Saturday, April 17, 2010

3 - Ravagh [Persian]

LAST VISIT: 4/2010

This Persian delight was so good I forgot to get a picture before I devoured everything on my plate. A simple order of hummus, chicken kabobs with rice and steak kabobs with fries and 20 minutes later my tummy was beyond satisfied. I love this place because the menu and decor are simple. You know you are going to get great food and there is no nonsense about it. Mediterranean food is likely my favorite genre of food...and Ravagh knew how to make me fall in love.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

3 - H & H Bagels

LAST VISIT: 4/2010
H&H is worthy of two pictures. Their bagels are THE BEST. Seriously, for those who think there is not a difference, you are out of your mind. H&H consists of the usual NYC busy bagel joint fare: a long line of people salivating at the thought of that bagel oozing in their mouth. They are always fresh, usually you are lucky enough to get one right out of the oven. The service is FAST, FAST, FAST. You will see the line often go out the door however, you will rarely wait longer than five minutes. West coasters who think they have had a good bagel are being fooled. You have to take the flight over to NYC to H&H to experience a "real" bagel. WOWO - they are divine...have I convinced you yet?!?! :)

3 - Mercer Kitchen

LAST VISIT: 3/2010
I love everything about this restaurant!!! The decor is so great - the brick, open kitchen - it is so clean and inviting. The food is fab - I have ordered the Slowly Baked Salmon, Brussels Sprouts, Truffle Mashed Potatoes every time. The meal is filling, but I don't get that buttered/greased out feeling when I am done. Everything is fresh and light on the tummy. This is a trendy place that will last - I want my next apartment to look like Mercer Kitchen!

1 - Spice Market

LAST VISIT: 1/2010 you read my blog you know that I love Buddakan. So when I heard that Spice Market is considered a rival I put it on my "must try it" list. I have to say, I was largely disappointed. The food was nothing special and it was like they wanted a unique flavor so they used every spice in the cabinet trying to make sure the dishes had enough flavor. Well, they suceeded and got too much flavor. I wasn't too sure there was such a thing until I ate here. The atmosphere was fun and unique, but it surely didn't make up for the food. I have heard that Spice Market has gone down hill over the years and now they just cannot compete with Buddakan - I confirm, this is true.

Monday, April 12, 2010

2 - Rosa Mexicano

LAST VISIT: 1/2009
There is a debate in NYC - Who's guac is the best: Dos Caminos or Rosa Mexicano??? I fell in love with the Dos Camino's guac just shortly after moving to NYC, so I had to take the challenge to determine which guac was best. Sure enough, Dos Caminos' guac won the metal of honor. Rosa's version is similar however, it was bland. It seems to lack the flavor and kick that any guac requires. Their food was in a similar boat - their interpretation of Mexican fusion didn't get me flying off my seat only to return a week later. It wasn't horrible, but my expectations were too high and the food was average.

3 - Dos Caminos (Guacamole/Chips/Salsa ONLY)

LAST VISIT: 4/2010
I used to LOVE Dos Caminos. It was a great fusion Mexican food experience. Recently the restaurant made several food changes and the food just doesn't seem to be as awesome as it was about six months. Don't get me wrong though, the guacamole, chips and salsa are still off the chain. My girlfriend and I went there just the other day to sit on the patio on the nice spring day and have the famous guacamole. Seriously, it isn't repeatable anywhere else. It is too bad the food hit the decline!

Go here just for the guac!

3 - Buddakan

LAST VISIT: 3/2010
For an indescribable Asian food experience you need to go to Buddakan. The food is out of control...superior to any Asian food I have had before. The service has always been top notch; the wait staff take pride in their knowledge of the menu. Items I have tried:
- Edamame Dumplings
- Hunan Beef Bao Buns
- Shaken Chili Beef Tartare
- Scallion Pancakes (if you don't get these you are making a HUGE mistake)
- Pepper Steak Chow Fun
- Vegetable Rice
- Asian Green Stir Fry (my second favorite item on the menu)
- Szechuan Crusted Ribeye
- Charred Filet of Beef
- Glazed Alaskan Black Cod
- Sweet & Sour Chicken

It is hard to go wrong at Buddakan. The atmosphere is so chic and you will want to dress up for the occasion. I find it best to go with four or more people - it conducive to sharing!!! If you are only here for a day or two I would put this on the list for dinner!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

3 - Cafe Lalo

LAST VISIT: 4/2010
This was some of the best brunch food I have had in NYC. The selection offered is overwhelming...the menu is never ending. My girlfriend and I decided to split steamed eggs with goat cheese, scallions and herbs - the eggs are made with no oil or butter! The eggs were delicious and came with potatoes , Mediterranean salad and toast. The portion size was enough to share. We split a piece of apple torte a la mode for dessert - their dessert selection is fabulous, one I will order from again!!! The restaurant is housed with female-only waitresses all wearing black mini skirts with pink leggings - a unique look to say the least. This place has charm and it was worthy of "You've Got Mail", one of my favorite movies.

Friday, April 9, 2010

3 - Paprika

LAST VISIT: 4/2010
This restaurant is charming to say the least. The staff is so friendly. When we arrived we were greeted by the hostess who was expecting us and seemed to have perfectly predetermined where we would sit - almost like our table was handcrafted for us! Our waitress was entirely knowledgeable about the menu and was not afraid to dote on us. The food is like homemade, what you'd expect good Italian food to taste like, but not over done. Really, this place for me is all about the pairing of the atmosphere and food - it is the package that makes it so great.

3 - Alice's Tea Cup

LAST VISIT: 3/2010
If you aren't a lover of scones and tea, you will be after visiting Alice's!!!!! They have a few locations in NYC and they all have different flavors (other than their regulars- Ham & Cheese, Pumpkin and Buttermilk) every day!!! Once while dining there with friends the server liked us so much he brought us a plate full of hot chocolate chip scones. They were to die for!!!!!

All of Alice's locations seem to hire a unique breed all which are all friendly. Service can sometimes be a bit slow, but tea and scones were meant for a relaxed environment - so sit back, relax and eat a buttery treat!

3 - Butter Lane

LAST VISIT: 12/2009
These cupcakes are delightful!!! They inspire creativity by allowing you mix and match the mini cakes with your choice of frosting. They have homemade cider that is super delish and warms you right up. A super cute place indeed!

3 - SushiSamba

LAST VISIT: 3/2010
This is some of the most yummy food I have stuck in my mouth.

Here are some of my favorite things:
- Crispy yellowtail taquitos
- Assorted vegetable tempura
- Beef tenderloin and aji panca anticuchos
- Peruvian corn
- Neo Tokyo rolls

The mix of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine is genius and the restaurant's atmosphere is super fun. The wait staff are eager to help you order and are patient with inquiries.

1 - Peter Luger's [Steakhouse]

Is this a joke? How is this place consistently rated as one of the top places in NYC. This place is the equivilent to one of MTV's "reality shows" - they script everything and the viewers still seem to love it and think it is real life. The rest of us just tilt our heads, krinkle our noses and give a questioning look while asking, "Really? Top steak place?" The service is horrible, but they tout that with pride for whatever reason. The waiters seem to be tortured with questions and just want you to order in excess so they can be tipped and then they proceed to boot you out. This is not the place to take dear o'l gram. She will give them a talking-to for sure!

3 - Friend of a Farmer

LAST VISIT: 12/2009
This place has the BEST chicken pot pie I have ever had. When it is chilly in NYC and you want a hearty comfort food situation...head here. The place is decorated like a country cottage so you feel like you are at grandma's while eating the smoking hot chicken pot pie. The cornbread served before the meal is a wonderful tease.

3 - Burger Joint

LAST VISIT: 2/2010
This is hands down the best burger/fries/shake restaurant. I could go there again, again and again. When I haven't been in a while and decide to go it takes everything I have not to return the following day. The atmosphere is terrific too. A special place in NYC - known mostly by word of mouth - it wouldn't be better if it was larger inside.
-Medium well, no mustard, extra pickles, fries and a strawberry shake, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!

1 - Heartland Brewery

LAST VISIT: 6/2006
Yuck - I ate there once and will NOT return. My burger was burnt to a crisp. Frisbee would have been more fun with the burger - ooh, I should have done that instead of eaten it. For all the burger/brew pubs in NYC this one should be last on the list.

3 - Del Frisco's [Steakhouse]

LAST VISIT: 11/2009
Probably my favorite steak place yet, other than El Gaucho, a chain in the Northwest, as a close second. The sides, steak, and LEMON CAKE are yummo!!!! This is a must do if you want to lay down $$$$ for a steak!!!

3 - SaraBeth's

LAST VISIT: 12/2009
Who doesn't love Sarabeth's? Um, hello - Almond-Crusted French Toast with Cranberry-Cherry Sauce?!?!?! Who does that? You cannot go wrong with Brunch at SaraBeth's. I love brunch so much I don't bother going for lunch or dinner. This is a great recommendation for any person. The wait for a table can be long, but it is well worth the wait.

2 - Magnolia Bakery

LAST VISIT: 11/2008
This is the infamous cupcakery that everyone raves about. Their cupcakes perhaps started the current cupcake rage. When I came for a visit to NYC in 2006 I was not overly impressed. The cupcakes seemed nothing more than mom's. I went for a re-visit in 2008 and changed my opinion - they were better than my memory had stored. More moist than the first experience. They are a good basic cupcake. The Magnolia Bakery cupcake should be the first cupcake tried, don't expect to be completely obsessed with them.