Eats around town

March 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

Blue Ribbon Sushi at Hudson Eats at Brookfield Place

Favorite dishes – bombolotti all’Amatriciana (sauce of spicy tomato and guanciale) and roasted sunchokes with almonds and brown butter – at Maialino during a leisurely lunch while between jobs

Introducing Laura to Toro‘s grilled corn and bone marrow (look at those gorgeous colors!)

Sadelle‘s pick up (sesame bagel with smoked Scottish salmon, chive cream cheese, red onion, tomato, capers). I was obsessed with their bagels for a while but now the lines have gotten too long and I’m pretty sure they upped their prices.

Matcha latte at Chalait – gorgeously prepared but not sure I’ll be getting on the matcha trend train any time soon

Spaghetti alla vongole at Rafele Ristorante, my parents’ favorite restaurant whenever they come to visit (though we introduced them to OTTO the last time they were here so now they may have a new favorite Italian place)

Lovely Sunday brunch with Bohee at the beautiful Untitled at the Whitney

Booze-free dinner at Balthazar with Cindy (clearly not skimping on French fries though)

Delicious and super spicy spread at Pok Pok lunch (finally tried it after years of wanting to go) with Wes

More Sadelle’s – this time dining in with the full-on smoked fish tower and endless bagels (much better than just picking up)

The Modern

March 3, 2016 § Leave a comment

From a while back: dinner at The Modern at MOMA with CGR girls. I’d been to The Modern only once before and that was a few years back in the Bar Room when Gabriel Kreuther was still chef and I couldn’t drink because I was under 21, so it was nice to see the improvements they’ve made since Abram Bissell took the helm. In the more formal dining room, where we were, you can choose between three, four or seven courses so we decided to go with four. Service throughout was warm and attentive and Chase, the sommelier, provided some really great wine recommendations. It was a seriously special night out and so much fun to catch up with girlfriends I see in the office every day without actually talking about work. Some of these dishes have since dropped from the menu due to the season so apologies for not being able to remember the details or other diners’ dishes.

Amuse-bouche to start

Complimentary butternut squash soup with truffle foam (one of my favorite dishes of the night) and a glass of Billecart-Salmon champagne (well, 2 actually)

Bread course – pretzel croissants and rolls…I think we asked for seconds of these.

My first course: lobster and beet salad with creamy sorrel dressing. Super tender and sweet lobster that matched well with the more tangy sauce. Chase recommended a bottle of 1992 Vouvray – very smooth with a great acidity and a nice finish.

My second course: roasted foie gras with lemons, red endive and quince. I wasn’t about to pass up a chance to eat foie and this was a stellar take. There was sweetness from the quince, slight bitterness from the endive and acidity from the lemon and then when paired with 1989 Sauternes (my birth year!) as recommended by our server, I was in heaven.

Another second course dish (unfortunately I can’t recall what it was).

Third course: roasted beef and bone marrow with truffle jus, new potato and radishes paired with 1998 Cahors. Earthy and, surprisingly, not too heavy considering it’s essentially meat and potatoes.

Other third courses: one, I believe, to be seabass and another, duck.

Mango + coconut shumai as a nice palate cleanser.

My dessert: sweet corn custard with blackberry and mozzarella sorbet. Any dessert with corn, I can’t really resist, and I was also intrigued by the mozzarella sorbet, which turned out to be very subtle. Chase also offered complimentary glasses of Chartreuse to go with our dessert, a very nice touch.

Another chocolate dessert and the cheese course for Vanessa, who like me, usually doesn’t like super rich sweets.

Since this initial visit, I’ve been back to the Bar Room a couple times and though the dishes are different and the setting is a bit more casual, execution and service were still so on point. I’d highly recommend the dining room for special occasions and the bar room for more impromptu visits, especially if you’re just looking to get a couple bites to eat (the crab fritters were super tasty) and trying some of the stellar cocktails.

Maialino and some bar favorites

June 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

One of my favorite bars in NYC is Booker and Dax, right next to Momofuku Ssam Bar in the East Village. They have really well made cocktails (I’ve never ordered something there that I didn’t like but the bee sneeze and the tropical thunder are my favorites) and there’s no standing so customers aren’t on top of each other and you can hear what your fellow guests are saying. One night after attending an opening reception for the new Whitney Museum, we were looking to get drinks and dropped by right before closing. Started with two rounds of cocktails and then escalated to the seriously awesome 13 year old Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye. It was my first time trying any of the Van Winkle offerings and one could only describe it as a warm, velvet strangulation. By the time we left the bar, we were tired and struggling and in a moment of weakness, walked over to Crif Dogs on St. Mark’s to get something to soak up all of the booze we’d consumed. Ordered the jon-jon deragon (everything bagel spices, scallions and cream cheese), the chihuahua (a bacon-wrapped dog with avocado and sour cream) and the loaded tater tots – a total (but amazing) gut bomb that saved us from terrible hangovers the next day.

 

Some time late in April, Artemis and I had dinner at Danny Meyer’s Maialino right near Gramercy Park and it was such a treat. We started with the fritto misto (super crispy and surprisingly light mussels, octopus and soft shell crab) with a mayonnaise-y dip and then split two different pastas – the bucatini all’amatriciana with spicy tomato and guanciale and the tonnarelli a cacio e pepe with pecorino and black pepper. Really well executed and super flavorful despite being some of the simpler primi options on the menu.

For our main course, we split the duck arista, served with morels, spring peas and charred scallions and roasted sunchokes with maple and anchovy. Both dishes were incredibly savory. It was probably only my second time trying sunchokes and this version got me absolutely addicted. They were slightly sweet and creamy on the inside with so much umami from the anchovy. They’re no longer on the menu which makes me sad but I’ll just have to go back the next time they’re in season. We also got the opportunity to try some really amazing wines thanks to our sommelier, Paula, who was very in tune to what we were looking for and even poured a couple extra tastings for us to try. The attention to detail in the food and wine and warmth from the staff throughout made this a really enjoyable experience and Maialino remains one of my favorite restaurants in the city. There’s a reason that Danny Meyer and his team have earned so many accolades over the years.

Another bar option down in the Financial District: the relatively new Cedar Local, which is conveniently located right by the office. FiDi isn’t really known for its dining and drinking options but Cedar Local has some pretty nice cocktails (my go-to is the East Side with gin, fresh cucumber, lime and mint) and slightly fancier versions of bar food, like their plantain and potato chips nachos, sliders with dijon mustard dipping sauce and fried macaroni and cheese balls. It’s a great place to unwind after a busy day at work.

 

February food randomness

March 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

Artemis and I took advantage of the BYOB offer at Union Square Cafe during one of the several snow storms that pummeled NYC this winter: fried calamari with spicy anchovy mayonnaise and chicken liver crostini with shaved brussels sprouts salad; Berkshire pork with winter squash and polenta, the winter beef entree and a side of broccoli rabe; two bottles of Italian red

Weekend lunch with Melissa at my favorite neighborhood spot, Lupa: black and white tagliatelle with mussels and jalapeno; succulent heritage pork arista and a plethora of sides (fingerling potatoes, more broccoli rabe and brussels sprouts)

Catching up with Hussam over the braised beef tongue tacos at Empellon Taqueria, another one of my go-to’s in the Village:

Galentine’s Day dinner of linguine alle noci and eggplant involtini with a dessert of Molly’s Cupcakes courtesy of Alice:

Snow day lunch with Laura at Do Hwa: seafood dolsot bibimbap and the daeji bulgogi with watercress salad

A belated Chinese New Year’s lunch with the family at BQ-HQ: roast duck and pork, fried whole fish, lots of greens and Mama’s dumplings

Marta at the Martha Washington Hotel

February 5, 2015 § 1 Comment

Had a great dinner at Danny Meyer’s new pizza-focused place, Marta, a couple weeks ago with Caitlin, Tommy and Cindy and it seems like everything that man touches turns to gold (or in the case of the Shake Shack IPO, about $155 million). Located in the Martha Washington Hotel in Murray Hill, the restaurant has high ceilings and a good amount of space between tables so patrons don’t feel like they’re on top of one another. And as expected, the service is warm and friendly without being overly hover-y. Started off with a various assortment of wines and cocktails, including a glass of Brachetto, a wine I’d never heard of  before but turned out to be quite delicate and floral.

We ordered the green risotto croquettes with mozzarella and mixed herbs as well as the rabbit meatballs with black olives and meatballs for our starters. Both were amazing. The croquettes were perfectly crispy on the outside, followed by a layer of well-seasoned creamy rice (hate bland arancini) and gooey melted cheese on the inside. And I don’t usually even like olives but really enjoyed the meatballs, which were very tender and an interesting twist on the classic pork and beef classic.

The pizzas, however, were the highlight of our meal and we actually eschewed ordering any mains. Of the red varieties, we had the amatriciana (pecorino, guanciale, onion and chili) and then of the whites, the funghi (fontina, hen of the woods mushrooms, chanterelles, red onion and thyme) and the patate alla carbonara (potatoes, more guanciale, black pepper, pecorino and egg). So. Frikkin’. Delicious. The crusts of these pizzas are cracker-thin, making them taste a lot crispier than your garden variety pizza. I think the only similar versions I’ve had are the ones at Spunto or maybe Mario Batali’s OTTO by Washington Square Park. One notable benefit of the thinness of these pizzas is that you can eat considerably more without feeling like you need to be wheel-barrowed out the door at the end of your meal…

I had a really hard time deciding on a favorite between our three choices, especially since they were all quite different. The amatriciana is pretty classic and the red sauce hit a good balance between tart and sweet. On the other hand, I’ve never really had anything like the carbonara version anywhere else, which was super indulgent with all that creamy yolkiness, guanciale and pecorino. But the mushroom pizza also proved to be standout and tasted quite meaty despite being completely vegetarian. I also seriously loved our side dish of sunchokes (our feeble attempt at incorporating at least some vegetables into our meal), which were super sweet and creamy on the inside.

With all the great hype this place has been getting lately, I think it’s becoming harder and harder to get a reservation during prime dinner hours, but if you can manage to snag a spot at the bar or go late at night, I’d definitely recommend doing so.

Check out that amazing spread (and the cute Italian grandma-style dinnerware)

Brunch at Maialino

November 3, 2012 § 1 Comment

First, I just want to say that my thoughts go out to all those affected by Hurricane/Superstorm/Shitshow Sandy (if you’d like to make a donation to the Red Cross and relief efforts, here is the link).  In light of all the destruction, it’s been amazing to see how people have come together and persevere through such difficulty. NYC in particular, hang in there! You’re still the best city on earth.

On a more positive note, I’m continuing with restaurant posts from this summer. This time, a brunch at Danny Meyer’s Maialino in the Gramercy Park Hotel with some Georgetown friends who’ve relocated to New York City. We ordered three snacks to share: potato skins with pecorino and black pepper, tomato risotto croquettes and mozzarella, and fried shishito peppers with lemon. All of them were well-executed; crispy potatoes that were well seasoned, creamy, comforting croquettes, and nicely charred and blistered peppers.

I wasn’t really craving anything sweet that morning, so I went with the spaghetti alla carbonara. It’s not a typical brunch dish but it includes creamy egg yolk and bacon-y guanciale, so it still hit the right note for me.

The other entrees were simple scrambled eggs with potatoes and mixed greens, ricotta pancakes with market fruit and fresh ricotta, and the daily omelette with a garden salad.

More than anything, this was a good meal accompanied by great conversation and lots of catching up. Maialino’s atmosphere and service is really casual and friendly, with lots of natural light during the day and rustic accents, and it’s the type of place where I’d love to have brunch with my girls every weekend, a la Sex and the City.

My hopes are with the NYC restaurants, especially those downtown, that were hit particularly bad by Sandy. Know that your patrons are rooting for your recovery and look forward when you’re able to open your doors again.

 

 

Maialino 
2 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
212.777.2410

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