May 25, 2006
New York's Never Ending Feast
After a night of margaritas, wine and fabulous food, in bars and restaurants that really understand ambience, energy and customer service, a great follow up is outside brunch in one of New York's hoods, such as Petite Abeille on East 20th, a relatively new Belgian brunch place. They're big on waffles and nearly all of their breakfast options come with a salmon colored mashed potato with finely chopped carrots.
All of them have their own character and while those who live in the Upper West Side will tout their locals as the best in town, those a fan to the East Village will argue with those in the West Village over the best brunch place.....so the story goes.
Frankly, they're all fabulous, so my advice is to keep walking until you've reached every corner and then start over again.
Take a look at the size of Smith & Wollensky's steaks and this monstrous 3+ pound lobster I somehow finished. (they claim its the smallest size they have)
Soho Grand has left me leaving disappointed my last few visits. While the design aspect still draws me in, the rows of Paris Hilton wanna-bes put a dent in the look-and-feel.
Locals will argue that these haunts are where the tourists go and yet, I can leave with as much of a jolt than a smaller joint in SoHo. They're just different jolts.
More recently, visits to a few of the fun coffee shops and restaurants in Union Square like Flairon, Blue Water Grill and Union Square Cafe.
And on one of the many great reasons I love New York: Avenue A Sushi ordered me a sushi boat, including oysters at midnight. With an ambience more like a night club, than a traditional Japanese restaurant, this is no ordinary sushi bar. Did I mention that the bartender makes addictive and not-too-sweet Mojitos.
Also worth trying is John Georges, located on the Southwest corner of Central Park, that offers French cuisine with Pan-Asian influences.
Perfectly balanced margaritas and baked plantane chips and salsa to be found at Ideya Latin Bistro on West Broadway between Grand and Broom.
This place doesn't look like it could churn out scallops that tasted even better than their presentation. It was hard to share.
I gathered 20 or so people together earlier in the week at Cibo on 2nd Avenue at 42nd, not far from our Roosevelt Hotel.
Cibo has a reasonable prix fix menu that includes scrumptous choice dishes like tuscan tuna tartar, seedless cucumber with flying fish roe, prince Edward island mussels steamed in pinot gris, salmon with dill and parsley beurre blanc, slow roasted root vegetables, and yellowfin tuna with black olives and capers.
A friend of mine knows the owners of Il Bastardo on 191 7th Avenue, where I discovered that Italian reds can be as creamy and intense as my favorite Cab. The Santa Anastasia Nero d'Avalo went down extremely well with a selection of salads and antipasta.
There's nothing but the extra extra virgin olive oil at this place. Great wine, olive oil and ambience topped off by one sexy bartender named Jason, made this well worth a stop.
They understand presentation as well.
I can't end this post without reference to least one New York diner, since they understand diners like no west coast city ever could. A new discovery was The Comfort Diner on 214 E. 45th Street.
Here, they serve traditional diner fare, such as all American country breakfasts, buffalo chicken, beer battered fish & chips, red flannel hash with sweet potato and roasted beets and lox, grilled cheese, eggs and smoked salmon and carmelized onions, alongside trendier “moving towards an upper east side” presentation of blueberry lemon ricotta pancakes, crab burgers, pear and gorgonzola salad with pistachios, grapes and dried cranberries, and retro turkey sandwiches.
Despite the introduction of the latter, the place was as true to as a New York diner as you can find in this part of the city, complete with the New York Times on the counter and those thick rimmed white coffee mugs.
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