Morgan’s Barbecue. 267 Flatbush Ave. Brooklyn. NYC

We had great lean and fatty brisket here, a hearty Tuscan kale Caesar salad, and cold, unfriendly service. Morgan’s tries to be slightly more upmarket than Hill Country and Fletcher’s, especially as you order everything from servers and nothing from the counter, but it really isn’t that inviting. We loved the ribs and sides, the Texas red chili was rich and hearty and the pork links were a heavy option after all the cow that had been consumed. We’ll be back, sitting outside on the patio and expecting better service.

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Galata Mediterranean Cuisine. 212 E 34th St. NYC

We were brought here by an Istanbullu homesick for his mother’s food, and over the course of a three-hour meal we felt that he was mostly satisfied with the dishes he ordered; we were thrilled by all of it, of course. Big groups get to try almost everything, and the arnavut cigeri (fried calf’s liver) is something I would never have ordered for a smaller table; it was a great choice for a big group to share, as 3-4 pieces of deep-fried, spongy cubes of liver ($10) constitute the limit for most people. The mixed meze platter ($20) was well-balanced with light babaghanoush and hummus, while the sigara boregi (cigar rolls filled with cheese and parsley, $7) were perfect addictive comfort food. Kalamarizgara (grilled calamari, $11) are a must, though the mucver (zucchini pancakes) were nothing special at all.
All the meat and fish we had was of the finest quality, well marinated and seasoned. Special mention must go to the salmon scaloppini ($19) cooked in garlic wine sauce and sun dried tomatoes, and the kuzu bacagi (lamb shank, $20) which is one of the restaurant’s specialities.
Turkish wines are served, great baklava is available and the atmosphere is pleasantly higher-end. But of course none of this was as good as our Turkish friend’s mother’s cooking – of course not.

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Samurai Mama. 205 Grand St. Brooklyn. NYC.

This is an udon noodle bar run by the same owners as Bozu just up the street, and the two restaurants share much in common: a wonderfully lit interior, warm, cosy and unsurprisingly full of canoodling couples. The menu has a lot of variety, but we would strongly advise against ordering any sushi rolls – the rice, on our visit at least, was scraped from the bottom of the pan, completely lacking moisture and sponginess. To allow this to be served was a grave error, especially when we were eagerly awaiting jalapeño yellowtail rolls ($8). The vegetable gyoza ($8), however, were well-presented and revealed a moist texture under the crispy pancake lid. But it was the curry seafood udon soup ($16) that stole the show, with its rich flavors and robust noodles: perfectly peppery, though there could’ve been more shrimp and mussels inside.
For atmosphere, Samurai Mama really does score highly. We look forward to giving the sushi here another chance, even though we’ve already been won over by the gyoza and udon.

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Masa y Agave. Under Rosa Mexicano. 41 Murray St. NYC

Tequila/Mezcal passports from the folks at Good Passport brought us here, and once the staff figured out what it was all about, they treated us like kings; before that we were mere coupon-crunchies. So we obviously had an interest in the agave spirit, and we were talked through the combinations used in our cocktails by the mescaliers: the Tamarind (Fidencio Clásico mezcal, tamarind, canela agave and lime) and the Mezcal-isco (Pelotón de la Muerte mezcal, Espolón reposado tequila, lime, agave nectar and orange). Both drinks had definite bite to them, but were well concocted. Even the happy hour specials – the house marg and the frozen pomegranate marg ($8) – were excellent cocktails. Two tacos or a quesadilla can be bought for only $6, and the Alambre de Carne of the former, and Res of the latter, are both sound choices. The bar is packed from 5.30pm for obvious reasons, but it clears out a little when happy hour fades from view. Lighting is low and noise levels can be high, but it’s a great little spot for dates and groups if you get in early and stake your space.

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Subway: Chambers St