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?).
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.
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).