A Sarcastic Appetite


Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of July 24
July 24, 2014, 6:35 pm
Filed under: Restaurant Round-Up

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Getting this one in under the wire! I’m here to canvas the food blogs so you don’t have to. A few things of note this week:

 

First off, that’s a pork belly doughnut at North River, above, and yes, I’d recommend it. (Plus, their aperol spritz is pretty delicious too.)

If you like eating and drinking and being on a boat, options abound for you this summer. Immaculate Infatuation has the rundown on North River Lobster Company and Grand Banks – neither really win the boys over but are apparently still viable options if you just have to get out on the water. Aye, aye.

Gabe Stulman’s Chez Sardine is now Bar Sardine, with a revamped menu leaning more towards bar offerings to match. Gone is the uni toast, now replaced by deviled eggs and burrata. Twist my arm – ok fine, I’ll go check it out.

Gael Greene loves Bâtard, the latest from Drew Nieporent after chef Paul Liebrandt’s departure forced the closure of Corton. And since her one gripe has been dealt with, I think I might be darkening the door there sometime soon, too.

As you all know, I am a sucker for a good wine bar, so Racines and now Corkbuzz have shot to the top of my list. Both look great, and I may or may not need to take a personal day in order to take advantage of Corkbuzz’s “Champagne Campaign” (half off bottles of bubbly from 4 – 5pm!!!).

If you’re in the mood for some bivalves, I’d just like to bring your attention to Upstate, in the East Village. Six oysters and a beer for $12 from 5-7pm is not to be trifled with, and the rest of their menu, while small, is solid. Plus everyone gets free pound cake for dessert – what are you waiting for?

Gothamist recently had an article titled “This is the Best Restaurant in Spanish Harlem” and so the Ninja and I went last week to check it out. We concur. Make the hike to Cascalote Latin Bistro and stop in at The Duck for a drink while you’re at it. Oh, and let me know when you’re coming so I can come, too.

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10 Brunch Spots in New York
June 29, 2014, 9:11 am
Filed under: Restaurant Round-Up, Winetivities

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I don’t know if you’re aware, but I love brunch. I love it like I love champagne, or Million Dollar Listing: New York, or beating middle aged men in tennis. (Which is to say, if you don’t actually know me that well, a lot.)

Now, I should qualify this statement: I love brunch at restaurants that take reservations. Ain’t no way in hell you’ll ever find me in a line 50 deep of tourists waiting to stuff their gullets with pancakes at Clinton Street Baking Company. And there’s a reason I have yet to try the Cronut. But I am a champion at making reservations, even a month out if need be. (Don’t give me that look. I’m busy!)

And having tried most well-regarded places that serve brunch on this fair island we call home, I’d like to say I am a bit of an expert on that most overpriced but enjoyable weekend meal. To wit: 10 places you should check out, if you haven’t already. And if you run through this list rolling your eyes, thinking “Ugh, Emily, I know all of these places,” well, then, count yourself an expert too. And maybe invite me to your next get-together, since you clearly seem to be awfully trendy.

In no particular order:

 

1. The Breslin – “Emily, are you serious? Did you just start your list with a restaurant that doesn’t take reservations?” Yes, but hear me out: if you get there at noon or a little before, it’s a cakewalk. Trust me! The lamb burger and the three cheese sandwich are not to be trifled with (see what I did there?). Plus, that dark pub-like interior can’t be beat on a hot summer’s day when you want to curl up on top of the air conditioner.

2. The Elm – Yes, I’m suggesting brunch in Williamsburg with a straight face. Don that straw fedora (of course I have one) and join in the fun. I loved the space, and while the service was laughably slow given the two-thirds empty dining room when we went, the burger was actually really good. And if you want to keep drinking, so many great places over there await: Berry Park, Teddy’s, Maison Premiere, and Hotel Delmano, to name a few.

3. The NoMad – The grandaddy of brunch, if only for the fabled chicken sandwich. The light in the atrium can be a little anemic, but it’s not like you’ll be staring at each other – because you won’t be able to take your eyes off that sandwich. And then follow my lead and slip into the Library bar for a little postprandial cocktail.

4. ABC Kitchen – If the NoMad is the granddaddy of brunch, then ABC Kitchen is its Auntie Mame (sshh, poetic license, just let me run with it). Great light, great space, and purposefully mismatched plates. It’s expensive, yes, and don’t you dare try to walk in without having a reservation three weeks in advance, but once you’re seated and the sparkling rosé is flowing, it’s hard not to have a good time. Plus the salted caramel sundae is baller.

5. Jean-Georges – For the high rollers among you, especially since they just jacked the price of two courses to $48, with each additional plate now costing $24. You’re not likely to get out for less than $200 for two, unless you get chintzy with the wine and forbid dessert. However, if you want to go spend a leisurely afternoon in a really beautiful room, you’ll be rewarded with a really excellent meal – and excellent service, to boot.

6. Narcissa – It’s a gorgeous room with a gorgeous back patio and a box of doughnuts on the menu to boot. (The doughnut holes aren’t great but the rest are pretty delicious.) It’s a really nice way to spend an summer afternoon. Order the avocado toast with poached eggs…and get a side of bacon. It’s nearly impossible to get in for dinner, but very manageable to get in for brunch. Go.

7. Lafayette – Are you noticing a theme here? I am a sucker for a beautiful room and a slightly French-leaning menu. So sue me. Call up Lafayette and sweet talk them into giving you a table in the window (or rope enough friends in so you’ll be guaranteed one of the large booths). It’s the kind of place where you just want them to keep the rosé coming and then maybe Monday won’t actually happen. The pastries are excellent, as they should be, as are the pâté maison and the burger (I am nothing if not gluttonous).

8.  The East Pole – I love its downtown sister restaurant, The Fat Radish, but hate that they are cash only during brunch. Thankfully, The East Pole takes plastic all the time and so now I can gorge myself on those spiced pear bellinis and smoked salmon crostini.

9. Jeffrey’s Grocery – I’m slipping another no reservations joint in here and hoping you won’t notice after all my griping. I love the menu here, not to mention the space: huge windows make for an airy, light-filled room. The croissant sandwich will cure any hangover. The only downside? The open kitchen means you will smell like Jeffrey’s Grocery long after you leave. (Sometimes it’s worth it.)

10. Hundred Acres – get a pitcher of the Sparkling Acres and thank me later. Look, it’s a pretty standard brunch menu, but that’s what does the job for me; I tend not to order the weird stuff because I had too much champagne last night and need to reevaluate my life choices. So I go for the soft scrambled eggs and hope for the best – you should too.

 



Thirsty Thursday Round-Up for the Week of March 24
March 27, 2014, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Restaurant Round-Up | Tags: ,

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So it’s been six months or so since I posted here last and I figured you were all due for a blog update. At least consider some of these options as potential weekend plans; I am nothing if not helpful. And if what all you really want to read are terrible internet dating stories, well, then, shoot me an email and maybe I’ll oblige.

 

Looking for Saturday night dinner plans? I scanned OpenTable and as of 10pm on Thursday, here are your best bets for a table for two on Saturday: Picholine at 8:15; Tocqueville at 8:30; Lavagna at 7:45; Lincoln, 8:00; The Modern – Bar Room, 8:00; The Apiary, 8:15; Costata, 7:30; Empellon Cocina, 7:30.

Gothamist does a little round-up of food events this weekend, including a Harlem Food Truck Rally (and now I know what I’ll be doing on Saturday afternoon).

Immaculate Infatuation also does a nice little “Spring 2014 Hit List,” featuring Bobby Flay’s Gato and Narcissa at the Standard East Village. I’m also partial to French Louie, since it’s by the same people who brought you Buttermilk Channel so you know it’s going to be good.

Also, for those of you who are curious, Drew Nieporent does a really interesting interview with Eater NY on his new restaurant, Bâtard, and his dislike of all things “New American.” Meanwhile, Ryan Skeen gives a hilarious interview with Restaurant Girl, notable for his claim that he “[hasn’t] been the chef at any restaurant since Allen & Delancey in 2009″ which is interesting given that he was listed as the chef and cooking in the kitchen on both my visits to the late 83 1/2 (remember that?).

The photos above, if you’re curious, clockwise from the upper left: champagne and a latte at Alexandra; “family dinner” with the Ninja at Blue Hill (we did the extended Farmer’s Feast tasting and it was divine); cocktails at Lantern’s Keep, which is better than ever after a menu revamp; and charcuterie & things at Benoit, a great Midtown standby, though their Negronis leave something to be desired.

 



Thirsty Thursday Round-Up for the Week of October 24
October 24, 2013, 8:49 pm
Filed under: Restaurant Round-Up

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I’ll be honest: I kind of forgot about this blog. But apparently some of you didn’t! And in rereading some of my old posts recently, well, I remembered I kinda liked it too. So here we go again. I’m here to canvas the food blogs so you don’t have to – when I’m not hiking in Maine (top left), digging into brunch at Lafayette (bottom left), cozying up to a glass of champagne, or settling in with the very first issue of Equals, which I am really excited about.  Anyway, a couple of highlights this week:

Babbo just introduced a lunchtime truffle tasting menu for a cool $99. And if you really want to get after it, get yourself to the NoMad, where they’re serving white truffles at cost. (And while you’re there, have a couple drinks in the Library and thank me later.)

River Styx in Greenpoint is reason #75 I need to plan another neighborhood crawl. From the same people who brought you Roebling Tea Room in Williamsburg, River Styx is apparently hitting all the high notes with dinner and brunch crowds alike. (Unless, of course, you hate brunch.)

Empellon Cocina will welcome Grant Achatz as part of its latest Push Project on November 7…and yours truly will be there. To say I am excited would be a vast understatement; I’m still talking about the drinks I had at the Aviary a month ago.

New on Gothamist is a list of brunch spots that aren’t terrible, from The Dutch to Lobster Joint and my perennial favorite, Shopsin’s. (Bonus: more hating on brunch. Apparently the round-up has a theme this week.)

Toro tops Grub Street’s latest Power Rankings; it seems the 60-odd menu items are a hit. I was displeased at having to stomach $7 for one egg, deviled, but such is life. And I’d be lying if I said the bone marrow ($16) with oxtail marmalade was only ok – it was an absolute delight.



Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of June 27
June 30, 2013, 10:45 am
Filed under: Restaurant Round-Up

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Hello, friends! I may or may not be working on another A Sarcastic Appetite Dates post…but in the meantime, here’s a round-up of what’s happening in the food world. I canvas the food blogs so you don’t have to. A couple of updates:

Pete Wells gives – GASP – one star to Andrew Carmellini’s Lafayette. In case you’ve been living under a rock, this is the newest resto from the guy behind Locanda Verde and The Dutch, and probably about two stars less than what they were hoping for. The burger is as phenomenal as everyone says. Try going at an off-hour, for a late lunch.

Over on The Bad Deal, Ryan Sutton may have broken the space-time continuum when he created a Mapo Tofu Taco.

Platt gets into ABC Cocina (the place is still mobbed on a regular basis) where the tacos are a little over-wrought and the prices a little high. I’d be lying if I said the drinks didn’t sound delicious.

A better rendition of a small plates place seemes to be Alder, Wylie Dufresne’s second venture after WD-50, according to Serious Eats.

The boys at Immaculate Infatuation are back with another Summer Guide – this time to Killing It. $2.99 gets you a huge rundown of where to eat, drink and hang this summer. My to-do list? The Pines, Rockaway Taco, and Vinegar Hill House. Hey, you gotta start somewhere.

Oh, and if you’re a cut-and-switch kinda guy (or gal), apparently you’re doing it all wrong. It turns out being left handed does have its benefits….

And if you’re in the mood for an over-the-top Pimm’s Cup, try the one at Whitehall (bottom right photo). It’s pretty decadent. And delicious.



Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of May 9
May 9, 2013, 6:00 am
Filed under: Restaurant Round-Up | Tags: , , ,

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I’m here to canvas the food blogs…so you don’t have to. When I’m not doing “research,” I’m eating fried oysters at Pearl (top right) and Korean BBQ at Madangsui (bottom left). Otherwise, here’s what’s been going on:

If you’re a reclusive New Yorker, you might be one of the two people in town who missed the James Beard Awards, which went down on Monday at Lincoln Center. For all of the hand wringing that went on about New York not representing, well….they cleaned up.

I hesitate to pass this on, because I’d like to keep this gem for myself…but word on the street is Aquavit has its sh*t together, big time. Chef Jernmark is apparently gunning for a second Michelin star, and the way things are going over there he just might get it.

If you’re looking for fun weekend activities, or sticking around for Memorial Day Weekend, here are FOUR awesome food fairs to check out: Hester Street Fair, Smorgasburg, Madison Square Eats, and Smorgasbar. I’d encourage you to check out Smorgasbar, as it’s supporting the very much still recovering South Street Seaport area. Hester Street is the only one that doesn’t serve alcohol; head over to Loreley or the back bar at Freeman’s for your afternoon tipple.

Get ready: the banana stand is coming to NYC. Yes, that banana stand!

Now that the spring weather is maybe, finally, potentially acting like spring weather, the folks at Gothamist were nice enough to put together two key lists: the best rooftop bars in the city and the best bars with outdoor space. Now go forth into the great outdoors….and drink.



10 Restaurants to Try
April 22, 2013, 7:31 pm
Filed under: Restaurant Round-Up

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Am I the only one who has a running list of places I want to check out? Is that why you always bother me for advice? (I consider it a compliment.) Lately I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed with what’s new, what’s old, and what’s just plain intriguing. If you’ve had one too many pad thais delivered recently, consider putting some clothes on and checking one of these 10 places out.

In no particular order:

1. Minetta Tavern– If you haven’t been yet, you’ve got to make it happen. It works equally well for a romantic dinner date and for a fun girls’ brunch. They have the best bone marrow around – and I’ve had it quite often. And their Black Label Burger may be expensive but it is no joke.

2. 456 Shanghai – Get yourself to Chinatown before it disappears completely. If you, like I do, often have a hankering for soup dumplings and don’t feel like leaving the island, this place does a pretty good rendition. They also have the most amazing cold sesame noodles I have ever had the pleasure of gobbling down. It’s always jammed, and it’s hilariously cheap; the last time I was there our bill was $30. For two. And we had wildly over-ordered.

3. Ten Bells – Is it a first date and you suspect she might be an intellectual lush? (Not that I would be referring to anyone in particular.) Then take her to Ten Bells, an awesome Francophile wine bar in the heart of the LES with an extensive and interesting wine list. They used to be cash only, which was embarrassing for all parties involved; thankfully that is no longer the case.

4. Aurora – Yes, I’m telling you to check out an Italian restaurant….in Williamsburg. They have a lovely outdoor garden when the weather is cooperating, and an adorable, dimly lit dining room when it is not. Prices are quite reasonable and they will very nicely split pastas for you, which means you can have yourself a bit of a tasting menu while you’re at it.

5. Carbone – Then, when you want Italian, but you won’t leave the island…this would be the place. From the guys behind Torrisi Italian Specialties and Parm (both are awesome) comes an old school Italian joint done right. Good luck getting in. I hear the meatballs are pretty fab and the bill can be a little breathtaking. Consider yourself forewarned.

6. Empellon Taqueria – Speaking of meatballs, I often dream about the ones from Empellon Taqueria in the West Village (its sister restaurant, Empellon Cocina, is in the East Village). Their tacos are no slouches either; go with the fish tempura, lamb barbacoa, or pork cheek.

7. ABV – I’ve been raving about this place since it opened. The only problem is, everyone else has been raving about it too and now it’s next to impossible to get in. I prefer to stop in for an early dinner on Sunday, when the crowd’s a little more mellow. Chef Corey Cova changes the menu pretty regularly, and it’s always a hit. No liquor here, but a great selection of wines by the glass more than makes up for it.

8. Le Philosophe – Chef Matthew Aita takes the classic French brasserie for a spin. Ligayan Mishan’s description of the tournedos Rossini alone has me salivating. Plus, the boys at Immaculate Infatuation claim you can get in and out (with wine!) for under $100, if you order right, and that’s reason enough for me.

9. Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria – ever since Il Buco opened this restaurant/cafe/specialty shop down on Great Jones, it’s been jammed in the best way. They have an incredible short rib sandwich that is really heavy on the black pepper crust but delicious with a little gorgonzola and caramelized onions. The cocktail list is great and changes seasonally, and frankly any place that has a cicchetti menu is all right by me.

10. Tertulia – it’s not new, but it’s awesome and I think underrated. I like to go on Sunday afternoons, when it’s quiet, but Seamus says if you get there by 7 on most nights, you don’t have to wait at all. They’ve added some new things to the menu (the duck rice sounds amazeballs) but the old standbys are pretty awesome too: pan con tomate, croquetas, etc.