May 14, 2013 § Leave a comment
Better late than never, right?
The last week of work, Alice, Komal and I had a lovely dinner at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Nougatine at Columbus Circle. Beautiful interiors, great service, and delicious and surprisingly light food. I really loved the tomato and avocado gazpacho (even though I don’t tend to like cold soups) and the salmon entree I had.
Cindy, Beth, and I also snuck out of the office during one of the last couple days of work to have a long, leisurely lunch at the Tap Room at Colicchio & Sons. Again, a great cold, corn vichyssoise, a wonderful meaty entree, and heavenly beignets to top off the meal. If only work life could always be like this.
Think that finally might be the last of the summer 2012 posts. Now to get through Winter and Spring 2013!
Trump Hotel Central Park
1 Central Park West
New York, NY 10023
Colicchio & Sons
85 Tenth Avenue
New York, NY 10011
February 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
I’ve always loved Murray’s Cheese Shop in Greenwich Village (such an amazing selection of cheeses, cured meats, and other gourmet items and super-friendly staff), but it took me a whole summer of living literally right down the street to discover their Murray’s Melts. Probably for the best; otherwise I would’ve been there all the time and eventually unable to fit through the door. The owners also just recently opened Murray’s Cheese Bar, which I’ve heard great things about, but this is probably a better idea if you want something quick and on-the-go.
Below is a “Da Bomb” sandwich that’s unfortunately no longer on the menu – short ribs, Murray’s secret cheese blend, caramelized onions, and fresh arugula on Pullman bread – but you really can’t go wrong with any of their melts. The current ‘Shroom Melt (brie, mushrooms, truffle-pesto aioli) and the Mayflower (smoked gouda, turkey, bacon, cranberry chutney, and a “stuffing” aioli) sound especially delicious.
Look at that gooey butteriness… Just this side of too rich for me, the sandwich’s arugula and sweet onions did a good job of complementing all that dairy and meat.
Afterwards, a walk on the beautiful High Line is the best way to work off the cheese bomb you just ate.
Murray’s Melts (at the Murray’s Cheese Greenwich Village location)
254 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10014
January 26, 2013 § Leave a comment
Photos from Esther and my summer meal at Momofuku Ssam Bar, which is still one of my favorite places to eat in the East Village.
A seasonal cocktail and the Penicillin – scotch, lemon, honey and ginger…all my favorite ingredients in one beverage with a giant ice cube.
The famous steamed pork belly buns with hoisin, cucumber, and scallions. Still so good that I could make a full meal out of these babies.
A new addition to the menu since my last visit – bbq buns with crispy pork belly, coleslaw, and smoked mayo. Maybe it was the novelty of the dish, but I think I actually preferred this version to the original, and Esther and I seriously contemplated ordering more.
A classic – spicy pork sausage and rice cakes. I always tell myself that I won’t order these again, but something about the crispy starch mixed with the crunchy Chinese broccoli and spicy meatiness of the sausage just keeps calling me back.
Silky Santa Barbara uni with some melon ice and a strange but tasty gelee (I vaguely remember a porky, ham flavor) with summer tomatoes.
Beef, two ways, with bulgur, fava beans and soubise. I think this may have been the first time I’d had bulgur actually and it was totally great – nutty flavor and a toothsome texture. The meat, as you can see, was also perfectly cooked. Just goes to show that while it may be easy to fall into the same great dishes again and again, it’s definitely worth your while to try new dishes at places where you’ve eaten many times in the past.
January 16, 2013 § Leave a comment
Finally, exactly six months later, I’ve managed to post about Eleven Madison Park. This was without a doubt the longest (by the time Cindy and I finished this most expensive date ever, it was 1:30am), most extravagant, most memorable meal of Summer 2012 and going through the photos felt like I was reliving it over and over again. Apparently, a lot of the menu has changed since we visited – Daniel Humm, the chef, and the kitchen have revamped the menu twice, I believe – but I can’t imagine that the attention to detail, the warm service (unlike my initial impression of extreme fine dining restaurants, EMP’s staff was very friendly, un-pretentious, and patient, given our very late conclusion to the meal), and the exquisite food has gotten anything but better. I’m too lazy to go into detail about every dish, so just believe me when I say that every single course actually felt necessary (if that’s the right word) towards the overall progression of the meal and distinct in its own right, whether it was the concentrated flavors of the tomato tea, the nostalgia of the clambake, or the sheer unique-ness of the whey with curds and gnocchi.
There’s been a trend lately for high-end dining chefs to explore rustic, comfort food at a friendlier price point (chalk it up to the recession or whatever you want) but there’s still something to be said about taking the time (and money) to sit down and enjoy a long meal that lets you forget about everything else. It’ll be a while before I get to return to EMP (I’d love to try the duck course that everyone raves about), but I do think that, if you manage to get the hard-won reservation, it’s definitely well worth the splurge. Thank you to Daniel Humm, the EMP kitchen, and the amazing EMP staff for a truly unforgettable meal, and to Cindy for being crazy enough to go with me and spend so much on a single meal.
Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10010
December 31, 2012 § 1 Comment
Horribly late with this post, a birthday dinner in July for Laura and Jackie at ABC Kitchen in Flatiron, a beautifully-designed restaurant inside/adjacent to ABC Carpet and Home. Possibly the best pizza I’ve ever had in my entire life (whole wheat with mushrooms, parmesan, oregano, and a fresh farm egg), a roast carrot and avocado appetizer that made me view “salads” in a whole new light, and some really gorgeous and tasty seafood – fried, steamed, roasted, you name it. This is a great restaurant for special occasions – friendly service that doesn’t hover, gorgeous interiors and wares, excellent, fresh food that doesn’t leave you feeling grossly stuffed.
35 E. 18th Street
New York, NY 10003
August 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
For my mom’s birthday in June, our whole family gathered in New York City for a dinner at Craftbar, Tom Colicchio’s restaurant known for its shared plates (large and small) concept. The menu changes pretty regularly, so I’m not sure what’s still available and what’s no longer in season, but it was a memorable food-filled meal and made me really appreciate how wonderful it is to have family so close by, making it easy for everyone to come together to celebrate special occasions such as this.
Funny note: two days later, some of us from work went to an AALDEF reception at a nearby lounge called Crimson and without intending to do so, I found myself eating another huge dinner at Craftbar within three days. On the plus side, eating there once before meant I already knew which dishes were standouts and which we could pass up.
Cocktails to start, one of which I remember being called a Flying Unicorn and the other I recall being shockingly citrusy (in a good way)
Pecorino Fonduta – Acacia honey, pepperoncini, pine nuts, and crostini
Everyone loved this dish – melted cheese, sweet and floral honey, and crunchy pine nuts are kind of a no-brainer.
Salt cod croquettes + piperade (a Basque-influenced mixture of peppers, onions, tomatoes, and spices)
These, like the arancini, had the perfect contrast between a crunchy, fried exterior and creaminess within. My mom was a huge fan of the vinegary, spicy peppers underneath and scraped every last bit off the plate.
Pecorino arancini with spicy tomato
Scotch quail eggs with mustard – something I thought I’d love due to their fried state but there actually wasn’t much flavor aside from the mustard
Spring asparagus, crostini, poached farm egg, and cheese
Sheep’s milk ricotta ravioli with spring vegetables – this dish, though delicious sounding, was for some reason incredibly sweet
Duck hearts and dumplings – duck egg, pearl onions, smoked bacon and black garlic
Atlantic halibut with summer squash and some kind of reduction (the menu has since changed)
A veritable pork-apalooza for 2 – roasted chops, pig’s feet roulade, loin, and, of course, chicharron with fingerling potatoes, baby onions, and carrots. Absolutely coma-inducing but totally worth it.
Cheesecake with sour cherry sorbet and pistachio brittle
Sweet pea semifreddo, lemon confit, and an ice cream flavor I don’t remember (honey maybe?)
In the end, Craftbar was a great choice – really friendly and helpful service, a casual and relaxed atmosphere, and excellent food for the most part. I think it’s particularly suited for larger groups, where you can order a bunch of different dishes and try as many things as possible. Another plus is its close proximity to Madison Square Park, where you can then (attempt to) walk off some of your dinner. Or, as my sisters did, get frozen custard from Shake Shack. Girls will be girls.
New York, NY 10003
June 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
A couple weekends ago, I met up with two family friends at Dell’ Anima, a jewel box of an Italian restaurant in the West Village. The place was tiny but we managed to beat the brunch rush and took our time catching up and enjoying some refined, yet down to earth breakfast favorites with an Italian twist.
Below we have the pappardelle integrale – with oyster mushrooms, scallions, and pecorino romano – and the uova in purgatorio – baked eggs with pancetta, shallots, rosemary and tomato, which both earned raves.
And because I can never resist any version of shrimp and grits, I ordered the gamberi alla amatricciana, shrimp and polenta with pancetta, spicy tomato sauce, and poached eggs. The shrimp were perfectly cooked, well seasoned and tender, and the polenta was flavorful and creamy. The two poached eggs and heavy sprinkling of cheese were the ideal oozy, golden finish and when mixed with the spicy tomato, shrimp sauce, and polenta, created the perfect combination of savoriness, cheese, acid and sweetness.
So if you’re looking for a smaller, more intimate brunch place that takes a well-executed Italian approach, Dell’ Anima does a fine job.
38 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10014
June 11, 2012 § Leave a comment
Shots from brunch at Northeast Kingdom in Bushwick, Brooklyn from a while back. My creamy and comforting shrimp and grits (shrimp, two poached eggs, fiery tomato sauce that wasn’t that fiery, Anson Mill grits and scallions)…
…and W’s hearty-looking buttermilk biscuits and gravy with scrambled eggs
18 Wyckoff Avenue
New York, NY