Tag Archives: Bars

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2017…

Much like the Shark Eye at Mother of Pearl and a Bloody Mary (or Red Snapper) at Old King Cole Bar, the Sakagura Martini has become the stuff of NYC cocktail legend and in just a matter of a year. While it is very visual and Instagram-ready (if you can find the right light and angle), the drink is simplicity itself. Except you might not have thought of combining gin, sake, and maraschino liqueur for a smooth subtle martini twist. And garnished with a preserved cherry blossom, you’ll completely forget olives ever existed. Price: $16

BAR GOTO
245 Eldridge Street (between East Houston and Stanton Street),
Lower East Side
(212) 475-4411
bargoto.com

Welcome to a new segment on this blog. On Mondays get ready for a quick list of the best restaurants, dishes, or food trends in a certain category. There are so many great things to eat and drink in the city and think of this as your resource to find the absolute best.

If you look around the city this week, it seems that every bar wants to be German. Blue and white flags are everywhere, waitresses wear traditional garb are outside taking a smoke break, and the faint sound of an oompah band can be heard on just about any street.

It’s Oktoberfest! Perfect time to celebrate and soak up German culture. But make sure you find your way to an authentic German bar or restaurant and not get stuck at an Irish bar in disguise. Here are the seven best German bars in NYC (in no particular order): (more…)


Category: NYC Best

Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

When my wife and son go out of town to visit family like they did recently, my first thought is “What cocktail bar can I check out?” Since I am always at home being a good dad in the evenings when I’m not working, I find it hard to explore the cocktail scene like I used to.

I knew all about The Up & Up and it has been high on my list of spots to visit well before my son was born earlier this year. Just never made it. Now that I had the city to myself, it was time to finally stop in.

The Up & Up is a great bar. First off, it’s intimate but spacious providing a refined setting for trying classic or innovative craft cocktails. It looked as though there wouldn’t be a seat for me on a busy Saturday night, but once we started chatting, the door man and owner decided to let me stand at the service bar. Which was much appreciated since this was my rare night out.

The menu was very exciting and normally I would agonize for hours over what to order (and don’t think I didn’t). But one description kept calling my name. It was just weird enough for me. (more…)


My search for the best hot dog in New York continues….

It’s funny – when I first started this blog, the easiest reviews to write were the negative ones. Not that I enjoyed knocking a restaurant, but the writing came a lot easier thanks to punchlines. Now I find it harder to write the bad reviews and much prefer to focus on how great something is.

So let me start with the great things at dinner table. It’s a very cool reverse speakeasy-style establishment. Instead of sneaking through a restaurant to get to a bar, you go through the bar (in this case The Garret East) to get a to an unmarked door. It looks like it leads to a back alley or maybe an employees only area. Instead, if you flick a switch on the wall, the door slides open to reveal a secret intimate little restaurant.

This is dinnertable. When they opened last year, those in the know heard about the great menu created for the special VIP guests who found their way here. Since then, the chef has changed and the food has shifted to a more Japanese gastropub-style menu. Great – my kind of food.

When I got to dinnertable, I found plenty of availability (this place really is a secret!) and I sat at the bar where the chef served me himself. I ordered the hot dog (since it sounded fascinating with its Japanese-inspiration) and a cooling cucumber trout salad,.

Unfortunately, I was greatly disappointed. I won’t harp on the blahness of the $13 cucumber salad, since I’m using this space to review their hot dog.

The hot dog is made special for them at Dickson’s Farmstand in Chelsea Market. The chef has decided to meld the pork sausage with miso and sugarcane juice, grill it, and serve some kewpie mayonnaise and a sweet brown sauce on top, and then a sprinkle of wasabi salt on the side. It sounded intriguing enough although the $17 price tag was jaw-dropping.

Even more jaw dropping was that I couldn’t bring myself to finish the dog. The flavors might have been ok, but I was immediately put off by the gray color and soft texture. The grilled dog showed signs of char marks but the interior of the link was so soft. I found it mealy and fatty and quite unpleasant. I like my hot dogs to snap or at the very least to be a bit firm. This was as soft as the potato bun so there was no textural contrast.

The chef explained that it was from the high fat content of the pork and the miso addition. Ok, but I really didn’t like it. It pained me to take only two bites of a $17 hot dog and to leave the really cool establishment hungry (and poorer).

I imagine other menu items are more successful and that this chef (who seemed nice enough) has other exciting offerings. But the hot dog is not the thing to get here. In fact, I found it rather off-putting. And I don’t find it easy (or fun) to say that.

Does dinnertable have the best hot dog in NY? The fact that I couldn’t take more than a few bites of the pricey specimen speaks volumes. Afriad I have to give it a 5 out of 10 for unpleasant texture and a concept that just did not work for me.

DINNERTABLE
206 Avenue A (between East 12th and East 13th Street),
East Village
dinnertablenyc.com

Category: Hot Dogs

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

The thought of an avocado margarita might not be the most appetizing, but when its made with smoky mezcal, lime juice, cucumbers, and a spicy chile bitters, you get a complex sweet/tart/spicy/refreshing cocktail that is a real game-changer. The avocado adds a rich creaminess that ensures this balanced quaff fires on all cylinders. Price: $15
SWEETWATER SOCIAL
643 Broadway (at Bleecker Street),
Noho
(212) 253-0477
http://www.drinksweetwater.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

Leave it to me to visit one of the best new speakeasies and not even have a cocktail. I studied the menu and watched the bartenders work their magic at Karasu, hidden behind the local restaurant Walter’s, but I didn’t order a drink because I was on my way to give a tour (and I try to stay somewhat sober for those). But I came here to check out the place (which is awesome) and have some dinner.  The food, like the cocktails, are Japanese-inspired. And the softly breaded and incredibly tender fried chicken pieces with dipping sauces almost makes up for the lack of alcohol. Price: $11
KARASU
166 Dekalb Avenue (at Cumberland Street),
Behind Walter’s Restaurant
(347) 223-4811
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
karasubk.com

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