Bonnie from BiteoftheBest.com

/Bonnie Tandy Leblang

About Bonnie Tandy Leblang

Blogger Bonnie Tandy Leblang has been covering food since before it was hip to do so! She’s penned magazine, newspaper and syndicated food columns in addition to cookbooks. Follow her on twitter @BonnieBOTB and on Instagram@BiteoftheBest and at @BonnieBOTB "I eat for a living!” is her mantra, sharing what she’s sampled so you’ll know where (or where not) to go, plus what food products and gadgets to try. For her full bio go to the about us page.

Island Oyster, Governors Island, NYC

I took some out-of-towners on the ferry ride to Governors Island for lunch at Island Oyster, an only-summer destination. It's the seasonal restaurant under the tutelage of Kerry Heffernan, also the chef at Grand Banks, another seasonal restaurant, this one on a schooner moored at Pier 25 in the Hudson River. We sipped the rosè on tap — this time an Everwild from Venice 2016 ($48/bottle) — while taking in the amazing view of Manhattan. One wanted to try oysters but felt they were a tad overpriced. Our friendly waiter suggested she just try one, saying the set-up was the same for one or multiple. She ordered — and savored — [...]

By |2018-07-26T16:28:49+00:00August 18th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Bella Blu, Upper East Side, NYC

Coming from a fabulously informative visit to the Public Art special exhibit open through September 23 at the Museum of the City of New York by one of its curators, we started looking for a place to get something to eat. If you can get a tour of "Art in the Open: Fifty Years of Public Art in New York" do so. It was one of those beautiful nights, where sitting outside would be preferable, so we kept walking south to try to garner an outside table. By the time we walked from 103 to the 70s, we became more hungry and less fussy about our table and ended up [...]

By |2018-07-19T13:54:39+00:00August 16th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Cornelia Street Cafe, West Village, NYC + Girls and Boys

Stopped in for a quick lunch at the Cornelia Street Cafe on our way to see Carey Mulligan in the gut-wrenching, one-woman show Girls and Boys from the Tony Award-winning writer Dennis Kelly at the Minetta Lane Theater a couple blocks away. The run of that fabulous show will have ended by the time you read this.  It's a cozy restaurant with very friendly service that I recommend. I tried their simply done huevos rancheros ($12) with two poached eggs atop grilled tortillas with whole black beans, Cheddar cheese and fresh salsa topped with crème fraîche. My friend tried the quiche of the day ($14) served with a lightly dressed mesclun [...]

By |2018-07-13T09:38:18+00:00August 14th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Casa Apicii, Greenwich Village, NYC

Continuing on my long birthday celebration, I met two friends at Casa Apicii a 19th-century townhouse for a regional Italian dinner recently. Although there's a dimly lit secret bar upstairs, we began at the street-level marble bar sampling yummy drinks from bartender Yury, from Belarus. One friend tried Villa D'Este, one of their refreshing summer spritzes ($17) made with Gin Lane, Aperol, rhubarb (yes, rhubarb!) and prosecco. Spice lover that I am, I sipped the Viva Vida made with Tequila Ocho, mezcal plus jalapeño-infused green chartreuse ($16) in a salt-rimmed glass. We headed upstairs, as I had requested one of the two tables overlooking the dining room for a spectacular semi-private setting. First, [...]

By |2018-07-13T09:37:55+00:00August 12th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Saar Indian Bistro, Midtown, NYC

Members of Les Dames d'Escoffier New York celebrated Legacy Award winner, Chef Helen Vass, at a dinner earlier this summer at Dame Surbhi Sahni's Saar Indian Bistro. The Legacy Awards hone the winners' crafts, stimulate their creativity and encourage these future leaders. The winners earn a mentorship opportunity with key members of LDEI, an organization of women leaders in food, fine beverage and hospitality. We began the celebration sipping the refreshing Gramercy Cellars Rose "Olsen Vineyard," Washington State, 2016. I contactedDame Surbi Sahni to get the details of what we ate that evening, as we never saw a menu for our multi-course meal. Her special menu started with shakarkandi chaat [...]

By |2018-07-08T14:18:59+00:00August 10th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

The Dining Room at The Met, Upper East Side, NYC

The Dining Room at The Met is a perfect respite after a visiting one of their special exhibitions.  This time, I was seeing the now-closed Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence that featured some 150 works by more than 70 artists, spanning the late eighteenth through early twentieth century. We headed to the fourth floor via the elevator in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts galleries to the spectacular dining room. Members can request special seating by the window with views of Central Park. We did so. The 3-course prix fixe ($55) brunch menu included a cocktail. I had a spicy bloody Mary, my friends mimosas. The layered Atlantic blue crab salad had a [...]

By |2018-07-08T14:18:28+00:00August 8th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Orsay, Upper East Side, NYC

After going to a book launch lecture at Librairie Albertine, we looked for a place to get something to eat al fresco at it was a perfect summer eve. We asked the man on the street who we had seen earlier chatting with neighbors before the event, Orsay, he said, which sparked my friend's mind. She lived in the UES years ago. Perfect outdoor seating on a balmy summer night. My friend ordered the frisée salad ($17) redolent with huge bacon chunks all topped with a poached egg; I chose the perfect salad foil the Sauternes-marinated pate ($26) with quince chutney and brioche toast. I continue on the Bordeaux that I started at [...]

By |2018-07-08T14:17:48+00:00August 6th, 2018|General Food Info|0 Comments

Raoul’s, Soho, NYC

How'd I miss Raoul's?  Dan Aykroyd, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Johnny Depp and Kate Moss didn't at least according to their press. This small dark, wonderfully bedecked French bistro in SoHo opened in 1975 and is still going strong. My friend loved her big-eye tuna "Saisi" with sliced avocado and orange supremes, in a yuzu chili sauce ($19). I had the evening's special of creamy burrata with arugula and tomatoes. Both of our main events were the in-season crispy Maryland soft shell crab over a tomato rémoulade. So good. My favorite dessert presentation was the candle-lit chocolate-drizzled profiteroles under the caramelized sugar dome, lifted so I could make a wish.  I'd [...]

By |2018-07-08T14:17:41+00:00August 4th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|2 Comments

River Cafe, Dumbo, Brooklyn

It was my first time at the iconic, recently renovated River Cafe in the Dumbo area of Brooklyn, a lush oasis with magnificent views of Manhattan and some of its bridges. I was duly impressed with the amazing food and service making it an extra special place to celebrate a special occasion. Three of my friends took me there for my big birthday celebration this year. Two friends started with a glass of bubbly, the other and I shared a bottle of a yummy St Aubin white burgundy. The Prix Fixe 3-course menu ($138) included wonderful options, making our choice difficult, yet the informed waiters assisted by providing detailed descriptions. The kitchen sent [...]

By |2018-07-08T11:35:11+00:00August 1st, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Norma Gastronomia Siciliana, Kips Bay, NYC

I'd been to Norma Gastronomia Siciliana a couple times after a Kips Bay movie as its a block away. Foodie friends who live nearby raved. Norma's is a small restaurant taking no reservations serving good, authentic Sicilian food. Having recently returned from Sicily with regards from my Mei-May cooking school teacher Pepe Giuffrè, who had studied under the owner,  I decided to stop by again after a movie. What's more appropriate food than Sicilian food after seeing Gotti with John Travolta? I saw by accident after my friend accidentally selected first, not last, row seating. We switched to the movie next door that was just starting. At Norma's do order one of their thick crust [...]

By |2018-07-08T14:16:45+00:00July 30th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Papillon Bistro & Bar, Midtown, NYC

The noise level at Papillon Bistro & Bar was a tad too much for us, as we wanted to catch up. Think after-work pub filled with happy people. We opted for one of the streetside tables near the open windows where we cooled off a bit with the cold AC-air that floated out. I began with their well-blended house-smoked old fashion made using Four Roses and cedar smoke that I'd recommend. My dining companion (Sandi Durell, Publisher/Editor of our theatre partner TheaterPizzazz.com).  tried their variation of a Moscow mule mad with Ravo vodka, pomegranate liqueur and ginger beer served classically in a copper mug. As their guests that evening, we first requested the grilled skewered [...]

By |2018-07-29T09:47:46+00:00July 28th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

La Mirabelle, Upper West Side, NYC

If you've been following my posts, you know that I'm a birthday glutton, heading out to celebrate my own personal new year with each of my friends no matter how many months that takes. This was a big one, so I'm still celebrating. I returned to La Mirabelle, a restaurant that I had raved about with one of them to continue the celebration.  We started with tender chicken livers with shallots and raspberry vinegar ($12.50) and a gooey crock of bubbling hot scallops in cream sauce with cheese, not very attractive to be photographed, but really yummy and recommendable. For our entree, we shared that herb-crusted, perfectly cooked rack of lamb [...]

By |2018-07-26T09:48:57+00:00July 26th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Ophelia Lounge, Beekman, NYC

The newly renovated rooftop lounge at the Beekman Tower is now open sporting breathtaking East River views along with high-end cocktails and nibbles.  The lounge, originally built in the 1920's, includes dark velvet banquettes backed by big windows for city viewing. We stopped by for a drink after partaking in an hour tour of Carnegie Hall ($17 for adults; $12 seniors) with a friendly and knowledgeable tour guide, who shared more than 125 years of Carnegie Hall history. The excursion to see the impressive concert hall is worth the time. I tried their Ophelia’s ascension ($16) made with smoked Jamaican pepper infused Del Maguey Vida mezcal, Makers Mark, sweetener and bitters attractively served [...]

By |2018-07-24T10:55:38+00:00July 24th, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

The Orsay, Upper East Side, NYC

After attending the launch of The Bordeaux Kitchen Book by Tania Teschke at the Librairie Albertine on the Upper East Side, we ended up at The Orsay, a French bistro, for something to eat as they offered al fresco dining on this perfect summer evening. We shared a frisée salad ($17) with croutons, a poached egg and tons of bacon lardons, an order of French fries and the house duck foie gras with quince chutney and toasted brioche slices ($26). Although I usually have a glass of Sauternes with foie gras, I instead ordered a glass of Bordeaux to continue what we had been drinking at the event. Worth stopping [...]

By |2018-07-24T10:53:30+00:00July 22nd, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

The Saint Austere, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC

The Saint Austere in East Williamsburg is a family-owned restaurant that if you live in that hood could become your neighborhood hang-out. The wood-lined narrow restaurant feels homey, with shared long high tables. Four siblings — Fabrizio, John, Jacqueline, and Michael— own and operate the restaurant. Brother Michael — a James Beard Award semifinalist and owner of Miami’s celebrated Macchialina — recently was appointed Executive Chef of the Italian restaurant. I was invited to sample their fare. I began with their nicely blended Pina Margarita ($13), made with charred pineapple, Del Amico mezcal, orange liqueur, agave and lime. From that point on, we were in their hands for their tasting [...]

By |2018-07-24T10:56:26+00:00July 20th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

The Leopard at des Artistes, Upper West Side, NYC

I've happily been called a birthday glutton, celebrating big birthdays until I've had a chance to do so with all my friends. One of my celebrations was at The Leopard at des Artistes's Sunday jazz brunch. An elegant setting with live music, where we could still have a conversation. We started by sharing the day's special of creamy burrata with thinly sliced prosciutto. I enjoyed their “Uova all’arrabbiata,” ($18) poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce, delicious flavor. I would have preferred my eggs runny, instead of cooked through. Another had the eggs Benedict with Hollandaise sauce served with prosciutto and herb-roasted potatoes; one the Wagyu beef burger topped with [...]

By |2018-06-18T10:44:09+00:00July 18th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

West Bank Cafe, Hell’s Kitchen, NYC + Travesties

We decided to meet at the West Bank Cafe, as it's a good place for a decent meal when heading to the theatre, especially those on 42nd Street. We were off to see Tom Stoppard's Travesties, an unusual comedy about James Joyce, Vladimir Lenin and Tristan Tzara, a founder of Dadaism. For a complete theatre review on Theater Pizzazz, click here. My friend had their roast chicken, with green beans and carrots ($24) and asked to share a vegetarian entree of spaghetti squash topped with tomato sauce and vegetable ragu ($20).  The latter was as bland as you'd imagine, even topped with lots of fresh Parmigiana Reggiano. To me, no [...]

By |2018-06-17T11:51:45+00:00July 16th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Pearl Oyster Bar, West Village, NYC

Mention Rebecca Charles’ delectable lobster roll with shoestring fries at Pearl Oyster Bar in West Village and my mouth begins to salivate. If you haven't been, I suggest a visit to the small place on Cornelia Street. I joined some friends there recently and we shared a plate of her crispy salt-crusted shrimp ($14 for 3) and some moist tender fried oysters ($17 for 6), followed by the main event of her lobster roll filled with steamed, and chopped lobster with mayo. I prefer it chilled like that to the lobster swimming in warm butter as served in Connecticut. The roll comes with shoestring fries with its cost varying based on [...]

By |2018-06-22T07:18:25+00:00July 14th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

West Street Grill, Litchfield, CT

After wandering around the stores of Litchfield, we started looking for a place to get a bite. With my friend on a very restricted diet, we stopped in a couple of places prior to ending up at West Street Grill owned by James O'Shea, one of the most caring restaurateurs I've met. The allergy restrictions included no dairy, bread, pasta, pickled items, beans, corn, soy sauce, dried fruit and more. James — who has family members with various dietary restrictions — listened attentively before having his chef make an omelet filled with such flavorful ingredients my friend begged for the recipe!  A simple mesclun salad came with her eggs.  The black [...]

Toloache, Theatre District, NYC

I returned to Toloache, this time with my friend who always raved about it. We shared a bowl of their traditional guacamole ($14) with warm tortilla chips and each ordered an Oro Blanco ($16) made with Herradura Reposado tequila, Cointreau and fresh lime juice while I began looking over the menu. "Why mess with perfection?" my friend asked, as she and her hubby ordered her standard Toloache choices, including the huitlacoche ($17) and the short rib ($15) quesadilla. So apps it was -- with four of us sharing everything ordered. My favorite included their favs: Loved the huitlacoche quesadilla with Manchego cheese, corn and black truffle and that beef short rib [...]

By |2018-07-17T08:03:32+00:00July 10th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments