We’re not going to regularly plug restaurants half a world away, but this week’s review by Sam Sifton at the New York Times of Fatty ‘Cue, an Asian-accented barbecue house, is just too interesting to pass up. Self-proclaimed as a mash-up of traditional American barbecue and South Asian palate – think pulled brisket with steamed bao, smoked whole pigs carved and served with curry sauce. But what really caught our eye was this description of the restaurant’s version of laksa, that fiery Malaysian noodle soup:
Best of all is smoked-crab laksa, a spicy noodle soup the proper preparation of which can start arguments up and down the Strait of Malacca. It is Chinese by way of Malaysia. At Fatty ’Cue, it has been sent to school along the Chesapeake Bay: a funky, deeply smoky crab broth that packs heat like an oven door, with cold-smoked lump crab meat, tiny anchovies, maitake and shiitake mushrooms, a lot of grated daikon, brown-rice vinegar, unrefined palm syrup and soft, thick lai fun noodles.
The combination of American barbecue technique and South Asian flavors is brilliant and unsettling. It recalls, almost perfectly, what the Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa called the magic of the present moment. To eat at Fatty Crew’s new restaurant is to experience the very essence of nowness. No one else is cooking like this anywhere.