Saturday, July 22, 2006

Fatty Dinner

I've been trying on and off to eat at Fatty Crab, a new asian-cuisine spot in the West Village, ever since I read a review about it in the NYT six or seven months ago. Sarah, Michelle, Alex and I finally managed the feat this evening, and it was even better than I'd hoped.

We arrived around 8PM on a Saturday night and had to spend thirty minutes waiting. Inside, quarters were tight, as we had to pull a table out from the wall to let the girls get at their seats.

Dishes rolled out of the kitchen sequentially, inducing us to share each one as it arrived. The fatty duck came first, along with an appetizer of green mango with a side of chili-flavored salt. The duck had the expected sweet sauce with an added smoky spiciness, and the meat was perfectly cooked: pink and tender in the middle, the fatty skin crisped and blackened. The green mango (not a different kind of mango, simply underripe) had a sour flavor like a Granny Smith apple which mixed very well with the spicy salt on the side. Dipping sticks of mango in salt felt strangely like Fun Dip -- those old candy sticks you'd dip in powdery sugary goop years ago. Except the mango was far tastier and far less sweet.

Black pepper mussels were next, and also highly recommended. The sauce was thin but bold, and offered a different flavor for those used to eating their mussels in butter and garlic. The finale of nasi lemak was killer: an egg yolk over fragrant coconut rice with spicy chicken and all sorts of veggies and sauces to the side.

Considering our entrees each cost $11-16, the meal was eminently reasonable, particularly by Manhattan standards. If you're near the West Village or simply craving a taste of something different, Fatty Crab will not disappoint.

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