Kabab Cafe Update: great fish, help wanted
I had lunch at Kabab Cafe today with a friend and was amazed to find the place empty (but granted in was the off-hour of 3pm). He says he's been very busy since the great New York Times review one week ago.
Chef Ali has some amazing fish. Steak cuts from a *huge* wild red snapper. The cross-sectional piece looks as big as a small-to-regular sized red snapper. I really didn't know that snappers got that big. And we had a tail piece. I think he said it was 15lb fish or thereabouts. He said he also has bass, which is probably just as good. But I like snapper more. And since it wasn't farm raised, it tasted like real fish! Delicious! Not muddy or corny at all. Served with great vegetables and rice. $22, if I remember correctly.
It’s nice to see him cooking so well with his new oven.
He also said he needs full-time prep-work/waitstaff help. That’s one person that can do both. So if you like Ali and need work, or just know somebody who needs work, have them stop by. 25-12 Steinway. Closed Monday.
Ali also told me that he has word that the “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” episode filmed at Kabab Cafe a while back will finally air, perhaps this week (I think on Sunday or Monday on the Travel Chanel?).
That makes sense, because the Travel Channel has been running promos all week for back-to-back NYC episodes of that "weird foods" show with the chubby guy and No Reservations. Chubby and Tony will eat their way through NYC together, I think, in the 2 linking episodes. They will air Monday night (8/6).
re: squid kun
You know, I'm not sure. I may go back there tomorrow for the bass. I'll let you know if I do.
I did ask him about salt. Because I think he uses a lot (and I like a lot). He seemed slightly offended when I said (as a compliment) he has a heavy hand with salt. He said, "I salt one time." And most people, he explained, salt many times. "Every time something goes int the pan (veggies, meat, whatever), they add a little salt." Maybe he's right.
I would say the "Ali taste" is some combination of white wine, garlic, and char. Watching him, the one thing I notice is there's a healthy glug of white whine in all the main dishes.