New York Gears Up for Malaysian Restaurant Week

Zak Pelaccio and his Fatty Crab empire definitely have pushed the boom of Malaysian food in the city. Or rather, Pelaccio has made Malaysian cuisine more popular to the masses that had never heard of Malay fish fry, chicken claypot, or the spicy curry dish java mee. Today the city kicks off the second annual Malaysian Restaurant Week, an event that runs until June 24 and includes not only New York, but New Jersey and Connecticut as well.

In the city you can get your Malaysian on with a three-course menu for $20.12 at popular establishments including Laut, Café Asean, Nyona, and of course, Fatty Crab, though both locations strictly offer the prix fixe deal for lunch, before 7pm or after 10pm. Also on the line up are some Asian-fusion restaurants that are offering a special Malaysian menu for the week. These include Top Chef contestant Angelo Sosa’s Social Eatz, Ian Kittichai’s Ember Room, Dragonfly, Wild Ginger in Midtown East, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Spice Market, though only for lunch. Not a bad line up considering the small number of Malaysian restaurants in the city, and, for you adventurous types, this weekend the Asian Food Markets in North Planfield, NJ will be hosting a sampling of the cuisine from 10am to 6pm.

BlackBook’s Work Week Lunch: Union Square & Flatiron

Every day without fail Senior Editor Nick Haramis comes over to Assistant Editor Ben Barna’s desk and debates lunch. They aren’t necessarily arguing about where to go, they’re arguing about logistics, how quickly they want to eat, type of food and, most importantly, the length of walk, since the selection of good eating around Union Square is sprinkled throughout the Flatiron, Gramercy and even Greenwich Village. Here, a list of what is getting Seamless Webbed, called in and brought back to the BlackBook offices during the workday lunch.

Office image BlackBook Media 29 East 19th Street, 4th Floor (Park Ave. & Broadway) Eating Hood: Union Square, Flatiron, Nearby: ABC Carpet, Pipa, Starbucks on the corner.

Union SquareDogmatic– Saucy gourmet dogs in toasty baguette jackets about which our Vice President of Content Chris Mohney says simply “luv.” Sunde Johnson, our Quality Assurance Engineer, usually gets one beef and one asparagus dog since “one will not fill you up.” Get your sausages in beef, chicken, pork, turkey, lamb or asparagus form. Smother it in cheddar jalapeno sauce, horseradish mustard, truffle gryere, chimichurri, sun dried tomoto feta or mint yogurt. Handmade sodas in summer are quite nice as well. Tip: Johnson has an aversion to bringing messy food to her desk. “I get jalapeno cheese sauce on the side, a lot of people get the sauce in the actual bun, but it can get really messy.” ●Republic– Minimalist fave of Partnerships and Promotions dude Andrew Berman and myself. Only vaguely communist, which is more fun than the full-bore thing. Andrew is a fan of #15- the Vietnamese Vegetable Noodles (cold rice vermicelli, mint, broccoli, celery, carrots, tofu egg, shallots, bean sprouts, peanuts) while I’m a Glass Noodles person myself (#33 sauteed chicken, green & red bean noodles, carrots, celery, bean sprouts, onions, sesame seeds, ginger dipping sauce). Tip: If you are ordering with some picky eaters from your office, remind them of the sandwich shop in the front which takes advantage of the Baogette and Vietnamese sandwich trend. ●Coffee Shop– Wanna-models, PR flacks, and the occasional leather ‘n’ jean diehard pack this vast diner space, and during the daylight hours we like to take out to take a gander at all of the hungover club people. Our high-ups visit it for other reasons of course, to talk business on lunch breaks. Mohney makes his pilgrimage “never for coffee,” but confirms its “still decent for small power lunch.” If I’ve been surviving on Lean Cuisines all week I’ll begin to crave the Sesame Chicken & Bok Choy Salad with shredded crisp tortilla. Tip: Spring time wait for tables on the patio are horrendous. Send your intern to camp out if you’ve gotta impress a client. ●Chop’t– The lines are as long as Disney Land’s, but nothing beats having your salad chopped within an inch of becoming soup. You might feel like you’re an old Italian woman ordering Pancetta (I said finely sliced not beer coasters buddy!) but nothing feels as good as not being able to taste your bean sprouts, but knowing they’re there. Barna usually “makes it as cheap as possible” and orders a standard DIY salad with four toppings, and I echo this sentiment. Other lovers: Haramis (after months of convincing him that the worms they found in the salad were at Tossed, not Chop’t) and Berman who goes Greek from time to time. Tip: They have cans of Fresca, which is a highly sought after commodity in this office. ●Laut– A favorite of Features Editor Willa Paskin and Marketing Manager Julie Fabricant, who prefers the Tom Yam Gung soup, featuring lemongrass spicy broth with been sprouts, bamboo shoot, mushrooms, basil, mint and cilantro. The red and green curries, which come with a combo of duck, shrimp and beef for $14, chicken, pork and squid for $13, vegetables and tofu for $11, red snapper, salmon and scallop for $15, or soft shell crab and mixed seafood for $16. Tip: Escape from work to this cozy place if you can, it’s a nice mental retreat and still bustling enough to keep you off the Blackberry. ●Ennju– A fave of the adventurous eaters in the office, a grab-and-go for Japanese fast food. Kimchi, weird looking salads and imported candies round out the surprisingly big selection. I usually go for the spicy tuna rolls and pick at the small salad bar. Tauginas swears they have some of the best udon noodles in the area and Mohney is in it for the solid selection of quick sushi. Tip: Place slows down and gets all cafe-ish after the lunch rush.

Nearby Picks: Union Square Cafe, Blue Water Grill, Havana Central, Lillie’s, Hallal street meat on the corner of 17th and Broadway, City Bakery Soup & Sandwich

image Flatiron‘wichcraft– Not to be confused with Craft and Craftbar that also takes up residence in the area, this fast and fab ‘wich shop satisfies the inherent foodies in the office, on days we can afford to splurge. “Try the Smoked Ham breakfast sammich,” Tauginas advises, “it’s a baguette with butter, avocado and ham.” Dan Murphy orders the Gruyere Grilled Cheese and tomato soup religiously. Tip: If you want to escape for a work lunch, this sandwich shop has a hidden restaurant space where you can sit down and enjoy a ‘wich during lunch and a selection of small plates during the dinner hour. Nearby: Craftbar, EquinoxEisenberg’s– Julie Fabricant and Willa Paskin’s favorite “Jewish deli food” as described by Fabricant, who orders the corn beef and chopped liver on rye or pumpernickel. Good portions and a hefty breakfast menu. Tip: The sides are really cheap, so if you’re having one of those days where you can’t decide what you want, load up on cottage cheese, fruit salad, knish, or stuffed derma. ●Azuki Sushi– Rises above the sushi masses with an offer you can’t refuse, really, one that you can afford. The bento boxes from Azuki can be seen on any given desk throughout the week. Stupid fresh fish that stays fresh through delivery. Sushi, Teryaki or sashimi boxes fill you up and are under $10. Old Town Bar– “When beer is required” says Mohney. Chi-town-esque oasis near Union Square, proudly lubricating the locals since 1892 and the BlackBook staff since 2007. If you need a room big enough for a media company to get boozed up, the upstairs is the perfect size for the occasion. ●Shake Shack– Is it worth standing on line forty-five minutes for an undersized, over-salted burger? Yes, friends, yes. And with whisps of forty degree weather, we’re biting at the chomp for the grand Madison Square Park opening. Tip: If you have interns, barter with them to stand in line as a proxy in exchange for free shakes.

Nearby Picks: Houston’s, World’s Best Sandwich Cart (on 20th between Park and Broadway).

Photo: mightysweet.com