We were walking on Ditmars Boulevard in Hoboken, when we noticed MP Taverna, a fairly big place serving Greek cuisine. Little we knew that this is one of the many restaurants of Chef Michael Psilakis and that we would have a great brunch there. The restaurant, with its rustic decor dominated by large windows, was not that crowded, allowing us to enjoy a quiet meal.
I was having dinner with friends this week and they asked me if I knew of a place to go. Without hesitation, I chose Chimichurri Grill West in Hell's Kitchen, considering the fantastic feast, prepared by Chef Carlos Darquea, I had the week before at Chimichurri Grill East where I was invited for a blogger/influencer dinner. So yes, my expectations were high and I was not disappointed.
Lots of people are surprised to hear that you can get lunch and dinner at Ladurée, this place being known around the world for its macarons, that I admit are addictive. I was one of them. Well, until a friend of mine went there and told me about his meal, proposing to arrange a reservation as a knows the manager. So, we ended up at their location in Soho last Saturday. We entered in the restaurant and it was like stepping in a French salon de thé.
We recently went to LIC Market, a seasonal restaurant located in Long Island City. It was right after the first day of open studio event in Jodi's building where she showed some amazing work. I really like this place, not only because of the delicious food, but also because it has this neighborhood feel: yes, the kind of place you would want near you. With its rustic decor and a covered patio in the back, LIC Market prints its menu on a daily basis, offering a large number of dishes that are perfect for sharing.
We were recently in Astoria, where Jodi lived when we met, and ended up at Tierras Colombianas, literally "Colombian soil", one of the many Colombian places in the area.
It is quite a big place that has a big menu and we decided to share a bunch of sides, all very comforting and good. Here is what we had:
This week I was invited to Chimichurri Grill East, the outpost of Chimichurri Grill West, located in Hell's Kitchen, opened more than 18 years ago by Chef Carlos Darquea and his wife Alicia Rodriguez, who is the General Manager and Wine Director. There, I had a great time with my fellow bloggers / influencers, tasting an amazing menu that I did not expect and enjoying the company of Chef Carlos who spoke about each dish and wine (yes, each dish was paired with a wine chosen by Alicia and it was not small glasses...).
Alright: I admit that when I reserved a table at Davio’s, I knew it was an Italian Steakhouse but thought it was another spot that I saw previously, wandering around...Well, that was a happy mistake: Davio’s is a great spot if you want a delicious steak in a nice setting. The service, although a bit slow was good and at least I could see my food...I also appreciated the noise level that allowed us to have a nice conversation; well, until the table next to us came...I mean you just needed one loud guy to spoil a bit the whole thing: it drives me crazy!
I recently went to an event at Capital Grille in the Chrysler Center, near Grand Central and admit that I was blown away. Usually, when you go to a luncheon or dinner like this, you get a prix-fixe, like that time, and the food is good but not outstanding, similar to what you often get when eating in a place for Restaurant Week. In fact, I tested one of my favorite steakhouses few years ago for Restaurant Week and was so disappointed: the meat served was definitely of a lower quality. So, my expectations for The Capital Grille were low.
We were in Long Island City to check out Jodi’s new studio when we stumbled upon John Brown Smokehouse, a restaurant serving Kansas City style barbecue. In fact when you arrive in the vicinity of this place, you start smelling the smoker that is probably functioning all the time, a smell getting even stronger as you enter in the restaurant. I admit that I was expecting a much smaller place, not realizing that they also have a terrace in the back.
We recently went to Riverhead for a wedding and ended up eating at Bistro 72, a restaurant a serving farm to table menu located in the Indigo Hotel. First I should mention that the access is better by car than walking...I know: we made the mistake on our way, as true New Yorkers, but not on the way back to the hotel! Secondly, as soon as you enter the restaurant, you get the feel that it is in a hotel, from the decor to the atmosphere. But you know what, the food there was quite good!
I discovered Sinigual, a contemporary Mexican restaurant located Midtown East, a couple of months ago and we decided to go back with my nephew, certain that we would have a great meal there, our first experience being very positive. This place is fairly big, with the open kitchen in the back, and, in contrast to the previous time we went, it was packed! The negative was that they were definitely understaffed, but the food was worth the wait.
As I mentioned before, it is a contemporary Mexican restaurant, so the menu is a mix of classics as well as original dishes, with a majority of non-vegetarian dishes, served in fairly large portions.
Here is what we had :
At first, they brought us some tortillas and tortilla chips that seem to be homemade (delicious), and served with salsa and cream.
Then, we ordered their guacamole, made table side. We had to wait a bit because it was a hot item and there was only one poor guy making it. I admit that portion wise, it is fine for two people, but not three. The guacamole itself was good, not the best, but good.
As a cocktail, I ordered their Modern old fashioned, made with Kraken Caribbean rum, regans’ orange bitters, simple syrup, imported luxardo cherries and fresh orange. It was quite good, deliciously sweet, but slightly watered down.
For our entrees, we tried:
Fresh fish tacos made with grilled seasonal white fish, pico de gallo, fruit relish, handmade flour or corn tortillas, red and black beans, pasilla-cilantro rice, avocado relish and sweet corn cake.
Lobster quesadilla made with Monterey jack and cotija cheeses, pasilla chiles, pineapple-mango salsa, chipotle sauce and avocado relish.
Chipotle barbecue ribs, made with chipotle-raspberry tamarind barbecue sauce, grilled corn on the cob, red & black beans and yucca fries.
All these dishes were really good, my favorites being the lobster quesadilla that had lots of cheese in it and chunks of lobster, and the ribs that were literally falling off the bones. The fish tacos were good, but I admit that I loved ce when the fish is deep fried, adding more texture, but still, worth trying.
Needless to say that after all of that, both times, we had to skip dessert. Too bad because they looked as good as the rest of the menu.
I like Sinigual: this is the perfect place if you want to have a more elegant Mexican meal, but with prices that are not outrageous.
Enjoy (I did)!
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Sinigual - 640 3rd Avenue, New York, NY, 10017
Located a few steps from Penn Station and The Madison Square Garden, The Statler Grill is one of these steakhouses that has some history. As they wrote on their website:
"The Statler Grill harkens back to the golden age of the big band era, and is named after Ellsworth Statler, who ran the Hotel Pennsylvania from 1919 to 1954, when musicians such as Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie and Glenn Miller played at the Café Rouge, the hotel’s main dining room".