Friday, October 31, 2008

H is for Halloween 2008- I'm the Shit, Call Me Pepe Le PooPoo.

If you see a surfeit (I learned that today) of skunks (7-10) stinking up the NYC streets, holla at us. Props to Killa Cam for the clever title. Click HERE to peep the entire track.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

HowfreshEats Stacks (Potato) Chips Like Hebrews Vol. 3- Hood Bonus Edition

Disclaimer: I am not a potato chip expert, yet. We're getting there. I tried to slow down, but really love late night chip munching. And I don't even do drugs. True story. The problem is I'm exhausting all my options and need to hit another city or state to find that NEW SHITTTT!!!! DJ Clue-esque.

I finally cleaned off my coffee table to facilitate this post. How else would I be able to handle 7 bags of chips? Pause. In Volume 3 we showcase Target's Archer Farms label. I do it for the love, but cut that check family. We also bring you a special bonus fried treat that has become newly available to me. If you missed the earlier Stack Chips posts, click HERE for Vol. 1 and HERE for Vol. 2. On to the potatoes...

Archer Farms Lemon Pepper

These start off sweet and then the abundant amount of pepper takes control. Just look at the pic. If that's not your thing, pass. If it is, these become highly addictive. The tang from the lemon draws you in and then your tongue becomes a victim of a pepper assault. I must be a masochist. Negatives are that too many of the chips are curled and too large. Bite sized, flat chips are the way to go. There are also too many ingredients. I'm trying to go the healthy route so fall back on those preservatives.

Lay's Kettle Cooked Original

I know I said the Sea Salt and Vinegar were my # 1, but the original has knocked them out the box. I'm a regular dude and don't need to be impressed by loud flavors anymore. Give me a nice pair of jeans and a button up. Grown man business. At this stage in my life this is the perfect chip. Great crunch and a perfect balance of salt and sweet, rich potato flavor. They rarely exceed the proper bite size and only consist of 3 ingredients. Potato, sunflower oil, and sea salt. No preservatives. A 9 oz. bag will get tore up in one night. It's not a game.

Archer Farms Wasabi Mustard

Definitely an interesting flavor. Only for the spice/heat lovers. Being one, I enjoy this chip. It conjures up images of eating soft pretzels with spicy mustard outside the Garden after a Knicks game. Speaking of which- these dudes looked good tonight, even if it was the Heat. That D'Antoni 7 second offense was refreshing and Marbury and Curry didn't play. My complaints with Archer are the same as above.

*At this point of the Potato Orgy I begin to feel like shit. I ate a lot before I opened the first bag. But there's no quitting, so I soldier on.

Boulder Canyon Jalapeno Cheddar

Ah yes, the lovely Boulder Canyon. We stopped being exclusive, but she still stops by to feel loved. These chips are weird. They taste like bacon. No bullshit. Their crunch and size is exactly what you want in a chip, but the fried swine factor throws this chip for a loop. At first I was going to write that the jalapeno heat was non existent, but after 7-10 chips, the heat runs right up on you. Didn't find any cheddar flavor in there. But there was plenty of bacon.

Archer Farms Buffalo Wing

Don't really like these. Too sweet, and a funky odor is released upon opening. Rotten food or dirty clothes. I still ate them. The same issues with the other Archer Farms chips. Pass. This was my second disappointing buffalo chip. I don't feel this flavor can be conveyed effectively via a chip.

We need to interrupt this review with breaking news...


...Back to the review.

PopChips Salt & Pepper

Gross. More like potato puffs. Not fried, not baked, NOT GOOD.


Howard's Fried Pork Skins Lime Chile Flavor AKA Chicharron Con Chile y Limon

I love the name. I rarely mess with chicharron, but after having some of the gourmet, hormone free kind last month I was riding a swine magic carpet. They were airy yet crisp, and not overwhelmingly porky. These on the other hand were so hard I thought my teeth would crack and nauseating. Never again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pardon My French But Let Me Speak Italian Vol. 3...Catania's Pizza on Arthur Ave.

In this installment of the Chef Raekwon inspired Bronx Italian series we revisit Arthur Ave. Cattania's Pizza, the eastern most establishment on the Arthur Ave. strip might look like any pizzeria in the city, with pies behind the glass, a Coca Cola menu board and cheese posters, but look closer and you'll see something different. But wait. It's important that I tell you they are closed on Sunday. I need to remind myself of that, because I have gone to Arthur Ave. numerous times with the excitement of getting some of their mini calzones, only to have my unadulterated joy jacked and stripped naked. This shouldn't have to happen to anybody else. So, to be very clear, Catania's is closed on Sunday.

I have no clue how Catania's pizza tastes. Nor do I care. The sole purpose of walking in the door under the huge red awning is to get my hands on their mini calzones. These things are incredible. No. These things are fucking incredible. You know those moments when you fiend for a particular taste or meal. These make my list. Limited to 4 fillings- ricotta, meat, ricotta and sausage, and veal and peppers, each variety is worthy of praise. On my most recent trip I had one of each except for the plain cheese. Approximately 3 inches squared, and 1.5 to 2 inches tall, these small pouches pack some major flavor. The thin, crisp crust has a pleasant crunch, protecting the soft and delicate insides.

It's pretty difficult to differentiate each calzone so you just grab one and go in. The meat calzone turned out to be my initial draw. Basically, it is a meatball and tomato sauce blend. The tomato sauce adds a little sweetness and spice. The filling is very moist yet dense, and there is no short changing of meat. No air pockets here.

Next up was the Ricotta and Sausage. I forgot how delicious the fresh ricotta cheese is. Purchased daily from Calandra's Cheese right across the street, the rich salty creaminess would make a vegan grab an udder. Small slices of sausage are placed atop the cheese so each bite should have a little of each. Catania's uses a mellow sausage that works well with the cheese, not overpowering it. This might be my favorite.

The veal and pepper calzone is a mix of ground veal with chopped green pepper. I rarely eat veal, but having one of these makes me wonder why. Not as strong as the meat calzone, the smoothness of the veal and the sweetness of the pepper provide such great flavor that you forget you're eating a baby cow.

The idea of the mini calzone is perfect. Sometimes a large calzone is too much to eat, especially if you're on the run. With the smaller version, you can still grab enough to fill you up, but eat each one as a snack. Plus you can get a variety of different tastes. A calzone sampler if you will.

The owner said the idea came about in the 1940's when his parents ran a bakery across the street, bordering Calandra's. They made these little pockets for workers in the area with the cheese from next door. They became such a hit that when he opened the pizzeria years later he knew he had to incorporate them into the menu.

Individual calzones cost $2.25. Not cheap, but definitely worth it. $6.75 for 3 is a little more than what a regular sized calzone costs in most pizzerias throughout the 5 boroughs. The real bargain is buying a tray of 20. That runs you only $23. I'm dying for a reason to get 20 at a time. Maybe when the apartment is complete and I have a little house warming jumpoff, we get several trays. Heiny lights in the tub Dogg Pound style. Mini calzones in the oven getting it on and we ain't leaving till...

Catania's Pizzeria
2305 Arthur Ave. at the corner of 184th St.(184th St. and Crescent Ave. meet at Arthur Ave.)
Bronx, NY 10458

Mon - Sat 6 am - 7 pm (They might close at 6:30 so call to make sure)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Just Like Baggy Slacks I'm Crazy Hip Hop.

Guru spoke the TRUTH.

I admit, those XXL shirts and 36 waist with the 36 inseam jeans don't cut it anymore. For too long the M.O. was baggied out. But I'm finally growing up. Plus I look like a peanut head with that shit. Like a tadpole becoming a frog, a caterpillar to a butterfly. HowFresh all grows up. I'll admit, it's tough to make that change. Especially with the over sized fitteds. I love that shit. But it does look kind of foolish with properly sized gear. And for the record, I don't own that shirt. The chances of getting punched in the face (see person eating cheesesteak) on a sunny day increase exponentially if I was to rock that. It is awesome though- also in white and black. Spotted it at Vault up in Harlem a little while ago. (Big shout to Wayne, Carl, and Larry at Vault- always stocking the shelves with fly shit.) And to think I was this close to matching my Goochi bucket and skinny jeans. Next time. But there's an "H" at the end. Is that acceptable? That's one step removed from "A". And we all know how I feel about the "H".

Anyway, I came across this video on 2dopeboyz. "Louis this, Gucci that, tight shirt, man purse, I ain't doing that...skinny jeans with the crease you need to kill yourself." That is hilario. I guess these dudes had enough with the new trends infiltrating hip hop's grimy epidermis. WARNING: Your favorite artist will be exposed in this video.

Personally, I think that shit is terrible. Forget aesthetics, it just looks super uncomfortable. I remember wearing my pants below my ass when I was in high school, but they were baggy. When I walk past these kids, their ankles and knees are screaming at me to grab a scissor so they can breathe. And let's not even talk about the oysters. Yikes. How great would it be if a rash of tight jean slashings hit the city. I can see it now- the suspect is entering 100 Centre St. while the pap is asking questions and snapping photos and he matter-of-factly says, "Just like baggy slacks I'm crazy hip-hop." Poetry in motion.

The video's a little more than 7 minutes. That's valuable life time, so you might want to fast forward through it. Just listen to the chorus and peep the end where Duffle Bag Boy is talking. He has some great lines. Really epitomizes what is so wrong in this world of ours.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Padraig lad, I don't think we're in Woodlawn anymore. Diablo!!

I've been living in Inwood for about a month now. Of course things are different from the former (Irish) enclave, but today that was made crystal clear. Walking on Broadway to get my morning coffee- not everyday, just when I need that little boost from a night out- I saw green plantains serving as paper weights at the newspaper stand. (Click on image for better view- pardon the cell phone pic) Ese es muy sustantivo. And you know there weren't any Irish Echos. Finbar said the bananas weren't ripe.

My super doesn't speak much English, and though I used to be semi-fluent in Espanol- 98 on the Regents- OOOOOWEEEEEEEEE- I've been having some problems asking rather mundane questions. It can be a bit frustrating, but having the following reference tools below should make "I'm locked out of my apartment- can you help me?", "I need a new fire alarm", "What time does the elevator stop going to the basement?" (Is this a common practice?), and so on a bit easier. Many years ago on Dyckman I had troubles asking for a fork, tenedor, but I learned all the takeout jargon and thought my problems were over.

The Gringo's Guide to Espanol- Uptown Edition

AX- Ebonics in Spanish Essential listening- learn this and you'll be the blankito/a, moreno/a con mucho sabor with the quickness.

Fat Joe- Fat Joe's Way (Beefeo Conmigo Skit)

Nice & Smooth- Hip Hop Junkies (Spanish Fly Remix)

The Beatnuts- Se Acabo

Big Pun- 100%

Cypress Hill- No Entiendes La Onda (How I Could Just Kill a Man)

Mellow Man Ace- Mentirosa

And the first Spanglish joints yo me acuerdo.

West Coast lingo...

Kid Frost- La Raza

East Coast lingo... (Who remembers these dudes? I copped their tape- and still have it. This joint was hot when it dropped- dirty bass line. And they kick those Buttafuco flavors. Wow.)

Mesanjarz of Funk- Keep it Flowin' Remix

Mesanjarz of Funk- Keep it Flowin' LP Version

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In the Spirit of Brotherly Love HowFresh Chooses the Phillies.

I'm sorry this took so long. But it just wasn't an easy decision. All the false media speculation as to who I was going to pick didn't help matters. After hours of grueling thought and deep soul searching, I fully throw myself behind the Fightin' Phils.

I'm a Yankees fan. Always have been and always will (these dudes better get their shit together). With that, I've always rooted for the American League. I prefer offense to pitching, and favor a 1 through 9 line-up that can hit. The AL logo is better as well. The soaring eagle holding the ball with its talons is gangsta- powerful. On some you won't take shit from me mentality. The NL is boring. Some spread eagle- AAAYOOOO- with the sign over it.

When I say always rooted for the AL, that doesn't include 2004 and 2007 when the Red Sox were playing. That should go without saying. Honestly, I don't even recall watching those series. Must have been really boring. I would rather watch 2 Girls 1 Cup or the less applauded 2 Girls 1 Finger continuously on repeat than watch any Boston player or fan celebrate.

I don't hate the Rays. They are an enjoyable team to watch and have a roster full of young and exciting players. And how can I forget what BJ (Bossman Jr.) Upton did for my fantasy team last year. But they also fucked with the Yankees in spring training- first by breaking one of our catchers' wrists (Franciso Cervelli) on a slide at home and second by Johnny Gomes attacking Shelley Duncan at second base after he took offense to Duncan's high slide into Iwamura. Shit, we owned them for all these years, but it's still too close to home. They're in my bread box and I'm not feeling it. Of course I wanted them to beat Boston, preferably in 5, but 7 will do. On a total side note- when did all these Red Sox fans infiltrate our land. I mean everywhere you go, you hear these jerks. First it was a crew of herbs in their filthy, never washed Sox hats, but now the female fan is growing in numbers. And they might be the worst species on the planet. I was at Lansdowne Road on 10th Ave betw. 43rd and 44th for the beginning of game 7 - one of the best sports bars in NYC- and these whiny voices wearing Varitek and Pedroia jerseys were all over the place. Have some fucking pride NYC.

I want to be clear that my Met hate wasn't the impetus for this decision. Last summer the boys and I caught a late September game at Citizens Bank Park and it was a blast. It was during the Mets' historic collapse and the place was ROCKING. You know the kid was donning the Ryan Howard jersey. Another point for Philly- player named Howard. Great stadium, great atmosphere, and possibly the #1 reason, great food. Home of the Schmitter. Nuff Said. If you don't know, hit I-95 and get familiar.

I'm not a huge Giants fan (working on it) and the same goes for the Rangers, so I don't harbor any animosity for the Philly fan. And there is no Knicks-Sixers rivalry. Just Knicks-Knicks beef. The city is a great weekend trip for some cheesesteaks (I have the mean itinerary- props to John's Roast Pork on Snyder) and good times. Mitchell & Ness has their flagship store on Chestnut and I still get excited walking in the doors. As if these reasons weren't valid enough to root for J-Roll, Pat the Bat, Ladies Love Chase, Cole as Ice Hamels and Jason Soul Patch Wonder Werth, let's not forget the man we know as Philadelphia Freeway. He killed Paper Planes and is ready to tear shit up in '09.

The Phillies have just 1 title in 125 years. Everybody talks about the Lovable Cubbies, but these dudes are hurting for a championship just as much. 1980 was the last time they hoisted the trophy. The Rays are new to this. Momma Ray popped out the little Devils in 1998, so there is no urgency. Shit, this was the first year they were above 500. Patience little Rays, patience. You have to walk before you run. Just ask the baby bull.

So rock those red frames and let's get it popping. PHILLIES!! PHILLIES!!!

Props to Sports Logos.Net for all the Philly flare. If you ever need a sports logo, they got it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How Fresh?

That Fresh.

Just when I was about to quit the fitted game. Between all that's been happening to the kid (story to be told), the man up above is telling me not to. I'd be foolish not to obey the Almighty.


Maybe I'm just bugging because I've been painting all night and those fumes are fucking with the noodle. Nah, this is some divine inbox shit. Guess I'm going to have to take a trip downtown.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Japanese on 9th St.- From Gross to Great...Otafuko and Ippudo NY.

I hope you're not expecting a new post every night. That's pressure I don't need in my life right now. Even if you did, tomorrow night is Kol Nidre, the first night of Yom Kippur, and I have a lot of atoning to do. Seriously. I'll be back Thursday once the book is closed and hopefully I'll be written down for a healthy and prosperous year.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest let's discuss 9th Street in the East Village, aka Little Tokyo. I've been a denizen of 9th Street since the mid-90's when Bobbito ran Footworks in the basement between 1st and 2nd Ave. Back then the Japanese occupation was there but limited, now it's in full force.

The destination was Ippudo located on 4th Ave. between 9th and 10th Streets, a ramen noodle chain in Japan that recently opened their first shop on American soil. Coming from 2nd Ave. we passed this tiny hole in the wall called Otafuko. Literally the size of a closet. Apparently their specialty is Takoyaki, fried octopus balls.

Think munchkins filled with a gooey liquid and chunks of octopus covered in mayo, a sweet sauce and fish shavings. Yeah, they were disgusting with a capital D-I-S-G-U-S-T-I-N-G. One bite was more than enough but I had to take another just to make sure my taste buds weren't bugging. They weren't but I was. If anybody likes them, please explain your reasons. I can't find one redeeming quality, unless you include the gross out factor for cool points. And I ain't trying to be cool anymore.

Luckily what was to follow would make those octopus balls a distant memory. As you enter Ippudo, the bar is on the right and the hostess is straight ahead. There was about a 15-20 minute wait on a Friday night around 7pm. Not a problem when there's a 2 for 1 beer special till 8pm. The Asahi and Yebisu made the wait enjoyable.

The dining room is a rotund area with the kitchen around part of it. There are several large community tables with booths along the wall. We were placed at one of the large tables with some other slurpers. It's all good. The family that slurps together stays together. True Story.

Hot towels came and then we put the game face on. Aside from a particular version of ramen we weren't sure what to order as a starter. The overly cheerful waiter suggested the Salty Pork (I'm not sure if I remember that correctly, but I'm pretty sure that's what it was.) Who were we to say no, so we obliged and also ordered the Shiomaru NY ramen, one with Berkshire pork and the other with Chashu, incredibly tender BBQed pork belly.

The Salty Pork could make the Kosherest of the Kosher dabble in the swine. Thinly sliced pork belly with scallions and red onion with a very pleasant semi-sweet sauce. Lovely pink meat with glistening stripes of fat. I highly recommend this dish.

The main attraction was the Shiomaru NY ramen noodles. Served in a tonkotsu broth traditionally made from pork bones, the liquid took on the color of the bone. The ramen was accompanied by scallions and sliced cabbage and topped with the porky pork. I hope all this pork talk doesn't put me in bad standings with the man up top. As mentioned, one bowl had Berkshire pork (the middle pic) and the other had chashu (the bottom pic). Both cuts of pig were incredibly tender and delicious. The broth was perfectly flavored and the spaghetti sized ramen was cooked just right.

This was my first experience at a NYC ramen shop, so I have no comparison, but Ippudo would appear to be in the upper echelon. (I ate at Sapporo on 49th and 7th the other day and it was very disappointing.) The tastes and flavors were fresh and in abundance. While I've heard some say the $13 bowl of noodles is pricey, I'll let you be the judge. I know I'll have no problem dropping $13 again and again and again.

Ippudo NY
65 4th Ave. betw. 9th and 10th Sts.
New York, NY 10003

Mon - Thurs 11am - 4pm, 5pm - 12am
Fri - Sat 11am - 4 pm, 5pm - 1am
Sun 11am - 11pm

If you're feeling octopussy...

236 E 9th St. betw. 2nd and 3rd Ave.
New York, NY 10003-7503
(212) 353-8503
Mon - Fri 1pm-10pm
Sat - Sun 12pm-11pm

The 6 train to Astor Place or the N/R to 8th Street will leave you close to both places.

NY Times Metro Section, You Will Be Missed.

Sunday marked the final installment of the NY Times Metro Section. No longer will local news receive it's own section, but now get thrown in the main section between national news and the obits. It will be referred to as New York news. Whenever I read the paper outside of NYC, the Metro Section was never part of the National edition, which makes all the sense in the world, but it always felt like it was missing something. I don't want that feeling of emptiness to return.

Aside from Wednesday's Dining Out section, the Metro Section was my first read of the day. Sports used to be, but with the internet you can get all the box scores and stats the night before. The Arts Section is always read, as is Tuesday's Science Times. Personally I can do without the Thursday and Sunday Styles, Thursday Home, and Sunday Automobile sections. There, that's how you could have saved. We all know the ad revenue comes from those sections so who am I kidding. Shit, if needed be, I would have advertised HowfreshEats for a month or so. I would have been able to afford one line, if that.

Presumably the content will be the same, but for a NY paper to no longer have an exclusively NY section, it marks a sad day. Last week the Sun had to shut down operations, and today another piece of NY journalism is lost.

Of course it was a financial decision, so maybe we should be thankful that it will only be several sheets of paper being let go and not the team of local reporters and editors. I just find it more difficult to maneuver section A on the train. The slimmer sections make me look so professional. Now I'm going to be a doof on a Monday morning going to check the Metropolitan Diary- which thankfully is still intact.

So Metro Section, farewell. HowfreshEats will do its damnedest to keep the spirit of NYC alive here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pardon My French But Let Me Speak Italian Vol. 2... F&J Pine in Bronxdale.

Keeping with Bronx Italians, I bring you Frankie & Johnnie's Pine on Bronxdale Ave. A favorite for years, they went from being a cozy little spot to owning the entire block. To be honest with you, this meal was supposed to be at Zero Otto Nove, but they were on vacation.

One of my favorite dishes is served at F&J as shown above. I rarely order the same meal at restaurants, but this is the exception. At times I crave for it. And it never lets me down. A simple dish, cavatelli country style. Cavatelli served with bits of sausage, broccoli, and cannellini beans in an oil, garlic and basil sauce. The pasta with the beans and broccoli are relatively subtle, but it's the sausage that brings the flavor. The cavatelli is cooked perfectly al dente providing that nice chew. I think I prefer smaller pastas like this and farfalle as they're easier to eat. Each bite should have a little of everything and you're in business.

I don't think there's anything else to say.

For larger parties F&J is a great spot. There are several dining rooms, with additional party rooms, and this year they offered outdoor seating, which we took advantage of. The portions are HUGE, almost always requiring a doggie bag and extremely affordable. Holla at cha doggie.

For starters we opted for the cold seafood cocktail for 2 and the fried calamari. Chilled lobster tails, shrimp, scallops, king crab legs, clams and mussels for 22 beans. I'm pretty cautious when it comes to seafood, but it all appeared to be fresh, and lacked any fishyness. The calamari was good as usual.

The other entrees were gemelli di casa which included grilled chicken, rock shrimp, garlic and basil with plum tomato and baby arugula. Definitely enjoyable, but nothing compared to my cavatelli.

Pine Style Paella for 2 consisting of chicken, sausage, shrimp, crab legs, mussels, clams, langostines, and broccoli served over saffron rice. Personally, I'd go for Zuppa De Pesce at an Italian, but Latin couples do as Latin couples do. Kidding aside it was up to par, and served as my dinner for the next couple of days.

The final dish was a special of skirt steak served with sausage and a vegetable risotto. Steak was cooked well, but this isn't my kind of dish. Also, the sausage was a bit OD.

I'll keep coming back, and I'll keep ordering the same dish. The menu is long and there are tons of things I haven't tried, though I've never heard any complaints about any meal. Most pasta dishes are around $15 and entrees rarely exceed $20, with several exceptions. The bar always has cold Peronis to be cracked open, and all the baseball paraphernalia throughout the place makes the wait less painful. And you can't forget the Sopranos poster over the fireplace in the bar. I know, I know. Capiche?

Click on the menu to here some Frank.

F&J Pine
1913 Bronxdale Ave. betw. Matthews and Muliner Ave.
Bronx, NY 10462

Open 7 days a week 11 am - Midnight

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pardon My French But Let Me Speak Italian... Trattoria Zero Otto Nove on Arthur Ave.

It might not appear that I've been eating based on the lack of food posts, but the amount of R&D I've been putting in over the last several months would challenge the best of them. With that, I bring you one of the best treats to come out of the Bronx in the last couple of years, Trattoria Zero Otto Nove in the Arthur Ave. neighborhood.

Located smack dab in the middle of Arthur Ave. between 187th St. and Crescent Ave., Zero Otto Nove is the casual offshoot of Roberto, arguably the finest Italian restaurant in the 5 boroughs. It should be noted that each time I've eaten here, twice, Roberto was the primary destination. But due to the almost regular hour wait (no reservations) and being closed on Sundays, 089 served as the fall back. Don't get it twisted though, this isn't a safe alternative. Aside from Roberto, 089 should be the main attraction on Arthur Ave.

It is necessary that you order a pizza from the brick oven operating in the cavernous dining area. This is some of the best pizza in the NYC. On my first trip we ordered the Margherita- San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and basil on a toothy crust. The sweetness from the tomato sauce intertwined with the small dollops of fresh mozzarella and basil- and add that to the char on the crust, you forget how delicious pizza can be when done properly. You're table is 17' from the oven tops, so if you're waiter has 2 broken legs and has to crawl to your table, it's still smoking. On an average night you have a choice of 15 selections ranging from $12 to $17.

On the 2nd trip we ordered the special of the day which was the margherita with pancetta- beautifully cured slices of pork belly. Take my description above, add the salty factor, and we're in a new universe. The pizza alone is worth the trip.

On the first trip our appetizers were a grilled calamari special with sliced cherry tomatoes and basil- not one tough bite, characterizing the freshness of the ingredients- and an insalata caprino e pera, or as we like to call it, a salad consisting of goat cheese, sliced pear and mixed greens. Bananas- I know I said pears, but this was bananas. Creamy goat cheese with the crisp sweet pear. This might be a fairly common option at other restaurants, but Roberto and his staff take it to the next level. I regret to inform you that I have no pics of these dishes. Hopefully my words painted a clear enough picture.

All of the apps on the second trip were daily specials. One being sliced dry sausage with cannellini beans cooked with tomato. After having a sausage appetizer at Roberto in the winter, I fully trusted Roberto's preparation of sausage, pause.

The second was ditalini with peas, tomato, and thinly chopped slices of prosciutto topped with mozzarella and baked.

The third was a baby clam dish, served with tomatoes and if I recall correctly, served in some sort of wine broth. It was delicious, as was the sausage dish and the pasta dish- cooked al dente with the blend of flavors. Only complaint was that these should have been served in entree-sized portions.

I'm sure the pizza with an appetizer or 2, and of course several Peronis, is enough for a normal stomach. But glutton is as glutton does. So onto the main dishes or Secondi Piatti, though it's more like Quinto Piatti. That's some real pardon my French, but let me speak Italian shit right there.

On the first trip I had to go in and get the Zuppa De Pesce. Knowing the seafood was fresh I'd have been foolish not to. Clams, muscles, shrimp, crab, calamari, octopus, and a white fish in a mellow tomato sauce. Served in a crock pot, this meal fed me for 3 days.

Other entrees from the first meal included a pork osso bucco served with a cannellini bean risotto- a huge shank of fall off the bone swine- and a sole special cooked in a liquidy tomato sauce with clams and muscles.

Rabbit was devoured on the second trip. Charred tender bunny in a spicy tomato sauce. I rarely do rabbit, but as expected this was good. I'm not such a fan of the taste and texture of rabbit so I doubt I'll be having it again. As you can see below it looks like chicken, but not quite the same.

One thing that Zero Otto Nove incorporates into their menu that I wish more restaurants in NYC did is local ingredients. Or if not local ingredients, local markets. It is clearly stated on the menu that most ingredients are purchased from the local purveyors on Arthur Ave. The cheese is purchased daily from Casa della Mozzarella, meat from Biancardi's, and fish from Cosenza's. The quality is evident in each dish. As an Italian implant, Roberto is used to the finest and freshest ingredients from his hometown of Salerno (area code 089, thus the name). It's extremely refreshing that he's bringing this mentality to American soil.

Zero Otto Nove has a small bar in the front with a flat screen or 2 to watch some Italian football- I'm so European. A long hallway takes you to the dining area which has around 12 - 15 tables on the main floor and several more tables in an elevated loft area. Efforts were made to give the feel of a small Italian village and overall they succeeded. As mentioned earlier, the brick oven is in the corner by the stairs and blends in with the brick and stone.

Over the years I've eaten at a lot of Arthur Ave. restaurants, and while others serve some very good food, Zero Otto Nove takes things to the next level. I definitely consider it a destination restaurant, but rather than just coming to the Boogie solely for a meal, head to the Bronx Zoo or Botanical Gardens during the day and cap it off with a little trip to the Bronx's own Salerno. Just look for a Vespa and the original Mini Cooper from the 70's on Arthur Ave.'s sidewalk and you're good to go.

Zero Otto Nove
2357 Arthur Ave.
Bronx, NY 10458
(718) 220-1027

Tuesday to Thursday 4.30pm – 10pm
Friday and Saturday 4.30pm - 11 pm
Sunday 1pm – 9pm