Hate It or Love It? A Tale of One Dish
Another judge's shorthand read, "Bread smells funny. Meat cannot redeem this," and gave it a one rating. I thought the bun was too sticky and the short ribs too dry and sweet.
"It tastes like sugar is sprinkled on beef," said a guy who I stood with talking through the sandwich as we ate it. Another judge said he grew to like it more after the first bite. He could not put it down.
We're still talking about it a day later- I think- because of anise in the beef: it's such a polarizing flavor. So I decided to called the chef, Ralph Pagano. Turns out it's not a Sambuca reduction (as someone guessed). It's short ribs with star anise and tamarind, served on a pork bun glazed with honey and garnished with sesame. "Goes well with beer," said Pagano. "I prefer Stella."
I'm intrigued enough to go back but it's apparently too late: Corporate just took pork buns -also known as Char Siu Bao- off the menu today, confirmed an STK spokeswoman.
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