Reynard at the Wythe Hotel

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Some places decide to change their name to refresh their image. Last August, Tarlow decided to officially change the name of “Reynards”to… “Reynard”. Since I first came to NY in August 2012, I would not be able to tell if there was any change, but I will try to suggest you why you should brunch there next weekend.

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Personally, I will definitely spend all my weekends on the other side of the River since such great chefs have recently decided to establish outside of Manhattan.

Located in the Wythe Hotel in North Williamsburg, you can’t miss you have landed on Hipster Land. Do not forget to bring your Hipster Starter Kit:

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But since waiters are nice to average-non-stylish-Parisian-tourists like us, it makes the experience even better. High wooden ceiling, lot of space, large windows that make this rainy Saturday brighter.

The February menu offers nice out-of-the box options. The rosemary-mandarin scone is a nice mix of sweet-savory flavors.

The duck banh-mi, on whole-wheat bread, is a complete different dish from what I am used to with Vietnamese sandwiches. The slightly-Asian flavors with the cabbage slaw, cilantro and pickled egg make you travel a bit while the outstanding French fries remind you we are not in Asia.

Even though I would not have a burger for brunch, go for it! This fancy grass-fed burger features excellent basic ingredients: bun, meat, gruyère cheese and grilled onions. Some greens in or on the side would have made look it healthier though!

Excellent vibe, this venue is great to relax during weekends and eat delight food.

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Reynard at the Wythe Hotel
80 Wythe Ave,
New York, NY 11211
(718) 460-8004

Dressler

photo (8)Dressler is located on the other side of the Williamsburg Bridge, South bound of the trendy area, and I must admit it I made the trip only for its brunch. The menu offers the great opportunity to eat excellent food at an average Manhattan price. The decoration is refined, modern with classical revival when your eyes catch the huge rococo chandeliers.

The service is nice and elegant, like the venue. Coffee is served in a French press, and I appreciate the effort, even though they are still far from great coffee. But I guess this is America.

Let’s switch to the food. I obviously ordered the eggs benedict. The poached eggs are so even I am wondering how they made them. The side salad is more than welcome after having dined out in NYC so often my jeans are seriously tight. I would recommend also the grilled hanger steak that could even turn me into a red meat lover.

I always use food as an excuse to discover new areas of the city and the trip to this part of Brooklyn does really worth it. To feel better you can then start a Sunday walk to the trendy Williamsburg or get lost in Borough Park before reaching Dumbo.

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Dressler
149 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 384-6343

Burger Joint

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Burger Joint is part of these institutions in New York that, like PDT, is probably the worst hidden secret of the Manhattan food scene. This speakeasy burger bar concealed behind heavy red curtain in the lobby of the Perker Meridien hotel is a great spot Midtown West. No password, but the neon burger sign lights you the way to go.

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The graffiti walls contrast with the hotel. Only burgers on the menu, served in paper like fish & chips. New Yorkers, tourists, everybody is ready to wait to experience one of the « best burgers » in NYC. Once again the bread disappoints me. The use of sweet industrial buns kills the flavor of the burger.

But the worst is the burning taste of my meat. I like my meat well-done, but like in many restaurants it was cooked too fast and half of it had this unpleasant taste when the other part of it was too pink.

So to sum up, average bread and meat = should you go? Yes, the fries are excellent, offbeat atmosphere, unbeatable price in such a neighborhood and the « I hate fat people » quote tagged on the wall made me smile. So yes I would recommend you to go, as it part of the NY experience.

Burger Joint
119 W 56th St,
New York, NY 10019
(212) 708-7414

Cochon 555

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5 (female) chefs, 5 pigs, 5 winemakers: this is the tagline of the Cochon 555 event, a 10-city tour with a pig-culinary competition. Over 30 pork dishes were featured and consumers went from one chef to another to taste, evaluate and give their final vote. Always on a Sunday afternoon, the first round was in NYC at the Chelsea Pier on February 10th. People do lines but nothing crazy. Even though almost everything is pretty good except this piece of pork served with black-beans and a hard bland piece of crouton I cannot bite, nothing is really blowing my mind until I taste Alex Guarnaschelli dishes.

Chinese-inspired pork, every bite is tender, and I’m almost acting crazy when I see she is serving soup-dumpling. I had to vote for her, even though her “diva” behavior irritates me when she is stopping this Asian-blogger-trendy photographer from taking picture of her.

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The winner, Missy Robbins, featured ravioli dipped in chicken broth. However, I could not really distinguished the flavor in the Prosciutto cotto (where is the black truffle?) and could not imagine tasting the pigs’s head terrine. I tried some good French wines from the Rhône Valley, others from a small importer Robert Kacher, some Rioja or other heavy Napa wines. I felt nostalgic with the pear cider and thought about my vacations in Normandy. I liked the idea of Four Roses presenting Bourbon Cocktails in cute jars. I will try it at my next party: good marketing!

A butcher demo with Sara Bigelow and a Heritage BBQ preview with Sue Torres and amazing Mexican-inspired dishes, they announced the winner with a Champagne toast. The speech  is a bit long though.

8pm: end of the event. I was offered offered to follow the chefs and participants to the after party at Resto, Midtown East. The party bus drove us there. The venue was obviously all-about meat and I was impressed by the taste of the beef used in the hot-dog and by the fruity-flavor of the Belgium beer (1 out of 300 featured).

My wish? Going to the final tour in Aspen with all the winners.

Resto
11 E 29th St  
New York, NY 10016
(212) 685-5585

Calliope

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Calliope is THE ‘brand-new’ French-Italian-American hot brunch spot in Manhattan. This confusion already doesn’t inspire confidence. But I have decided to give a shot. East Village, Sunday, hopefully it is already a bit late so we ‘only’ have to wait 20 minutes at the bar even though plenty of tables are empty. It is so loud I am almost happy we get the table at the entrance and cannot imagine the sound when it is packed.

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With the fresh squeezed orange-juice, I raise my expectation, and even more when I see the coffee cake served at the bar. We go for the eggs benedict, as I rate NYC brunches on this scale. At the first sight, I am already not fascinated. The presentation is not refined, I am sure I could have cooked better-looking poached eggs. Served with ham, I cannot even determine if it is a muffin that holds the whole thing. The ‘pommes Anna’ is actually way too crispy hash browns. At least the coffee cake was delightful, do not skip the crème fraiche, it is good for you with that cold.

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Sulking waiters, excessive sound and poor presentation of the dishes: another aberration for me that reminds me how sometimes Parisians and New Yorkers look alike when it comes to being snobby.

Calliope
84 E 4th St,
New York, NY 10003
(212) 260-8484

Instagram of the day – Nemo

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Picture taken in White Plains, NY at 12pm. Closed to the CT boarder, everything is always worst than NY up there.

Since I am in the US, I had to face 2 hurricanes and 2 snowstorms. That’s when you realize that France is so peaceful regarding the weather conditions.

Early afternoon I went to Fairways to bake cupcakes, and I’ve thought we were on the eve of the war. The store was packed, and I could not bear the idea of doing the line with people pushing you away. I’ve given up and I’ve left my full basket in the store. Guys, the blizzard will hit only one night! For once New Yorkers have to shop since they cannot go eat out. I feel it is almost the same situation than Sandy. Let’s hope everything gets back to normal tomorrow morning.

 

Dominique Ansel Bakery

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Every time I go study abroad, I crave for food I usually do not eat back home. I’ve never eaten so much cheese since I’m in the US, allowing myself eating French fries, French toast, French croissants because sometimes, I agree, I miss home.

Dominique Ansel Bakery is part of these French places in NY I got excited about, and I would be ready to make the trip everyday to Soho just to try all the pastries. He worked as the Executive Pastry Chef under the famous chef Daniel Boulud, and his immaculate bakery a bit too bright for me, smells heaven, and pastries look even better.

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Obviously I tried the only American pastry of the shop: the pistachio sticky bun because 1) I’m always trying to get one as good as Flour in Boston and 2) I irreparably choose everything that is pistachio flavor. As a result, it’s sticky, tasty, not to sweet, a real puff pastry with whole pistachios.
To be able to try as many restaurants as I can, I force myself not to go back to a place I tried. Unfortunately I will have to make an exception for this one and get this gorgeous Religieuse.

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