The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2016

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Page 26 of 124

Family-style barbeque from Dinosaur, located in Syracuse, New York. 26  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2016 WHERE WE'RE EATING PHOTO: BRENT HERRIG PHOTO COURTESY OF CRAVE FISHBAR M ention Syracuse, New York, to anyone who's been there, and the first thing they say is that it snows there all the time. Which is an exaggeration—in my experience, it rarely snows in summer. But when you consider that Syracuse University has heated sidewalks, it does give a sense of the weather. The second thing they might say, if they enjoy bending an elbow, is that the city is heavy with craft breweries, and the gastropubs that serve craft beer in lake-sized portions. Those who are fans of local suds like Middle Ages, Willow Rock, Red Hawk and Eastwood can be found nightly at fine joints like Beer Belly Deli, Clark's Ale House and, perhaps most of all, at the always jammed Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, at the corner of Willow and Franklin. The beer list is encyclopedic at Dinosaur, the crowd cheerful and richly-inked—and the 'que is some of the best in Upstate New York. And Down State as well, for there's also a branch in Harlem, serving "true blue" pit plates of dry-rubbed St. Louis ribs, along with apple-brined chicken, jumbo wings (in six flavors, ranging from mild honey BBQ to near-nuclear Devil's Duel) and what the menu refers to as a "Big Ass Pork Plate . . . the Genuine Article, hand pulled and piled high." Don't miss the simmered turkey neck collard greens and the "honey hush" cornbread. Come the snows of winter, Dinosaur keeps locals warm. And equally warming is the drive from Syracuse to New York City—why fly when the drive down the insanely scenic Route 17 is four hours of multi-colors in the fall, and of budding greenery in the spring and summer? It's a wonderful drive, passing through the Borscht Belt of the Catskills, lead- ing straight to the George Washington Bridge, and the obsessively trendy world of New York food. If you're a fan of David Chang's Momofuku chain, try his latest, Momofuku Nishi, situated on 8th Avenue at 22nd Street—a storefront where you sit on wooden boxes at communal tables and chew on platters of tiny fried whole shrimp flavored with sansho pepper and salt, bone marrow with XO sauce on milk bread and the most remarkable "butter noodles," flavored with a chickpea puree called hozon. There's a Momofuku Milk Bar just down the street for grab-and-go birthday balls. And if you've got an appetite for seafood after all that 'que in Syracuse, head for the crazy good Crave Fishbar on 2nd Avenue in Midtown, where well-dressed business folk show up for red crab tostadas, cold poached Maine mussel toast in a spiced Indian tomato purée, Peruvian white shrimp ceviche in watermelon juice and salmon sashimi salad. Unexpectedly, there are Brussels sprouts in a chorizo sausage vinaigrette that should throw your palate for a loop—there's an intensity of flavor here that reminds you why Brussels sprouts have emerged from the darkness where they've long dwelled. CRUISING NEW YORK FOR ALL KINDS OF GRUB by Merrill Shindler Falling Leaves and Fabulous 'Que Seafood from Crave Fishbar on 2nd Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.

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