I was looking for a sake bar when I stumbled upon Sake Bar Hagi 46, the outpost of Sake Bar Hagi near Times Square. We got seated in the back of the restaurant where a large party was enjoying some food and probably too much drinking, making the noise level close to unbearable...So, needless to say that, although we enjoyed our meal there, we did not take our time to appreciate it fully and, as soon as we payed the bill, guess what? The large party left!!! I had only one fear: that they followed us!
I was recently invited at Numero 28 Pizzeria in the East Village. I already know this pizza place as I went to their original location on 28 Carmine St, location that gave its name to the place. Little did I know that they had that many locations, including Miami and London! We were there for lunch and the place was quiet until later, prompting me to think that we were really early...I liked the atmosphere that is rustic and warm, with the staff speaking Italian to add to the ambiance.
I was recently invited for a dinner at Cafe Istanbul, a restaurant on Steinway in Astoria that serves Mediterranean, Egyptian and Turkish cuisine. Opened over two months ago, this place is the dream come true of Mumbai native, Sonny, who spent 18 months creating this place, making it comfortable and very open.
Being part of the food bloggers community is a great thing as you meet great people who enjoy good food, whether in a fancy restaurant or in a casual place. It is thanks to a blogger friend if mine, Malini, The Restaurant Fairy, that I discovered Oppa, a great Korean place in the new Gansevoort Market.
I recently received a coupon to try Tres Carnes, a fast casual tex-mex restaurant with few locations in the city. We went to the Flatiron one and I admit that I was surprised as to how good it was, definitely better than the other restaurants in the same segment. It is not only due to the freshness of the ingredients, but also because of the slow cooked BBQ meat they serve. It is not a big place for sure, but we had no problem finding seats at the large table in the center of the dining room.
I was really looking forward for our dinner at Gazala's Place in Hell's Kitchen, sometimes craving Middle Eastern cuisine. We found it walking one afternoon on 9th Avenue, seeing the owner, Gazala Halabi making some pita at the window.
Gazala's is quite a small place so don't be surprised to have your back on your neighbor's chair. For the time we arrived to the time we left, the flow of patrons continue to arrive and go, probably having the same cravings as we did.
I was recently invited at Bettola, an Italian restaurant located on the Upper West Side with a fantastic background story. This place is under new management since May of this year and I would say a colorful management. It all started in a ski trip where co-owner Giga Leszay met a rockstar turned Chef Vlado Kolenic. Yes, you heard well: rockstar turned Chef. Vlado was the lead singer of Taktici, a popular band in former Czechoslovakia that defected from the iron curtain at the end of the 70s. This is an incredible story that you can find here, on this short video. When Giga saw an opportunity to take over the ownership of Bettola, she did not hesitate and reached out to Vlado, as she needed a new Chef.
After meeting Chef Hooni Kim at a cooking class (DeGustibus event at Macy's), and a great dinner at Hanjan, his restaurant near the Flatiron, Jodi, Malini (aka The Restaurant Fairy) and I decided to go for lunch at Danji. Why lunch? Less crowded and good light. The reservation was at the time they opened so I admit that I was glad to be able to take few photos before patrons arrive.