In the 2009 recap post, I tried to recapture some of my favorite eating moments of last year. This post will probably be more detail oriented as I've taken notes to aid my memory. So here we go. Let's dive into some 2010 restaurant experiences.
Rub BBQ (208 West 23rd St. New York, NY)
The first place I visited to kick off the new was Rub BBQ. Stef and I often have a hard time picking a place so I thought it'd be a good idea to give her the 2010 Zagat Guide and leave it up to here. She asked me what kind of cuisine I was looking for and I thought BBQ was a good hangover cure.So she found Rub BBQ, which proved to be a great pick!
The space exudes a classic BBQ joint from the wood tables to the red menus. The waitress immediately approached us and explained how they were out of some items and also were running low on others. I was surprised considering it was an early dinner, probably around 5:00. They were out of the BBQ bacon chunks which mad me a little sad, but I was happy to know I got the last rack of Baby Back Ribs. Stef got a meat platter containing pulled pork, pulled chicken, and two sides. I made her get the onion straws, one of my favorite side dishes ever and she got the coleslaw for herself. Supposedly the coleslaw is really good, but that's the only thing I didn't taste. Everything else was dynamite. The smoked baby back ribs were delicious as one Stef's pulled pork and chicken. The platter also came with slices of Wonder Bread just incase you wanted to make a sandwich, a brilliant idea.
After a night of drinking I was kind of surprised we opted to drink, BUT we did. I got a beer recommended by the waitress called Arrogant Bastard, which was pretty good. It had a dark, copper color and had a bite to it. Thought it went went with the BBQ food. Stef got some razzmataz kinda drink that turned out to be too sweet for her liking. I liked how drinks came in big plastic cups, felt like you were at a friends BBQ. Definitely recommend this chelsea joint.
Izakaya (Atlantic City, NJ)
This Japanese tapas-styled restaurant was one of the best restaurants I've ever been to. The energy and atmosphere was similiar to Tao, but better in my opinion. The decor was beautiful and the ambiance really added to the meal. There was a DJ spinning some really sensual, unobtrusive music that I was totally digging. I picked the restaurant because I felt Stef would really enjoy it and afterall it was her birthday a few days before.
For drinks Stef ordered an Orange Bull, a mixture of Orange vodka, redbull, and maybe one other ingredient. I'm not usually one to drink red bull, but this combination was actually really good. Stef actually switched because I didn't like the berry cocktail I ordered.
Izakaya is designed for dishes to be shared. Many of the dishes come with only 2 or 3 pieces per plate. Being Stef's belated birthday, I told her to order for both of us. She picked out some really good dishes that I probably wouldn't have ordered. The waiter explains how the dishes come out as they are cooked, so it's not your normal appetizer,salad, entree, dessert kind of place.
The first dish to come out was the Kobe Beef Carpaccio. I never had raw beef so I was very interested, yet a little scared. This dish really set the tone for a great meal. The kobe beef was amazing. I was sad there was only four little slivers of meat because it was one of the best things i've put in my mouth. The next four dishes all came out within minutes of each other. Bacon skewers with an onion chutney; chicken skewers with a sage, spicy mustard; atlantic salmon with spincah dumplings; and kobe beef fried rice as a side.
The bacon was phenomincal as aspected. Big chunks of bacon on a skewer with onion chutney on top makes me want to go back there right now. The chicken skewers were also very delicious especially with the sage, spicy mustard sauce. The salmon was also good, but then again not a big fish person. The dumplings with the salmon were really good. The kobe beef fried rice was a solid side dish. The beef was so tender and delicious while the rice had good flavor and spice.
The only negative aspect of Izakaya was the waiter who seemed like he rather be on the blackjack table. Overall it was a great experience and would love to go back.
Crocodile Lounge 325 E 14th Street. New York, NY
Walk down into this cellar hangout to experience one of New York best deals: free personal pizza with the purchase of a drink. I was buying $3 yeunglings and getting a free pizza--it doesn't get much better than that. The dark basement is a bit cryptic, but you can't beat the deal!
Zaitzeff (Financial District)
I feel as if finding a good burger place is impossible. Maybe its because i've never had a burger better than my own or maybe its because i'm trying the wrong places. I've had some good burgers, but none of them seem to compare. If there's one thing I've been complimented on, it's my ability to make a delicious burger. But enough about my burger-making ability; lets talk about Zaitzeff.
I really don't have too much to say about Zaitzeff other than it was an expensive burger. It was good, but not worth the $13.50 I so regretfully handed over to the cashier. Not only did I have to add cheese for $1 and bacon for $2, but I didn't even get a side of fries or a bag a chips. The guy didn't even ask me how I wanted my burger cooked! And they were definitely not generous with the skimpy piece of cheese or the 3 half-sized pieces of shriveled bacon. O well, my search for a GOOD burger goes on!
Went to this bar/lounge which seem to have a really cool vibe going on until it started to pack out with a scene I usually don't hang out in. The DJ started his set with some good tunes including some sweet throwbacks, but the music got progressively worse as the night went on. A few Jameson on-the-rocks later we left and found refuge at another bar.
Black Bear (Hoboken)
Located on Washington Street which boasts tons of bars, we picked this jam-packed bi-level sports bar with specials that didn't seem to make much sense. What kind of special is Jim Beam and Coke for $5 when Jack and Coke costs the same price. Jim Beam is cheaper than Jack so how is that a special? I guess when you write something on a chalk boards with neon lights reflecting on it, anything goes. Only stayed for a drink because a friends cousin wasn't allowed back in. Wasn't too upset about leaving and neither was my friend who was carrying around a huge jacket and backpack because there was no coatcheck. Sucks for me, I had to walk around with the nerd all night.
The Shannon (Hoboken)
A typical irish with no memorable attributes or drink specials, but I was in good company so it was all good. Plus it was better than being at two bars I visited before. I even get to see the meathead bouncers drag a kid outside and pin his face into the sidewalk. The show stopped by another bouncer who said "no peeking". O well.