Bun-ker! Vietnamese

I discovered this place on the “Queens Heatmap.” Another lonely outpost on the outskirts of an industrial wasteland. But don’t be fooled by the gritty moonscape outside, this place is a gem.

Bun-ker, specializes in Vietnamese cuisine. True to its name, it is a fortification of flavor carved out like a redoubt between a Western Beef, a liquor store and commercial warehouses.

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Grilled razor clams with garlic and olive oil. The last time I had these succulent critters was in Venice, and these mollusks were just as tasty as their briny Italian cousins pulled from an Adriatic lagoon.

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Spring Rolls? Yes, I couldn’t resist. I don’t think I’ve ever NOT ordered spring rolls at at Vietnamese restaurant. What of it???

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Another starter, a crepe stuffed with pork. The French-Indochina colonial influence can definitely be seen in this dish.

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Grilled pork chops caramelized beautifully on the outside. The egg was a welcomed addition. Dunking pork chops in runny egg yoke was a brand new experience in hedonism for me.

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…and finally the piece de resistance! The special of the night, roasted pork in a bowl of it’s own delicious gravy garnished with four large prawns. Despite the appetizers, I found enough room to finish. Proof!

Bun-Ker Vietnamese 46-63 Metropolitan Ave Ridgewood, New York 11385
Hours: Tue-Wed 5 pm – 10 pm, Thu-Fri 5 pm – 11 pm, Sat 12 pm – 11 pm, Sun 12 pm – 10 pm

Peter Luger: From Taxi to Takeoff

Below is a step-by-step guide to the stages of supper at the legendary shrine of bovine, Peter Luger Steak House in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.

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Pre-Flight: Gathered around you are the appropriate implements for consumption. Ice-cold Bombay Saphire Martini. Ice water. Various freshly baked breads in a basket. Nobs of butter. Large linen napkin. Cutlery. Gravy boat of Peter Luger’s steak sauce.

Then navigate the broad-sheet spread before you, the Peter Luger menu.

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First appetizer: Fresh tomatoes, raw onions and thick cut bacon. I likened this flavor combination to a “deconstructed” bacon cheeseburger.

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Second appetizer: Lamb chop medium-rare. Yes, lamb as an appetizer. It’s a steak house not a cupcake shop, people.

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The chop was totally delicious on its own, but I think mint jelly adds another dimension to the gaminess of the lamb and smooths out the flavor. Try it out sometime!

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Cleared for takeoff: The waiter expertly presents the porterhouse steak for two. He deftly divides the filet democratically between myself and my dining partner. Obviously, both parties must have an equal share of the filet (Men have been killed for less). I noticed the main serving dish stood atop a smaller plate. Perhaps a waiting technique from a bygone era (Peter Luger was established in 1887) to let au jus accumulate at the bottom of the tray; making it easier for the gravy to be spooned lovingly over the caramelized steak.

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Liftoff! Medium rare porterhouse steak, creamed spinach, and German-style fried potatoes. POW! Rewarding endorphins are immediately released into one’s brain. Happiness ensues.

To elaborate more, here’s a brief description of Peter Luger’s famous porterhouse steak from their website: The color must be pink with an even conformation of fat dispersed throughout. This is referred to as marbling. If selected, the loin is brought back to the premises of the restaurant where the dry aging process begins. The loins of beef sit in a temperature controlled cooler where air circulates around them. After the meat is properly aged, it is butchered and brought up to the kitchen for broiling.

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Cruising altitude… No room for any desert today besides coffee… but they did present me with a chocolate coin? Okay!

Peter Luger 178 Broadway Brooklyn, N.Y. 11211