My NYC friends took me to Contra in the Lower East Side for dinner the day before I went back home. It’s a tasting menu restaurant, so you eat what they serve you, which was kind of nice. Sometimes it’s hard to pick and choose; it feels luxurious to throw your hands up and say, “Just serve me your best, chef!”
This was the first course at Contra. So this restaurant has one of those super spartan menus that express nothing about the deliciousness to come, like for this dish it was just, “Cranberry beans, cabbage, tomato.” I mean, that’s like something from a sad raw vegan restaurant menu.
The dish had a flavor that really reminded me of my mom’s bean sprout soup… We thought it was bacon, but there was something else about it where that answer didn’t feel quite right. The waiter told us the kitchen used bonito flakes in the dish. My mom uses a fish base for her soup. It felt like a real “Ratatouille” moment! In addition, it was raining that evening and I find that soup, that flavor comforting when it’s raining.
[An earlier “Ratatouille” moment was at Ma Peche, when we tried a rice cake dish that was a more jacked-up version of my mom’s spicy rice cakes. David Chang needs to add ramen noodles in his and my mom needs add lamb in hers.]