For the last month I have been on Long Island recovering from a broken ankle at my parents’ house. I broke it playing Zog co-ed touch football and had to have reconstructive surgery. I am extremely lucky to have family local to help me through and a place to recover but man do I miss my city and all the food. The following is a list of places that have been on my list for a while that I am going to make a point to try once I’m back in Manhattan… Who’s coming with me??
Minetta Tavern – Greenwich Village still wanting to try the Black Label Burger. Search for NYC’s best burger needs to continue.
Prune – East Village popular brunch spot but also serves lunch and dinner. Currently reading Blood, Bones and Butter and it’s great.
Kinshop – Harold Dierterle (Top Chef) new Thai spot in the West Village
Perilla – Dierterle’s first restaurant he opened upon winning Top Chef
Ciano - seasonal ingredient Italian spot in Murray Hill/Kips Bay area, recently opened by Chef Shea Gallante. Offering four and five course tasting and ala carte menus
Spotted Pig - embarrassed I have yet to be to April Bloomfield’s famed spot
John Dory Oyster Bar – fairly new oyster bar opened in the Ace Hotel by April Bloomfield serving bar snacks and small plates
The Breslin - Michelin Star restaurant focused on meat and in the Ace Hotel. Offering both Suckling Pig and Lamb Dinner’s at their chef’s table
David Burke Townhouse - I have wanted to go here since I saw this place on Top Chef this season. The menu just looks so fun and adventurous. Three course brunch is pricey at $39 but a three course lunch menu is more affordable at $24
Locanda Verde - disappointed I haven’t made it here yet. It has been on my list since trying their meatball slider at NYMag’s taste event two years ago. Tribeca Italian restaurant with executive chef Andrew Carmellini and partly owned by Robert DeNiro
Frank - small family owned Italian restaurant in the East Village that is recommended by many friends
Cookshop - meat/not for vegetarians spot on 10th Avenue
Northern Spy Food Co. - Farm to the table East Village restaurant. I mainly want to go here for brunch to try the Chicken & Egg sandwich. This used to be a college favorite for me only it was called the Emmy Bull Chicken and I have yet to find it duplicated in NYC. In general I hear this place is delicious for all meals.
Maialino - Danny Meyer Italian Restaurant in Gramercy. Chef’s table and great looking salumi; and main courses
Scarpetta - Scott Conant’s Italian restaurant in Chelsea. Never been and have heard from multiple people that the Spaghetti is out of this world but I really want to try the Duck & Foie Gras Ravioli
Marea - Chef Michael White’s coastal Italian seafood restaurant in Columbus Circle. Rave reviews and I love seafood, it’s a no-brainer. Expect for prices to be at the $$$$ level.
Eleven Madison Park - I love tasting menus. Every once in a while it’s worth putting on your best and going to a multi-Michelin star restaurant for a $400 meal. Elevan Madison Park is the next one on my list.
Osteria Morini - Casual Noho Italian restaurant that has been well received by critics and the dinner menu looks money.
Social Eatz - new affordable restaurant in Midtown East from Angelo of Top Chef All-Stars
Public - awarded a Michelin star and serving a Sunday Supper for $50 for five courses. Discovered from Brad Farmerie’s appearance on Iron Chef.
Double Crown - Farmerie’s second restaurant featuring a DIY Bloody Mary bar for lunch and Sunday Family dinner for $35/person
Butter - to put it simply Alex Guarnaschelli pisses me off on everything she judges (Chopped, Iron Chef) I really just want to go here to see if her opinions are justified. And maybe because I’ve heard it’s really good. Prices are high but its to be expected from the Noho location and celeb chef.
Gotham Bar and Grill – Esteemed NYC American restaurant. Too many awards and on too many lists not to try it once.
DBGB - Daniel Boulud & Jim Leiken team together on this “Pan European” homemade sausage haven.
Ma Peche - Who doesn’t want to eat Beef 7 Ways?
Gramercy Tavern - open for over 15 years; classic American New York City restaurant. Tom Collichio co-founded the GT before he spent so much time on Bravo. It doesn’t feel right that I haven’t been yet.
Co. - quest for NYC’s best pizza continues at this Chelsea spot from Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery
Marc Forgione - as seen on Next Iron Chef as the winner. I was continuously impressed with his cuisine throughout his season. I’m sure it is trendy now but the last time I know people that went there it was before his season and they said it was delicious. So hopefully this Tribeca spot hasn’t changed too much.
Hearth - Another Iron Chef contestant. Hearth is Marco Canora’s East Village Italian restaurant.
Torrisi Italian Specialties - A sandwich shop that offers one seating nightly for a tasting menu. Expect to wait – doors open at 6pm everyday and they start taking names at 5:45 but the menus look so worth it for $50.
Prime Meats - German inspired farm to table restaurant in Brooklyn featuring Small Plates, Fish, Foul and Beef
Commodore - Williamsburg joint that is famous for Fried Chicken affordable food and drinks and a casual atmosphere.
The Meat Hook - butcher in Williamsburg, Brooklyn serving homemade sausages and fresh meat cuts
Frankies Sputinos – another family owned Italian spot with locations in both Brooklyn and NYC
Tanoreen - Middle Eastern Bayridge restaurant featured on Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate
Piattini Ristorante - Small Italian Bayridge restaurant
Bark Hot Dogs – Park Slope… What can I say? I love French Fries, shakes and hot dogs.
Fette Sau – Smoked Meats and Whiskey. Enough Said.
Fatty Cue - Asian/American Williamsburg BBQ joint from the owners of the UWS Fatty Crab. I have yet to find an impressive BBQ joint in Manhattan, time to start searching Brooklyn.
Peter Luger - no explanation necessary
Have you been to these places? Are they worth visiting/prioritizing? Any listed that are over-rated and worth skipping? Any places that I must try that are missing from this list? Let me know in the comments!--DBlock
- Katie, our famous guest blogger from the Hop Devil Grill post was featured as a Midtown Lunch’er for Downtown Lunch
- The GourmandNYC author was featured in Midtown Lunch as a featured Lunch’er
- Kwik Meal adds spiced eggs as an optional addition to my favorite Chicken over Rice dish. Definitely making another trip there soon!
- Bierhaus is finally open! And I’ve heard it lives up to the hype
- Donate to Japan by eating at these restaurants
- Craving Friendly’s? Check out this list of NYC alternatives to chain restaurants.
- $600+ cookbook released on molecular gastronomy or modernist cuisine
- Bobby Flay continues the search for the next restaurant that will open and close within the same month in NYC in his broadcast show.
- Chopped All-Stars was Sunday’s most watched cable show and it was awfully fun to watch Anne kick Robert’s ass.
Welcome to the third post in the Guest Blogger series. This week we welcome Martha, auther of her own blog, and self described as ”a twenty-something, New York City dwelling, throwback type of girl. Currently seeking balance, positivity, growth, health and good old-fashioned bliss, while living in a studio apartment with her phenomenal boyfriend and her two dogs.”
I’m excited about this week’s post as it is way outside of my comfort zone and not a place I would have ever considered dining at prior to this post!
Pure Food and Wine is an entirely raw, vegan restaurant meaning that there is absolutely no meat, dairy or nothing is cooked above 118 degrees which is alleged to preserve vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Additionally, the restaurant is entirely gluten-free and you won’t find any faux meats here since they don’t do the whole tofu thing here either. Cheeses are made from nuts and noodles are made from vegetables – you certainly won’t find any faux meat in this kitchen!
Let me preface this review by saying that I am not a raw foodie, a vegan or even a vegetarian. I am an omnivore who enjoys a rare steak as much as I do a cold glass of fresh pressed green juice. I have a relatively adventurous palate and I am never afraid to try something new and I do enjoy eating on the healthy end of the spectrum. Having said that, I do think that Pure Food and Wine might be too much for a true meat-a-tarian such as my boyfriend to handle, which is why I brought along a friend instead.
The restaurant doesn’t open until noon, so when I arrived a little early I ducked into their sister juice bar, One Lucky Duck for a Hot Pink juice made with fresh-pressed beet, pineapple, pear and ginger.
Unfortunately, I was slightly disappointed and wished that I had stuck to the Thai Green (my favorite), which is less sweet and has more of a kick, but it was still a refreshing drink. I am sure that for someone craving something sweet, it would be a great choice.
I didn’t have too long to wait though before my friend showed up and it was time for us to grab some food. The restaurant itself has a outdoor seating area in the back but seeing as how it was cold and rainy, we opted to dine in the more intimate, lounge-feeling indoor space. This would certainly be a wonderful date spot but is also great for a cozy lunch with a friend. We both started off with a cup of the chai tea, though they do offer an unlimited mimosa special for a more classic NYC brunch experience!
The tea was wonderful and the server was great about refilling the hot water throughout the meal, but on to the important stuff. What exactly does one eat at a place that doesn’t cook anything that they serve?
While we had originally planned on trying out their new brunch menu, the lunch pix fixe jumped out at us and looked like it would really allow us to try out the most of what Pure had to offer. While the restaurant certainly is not cheap, this option would really give us the most bang for our buck and I certainly can’t complain about that. I also chose a dining companion who is good at sharing, which is always a good idea in these sorts of situations!
As her first course, she ordered the Spicy Sesame Salad, which was absolutely gorgeous to look at. The presentation at Pure is really quite spectacular.
While beautiful, the taste was a bit bland for something that was supposed to be a spicy salad but the texture was interesting. I was quite happy that I had chosen to chomp on the Mediterranean Salad to start.
Yes, in the end it was just a salad but it was an incredibly tasty salad and certainly not bland. The dressing enhanced the greens perfectly and the crackers not only added a great texture but also were delicious in their own right. Now the menu says that these are starter size salads but they were beyond filling. In fact, while eating them, we began to wonder if we would even have room for our second course.
Thankfully, we were able to brave through it, as I just had to try Pure’s zucchini and tomato lasagna. After all, how could one even think of making a cheese-less, noodle-less dish and call it lasagna?
Luckily, they did not disappoint. This dish was out of this world. Despite the lack of carbs (the “noodles” were sliced zucchini) and cheese (which was replaced by cashews), it was still a delicious alternative to one of my favorite comfort foods and I felt good about eating it. Even after my enormous salad, I all but inhaled the lasagna, leaving very little for my dining companion to enjoy. (Hey, I said that I liked to eat with people who share, not that I enjoyed sharing myself!)
My friend, on the other hand, is a great sharer and saved one of her Tortilla Wraps entirely for me.
These were good but didn’t seem to be too much more than miniature guacamole wraps, albeit very fresh and flavorful guacamole. I am an avocado fiend but they were extremely heavy and I understood why my friend couldn’t eat more than two.
In my opinion, the desserts are really where Pure stands out and I even think I might be able to convince my boyfriend to try something off of their dessert menu, since there were no visible vegetables involved.
The Mallomar is definitely in the running for my top five favorite desserts. This delicious nutty (no really, raw almonds are a main ingredient) concoction blew me away and I think I just may need to keep a constant supply of them at home, which I can do since they also carry them at One Lucky Duck for takeaway.
This delicious treat makes you rethink raw eating all together. Seriously, it was so rich and flavorful and the perfect combination of texture and taste. Their take on the tiramisu wasn’t half bad either.
Okay, it was way more than not half bad. It was great. They really know how to do dessert.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with the food, though I preferred my choices over those of my friend as they were more complex and flavorful. The restaurant is wonderful introduction to these sorts of foods, even for people who typically enjoy a burger and fries and while an entire raw vegan meal probably isn’t for everyone, I would certainly make it an after dinner stop to enjoy some of their phenomenal desserts.
It seems for the last couple of years it has been a trend for more expensive multi-star restaurants to add a cheaper option within the same building or nearby. Most of these versions were created to counter act the negative effects of the Recession. Most come in the form of a bar (Craftbar, The Bar Room at the Modern, etc). Wollensky’s Grill doesn’t necessarily help to ease the prices but does fall in the same premise of being a bar room and offering later hours than the main Smith & Wollensky’s. A similar menu, closer proximity to the bar and open til 2am help to differentiate it from the namesake famous Steakhouse.
Last week my parents came into the city for brunch and we wanted an alternative to our typical spot (Chin Chin) so we tried Wollensky’s Grill. The area is smaller than the main restaurant with a similar but scaled down menu. For an app we ordered fried zucchini & onion rings. The portion size was large and the vegetables were tasty and cooked well. My only complaint is that I wish they served another dipping sauce besides ketchup.
For a main my mom ordered the burger and raved about how delicious it tasted. The burger patty was cooked to a perfect medium (as ordered) with a nice crispy char on the outside. It was served with lettuce, tomato and very well cooked fresh skin on French fries. This was definitely the best plate we ordered.
My dad ordered a lobster roll, which was served with a crème fresh and not mayo. For $30 the lobster roll was TINY! Unfortunately you can get a MUCH better tasting same sized roll at Luke’s Lobster for $14. My dad seemed to enjoy the roll but I had a few bites and was not impressed. Unless you are craving a sit-down restaurant lobster roll don’t care about the price and can’t make it to Luke’s I do not recommend this version.
I ordered the pan roasted chicken because I was trying to be healthy. I asked the waitress which part of the chicken it was and she told me it was a leg and thigh. I was excited because I prefer dark meat but when it came out it was a dry breast and wing. The chicken was cooked fine but it just didn’t live up to expectations. I was hoping for a moist well-cooked & flavored chicken with a crispy skin and I didn’t enjoy the dish at all. The chicken was served with string beans and carrots which I ate but they were bland. Don’t get me wrong I may not have been a fair judge (I can’t remember the last time I ordered a chicken dish at a restaurant) but my dad took half of it home to make chicken salad the next day.
The drinks were really well made and the bartender definitely deserves more credit than the chefs. If I do ever come back here it will be for a well made/expensive dirty martini.
If you are craving the Smith & Wollensky experience please do yourself a favor and go to the real restaurant room and order a steak. This place otherwise is not worth the trip or the money.
Convenient to Midtown
Onion Rings/Fried Zucchini
Typically no wait for a table
Tasteless non-steak dishes
Waitress did not know enough about the menu
Limited selection when the main kitchen is not open (try to visit during meal hours)
Overall Rating: 2/5 Stars