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 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.
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.
Succeeding to Lucky Burger, The Windmill and Clem's Steaks Unlimited, Gogi Grill is the second Korean restaurant after The Chicken Factory (great Korean fried chicken). Gogi Grill is a casual eatery that I would describe as the Korean Chipotle: fresh ingredients that can be served in a bowl, salad or burrito. You can either create your own or go with one of their five dishes, one of them called the kitchen sink and having all the ingredients. On one side is a counter where you can also order ice cream or crepes, but I admit that I was not in the mood for that that day...
Steakhouses are pricey, but as we say, when steakhouses do well, the economy is doing well. However you do not need to spend hundreds to have a good steak, maybe not the best you ever had, but a good one. West Side Steakhouse is a good example of that. Located close to Times Square, but on the quiet 10th avenue, often not considered as an area to look for restaurants, West Side Steakhouse serves decent steaks.
If there is one thing that makes me look forward to Winter, it is Ramen: I love that delicious noodle soup, although ramen does not refer to soup at all, but to the hand pulled noodles that are in it. There is of course cold ramen that can be appreciated during the warmer seasons, but I admit that I love the hot ones. So, my next target was Jun-Men in Chelsea. It is not a big place, but it is bigger than some of the restaurants we visited before, having a large table in the center to accommodate large parties.
We were looking for a dessert and checked on google to see what was around when we stumbled upon Jacques Torres on the Upper West Side. Jacques Torres is not unknown to me as I tried his chocolate many times and even went to his chocolate factory downtown many years ago, but I do not recall having tried his hot chocolate. So, it was time to change that and that was like a revelation: his hot chocolate is the best in the city! People rave about City Bakery's hot chocolate, but I admit that I do not like it. This one, at Jacques Torres is something else: it is like melted chocolate, but without being too sweet or too bitter; yes, it is a perfect balance that makes me want to have such a place next door.
It has been a while since I went to Kingside, the restaurant of Executive Chef Mac Murphy. I went there a week after they opened and I still remember their caramel pudding that was to die for (they still have it on their menu).
After our meal at Salvation Burger few weeks ago that was a bit disappointing and overpriced, we still decided to try Salvation Taco, another venture from Chef April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman. They describe Salvation Taco as a "taqueria and cantina featuring a menu influenced by international cuisines". International for sure when you see their Indonesian BBQ or Moroccan lamb taco (I was going for this one, but they did not have it the day I went...Bummer!).
I discovered Underwest Donuts thanks to my friend Malini, The Restaurant Fairy. This place opened in 2014 within the West Side Highway Carwash, hence the carwash donut they sell that I did not try. But we did not go to that location, rather the one they opened last December, outside of Penn Station. There, you will not get a chance to get donuts made a la minute, this place being a tiny outpost. But still, you will get freshly baked donuts.