It’s time for a little roundup of some of the best bites I have had in recent weeks. Without further ado:
Fried Olives at Acqua
This UWS eatery has some delicious food on the menu. The ravioli I sampled was tender and filled to bursting with a subtle veal stuffing, well dressed in a creamy but not overpowering sauce. There is also a good wine list, including a very nice prosecco by the glass. however, that isn’t what I am talking about. What I am talking about is what you get with that glass of prosecco, when you order it at the postage stamp sized bar. It’s about tiny green olives, briny and fragrant, served warm in a crispy breadcrumb coating. They are juicy and meaty, not overly bitter, and a perfect start to the meal. Get here early and sit at the bar for what might be one of the most underrated bar snacks in the city – the bowl is complimentary and refilled as often as you like. I emptied a bowl myself and was never made to feel bad for it. Just bring cash, since this is one of the last restaurants (perhaps on the planet) that refuses to take credit cards.\
Champange and Amaro cocktail at Bathtub Gin
I love this tiny speakeasy more and more every time I go. Just go to Stone Street Coffee Company, wait for the red light to go on at 6 pm, and enter into a secret den of tin ceilings, luxurious bathrooms, and excellent cocktails. This one (I could kick myself for not writing down the name), is one of my new favorites. Amaro is a walnut liquor that is extremely nutty and edges on the savory side of sweet. It works well with the light, floral champagne, grounding it and giving it body. It is a lighter version of scotch – deep, complex, alcoholic enough to make you sit up and take notice. Highly recommended.
Cotton candy at Landmarc
A totally whimsical ending to an otherwise standard meal. A pink cloud of airy, fluffy spun sugar arrives just above room temperature at the table. As you pull off tufts of the stuff and let them melt in your mouth, just try not to giggle. It is sweet and sugary – that’s it. No black pepper, no salmon foam, nothing weird or complex. It is just nostalgic, light, and very sweet – the perfect ending to any meal.
Hot dog with mustard, onions, and kraut at Papaya King
Because it’s not all about champagne cocktails. Sometimes, you want a cheapo hot dog made out of mystery meat and a cottony bun. It is salty, savory, and slightly funky with sauerkraut. It is so utterly satisfying on a cold day, especially with a tall paper cup filled with bitter, chemical filled Diet Coke. I ate this sober and am proud that I did. After 6 years here, I think I might finally be a New Yorker.