Ces derniers mois, je vous ai offert nettement moins de nouvelles adresses de restaurants. Il est vrai que j’avais démarré très fort à New York l’année dernière, avec mes 246 bars et restaurants différents testés pendant mon séjour de 11 mois, soit une moyenne d’environ 5 nouveaux endroits testés par semaine. Quasi un chiffre de critique gastronomique je vous l’accorde. Je me demande comment ils ne finissent pas par ressembler à des baleines échouées à ce rythme. Lire la suite de « Un brunch chez Les Enfants Perdus »
Brunch in NYC is a very big thing. It is all about getting together after a Saturday night party, people watching and drinking again. New Yorkers have the habit to keep drinking on Sunday mornings, mimosas or blody-marys, a trend that none of my French friends was able to follow. Brunch menus look like each other in the city. Since the kale, this green cabage is trendy, it is on every brunch menus, like Brussel sprouts, which is another thing French people cannot bear, synonymous of the cafeteria in middle school. However, like any other trend, it might hit France in a couple of years (months?) and you will see soon our “bobos” eat those veggies reinvented for the French palate.
The NoMad hotel: If you want to impress your parents or a date, the restaurant in this hotel is the perfect spot. Divided into different areas, you can have brunch in the atrium, or by the fireplace or the parlour… Read more
Reynard: 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… Read more
Maison Harlem: Harlem is more and more having nice restaurants opening. Maison Harlem is one of them. Located in the very quiet West Harlem, this French restaurant is a nice place for brunch once you are done with the traditional Gospel church… Read more
The Dutch: American Soho restaurant own by the same team than the new Lafayette. The venue is bright, with the same snobby atmosphere you find in these trendy Manhattan spots I talked about in earlier posts… Read more
L’Apicio: I usually do not go to Italian restaurant for brunch because what is the point of eating eggs when you can have carbonara? However, since we could get a reservation we ended at L’Apicio… Read more
Clinton St. Baking: You probably don’t understand why New Yorkers are ready to do the line for 2 hours to eat but sometimes you just pass the door and you get it. Clinton St. Bakery opens at 9am on weekends… Read more
Hundred Acres: Thanks to Open Table, I hopefully skip the 45 minute line to get the precious table. One of the waitress sulks, I don’t care she is not in charge of our table. Some hipsters at the bar, mostly preppies in the venue… Read more
August is a tiny spot in West Village. If offers only a few tables on the front and the surprise comes when you can be seated in the courtyard since it is covered and open all day long. It is really calm so having brunch on weekends… Read more
Jojo: one of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurants (Chef at ABC Kitchen) in the UES. We go for the $28 three-course brunch with appetizer/entrée/desert, but without the traditional egg benedict or pancakes… Read more
B Café: this traditional Belgium bistro offers excellent dishes like the mussels, the egg benedict with smoked salmon served on English muffins. Try the Egg sandwich, it looks really simple but the combo of fresh baguette, scrambled eggs, avocado and ‘Belgium’ fries is fantastic.
Alice Tea Cup: This UES tea place was my #1 brunch spot for a while. The décor is a bit too kitchy, especially when you are not having tea time with your mother. I came in fall so they had pumpkin scones, which is probably part of the reason why I came so often. The scones are fluffy and look and taste like more an English scone. The egg benedicts are very well one, served with smoked salmon and a buttermilk scone. But the funniest and more typical to order is the afternoon tea presented on a three-tiered stand with scones, sandwiches, desserts, and tea (with a large selection of course). It’s like being in London.
Café d’Alsace: this other UES café is a great neighborhood restaurant. It has an outdoor place that makes you feel being in France. They have classic from American egg benedicts to the traditional Quiche Lorraine.
Jane: It is not the Jane Hotel, but it is at least as pretentious as the hotel. Try to book a table ahead on Open Table or the snobby waiters will enjoy having you wait for a long time. Once you pass this first welcome at least you can enjoy the meal. Because they have great crab cake egg benedict.
Jojo is one of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurants (Chef at ABC Kitchen) in the UES. We go for the $28 three-course brunch with appetizer/entrée/desert, but without the traditional egg benedict or pancakes you can only choose à la carte.
The exquisite butternut squash soup served with black mushrooms reminds me I never succeeded in having this taste when I cook such a dish. For the entrée, the slaw-baked salmon is perfectly cooked, served with an excellent truffle mashed potatoes and Brussel sprouts. The shrimp-asparagus risotto is to die for as well. For chocolate fanatics, Jojo serves a chocolate cake made with real chocolate that melts when you open it. If you want a calm atmosphere where for once you can hear what your date (or your mother) is saying with a great value brunch, this is the spot.
It seems that the best food from every country has met in NYC. And pizza is not an exception. Skip the $1 slice-pizza and all the greasy declinations around Time Square. Unfortunately you can also skip Little Italy that is day after day eaten by Chinatown and offers only two very good Italian delis besides touristic restaurants. The city offers excellent options of the Neapolitan style pizza. Here is the map.
Keste Pizza &Vino: Bleeker Street is the street I whish I could have lived in. Italian waiters welcome you in this small spot and serve you excellent thin pizza with a great selection of toppings and wines. What else?
Motorino: they recently opened another location in Brooklyn but I only tried the restaurant in East Village. The atmosphere and decoration seemed a bit cold to me, maybe because I went late in the night. I slightly prefer the dough of Keste but they are very similar to me.
349 E 12th St,
New York, NY 10003
Forcella: this big restaurant in Bowery was empty on a Tuesday night, which is sad for such a nice place. Italian waiters welcome you as well; service was #1 in this restaurant. They obviously made me try different wines so I could choose my favorite one. However, they had an issue with the temperature of the pizza. The margarita was served cold in the middle, but they generously made us another one. The white pizza was excellent, but not that hot neither, which is strange since they have a wooden-oven. To apology, they offered us another glass of wine, excellent technique since it made us forget the cool pizza. Not sure the same thing could have happened in France…
New York, NY 10012
Ovest Pizzoteca e Bar: located right in front of the Hotel Americano in Chelsea, this pizzeria offers the aperitivo like in Italy with a choice of appetizer when you order a drink. I came too late to try it but I would love to get some reviews about it. Otherwise they have very decent pizza in a young atmosphere. Try the pizza with arugula on the top, my favorite one.
A lot of time has spent since my last post, but my life has recently changed since I had to leave NYC and come back home to Paris.
I have decided not to give up this project, and keep writing about food crawling wherever I go. I have still so many posts to write about NYC that I might mix some with my discoveries in France.
Working in the wine industry was an easy way to talk about recent wine events that happened in the city, but I will try to find other material in my hometown, which should not be that hard.
I went for a walk around Paris to find out that not many things have changed since I left, but it is time for me to re-discover my city with new eyes.
Summer finally hit Paris so I stopped by Berthillon to try again what Parisians say “The Best ice-cream ever”. These are not really my taste, having those ice-cream every year for Christmas as the 10th dessert. I definitely prefer the Italian ice-cream, but I have to say that the wild strawberry, seasonal sorbet, is really delicious.
Keep in touch for the next post…
America always finds a great excuse to celebrate. While everything starts turning into the colors of the US flag, each day has its national celebration.The East Coast has some local specialties, and the lobster from Maine is one of them. It is a lot easier and cheaper than in France to eat lobster. Order it, they cook it, prepare it, just eat it! One of the local think that actually just hit Paris is the lobster roll. What is it? Lot of lobster meat served hot with melted butter or cold with mayo on a roll (yes the same bread than the one for hot dogs…).
Last Saturday was National Lobster Day and what a better place than the Hamptons to enjoy this day? Montauk is the eastern village on Long Island and we stopped by St Peter’s Catch, a seafod market that has outdoor sitting apart of the road. You can get fish tacos, lobster rolls or fries and salads. However, the best deal was the lobster lunch special made of a full lobster with its butter sauce, mussels, corn, coleslaw and fried potatoes…for $21.
St Peter’s Catch
58 S Erie Ave
Montauk, NY 11954
Even though you will never find the quality and quantity of the lobster roll at Neptune, Boston, two places caught my attention in the city.
63 Salem St
Boston, MA 02113
Lobster Joint opened last fall in the LES. As the name says it, it is a joint, but that offers nice options and even has an alcohol license. The lobster roll is served hot with its salad and pickles. It tastes good and is bigger than the Red Hook Lobster Pound. And if you want to try really good fish tacos, head there on Tuesdays where they have the special. This place is rarely packed and should be known since it is a great joint.
201 E Houston St
New York, NY 10002
And finally if you are not scared to make a mess, go to The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market. Recently renovated, you can order your size of lobster and eat it directly in the market. And it is so good. They also offer lobster rolls but they are not as great as the two other options above. And it is served with chips, not fries.
Lobster Place in the Chelsea Market
75 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
August is a tiny spot in West Village. If offers only a few tables on the front and the surprise comes when you can be seated in the courtyard since it is covered and open all day long. It is really calm so having brunch on weekends is very relaxing.
The oeuf cocotte was really tasty, especially when you order the Alsatian option with bacon, onions and cream. And it comes with bread. If you have a big appetite, think of it as an appetizer. They also offer classic egg benedict or even a burger that I unfortunately haven’t tasted.
The food is good without being outstanding, the service is all right without being super friendly, but the relaxing courtyard is the added value to the spot.
For desert, stop by the food-truck Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream on Bleeker Street. They offer artisanal ice cream in a nice crunchy cone. The mango chili tasted nice on the first bite, with all the flavor of the fruit flavor, but the use of chili was too intense so it overwhelms the palate. For pistachio fanatics like me, this one was the best I had for a long time. I am not a big fan of ice-cream, but this truck could get me come back faster than usually.
I usually do not go to Italian restaurant for brunch because what is the point of eating eggs when you can have carbonara? However, since we could get a reservation we ended at L’Apicio. There is a small outdoor space but the décor inside is so outstanding I would not recommend to stay outside. The restaurant has different areas, comfy couches for a drink, a bar to get a cocktail experience, a wine room that made me think they must have a great wine list.
The brunch menu is pretty small but offers from italo-americano dishes like pancakes with ricotta to Italian pasta like the carbonara. The parmesan French toast served with prosciutto and egg is pretty and tasty. The toast is crunchy on the side and melts in the middle, which ads a lot of value to this dish. If you are craving for a side, try the Tuscany fries served with their cold spicy dip.
Another excellent Italian restaurant in Manhattan despite the non-fresh squeezed orange juice…
If you want to impress your parents or a date, the restaurant in this hotel is the perfect spot. Divided into different areas, you can have brunch in the atrium, or by the fireplace or the parlour, or just having a drink at the bar waiting for the library to open later. Try not to be in the highway that are tables for two, but I would strongly recommend the living room for a quiet, comfy brunch.
Otherwise, the food is delicious and if you think you can’t have a chicken sandwich for brunch you are wrong. It is not exactly like the same preparation than the $79 chicken for two served for dinner. The roasted chicken stuffed with black truffle and foie gras is served in a brioche, and the smell of the truffle is so intense the waiting time to take the picture was really tough.
If you go classic for the crabmeat egg benedict, you will get the finest you can have in the city, served with crabmeat. Yes, they were damn good. Yes it is my favorite brunch spot in the city. Yes, you definitely have to go. Period.
It is a bit the war between Uptown and Downtown people, but some of them are almost crying that Eric Kayser takes so much time to open its second location at Gramercy. So in the meantime let’s say you have a good excuse to come to the “suburb” and visit a museum between the brunch and the “goûter” to try everything my Parisian bakery has to offer to New Yorkers.
They serve breakfast, lunch, brunch, snacks and dinner so you have plenty of options, mostly offered all day. When I came for the opening, the quiche lorraine was several inches high, which I love. But a couple of weeks later it was thin like most of the quiches found here. I am not sure if they realized the American palate preferred this version or if the cost was too high but I would recommend them to go back to the first one. It is not really the season anymore but the foie gras is at least not this duck mousse but has the same consistence that the French one and tastes as good. And bonus every meal is served with a bunch of bread, including my favorite turmeric-hazelnut bread.
Ask for a tea or coffee, they serve it with their adorable mini-financier, but you can also order the full size pistachio one that is to die for.
My favorite desserts on earth are tartes… and Eric Kayser has everything I could dream about. Just watch them and you will understand why French chefs master the art of pastry. It is almost the only time I had real shortcrust pastry covered with either the raspberries or the a creamy, rich chocolate ganache and not this frozen dough bought in grocery stores that almost every pastry has when it comes to pies.
And do not leave the place without your old-style baguette that will keep fresh longer than one day. Trust me, it tastes exactly like the Kayser bakery in France.
This is the last week of the Mad. Sq. Eats that ends on May 31st. Head to this pop-up market open daily from 11am to 9pm. For once skip the line at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park and eat the best of the local food. 30 of the best and most popular NYC vendors offer their best food to new Yorkers for less than a month. Unfortunately I could not taste everything but I tried to make you a great selection.
Roberta’s: Just like the restaurant, but this time the Bushwick team comes to Manhattan with a selection of their best pizza. For $9, you have a smaller pizza than the original one, great to share for appetizer or just for one. The pizza is ready in 4 minutes, which means they must have pre-cooked the dough, but no-worries, they brought the brick oven and the Famous Original is almost as good as the one in Bk. For the full review of Roberta’s, click here.
Mexicue: this was probably one of my favourite food stands. The pulled pork sandwich is served on a bun with pickles and a spicy sauce that make the sandwich terrific! The mac-n-cheese is creamy with green chili that perfectly matches the cheese.
Arancini Bros.: Yes you are probably familiar with those fried rice balls that come from Sicily. It is easy to get too fat or tasteless ones. With their balls, they reached the perfect combination. The traditional ragu arancino will be a perfect start.
Red Hook Lobster Pound: I have been fascinated by lobster rolls since my trip to Boston where I had the best lobster roll at Neptune and I haven’t been able to find as good in NYC. Lobster, warm bitter in a roll has started being the new almost trendy combination in Paris. This lobster roll is not bad, it is just not my favourite one.
Sunday Gravy: slow braise of beef and pork, sausage and meatballs, simmered with plum tomatoes, garlic and basil. This ragu pasta looked absolutely delicious, and smelt really good. The flavour was just not as intense as I was expecting.
Dreamscoops: try the affogato for dessert. This shop serves your choice of ice cream in a cup topped with a shot of espresso made by the shop next door Third Rail Coffee. You get the sweet of the ice cream, the bitter of the coffee and a great coffee shake with it’s melted.
Last Wednesday was the presentation of the Georges Duboeuf 2012 Crus. Known as the biggest French negociant who started exporting wine 31 years ago in the US, Duboeuf does not mean only Beaujolais Nouveau. His 10 Crus, from the best part of the Beaujolais area, are named Flower and present a great value. But he also owns other domains and bottles the juice in his property.
The presentation took place at Lafayette, the new restaurant that has been open for exactly one month, owned by the same team behind The Dutch and Locanda Verde. 5 tables were dressed in the wine cellar downstairs, which was really appropriate for this event.
The first step was a walk-in tasting with some small appetizer. The gougère was too hard, but the mini slider was definitely one of the best burgers I had, and it is on the menu! The secret must have been the raclette cheese, even though it was a bit too salty.
The star of the event was again the Juliénas, Château des Capitans. The Beaujolais and Mâconnais were also featured with a special mention to the Pouilly-Fuissé, Domaine Emile Béranger, which is going to be the killer once people understand Duboeuf can also be featured in white tablecloth restaurants because of its quality.
As part of the lunch, the paté was paired with Beaujolais-Villages. All the French people got a bit disappointed since they put so much spices and fresh herbs you can barely taste the meat. And I hope you have strong teeth to eat the toasted bread served with it, you will need them.
Between each course, the legend, Georges, and his son Franck, talked about the wines.
The spinach and slight goat cheese ravioli were really fine. The roasted chicken was definitely the best dish. Naked, served only with 5 bites of roasted potatoes, it was like getting the chicken from the farmers market a summer in France. I was expecting a tarte tatin for dessert; we got a tarte fine, which is absolutely not the same. Thin slices of apple served on a puff pastry dough with a slight burned taste. I should probably share with them the actual recipe.
Overall, Lafayette is a very nice place to get the spirit of a French Brasserie. And I will probably go back to taste their bakery for breakfast.
And I have to say that the flower bouquet with the gift bag was a nice wink to the Flower label and kind thoughts to women.
The Dutch is the American Soho restaurant own by the same team. The venue is bright, with the same snobby atmosphere you find in these trendy Manhattan spots I talked about in earlier posts. The non-so classic poached egg was served with ham, chipotle and tomato and a cheddar biscuit in an oven dish. Special mention to the burger and French fries. I feel I always get my best burgers in restaurants that are not known for that.
Harlem is more and more having nice restaurants opening. Maison Harlem is one of them. Located in the very quiet West Harlem, this French restaurant is a nice place for brunch once you are done with the traditional Gospel church and if you are not ready to do the line in one of those Soul Food restaurants serving fried chicken. Avoid the Abyssinian Baptist Church since it seems all the NYC tourists have been told to get there. Canaan Baptist Church has also tourists I won’t lie, but at least if you are a little early you will probably get a seat and will forget those people holding their city guides as soon as you listen to the different choirs.
It seems everybody is French at Maison Harlem, so I felt home very quickly. You first walk through the bar when your table is ready. The atmosphere is very friendly, and feels different and more relax than any downtown restaurants.
As part of the food, I can only say it was excellent. If you order the coq-au-vin, be patient and order an appetizer to kill the time they cook it to order. The portion was generous, and you feel definitely you are in France with this traditional dish.
You may have still some room for a desert, head to Levain Bakery, it has the best chocolate chip cookie ever. These are so dense and heavy you may probably need a friend to split it. The Harlem location is bigger than the one in the Upper West Side and offer other pastries I have not tried. I can just tell you to order the chocolate chip walnut cookie. And to go for a run later.
If you are in West Harlem and want to visit around, check Columbia University and its campus. A couple of block down is the Cathedral St John the Divine, the 4th largest Christian church in the word. Started late 19th century, it was interrupted by the two World War and remains unfinished.
If by any chance you like history, art or you are just curious about seeing parts from five French cloistered abbeys reassembled brick-by-brick before being shipped to New York, head to The Cloisters. Besides the view on the Hudson is blind blowing, like all the 12th-15th century pieces of art this branch of the MET museum features.
I might be obsessed with some elements and as you probably may have noticed, tacos are part of it. So when Cinco de Mayo happened, I realized it was another good excuse to have a taco crawl all day. My run in Central Park North in the morning reminded me (just in case I had forgotten) I am actually living in Spanish Harlem, and for once I was pretty happy to hang out in my neighborhood. National Mexican music screaming in the colorful streets, Harlem is great to get coconut ice cream for $1 and huge fresh squeezed orange juice for half the price of the rest of Manhattan.
Unfortunately, East Harlem is not known to have the best Mexican food in town. Is it because it is mainly made up of Puerto Ricans? I decide to head to the only decent place recommended by most of the guides and foodies: Taco Mix, located on 116th st and 3rd avenue. The line is long, way too long, since we have to wait 30’ to get the precious taco Al Pastor. The pork is sliced to order off a rotating spit and covered with a pineapple that is probably giving only the juice to the meat. No cube of fruit, they are just covered with the traditional cilantro-raw onions mix. If you want to try the traditional Mexican taco, Taco Mix is the place to go.
Toloache 82 is a lot fancier, located in Yorkville. It seems you cannot go wrong with the menu. The guacamole is one of the best I had, the quesadillas are definitely looking original and the black truffle on one of them is really savory even though they won’t feed you. The fish taco is generous, baja-style tilapia with spicy-jicama slaw (Mexican coleslaw-style), topped with guacamole. I would not rate them favorite fish taco but they really worth it (click here for the taco-crawl). Anyway the restaurant offers one of the best Mexican foods in the city, so I would recommend to spend you next dinner out there.
For your upcoming Margarita night, head to Tequilla Park Taqueria. Located on the second floor of the Hudson Lodge, the huge taco-margarita garden is great to hang out, watch people or play the babyfoot. Watch out because your night will cost you a lot with the $16 margarita and the $8 baby-tacos.
If you are a minimum foodie, you have probably heard about Mission Chinese Food. Famous Chinese restaurant from San Francisco, the story of that place is actually pretty cool. Danny Bowien started his adventure a couple of years ago when the restaurant was only a pop-up place in an existing Chinese restaurant in the Mission District, SF. Since then he had a wild success, opened another restaurant a couple of months ago in the Lower East Side, NYC, was national acclaimed and won yesterday the James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef.
Located in the basement on Orchard St, NYC, you must know the exact address or you risk passing it without seeing it. Once your name is called, pass the entrance and the long sketchy hall, you will find out a trendy Chinese looking restaurant. The music is loud, packed with Millennials only; you can choose small or large cheap dishes. But be careful this is not the regular Chinese food you will find here. No sesame chicken or dim sum here. You have to think out of the box, which I could not.
To be honest, I hesitated before writing this review. With 500+ reviews on Yelp and an article dedicated to this restaurant in every major newspaper and food blog, I got totally disappointed and questioning about what I ate. And it is killing me when I do not make the right choice with a restaurant.
Out of the three dishes I tried, the cucumber appetizer was just chopped cucumber with an extremely hot sauce that anesthetizes your palate. But the worst comes. The Szechuan lamb served with bones was just a piece of fat with a strong smell of meat. Do not even think it could taste like the cumin lamb from Xi’an Famous Food. The broccoli beef brisket with smoked oyster sauce could have been satisfactory if there had not been this huge piece of fat meat in the middle of the dish. The only good part of the whole diner experience was the broccoli rave cooked in the sauce of the beef. But only served with white rice. A lot of white rice.
I must have chosen the wrong dishes, but two awful dishes out of the menu is way too much to give another shot. I could not face the taste another time.
If you still want to try and understand the buzz, go at 11pm during the week to avoid the line. And tell me about a dish you actually loved at Mission Chinese Food. I am eager to hear about that.