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Places to M.E.A.T: Must Eat at Tomorrow

Kysha Harris | 8/15/2013, 11:02 a.m. | Updated on 8/15/2013, 11:02 a.m.
Char Sui

There are places that have lived on my M.E.A.T. (Must Eat At Tomorrow) list forever for reasons that range from the obvious (it’s in another city) to the financial (I don’t eat for free, people!). Then there are some where the opportunity just has not presented itself, no matter how many times I suggested it, dropped hints to friends or made a plan that ultimately fell through.

One such elusive M.E.A.T. destination comes by way of a Top Chef alum with a bad attitude, and when I say “bad,” I mean “mean,” and when I say “mean,” I mean wickedly delicious! His name? Chef Dale Talde (@daletalde). You might remember how I boo’ed up with him in my coverage of the New York City Wine & Food Festival from last year. That’s how long I wanted to try his namesake restaurant ... and then some.

Talde (@taldebrooklyn, 369 Seventh Ave., Brooklyn, 347-916-0031, www.talderestaurant.com) is a bar and restaurant in Park Slope that sports some of the dopest and most animated Asian-American food. One of Talde’s claims to food fame is their pretzel pork and chive dumplings with spicy mustard. I mean, come on, I know I just planted a seed—enjoy yourselves!

Now that I think about it, there were three failed attempts to eat at Talde due to serious weather, and failed coordination with friends, and the worst was finding myself standing in front of the restaurant at 4 p.m., but they didn’t start serving until 5 p.m. Curses! So I was ecstatic when visiting my bestie, Raquel, and her new son in Brooklyn on a Saturday and my suggestion to head straight to Talde was met with exuberance!

We arrived with 10 minutes to spare before the kitchen closed for brunch. In a very “Thelma and Louise” moment, Raquel looked at me and said, “Let’s go for it!” We ordered that menu to within an inch of its life! Ready, aim ... pretzel dumplings (and you know this!), lobster bao with chili mayo, edamame humus with spicy eggplant and roti, char siu smoked pork shoulder with spicy mustard, breakfast ramen (it was brunch after all), sausage egg and cheese fried rice and an Asian-inspired Bloody Mary! I told you we were not playing ...

I would love to tell you about every detail of these dishes, but I will limit myself to a couple. Let me start with these dumplings. They are the ones you know and love, but Talde’s preparation treats them like pretzels by first bathing them in salted water and then baking them, giving you that chewy, crusty bite with a porky gift inside. Two orders next time.

The edamame humus was inventive and a fantastic vegetarian option. We tried it solo on a piece of that flakey roti that was hiding the spicy eggplant that would set it off even more.

The real standouts for me were the breakfast ramen and fried rice. Each piece of that rice was coated with cheesy goodness carefully mixed with sausage and egg. A breakfast sammy in rice form? Ya.

The breakfast ramen is comprised of everything you would have for breakfast—but in a hot bowl of ramen. Honey-glazed bacon and a six-minute egg, cradled by delicious tender noodles and bathed in a butter toast broth. Yes, this man makes the umami chicken and pork broth and then immerses a toasted and liberally buttered baguette in said broth to steep. And I’m done!

Thank you again, chef, your staff and partners for salvation. I have now added your other establishments, Pork Slope and Thistle Hill, to the M.E.A.T. list. Until the next bite ...

Enjoy, get eating and thanks for reading!

Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email her at kysha@iSCHOP.com, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook www.facebook.com/SCHOPnyc or chat with her on Instant Messenger at AskSCHOP, Monday-Friday, 6-8 p.m. For even more recipes, tips and food musings subscribe to her blog at www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com.