What do you do when you become vegan and crave French food? I am not talking about me but of Christophe Caron, the owner of Delice & Sarrasin, a French vegan restaurant in the west Village. French and vegan is a bizarre association, French cuisine being known for using lots of butter and cream, as well as meat, poultry or fish. So, if you want to eat a boeuf bourguignon or a cassoulet, you might be out of luck. Well, not anymore with Delice & Sarrasin: they offer a menu that can satisfy a carnivore like me. See for yourself what we tried in the two times we went there...within three weeks.
Last week, I got invited to The Freckled Moose in Astoria, a restaurant that opened last July and whose name comes from a Northern saying: “In the contest of moose vs car, the moose will always win.” and was also one of the nicknames of the owner, Peter Lyman. I got to talk a bit with Peter who has an interesting background, growing up in Massachusetts and learning skills of a chef on the job. The menu is his creation, inspired by his childhood.
There is a new Italian Bakery in town: Dolce & Salato. I never hid the fact that I was not impressed by Carlo’s Bakery that, for me, gained success thanks to its TV show, The Cake Boss, rather than to its pastries. No, for me, the best Italian Bakery is Giorgio’s Uptown Hoboken. Old school, it is consistently good. So I was curious to try Dolce & Salato, located on Grand Street. Result of the passion for Italy from Maurizio Dolce, Michael Nirchio and Brian Mazzei, it proposed not just pastries, but also various Italian products like cheese (not just Italian by the way:
Last week, I was invited at Fedora, a restaurant in the West Village to celebrate the 100 years of Kaukauna cheese, a company making spreadable cheese. Kaukauna is a city in Wisconsin, approximately 100 miles North of Milwaukee, where the founder, Hubert Fassbender, created a distributing company, which soon became known as South Kaukauna Dairy and eventually Kaukauna Cheese.
Last week, I was invited by the Sinanaj Brothers to their outpost of Empire Steakhouse Midtown East, attached to the Kimberly Hotel. That place is impressive: it used to be an Opera house before becoming a club called Versaillles where Edith Piaf, represented in a large painting in the main dining room, performed. Smartly, they kept the spirit of it, setting this place apart from the traditional wood, leather and low light steakhouses.
I heard for so long about The Musket Room that, in my quest of going to each and every Michelin Star restaurants in the city, I recently stopped by this place that celebrates New Zealand’s cuisine, a cuisine that Chef Matt Lambert, a native of New Zealand, masters perfectly, crafting a menu that is an incredible experience for the eyes and for the taste buds. The place itself has a rustic feel and warmth that can only be disturbed by loud diners who can make the experience painful...
Habanero Blues is no more and has been replaced two weeks ago by American Hall, a beer and arcade joint that can fit up to 600 guests. With the same owners and Chef, American Hall is all about comfort food, beer and fun with its large play room downstairs where people can play darts, pool, foosball or other arcade games for a low price while enjoying some drinks.
It’s been a while since we wanted to go to Saxon+Parole to try their burgers. Especially their vegetarian burger that is called the “impossible burger”, a plant based patty supposed to taste like meat. Are we there in the future? I do not know but I have seen more and more places proposing the beef like patty from Impossible Foods. The secret? Well still a secret but they provide some clues on how they can come close to meat, per their website:
What you need to know about me is that when I am walking in the street, my head is like a radar looking around for restaurants and I often stop to simply look at the menu, even if I already ate...What I saw when we passed next to Cata on the Lower East Side was their dining room that was open. Not the menu. That was enough for me to grab my smartphone to check the menu there as, this time, we were looking for a place for dinner. Contemporary tapas ? Why not. We had an early lunch so were fine for an early dinner and we just waited for them to open, thinking that on top of that it would be quiet.
Going to Junoon for dinner, we passed in front of Tappo and, as Jodi loves pizza, we decided to go there for lunch the next day. So here we are, on a Saturday for lunch, arriving at the moment they opened. We sat outside, enjoying the nice weather and gave our order. Then we waited, waited and waited. As they saw we started being impatient, they advised us that they gave priority to a delivery of 25 pies. Not very professional as they knew when we ordered that they had this order and should have told us that they had to take care of that, and so our pizza would be delayed. No, it was as if they were annoyed by our impatience.
Ratatouille is a Provencal dish that originated in Nice, in the South of France. Needless to say that this dish became popular after the Disney movie of the same name and it is now not uncommon to see it on menus in New York. Comforting, this is the kind of dish where every family has its own recipe. Some cook the vegetables separately. others together. Even the way the vegetables are cut can differ, some preferring them grossly cut and others, like myself, small. Know that it has to cook for a long time and you will surely get a fantastic smell in your apartment.
We were in Harlem for an event when we saw Sexy Taco Dirty Cash. Those who think that it is a Mexican version of Hooters, you will be disappointed. No, it is just a restaurant with an interesting menu. Corails for instance have creative names that fit the theme: Thai me up (with Thai tea - my first choice, but unfortunately they ran out of Thai tea), Dirty Ole’Man (my second choice, but again, they did not have one of the ingredients) or the Victors Secret. As I was set finally on having a drink with Scotch, I settled for the Penicilin #3. Quite good, it was made with lemon and yuzu that gave a refreshing citrusy taste.
If like me you love chicken wings, you need to try Anchor Bar on 57th street: this is the outpost of the original restaurant located in Buffalo, credited with the creation of the Buffalo chicken wings in the 1960s. At that time, wings were used in soups or thrown away; owner Teressa Bellissimo got the idea to deep fry them and smother them in Frank’s Red Hot sauce, serving them with blue cheese sauce. Incredibly, they were served for free at the counter, before becoming an icon of American Bar food. My first encounter with Buffalo wings was in New York when I moved here as I only tried chicken wings in Paris at...Pizza Hut!
When you think that Mighty Quinn’s started as a cart in Smorgasburg in Brooklyn and now they have two locations in the city, the latest being few steps from Times Square. The one in the East Village is always crowded but not this new one that opened several months ago but does not seem to have gotten enough attention from the BBQ crowd or the tourists...That worked for us a we going with our friends Amy and Caleb on a Thursday evening and arrived a bit early to make sure we would have a spot for the four of us.
I cannot believe I missed The Marshall for so many years, this place having been opened since 2013. It is probably because I often went for dinner in Hell’s Kitchen on 9th Avenue and started to go on 10th more and more this year, discovering true gems there. And The Marshall is one of them. Imagine: we went there for brunch on a Saturday and returned the following Tuesday to try their dinner. That is telling!
I love chicken: fried, pan seared, rotisserie, you name it. I discovered fried chicken in the US many years ago in a Southern cuisine restaurant and was blown away. Well, it has to be good: crispy with the chicken perfectly cooked and moist. The coating should also not overpower the taste of the chicken by having too much seasoning and I like when it is slightly greasy. So I was excited to try the second location of Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken that opened few months ago in Hell’s Kitchen and the cafeteria style joint lived up to my expectations.
Some consider Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint the best pizza in New York and, considering the line in front of it on a Saturday at 5pm, they are not just a few! Jodi tried to go last Tuesday with her friends but it was difficult to get a table so they ended up in a different pizza joint. So we decided to try, last Saturday, thinking that at 5pm, when they open, there would probably not be that many people, the crowd probably enjoying some happy hour elsewhere. We were wrong: we arrived at 5:05pm and there was a line outside.
I finally made it to Union Square Café, the first restaurant of acclaimed chef and entrepreneur Danny Meyer that reopened in a new location. I am glad it did as I was stunned by the news that it would close. I love the concept that Danny Meyer apparently tried to instill when opening it to make it successful: focus on customer satisfaction that is something I experienced in most of his fine dining restaurants, like Gramercy Tavern or The Modern (I still rave about this place), but also in more casual, like Marta. And I think that the non-tipping part of it is a great idea, allowing everyone in the staff to share the tip, sharing that is otherwise not permitted by law if I remember well.