Thursday, May 9, 2013

Good Deal

If you're craving a burger on Monday, stop by Burger & Barrel on W Houston and you will not be disappointed. For $22 you can not only have their delicious "Bash Burger", but you can also enjoy an appetizer like a Kale "Ceasar" Salad with white anchovies, toasted hazelnuts, and pecorino. I believe they do this special for both lunch and dinner although the dinner price might increase a few bucks. 

But even if you're not in the mood for a burger, B & B has plenty to offer whether its short rib tacos or southern fried chicken. And don't be afraid to get seafood, owner Josh Capon also owns Lure Fishbar! B & B would also be a good spot for drinks as the prices are pretty good for Soho. Worth checking out for sure.


Patio Weather

Spring is in the air, so its time to start dining outside! First outdoor dining of the season was at Saxon & Parole for brunch. Solid food with good service and great people watching along the Bowery. 

Also had brunch at Tribeca Grill. Wanted to go to Locanda Verde. but it was an hour wait for outside seating, so we settled on Tribeca Grill which is a stone's throw away. Tribeca Grill is part of the Myriad Restaurant Group--who also runs Nobu, Corton, and a few others. The Myriad group was started by Drew Nieporent: one of NYC's most notable restauranteurs. 

The outside seating at Tribeca Grill isn't the best as the tables are kind of cramped together and the awning prevents direct sunlight. In some cases, shelter might be key; but we could have used more sun especially with the occasional strong breeze. 

I thought the food was pretty good and the prices were fairly reasonable--unlike Nobu which could drain your bank account rather quickly. Service was good. All in all, a nice little brunch. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stand Outs

Sunday's are always a fun day to wander around the city and see where the day takes you. Today it took me to one of my favorite NYC restaurants--Barbuto. Jonathan Waxman's menu at Barbuto reflects both simple and seasonal in the overall genre of Italian. Simple and fresh is best displayed with Waxman's signature roast chicken with a salsa verde. Some might think this chicken is boring; but its among some of NYC's best chicken dishes with its understated beauty. But the chicken isn't the only thing that exudes beauty. Start with some anitipasti like cheese/salumi and/or a seasonal salad. The kale, breadcrumbs, and anchovy salad was a hit at our table last night. The calamari fritti was also delicious--squid served with brussel sprouts! Pastas are always delicious whether its the carbornara at brunch or the gnocci at dinner. Last night I got the spring lamb which our server told us only comes on the menu for about two weeks a year, so I felt like I had to get it and it didn't disappoint. Definitely a great spot, especially in the nicer months because they raise the garage-like doors which spills out onto the sidewalk of the beautiful West Village.

Tortilla Flats
You don't go to Tortilla Flats for the food--you go for the party. It always seems like people are wildn' out here no matter what time of day. Bachelorette party central. 

Blind Tiger
Always a solid selection of craft beers! Fireplace adds good ambiance. 

If you like whiskey than you better check out Maysville. A cool spot to grab a drink after work or late night. Was suppose to have dinner; but they were fully reserved till 9. I've heard pretty good things about the food.

One of Hoboken's most celebrated restaurants serving up South American cuisine. Cucharamama is hugely popular and could probably consider itself a destination restaurant for people living outside of Hoboken. I've wanted to visit Cucharamama for quite sometime; but its not exactly easy to score a table. A few weeks ago, we  called and they had plenty of room; so Stef and I decided to check it out. 

"Still or sparkling", the waiter asked with my reply being "tap water, please". He then went on to tell me that Hoboken's water isn't any good and I needed to get bottled water. I instantly turned off by the service in his rude attempt to up-sell me on water. I later found out that there was a problem with the Hoboken water system (that week) but the server could have given me more texture on the situation. If there's one thing I hate, its up-selling me on water. I decided to drink sparkling water because Stef likes sparkling; but I actually hate sparkling water; so it was a rocky start. I then tried to forget about the experience; but the service just didn't get any better. 

Besides the service, the food was pretty good. The menu was super big and scared me; so I let Stef take the lead because I pretty much eat anything. There was literally over 50+ menu items which made me think of a diner or the cheesecake factory. Large menus make me think poor quality; which isn't always true; but I can't help make the connection--especially when you're one of four tables on a slow Sunday night. 

But again, the food was all pretty good.I'm going to give Cucharamama the benefit of the doubt and say that the bad service was abnormal. I'd try it again --after all we only covered 1/8 of the menu. 

Awesome dinner here for Isabella's birthday. A bit pricey; but solid Stulman spot. Gabe Stulman (aka Little Wisco) has been crushing the West Village scene with favorites such as Perla. Fedora, Joseph Leonard,Chez Sardine, and Jeffrey's Grocery. Montmartre is a french bistro with the menu from Tien Ho who made his name working with the Momofuku empire. All the food was pretty solid, except dessert which is taking the award for worst dessert I've ever had. It was a pot de creme that tasted like fish sauce. I don't know what happened here; but it was pretty gross. Granted the desserts were sent out with the kitchen's compliments; but I would have paid for someone to take that away. I think all the desserts fell short; which was a shame because it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. 

But we did have an awesome 1995 chardonnay from Kalin Cellars. We followed that with a white from Jura which wasn't my favorite; but lets just keep that between us. Not that the Jura white was bad, it just didn't fit into our meal. 

Overall, a great night out on the town. 

Went to Corkbuzz after for Champagne Campaign. 50% percent off champagne after 10pm. Satisfy you're crippling champagne addition at half the price! Definitely worth checking out. Great spot!

Bloomfield Spots

Spotted Pig
Crowded and cramped yet cozy and homey. Good food, not GREAT! For me its more a scene-y NYC gastropub more than a fine-dining establishment its Michelin star would suggest. Waits might be long; but its one of NYC staple restaurants so its definitely worth checking out. The restaurant is one of the West Village spots that reminds of a vintage townhouse.

We started with some "bar snacks" like the deviled eggs and the chicken liver toast--both pretty good. Then we moved onto the a frisee salad with a duck egg, pancetta, and anchovy dressing. But the most anticipated items came last--the burger and the gnudi. People always rave about the burger; but I thought the blue cheese was too much. The beef by itself was so tastey that I would have preferred a more mild cheese so that the cheese complimented the burger. The roquefort was too overpowering and dominated the beef. The shoestring fries with the burger were bangin'. The gnudi was good; but again I don't see how people talk this up so much. Beets with braised greens were sent out complimentary and were pretty solid even though I don't usually love beets. 

John Dory Oyster Bar
Was pretty pumped to try after some great feedback from some friends throughout the years. Walked in and got a table for 4 on a busy night which was cool; but the service suffered because of the crowd. "Are you the only server for the whole restaurant" one of my friends asked our server. "No, but I have a bunch of VIPs", he replied as he seemed was looking around: anxious to leave the table. So maybe there was a celebrity sighting or the guy from Dogfish brewery was right next to us; but then there should be more support  so he could atleast get us  some drinks and take our food order. 

The food was pretty good; although portion size and price didn't match up really well. After the 4 of us racked up a $300 bill, I felt hungry. I was considering a slice of pizza; but I was already maxed out for the night. Some people think its a great place for raw bar and cocktails; so maybe one day I'll give it another try. Again, the food was all pretty good; but I just can't justify that price. If I want to spend alot of money on seafood than I'll go to Le Bernadin. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Favorite Lunch Spots

Visited two of my favorite lunch spots this week. Can you name them?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Great lunch at Lupa--Batali's Roman Osteria on Thompson Street. Some might argue that the old Lupa was better and the place has become tired; but Lupa is still a favorite spot for many New Yorkers. I went for lunch with Matt who used to work there; so they hooked us up big time. The bartender poured some bubbly and the food followed. 

Our antipasti:
Sweetbreads with shishito peppers
Beets and pistacios 
Marinated mushrooms and farro

Our Primi
Spaghetti alla carbornara
Ricotta gnocchi with sausage and fennel
Bucatini all' Amatriciana

All delicious! Definitely worth checking out. I think lunch is a good time to go because you miss the crowds. Also always a good backup plan when you cant get into Ushiwakamuri, Miss Lillys, or the Dutch. Check it out!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


My favorite local sushi spot, Suteishi, was destroyed by Sandy and still remains closed, which leaves me in a sushi crisis. Suteishi fell in the category of great sushi at a great value. Sure, it wasn't cheap; but its not gonna force you to sell your unborn children. The higher end sushi spots of NYC put out some of the best raw fish I've ever eaten; but they're not your everyday sushi spots and thats what concerns me. There's a lack of sushi spots like Suteishi that fill the void of value driven sushi. Maybe I'm a snob considering I stay away from low end sushi spots that have the quality of the rolls you find at your local Duane Reade. If I could afford places like 15 East and Sushi of Gari then I wouldn't be on this rant; but there's noway I could spend 100+ every time I crave sushi. Do you know any good value sushi spots that should be on my radar?

So the other night I was suppose to meet my buddy at Kanoyama in the East Village. Kanoyama has been a sushi spot that has gotten much praise for its fish quality while staying value driven. My friend bailed, so I was left hungry and confused. Where should I go? Should I stay my course and hike it up to the East Village or is there something walkable? After racking my brain, I couldn't think of any sushi in the Financial District, so I immediately thought Tribeca. Brushstroke seemed like too big of a splurge and Sushi Azabu seemed a bit too far considering It was snowing. I then thought Sushi of Gari which is always raved about by sushi connoisseurs. The tribeca location was their most recent addition to their UES and UWS locations. I looked up the menu and it didn't seem "too expensive"; but thats before I sat at the sushi bar upstairs. 

Downstairs, the room definitely needed some remodeling. Carpet floors, cramped, and overlit are the first words that come to mind in describing the room. The maitre d' assumed I ordered "to go" and seemed really surprised when I wanted a seat for one. He then told me to wait while he helped an older couple that seemed more fit to dine at such an expensive restaurant. Upstairs, there was a 11-seat sushi counter that was more my speed--super simply fixtures and soft music.  Sitting at the sushi counter is great because you get to talk to the chef and watch him at work. Unfortunately, I didn't get to do much talking because my chef was too involved with the Japanese couple next to me. But sitting at the counter, you almost feel obligated to get the omakase. So when asked, I agreed and my wallet trembled in fear.  At Sushi of Gari, there's no set price on the omakase so the chef starts cooking for you and you tell them when you are done. Unfortunately for me, my dialogue with the chef was nonexistent and therefore he was just preparing whatever he thought was right. I do love when chefs take  control of the experience; however, I would have like to incorporate some rolls into my experience so I wouldn't leave hungry. And I did leave hungry!

Everything I ate was delicious from blue fin toro to salmon roe; but its just way out of my league. If you ever go to a place like Sushi of Gari, make sure you keep a tab of what you're eating because your bill will certainly surprise you at the end. Seven single pieces of sushi could run you $120, so set a budget with your chef or server. If you don't have a budget, you will love Sushi of Gari. A great place for celebrity sighting (I'm still trying to figure out the guy sitting next to me) and great sushi; but not a place where value hits home. 

Probably won't go back unless I hit the lottery!

Met up with some of the guys at The Fat Radish on Orchard Street for some food and drinks. This is my buddy Tim's favorite local hangout and I could see why. Comfortable in both atmosphere and price. Solid food that probably won't blow your mind; but will fully satisfy you. After The Fat Radish, we went to 169 Bar which is Blake's favorite bar in the city. Described as a tiki bar meets a Western saloon--its a solid spot for cheap beers and whiskey.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Good Eats


Gabe Stulman has another hit on his hands with Perla on Minetta Lane. Perla was cozy and homey, much like  Stulman's other restaurants; however; it had a clubby-ness. We went on the early side of dinner on a Monday; but I can definitely see it becomes a "scene" later in the week. 

We started with crostini with ricotta, honey, and black pepper--a combination that never seems to get old. A foie gras cracker reminded me of a nutter butter but Colette disagreed. We dove right into pasta with a black spaghetti with king crab and cauliflower. They sent us fettucine with a lobster sauce and skate as a complimentary dish. The pastas were both delicious; but I was getting full and we still had our secondi on the way. 

Next up we had the beef rib which paired wonderfully with my Rhone wine. Colette went with a lighter red Burgundy that probably paired better with the quail. The beef rib was super tender and mouth watering; but the quail boasted in levels on flavor. The beef rib came with mushrooms, a sweet onion agrodolce, and a bone marrow brodo. The quail was paired with farro, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and a brown butter sugo. 

With no room for dessert, the only move left was amaro which our server brought us over before me asking. He poured us Montenegro which was a great way to end the meal. The staff was super friendly and professional. Great date spot. 

Mighty Quinn's
Serious BBQ--The Old Way! Low and slow has been a catchphrase in the world of BBQ for quite sometime and Mighty Quinns turns that catchphrase into their motto. Some might say that NYC is slacking in great BBQ places, but Mighty Quinns begs New Yorkers to reconsider. Where do you go for BBQ? Fette Sau is my favorite BBQ place in NYC; but a trip to BK often deters my craving. 

But Mighty Quinn's gives an alternative and could probably be a fill in for my BBQ craving. Kristen and I stopped by for a quick lunch and we got a variety of their BBQ including pulled pork, brisket, and sausage. Close your eyes and this BBQ transports you into the South where BBQ is king. Pickled veggies bring Mighty Quinn's New York twist which was welcomed with all the meat we consumed. 

Mighty Quinn's is a cafeteria style restaurant designed as Quick-Serve Restaurant. Order your meats, sides, drinks, and grab a seat. Staff is friendly and prices are value driven. A great addition to the neighborhood and the city!

Jazz and cocktails = good night

Per Se
I know its early, but definitely the best meal of 2013! Menu coming soon...