In recent years, the commercial pizza game has seen a dramatic shift. Gone are the days when a gooey slice the size of your face will suffice. Pizza lovers have grown tired of the triangular-shaped grease stain left behind on a paper plate. Flour-dusted lips and oily fingers just don’t cut it anymore. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be an audience of cheese addicts to support establishments like Enzo’s and CollegeTown Pizza.
When Jin Kim and Jeesoo Lee opened Masita this past winter, they (like the rest of us) had no way of knowing what was right around the corner. The coronavirus hit restaurant owners incredibly hard, and many Ithaca businesses were forced to close their doors and regroup. Kim and Lee, having only been open for a month, were at a major disadvantage, as they lacked the dedicated fanbase of other established restaurants. Fortunately, Masita was not their first rodeo. Back in South Korea, the two women were longtime business partners and owned multiple successful restaurants together.
Having opened this past July on the West side of Ithaca Commons, Kimchi is a fairly new and cozy Korean restaurant that has a vast menu from noodles to Korean barbecue — the essentials of Korean cuisine. As a Korean student who was desperately craving home-cooked Korean food, I was more than excited to discover Kimchi on my daily Yelp search. When I first looked at the menu, I was overwhelmed by the amount of options they offered. I was already picking and choosing which Korean dishes to eat, something I hadn’t done in over a month. Ultimately, I ended up ordering tteokbokki, or spicy Korean rice cakes, the spicy Korean fried chicken and budae jjigae, a sausage stew that comes with a variety of toppings such as ramen, rice cakes and kimchi.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of eating at one of my favorite restaurants in Ithaca, John Thomas Steakhouse. For me, John Thomas is my Peter Luger’s away from home. The meat is prime dry-aged beef, just like Peter Luger’s and everything from the steak sauce to the menu selections represent how a true American steakhouse should be. Though rustic and low key from the outside, the quality of food clearly demonstrates why John Thomas’ has been an icon in Ithaca for so long.
The exterior of John Thomas is quite plain on the outside and along with the overcast weather, paints a fitting picture of Ithaca.