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The Usual

30 Kenmare St. (Mott & Elizabeth Sts. ) Send to Phone
Hip spot for Filipino and Pan-Asian-inspired American comfort food in The Nolitan Hotel.

Cuisine
Open
Dinner nightly
Features
  • Dress code: Casual
  • Full bar
  • Reservations suggested

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The Usual, New York, NY

The Usual Restaurant Review

:
About the restaurant & décor: Wood wall paneling, tables and chairs, and parquet floors, as well as warm tones and an intimate bar create a cozy dining atmosphere that aligns with the menu of American comfort food with Pan-Asian twists at this Little Italy-based restaurant.

Likes: Dishes aptly reflect the chef's Asian and American roots.
Dislikes: Some of the meat centered entrées were a bit heavily seasoned.

Food & Drinks: Chef Alvin Cailan offers creative takes on classics that reflect not only his Filipino roots and American upbringing, along with the influence of Asian and global flavors as a whole on American cuisine, but also Filipino fare itself as, in part, an interpretation of Chinese, Thai and other tastes. Starters like a cheddar and chive biscuit with crab étouffée, and black tiger shrimp with cocktail sauce represent tweaks on Southern and American standards. A pasta selection of dried ramen, fried egg, crispy shallots and scallions in a spicy pork ragù is more indicative of an Asian-style dish. Cauliflower vindaloo adds Indian flavors to cedar-smoked Atlantic salmon with crispy leeks, while grilled steak with chili, soybean paste, grated onions, garlic, scallions, sesame and honey recalls Korean barbeque-type seasoning. Rhubarb semifreddo topped with strawberry syrup and oat crumble, and a banana sundae with dulce de leche and Nilla wafers make for sweet endings. An eclectic wine list consisting of old-world and new-world labels, including sparkling varieties such as a 2015 Domaine Léon Boesch Cremant Brut Zero and a NV Domaine de L’Ocre “Le Perle Rose,” provides at times unconventional pairings that nevertheless work well with the menu.
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