NYC Best Bites

/NYC Best Bites

Our Best Bites from New York

Eléa for a Greek Brunch, Upper West Side

Like its sister restaurant Kyma in the Flatiron District, Eléa is an all-white coastal Greek looking restaurant with a hip downtown vibe. Eléa, which means “olive” in ancient Greek, opened for brunch earlier this year. When we arrived, the staff was quite friendly and helpful. Sadly, the service petered out once they took our order so much so we had no idea which person was ours!  I started with their Dirty Greek cocktail, their version of a bloody Mary with feta-stuffed kalamata olives in an oregano-and-salt rim. One friend ordered an Aperol Spritzer ($13, each).  The breakfast entrees were fine, nothing special. The friend who ordered the Loukaniko Omelet filled [...]

By |2019-04-19T12:13:14-04:00April 18th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

A Birthday Celebration at Simon and the Whale, Flatiron, NYC

My friend had been wanting to try Simon and The Whale, Gabriel Stulman's eclectic cooking restaurant since it had opened about a year ago. I got a reservation for us for her birthday. We selected a Mauro Veglio, Barolo, 2016 ($78), a rich wine crafted from 100% Nebbiolo with intense fruit and an aromatic bouquet. Our first two selections arrived together. Don't miss the cheese croquettes ($9/four) in a red pepper (pimenton) coulis. They are fried balls of pâte à choux dough mixed with lots of gouda so much that when fried, resulted in oozing cheese in the center. Delicious. The house cold-smoked sea trout ($16) comes tucked over a [...]

By |2019-04-20T20:51:33-04:00April 14th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Il Punto, Almost Theatre District + Yiddish Fiddler

Before heading to the uptown version of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, I returned to Il Punto for a quick dinner. This Italian restaurant is a bit off the normal pre-theatre dining path as it's a couple blocks south of 42nd street on Ninth Avenue. I knew the food is good, the prices lower than other theatre area restaurants and that it would be a mere 5-minute walk to Stage 42. Their ziti comes tossed with oven roasted eggplant in a simple tomato sauce with a mountain of shredded mozzarella ($19); the red snapper ($28) arrived swimming in a tomato, olive and scallion wine sauce and served along with [...]

By |2019-04-20T20:54:40-04:00April 12th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

The Dining Room at the Met, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

My last visit to the Dining Room at the Met was last summer for a delicious brunch. This time I met a friend for lunch before taking a guided tour of the Islamic section. Although a Met member, my friend had not yet indulged in the food served in the dining room on the fourth floor accessed via the elevator in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts galleries. Knowing that members can request special seating by the window with views of Central Park, we had done so. I indulged in the royal trumpet mushroom carpaccio with fennel, arugula, hazelnuts and parmesan from the John Fraser-curated menu exploring forest mushrooms. He's the chef from [...]

By |2019-04-20T09:01:16-04:00April 4th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Terrace at The Edition Hotel and Outdoor Gardens + Superhero

Loving John Fraser's other restaurants, especially Michelin-starred Nix, I had to sample his newest one on the ninth floor of the Times Square Edition hotel. The Terrace is a casual restaurant with super-friendly staff, especially their beverage director Maria, who I met while waiting for the restaurant to open for the evening. I arrived early from a lecture at the Society for Ethical Culture and sat in the lounge reading "White Houses," for one of my book groups while waiting for my friend's arrival. Maria — who I learned hailed from their Miami location — offered me some rosè bubbly (Domaine Bousquet, Mendoza, Argentina) to sip while I sat there. [...]

By |2019-04-20T20:56:38-04:00March 31st, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

A Return to the New Location of Balaboosta in West Village, NYC

Chef Einat Admony's much-loved Balaboosta restaurant is open again in a new space in the West Village. As I wrote when I visited the original restaurant, “Balaboosta: n. A Yiddish term meaning the perfect housewife, homemaker, wonderful mother, cook & gracious hostess."  Einat Admony is a 21st-century balaboosta (Yiddish for “perfect housewife”). She's a mother and wife, but also a chef busy running three bustling New York City restaurants... This time we went to just share some small plates. The market fish ceviche was small indeed, especially for the price. The marinated fish comes wrapped like mini tacos in thinly sliced kohlrabi ($18). Tasty but tiny portion! We also shared an unusual hummus "basar," topped  with ground beef [...]

By |2019-05-23T13:03:39-04:00March 27th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

A Return to Mamo Following Their Re-Opening After the Fire

Sadly Summer 2018, Mamo Restaurant, a Soho restaurant celebrating the flavors of Italy, had to close its doors after a fire. They made a comeback just in time for the 2018 holiday season. I was invited back to again sample their fare that I so enjoyed on my original visit. We started with the fried artichokes with lots of pepper under a mountain of grated cheese ($17) and the salad of sliced winter squash topped with avocado, beets and greens sprinkled with crumbled goat cheese and chopped hazelnuts ($24). Both worth trying. For our primi (pasta, of course!), we had the rich tiny compte-filled ravioli under a blanket of sliced [...]

By |2019-04-20T20:58:41-04:00March 25th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Saturday Brunch at La Pecora Bianca, NoMad

Brunch at La Pecora Bianca at Broadway at 28th had one of those midday vibes where you know mealtime folks are gathering.  Bright, light buzz, close tables. We lucked out on the noise vibe as we were seated in a corner with one side of our table against a wall, reducing the noise. We opted for the $18 unlimited cocktail hour — me with mediocre bloody Mary's, my friend with mimosas. After three drinks, we didn't even really have a buzz! But that's common for all-you-can-drink brunch places:  a passing of the bottle over the second on drink! My friend's scrambled eggs were soft, topped with fresh avocado. Enjoyable. My sausage and [...]

By |2019-02-16T16:22:20-04:00March 21st, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Don Angie, West Village, NYC

Don Angie is a fairly new Italian restaurant in the West Village from Quality Italian's chefs Scott Tacinelli and Angie Rito. After Pete Wells 2-star review, it became hard to get a res at one of the 60 spaces in the small corner restaurant where Monument Lane was located. I've learned that if you arrive early — about at the first seating — you can generally get one of their unreserved tables. We did. Their wine person helped us find a reasonably priced bottle of wine to go with what we were ordering: seviche, octopus and one of the red-sauce pasta dishes that Don Angie is known for. We chose the Salcheto, [...]

By |2019-02-19T17:43:26-04:00March 19th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

My Raffle Winnings at Jacob’s Pickles, Upper West Side, NYC

At one of my realtor's appreciation events, I won a dinner at Jacob's Pickles. I used the prize to take a friend out for her birthday, as the restaurant was down the block from where she lives. Do not go for dinner unless you are really hungry!  To say portions are huge is an understatement. I started with Michter's American Manhattan ($16) served straight up like a martini with a blend of Michter’s American Whiskey, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, bourbon-soaked Montmorency Cherries and Angostura bitters. My friend had a beer, specifically the Rhode Island Narragansett Lager 5.0% ($7). We split a Southern BLT (my namesake initials both pre- and post-marriage) of [...]

By |2019-03-17T09:11:19-04:00March 17th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Ex-expat Chinese New Year’s Meal at Hwa Yuan Szechuan in Chinatown

My ex-expat group organized a dinner at Hwa Yuan Szechuan in Chinatown, a restaurant that one member had been to and another had read a raving Sam Sifton New York Times review. Over twenty of us went for Chinese New Year ($100 per person inclusive). We started with their cold noodles with sesame sauce that Sam had described as the "Best cold sesame noodles Manhattan ever tasted."  They were quite good, not too peanut-buttery as at other places around town. We had a few unremarkable other cold dishes followed by their hot and sour soup, redolent of what I used to make. It was chock full of tree ear mushrooms and dried [...]

By |2019-03-17T09:55:50-04:00March 15th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

A Return Again to Rafele, West Village, NYC for a Birthday

I returned to Rafele, a small Italian restaurant in the West Village, for a friend's birthday late lunch on a cold winter's day. The restaurant was very quiet, not at all like in the evening. Don't miss the melange of roasted cauliflower, black currants, caramelized onion, pine nuts and a soupçon of breadcrumbs ($14) as a starter. Since Rafele wasn't busy, I asked our very friendly server whether my pasta could be finished in parchment paper in their wood-burning fireplace as had been done with the night's special cacio e pepe papillote during my last visit. The chef was accommodating! I indulged in their rich fettuccine Bolognese en papillote. The thin ribbons of [...]

By |2019-03-08T08:47:01-04:00March 13th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

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