The splendid “devil chicken” at Masak
This week, Counter Culture sails on a three-masted ship into Masak, an obscurely located East Village bistro that takes its inspiration from Singaporean cooking, which is itself partly inspired by Malaysian cuisine. Take a second to peek at these dishes, which are a bright light on the East Village dining landscape. The cocktails and desserts are great, too.
5. Devil Chicken (above) — What’s that black sludge underneath the bird? Palm syrup is its base, but it flaunts all sorts of gingery and garlicky flavors, and the fingerling potatoes have been twice cooked, leading to a combined crispness and softness that enlivens the spuds. And the skin on the bird is as crisp as crisp can be, pointing to the bistro’s nearly flawless execution.
4. Seared Chicken Hearts — The spice-rubbed hearts are pleasantly rubbery, but you’ll encounter medjool dates among the avian pumps, too. The kale salad underneath is slightly sweet and bolsters the organs — both literally and figuratively — in a most pleasing way.
3. Quih Pie Tee — These little pastry cups hold (clockwise from upper left) shrimp; pulled pork; foie gras and strawberries; and shredded mushrooms, and they make a perfect shared starter or bar snack.
2. Condensed Milk Cake — Served with blueberries, corn genoise, and toasted-coconut ice cream
1. Chile-Roasted Pork Chop — This massive hunk of meat remains tender under its chile onslaught, in a sauce that features grilled onions and pea shoots.
Another dish we’ve mentioned elsewhere: Chile Crab Dip served with Mantou dumplings.
To wash it all down: What else but a Singapore Sling?