Ladies and gents, Bwog is elated to introduce our new series, the Culinary Contrarian! Our very own loquacious and certainly-not-vile daredevil reports:
Boring restaurant orders are for boring people. When Bwog’s new columnist, the Culinary Contrarian, goes out to eat, he ventures out of his way to find the most unusual and confusing food possible. What does Crack Del’s pasta salad taste like? What ingredients does the Halal cart on 115th street keep closest to its engine? What can I get at Community that is unethically sourced?
The Culinary Contrarian aims to investigate such mysteries, heedless of the risk of food poisoning. Whether it be a food truck “what the fuck?” or a peculiar option at a Morningside “haute” restaurant, we will be there with a notepad in one hand and an iPhone camera in the other.
First up on the roster is the “Stuffed filet with crab meat” served at Tom’s Restaurant.
Admittedly, I ordered the fish with some anticipation. I had envisioned something akin a pita sandwich in which the fish acted as the bread to the crabmeat stuffing’s falafel. When the order was placed, the waiter seemed unsurprised, despite the fact that it was 2 P.M. and I had ordered a fish dinner. I suppose that as a waiter at a place that is open 24 hours a day, he has probably seen some scarier shit.
The fish was served in two balls; each was shaped something like a kidney. The kidney balls had been blackened on top, and the two pieces sat next to a large pile of fries, which I had selected over mashed potatoes. The first bite proved to be positive. The fish (no species designation) was quite nicely cooked, and the texture was light and a little crisp. The crabmeat stuffing reminded me of an extremely moist turkey stuffing I once had for Christmas, as it was heavily laden with butter. The crab essence seemed overshadowed by the saltiness and creaminess of the stuffing. However, the fish and the stuffing did work well together by juxtaposing crunchy and light with thick and buttery.
My friend (who ordered an extremely mainstream “gyro” dish) wondered if the crab and the fish were served together because the fish was a natural predator of the crab. Suddenly, the food assumed a psychedelic space in my mind. I was eating the snapshot of a fish while it was eating a crab. This was food-ception: a crab inside a fish, inside a man.
Seafood-induced acid trips aside, the main event was supported by a lentil soup, an iceberg lettuce salad, and some steamed spinach. The soup was very good, as I feel most Tom’s soups are. The taste was hearty, but not to the point where I had no room for the fish/crab combo. The spinach and salad were a little prosaic.
I was a little surprised by the fish stuffed with crabmeat. I had expected a truly bizarre sensory experience, and instead found a pretty standard dish, as standard as something stuffed with crabmeat could be, I suppose.
Thus, the Culinary Contrarian moves on, ever searching for strange dishes in the Columbia neighborhood to sate his desire for bizarre oral experiences.