NYC Best Bites

/NYC Best Bites

Our Best Bites from New York

El Rancho Burritos, Hells Kitchen, NYC + The Other Josh Cohen

After going to an off-Broadway fun feel-good musical at the Westside Theatre on 43rd, we grabbed a bite at El Rancho Burritos two blocks from where the theatre. For a complete review of The Other Josh Cohen, click here. The restaurant has a takeout counter with a couple of tables. Skip the chips with guac and salsa ($6.95). The chips were okay, guacamole watery and salsa redolent of canned tomato sauce. A hearty burrito is what to order. We tried two of their signature ones. The “chili-bomb burrito,” a chili-seasoned tortilla filled with lots of rice, some beef and chunks of stewed jalapeños topped with some red sauce ($9.75) and an Al Pastor Burrito ($10.75) [...]

Korean Lunch at Her Name Is Han, Kips Bay, NYC

Like many other places in the big apple, it's easier to get into Her Name is Han for lunch than dinner. Midday, they take no reservations and offer small reasonably priced menu. I met a friend there one winter day. We started sharing an order of three pork-stuffed over-sized dumplings ($5/three large) with a flavored soy sauce. We each ordered one of the lunch specials that came with a plethora of small Korean treats. Our tastings included kimchi, tofu topped with crunchy sauteed onions, beet potato salad, an unusual chicken salad and a bowl of daily soup that warmed us on this cold day. I tried the bulgogi bibimbop ($16) [...]

By |2019-02-16T11:05:10-04:00March 9th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Back to L’Express, Gramercy-Flatiron, NYC for the Lamb Burger and…

Last I visited L'Express I had written, "The warm goat cheese salad was perfection ..." Could it be as good?, I asked myself as we returned in for a weekend lunch. It was, although, the price of the salad had about doubled from $8.95 to $16 in the last 7 years.  The other dish to have at this French bistro on the corner of 20th and Park is their tender and juicy lamb burger with fries ($19); do not order well done! And be sure to enjoy it with a glass of red wine. L'Express Gramercy-Flatiron 249 Park Avenue South New York, NY 212.254.5858

By |2019-01-20T13:13:28-04:00March 5th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

A Coastal Italian Lunch at Scampi, Flatiron, NYC

Decided to wander my hood to find a place I hadn't written about and found Scampi on 18th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. I read mixed reviews as Eater liked it, The Infatuation didn't. I stopped by to make my own decision. The warm and welcoming host took the time to describe the menu to me in such detail that my mouth watered. While waiting for my meal, I nibbled on the thin breadsticks and housemade bomba that Rob, my friendly bartender served me.  Rob explained that the bomba is a traditional southern Italian condiment made from pickled shallots, mushrooms, artichokes and Calabrian chilies. The grilled swordfish sandwich on sesame strecci (soft [...]

By |2019-03-01T10:03:14-04:00March 1st, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Return to Bella Blu, Upper East Side, NYC

Since I'm always looking for a new place I haven't experienced or written about, I'm not a regular anywhere. Truth is that the best restaurant is often the one who knows you! I knew my experience at Bella Blu would even be better than my last visit, watching how the friend I walked in with was greeted. Our fabulous server Andrea took care of us as if we were old friends (AKA regulars!). We each started with the colorful orange-red Aperol spritzer as we nibbled the tomato pizza-dough bread served gratis. One had the breaded organic chicken breast topped with mixed greens and hearts of palm ($25); two of us the [...]

By |2019-03-04T10:02:36-04:00February 27th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Ristorante Il Melograno, Hells Kitchen, NYC

A new friend, who seemed to have similar tastes in restaurants, recommended Ristorante Il Melograno in Hell's Kitchen. I thought it might be good when reservations at the time we wanted were unavailable. It's a cozy restaurant on the corner of 51st and Tenth with teeny tables (so small it's almost impossible not to meet your neighbors) and a small (they call it compact) menu. In the Italian way, we ordered a few items for the table instead of a dish per person.  The unusual artichoke cakes come with nicely seasoned greens and a simple saffron aioli sauce ($14). Each time I took a bite, I had to remind myself they weren't [...]

By |2019-01-24T18:28:03-04:00February 25th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Quick Pasta at Il Pastaio – Eataly, Gramercy-Flatiron,

Seems every time I venture to Eataly, I discover a new place to grab a bite. We entered the 23 Street door into Alla Pala Pizza & Enoteca, the place to grab a slice of their Roman-style pizza. Once I noticed the no-back stool (at my age, I need back support) and the prices ($8.40 a slice with prosciutto and arugula), I kept walking. We noticed a counter a few yards further into the store replete with chairs at a pasta bar.  Il Pastaio di Eataly, meaning  "pasta maker",  offers bowlsful of fresh, housemade pasta daily.  Our servers explained that they had been schooled learning how to make pasta from [...]

By |2019-01-18T17:13:25-04:00February 23rd, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Southern Food at Root & Bone, East Village, NYC

Venture on a trip to southern Manhattan to the east village for some southern cooking. Do be prepared to loosen your belt. My friend who doesn't like the taste of alcohol had their Sadie Hawkins made with rum, grapefruit juice and rosemary. I had their classic Manhattan ($12); I prefer mine with less sweet vermouth. As their guest, I wanted to sample as much as I could and so requested small portions of many of their dishes. I had to try the deviled egg, red from pickled beets and topped with a root chip ($7 for a full order of 3) or Grandma Daisy's flaky angel biscuits sprinkled with sea salt [...]

By |2019-01-15T09:37:13-04:00February 19th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

A Decadent Time at The Whitby Bar and Restaurant, Midtown, NYC

Looking for a quiet place to dine, we headed over the elegant Whitby Hotel Bar and Restaurant — the second Firmdale Hotel in New York City — that's a celebration of contemporary art and design from founders Tim and Kit Kemp. As we walked in a three-piece jazz combo began their set. We asked the hostess to sit us as far away from the music as possible. They were about to seat us at the furthest table from the music in that room when we noticed tables set in an empty room beyond glass doors and requested that. After some discussion. we were seated in the magnificent room. We sipped the unctuous chianti ($55 bottle) while eating [...]

By |2019-02-18T08:49:17-04:00February 17th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|2 Comments

Grand Sichuan, Chelsea, NYC + Malpaso Cuban Dancers at the Joyce

One freezing evening on our way to the Joyce Theatre, we stopped into Grand Sichuan restaurant directly across the street.  To get rid of the chill in my bones, I had a bowl of their steaming hot, hot and sour soup ($2.95).  Although I've had better (especially homemade), it was good. Good enough for me to decide to return when I'm at the Joyce again. At the Joyce, we saw the exceptional Cuban Malapaso Dance Company with their classically trained dancers and stayed for the curtain chat with founder and executive director Fernando Sáez and some of the company. I highly recommend seeing the Malpaso Dance Company perform when they're in town. Grand [...]

By |2019-01-13T14:28:01-04:00February 15th, 2019|Big Apple Life, Theatre|0 Comments

A Nighttime Nibble at Corkbuzz, Union Square, NYC

After seeing Green Book, the Golden Globe award-winning movie starring Vitto Mortensen and Mahershala Ali we stopped by Corkbuzz at the original Union Square location for a glass of wine and some apps. I had been to various private wine-tasting events there but hadn't ordered from their menu in many years, as I had found it a bit pricey for what they served. No longer. With our glass of  Stadlmann Grüner Veltliner '17 - Niederösterreich, Austria ($11) we shared the tender Berkshire pork meatballs ($14 for 5) in a marinara sauce snow-covered with grated parmesan and their crisp pommes frites with garlic aioli ($7). Perfection. Corkbuzz Wine Studio Union Square 13 E. 13th [...]

By |2019-02-18T08:50:43-04:00February 13th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

The Polynesian a Tiki Lounge at the Pod Hotel + Noura

After seeing Noura, a play inspired by Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at Playwrights Horizon, we began looking for a place to get a nibble. (For a review of the play, click here.) A few doors east of the theatre, we found the Polynesian, a new — less than a year old — lounge inside the Pod Hotel. Actually, our noses followed the enticing fatty aroma to the restaurant. They offer a multi-page exotic island drinks menu plus a few bar snacks. We skipped the tropical for regular beverages and shared a couple items, all of which I'd recommend:  the spicy Persian cucumber salad ($12), sliders on sweet buns ($18 for three) and — of course — fries. [...]

By |2019-01-18T18:44:02-04:00February 11th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

New Greek Restaurant Kyma in Flatiron, NYC

Kyma — serving Greek fare in a large lively new restaurant on two floors — opened last summer in Flatiron district. We arrived for our reservation on time, yet their CMS's calendar had us scheduled for two days later. I was told this wasn't the first time it happened. That said, the maitre d' said not to worry, he'd take care of us even though the restaurant was fully committed. Lucky for us there were two small tables in the front window that could accommodate the four of us. We didn't mind the gentle refreshing cold breeze each time the door opened and it was less noisy where we were sitting than [...]

By |2018-12-31T09:27:47-04:00February 9th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Girls Night at Black Barn, No-Mad, NYC

A group of girlfriends met for dinner at the Black Barn, a restaurant where SD26 from Tony and Marissa May had been. The space has turned modern, sort of a barn-inspired setting that was a tad too noisy to be able to easily hear each other. As we sipped our cocktails, we shared the white porcini rectangular pizza ($19) topped with caramelized onions, cured coppa and fresh arugula, all drizzled with truffle oil. I do recommend, as I do the special cocktail I ordered: The NoMad, their version of Manhattan ($17) made with barrel-aged Hudson maple rye whiskey, vermouth and orange bitters. Must share that we had to "fight" to [...]

By |2019-02-05T09:40:09-04:00February 5th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Obicà Mozzarella Bar Pizza e Cucina, Gramercy-Flatiron, NYC

One of my book groups replaced our book-discussion gathering with a holiday luncheon with an exchange of books. We were each asked to bring a wrapped book (new or used) that was a favorite for swapping. We met at Obicà Mozzarella Bar Pizza e Cucina in the Gramercy-Flatiron and enjoyed their prixe-fixe luncheon menu ($15 - 26, depending on your selection, available from 12 to 2 pm). The food was fine, the camaraderie fabulous.  If you go, realize that the $15 express lunch that we had with a bowl of very thick (screaming for seasoning) butternut squash soup and a small salad won't really fill you. Those small portions became enough [...]

By |2018-12-31T08:51:20-04:00February 3rd, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Cafe Sabarsky, Upper East Side, NYC

Silly us thought we'd get into the popular Hilma af Klint exhibit at the Guggenheim on a rainy day. The ticket holder line has an hour and a half wait. We left, heading a couple of blocks south to Café Sabarsky the Viennese eatery at the Neue Galerie to get caught up over a glass of wine and bowl of soup. One of my friends who had been recommended the goulash soup. I tried that; the others opted for the creamy chestnut soup topped with creme fraiche. Although the beef was a bit chewy and fatty, I liked the nicely balanced the flavor of the classic soup. With that, we [...]

By |2019-02-03T14:12:40-04:00January 30th, 2019|Big Apple Life, NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Another Visit to Maialino, Gramercy, NYC

I've always enjoyed Maialino. I still dream of their eggs cacio peppe – soft scrambled eggs with pecorino cheese and lots of black pepper when I went for breakfast. Yes, that good. Lunch is also yummy. This visit was for a prix-fixe luncheon, served family-style, with the "Ex-expats of New York" group that I belong to. We dined there after the others helped our city's economy at the Union Square Holiday Market in December. We started with assorted salumi, olives and perfectly cooked marinated market veggies that included carrot, celery potatoes, sunchokes and diced winter squash. Our main course consisted of lemony spinach and ricotta ravioli in a light cream sauce, market [...]

By |2018-12-17T15:23:16-04:00January 28th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Zavo Mediterranean Restaurant, Midtown, NYC

There was a little mix up with my comp press-tasting reservation. Seems the publicist forgot to make it but the staff at Zavo, the multi-level Mediterranean restaurant gladly recognized it. I started with the smoky "Blood & Smoke" cocktail made with mezcal, a chili pepper liqueur, Cointreau and blood orange puree ($16), my guest had their Bulleit bourbon "Bumblebee's Knees: with bergamot and Moscato liqueurs ($16).  We liked both of the seafood apps that we shared — the grilled jumbo prawn with marinated tomatoes ($12) and the four garlicky shrimp in parsley butter ($13). The roasted red and golden beets salad included orange supremes and an airy goat cheese mousse [...]

By |2018-12-31T09:28:13-04:00January 24th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Returned to Lafayette, NoHo, NYC + Merchant House

A group of us ate at Lafayette, where I have enjoyed many good meals, as it was close to the Merchant's House where we were heading for a special production of "A Christmas Carol." If you're not familiar, the Merchant's House Museum is New York City's only family home preserved intact — both inside and out — from the 19th century. It's complete with the family's original furnishings and personal possessions, including clothing. During the holidays, they offer a one-act one-performer production of this Charles Dickens classic. Because I was with a large group, I didn't photograph as many dishes as usual. Sharing what I did take. The handmade Pain de [...]

By |2019-01-23T19:48:54-04:00January 22nd, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Brunch at Greenwich Steakhouse, West Village, NYC

One really rainy Sunday, my friend and I headed to Greenwich Steakhouse to sample their new midday brunch and lunch menus. We sat in the bar area of the sleekly designed, comfy three-story restaurant at the banquet in a corner. Ideal for easy conversation. Juan Carlos greeted us warmly. That quiet day, he was everything but the cook. He started by making me a bloody Mary to accompany my tastings. With that, we shared the flavorful crab cake (I prefer mine with slightly less breading) and a thick slice of whole wheat toast piled high with an avocado blend then topped with poached eggs ($12). My friend ordered the eggwhite omelet ($16), requesting [...]

By |2019-01-21T10:26:12-04:00January 18th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|2 Comments