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

Publicités

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

Cocktail bar-crawl

1. Experimental Cocktail Club
1. Experimental Cocktail Club

1. Experimental Cocktail Club: run by the same owners than the club Rue St Sauveur in Paris or London, it is all about you what love from cocktail bars. Elegant, smart, crazy cocktails. The venue is small, and we were lucky to have a table a Saturday night but I would recommend making a reservation. Experimental is all about the presentation, and I love it!
Experimental Cocktail Club
191 Chrystie St
(between Delancey St & Rivington St)
New York, NY 10002

2. Employees Only
2. Employees Only

2. Employees OnlyYes you are right; a fortuneteller is in the front of the bar to make the show. Another bar in NYC where you feel like in the 1930s. It is like they all want to be speakeasy bars, even though only some of them are really hidden. The atmosphere is totally art deco and very stunning with all the bottles used as an ornament at the bar. Avoid Saturday night since it is so packed you cannot really move in the tiny standing area at the bar. Try the ‘Fraises Sauvages’ or the ‘Amelia’ cocktails; bartenders in their white period costume know their job.
Employees Only
510 Hudson St,
New York, NY

2. Donna
2. Donna

3. Donna: located in South Williamsburg, almost on the water, this bar is a mix of hipster/vintage in a great atmosphere. When you get there you just fell good. Have a sit at the bar in the middle of the room; you’ll get more space to watch what is going on. Go on Saturday night in March, they serve Brooklyn Tacos. Ok this is not Manhattan, but still.
Donna
27 Broadway
New York, NY 11249

4. Angel's Share
4. Angel’s Share

4. Angel’s share: Japanese speakeasy hidden in a Japanese restaurant in East Village. Go up the stairs and open the wooden door on your left. Welcome to an early 20th century bar with Japanese waiters wearing braces. Very tiny, you cannot make reservation so be there at 7 when they open.
Angel’s Share
Village Yokocho
8 Stuyvesant St
New York, NY 10003

The Cockail bar-crawlCocktail bar-crawl

5. The Raines Law Room
5. The Raines Law Room

5. The Raines Law Room: Is that really a speakeasy with the outdoor porch? Whatever, welcome to the Roaring 20s. Loved the comfy tiny spot. Go to the bar to the very end to order your cocktail and go back to your assigned table. The only downside is that out of the 3 cocktails, I would not recommend any of them. Or maybe for guys…

The Raines Law Room
48 W 17th St
(between 5th Ave & Avenue Of The Americas)
New York, NY 10011

6. Lillie's
6. Lillie’s

6. Lillie’s: when you are trying to escape the madness of Times Square, head to this Victorian Bar, you will be definitely out of the time. Stay at the bar and enjoy the late 1800s time.

Lillie’s
249 W 49th St
(between Broadway & 8th Ave)
New York, NY 10019

7. The Campbell Apartment
7. The Campbell Apartment

7. The Campbell Apartment: Yes it is one of the hot spots where they filmed Gossip Girl, so this venue is even more exciting! And even more for those like me whose best afterwork meeting point is Grand Central, this place is great. You have to go through another restaurant to find this almost secret spot. Very dark and comfy, prices can be a bit crazy when you pay your glass of Sancerre $19. Another tip: DO NEVER ORDER FOOD. I know it is a bar, but the plastic American cheese and the frozen pizza are factors to make you run away.
The Campbell Apartment
15 Vanderbilt Ave
(between 42nd St & 43rd St)
New York, NY 10017

Photo courtesy of Pouring Ribbons
8. Pouring Ribbons

8. Pouring Ribbons: A new bar in EV. Remember the exact address otherwise you will pass it even without noticing the blue door. The bar is upstairs with a large window on the street. Like many bars I’ve been to in Manhattan (or the Violet Hour in Chicago), you are necessarily assigned to a table. You’d better go there not to meet new friends or you would be disappointed.
Pouring Ribbons
225 Avenue B Second Floor
New York, NY 10009

9. Trix
9. Trix

9. Trix: One of the great Williamsburg bar for people-watching without the pressure and prices of Manhattan. Try the Amelia.
Trix
145 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Photo courtesy of Milk & Honey
10. Milk and Honey

10. Milk & Honey: Manhattan is always about the latest bar that just opened. Last December everybody was whispering about the new Milk & Honey that opened in Gramercy, since the Lower East Side location was shut down. Wednesday, 9.30pm, we go confident with the confirmation email we got from Karla. Once again get the exact address, we could not even see the hidden grey door at the first sight. No member card requested anymore, welcome to the new speakeasy! It is pretty empty, Karla shows us our booth. Nonexistent decoration, art deco lights, the venue seems unfinished. Karla introduces us the concept: we tell her what we like, she asks us questions and offers us a choice of cocktails. This amazing experience and the quality of cocktails we had made us almost forget the “non-decoration” policy.
Milk & Honey
30 E 23rd St
New York, NY 10010

11. JBird
11. JBird

11. JBird: I would not say finally we have a good reason to go out uptown because I would lie, but at least we got a cocktail bar. The empty venue might be due to the fact it is Tuesday night, still I wish there was more people so I could have truly enjoyed this UES bar. Really easy cocktail menu when you are lost where you can choose between ‘Sours’, ‘Old-fashioned’, ‘Fizzes’, or ‘Aromatized’ cocktails.

JBird
339 E 75th St
New York, NY 10021

 

Taco-crawl

Urban food-crawl is all about getting the best of a single dish or area. My first crawl is dedicated to tacos. Since my first trip to California in March 2012, I’ve been obsessed with this Mexican dish. I would say even more with fish tacos. But the real ones, not those fake crispy tacos you can have at Taco Bell or any other bad Tex-Mex restaurant.

For my friends overseas, what is a good taco? Pork, chicken, shrimp, salmon or even lobster, onions, cilantro, salsa and avocado for the California version wrapped into a fresh homemade corn or flour tortilla. Since I am in NYC I’ve been tracking the best one. This is not California, I agree, but you can still find great options in the Big Apple.

1. Ofrenda
1. Ofrenda

1. Ofrenda:  great spot in West Village, the restaurant is trendy, awesome cocktails, authentic fish tacos made of tilapia baja style ($12 for 2). A go-to!
Ofrenda
113 7th Ave S
New York, NY 10014
(212) 924-230

 

2. Empellon Cocina
2. Empellon Cocina

2. Empellon Cocina, East Village: a whole chapter should be dedicated to Empellon Cocina.  Acclaimed by the press to be one of the best new restaurants in town, I do agree. The tacos are really simple, maybe too much at the first sight with its sea scallops and caramelized cauliflower. A bit expensive ($16 for 2), but extremely tasty,  having sea scallops in a tacos does worth the price.

Empellon Cocina
105 1st Ave
Manhattan, NY 10003
(212) 780-0999

3. La Esquina
3. La Esquina

3. La Esquina, Nolita : go for lunch at the Café. The restaurant is actually way nicer than the outdoor area. Get the fish tacos, really tasty, with red cabbage that makes it taste different ($9 for 2). The corner Deli, a bit tacky, is one of the three restaurants at the same spot. Come by night, a hidden restaurant, La Brasserie, opens downstairs. Reservation 3 weeks ahead though…
La Esquina, Café
114 Kenmare,
New York, NY 10012
(646) 613-1333

4. Dokebi Bar & Grill
4. Dokebi Bar & Grill

4. Dokebi Bar & Grill, Williamsburg: If you are looking for a Korean BBQ place, head to Williamsburg. This restaurant has such good vibes, and the music playlist is so much better than any Korean joint you will ever find in the depressing Korean town. But the surprise is the Korean style tacos. Go for the fish taco, battered white fish, only $4 each, with plenty of other options.  It doesn’t look Korean at all, with its apparent brick wall, modern art wall and its red Vichy tablecloths. If you like kimchi and fish tacos you will love this nice fusion.
Dokebi Bar & Grill
199 Grand St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
718) 782-1424

The Taco-Crawl Map:

Taco-Crawl Map

5. Friedman's lunch
5. Friedman’s lunch

5. Friedman’s lunch, Chelsea. The Chelsea Market reminds me the Ferry Building in San Francisco. The food looks great everywhere, but because it is busy and indoor in the basement, you need to find a cozy place to sit. Friedman’s Lunch offers you the solution. Good quality of fish, plenty, grilled and not fried, with fresh vegetable and covered with a white sauce, the fish tacos is a really good value ($13 for 2)
Friedman’s Lunch at the Chelsea Market
75 9th Ave
New York, NY 10011
(212) 929-7100

6. Brooklyn Tacos
6. Brooklyn Tacos

6. Brooklyn Taco at Donna, South Williamsburg : As part of the Armory show, Donna, the hot cocktail spot in South Williamsburg is hosting Brooklyn Taco each Saturday of March. The venu is fantastic, the bar is relax and the decor elegant and beautiful. Grab a cocktail ($7 happy hour) and a cole-braised pork tacos ($4), promised you will enjoy your night!

Brooklyn Tacos at Donna
27 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11249
(646) 568-6622

7. El Toro Blanco
7. El Toro Blanco

7. El Toro Blanco, West Village: I already talked about this new spot, go see the review here.

 

 

 

8. Pinche Taqueria
8. Pinche Taqueria

8. Pinche Taqueria, Nolita: Just like an authentic taqueria, you don’t want to spend to much time in there. Good just to grab a taco and leave. This place got pretty good reviews, but once again I got disappointed since I thought it was not tasty enough (despite the whole guacamole on the top). Tacos are really cheap though ($2.95-$3.95) and you probably feel closer to Mexico than places like El Toro Blanco.

Pinche Taqueria
227 Mott St
New York
(212) 625-0090

9. Takumi Tacos
9. Takumi Tacos

9. Takumi Taco, Street food: Featured at the Brooklyn Flea Market, Williamsburg Saving Banks, and soon returns at Smorgasburg on April 6th, Williamsburg, try these Japanese inspired tacos. I got my spicy tuna taco in a crispy gyoza shell. I would recommend the traditional corn tortilla since this version reminded me the taco bell commercial with its crispy taco.
Takumi Taco at the Brooklyn Flea Market
1 Hanson Place,
Brooklyn, NY

10. El Aguila
10. El Aguila

10. El Aguila: I live in Spanish Harlem, and oddly this is not the best area to get good tacos. Made with industrial tortillas, the meat is not really tender.  I would not recommend the trip, even though I am sure East Harlem has some good suprises…
El Aguila
137 E 116th St # 1
New York, NY 10029
(212) 410-2450

Recently added:
– Taco Mix: East Harlem taco joint
Toloache82: fancy Upper East Side Mexican restaurant
Tequila Park Taqueria:  taco-margarita garden

Reynard at the Wythe Hotel

reynard-s

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:

The-Hipster-Starter-Kit-All

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