrating.

Take this pancake, for example:


I ate this pancake on my birthday. Craig and I went to August in the Village, something we wouldn’t ordinarily do but because it was my birthday we had a reason. And it was a good pancake, a mighty good pancake. Craig loved brunching in the sun room at August (it was his first time there) he said he felt like we were in Montreal. I liked how the pancake was cooked in a wood-burning oven, though–I must say–the inside of the middle of the pancake was undercooked (the batter ran out when I cut in). But it was a dynamite pancake (studded with golden raisins, I should add) and we have February to thank for it.

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Great Flan & Corn Fungus at Chiles & Chocolate


I’ve never been a big fan of flan. For starters, the word “flan” seems to fuse together two words that don’t exactly whet the appetite: flacid and wan. And then there are memories of bad flan in Spanish class in high school. We all had to bring in a dish (Jessica Aronowitz and I made guacamole) and someone brought in flan, which I remember as a gelatinous blob that tasted like chemicals and milk. I think the person who brought it in made it from some kind of box the way you make Jell-O from a box. If I were the teacher, I’d have suspended him.

Luckily, my flan phobia has been remedied by the flan you see above. I joined food writer Dana Bowen at Chiles & Chocolate in Park Slope on Tuesday. The space is wonderfully eclectic and authentic, a paean to the Oaxacan culture that the restaurant pays tribute to. We were tended to by a jovial host/hostesss/waitress/coffee-maker who engaged us at every turn about the food we were eating. Dana (pronounced Dah-na, like banana) had been there once before and steered me through the menu. I thought she was steering like a crazy person when she suggested we share a corn fungus quesadilla. Or, more precisely, a “Huitlacoche” quesadilla.

“Corn fungus?” I protested. “Like…real fungus?”

“It’s really earthy and strange,” promised Dana. “You’ll love it.”

So here it is:


What looks like black beans on the inside is actually the Huitlacoche. Like Dana said, it has a muted, earthy flavor–subtle and strange and not like anything you’ve ever had.

“The French have truffles,” said our waitress. “And the Mexicans have huitalacoche.”

My chicken mole entree was a bit disappointing. Dana had the “mole negro” (which I ordered) a few nights earlier and she was convinced that the mole on my plate wasn’t the mole negro because it was so red. We asked the waitress and she said it was the mole negro so we ultimately believed her, though we both agreed the mole was a bit lackluster and had a bitter aftertaste. (Dana had tamales which she liked.)

The best part of the whole meal, though, was the flan you see at the top. It was fantastic: creamy, rich, sweet but not cloying. Enough to make a flan convert out of anyone, especially me.

“This is the best flan I’ve ever had,” I told Dana.

“Isn’t it great?”

A final bite remained on the plate and I offered it to Dana. She said “No thanks, it’s so rich” so I scarfed it down. And with that final bite I retired my Soul Man status and accepted my new role as Flan Man. I am a man who likes flan.

Park Slope Picks: Franny’s, Taro Sushi, NoNo Kitchen

“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard.” – Dorothy, Wizard of Oz

Good point, Dorothy! And since I live in Park Slope it’s time to stop trekking into Manhattan for my stomach’s desire and time to start searching right here where I live. Especially because it’s snowing. And icy. And cold.

So here’s what I found. I found this awesome pizza at Franny’s:


Franny’s was in my brain like a forgettable cousin, flitting around the Bar Mitzvah of my consciousness, never really getting noticed as I was lifted in my chair to Hava Nagila. I knew Diana went on a date at Franny’s (prognosis: good pizza, bad date). And then I had dinner with Julie, Lauren’s girlfriend, here for work from D.C. and she told me she’d been to Franny’s with her co-workers and she couldn’t believe I’d never been there. Especially because I live a few blocks away. And so I went with Craig to Franny’s.

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