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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

Casual Thai at Taladwat, Hell’s Kitchen + Wrong Man

Before heading over to the new MCC theatre on 52nd street to see the heart-wrenching musical Wrong Man, we grabbed dinner at a very casual Thai restaurant, Talad Wat. The Wrong Man struck a chord as it was reminiscent of An American Marriage that we discussed at book group. I must warn you that the only seating is backless at communal picnic tables. Don't let that stop you from heading there for their $20 dinner with two dishes and jasmine or organic red rice. (At lunch it's only $16.) Start with their mixed appetizer ($15) with two each vegetable dumplings, spring rolls and shrimp & crab dumplings with three dipping [...]

By |2019-11-12T10:21:51-05:00November 13th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Korean BBQ at The Woo, Soho, NYC

I've been on a Korean restaurant kick, so enjoying the many ones our city offers. The Woo in SoHo was my latest stop. The Asian-style restaurant offers a smokeless barbecue grill in the center of each table.  That's where — if you desire — you cook your dinner. We began with some stir-fried glass noodles with mushrooms and other veggies in a tasty soy-sesame sauce (Jap Chae, $16).  I'd recommend as I would their Dae Ji Kalbi ($26), five meaty finger-lickin' slow-roasted ribs in a sweet and spicy soy chili BBQ sauce. Do not miss the Korean barbecue! There's a long list of meats and seafood that you can choose [...]

By |2019-09-26T14:41:08-04:00November 5th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Cardoncello diVino, an Italian Osteria in Chelsea, NYC

A small group of us who had gone to Sicily together got together for an Italian meal at Cardoncello diVino, a classy-casual Italian osteria. The restaurant centers its menu around its namesake mushroom. Don't miss that roasted eponymous mushrooms with a potato cake with caciocavallo cheese and truffles ($17). Also good was their cow's milk burrata ($16) with a broccoli rabe soufflé & red pepper sauce and the baked fresh sardine over a risotto cake ($15). The fresh ribbon pasta ($22) came with lots of clams, seasoned with dill and pepper flakes all topped with crumbled Italian crackers (tarollo). I'd recommend the seared scallops ($29) over creamy spinach with crispy [...]

By |2019-09-29T09:52:08-04:00October 25th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|2 Comments

A Flavor Concentration Booth at Ichiran, Times Square, NYC

There's a unique way to enjoy ramen in a "solo flavor concentration booth" in Times Square. This bi-level Ichiran restaurant has 103 booths and no communal tables (those are only available at the Bushwick, Brooklyn location). Once seated at one of the vacant booths, we removed the divider between us so we could discuss what we were ordering using the paper form. I was aware that the booths ensure we'd focus on our ramen experience yet preferred to interact with my friend while we ordered and ate. First, we selected our ramen (either classic Tonkotsu ramen, $18.90 or the "Recommended Set," $24.90). Being their guests, we chose the latter giving [...]

By |2019-09-29T10:03:18-04:00October 21st, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Mezze at Barbounia, Gramercy-Flatiron, NYC

A creature of habit for sure. Whenever I dine at a restaurant offering a mezze, like Barbounia, that's what I order! I dined there recently on one of those perfect alfresco days. With Barbounia located on Park Avenue at 20th, there's less traffic to interfere with conversation. Another plus: no need to experience the deafening noise inside once it gets hopping. We shared a mezze of spicy feta, hummus and their fire-roasted eggplant ($19 for the three), plus gratis olives and a delicious warm loaf of bread ($3 per order). Next,  we shared the grilled tender Portuguese octopus with fingerling potatoes ($24) and crispy fried calamari ($19). We devoured the [...]

By |2019-09-19T12:26:28-04:00October 19th, 2019|NYC Best Bites, NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Indian Food at Roasted Masala, Upper West Side, NYC

Roasted Masala's publicist shared that this Upper West Side Indian restaurant serves authentic Northern dishes with bold flavors and spices, using time-honored recipes passed down from the Chef’s grandfather. I headed uptown with friends to sample their fare. Our host, who greeted and served was Sam, their attentive and knowledgable general manager. We started with the most unusually delicious app. Bhel puri, one of their snacks or chaats ($6.95). This contained puffed rice, onions, tomatoes and chutney in a tamarind sauce. My dining companions found the accompanying sauces a bit spicey. I loved everything about the dish. Also not to be missed is the Recheado Shrimp, four large ones spiced [...]

By |2019-08-31T14:28:14-04:00October 17th, 2019|NYC Best Bites, NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

123 BSB (Burger Shot Beer), Hell’s Kitchen + Betrayed

If you're part of the sports bar crowd, you'd probably enjoy a trip to 123 BSB on Tenth Avenue in Hell's Kitchen. It's a happening place replete with burgers, lots of fried foods, beer and a profusion of shots! I stopped by recently on my way to see the revival of Harold Pinter's Betrayal about an adulterous triangle that takes place in reverse chronological order with Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox. I had seen — and preferred — the performances of Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz about six years ago. For a complete theatre review, click here. At 123SBS as their guests, we started with a couple of [...]

By |2019-10-12T20:37:17-04:00October 13th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Le Parisien, A French Cafe Midtown, NYC

I found a tiny French cafe to meet for lunch, right near my friend's home. As we looked at the menu, a whiff of the garlic butter from the table outside enticed us enough to order their escargot with herbs and garlic butter ($14). Sadly the aroma was better than the flavor and the French-style bread served for dipping was soft! My steak frites ($28) in red wine thyme sauce with caramelized shallots was better, although the meat was so stringy and tough that I needed to cut it into teeny pieces for ease of chewing. The shoestring frites were good. My dining partner enjoyed the grilled salmon ($24) over [...]

By |2019-10-12T20:31:49-04:00October 9th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Hutong, An Asian Disappointment, in the Bloomberg Building, Midtown, NYC

Eater.com gave praise to Hutong, a high-end Hong Kong-based restaurant that opened where Le Cirque once stood. I had put it on my list to try. We had a smidgen of trouble finding the entrance, as it is not on Lexington as the address says, but in an alley off 58th street. According to the waiter, Hutang means alley. They expected us to know that! The elegant high-ceilinged dining room and bar areas were over-staffed when we were there as at least three people stopped by the table to get my drink order and to explain the menu. Service is quite attentive. I sampled their "animal chin," an unusual spicy [...]

By |2019-10-12T20:34:46-04:00October 1st, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Don’t Miss O:N° from Hand Hospitality, NoMad, NYC

This is a must-try. O:N° is a restaurant where your dinner is cooked in a Korean-style hot pot on an induction burner in the middle of your table. It's a concept from Hand Hospitality the team behind Her Name is Han.  The server helps you adapt to the lay of the land and understand the menu. The main event is jeongol with broth cooking your selection in a Korean-style hot pot. Our waiter brought us each three small bowls as the amuse-bouche. Cold apple juice with diced apples and mint, golden beets with peach and crispy fried burdock (a Korean vegetable root) topped with pistachio pieces. The only dish that [...]

By |2019-09-30T11:21:08-04:00September 29th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Lunch at JoJo, Upper East Side, NYC

Sitting so close to others in a New York City restaurant can provide opportunities. But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. We stopped at JoJo, Jean-Goerges' re-opened first restaurant in a duplex townhouse on the Upper East Side during restaurant week late summer. JoJo, which opened again in 2017, was named after his childhood nickname. For starters, we both ordered the lightly crusted calamari with a spicy avocado-jalapeño salsa verde. The preparation was — as usual in Jean-Goerges' restaurants — unusually delicious: the tender squid was given a tad of heat with the accompanying sauce. That said, the portion size was ridiculously small. Mentioned this to our friendly server Faith [...]

By |2019-09-27T07:24:20-04:00September 27th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|2 Comments

Try the Green Curry at Kati Thai Cuisine, NYC

Walking home after a PR event at Pouring Ribbons, we were looking for something to eat as the food at the event was not satiating. We walked past Kati Thai Cuisine on 14th Street self-described as food that's "prepared daily with fresh ingredients." With that and the "A" restaurant grade by the door - decided to stop in for a bite. What I would recommend is their flavorful Green Curry ($13) that we ordered with more veggies not with meat for fish. I'd go back for that as the sauce was complex, the veggies oh so fresh. We also ordered Pad Thai with chicken. Sadly the chicken had that horrid [...]

By |2019-09-30T11:23:01-04:00September 23rd, 2019|Big Apple Life, NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

A Return to Hakkasan, Theatre District, NYC + Waitress

When meeting a friend to see the fun musical Waitress, I returned to Hakkasan for a light lunch before the matinee curtain. When we saw the productuion, the show starred Shoshana Bean and understudy, Tyrone Davis, Jr (who I had seen in Invisible Thread at 2nd Stage). I also recognized Erich Bergen who I know as Blake Morgan in Madame Secretary.  Who knew he could sing?  Fun afternoon of theatre! For a complete review, click here. The restaurant is huge but cozy as it's a maze of tables divided with open screens.  The service was as spotty as it was my first visit about six years ago. I'm not sure [...]

By |2019-09-16T04:23:21-04:00September 11th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

The Public Kitchen at Ian Schrager’s The Public Hotel

After wandering around the shops of SoHo, we headed to the fairly new Ian Schrager hotel, The Public, first for a drink on the rooftop, and then to dinner in the namesake restaurant. Unless you're a millennial who's looking for high-priced, low-alcohol cocktails in a noisy setting with a view, skip it. Instead, head to their Jean-George Vongerichten market-driven restaurant, the Public Kitchen. We sampled much of their interesting menu. For "snacks," we pulled at and nibbled the popcorn-cheddar frico sprinkled with crushed chili ($10) and the burrata with sliced plums, peaches and nectarines with teeny balls of crystallized wasabi ($23). I loved the unusually delicious appetizer of sugar snap [...]

By |2019-09-16T04:31:49-04:00September 9th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments