An email from Gayot a few days ago warned of the five rising chefs in America. Amazingly, only one was from New York. Zakary Pelaccio's distinctly pizza-parlor name hid a penchant for peddling inexpensive Malaysian food in superhip Meatpacking District. This Saturday, suitably encouraged by my stomach, I headed into Fatty Crab to check the chef rising.
Its a tiny tiny place, barely able to contain the tables and waiters. The three of us were so space challenged that lunch was a constant juggling of plates and glasses and forks and knives. The food did, however, live up to its promise of being both interesting and affordable. We ate all kinds of the things of the menu, and were not disappointed by any (except possibly the tiny portions of the skate entree). The nasi lemak was spectacular, the lo-si-fun delectable and the crab more than passable. Portions are usually small, though. Of course, this isn't traditional Malaysian food; more on the lines of "inspired by".
Another gourmet chef trying her had at downmarket cuisine is Anita Lo at Rickshaw Dumpling Bar. Unlike her main showpiece at Annisa (which is gourmet dining in hidden corner of the village), Rickshaw brightly modern fast food place opposite the Home Depot. It serves dumplings in sixes and nines, steamed or fried, all at incredible speeds; (fumbling for change can sometimes make your dumplings go cold). I ran through about two thirds of the short menu, and found the dumplings quite competent, the steamed generally better than the fried and the chicken-thaibasil dumpling the best of the lot - not least because of the rather delectable coconut dipping sauce.