To celebrate Jodi's graduation, we decided to go to Russet, a restaurant located in an old town house near the center of Philadelphia. There, Chef-owners Kristin and Andrew Wood crafted a menu inspired by French and Italian cuisine, using seasonal ingredients. You can check their menu on their website, but it may change on a daily basis, depending on the availability of ingredients. In fact, I even noticed that they mentioned some of their products purveyors on the menu.
Gran Morsi means bites in Italian, representing the theme of this restaurant centered around small plates perfect to share. And as we were in the mood for Italian food, it was an ideal spot for us.
We went on a weekday, for lunch, the day Jodi graduated from The New York Academy of Art, completing a two year program culminating with a masters degree. The place was not that crowded and I admit that I was fine with it, the noise level being reasonable and the atmosphere relaxed. I like the decor at Gran Morsi: warm, with a touch of nature that is unexpected I the heart of TriBeCa.
So I finally made it to Momosan Ramen and Sake, the ramen joint from acclaimed Chef Morimoto. We went during the week, at 11:30am, right at the moment they opened and, surely enough, there was a line in front of it, but not long enough to prevent us from having a seat. However, thirty minutes later, the place was full. I liked the decor there: modern and warm, the walls being garnished with some of the dishes they serve there.
Located in the Ink48 hotel in what used to be a printing factory, Print is a true find. Serving seasonal ingredients, this off the beaten path restaurant opened in 2010 does not have the feel of being the restaurant in a hotel and truly stands out on its own. Its rustic and at the same time modern decor contributes to this feeling: wooden tables, pieces of wood representing the printing factory, as well as concrete walls creates a great atmosphere.
If like me you love chicken, you need to try Roast Homestyle Chicken in East Harlem. That's a bit of a trip, but indulging there some delicious bird prepared South style (i.e. Fried) or French style (i.e. Rotisserie) will make you regret that you do not have such place in your neighborhood. This small kosher place, opened last October, has a rustic decor and a house kitchen on the left of the counter that gives the feel you are eating at somebody's home.
Far from the popular Korea Town (aka K-Town) area and in the posh TriBeCa, sits a dynamic Korean barbecue joint called Gunbae. This place is not only a restaurant, but also offers karaoke private rooms that are probably used by the crowd after a delicious meal full of classic Korean dishes. We were just looking for a place to go in that area and I am glad we stumbled upon it: good food, great service and good atmosphere, although the noise level, with the loud music doesn't suit a romantic dinner.
The last time I went to Jean-Georges, the eponymous restaurant of Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, was in 2002 and I remember that I promised myself that I would go back. At the time, it was the first restaurant where I got to eat a modern take on dishes, with, from what I recall, a fish served with a strawberry foam. The place changed for sure with three main areas: The bar, the small dining area next to the open kitchen and the main dining room where we were seated.
I discovered ramen Zundo-Ya while going for steak at Prime and Beyond on a Friday night. Walking on 10th street, I noticed a line in front of a restaurant and, sure enough, it was a ramen joint I never heard about, although it opened last December, the location in New York being the first one, there are also 19 restaurants in Japan. I looked at the menu and did not think twice: I needed to try this place before the outside temperature would be too high for this kind of meal. So we went back to that area last Saturday, ready for one of my favorite soups.
I have been to Katsu Hama few times, but never tried their hot ramen, going more for the cold noodles as well as the Torikara Nanban lunch special that is composed of fried chicken, a good deal for lunch, or the chicken katsu. We went there on a Saturday and the place was not that crowded. If you have never been to Katsu Hama, know that it is on the second floor of a building. They have several areas for dining: next to the bar, back dining room as well as a small area with two tables separate from the rest.
After a visit at The Whitney Museum, Jodi, her cousin Jessica and myself decided to get some lunch at The Gansevoort Market, a block away. I like that place, moreover the concept, allowing patrons to try a wide variety of food. But I admit that this time, our first choice was a mistake: we stopped by M Terranean, a place serving Mediterranean cuisine.
Rare are people who think about going to The Upper East Side to have lunch: they are wrong. Over the years, I have discovered several restaurants in that neighborhood, the last one being MeiJin Ramen. I like the restaurant itself, where you are greeted in Japanese when you enter, a bit a la Ippudo I would say, but without the clamors of the staff that follow. Its atmosphere is warm and the decor zen. In the back is the kitchen that got busier as time passed (we arrived when they opened).
This week, I discovered The Gilroy, a cocktail bar located on the Upper East Side. Yes, The Gilroy is not just a bar: it is close to a lounge that has this 1940s feel, perfect for dates or not so loud meet up (tradition: there is music, but not overly loud, so you can have a conversation, probably important if you are on a date, although sometimes you wish the music was louder...). The place is composed of three areas: the bar, the main room in the front of the bar, and the backroom that can also be used for private parties, and has this interesting setup for the DJ or any tired staff during closed hours.
If you want to eat some good pizza in a restaurant setting, Angelo's Pizza might be your place. I have been going to this place for years and have never been disappointed. I usually go to the location on Broadway, next to the David Letterman Show, but, this time, I decided to go to the one few blocks from there, on 57th between 6th and 7th.