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.
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.
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.