The Back Room at One57 – Foie Gras for Breakfast?!

The title just says it all, doesn’t it?

I’ll quickly set the scene so I can get you to the good stuff without too much delay.

20150510_092116 The Back Room at One57 is the NYC Park Hyatt’s flagship restaurant. It’s modern and elegant with a cool, open exterior that feels upscale but not cold.  20150510_092123 Details like these sweet flowers and a huge display of fruit in the middle of the room keep the space from being too antiseptic. There are a fair amount of hotel guests eating here but I think that it will be popular with NYC dwellers too.

20150510_094117 Shakshuka with baked egg, merguez, and ciabatta

Excellent. Well spiced and fragrant with harissa and cinnamon-scented merguez. The eggs are ideally baked so the yolks are still runny and the only thing that you need is some more ciabatta to soak up that delicious sauce.

20150510_094137 Fruit plate

Not your standard melon and green strawberries. Sweet lychee, plump and taut blackberries, beautifully supremed grapefruit – this is worth ordering. Especially because you need something to lighten up your main dish.
20150510_094124 Seared foie gras with poached egg, creamy mushrooms, and black truffle butter
20150510_094322 Take that in for a minute. That’s fat atop umami atop buttery atop creamy. That’s thickly seared and salted foie melting into buttery egg yolk and some of the best mushrooms I have recently enjoyed. The truffle is subtle – it doesn’t overwhelm the foie, it accentuates it. If it isn’t for the tangle of vinegary greens, you might just have a heart attack then and there.  20150510_094653 What a way to go.

The Back Room at One57 is officially the most decadent breakfast spot in the city. It’s pricey but the service is great, the food is delicious, and the atmosphere is impressive. Sure, you need a Lipitor and a nap at 9 am if you dine here, but it’s SO worth it. 

Sessanta – Fabulous Tongue Sliders with a few Service Issues

July 4th is a fantastic day to stay in the city. Everyone else has vacated to the Hamptons, the weather isn’t usually too humid, and – best of all – the restaurants you want to visit have plenty of reservations available.

For our holiday weekend, we chose Sessanta.

20150704_183918 This 1970s throwback restaurant from Mercer Street Hospitality has been getting a ton of buzz for its Sicilian style menu and though it can be hard to get a reservation most nights, it was wide open on July 4.  20150704_184257 Sardinia 75 with kirsch, lemon, kiwi, and prosecco

That’s my cocktail in the foreground, made by an excellent and friendly mixologist. It’s sweet and tart with a little fizz. An ideal aperitif. My husband got that Seraphim with bourbon and smoked cinnamon in the background. Also excellent – the cocktails and the bar itself are highly recommended.

20150704_194506 Foccacia

The bread service is unique and well portioned. No overflowing bread basket here. Just one small, dense, buttery square of foccacia per person. It’s topped with a bright, tangy tomato sauce. Not revelatory, but quite tasty.

20150704_194854 Tongue slider with lemon oil

Standout of the night – major winner. This is like the cheesesteak of your dreams, minus the cheese. The tongue actually melts in your mouth with a gentle beefy flavor that is bolstered by a touch of bright lemon oil. There are some thinly diced onions – not at all too strong – and a buttery, pliant brioche bun. Trust me – this is the sandwich that will bring you back to the restaurant.  20150704_202244 Veal Marsala with mushrooms and capers

A juicy, fruity take on veal Marsala. The wine sauce is tangier than most and to great effect – the veal is tender and the mushrooms are juicy. This is a great dish for someone who likes piquant flavors or a mushroom lover – those shrooms are the standout. 20150704_202258 Big eye tuna ragu with chiles

I love this spicy, briny pasta – what a winner! Make no mistake, it’s on the fishy side of things – you have to love seafood to enjoy this. However, if you are a major seafood lover, this is pasta for the ages. The pasta itself is al dented and thick – it absorbs the rich tomatoey sauce, laden with spicy chiles and hunks of soft, tender tuna. It’s fantastic and highly recommended.

However, I don’t know how fast I will be running back here. It’s inconvenient to where I live, a little pricey, and the service was really poor. I am talking argumentative servers, wrong dishes right and left, and almost an hour in between appetizers and entrees. Plus forgotten dishes that were then put on the bill for us to take care of. To his credit, the general manager handled everything splendidly when we let him know about our dissatisfying meal. I don’t hold it against the restaurant because of his swift and appropriate action, but I’m not aching to run back either.

Let me know what you think if you head there – just don’t miss those cocktails or fabulous tongue sliders.

GG’s NYC – I Dream of GG’s

Get to GG’s ASAP for the burger. Like, really.

20150601_181856 Don’t bother coming for the atmosphere…well, I guess it is pretty cute. Quaint, ideal for a meal alone at the bar or with a friend.
20150601_181906 It would make a good double date spot but might be a bit too cozy with other tables for a first date. The backyard looks fun for a crew, though.  20150601_190056 Burrata with greens, romesco, and garlic chips
Okay, you can come for this, too. The burrata is wonderfully creamy and paired with more strong, savory flavors than it usually is. I though that those flavors would overwhelm the burrata, but the crispy, pungent garlic chops, earthy romesco, and soft greens just accent the burrata’s creamy, milky taste. Recommended.

20150601_191836 The Grandma Pie 20150601_192009 Thick, buttery crust. Sweet, none-too-fancy tomato sauce. Stretchy, bubbly mozzarella and crispy, spicy discs of pepperoni that curl up and harbor wonderful porky oil. The pie is soft and layered with the flavors of your favorite childhood pie with high end ingredients. If you love Sicilian pie, you will be crazy for this. For my tastes, it’s a little doughy but still worth trying.  20150601_192345 Pan seared burger with white cheddar, melted onions, secreto sauce, and fries

Yep. This is why you come here. This burger is as good as the one at Brindle Room in a totally different way. It has a squishy bun, a thin blanket of sharp cheese, and sweet, pleasantly sticky caramelized onions. Then there is the meat…wow, that meat. It’s juicy and beefy without too much funk or highfalutin taste. It’s not like eating a steak – it’s like eating the best burger you ever had.  20150601_192444 Perfectly pink and juicy, with a swatch of creamy, tangy secreto sauce and a crunchy pickle…this is perfection on a bun. For the price and how substantial it is, it’s currently my favorite burger in town.  20150601_195132

Morgenstern’s raw milk ice cream sandwich

Fabulous! Okay, come for this, too. Thsi ice cream is DYNAMITE! It’s creamy, rich, and clean tasting – almost the burrata of ice cream. The cookies are dark and thick enough to absorb the ice cream’s moisture without getting too soggy.

GG’s is really well priced, has an inviting atmosphere, and serves – for my money – the most satisfying burger in the city. Plus pizza. And some awesome ice cream sandwiches. I guess there is reason besides the burger to come here. But still…the burger is the best reason.

Kashkaval Garden – Tiny but Terrific

It’s never easy to find somewhere to eat before a night at the theater. You want somewhat nice but not super expensive. Somewhere leisurely but that knows how to get you the check so you don’t miss your curtain time. Somewhere that is delicious but not too heavy – nothing worse than falling asleep during “Sunrise, Sunset,” amirite?

Kashkaval Garden delivers on all corners.

This minuscule Hell’s Kitchen wine bar is the holy grail of theater restaurants. A generous happy hour and full wine and liquor list. A staff who knows how to get your food on the table ASAP without rushing you to eat. And some seriously delicious Mediterranean food.

Be prepared, the place is tiny and doesn’t take reservations. But if you get there around 6 on a weeknight, you should be seated pretty quickly.

20150414_182347 Warm spiced olives

Juicy, meaty olives warmed in a garlicky, citrusy olive oil. It’s salty, savory, and surprisingly satiating if you crave a nibble before the meal. Warm olives are just the greatest and these go really well with a martini.
20150414_182356 Goat cheese salad

Doesn’t look special but really hits the spot. Fresh greens, sweet, grapes, a swath of creamy goat cheese lining the plate, and the MOST delicious marinated mushrooms I have had in a long time. They are savory, meaty, and incredibly umami. Served cold, they are superior to meat in almost every way.  20150414_183033 Chicken and chicken adana skewers

Shades of India and a welcome dose of heat and spice. The chicken is tender and marinated in yogurt so it’s juicy and savory. The adana skewer is well spiced with red pepper and garlic – like an awesome long meatball. Served with a tangy squash caponata, a zesty red pepper puree, and some really creamy, cucumber-rich tzaziki – what more could you want? This is accidentally low carb without meaning to be. It’s so delicious!

Kashkaval Garden is a delight. It’s really well priced, the portions are huge, and the food (I didn’t even order my favorite babaganoush or stuffed grape leaves this time) is dynamite.

Hopefully your show can live up to the precedent that your dinner sets!

Lamb Bacon at Navy

Quick drive by posting:

Have you ever been to Navy? Have you ever even heard of it? It’s an adorable cafe in SoHo that is almost hidden from sight. I went for a quick breakfast with a friend the other day and was utterly enchanted.

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Fresh juice, check. Sweet staff, check. Small but on point menu, check.

A little expensive, but delish.

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Harissa omelette with lamb bacon.

Delicious!

The omlette is soft and creamy, filled with a spiced (but not crazy hot) harissa paste that has the consistency of refried beans. It’s thick and velvety, just like the eggs. A tangle of peppery, vinaigrette-dressed watercress breaks through the richness.

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And that lamb bacon.

Whoa. Fatty. Meaty. Grassy. Not at all salty or smokey. Pretty much addictive.

For one shining moment, being kosher seemed possible.

Then I remembered cheeseburgers.

Anyway…

Hit up Navy the next time that you are in SoHo. You won’t regret it!

Run, Don’t Walk, to Salumeria Rosi

How have I lived on the UWS and never been to Salumeria Rosi?

What a GEM! Let’s take a look:

20150408_115753 A veritable feast of gourmet and artisanal meats, cheeses, and prepared salads at the front of the store. A friendly and competent counter person offered to help me, but I told her that I was there to eat.  20150408_115800 The dining room is unexpectedly chic. Modern and sleek, with good lighting and some bar seating with comfortable chairs. It seems more like a Tribeca haunt than one on the UWS. 
20150408_123849 Large meat plate

 House made mortadella, soft prosciutto, super spicy cappaciole, and salami kissed with spicy peppercorns. This is a very good and ample meat platter. 

That’s what she said. 

For realsies, though – get this and let the chef go wild with what’s best – there’s no way to lose.

20150408_125657 Pancetta roasted Brussels sprouts. 

Simple and divine all at once. Tiny nuggets of sprouts, tender and almost creamy beneath a shattering, crispy skin. Juicy nuggets of pancetta. Salty, fatty, crunchy, cruciferous. These are a must order as long as they are on the menu.
20150408_125700 Caprese salad

WONDERFUL mozzarella elevates this classic dish. Sweet tomatoes, tangy balsamic, and a tangle of sharp greens and basil, but the glory is to that mozzarella. Luscious, rich, creamy, and bursting with fresh, milky flavor. This is a must get.

Actually, everything here is a must get. The prices are shockingly reasonable (including a hanger steak for under $20), the surroundings are lovely enough for a date or special night, and the food is just delicious. Run, don’t walk, to this very special shop. I can’t wait to come back, shop at the front grocery section, and try more dishes.

Till then, I’ll be having mortadella dreams. 

The Jewbano at The Comfort: A Destination-Worthy Sandwich

This is a one-food post. And it’s about a food that I don’t even get to eat this week. #ThanksPassover.

But I tried it last week and…um…it merits some recognition .

It’s the Jewbano sandwich at The Comfort

This lower east side diner looks like any cute cafe with fresh salads, homemade chicken soup, and creamy mac-and-cheese. It is unassuming and casual. It doesn’t at all let you know what rests inside its hallowed walls.

Behold: The Jewbano:

jewbano

via The Comfort’s Facebook page

House roasted turkey – juicy and soft with a nice layer of fat. 

Katz’s pastrami – well, we all know how I feel about this. The Comfort is the only joint outside of Katz’s that is allowed to use this proprietary pastrami in a sandwich. 

Guss’ pickles – simply the best. Tart, tangy, sour

Swiss cheese – and none too skimpy with it!

Deli mustard – because we aren’t heathens, after all. 

Kossar’s bulka – buttery, onion-y, soft but dense enough to absorb the sandwiche’s juices. 

This is bliss. It is ideally constructed. Salty pastrami, sour pickles, that tang of mustard and melted cheese. This is what you want after a night at the clubs, after a morning of tough meetings, or pretty much any time.

Especially during Passover.

I can’t wait to have one next week.

Montmartre – Delectable French Cuisine on 8th Avenue

I haven’t been to Montmartre in quite awhile – it was time to give it another go.

It’s still that beautiful space, perfect for a girls night or an awesome date. And the food is better than ever.

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Radishes with butter

A lovely, simple, delicious amuse bouche. Spicy radishes, tangy cultured butter, and a few sprinkles of grainy salt. All that’s necessary is a slice of the fresh sourdough bread that also lands on your table.

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Chicken liver pate

Very damned good. Sweet, mild, fluffy mousse topped with a layer of sweet onions. It’s minerally without being too rich, thanks to the air incorporated into the mousse. It’s smooth and earthy – very good, though not quite to Sammy’s ethereal level.

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Fries

If you don’t get these, you are a tool. The fries here are WOW-TASTIC. Crispy and well salted with lip-puckering malt vinegar and the greatest garlic aioli…well, ever. That aioli is good stuff – not quite to Amsterdam’s level, but not too far off, either. Smooth and eggy with just a hint of sweet roasted garlic. Excellent.

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Steak tartare

Lovely and a great portion. None of that paltry-appetizer crap here. A hearty portion of tender, meaty beef, hand cut so it still has some heft and pleasant chew to it. It’s not too rich and is properly spiced with pepper, salt, and capers. It’s topped with a tangle of slippery pickled hon shimeji mushrooms and a large paper cone of fresh, whisper thin potato chips. I would get this again in a heartbeat.

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Clementine pot de creme

Rich. bright. Topped with buttery shortbread and juicy citrus. What better way to end a lovely meal?

I love Montmartre. It isn’t cheap, but the portions are ample, the food is wonderful, and the service and surroundings are lovely. I can’t wait to go back ASAP.

WastED NY with Brooks Headley

I was treated to an extraordinary experience last weekend.

Well, I treated myself to it. After all, I do know best what I would like.

I was lucky enough to snag 2 seats to WastED, a pop up by Dan Barber. His goal was to show diners how much food we waste and how it is all so delicious. And boy did he succeed.

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He transformed Blue Hill into a different restaurant – the walls were covered with paper that farmers use to prevent crops from inclimate weather and the tables were actually grown from the ground up. It was surreal!

But then, so was the dinner.

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Beef tallow candles

These candles, actually made of beef tallow, turned into the world’s greatest shchmaltz when warm! To say nothing of the spent grain bread, made from leftover brewing grains.

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The bread was slightly sweet and very soft, served with whipped lardo alongside the beef tallow. When the tallow congealed it was even better. ACTUAL beefy butter.

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Dumpster dive salad

Pistachio, damaged storage apples and pears, whipped chickpea water

Stop it, Dan Barber. Don’t make me start hitting on you. This was the best salad of my or my husband’s lives – and we have eaten a lot of Caesar between us. This is…amazing. Sweet and bright and deeply savory and herbaceous. The chickpea water is just the liquid from a can of chickpeas, whipped and whipped until it is lighter than air and just a little earthy to counteract the vibrant flavors of the vegetables. How can this be REFUSE?

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Blue Hill Farm Egg from table scrap fed hens

Old bresaola, outer layer onions, cheese broth from Mateo’s 3%

This would be at home at any haute dining table in Paris. A softly poached egg so rich and buttery that it might have stopped my heart then and there. The bresaola is softer than most, and has a mild flavor. The outer layer onions are especially sharp, perfect for cutting through the egg’s richness. The cheese broth is perfect – not too heavy or salty, more like a teensy, tiny bit of tang. Delicious.

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Juice pulp cheeseburger

Let’s dissect this:

Repurposed bread buns – leftover bread from Balthazar soaked until soft and then repurposed into entirely new buns. Soft but crusty, not too dense, and pleasantly sour.

Juice pulp patty – made from leftover veggie pulp from Liquiteria. Spiked with harissa and chock full of hearty, spicy flavors. Doesn’t taste like beef. Does taste like heaven.

Reconsider cheese – pungent, tangy, sharp, and salty.

Bruised beet ketchup  – sweet and piquant.

We fought over this one. Sharing was difficult. 

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Dog food with wasted potatoes and gravy

Actual dog food, made from Dickson’s Farm Strand’s recipe. I actually ate dog food. And…I loved it. Filled with liver, sweet potatoes, and a myriad of spices; this is like country pate meets meatloaf. Add in some soft, mayo-dressed potatoes and a girl could get used to eating with the dogs.

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Brooks Headley Special Dessert

Filone crust pavlova with candied leftover fruit peel, expiring ricotta, and leftover verjus-vinegar sobet

Fresh, sweet creamy. Chewy, sugary bits of candied peel and that super refreshing sorbet. I can’t believe that this is made from “trash,” and yet…I can. Brooks Headley isn’t a Del Posto superstar for nothing.

This meal was…beyond. It made me rethink how I view food and feel ashamed about how much I waste. I can’t wait to save the scraps of potatoes the next time that I make latkes and to use the peach peels from my summer pies for some infused vodka.

I really preach eating the whole animal and it’s time that I started practicing that.

After all, a fish bone/apple peel/heel of bread is a terrible thing to waste.

Rice to Riches and More

This was a gooood eating weekend.

So good that I’m really pretty bummed that it’s over.

Let’s go over the highlights, shall we?

20150327_093148 Loaded oatmeal at Trestle on Tenth

Wow is this gem of a restaurant in need of a re-review. I forgot how fabulous it is! The oatmeal seems plain but is obviously made with plenty of butter and whole milk. It’s rich and sweet, with loads of dried figs, pineapple, and other treats. Just what you need on a snowy ALMOST APRIL morning…kill me.  20150327_210046 Gyros at Uncle Nick’s 

Sure beat the hell out of the gyro platter I had in Athens. Fresh, warm pita bread, juicy, spiced meat, and a meager portion of wonderfully tangy, garlicky tzatziki. You’re going to want to tack on an extra order of that stuff for the crispy-soft potatoes and vinegary salad alongside. This is highly recommended.

20150328_183005 Siu mai and har gow at Dim Sum Go Go

Yep, this place is as great as ever. The shrimp is thoroughly cleaned and soft in its delicate, thin wrapper. The siu mai has a bouncier texture and the har gow fairly melts on the tongue. Use the ginger-leek sauce and you will be transported to China for fewer than 5 bucks.  20150328_201026 Rice pudding at Rice to Riches

One of the greats. This spot has been buzzing since it opened in 2003. We are talking every day and night, no matter the weather, lines almost out the door buzzing. And with good reason. This rice pudding is BEYOND. It’s creamy and light with rice that is plump and soft but nowhere near mushy. And the FLAVORS. The flavors range from Nutella to cheesecake to butterscotch. The toppings include everything from roasted cherries to Oreo crumbles. And the decor is just plain fun. It’s a tiny shop, but it’s worth it to brave the crowds for the sweet white chocolate cookies and creme or the lush mascarpone rice pudding. And don’t be dumb – get the container that fits 2 flavors. You know that you want it.