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IT GLOBALLY DEFIES “CUISINE”A restaurant located just off of Union Square bills itself as “innovative food for progressive palates”, which can only describe Galaxy Global Eatery’s cuisine. Don’t expect a menu of any particular country or continent. Do expect the use of hempnuts.
Hempseeds are tiny nuts within shells or hulls that develop the female flower of the hemp plant…I know you don’t care at this point because you’re thinking of the use of hemp as a substitute for marijuana...so let’s just go to the food aspect. Hempnuts and hempoil are the two main uses in cooking…and no, you won’t get high on it.
Think of the nuts as cross between a hazelnut and a walnut. It was owner Denis Cicero who introduced this great tasting protein to his customers at his restaurant at East 15th and Irving Street (212-777-3631). Actually, the site was formerly an old Greek diner that Denis scooped up, being backed on a challenge. The 32-seat restaurant resulted in getting rave reviews ever since.
Most of my tastings contained hemp oil or hemp nuts as Executive Chef Ariel prepared several courses to assist in my defining what Galaxy Global was about.
Shall I begin with the starters. What can I say about Brazilian Rainforest Duck Dumplings with an organic acerola dipping sauce. I don’t think that the duck flew in from the rainforests, but identified the style.
My first hemp was Hempnut Edamame Cakes made with hemp flour, hempnuts, hempoil, eggs, garlic and shallots. Edamame are fresh soybeans. The cake was served with a Mango-Hot Pepper Aioli.
I happen to love seaweed and out came a tricolor salad of wakame ginger, green seaweed, hijiki, bean sprouts, cucumber, bok choy, and black sesames sitting in a poppy cumin vinaigrette.
Back to hemp. Ko Samui Hempnut Crusted Shrimp with a sweet Thai Chili sauce and mango salad. Just think of it tantalizing your taste buds.
Before I get to the main courses, let me share that items on the menu include: bison, ostrich and fried grasshoppers. I had to try a fried grasshopper. No, it didn’t taste like chicken. In fact Ariel said that they really have little taste and what defines it is how they are spiced and what they are cooked in. If you eat soft shell crabs, this wouldn’t bother you and all. I’ll probably have more when I go back.
What I did delve into was the Smoked Eel Burger. Yes, smoked eel, chopped up and made into a burger. It was really delicious! Accompanying the burger were beet chips. Thin slices of beets were slightly coated and fried and tasted nothing like the ones in a bag.
Then there was (I told you I had a tasting) the Tandoori Spiced Salmon served with…get this…coconut quinoa, crabmeat (the real stuff), avocado puree, lychees, plantain chips and seaweed caviar. Now, that is a entrée that’s more than savory.
Vegetarians have a large bill of fare to choose from, in case you’re interested. In fact the Rice Tempura Tofu Steak sounded pretty good. It says that it’s served with Iroquois choclo succotash, green tea soba noodle pillow and a carrot-ginger reduction.
I will be able to give you an excellent description of two of the desserts since I happen to have Denis’ “The Galaxy Global Eatery Hemp Cookbook”. One is called “Beggar’s Purse with Strawberry Compote and Chocolate Sauce”. The “purse” itself is made using fresh wonton wrappers with the hempnuts rolled into them.
Chocolate Ganache consists of semi-sweet chocolate, heavy cream and Grand Marnier. The ganache is placed in the wrapper and topped with the cooled strawberry compote (strawberries, sugar and fresh squeezed lemon). Then the wontons are folded up from the four corners and fried. As if that’s not delicious enough, a chocolate sauce made from heavy cream, honey, vanilla extract and melted chocolate is drizzled over it….Oh, yeah, there’s a ball of ice cream plated with it. Aren’t you just begging to have it?
Take graham cracker crumbs and combine it with hempnuts, sugar and butter to make the crust for the Key Lime Pie. Egg yolks, condensed milk, lime juice and cream of tartar make up the smooth filling.
The cookbook teaches you how to make hemp “milk” and hemp “cheese” as well, which similar to the way soy milk is prepared. Hempseeds, hempnuts, hempoil and hemp protein can be purchased at Galaxy Global.
As for the food, I’m happy to say that everything I had was more than just tasty and there wasn’t anything that I would pass up. Even when something was a bit spicy for my palate, it didn’t take away from the flavor. My only wish was that the restaurant’s venue be in Queens.
Speaking of Queens, it’s a free double event at Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows Corona Park when the 16th Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival and Third Annual Dumpling Eating Contest.
Saturday, Aug. 12th & Sun. Aug. 13th the Festival features Dragon Boat Racing, dragon dance, food and performances. For more info. Call: 718-767-1776.
August 13th, from 11am to 3pm, the Dumpling Contest, open to participants over the age of 18, features special “dragon” dumplings from Chef One Corp. and promises to be healthier than hot dogs. Cash prizes. Register by August 8th. For further info call: 718-744-6999.
August 03, 2006 - Queens Times
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