Eurasian Fusion

Cuisine, French, Malaysian, New York

The Battleground

Aux Epices, Chinatown, New York


The Contenders

Vegetable Curry vs. Peanut Noodle Big Bowl

Legs:

foods foods foods

A cornucopia of vegetables bathing in a lovely pool of spicy coconut red curry. Living the lux life, one curry at a time.

This adorable walk-in-closet-sized Manhattan eatery is truly unique. Run by a French/Malaysian husband and wife duo, this may be in the only place in New York where one can order both escargot and satay tofu. Eager to try this (affordably priced) culinary mishmash, I couldn’t wait to see what was in store.

Everything on the menu looked awesome. Seriously, everything. But I’m a sucker for curries, and I’m a big sucker for coconut curries. Top it off with the promise of a multitude of vegetables and you’ve got me hooked.

These veggies were just wonderful. Broccoli, carrots, red peppers, cabbage, zucchini, a HUGE hunk of eggplant… All were cooked beautifully and not stewed to death, which is a hard task to pull off when it comes to curries. They also absorbed that fragrant coconut bath they were lounging in, enabling me to get a sweet and spicy punch with every bite.

When requesting extra spice, our knowledgeable server actually brought out two different types of hot sauce for Snax and me: a different one to compliment each dish. Mine was tangy with a big whiff of umami and a lovely kick that was just what my curry needed. Very good recommendation; it really brought my dish up to the next level.

Unfortunately, I could only order one thing. But I will most definitely be back to explore more of their menu offerings.


Snax:

my foods

Peanut sauce and noodle big bowl with tofu, lettuce, cucumber, red onion, and pineapple garnished with a lime wedge. Large wooden spoon added for tossing/whimsy.

 

I sincerely had no idea what we were getting into as we escaped the cold and rushed into Aux Epices. It’s one thing to call your establishment a fusion of culinary styles, but you can’t tell where the balance lies until you’ve actually sampled the food. Malaysian-French sounded a bit risky until I opened up the menu and began drooling with reckless abandon.

By the time we got to Aux Epices I had worked up quite the appetite. I was tempted to go for the ratatouille, but when I saw the section listed as “Big Bowls” there’s no point in wasting another moment.

The peanut noodle big bowl is fundamentally sound and full of delightful flair. The peanut sauce is everything you would expect and then some. It’s rich, creamy, and chock full of nutty goodness. The sauce alone performs magnificently but is further elevated by the pineapple’s sweetness. Never overcompensating, like that one coworker who is all smiles and doesn’t know when to let a conversation die, the pineapple’s profile meshes well beneath the sauce and provides a smooth transition from noodle to salad. The extra punch of lime juice gave just the right amount of tang to wake the noodles and keep the lettuce, cucumber, and red onions interesting.

There were just three pieces of tofu in the entirety of the big bowl. They were cooked well but faded in the background as the other elements came to light; good but nothing special.

An overall successful dish from an impressive little bistro. From one fusion to another, you’re one of the best Aux Epices.


And the winner is… another tie?!

✓Protein ✓Sauce ✓Sides/Veggies ✓Presentation

Both dishes were wonderful in competing ways. Although Snax’s sauce was ultimately superior, his hilarious little salad stood no chance against Legs’ vegetable bouquet. And while Legs’ was more visually enticing, her complete lack of protein left an entire category to be desired.

Stay tuned next week for a Thanksgiving-themed food battle. We need to eat to the death and settle the November score.

November wins:

Legs: 1 – Snax: 1

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Bleu, Blanc, Rouge!

Food, French, New York

The Battleground

Marseille, Hell’s Kitchen, New York

The Contenders

Lamb Chop Mareilles Edited

Lamp chops, pole beans, roasted eggplant, lamb jus and balsamic glaze. Omg.

Legs:

Let me start off by saying that I love lamb.  A lot.  It’s so delicious and I rarely have it, so this meal was a huge treat.  What’s more, this lamb in particular was amazing.

Perfectly seasoned, beautifully cooked, just the right amount of au jus… wow.  A little bit difficult to get off the bone at times, but you can’t blame the lamb for that.

What do I love as much as lamb?  Eggplant.  This plate has both?  Sign me up.  The eggplant was roasted until it was soft but not stringy and set on top of a balsamic glaze which it absorbed like a sponge.  Dredging lamb through balsamic glaze and chasing with a bite of eggplant may be my new favorite hobby.

The pole beans were a perfect blanket for the meal.  Still nice and crisp, a light green was the perfect complement.  Using another dense component like potato would have sent me over the edge, but the beans had the perfect amount of snap and air to form a stellar cohesion.

I’m obsessed.

Salmon Marseilles Edit

Salmon, roasted heirloom tomatoes, caramelized fennel, citrus broth. What could go wrong?

Snax:

When my salmon arrived wearing its ten-gallon tomato hat, I was so excited. I invited the salmon to take off his hat and stay a while. His friends salt and pepper were supposed to tag along, but we were stood up. Harsh.

It was an OK dish, but it could have been great. The citrus broth was wonderful and the fennel was exceptional. I absolutely hate fennel seeds, but I am now a huge fan of fennel itself.

Things were going very well until I bit into the salmon and tasted disappointment. What happened? No seasoning to speak of. Not a hint of salt or whisper of pepper. I looked over at the now toppled tomato and hoped it had more to offer. It really wasn’t fair of me to ask for more from a humble tomato. You tried, my friend, you tried.

If the salmon had been seasoned properly or had absorbed the broth’s flavor, then I wouldn’t have had a single complaint. C’est la vie.


And the winner is…Legs!

✓Protein  ✓Sauce  ✓Sides/Veggies  ✓Presentation

Every component of my dish was flawless and packed with flavor.  Snax’s poor, under-seasoned salmon never stood a chance.

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