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.
I recently went to Blondie Sports on the Upper West Side with one of my colleagues, Michael, who loves chicken wings and recommended the place. I know the area, having gone to the restaurant next door, Burke & Willis, an Australian joint that serves a delicious kangaroo burger.
Blondie Sports Bar is your typical bar with one one side the bar and then a quite dark dining room with multiple screens where people can watch games. I am sure that it is crazy at that point and was glad we went on an off night.
Opened in 2016, Le Coq Rico is the outpost in New York City of the restaurant of the same name in Paris from acclaimed Chef Antoine Westermann. Originally from Alsace in the east of France, Chef Westermann maintained a 3 Michelin Star rating in his restaurant Le Buerehiesel for 31 years until asking the Michelin Guide to remove them, a quite incredible move for a Chef. The name Le Coq Rico is a play on cocorico, the French version of Cock-a-doodle-doo (yes, roosters speak French too!) and is, in the US, a tribute to American farmers and local terroir.
When Matt & Meera closed few months ago, I was heartbroken: I loved this place and we tried most of their menu, my favorite being the wings, the lamb kati roll, the dal tadka and the old Delhi butter chicken. But, to my surprise, it was just a revamp of the restaurant and Chef Hari Nayak came back with Soul Curry, an innovative Indian restaurant that definitely stands out. New decor and new menu, we already went twice since they opened less than 3 weeks ago and trust me: we will be back! I love the decor with the beautiful painting that dominates the dining room and the exposed brick that gives a nice warmth to this place.
We recently went to Greenwich Steakhouse, where Chef Victor Chavez, an alumni of Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse, serves various cuts in a modern setting far from your classic Steakhouse. I admit that I am not that impressed by the Smith & Wollensky reference as I never liked that place, having tried it few times for lunch or dinner: poor service and just ok overpriced food coming into mind. But hey, it does not mean that the same would reflect at Greenwich Steakhouse. In fact, the service was courteous and efficient. As far as the food was concerned, it unfortunately did not deliver for me: the steak was not what I expected and the dessert not good. At least I got a good cocktail, The Johnny Prime, made with vanilla infused whiskey, cynar, ruby, port, and mole butters. I should mention that this cocktail is named after a fellow blogger whose blog is mainly about steaks (check it out here).
As we got married on a 8th, we always go out that day and so I decided to find a pizza place as Jodi loves pizza. That is how we ended up at PN Wood Fired Pizza in Chelsea. This is not your classic pizza place: I guess they call themselves the “black Sheep” or Pecore Nere (PN) in Italian because they make pizza a bit differently. They put pride in saying that they do not break the rules, they make them. Considering how good the food was, I have no problem with that!
Corner Bistro, the famous so called “bohemian” pub has a new location in Long Island City. It was not our first target there, going for some Vietnamese food, but, when we saw it, we could not resist. Opened in 1961 in the West Village, this place serves an amazing burger that some have named the best in New York. Yes, it is good for sure: the 8oz patty is tasty and juicy, sitting on a slice of onion that will enhance a bit the flavor of the meat, and squeezed between two pieces of a potato bun that seem too small to hold everything (especially when you put ketchup on it), making the experience delightfully messy.
I finally made it to Stingray Lounge in Hoboken: I waited for Jodi to have plan for dinner to go, not because I did not want to go with her, but more because of you are vegetarian, this is not really the right place for you. Unless you like cheese...I am sure though that if you ask nicely, the chef will prepare a salad or something you can eat so you do not spend your evening staring at your partner or friends enjoying their seafood.
Fusion food is always interesting, not just when people experiment but more when it is part of a culture. So I was curious to try Calle Daõ, a Cuban-Chinese restaurant located close to Bryant Park. It was not my first meal of this sort, having dined in the past few times at La Caridad on the Upper West Side, a much more casual place. I liked the food there, that I found quite creative, but the dimmed lights and loud music spoiled a bit the meal. So if like me you like to see your food and a quieter setting, I suggest you either go for lunch (hopefully quieter) or sit close to the door, on the few tables next to the windows...
Serving an all-you-can-eat vegetarian menu inspired from Gujarati cuisine, Vatan is the kind of restaurants that a non-vegetarian person like me would rave about: the food that they serve there is so good and full of flavor that you will forget you are having a vegetarian dinner. I love the concept: for $34 you get a full meal: an appetizer thali (slightly spicy), an entree thali (you can choose between mild, medium and hot) with its sides and desserts. As it is all you can eat, they ask you if you'd like more but trust me: it is so filling that you will not order as much as you think!
The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City is a great place to learn: it has an amazing setup and their planetarium is awesome. So we were excited when I got an invite for their evening event, LSC After Dark, that takes place every third Thursdays of the month: Grossology - The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body, where you can climb in various parts of the human body (you can see the inside of the nose) or play games that reveal the secrets of boogers, vomit, odors, and more. Yes, it is gross but at the end of the day, it is what we are and be honest: this type of stuff makes people laugh..I have to say it was entertaining as well as educational and I enjoyed it!
Boasting 13 locations across the US, Hot’n Juicy Crawfish serves seafood creole and Cajun style. Yes, seafood and mainly seafood. If you do not like it or are allergic, unless you are ready to eat corn, rice and potatoes, this place is not for you. But if you like crab, crawfish, shrimp or lobster, it is a fun experience. Notice the way I put it and understand that when I say a “fun experience” it means that I personally would not go often there, prices being high considering what ends up in your belly once you eliminate the shells that make up most of the weight of the food you order.
I love diners: they represent something I associated with the US during my childhood as I watched a lot of American series where there would be a scene at a booth, as characters were enjoying milkshakes (introduced in France by MacDonald’s and Ben & Jerry’s) or burgers (well also introduced by fast food chains although when a kid I did not like ground meat and always settled for a filet’o fish...). So I was excited to try Big Daddy’s Diner near Union Square: the neon and walls covered with American TV series names, singers, etc, giving a particular feel to the place.
After our incredible meal at Daniel, the eponymous restaurant of acclaimed Chef Daniel Boulud, we were looking forward to dining at Café Boulud, located at The Surrey Hotel on the Upper East Side. Boasting one Michelin Star, Café Boulud celebrates 20 years of existence in what used to be Daniel’s original location and is a nod to the Chef’s family run restaurant in Lyon (just so you know, Lyon is considered the capital of French gastronomy, although I am sure some people would disagree). The menu, prepared by Chef Aaron Bludorn, is very interesting, declined in four sections:
Last Tuesday, I was invited at Minton's Playhouse in Harlem for the launch of the Bazodee line of sauces, a set of Caribbean sauces from Mavis Foods, LLC. I love the story of this company: it all started with Ms. Mavis Davis, the daughter of a family of 12 children who has been cooking since she was 13 years old, complaining about the family not cooking and losing the legacy of the Caribbean and Venezuelan dishes carried from one generation to the other. That is how Bazodee, that means crazy, head over heels in love in Trinidad and Tobago, started.
I recently went to Ikinari Steak, the Japanese chain with few locations in New York where steaks are cut to order and customers are supposed to eat standing. For the latter, if you go to the location midtown, you will be properly seated. However, it is true that they cut the meat to order, with limited choices: ribeye, filet, sirloin and a cut I never heard about called wild steak that the waitress was not able to explain.
With a name signifying “passion”, there is added pressure for Junoon to deliver elegant contemporary Indian cuisine. Since opening in 2010, Junoon has been awarded a Michelin Star. Yes, 7 years: not a small accomplishment for a cuisine that is sometimes misunderstood. It has been a while since we wanted to go, but the list of restaurants on my list being what it is, it was often postponed: I regret it. The food crafted by Executive Chef Akshay Bardhwaj being superb, creative and beautifully plated. It is served in a nice atmosphere where the only negative is the light: it is so dimmed you cannot eat with your eyes.