Opening today is Icelandic Fish and Chips, an outpost of a restaurant that opened in 2006 in Reykjavik, Iceland, that proposes an elevated version of fish and chips, trying to make it healthier. How? Besides of using fresh fish, they replaced eggs and wheat with spelt. Spelt absorbs less oil and creates a lighter coating with still a crunchy texture. For chips, instead of frying potato wedges, they roast them in the oven before tossing them in parsley and Icelandic salt. If you are not really into potatoes, you can also go for the onion rings.
So, it all started with a discussion with my friend David about Korean BBQ and a "let's set a date for that!" No, 5 Napkin Burger does not serve Korean BBQ, but it gives you the setting for what would be a wonderful evening. The date was set, but our friends asked to go to 5 Napkin as they heard about it and were eager to try their juicy burger. After a quick reservation on OpenTable, here we are, at their location near Union Square.
There are places like Gaudi Café where the expression "do not judge a book by its cover" is undeniably applicable. I thought it was a café and we ended up having a great culinary experience. The decor inside is nice, more cozy than your traditional Café. The owner, Laurent Ibanez named the place as an hommage to the architect and designer, perfectly matching the creativity he instills in his kitchen.
La ferme à Dédé in Sassenage is a great find. This place serves some of the classic dishes from the Grenoble region, from raclette to ravioles, as well as products from the terroir. I love the rustic decor with the various farm tools all other, a rustic feel that we would retrieve in the way they serve dishes.
So'Krep is an interesting place. Located few steps from Grenoble city center or from the city art museum, it looks like a fast food place from outside, especially because of the bright colors of the chairs and facade. But it is in fact a fairly good crêperie, serving two kinds: the galette made with buckwheat and the crepes made with regular flour.
I love finding small places that provide not only good food, but also an outstanding service. That's the way I feel about La Petite Idée, a small restaurant that serves classic French dishes. I was excited to go there, having checked their menu the day before and already knowing what I would order. When we arrived, the restaurant was packed (we had a reservation), and emptied little by little, people going back to work.
It all started with what should have been a great lunch. My brother proposed to spend the day in Annecy and have lunch at the brasserie of the Imperial Palace, a stunning "belle époque" hotel with fantastic lake views.
Meet the cats from Néko Café, a cat bar located in Grenoble city center. It was our first time in such place and we love it (we have a cat at home named Whitney, so yes, we love cats). Going there requires a minimum of precautions. First, there are two doors that separate the café from the street, a sort of safe measure to avoid an escape.
Junior's has a new location and I could not resist to go there few days after their opening! I love Junior's and I am glad they opened other locations, not only in New York in fact as they opened at Boca Raton in Florida. So, the new location on 49th street and Broadway is quite big, looking more modern that its sister a couple of blocks away, with the feel of a modern deli, keeping the vibrant orange theme omnipresent.
This week, I was invited at Uncle Jack's, the famous steakhouse from TV personality William Degel who was a steakhouse owner before going on TV rather than just investing in a restaurant thinking that your name solely will bring patrons. Lots of celebrities who invest in the restaurant industry have no clue what the day to day of a restaurant is; it is not the case with William Degel who is fully immersed in the process, even sometimes hand picking the meat from his purveyors who are mainly in Omaha, Nebraska, probably less now that he is busy with his career and multiple restaurants. I went to their location Midtown West that opened back in 2004 and it was not the first time as it was one of the first steakhouse I reviewed after starting my blog in 2011.
Jodi had a pop up show in Long Island City, right across from the LIC Flea and Food Market. As we finished setting up her paintings and were looking for a place to eat, I proposed to go there. It was really my first time in this area and I was really impressed by the neighborhood, especially the river bank with its huge Pepsi Co. sign that you can see from the East side of Manhattan.
Each time we come back from Europe, there is one meal I want to have: burger! And we decided to go to Birch Hoboken, a place that opened two months ago. With a concept similar to Black Tap Burger, I was really curious to see how they would measure up and I was not disappointed: the food at Birch Hoboken is way better than Black Tap. The burgers are tastier and better cooked (I asked for medium and I got a juicy medium patty) and the milkshakes are not a big mess.
Opened June 1st by veteran restaurateurs Salim Rahman (Tajmahal, Bay Leaf, Tikka Indian Grill) and Amin Ruhel (Tripti, Dipali), Mumbai Masala Indian Grill is a new eatery in the Hamilton Heights and Sugar Hill areas of New York City. I am always excited to try new restaurants, even more when they just opened and our visit at Mumbai Masala Indian Grill did not disappoint us.
This week, was in a way BBQ week: before going to the Big Apple BBQ Block Party, I was in fact invited to a wonderful evening at the Grilling University by McCormick where I learned a lot about grilling technics. If you cook, whether you have a grill or not, you probably stumbled upon products from McCormick and you might have some in your kitchen. Well, I do.
Today I feasted at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party at Madison Square Park, an annual celebration of BBQ. Yes, if you are vegetarian, no need to bother: this is not for you as choices are extremely limited. The Big Apple BBQ Block Party is for meat lovers and it features a bunch of places from all over the country, from Alabama to Texas. We went during lunch time and was quite crowded, full of people excited like me to try some amazing food or simply look at some of the spectacular smokers there.
For her birthday, Jodi wanted to go for Mexican food. I asked some of my colleagues who suggested some places. The problem with these: they did not have guacamole! So, I finally found Habanero Blues on Opentable. When we arrived, I realized that we passed so many times in front of it, but the crowd was a bit of a deterrent...Fortunately, on a Monday night, it was not a problem: the place was not that crowded and kind of quiet, until approximately 8pm when the music started (or at least started to be more noticeable) and people started to arrive.
It has been a while since we wanted to go to Mexicue and decided to have dinner there on a Monday night, right before traveling to Europe, our fridge being empty. I like the concept that is a fusion between Mexican cuisine and BBQ, hence the name. I think it is a great idea and, for sure, they seem to have mastered it, proposing lots of interesting dishes, from tacos to sliders that include classic BBQ items such as pulled pork or smoked brisket.
Meaning "King of the village", Badshah Modern Indian is the latest venture of Abishek Sharma (who gave us Surya) and Executive Chef Charles Mani aka Chef Charlie that I met as he was going from table to table to inquire about the food. He told me that he cooks fresh ingredients found at the farmers' Market and proposes a menu that will change from time to time so it does not bore his diners, as well as himself, keeping only classics that people expect to see on the menu.
There is a new business in Hoboken and I am glad it is not another barber shop or nail salon! No, this time it is a coffee shop: Bluestone Lane Coffee. Importing the concept from Australia, you would wonder what this place has that is so different and unique. Well, it would not be the first coffee shop opening around here, Bwè being one for instance. No, but there are few things that I like about it. First is their coffee that varies from visit to visit. It is a single origin coffee that they source from the Rainforest Alliance that visits farms and certifies them for sustainability on three pillars of social, environmental and economic responsibility.
For my birthday, we went to the restaurant of my choice and I picked Cut by Wolfgang Puck, located in TriBeCa. Nice place, big and trendy, I soon regretted my choice, the noise level being high, the music in the background not helping. It was also pretty dark, that is not something I would ever understand as I always think that you eat first with your eyes. At some point we could have had more light when my menu started to burn after being pushed on top of the candle, as I was taking photos of the gougeres (cheese puffs) and bread sticks...
Porter Collins, the new venue of Anthony and Liz Pino who gave us Anthony David's and Bin 14, opened just 2 months ago in an area that is developing. It is true that the North part of Hoboken needs more restaurants and Porter Collins is for sure a good addition, serving cocktails as well as a modern American menu. We went there early on a Saturday evening, still suffering from jet lag from our trip to France.
Interesting how things can be coincidental: I ended up at Thai Sliders in Chelsea the day my friend Benny told me about this place, although he was referring to their location in the Financial District. The restaurant itself is nice, not big, but with a sense of space probably coming from the high ceiling that is garnished with some metal sheets that gives the place a sort of authentic feel.
We wanted to get a bibimbap on a cold day and decided to try Kang Suh, a restaurant located right at the beginning of 32nd street. It is a huge place, with multiple dining rooms, the one where we got seated being quite big, but not that crowded...
Times Square is not the best area to get great food, lots of restaurants focusing more on foot traffic than anything else, not caring if people would have a good time and great food, so they would come back. But there are exceptions and Tony's di Napoli is one of them. We often go to this family style Italian restaurant when people visit: the food is good and prices are quite reasonable. The last time we went was with our friends, the Yates, who came visiting.
It's been a while since I wanted to go to Momofuku má pêche, one of the many restaurants of Chef David Chang, my favorite being Momofuku Noodle Bar. Yes, I wanted to go there to try their signature dish: the habanero fried chicken. It was not that hard to get a reservation on Opentable. In fact, I was surprised that the place would not be more crowded for a Friday night. When you enter into the building, the first think you will see is Momofuku Milk Bar where Pastry Chef and founder Christina Tosi offers a bunch of delicious treats.
So we are back at Indian Accent, the contemporary Indian restaurant from Chef Manish Mehrotra located at The Parker Méridien Hotel, midtown Manhattan. This time we were there with some of our blogger friends, for a fantastic evening filled with laughter and amazing food.
I love Kati Rolls, a sort of wrap made with paratha bread, typical street food, that originated in Kolkata, India. So I was excited to go to Desi Grub, a place we found walking on 40th, on our way to Port Authority. It is a small place, with just few seats and an open kitchen from where they will cook your rolls to order.
I sometimes go to a place and wish they were in my neighborhood. This is what happened with Cannelle, a French bakery located in Long Island City, where we went for Jodi's Popup Show. We had to go early to setup her art at the Rockaway Brewery Co and and I proposed to go have breakfast at Cannelle.
This week, I was invited to a wonderful event at Sushi Seki Times Square, to celebrate the placement in Wine & Spirits Magazine - NYC 50 (where to eat and drink well in NYC right now). I have never been to that place, but, believe me: after what I have tried, I will surely go back, especially after trying some of the signature dishes of Chef Seki, that I wish I met that day.
Our friends Jen and Gary wanted to go to the Whitney Museum and then have lunch at Untitled, the restaurant located on the first floor of the museum (art without a title is named "untitled"). I admit that I was not sure what to expect there, thinking that the food would probably be overpriced and subpar. I was wrong! At Untitled, Executive Chef Suzanne Cupps crafted a small contemporary American menu perfectly executed and served in a modern dining room with lots of light thanks to the floor to ceiling windows. And if you are curious like me, you can even observe the ballet happening in the open kitchen.
Menu wise, they have some interesting items, going from traditional (like the chicons or moules frites) to classic American like their burger. For our appetizer, we decided to go with the croquettes aux truffes that were quite delicious, the golden brown outside being very slightly crispy, enveloping a nice and gooey mushroom filling.
We were going to an art gallery on my birthday and stumbled upon Wafels and Dinges, an outpost of the now famous Belgian waffle truck (more than a truck today...). Nice place with the yellow color being omnipresent, and with various waffle makers hanging around.
It has been a while since we wanted to go back to Porter House, the fancy steakhouse located in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. We went there three years ago for a lunch during Restaurant Week and promised ourselves that we we will go back for dinner one day. That day had come. We went on a Friday and I could not believe how packed this place was. I wished we had a table next to the windows so we could have a view of Columbus Circle, but unfortunately, it was not possible.
On a weekday, Jodi and I decided to have lunch at Grand central Oyster Bar, a place I always wanted to try. We went for a late lunch and, when we arrived, this place was packed and noisy. Fortunately, half way to our meal, people started to leave. This is an amazing place, benefiting from the beautiful architecture of the famous train station.
We were leisurely walking in Chelsea when we saw Le Grainne Cafe, a French restaurant that was packed for a late Saturday brunch (when we arrived for sure, the restaurant emptying as we left). You would think that the name is French, but in fact not really. Yes, there is a word for grain that is very close to that (La Graine), but in fact, Grainne is the name of the Irish owner of the restaurant.
It's been a while since we wanted to go to Stacks Pancake House and Cafe, but I admit that I always got discouraged by the line outside on the weekends. So, when we got an opportunity to go for lunch on a weekday, we did not hesitate. I went there back in 2012, at the time when it did not offer the BBQ menu that was introduced much later.
I recently noticed an increase in the number of restaurants serving poke (pronounce "po-keh"), this raw fish salad that is served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine. And Hoboken is not forgotten: few weeks ago, Makai Poke Co opened on Washington street, greeting customers with a cheerful "Aloha".
I was recently invited by NYC Ferry to an influencer event at the Rockaway Brewing Company in Long Island City. NYC Ferry will launch a new service in the Summer stretching 60 miles of waterway routes, so New Yorkers (and others) can discover new parts of the city, taste new flavors and embark on new cultural adventures in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
Opened since 1852, Urbani Truffles is a 6 generation family business that can argue to be the largest purveyor of truffles in the world, with approximately 18,000 truffle hunters, sourcing this delicious fungus mainly in Italy, France, Spain and Australia. Urbani Truffles is not unknown to me as I use some of their products when cooking and I was excited when invited to their truffle lab for a happy hour of truffle burgers and beer
My cousin Sarah was visiting and wanted to have a burger, a classic dish representing Americana. She lives in the U.K. Where they often go to Shake Shack that has an outpost (maybe several) in London, so not craving it, but still wanting to eat one in New York. She told us that she heard good things about Black Iron Burger, but, based on a previous disappointing experience there, I persuaded her to go 5 Napkin Burger, one of my top burger places in the city.
Last week, we were looking for a French restaurant and ended up at Gentleman Farmer on the Lower East Side. This small 20 seat place is unnoticeable, but, to my surprise, served some delicious food crafted by Chef Karim Nounouh. There, the Chef serves seasonal dishes inspired by French cuisine.
I recently went back at Tout Va Bien, a French restaurant Midtown with an interesting kind of overdone decor and a nice atmosphere filled with French music. Not the best French restaurant in town, but it serves a pretty decent food with prices that are not outrageous. Tout Va Bien has been feeding the New York crowd since 1948, a longevity that cannot be ignored for sure.
Looking for good deals at steakhouses, I heard about the lunch prix-fixe at Ruth's Chris from one of my colleagues and decided to check it out. For a little less than $29, they offer a 2 1/2 course with a pretty interesting selection of dishes. 2 1/2 is an odd number and you will soon understand what the 1/2 is...
Alright, I admit that China Green was not our first choice: we wanted to try Dim Sum Palace in Hell's Kitchen as we keep seeing a large crowd each time we passed in front of it. I was surprised how big the place was, with its dining room in the back. It was not as crowded as the other place, but still, we decided to give it a try.
Hidden in a paved street of Soho, Kelley and Ping is a surprising find in an area crowded with tourists from all over the world. We went there last Friday, after receiving an invitation from the restaurant and I was definitely curious to try their pan-Asian dishes, some of them being inspired by street food. Entering there is like stepping into another world and forgetting that you are in Manhattan.
I was recently interviewed by the news agency, KeepInNews, who was investigating the popularity of cassoulet, a hearty French dish that is more and more proposed on menus in New York restaurants. The footage (copyright TV5Monde) that you can watch below has been broadcasted on TV5MONDE, a global television channel in French.