Part 2: Food Fest
One of my very favorite things to do in New York City is eat. I must have been a food reviewer in a past life, or at least distantly related to Adam Richman, the man behind Man vs. Food. I may not be able to put the food away like he does, but I am always up for trying anything! And there is no place like NYC for food diversity.
In part 1 of my New York posts, I noted I have been to NYC no less than 20 times. I could not guesstimate how many places I have eaten – from the corner food stands to Michelin rated, 5-star restaurants that you have to call a month or more in advance to get a coveted reservation. But the one number I am sure of is the number of poor food experiences I have had – zero.
It never ceases to amaze me how many delectable different ways there are to create a food fest to tantalize even the most picky of eaters. If you can’t find something good to eat in NYC – you have serious issues. Thanks to my daughter, who lives in Brooklyn and works in Manhattan, I am treated to a gastro extravaganza every time we set foot outside our hotel door.
The restaurants are spread as far across the burroughs as the hotels I have stayed in. So do not fear that you need to stay in one specific area to be treated to a top notch dining experience. I can guarantee a great dining experience within walking distance of wherever you are staying. Which is a good thing, as you will want to walk to the restaurant to work up an appetite, and then you’ll need to walk after most likely over indulging.
Since I cannot possibly give a review of every eating establishment I have frequented, I will chronicle the places I ate at from my most recent trip to NYC. And then follow that up with several of my favorite eating haunts.
Wednesday: arrive in NYC at 7 pm. Dinner at Mari Vanna, a Russian restaurant 10 blocks away from our hotel in Union Square. To drink: Can you say Vodka! Sixteen different house infused flavors to be exact. Our table indulged in the “Flight of Five Shots”. To eat: Smoked Fish Plate; Borscht; the most flavorful Beef Stroganoff I have ever eaten; Vareniki (potato dumpling w/mushrooms); Medovik – a light pastry dessert.
Thursday: lunch at the W-Union Square restaurant, Olives. I had the place to myself and enjoyed a sizable wood-oven baked flatbread with prosciutto, shitake mushrooms and shavings of parmesan cheese. Dinner at Joseph Leonard, a small boutique restaurant with a wait of 35 minutes – enough time to walk to the book store around the corner and grab a couple of new reads. Worth the wait. To drink: Silky Pajamas and Rattlesnake Lake. To eat: Duck Meatballs, Julienned Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Marinated Beets and a cheese platter for dessert washed down with a port giving off flavors of fig and cherry.
Friday: lunch at Rosemary’s Italian eatery, where many of the ingredients come from the rooftop farm. A light an airy space, with a rustic touch of exposed wood beam ceiling and brick wall. To eat: Sopressata (spicy sausage) Panini, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, and Forest Kale Salad – all wonderfully fresh and full of flavor. Dinner at Sorella, another quaint boutique restaurant run by two female chefs with a penchant for unique ways of fixing everyday dishes. To drink: Honeypot – sweet and refreshing. To eat: Broccoli Fritto – no words, a must try!; Agnolotti – pasta with braised oxtail; and an Arctic Char that was done to perfection over a bed of pearled quinoa – “to die for!”
Saturday: a day off of eating and a day on of walking – off all the calories inhaled in the last three days. For sustenance to get through the evening, my daughter and I created a plate of specialty meats, cheeses and olives, washed down with a nice bottle of Red Car Rose’, eaten on the rooftop of her apartment in Brooklyn while we watched the sun set over Manhattan.
Sunday: back to the food fest. Brunch at Seersucker, indulging in southern comfort food. To drink: homemade Blood Orange Sangria. To eat: TN Whiskey Braised Ozark Country Ham with grits and eggs sunny side up; Fried Chicken – need I say more; and a skillet of four biscuits to soak up all the juices and sauces of the afore mentioned plates. Dinner was a late evening event at ABC Kitchen. When we asked the concierge at the hotel to see if he could get us a reservation, all we got was a roll of the eyes from him. But the restaurant was only a block away so my daughter and I walked over on the off chance of getting two seats at the bar. Score! After only a 10 minute wait we were being served. To drink: Sour Cherry Old Fashioned and a McKenzie Rye Manhattan. To eat: Crab Toast with Lemon Aioli; Line Caught Tuna Sashimi Marinated with Ginger and Mint; Steamed Artichoke, Tender Greens and Spicy Oregano Dressing; Mushrooms, Parmesan, Oregano and Farm Egg Whole Wheat Pizza.
Other recommended “must tries” restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn:
Shake Shack – fresh, juicy hamburgers. Original ‘shack’ at Madison Square Park. $
Tom’s Restaurant – where Seinfeld exterior restaurant scene’s filmed. Good breakfasts – get the pancakes. $
Magnolia Bakery – fresh baked goods. Several locations. Usually a line. $
Il Laboratorio del Gelato – watch the creative curators make a flower of your favorite flavors of gelato. $
Katz Deli – literally ‘melt in your mouth’ pastrami sandwiches. $$ No reservations taken, but be willing to wait in line – it’s worth it!
Lombardi’s Pizzeria – New York Style pizza. Little Italy. Usually a line. $$
Morandi’s – local Italian eatery. Good food – good wine, neighborhood feel. $$ Reservations recommended.
Post Office – quaint Brooklyn bar with great cocktails and appetizers. $$
St. Anselm – Brooklyn boutique eatery with the best steaks. $$$ No reservations taken, and the wait can be upwards of an hour.
The Station – an eclectic mix of foods in a small Brooklyn eatery. $$$ Reservations recommended.
Five Leaves – another great Brooklyn neighborhood restaurant with interesting and fresh dishes. $$$ No reservations taken.
Il Postino – Italian dining at it’s best. Impeccable service. $$$ Reservations needed.
Hospoda – serving Czech foods and beers in a modern setting. $$$ Reservations recommended.
Felidia’s – Italian fine dining and the best Manhattan’s and Old Fashions in the city. $$$ Reservations needed.
Peter Luger’s Steakhouse – world renowned Brooklyn steakhouse, once owned by The Donald. $$$. Reservations needed.
Bar Boulud – one of Daniel Boulud’s French eateries. $$$ Reservations recommended.
Babbo – one of Mario Batali’s Italian eateries. $$$ Reservations needed.
Del Posto – another Mario Batali Italian restaurant. $$$ Reservations needed.
The River Cafe’ – fine dining at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. Great Thanksgiving dinner. $$$ Reservations needed.
Eleven Park Madison – Michelin Three Star dining extravaganza of a multi-course tasting menu. $$$$ Reservations needed.