NYC Best Bites

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Our Best Bites from New York

Turkuaz Restaurant, Hell’s Kitchen, NYC + Tina, The Musical

(Written before COVID-19 quarantine) With a 7 pm curtain for Tina, my friend and I grabbed an early bite at Hell's Kitchen's Turkuaz, which has recently relocated to northern Hell's Kitchen convenient for theatre. I had been invited by the owner, who I had met at a Broadway Association function a couple of years ago. We sat down, looked at the menu but didn't order. The owners had selected various combo plates for us to sample. We started with the cold appetizer platter ($38) with hummus, cacik (blend of yogurt labneh and cucumbers seasoned with mint and dill), eggplant salad (chopped grilled eggplant and roasted peppers), baba ghanoush (chopped grilled eggplant [...]

By |2020-04-03T12:17:57-04:00April 5th, 2020|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Aux Epices Restaurant, Tribeca, NYC + The Sickness

After being invited as media to The Sickness, I made a reservation at Aux Epices Restaurant as it was only a couple of blocks from where we were seeing the show. It's a narrow inviting restaurant with friendly service serving beer and wine. Cash only. Aux Epices means cooking with spice in French. The restaurant adheres to its namesake. The small order of BBQ spare ribs ( $8) contained three ribs well-coated in cumin-forward seasoning with the meat falling off the bone. The grilled (5) jumbo prawns come in a turmeric-ginger sauce served with a tall inverted cone of white rice ($20). I would have ordered differently had we realized [...]

Lunch at TBar Steak & Lounge, Upper East Side, NYC

I met a relative at TBar Steak & Lounge for lunch, as it's his favorite place to dine in his hood. I chose my meal from the bargain Restaurant-week menu ($26 for two courses), he ordered one of his favorites, the soba noodle salad ($23.00) with chicken in a miso vinaigrette. My lunch started with a retro iceberg salad. The thick slice of iceberg lettuce came topped with crisp bacon pieces, chunks of blue cheese and fresh tomatoes. I'd recommend. By the time my grilled Irish salmon (a tad overcooked) over shredded zucchini in a honey mustard dressing was served, I was already full. I took a doggy bag home, [...]

A Return to Morso, Upper East Side, NYC

After eight years, I returned to Morso, Tuscan pioneer Pino Luongo's Mediterranean restaurant under the 59th Street Bridge, as their guest.  "Morso" is Italian for small bites, with most dishes offered either "Tutto" (regular sized) or "Morso" (a smaller bite, generally two -thirds the size of Tutto). What a fabulous option! Since we were sampling lots, we ordered all Morso portions with the kitchen dividing those for us. Prices in this post indicate both sizes when available. Our first taste was of their polpo alla griglia,  some of the most tender grilled octopus I've ever had (Yes, that good!) with arugula and roasted tomatoes ($22/30). Don't miss. Our salads were [...]

By |2020-02-07T11:01:49-05:00February 27th, 2020|NYC Best Bites, NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Musical Brunch at Coco Pazzo, SoHo, NYC

There's nothing like a Sunday brunch with live music and good food. That's what my friend and I experienced recently at  Soho's Coco Pazzo as their guests. We so enjoyed the musician at the keyboard who played just loud enough to be enjoyable without drowning out our conversation. I started with their Dante, The Poet made with El Buho Mezcal, Campari, Solerno blood orange liqueur with Italian vermouth ($16) that packed a powerful bunch, while my guest enjoyed a Cranberry Squeeze Mocktail ($7) with juice, lemon soda and mint. We started with two salads, both of which I'd recommend. The blend of roasted ceci (chickpeas) and quinoa with over-dried cherry [...]

By |2020-03-01T11:40:14-05:00February 25th, 2020|NYC Best Bites, Theatre|0 Comments

In Times Square: Patricks Restaurant & Oyster Bar, NYC + A Soldier’s Play

What a find. Little did I know when I walked into Patricks Restaurant & Oyster Bar (in the space where Chevy’s Tex Mex was about a year ago) that I would have a memorable meal. This restaurant is from the Wetanson family, also owners of Dallas BBQ and Tony DiNapoli’s. Patricks is basically a pub on 42 street in Times Square just down the street from the American Airlines Theatre where we saw the hunky Blair Underwood in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play A Soldier's Play.  He walked to the center of the stage, breaking the fourth wall, to talk to the audience with his shirt wide open showing his six-pack as [...]

By |2020-02-23T10:44:33-05:00February 23rd, 2020|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Cuban Food and Music at Guantanamera After Theatre

I had read that I'd find some of the city’s best Cuban food at Guantanamera in the Theatre District served with live music at night. That seemed like a perfect place to meet some friends after their theatre matinee.  We arrived in time for their happy hour that offers $6 mojitos, caipirinhas and wines until 7 pm, but a bit too early for the live music that doesn't start until 9 pm. We sat at the bar drinking to get the discount pricing until our other friend arrived, then moved to a table and ordered the sauteéd Chorizo sausage with crisp plantain chips ($14) and the garlicky shrimp in a [...]

By |2020-02-16T16:15:09-05:00February 15th, 2020|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Italian Feast at Bottino, Chelsea, NYC

When I read the bio of Chef/Partner Jamie Kenyon that the publicist sent me, I couldn't wait to dine at Bottino as their guest. I had learned that Chef Kenyon hails from Daniel, Bar Boulud, Manzo at Eataly, Perla, Lupa and La Sirina to name a few dining establishments where he left his mark. The night we arrived, sous chef Annabel Sharahy was at the helm of the kitchen. She stopped by the table to share the details of their newest menu. I began with a delicious cocktail, their spicy margarita made with jalapeño infused Patron tequila, Triple Sec and blood orange and lime juice ($15). Nice balance of flavors [...]

By |2020-01-04T10:01:31-05:00January 28th, 2020|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

A New Location For Pastis, Meat Packing, NYC

Pastis re-opened in the meat-packing district on Gansevoort Street a 2-minute walk from the Whitney Museum still serving traditional French fare. Other than the new location facing north instead of west, the new location feels just like the old. I stopped in one day recently with some Connecticut friends on a rainy day and ate outside under the heat lamps, which I highly recommend. Inside was way too noisy and overheated. I began with their slightly bitter and refreshingly "mon amer" cocktail ($16), replacing the gin with vodka and the splash of grapefruit with orange juice. It also contained Aperol, herbal bitter and come champagne. I'd recommend. Service was attentive. [...]

By |2019-12-15T07:10:35-05:00January 26th, 2020|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Bombay Eating at Gupshup, Flatiron-Grammercy, NYC + The Good Liar

I'd been reading about GupSup for months. I finally got there recently after seeing Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen in "The Good Liar," a fun movie with twists. We were seated upstairs, which was spacious and quiet enough to carry on a conversation without straining. Our meal with the house chutney & pickles ($10 for four). I suggest the ones that we chose — the gooseberry cilantro, heirloom tomato and fennel, smoked minced pineapple and ghost chili and garlic. A must with a choice of warm naan. We chose the garlic whole-grain variety ($8). Never having seen guacamole on and Indian restaurant, we had to try it. The avocado mixture [...]

By |2019-12-01T11:08:22-05:00January 6th, 2020|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Prix Fixe at Kings’ Carriage House, Upper East Side, NYC

My friend Lydia suggested the reasonably priced meal at the Carriage House on the Upper East Side. As I was heading to a doc appointment in the hood, I decided to stop by for lunch. Their prix fixe lunch menu of either the soup of the day or a baby green salad plus one of their entrees cost only $20.95. (Their website still says $18.95 for lunch.) How could I resist? There is an upcharge of $4 for some items including pan-seared salmon and grilled duck breast. Although in the mood for soup on the dreary day when I stopped by, I skipped the cream of cauliflower soup. Preferring to [...]

By |2020-01-04T10:05:46-05:00January 4th, 2020|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Farmer & The Fish, Gramercy-Flatirion, NYC + A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I admit I had a couple of tears drip down my face watching Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers in "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood." I recommend this feel-good movie. After the movie, we celebrated my friend's birthday at Farmer & The Fish, a spacious Park-Avenue restaurant close to the movie theatre. For starters, we shared the odd grilled Japanese eggplant. Odd in that it was served chilled and with too much of the syrupy date sweetness drizzled over the thick slices of eggplant with candied cashews (Those were yummy!) and golden raisins made refreshing with mint ($14). My friend ordered the big eye tuna, cooked appropriately, quite rare with [...]

By |2019-11-27T13:27:45-05:00December 31st, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Shun Lee Cafe + Paul Taylor Celebrate the Dancemaker

The best thing about Shun Lee Cafe is its proximity to Lincoln Center where we had seen the amazing Paul Taylor dancers in "Celebrate the Dancemaker." We sat in the black and white checkerboard restaurant noticing the silver Chinese calendar images hanging from the ceiling. I looked forward to selecting my dim sum from the rolling cart that passed through the dining room. Since we arrived at about 9 pm after the performance, we had to order ours using a check-off paper menu instead ($9 each). The best were both the steamed shumai (3) and dumplings (4), both with wrappers chockful of shrimp. The two small spring rolls were crisp, [...]

By |2019-11-26T10:22:43-05:00December 19th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

AnTalia, a Mediterranean Turkish Restaurant, Theatre District + Underlying Chris.

AnTalia is a Mediterranean Turkish restaurant in the theatre district that was listed in the Second Stage Theatre subscriber handbook as a place offering a complimentary glass of wine with an entree. We stopped by before seeing "Underlying Chris," a world premiere play from Pulitzer Prize finalist Will Eno. The play is described as "a life-affirming and high-spirited look at how a person comes into their identity, and how sometimes its life’s tiniest moments that most profoundly change our lives." For a complete review of the show, click here. AnTalia offers a prix fixe $31.95 three-course dinner menu. Not wanting that much food, we each ordered the lamb shish kebab [...]

By |2019-11-09T11:27:33-05:00December 15th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Trying The New Chef Gotham Bar and Grill, Greenwich Village, NYC

Victoria Blamey is the new executive chef at Gotham Bar and Grill, replacing Alfred Portale, whose name had been synonymous with the restaurant for 34 years. (Portale's eponymous restaurant opened on 18th Street in November.) She had been at Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, Upland and most recently, Chumley's. I had to try the new chef's menu, as I loved the restaurant under Portale's helm and went for many special occasions. Would it be as good as it was? We started by sharing the overpriced ($27) ribbons of red beets and stracciatella cheese topped with a smidgen of preserved tomato and pickled celery. The seeded, chewy-crusted bread we asked for [...]

By |2019-11-19T11:13:21-05:00December 1st, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

2-Star Indian Food Chola, Midtown, NYC + The Great Society + Rose Tattoo

It was one of our theatre-marathon days. My theatre-going friend and I started in the afternoon at Lincoln Center seeing The Great Society, part two of Robert Schenkkan’s historic account of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s reign, (For a full review, click here.) had dinner at Chola (as their guests) and went then off to the American Air Lines theatre to see Marisa Tomei in the Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams’ The Rose Tattoo. (For a full review, click here.) Our meal at Chola was extra special as I went with a friend who, having owned many Indian restaurants, helped in selecting what we'd eat along with the helpful manager. While scanning the [...]

By |2019-11-04T22:14:53-05:00November 29th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Greek Seafood at Amylos Taverna, Astoria, Queens, NYC

Take a trip to Astoria for fresh seafood at Amylos Taverna, a traditional Greek restaurant owned and operated by the Arvanitis family. It is worth it. Jump the N or W train to "Broadway" and then walk the 3 to 4 blocks to the restaurant. I did recently as their guest, beginning with a Sophist cocktail, their version of an Old Fashion made with Bulleit Bourbon, Amarena cherry, walnut bitters and a black peppercorn syrup. It was hard to resist the butter drenched sliced bread and grilled pita that our attentive waiter served. I'd recommend both of our appetizers. The chargrilled sushi-grade octopus ($21) with fava purree (pureed yellow lentils) [...]

By |2019-12-02T12:00:59-05:00November 27th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

A Birthday Party at Bouley at Home, Chelsea, NYC

I had meandered past Bouley at Home many times but hadn't dined there until recently when invited to a friend's big birthday celebration. Their apple-lined entryway reminded me of the now-closed Bouley Tribeca restaurant, as did the spectacular food and service! While we mingled the staff served finger foods of kuzu crisps topped with various goodies including steak tartare, fresh tuna, black truffles, shrimp and caviar. Once seated after the cocktail hour where the drinks and hors d'oeuvres kept on coming, our first plated course of this tasting menu was fried oysters atop a lightly dressed shredded salad. What followed included a porcini flan, Dungeness crab and black truffle dashi; [...]

By |2019-11-09T12:47:17-05:00November 23rd, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Brunch at Brazen Tavern + DaVinci and Michelangelo: The Titans Experience

Found a tavern near Times Square that I can recommend for lunch before theater where you can get a burger or other sandwich for $11 in a nice setting. The Brazen Tavern on west 44th offers those bargains only Monday through Friday. On weekend (when I went) the same platters are $17. They're still worth it. I had a grilled chicken club sandwich ($17)  yet I asked for only two not three slices of bread for the chicken, bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomato on rye accompanied by fries. So large, I took half home. My dining partner had the steak sandwich on a baguette spread with garlic aioli. That sandwich [...]

By |2019-10-07T11:54:02-04:00November 21st, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Greek Hospitality at Merakia, Gramercy-Flatiron, NYC

I stopped in my tracks, noticing the "Grade Pending" in the window of Merakia, a fairly new Greek restaurant in my hood. Thanos, one of the owners, assured me that the grade was from a broken pipe under the bathroom, not the sanitation of the kitchen. (Last I checked they had an "A" grade!) We took him for his word and decided to grab our late-night bite there. Thanos offered us cocktails, I started with the King Agamemnon made with Jack Daniels Blue (their play on an Old Fashioned), my dining companion the Aristotle daiquiri ($17 each). We shared their tzatziki ($10) that came with a huge amount of warm [...]

By |2019-10-29T19:02:33-04:00November 17th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments