Theatre and dining — commentary about shows, and some restaurants near theatre

How to Get Discount Theatre Tickets

Before I became a full-time New Yorker, I would purchase theatre tickets ahead paying full price or come into the city and roll the dice, hoping I could get what I wanted from the TKTS discount ticket booth. Most out-of-towners are also aware of that Times Square booth that sells same-day matinee and evening tickets. TKTS also has outposts at Lincoln Center, at South Street Seaport and in Downtown Brooklyn that sell same-day evening and next-day matinee ones. You can select your seats when you buy them. When I moved to Gotham, I learned of many other ways to get show tickets — both on and off Broadway — without paying full [...]

By | January 23rd, 2018|Big Apple Life, Other happenings, Theatre|0 Comments

A Baker’s Dozen Pre-Theatre Eats in West Village

Our third round up of restaurants near theatre, this time in the West Village near the Lucille Lortel, Cherry Lane and Barrow Street. This post offers a baker’s dozen sampling of West Village restaurant reviews from 33 Greenwich 33 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10014; 646-609-3615 A take on Southern foods; don't miss the fried or roasted chicken. AOC 314 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014;  212-675-9463 A French bistro with a garden open when the weather permits. Bar Bolonot 611 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014; 212-390-1545 One of chef/owner Einat Admony's Middle Eastern restaurant. Buvette 42 Grove St, New York, NY 10014; 212-255-3590 No reservations at this [...]

By | December 25th, 2017|NYC Best Bites, Theatre|1 Comment

The Warren, West Village, NYC + Enrico IV

We had an early dinner at The Warren before heading to Cherry Lane to see Enrico IV, one of the three new plays at Cherry Lane theatre, an hour monologue about (as the publicist wrote) "a man who is mad enough to think he’s a King (any similarities to Donald J. Trump are purely coincidental)." Dinner was much better than the play! We shared their perfectly cooked Asian-style steelhead salmon ($25) over tender sauteed soy-marinated eggplant with three sticky rice tots doused and decorated with sweet chili sauce. We also shared their signature burger, topped with Cabot cheddar and onion jam, served with wonderfully seasoned fries. I'd recommend stopping in at the [...]

By | December 23rd, 2017|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|1 Comment

Ivan Ramen, Lower East Side, NYC + (The Band’s Visit)

I headed downtown to a press event at Ivan Ramen after seeing The Band's Visit on Broadway — the musical about the Egyptian Police Band mistakenly ending up in a remote Israeli village with no bus until morning and no hotel nearby. In this based on a true story, the musicians are taken in by the locals. (Click here for review on Theater Pizzazz.) The event at Ivan Ramen was to celebrate the November Anime NYC’s Ramen Summit, a dedicated celebration of Japanese animation and culture. Ivan Orkin, a Long Island Jewish guy who's the man behind Ivan Ramen, sat with us and shared his story of living in Japan and opening [...]

By | December 17th, 2017|Rambling, Theatre|0 Comments

Bluebell Cafe, Gramercy, NYC + The Box

We went for a bite to eat at the Bluebell Cafe after seeing The Box Show — one woman (Dominique Salerno) hilariously performing over 25 characters from inside a small  3' x 3'x 2' box — at the People's Improv Theatre on 24th Street. We found Bluebell Cafe, a warm friendly restaurant that's so accommodating. We were four and each wanted to share, as women often do. They were so eager to please, giving each of us a half an order of their creamy cauliflower soup  ($10 a bowl) from the special of the day. If offered,  I'd recommend that! For entrees, we tried the salmon ($23), cooked medium-rare as requested, with [...]

By | December 13th, 2017|Rambling, Theatre|0 Comments

A Baker’s Dozen Pre-Theatre Eats: Near The Public

Our second post answering the question “Where should I eat?” when heading to theatre offers places not too far — by New York City standards — from The Public at 425 Lafayette Street. Acme  9 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012; 212-203-2121 Good food in a noisy environment. Atla  372 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012;  646-837-6464 A modern neighborhood Mexican restaurant from chef Enrique Olvera (Cosme). Bleecker Kitchen & Co. 643 Broadway, New York, NY 10012; 1 212-253-7467 A neighborhood American restaurant with good simple food.   Cafe Standard 25 Cooper Sq, New York, NY 10003; 1 212-475-5700 The cafe at the Standard Hotel when [...]

By | December 7th, 2017|Theatre|0 Comments

The Portuguese Kid: Theater Pizzazz

It’s a battle of the sexes in John Patrick Shanley’s (Pulitzer Prize Doubt/Oscar Moonstruck) latest comedy about love, which he also directed at Manhattan Theater Club. The comedy is based somewhere on the Greek story of the Princess Atalanta who promises she’ll marry anyone who can outrun her, but no one can until goddess Aphrodite plays a trick on her. What makes it most intriguing is the line up of star power on that small stage. It’s silly, wacky but you gotta laugh even if you don’t want to! This is really far reaching for the likes of Shanley. The play takes place in Providence, R.I. as the spicy, larger than life [...]

By | November 22nd, 2017|Theatre|0 Comments

Junk: Theater Pizzazz

“This is a story of kings, or what passes for kings these days…” So goes the opening line of Junk, Ayad Akhtar’s riveting morality tale of money and greed and American values in the 1980s. And who might these royals be, you ask? Why, none other than kings of finance, of course. It’s a troubling sign to see so many of these questionable kings on stage and screen today (not to mention in the White House).  Madoff and his family have shown up in a number of recent plays and films (Richard Dreyfuss and Robert De Niro both have played him).   You’ll find Rupert Murdoch (played by Bertie Carvel) today on the [...]

By | November 14th, 2017|Theatre|0 Comments

The Leopard at des Artistes, Upper West Side, NYC + Time and The Conways

After seeing J. B. Priestley's Time and the Conways, with Elizabeth McGovern about a well-to-do family and their fluctuating fortunes that offers food for thought (Click here for a review on Theater Pizzazz.), we headed to The Leopard at des Artistes on the Upper West Side. As their guests, we sampled lots of wonderfully prepared and expertly served food, sharing each dish. Their amuse was an arancini, a fried rice ball filled with mozzarella, veal and peas. We asked that our skilled server paired wines with our food. With our appetizers — the antipasti — we sipped the Pinot Bianco "Plotzner" 2015, St. Pauls ($13). We began with an artichoke salad [...]

By | November 11th, 2017|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Jesus Hoped the A Train: Theater Pizzazz

Stephen Adly Guirgis, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright in 2000 – Between Riverside and Crazy, writes with guts and blood and not for the faint of heart. If you saw that or The Motherf…ker with the Hat, you know just what I mean. If you’re a little uncertain about hearing the on-going profanity of the imprisoned at Rikers Island, you might reconsider as well. The play is awash with minor and major monologues like pop ups that arise in empty spaces with it’s own humor and one-liners and a symphony of themes that encompass social justice, imprisonment, religious belief as the inmates and the guards battle their own ... From Theater [...]

By | November 9th, 2017|Theatre|0 Comments

M. Butterfly: Theater Pizzazz

Almost thirty years since it first fluttered onto the stage, M. Butterfly is back on Broadway, in a stunning production directed by Julie Taymor. Playwright David Henry Hwang has made some minor revisions, but the play still packs the dramatic wallop it did in 1988, when it won the Tony Award for Best Play. Loosely based on a true story, Butterfly spans twenty-odd years as French diplomat Rene Gallimard (Clive Owen) looks back from his Parisian prison cell in 1986 to the time he was stationed in China. His memories are dominated by his affair with Peking Opera star Song Liling (Jin Ha), also known ... From Theater Pizzazz review by Michael Bracken. Click [...]

By | November 6th, 2017|Theatre|0 Comments

Torch Song: Theater Pizzazz

Who’da thunk it? A relic from a time when AIDS meant HELPS and nostalgic even then, Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy in revival would surely reek of reminiscence and easy sentiment. How could it not? Yet Moisés Kaufman’s breezy production of Torch Song – the three plays have been slimmed down to one – at Second Stage Tony Kiser Theater, plays as if it were written yesterday (all right, the day before yesterday). It pulses with the vitality of Fierstein’s script and a virtuoso performance by Michael Urie as Arnold, bolstered by the rest of the excellent cast, especially Mercedes Ruehl in a brief but unforgettable ... From Theater Pizzazz [...]

By | November 2nd, 2017|Theatre|0 Comments

Introducing Sandi Durell’s Theater Pizzazz

About two years ago when my theatre buddy Tom met Sandi Durell at a holiday party, he decided to introduce us as he had a feeling we'd become friends. He was right. Sandi Durell is Publisher/Editor of the fabulous — an entertainment website covering theater and cabaret, with a staff of over 15 contributing writers.  Her site offers interviews, openings and reviews of both on and off broadway shows and music.  Sandi's been writing, reviewing, producing, with a voice in theater, cabaret and entertainment for over 25+ years. We decided to sort of cross-pollinate — me sharing her contributors' theatre reviews here on Bite of the Best, she sharing my [...]

By | October 31st, 2017|Big Apple Life, Theatre|0 Comments

Bombay Sandwich Co., Hell’s Kitchen, NYC (“F**king A”)

On my way to Signature Theatre to see one of Suzan-Lori Parks' play "F**king A," that is her sort of take on The Scarlet Letter, I stopped in at a press tasting at the 35th Street location of Bombay Sandwich Co. The play is about a local abortionist (Christine Lahti), branded with an "A", trying to buy her jailed son’s freedom. (Click here for review on Theater Pizzazz ) I learned that Bombay Sandwich Co. started as a booth at NYC's Smorgasburg where the success of its kale & sweet potato wrap ($8.27) led to the opening of the Manhattan stores. The first one opened in 2014 at 48 East 27th [...]

By | October 20th, 2017|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|1 Comment

A Baker’s Dozen Cheap Pre-Theatre Eats: Theatre District

"Where should I eat?" I'm always asked, especially when friends are heading to theatre. To help respond to that query,  I've decided to create a few posts listing suggested places to grab a bite, divided by cost and time. This first post contains a baker's dozen offerings where you can get a quick meal — of course, depending on what you order — for about $25 (not including tax, tip and drinks!) located not far from the theatre district.   Bareburger 366 W 46th St, (212) 673-2273. For a quick burger and fries. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., 1501 Broadway (at 43rd) (212) 391-7100 A down-home atmosphere reminiscent of the “Forrest [...]

By | September 9th, 2017|Rambling, Theatre|2 Comments

Treehaus, Hell’s Kitchen (The Whirligig), NYC

The menu at Signature Cafe inside The Pershing Square Signature Center where we were seeing Hamish Linklater’s new play “The Whirligig,” was more limited than it had been when I reviewed it. We ended up next door at Treehaus for a pre-theatre bite. (Click here for review on Theater Pizzazz) Their menu was also limited but offered much more than a salad, sandwich or soup. We started with a glass of their happy hour ($5) rose  (Hecht and Bannier) and their fried clam strips with their housemade "haus" tartar sauce ($9); we never received the menu offered cole slaw and the strips were a bit overcooked. The scallops with roasted [...]

By | July 21st, 2017|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|1 Comment

Sammy’s House of BBQ, Theatre District (Anastasia), NYC

The best things about Sammy's House of BBQ are the extra-friendly staff and its location in the heart of the theatre district — almost right across from the Broadhurst Theatre where I was seeing "Anastasia," the delightful fairy-tale of a musical about the Czar Nicholas's youngest daughter with amnesia. I decided to order Sammy's slider trio, wanting a little something before the show. That app consisted of three buns each chockfull of a BBQ'd meat  — one with Texas brisket, another with Carolina pulled pork and the third filled with Alabama smoked chicken ($12.95). A hearty snack for sure! My friend arrived... having just finished his dinner and said he [...]

By | July 9th, 2017|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

High Street on the Hudson, West Village, NYC + The End of Longing

We stopped into the cozy High Street on the Hudson restaurant before heading to the Lucille Lortel to see The End of Longing, the dark comedy about substance abuse starring and written by Matthew Perry. I'm not sure why F&W 2014 Best New Chef 2014 Eli Kulp would use so many menu terms in need of explanation to most consumers other than to have them dialogue with the servers.  (For example: volkornbrot, shishito, chermoula, verano, espelette...)  When a customer asks a question, I heard the servers commence into their script. "Is this your first time here?" Following the third time I heard those words at nearby tables, I could recite [...]

By | July 7th, 2017|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

TBar Restaurant, Upper East Side, NYC + Dolls House 2

TBar offers sidewalk dining under their bright orange awnings, weather permitting. Although it was a balmy night, we opted for an inside table after seeing Dolls House 2, an unexpected 90 minutes of laughter or giggles even with the serious subject. That phenomenal cast includes Laurie Metcalf, Chris Cooper, Jayne Houdyshell and Condola Rashad. From the cocktail menu, the Tanteo margarita ($14) with tequila, triple sec, lime juice and jalapeno pepper is the one with a little spice kick. We started by sharing a lightly dressed Caesar salad with slivers of Parmesan and with crisped melted cheese on their housemade crouton ($14). If you're a reader of my reviews, you [...]

By | July 3rd, 2017|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Room Service, Theatre District (Little Foxes), NYC

Before heading to the Samuel J Friedman Theatre for the second time seeing Lillian Hellman's Little Foxes with the powerful performances of Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon switching rolls, we headed to Ninth Avenue to get a bite. My friend had just been to and raved about the Thai restaurant Room Service. We started with the four crispy corn spring rolls stuffed with noodles and veggies ($6), followed by the eponymous mild-flavored Pad Thai ($16.90) with sauteed glass vermicelli mixed with shrimp, mussels, squid and scallops wrapped in an egg-white pancake. Great for those who don't like spicy food. My friend finished with a bowl with two scoops of coconut [...]

By | July 1st, 2017|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments