Year of the Takeout: Day 10
Day 10: Dry Bean Curd With Broccoli from New Fei Ma (79 Avenue A, 212-673-3300)
The dining experience at New Fei Ma is filled with peculiar and emphatic prescriptives -- and also features a unique horse motif.
The below-the-counter décor ain't horsin' around ...
For example, the menu boasts that the takeout there is "better and cheaper than you cooked at home" and also that Horses should not just marry a Tiger or a Dog, as per the Chinese zodiac, but that those born with these spirit animals should make sure to get hitched early in life.
Turns out, the food sampled -- the $4.75 tofu dish -- does seem a lot better than what most could probably make in their own kitchens, and slightly better than your average fast food/bean curd mash-up in some respects.
Slices of the congealed, white protein paste feel neither over-dry nor over-doused in brown sauce (the nameless, but universal gravy, that is) -- instead, they come braised to near perfection, and the vegetables have a soft crunch.
The dish excels in texture, but does not reach the highest marks in terms of seasoning. Because the sauce does not feel unique, the pick can be described as considerably tasty, but not necessarily superlative.
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