Tag Archives: Flatiron Distrct

Looking back on 2014, I present the most memorable and greatest dishes of my year.

I can’t believe 2014 is practically over. It was fun while it lasted. And this year I really got a great taste of some new, hot restaurants in addition to dishes from classic New York institutions that I should have visited a long time ago. Here are the top five dishes I tasted this year:

NUMBER 5: SEA URCHIN GUACAMOLE at ÉLAN

SADLY, ÉLAN IS NOW CLOSED.

Sea Urchin Guacamole at ÉLAN

Asian-influenced guacamole really sounds like a mash-up gone horribly wrong, but in the capable hands of veteran chef David Waltuck, it is simply marvelous. Waltuck returned to the city this year with élan and brought his refined French technique together with unexpected flavors. The sea urchin guacamole adds a briny, rich layer to avocados that most taco joints would only dream about. Greaseless and light taro chips make the perfect vessel for a creamy guacamole that is dotted with sweet soy sauce and bright wasabi, along with the piéce de résistance: tongues of luxurious sea urchin. Price: $19

ÉLAN
43 East 20th Street (between Park Avenue South and Broadway),
Flatiron District
(646) 682-7105
elannyc.com

NUMBER 4: GRILLED SHORT RIB at BETONY

SADLY, BETONY IS NOW CLOSED.

Grilled Short Rib at BETONY

My birthday dinner this year was a huge blowout at Betony, which has reinvigorated the Midtown dining scene. It’s both fancy and high-end, but without too much stuffiness and if you play your cards right, you could get out of the restaurant without taking out a second mortgage. The dish I’m raving about now is one that most critics praised last year. Chef Bryce Shuman sous vides then grills a giant fatty beef rib, so it has both a masterful tenderness and a smoky crisp exterior. As perfect as the meat was, it’s heightened by its accompaniments which includes the greatest smoked mashed potatoes I’ve ever tasted. I wish it was my birthday all year long. Price: $40

BETONY
41 West 57th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenue),
Midtown West
(212) 465-2400
betony-nyc.com

NUMBER 3: ESPECIAL ADOBADA at LOS TACOS NO. 1

Adobada at LOS TACOS NO. 1

Forget kale salads or fried chicken, this was the year of Mexican food. There’s even now a bona fide high-end Mexican restaurant (Cosme) in New York selling NY strip tacos for $35. It’s supposed to be excellent, but for now, I’m going to stick with cheap and unfussy Mexican food. And this year, I discovered the best Mexican that Manhattan has to offer. Los Tacos No. 1 is nestled inside Chelsea Market. And here they are not only preparing impeccable tacos, but they are also deep frying a quesadilla. It’s called their Especial and can be stuffed with any filling, but I urge you to try the adobada (marinated pork and pineapple). Once you try this, you’ll have no interest in saving up for an expensive Mexican meal. This is all you need. Price: $5 ($6 with filling)

LOS TACOS NO. 1
75 Ninth Avenue (between West 15th and West 16th Street),
Inside Chelsea Market,
Meatpacking District
(212) 256-0343
lostacosno1.com

NUMBER 2: MILLE CRÊPES at LADY M CAKE BOUTIQUE

Milles Crêpes at LADY M CAKE BOUTIQUE

A cake boutique sounds ultra-fancy and intimidating, but don’t let it scare you away. Because Lady M is making one of the most interesting and mind-blowingly delicious treats in the entire city. The cake/crêpe hybrid known as a Mille Crépes means “thousand layers,” but all you really need are twenty. Each delicate layer of eggy pastry is cemented together with whipped cream and composed into a light, but decadent dessert with a perfect caramelized crown. If this is a cake boutique, I want to try everything on. In my belly. Price: $7.50

LADY M CAKE BOUTIQUE
36 West 40th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenue),
Midtown West
(212) 452-2222
41 East 78th Street (between Madison and Park Avenue),
Upper East Side
(212) 452-2222
The Plaza Food Hall,
One West 59th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenue),
Midtown West
(212) 452-2222
ladym.com

NUMBER 1: BEEF RIB at HOMETOWN BAR-B-QUE

Beef Rib at HOMETOWN BAR-B-QUE

I’m such a barbecue snob. I often tweet out remarks about very popular barbecue joints in the city that just don’t live up to my standard. I can never say that about Hometown. This place makes the best I’ve tasted in New York. It’s worth the trek out in Red Hook to splurge on their gigantic beef rib. I’m normally a fan of pork ribs, but this mammoth features a blackened crust of peppercorns and spices protecting a neverending slab of buttery meat and sweet fat. It almost feels like a smoked meat marshmallow. And it’s my favorite dish of the year. Price: $25/pound

HOMETOWN BAR-B-QUE
454 Van Brunt Street (at Reed Street),
Red Hook, Brooklyn
(347) 294-4644
hometownbarbque.com

My search for the best falafel in New York continues….

RAINBOW FALAFEL, 26 East 17th Street (between Broadway and Fifth Avenue), Flatiron DistrictIf this was 1992, the year that Rainbow Falafel opened, I’d be jumping up and down because I just discovered a secret little, under-the-radar falafel joint housed in the back of a tiny little bodega. But it’s 2014 and Rainbow Falafel has certainly been discovered with lines out the door every lunch shift.

A Serious Menu For a Little Place

But it still feels like it could be a secret little spot. The tiny kiosk displays their drinks and coolers up front, has no seating, and the food counter with a set-back menu is against the wall. If you didn’t know it was here, you could easily miss it.

(more…)


Category: Falafel

For the fourth year in a row, I present the 100 most exciting dishes I’ve consumed during my food adventures around the five boroughs. Look for another five dishes every few days.

I purposefully don’t put out a list of the 10 best restaurants because it would be totally unfair for me to judge. Unlike a well-paid (and reimbursed) critic, I’m not able to go to all the major restaurant openings. And if I do find myself at one of the hot spots, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to order the entire menu or visit more than once to check for consistency. So instead I think I can fairly choose specific dishes that made my eyes open, my stomach growl, and my tastebuds very very happy. Here are the ten best dishes I tasted in 2013.

NUMBER 10: PIZZA at JULIANA’S

Pizza at JULIANA'S

Everybody has heard of Grimaldi’s. Every travel book tells you to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and then get in line for some classic NY pizza. But the travel books need to be re-written. This was the year that the original Patsy Grimaldi came back to the pizza world and opened up Juliana’s in the original Grimaldi’s location (the new owner of the namesake was forced to move up the block due to a dispute with the landlord). And the pizza at Juliana’s puts Grimaldi’s (and most other NY pizzerias) to shame. Here you can truly taste the trinity of flavors of coal-oven pizza: the sweet imported Italian tomatoes (not a sauce, mind you), the creamy homemade mozzarella, and that magical blistered dough. The name that everybody should be speaking from now on is Juliana. Price: $16/$19

JULIANA’S
19 Old Fulton Street (between Elizabeth Place and Front Street),
Dumbo, Brooklyn
(718) 596-6700
julianaspizza.com

(more…)


For the fourth year in a row, I present the 100 most exciting dishes I’ve consumed during my food adventures around the five boroughs. Look for another five dishes every few days.

Liquid diets in the nutrition world might be a positive thing when you’re blending kale, bananas, and the like. But a liquid diet of liquor, we can all agree is probably not a good idea.  Yet balance it with some nutritious food and ingest it in moderation, there’s nothing like a little good old fashioned booze. Especially when it’s artfully combined with other libations for a smooth, flavorful cocktail. Here are five intoxicating favorites of mine.

NUMBER 45: SWEET TOMATO at BRUSHSTROKE/ICHIMURA

Sweet Tomato at BRUSHSTROKE/ICHIMURA

I’ve never understood the appeal of Bloody Marys. Perhaps to nurse a bad hangover, but it always seemed like drinking spiked tomato sauce. Add some pasta and I’m on board. No carbs were needed in this surprising seasonal drink at David Bouley’s two-in-one restaurants Brushstroke and Ichimura. Much lighter and sweeter than a traditional Bloody Mary, this cocktail features muddled fresh tomatoes (with the seeds), rice vodka, lemon juice, and a salted rim. If all Bloody Marys had this lightness with a complex sweet/salty/umami finish, then I’d be its biggest advocate. Price: $15

BRUSHSTROKE/ICHIMURA
30 Hudson Street (at Duane Street),
Tribeca

(212) 791-3771
davidbouley.com/brushstroke-main

(more…)


I’ve devoured Time Out’s 100 Best dishes and now, once again, I’ve been inspired to create my own list. These are the 100 dishes I have continued to think about since tasting them at some point in 2011. Look for another five dishes every few days. These are in no particular order. 

NUMBER 100: THE WATER MILL at QUALITY GREENS

I started last year’s list with a grilled chicken salad and I’ve found an even better one this year.

Quality Greens opened this summer inside FoodParc, an eclectic food court owned by Jeffrey Chodorow. Their salad kiosk has lots of customizable options and also a list of salad creations to choose from, including The Water Mill.

The salad itself is quite simple, with mixed greens, avocado, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, and tender organic chicken. But it’s the quality of those ingredients along with the sweet and zingy apple cider vinaigrette dressing that make this salad stand out from all the other tiresome grilled chicken salads out there. Price: $9.75

QUALITY GREENS
839 Sixth Avenue (between West 29th and West 30th Street),
Inside Food Parc in the Eventii Hotel,
Flatiron District
(646) 600-7140
foodparc.com

NUMBER 99: MISO COLE SLAW at COCORON

When I think cole slaw, I think sweet, mayonnaise laden bowls on the table at Jewish delis. Cocoron may be in the Lower East Side, but that’s about all it has in common with Katz’s.

This excellent new soba joint offers a few extra appetizers and side dishes to accompany their noodles and this was by far my favorite. It’s just a few bites, but the vibrant red cabbage tossed with a smoky earthy miso vinaigrette and topped with sesame seeds and scallions, has loads of flavor, crunch, and creativity. Price: $2.50

COCORON
61 Delancey Street (between Eldridge and Allen Street),
Lower East Side
(212) 925-5220
cocoron-soba.com

NUMBER 98: ROASTED BEETS AND HOMEMADE BURRATA at BELL, BOOK, & CANDLE

It seems every new restaurant is required to have a roasted beet on the menu. At Bell, Book, and Candle, a new-ish haunt in the West Village, they take it up a notch.

I had no doubt the beets (which came in both beautiful deep red and cantaloupe orange hues) were going to be fresh since the restaurant has a hydroponic garden on their roof where they grow many of their vegetables and herbs.

But it was the addition of an earthy olive oil, a pistachio pesto, and dots of mint that brought the rich, sweet flavors to life. And it never hurts when you have a creamy, homemade burrata cheese to accompany it and keep it from becoming too wholesome. Turns out they’ve been serving the burrata now with blistered tomatoes instead of those delicious beets. Price: $12

BELL, BOOK, & CANDLE
141 West 10th Street (between Greenwich Avenue and Waverly Place),
West Village
(212) 414-2355
bbandcnyc.com

NUMBER 97: SUMMER BEAN SALAD at MÁ PÊCHE

We came to Má Pêche to experience their Beef Seven Ways meal, but we couldn’t leave without sampling some of the other dishes they had on offer.
My favorite was surprisingly this beautiful salad of green and wax beans firmly tossed with a beautiful soy vinaigrette, radishes, and dramatic sesame seeds. It had a wonderful fresh crunch with spicy, smoky, sweet notes. And I haven’t even mentioned my favorite ingredient yet: puffy little balls that turned out to be brilliant tofu croutons that melted in my mouth.
Unfortunately this is no longer available on their seasonally changing menu, but their new Broccoli Salad sounds great and perhaps this will return next summer.
MOMOFUKU MÁ PÊCHE
15 West 56th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenue)
Inside the Chambers Hotel
Midtown West
(212) 757-5878
momofuku.com/restaurants/ma-peche/

NUMBER 96: SMOKED CUCUMBERS at REDFARM

There seems to be a theme here, doesn’t there? I guess I really like Asian-influenced salads with sesame seeds. So sue me.

These were a play on pickles with rich sweet smoke flavors that gave way to a refreshing bit of heat from specks of red chilies that hid throughout the cucumbers. This was a great way to start the meal at this new upscale, market driven take on Chinese food.

And while the rest of the food was great here, I’d be just as happy to munch on these addictive and flavorful cucumbers all night long. How often do you hear that? Price: $6

REDFARM
529 Hudson Street (between 10th Street and Charles Street)
West Village
(212) 792-9700
redfarmnyc.com

Connect with me

Link to our Youtube Page
Link to our Facebook Page
Link to our Rss Page
Link to our Twitter Page

WATCH

LOCALS KNOW: BITES & SIGHTS FOOD TOUR in BUDAPEST AROUND THE WORLD IN ONE CITY: IRAN AROUND THE WORLD IN ONE CITY: PERU AROUND THE WORLD IN ONE CITY: GREECE
EMPIRE PLATES OF MINE A DAY IN THE LIFE
EAT THIS BOSTON: IN THE SOUP SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING BREWED


DREAM A LITTLE CREAM CHEESE


BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINATOWN


ICE CREAM


KOSHER MEAT MARKET


PIZZA DAY


Instagram Feed