Le Philosophe

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Le Philosophe is another French restaurant that opened a couple of months ago in NoHo. And the NYC food scene created a buzz about this place. What is so fantastic about this place that it got unanimously rated top of the best new restaurants? The Chef, Matt Aita, who worked with the best French Chefs in town Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is cooking inspiring French bistro style food.

I got randomly there for brunch and it was one of my best experiences in town.  The venue is small with an open kitchen. Try to guess the list of philosophes printed on the wall, if you fall they give you a cheat sheet so you will leave smarter by the end of your meal.

As part of the food, the crêpe au foie gras was beautiful to watch, and so tasty to eat. The candied pistachios added some crunchy. The passion fruit curd was maybe too strong, but it is only a detail since I consider this dish one of the finest I ate in town. I would have the same comment for the truffle croque-monsieur, made with the best ham and comté. However I was a bit sad not to actually taste any truffle flavor…

You want to know what is sophisticated food for an affordable price? Just head to the Philosophe for brunch and enjoy!

Le Philosophe
55 Bond St,
New York, NY
(212) 388-0038

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The Italian food-crawl

Villa Medici

I may have been disturbed by what the city offers for international food that I almost forgot Italian food is in my top 3 fav food. I must split with pizza since I still have to taste one place before posting my recommendation. In the last 2 weeks I had such great Italian food that I cannot wait to share them with you.

I finally got a reservation for L’Artusi in West Village. My expectations were very high since every blogs and food magazine call this place one of the best restaurants in town. The venue is big, with an open kitchen and a second floor. Check the private room filled like a wine cellar, I wish I could have had dinner in there. The place is loud, but it seems very usual for NYC.
Small menu, very goof prices for such a nice place, the wine list is outstanding and they have wine from all the regions of Italy. ALL of them.
Definitely go for the roasted mushrooms. Served in top with pancetta, a fried egg and shred Parmesan, the species used reveal all the flavors of this dish.
Out of the three pasta dishes tasted, I cannot even tell you which one is my favorite since they were all delicious. The peas raviolis got a lot of flavor, even though I usually taste it with pancetta to be more tasty. The white bolognese tagliatelle were definitely not to miss.
For once we ordered a dessert. The crunchy hazelnut chocolate torta matched perfectly with the salted caramel gelato.
Should you go? Book your table now!
But charging $10 for some bread and olive oil brought to your table is not understandable. I only remember cheap tourist restaurants in Rome that could do this.

L’Artusi
228 W 10th St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 255-5757

 

Supper is another tiny restaurant with brick walls. There is an outdoor terrace on 2nd St, which is probably very nice with Spring finally coming. Great wine list for such a small place, it seems that extensive wine list has became common for NYC.

The menu is also extensive, maybe a bit too much when they bring you a lists of 20 ‘specials of the day’…be careful and ask for the price otherwise you will pay your buratta $22… It was excellent, but having an appetizer more expensive than the entrée when it is neither lobster nor foie gras…?
The homemade mushroom ravioli where perfectly cooked with a good amount of sauce, even though the white truffle flavor could have been more intense for me.
My favorite dish, which is on the regular menu, was the grilled polenta served with prosciutto di Parma, shaved Parmigiano and fennel.
My only recommendation, except to go next time you are craving for Italian food: do not stay at the table close to the kitchen, you’ll just leave with a headache at the end of the dinner.

Supper
156 E 2nd St
New York, NY 10009
(212) 477-7600

 

Italian food-crawl

Oregano is a new restaurant that opened in Williamsburg. Very tiny place, I would say it is good to bring a date since no noise will disturb you. The good news is that they still do not have a wine license so BYOB! Bring Your Own Bottle is usually for Korean restaurants or crappy places. There are only a few left in NYC so hurry up!
The tomato bruschetta was more flavored than what I was expected and was a very good surprise. I would recommend the eggplant served with a side of tagliatelle. They were still serving butternut squash ravioli, with a white sauce, which is never a mistake.

Oregano
102 Berry St
New York, NY 11211
(718) 599-5988

The Chinese food-crawl

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Soup dumplings, Shanghai Cafe

Last week I got a great surprise in Chinatown. This part of the city is awesome to bring tourists, when you are looking for disorientation, or even better when you are broke since you can eat 8 dumplings for $2. I still haven’t found good Chinese pork buns like in San Francisco so when I’m craving for those I used to go to Momofuku or Ippudo to get the New York style ones.

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Pork buns, Ippudo

Until last week, my go-to in Chinatown was Shanghai Cafe. Actually I can only remember the address 100 Mott st, on the recommendation of my boss. A bit apart of the mess, closer to Little Italy, those soup dumplings will blow your mind. What is a soup dumpling? Boiled ravioli, filled usually with pork and broth. The technique is to drill a little hole, literally slurp the soup, add the soy sauce and eat the ravioli. I actually watched the Asian guys next to me to learn it. So yes, do not bring a date to eat soup dumplings or it is gonna be a disaster! And try the kumquat bubble tea, just a bit of sweet in this flavored ice tea with tones of chewy tapioca balls.

What I found out last weekend is that in the same street, number 21, Shanghai Asian Manor also serves soup dumpling that always make a great impression to people you bring. Besides they also have Szechuan dumplings; ask not too spicy to be sure you can eat them since this part of China cooks really spicy. Skip the boiled pork and leek dumplings, insipid after this explosion of flavors in your mouth. And do not miss the braised duck; it is so tender you almost want to buy your meat in Chinatown after having tasted it. Served with bamboo shoots, there might be a little to much scallion sauce but this is only a detail.

If you want to see tourists and wait forever, go to Joe’s Shanghai. Big common tables, it is a lot of fun once you actually have your table. But the soup dumpling are not better than Mott street’s.

If you want to go for something more unusual and you are not afraid of spices, try Xi’an Famous food in East Village. The guy started in Queens and created a fusion between Middle Eastern and Chinese food. If you never had Szechuan food it is hard time. This is a fast food so buy your food and leave. Szechuan is a spicy cuisine with tones of flavors. Try the lamb burger, cooked with cumin. After this dish I could even say I am a lamb lover.

Shanghai Cafe
100 Mott St
New York

Shanghai Asian Manor
21 Mott St
New York

Joe’s Shanghai
9 Pell St
New York

Xi’an Famous Food
81 Saint Marks Place
New York

Spring Time

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This weekend is a sign of a lot of excitement. Is it because the lovely sunny weather has finally confirmed it is actually Spring? Is it because my roommates and I are throwing a Harlem Shake Party tonight? Is it because Mad Men goes back on AMC and we are already planning a cocktail party on Sunday night?

mad men

Well, it is part of it. But tomorrow, Smorgasburg returns to Brooklyn and this is really exciting. What is this crazy name about? An outdoor Brooklyn Food Market featuring the best local vendors from 11am to 6pm. The Williamsburg location has slightly changed (one block), but is still on the water facing Manhattan.

During the wintertime, the Brooklyn Flea Market was at the Skylight One Hanson, Brooklyn, with only a small selection of food vendors in the basement.

I am not such a big fan of thrift and vintage clothes, but to be honest they had cool stuff, from vinyl to vintage glasses. My favorite was JFK on the carpet.

My main goal was obviously to check the food hall. Nothing compared to the summer version but this is a first taste of what you can find tomorrow in Williamsburg.

Some of them definitely worth it and will be tomorrow. Try those AsiaDog, the banh-mi inspired dog excited me way more than Crif Dogs. As part of the beef bun, go for the skim version, otherwise it is way too fat. Skip those appealing rice balls from Rice & Miso Everyday, they don’t taste anything but rice. For dessert, get the macaron Vendome and finish with a bar of truffle chocolate from Fine & Raw, to die for! And don’t forget to look up, the building is almost as impressive than the skyline in Brooklyn.

Smorgasburg
Saturdays in Williamsburg (11am-6pm)
East River State Park (at N. 7 St.)
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Sundays in Dumbo
Tobacco Warehouse (30 Water St.)
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Kin Shop

 

Watch out! Super hot. If you do not like spicy food, stop reading. If you usually ask for medium spicy at the restaurant, pay attention to the *** on the menu, they warn you. If you like adventure, keep reading. Kin Shop is a trendy Thai restaurant in West Village. The venue doesn’t look Asian at all. Neither do the owners who feature a contemporary reinterpretation of Thai dishes.

The impressive wine list is a relief when it is usually not the strongest part of the menu of Asian restaurant. We go for the Côte du Rhône Blanc, delightful. Since I have been working for the wine industry, my palate is finally differentiating the varietals I do like, and Viognier has been catching my attention for a while.

Let’s go back to the food. Sophisticated, tasty, somewhat original, you should definitely give a shot. The Red: Roasted Duck Brest looks pretty small at the first sight served, but served with its fresh home made tortilla style and the spiciness of the dish will feed you soon enough. Because my scale to rate Thai places is the curry, I obviously ordered the Northern Thai Style Curry Noodle. Absolutely delightful, I would have given him a great rate if I could have finished it. The amount of spice in the dish killed my palate by the end of the bawl and made me give up. This is the only downsize of this restaurant: this is way too hot…

Kin Shop
469 6th Ave
New York, NY 10011
(212) 675-4295