Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A is for...

Atlantic Grill

I have been to a lot (hundreds...maybe thousands?) of great restaurants in my 8 years in NYC. But even with all those great meals, it's still such a treat when you finish a meal, sit back (in a complete food coma), and think, "wow, that was truly a special dining experience." And, that's exactly how I felt after dinner at Atlantic Grill on Monday night.

What we ordered:
- 4 pieces of shrimp cocktail
- Artic char tartare topped with tobiko, pickled daikon, lemongrass aioli and served with taro root chips
- Soup du jour: corn bisque poured table-side over a seared scallop
- Chef's special roll with crab & avocado, topped with hamachi, tobiko, and BBQ eel sauce; 2 pieces of lobster nigiri
- 2 pieces of kampachi nigiri, topped with pickled plums and crispy onions
- Baked atlantic cod with spring beans, oven dried tomatoes, fava beans, and capers
- Hazelnut crusted sea scallops with melted leeks, black trumpet mushrooms, and sugar snap peas in a rhubarb vinaigrette
- Sauteed potato gnocchi with parmegiano reggiano
- Nutella blondie sundae topped with vanilla ice cream, cherry compote, and chcolate hazelnut ganache

It gets an A for:
- Incredible food. Excellent presentation, fantastic flavors, and a lot of creativity.
- Exceptional service. Our server David was charismatic and knowledgable - keeping it friendly and professional at the same time. He even chased us down the sidewalk to give us a package of Atlantic Grill chocolate chip cookies to take home!

It gets an F for:
- Only one scallop in the corn bisque! One is never enough.
- The triangular crust that the blondie was served in was pretty bland.

49 West 64th Street
b/t Central Park West & Broadway
website
Twitter

Monday, July 25, 2011

G is for...

Giorgio's of Gramercy

Restaurant Week just wrapped up, and I snuck in a meal just in time. I've had mostly good Restaurant Week experiences, but it can definitely hit-or-miss depending on the restaurant. Last night I went to Giorgio's of Gramercy partly because the menu looked good, and partly because I hadn't been to a "G" restaurant yet! It was a really nice meal.

What we ordered:
- Tuna tartare with sesame oil and crispy wontons
- Grilled bronzino (had the tail still attached, but luckily no head!) with grilled summer vegetables and herb pistou
- S'more bread pudding with chocolate-marshmallow topping, caramel sauce, vanilla gelato, and a graham cracker

It gets an A for:
- Huge Restaurant Week portions
- Three words: s'more. bread. pudding. This dessert was heavenly.
- Really nice, calming atmosphere (although it was pretty romantic for dinner with a friend!)

It gets an F for:
- Insanely fast service. A three-course dinner should take longer than 50 minutes!

27 East 21st Street
b/t Park Avenue & Broadway
website
Twitter

Monday, July 18, 2011

T is for...

Tartine

I've been hearing such great things about Tartine since I moved to NYC, but somehow never made it there until this past weekend. Such a little West Village gem! I need to go back ASAP!

What we ordered:
- Tartine's Croutons - crouton gratinee with herbed goat cheese with roasted red peppers, fresh basil, olive oil & balsamic vinegar
- Grilled polenta gratinee with mozzarella cheese, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, olives, and tomato sauce topped with grilled sausage
- Spicy chicken served with guacamole and french fries

It gets an A for:
- Great sidewalk seating - such good people watching
- BYOB
- Delicious, unique food - really loved the flavors of all three dishes. They weren't necessarily quintessential French dishes, but were all fantastic.

It gets an F for:
- Sausage that apparently tastes like hot dogs

253 West 11th Street
@ West 4th Street
Menu Pages listing

Sunday, July 17, 2011

B is for...

Brasserie 360

What we ordered:
- French onion soup
- Grilled vegetables
- Penne primavera with fresh spinach, zucchini, diced tomato in a white wine sauce

It gets an A for:
- The interior has a pretty authentic French bistro feel
- While there's no sidewalk cafe, the windows open up completely and make for great people watching, especially on a nice night

It gets an F for:
- A horrendous waiter - We asked for the soups to come out first, separately from the rest of the food. Three bites into the soup, and out came the other dishes. We mentioned it to the waiter (when we could finally flag him down), and he pointed out how we only had a few bites left. Meanwhile the food was already cold.
- He brought over the check and said, "I probably shouldn't ask this, but are you guys on a first date?" It wasn't, but if you have to preface a question with "I probably shouldn't ask this," you probably shouldn't!

200 East 60th Street
@ 3rd Avenue
website
Menu Pages listing

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Q is for...

Qi

I was worried that Q was going to be one of trickier letters, but after a friend's suggestion (thanks, JS!), Qi was the perfect pick for lunch.

What we ordered:
- Chive corn dumplings with a chili soy sauce
- Pad see ew with vegetables
- Mixed market greens tofu, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and peanut sauce dressing

It gets an A for:
- The lunch special - $7.95 for an appetizer and entree
- The interior - absolutely beautiful space with white marble floors, gorgeous chandeliers, and antique walls

It gets an F for:
- The appetizer and entree coming out at the same time. I know noodle dishes are ready in minutes, but it wasn't crowded, so what's the rush?!
- Funny tasting Diet Coke

675 8th Avenue
b/t 42nd & 43rd Streets
website
Twitter

Monday, July 11, 2011

K is for...

Korzo Haus

"We apologize to all the other burgers for making them so sad." That is the disclaimer on the bottom of Korzo Haus' website, and even though it makes me smile, it couldn't be more accurate.

All I was told about this restaurant was that it's Eastern European and that they wrap their burgers in Hungarian dough called langos, and deep fry them. That definitely grabbed my attention. I'm still not totally sure if this is an actual cuisine in that region, or if our new buddy the chef just thought it was a brilliant idea. Either way, I was curious!

What we ordered:
- Haus vegi - patty made of walnuts and black-eyed peas with edam cheese, carmelized onions, dill pickle, and dressed mixed greens
- Korzo burger with apple-smoked bacon, allgäuer emmenthaler cheese, house made mustard, and a dill pickle
Both burgers were served with purple slaw, slices of green apple, and a delicious mayo
- A side of red bliss potato wedges
- A side of halusky - fried hand-cut spatzle (almost like small gnocchi)

It gets an A for:
- Ridiculously cool concept - The dough is a little bit sweet, and frying it makes all of the flavors inside the dough really come together
- Perfectly cooked grass-fed beef
- The homemade hot sauce
- Great selection of Eastern European beer

It gets an F for:
- The halusky sounded great in theory, but it was a little chewy and bland
- The beet ketchup - apparently you get a lot more "ketchup" from a beet than you do from a tomato...but I wasn't a fan of the flavor

There was a huge party in the back of the restaurant, so we sat at the counter that looked right into the kitchen. It was a lot of fun being able to chat with the chef and ask 1000 questions about the langos/burger-making process, how he decides what will be on the menu (which changes daily), and what ingredients he includes in his sauces, etc.


178 East 7th Street
b/t Avenues A & B
website
Twitter

Sunday, July 10, 2011

M is for...

Mexicue

Mexicue is one of the many awesome food trucks that have been making their rounds all over Manhattan. They are getting ready to open a brick & mortar location just south of Penn Station.
I was invited to their friends & family soft opening and got to check out the space and the food!
What we ordered:
- Smokey baked beans taco topped with tortilla strips, cojita, and habanero aioli slaw
- Alabama BBQ chicken, taco topped with creamy BBQ sauce, roasted poblanos, romaine, and cojita
- Smoked short ribs taco topped with mole, pickled onion, romaine, and cotija
- Berkshire pulled pork slider pickled red onions, and avocado smash
- Green chile mac & cheese
It gets an A for:
- Creativity - love the combo of Mexican and BBQ flavors
- The space design - modern, industrial space with some rustic Southern flare
- Baked beans IN a taco!!!

It gets an F for:
- Dried out chicken
- No sauces available to add on your own
- Pricey for a very small portion of mac & cheese, which wasn't hot enough

345 7th Avenue
b/t 29th & 30th Streets
website
Twitter
(Truck goes to various locations each week)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

D is for...

Dean's Restaurant & Pizzeria

What we ordered:
- House salad
- Homemade meatballs with sauce
- One old fashioned square pizza with cheese

- One old fashioned square pizza with half mushroom/half pepperoni

It gets an A for:
- The dough - it was basically thin focaccia aka absolutely delicious and great consistency
- The sauce - a little sweet, a little tangy, and full of flavor

It gets an F for:
- A small bug in the salad - eek!
- I didn't dine in, but I was told that it's a VERY family-oriented restaurant

801 2nd Avenue
b/t 42nd & 43rd Streets
website
Menu Pages listing
Twitter

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

P is for...

The Place

What we ordered:
- Carnaroli Jersey Corn and Sun-dried Tomato Risotto
with spring onions, orange zest, parmigiano-reggiano and fresh herbs
- Crispy Scottish Salmon Latkes
slivers of pan roasted salmon in a crisp sweet potato shell over a beet, radish and fresh horseradish salad with sour cream and a yellow tomato vinaigrette
- Pan Roasted Polenta Dusted Atlantic Cod
over jersey corn and sugar snap peas with a tarragon and citrus farmhouse butter sauce

It gets an A for:
- The delicious food - all 3 dishes we ordered were fantastic
- The atompshere - stone walls, wood beams, candlelit cozy space
- The variety on the menu - so many unique dishes (salmon latkes?!) and definitely something for everyone

It gets an F for:
- The service - 3 different servers waited on us...all were equally curt and unattentive. I know you're stuck working on a holiday weekend, but would it kill ya to smile?! Happy to ask if me 4 times if I wanted another glass of wine, not so happy when I asked 4 times for another glass of water.

310 West 4th Street
b/t Bank & 12th Streets
website
Menu Pages listing

Monday, July 4, 2011

C is for...

Chick-fil-A

One of my all time favorite things to eat is a Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit. Every time I go home to visit my family, we make at least 1 (sometimes up to 3!) visit for breakfast and lunch. I was so excited to find out there was a location near my aunt and uncle's house in Pennsylvania. I had one for breakfast and brought a few back home with me. It may not be in NYC, but the letter C is only deserving of Chick-fil-A! YUM.

It gets an A for:
- Just about everything...nuggets, fries, chicken biscuits, Chick-fil-A sauce, Polynesian sauce, unlimited refills, cute cows

It gets an F for:
- Not having a real location in NYC
- Being closed on Sundays


In Pennsylvania, they are testing sweet potato waffle fries. Strange they aren't testing them in the South where sweet potato is so popular! The manager said the sweet potato fries have outsold the regular fries every day since they were introduced. They were definitely good (and slightly healthier), but I just can't pass up the regular waffle fries.


Not in NYC :(
Small location in NYU, but they don't have breakfast
website
Twitter

R is for...

Ranchito del Agave

What we ordered:
- Chicken enchiladas with tomatillo salsa verde
- Carnitas and bistec taco topped with cilantro and onions
It gets an A for:
- The lunch special - $6.95 for a choice of 12 different entrees, which come with rice and black beans
- The green enchilada sauce

It gets an F for:
- The set-up - There are 6 small tables in the front, walk thru a hallway by the kitchen, and it opens up to a huge space with ridiculous, bright-colored murals on the walls
- The quality of the meats - sketchy chicken, dried out carnitas (pork), chewy beef
- Rice was the cafeteria kind with little bits of carrots, peas, and green beans in it
- No chips & salsa served. Isn't that a Mexican restaurant staple?!


476 9th Avenue
b/t 36th & 37th Streets
website
Menu Pages listing
Twitter

From A to Z

A - Atlantic Grill (7.25.11)
B - Brasserie 360 (7.14.11)
C - Chick-fil-A (7.2.11)
D - Dean's Restaurant & Pizzeria (7.5.11)
E - Eastern District (8.7.11)
F - Fusha (8.30.11)
G - Giorgio's of Gramercy (7.24.11)
H - Haru Sushi (9.2.11)
I
J
K - Korzo Haus (7.9.11)
L - Le Parisien (9.7.11)
M - Mexicue(7.8.11)
N - New Ashiya (8.3.11)
O - Obao (9.8.11)
P - The Place (7.3.11)
Q - Qi (7.12.11)
R - Ranchito del Agave (7.1.11)
S - Shake Shack (7.31.11, 8.5.11, 8.6.11)
T - Tartine (7.16.11)
U - Ulysses Folk House (8.26.11)
V - Vamos! Tacos & Tequila (8.5.11)
W - Wild Ginger (9.25.11)
X
Y - Yakiniku West (8.31.11)
Z