Located few steps from the High Line, Cookshop is a trendy place for sure and it is not that easy to get a table there. So, the best time, if you can is during the week, for lunch: much quieter, although people start showing up at 12:30pm.
Ali Baba is a Middle Eastern restaurant located on Washington street in Hoboken. This place has been there for so many years. We often ordered but it has been a while since we had dinner there and, one day, we went as I really wanted to try their couscous. This is where we heard about Barbes, a Moroccan and French place that opened several weeks ago few blocks from there, that has an amazing food, especially the tagines and couscous.
When we went to Rouge Tomate Chelsea, I did not know what to expect. On one hand, I remembered a dinner that I found ok and quite pricey at the time they were Uptown (they closed in 2014); on the other hand, I was intrigued by their Michelin Star. So we decided to give it a try on a Friday night. The place was nice, with its open kitchen in the main dining room, exposed brick and reclaimed wood, as a testimony to the commitment of sustainability of the owners.
When we booked our table at Nix for Memorial Day, I not only did not know what to expect, but also did not know where the name of the restaurant came from, until they gave us the check and a post card with Nix vs. Hedden was attached to it. This is an interesting case that made its way to the Supreme Court: Nix v. Hedden, was a decision by the Supreme Court in 1893 that, under U.S. customs regulations, tomatoes should be classified as a vegetable and not as a fruit. The Washington Post gave last year an interesting insight on this case:
Two weeks ago, we decided to try Surf Tacos in Hoboken, NJ. This place replaced the fantastic Taco Truck that unfortunately closed last year, the brick and mortar restaurant not being as successful as the trucks. So the stakes were high, any place serving tacos in that location being for sure compared to its predecessor.
We spotted Il Falco few months ago, while going to LIC Market in Long Island City. And, as we were planning to have dinner in that same area, we decided to try it. Interesting place: quite dark, you will hear the waiters speak Italian, in a setting that makes you think you are in an old school Italian restaurant.
Continuing my quest to try all the Michelin Star restaurants in New York City, I was intrigued by Casa Enrique, a Mexican place located in Long Island City. Some may ask how come Long Island City, also called LIC, can be considered part of NYC: know that some of its neighborhoods are located in Brooklyn, a borough of NYC. At least, besides stuffing my face with a Mexican meal, I learned something...Anyway, Casa Enrique, the restaurant of Executive Chef Cosme Aguilar can show off one star, already a good accomplishment. What is interesting, is that there seems to be a gap between a one and two stars: you will find lots of casual restaurants like Casa Enrique in the one star category, but certainly not in the two stars section where Daniel, The Modern or Marea share the fame.
I recently went to Canada and flew for the first time out of LaGuardia airport. Not such a good idea considering how messy this airport is with all that construction, but I admit that I was impressed by the digital experience they offer to the passenger, especially in their food court. Each table was equipped with an iPad where you could select your order and then check out, so it would be taken into account by the kitchen. Of course, you had to be careful to close the tab because otherwise the next person sitting at your spot could enjoy a nice meal thanks to you.
Meaning “The Center of the world”, Gaonnuri is a Korean restaurant located on the 39th floor of an office building, offering breathtaking views of Manhattan. This is definitely unique in Korea Town and, to get a seat next to a window, you apparently need to book a table a month in advance with a special request. We did not and got seated in one of the comfortable booths.
Jodi was recently in Chicago for a show where one of her paintings was selected for, but, unfortunately I had to travel for work and could not go with her. I not only regretted not being present for the event itself, but also not being able to explore the food scene in the windy city, especially the deep dish pizza Chicago is known for. I admit that the only place where I tried these pizza was at Pizza Uno, so we wanted to see if there was another place in New York. That is how we found Emmett's a small joint with a rustic and warm feel located downtown.
After the service issue and the so so meal we had at Rosa Mexicanos for Jodi's birthday, I surprised her by reserving a table over the week end at Empellon Midtown, the latest venture of chef and founder Alex Stupak, who gave us the wonderful Empellon Taqueria where we went a couple of times, enjoying both the brunch and dinner. The place opened few month ago in a setting that is a bit more spectacular, more upscale than its sister restaurant, and so, it has a different vibe and crowd.
For her birthday, Jodi wanted to eat Mexican food, but only in a restaurant that makes guacamole. You may find it obvious that a Mexican restaurant would serve guacamole as an appetizer, but in fact, one of my colleagues suggested a place few months ago, but we did not go simply because there was no guacamole. So she picked Rosa Mexicano, the popular elegant Mexican chain where I had dinner few weeks ago. The food was good, but I admit that the poor service wrecked a bit the evening. You know, I like to spend some time with my wife sharing a meal, but it has to be on my own terms.
Opened last February, Ruumy's Tavern is the last venture of restauranteur Mike Kocak who also owns Akdeniz, a Mediterranean restaurant located Midtown West (Ruumy is the nickname of one of his relatives). There, Executive Chef Matthew Sadownick, who worked at Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe, crafted an interesting menu that he calls comfort food, made of small dishes as well as large ones. This is the interesting thing: we had a debate with the Chef and my fellow bloggers who were present at the dinner about what comfort food is as they disagreed with the concept.
We were walking around while waiting for our reservation for brunch at Talde in Jersey City, few blocks from the Grove St path train, when we stumbled upon Torico, an homemade ice cream parlor. It did not take long for us to decide to go back there after lunch for dessert, the weather being perfect for it.
For my birthday, I proposed to go to Butcher & Banker, a Steakhouse that opened several months ago that I really wanted to try. Located in the New Yorker Hotel, few blocks from Penn Station and The Madison Square Garden, it used to House the Manufacturers Trust Company and they smartly kept the vault, transforming it into a dining room. I like the place because it has its charm and is not your typical steakhouse. No dark colors or leather, but lots of red, and, in the main dining room, an amazing chandelier. But, what you cannot miss are the two black and white portraits that have a strange presence in the room.
Few years ago, we went to Talde, the eponymous restaurant of Top Chef alum Dale Talde, in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I totally forgot that he opened a second location in Jersey City and we simply stumbled upon it while going to a brunch place. Well, we decided to change plans, persuaded that we would have a great experience there. And we were not disappointed. This is a big place and we were definitely early, the restaurant being empty, quiet so we could enjoy our brunch. But when we passed by a bit later, it was quite busy.
I finally made it to Nusr-Et Steakhouse, the NYC outpost of Chef Nusret Gökçe aka Saltbae, a social media sensation known from the way he cuts meat (he is a trained butcher) and put salt on dishes, falling on his forearm. When it opened several weeks ago, the reviews were not that good: expensive (they do not even serve tap water!) and not good, with some sanitary concerns that could have violated the health code (you should not touch the meat with your bare hands once cooked; Salbae is now wearing gloves). But I admit that, when I went, I found the food excellent, although still expensive, and the evening quite entertaining, each dish being kind of a show.
It is undeniable that Le Cirque and the Maccioni family are icons in the New York restaurant business and as soon as I knew that they opened a location in Delhi, I had that place in mind. I was recently in the Indian capital and we tried to book a table at this renowned Italian restaurant on a Sunday night. Unfortunately, it was full, a party of 70 hungry Italians having booked the place. Fortunately, thanks to Mauro Maccioni, one of the sons of Sirio Maccioni, the patriarch of the family, who I met a couple of times at Circo (Mauro, not Sirio - maybe one day!), I was able to get a reservation, my friends not believing that it happened.