As a native New Yorker I know my way around a restaurant, to be honest, I’m a little bit of a foodie. I love fine dining something fierce but with restaurants popping up quicker than you can say “check please” I’d narrow your search so you do not spend your night in the city that never sleeps (but it sure is eating!)
Never heard of that? well maybe it is because the High Line Hotel is known for its summertime pop up restaurant and the name and vibe changes every year and they generally really put it off, no offense. This year it is Golden Hour and an oyster bar so I’m a fan just because I’ve never met an Oyster I did not like. The setting is half French bistro half jungle and I’m pretty sure I saw some Tiki torches in addition to I went. The oysters were delicious but so were the crudos and ceviche. A more relaxed setting, I would certainly visit this place for drinks and apps so yes for me overall but again I could be biased because of my love of oysters.
First of all you need to know Spanky Van Dyke if you want to get a table because at the Balthazar branch it is all about who you know otherwise you’ll be waiting 2 hours plus. Lucky for me Spanky hooked me and my friend and the people watching was wonderful. Spanky hosted the last time I was there because reservations are so hard to judge in this haunted Tribeca haunt that’s also my old hood (lived in the area for 4 years). To be honest my friend and I believed the food and wine offerings were pretty good. I loved the people watching but for all the hoopla I certainly expected more. The turbot was great and incidentally my tartare also did not wow me in any way so I’m sad to must give it NEXT unless obviously you scored a res and want people to watch because I’d say Rose Piscine was nearly worth the trip they won my vote for the list this ingenious cocktail cocktail is Rose, Vodka, St germain, pamplemousse (that’s Grapefruit, thank you very much) and sparkling water.
I’ve been a long time fan of LeCouCou so when La Mercerie opened I knew I had to try it. Well, that is what you’d expect from a modern french faire in a retail/design location. I’d say yes to a good Soho lunch spot, I would not choose this place for dinner. Salads and pastries are a yes and let’s leave it at that but very visually appealing and a definite yes for me for lunch if your in the area.
From the same people who brought you Charlie Bird and Pasquale Jones, this restaurant in Hudson Yards is unquestionably one to visit. The space is sexy for a leather-covered table with a green and gold ceiling. This is a place you want to visit whether it is for a date night or with a fun group. From the crudo sampler to the wood-fired octopus to the charred peas with ramps and peppers, the flavors are tangy and decadent. I had the duck ragu the first time I went but it was off the menu the second time and had black sea bass and quadrelli with grilled asparagus, chanterelles & ricotta. They really impressed this foodie which is no small feat. And if you are a New York City history buff, the reason it is called legacy records is because the building that houses the restaurant is the previous building where Legacy recorded, which was a division of Sony Music. Who does not want to have dinner at a place where hit records are made, it makes for a fantastic story.
Una Pizza Napoletana
After 9 years, this once famous pizza joint is back in NYC after a stint in San Fran! My verdict is this is still a really astonishing Neopolitan pizza and certainly worth the trip to Orchard road, but it is not just pizza anymore and the meat crudo with pistachios & olives is totally astonishing and that I love raw peas and lobster. Some people might think New York has pretty good pizza so I say go to Una and prepare to be amazed.
Simon & Pope
Ok so it is kind of in a strange part of town where kips bay meets Gramercy & it is in the Freehand hotel which before going to eat here I had never heard of. But when you eat here, you realize that what looks like any other Mediterranean restaurant has much deeper depth and layers than I could have ever suspected. I assume it is just a case of your textbook judging a book by its cover. Let’s just say they’ve bacon & Gouda zeppole and that I barely even eat bacon but I’ve never met a zeppole I did not like and this one is no different. I’m not trying to tell you this restaurant is sexy because it isn’t but I will tell you that you’ll find something for everybody and you’ll be impressed by the composition of the dishes so if you’re stuck in that part of town let Simon & The Whale layer your silver.
The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare
OK wait a minute, did you know this is in fact on the west side in Hudson Yard? Well I did not until my San Fran foodie friend made reservations for us here a few weeks ago. This is a real culinary experience as Masa meets Per Se in both exclusivity and Japanese dining with French influences. What we did not eat we had everything from Oysters and fluke and Sardines and Cod to Lobster with veal ravioli and fois gras with Wagyu beef and truffles. This is an experience and a must if you like a fantastic omakase experience and have around $600-800 per person to spend on a meal. This is really a foodie paradise and that I will endlessly be indebted to my friend for bringing me to this magical land. I’ve had other meals for that amount in NYC that left me high and dry but you will not find it here if you can get in here you cannot miss it. Oh and the wine list might set you back another paycheck but oh for the love of France, is it perfect. But we kinda knew it should get 2 Michelin stars, eh?