Happy Chinese New Year! So another health issues popped up and with one week of restaurant week already gone, it is time to give my game plan. This game plan is the Winter 2020 NYC Restaurant Week which began on January 21 and will end on Sunday February 9. Two course lunch/brunch is $26 and a three course dinner is $42.
After reviewing over 290 menus out of the 364 restaurants participating, there were a lot of restaurants continuing to participate plus several new ones. So, here is my plan for this year’s winter restaurant week adventure:
1) The Carlyle in the Upper East for dinner for two. This is the first time that they are participating for restaurant week. Definitely want to try their yellowfin tuna, beet salad, chicken, gnocchi and lavender creme brulee. In addition and it’s optional the wine pairing for all three dishes will be an additional $36.
2) Felidia in Midtown/Upper East Side is a great Italian restaurant with a connection to the Vatican because the owner Lidia Bastianich has served food to past three popes during their visits to New York. Personally I have eaten here this past summer for the Italian Restaurant Week and it will be interesting on how I will be treated because I experienced subtle inequality and slight discrimination when I dined there alone. Reservations go by very quickly.
3) Catch Steak is another restaurant under the Catch corporation located in Meatpacking is also participating in restaurant week for the first time for dinner. All three items chosen for their prix fixe are also sold a la carte. The ambiance of the place is awesome for pictures and girls night out.
4) Manhatta is a hard to get in restaurant under the Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group located in Lower Manhattan. They are also participating in restaurant week for lunch. Miraculously, I managed to get a reservation for a very early lunch. For my solo lunch, I definitely want to try the snails and lamb burger. Out of all the restaurants that are on this list, this is the one I am most excited about.
5) Aburiya Kinnosuke in Midtown is also participating in restaurant week for the first time and will be going for dinner for two. Definitely want to try their tofu, vegetable stir fry, black cod, chicken thigh, Shiratama Amitsu ice cream and mochi ice cream.
6) Ambassador Grill and Lounge located in the Millennium Hotel in the UN is also participating in restaurant week. All three items chosen for their prix fixe are also sold a la carte.
Due to time and obligations, I will not be able to eat at other restaurants this time around, so here is my wish list for restaurants to try: Cathedrale, David Burke Tavern, Tuome, Bann, Woodpecker, Cafe Boulud, Danji, Charlie Palmer Steak, Club A Steakhouse, and DB Bistro Moderne.
Now we will shift gears to Long Island Restaurant Week and over 175 restaurants will be participating. A three course prix fixe will cost $29.95. The awesome thing about this restaurant week is that they will be offering it on Saturdays until 7pm. Given that this restaurant week is coinciding with NYC restaurant week, it’s going to be difficult to participate. Therefore, here are my choices for this restaurant week: Red Salt in Garden City, Luigi’s in New Hyde Park and Imperial Meat Company in Huntington.
Stay tuned on my Instagram: tablespoonsandteaspoons and Twitter: spoonstt for posts during this adventure.
Last week I decided to make solo trip to David Burke Tavern in the Upper East Side in Manhattan. The former Fishtail location will be one of the participating restaurants for the upcoming NYC restaurant week starting tomorrow.
One of the entrees that will be offered during restaurant week is the celery root ravioli. The dish consists of grapes, pickled celery and winter black truffles. This homemade dish is well balanced especially when all the elements are combined.
Happy 2020! Can’t believe that we are halfway in the first month of the year! What’s even more exciting is next week is NYC Winter Restaurant week. One of the restaurants that will be participating during the restaurant week is Bread and Tulips.
Over the summer, my friend and I had dinner at this hot spot in Gramercy. They had happy hour until 7pm for discounted drinks. We came on a Monday evening during the summer and the place was dead. Service was on point in terms of knowledge and efficiency.
– Appetizers: To start, we took advantage of the restaurant week wine bottle special for $35. The wine was very good and the waiter re-corked the bottle to take home because we could not finish a bottle of wine. We ordered the crab cakes and Tuscan kale salad. The crab cakes were very good overall, the only comment I would say is that it was a little salty but all the components are well balanced if consumed in one bite. My friend got the Tuscan Kale Salad, which was really good, refreshing and healthy. Out of the two dishes, the kale salad was the better of the two.
– For the entree, we ordered the seared sea scallops and Long Island duck. The scallops was really good and the flavors were well balanced. Meanwhile my friend got the duck which was amazing and very lean. Out of the two dishes, the duck was the better of the two. That duck was to die for and personally I could see that dish become inconsistent if it was a busy night. Plus both dishes went well with the wine.
The desserts were to awesome. The tartufo is amazing and with the lemon flavor and currents and walnut texture, the dish was a perfect end to my prix fixe. My friend got the chocolate mousse cake with hazelnut gelato, which was flawless.
Personal note, go on a non-busy night; given the restaurant’s reputation I can foresee regular people like us could get ignored and getting subpar service. The night we went it was dead (10 people were dining that evening).
Bread & Tulips is one of the over 300 restaurants participating in the upcoming NYC restaurant week starting from January 21 – February 7.
Stay tuned for suggested restaurants for this restaurant week….
I have heard great things about Keste in the Village in Manhattan. I was thrilled when they decided to open another location in downtown Manhattan. This location is pretty hidden. The address states Fulton, but it is hidden behind bushes and plants and you would have to walk down a side street to enter the restaurant.
I have been to Keste several times because they awesome fresh personal pies, but they must be consumed before it gets cold. The chef/owner uses fresh ingredients and native techniques to execute a personal pie like no other. The place also holds pizza making classes and other food events.
What is awesome about this place was their $5 personal margherita pie. Here’s the catch, to get the discount, this pie must be eaten in the restaurant.
The place also has happy hour until 7pm and they have drink specials and complementary food samples.
If you want to splurge, the truffle pizza aka the Montanara Truffle $20, which has the perfect balance of truffle to mozzarella. Decadent and delightful!!
A great place for lunch, dinner, get together with friends of all food types meaning they have gluten free pizzas. A place worth eating and a bang for your buck!!
Happy 4th of July! As we celebrate freedom and the birth of America, we believe that over the span of 200 years, our country has become a melting pot with a diverse group of immigrants, first/second generation children building their legacy. What better way to honor and pass on traditions through food. So let’s begin with:
Filipino Restaurant Week, which took place from May 13th thru May 26th. They have a three course lunch and three course dinner special. We chose a place called Grill 21 in the Gramercy section of NYC. They had a three course deal for $35 for two people. So below was the following:
Combo set of BBQ Chicken meal
Buko pandan (young coconut and pandan leave mixture)
Combo set: Kare kare (beef oxtail in peanut and vegetable sauce)
The food was good, service was very quick and reservations were strict. It was definitely great deal plus I had leftovers for the next day.
The next place(s) we went to was for Italian Restaurant Week took place from June 1-8 of this year. It was a eight-day celebration of authentic Italian cuisine. Three course lunch was $29.99 and three course dinner was $49.99. We were privileged to have dinner at two restaurants that were participating: Felidia and Barbalu.
Let’s start with a solo dinner at Felidia which was a pretty nice restaurant. It has 3 floors, the first floor is the bar and section for regular and high end clientale. The second floor is where all the new people/tourists sat. The third floor we believe was where private events would take place. When I entered the restaurant the hostess and staff were polite but I sensed there’s a type of prejudice. The hostess sat me in the corner with my back turned to the crowd. After a few minutes, the server saw me and repositioned me to let me enjoy the ambiance of the place. The server was really nice and accommodating. So below is what I ate from the restaurant:
Complementary bread with beans and hummus
Capasante – scallops with vegetables
Service and staff needs work but the food is one of the best Italian foods ever. Everything I ate was cooked to perfection. If I had to choose, the vitello was the dish I have ever had and the tiramisu was my second favorite. I would definitely return to this restaurant for the upcoming NYC restaurant week starting July 22 through August 16.
The second restaurant we went to was Barbalu located in the South Street Seaport. This husband and wife restaurant was rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy after their original restaurant was completely destroyed. We went for dinner and their three course dinner was only $42. The food was overall good especially for a local small business spot. Service was definitely better than Felidia. So below is what we ordered:
Appetizer special: Bresaola with arugula
Pear and Ricotta Fagottini with Cream and Truffle Oil
My favorite out of the three was the pasta entree because all the flavors balanced out and the fagottini was freshly made. This restaurant is perfect for freshly made pasta plus they also have gluten free pasta. Personally I would come back for a group dinner.
Finally OpenTable provided a promo from Thailand Insider called #Eatthaivisitthai restaurant week which is occurring now until July 15. Thailand Insider is holding a contest where you take a picture(s) of the food eaten at the participating restaurant(s) and hashtag #Eatthaivisitthai, tag “Thailand Insider” and a foodie friend to join in. The prize is a 10 day culinary trip to Thailand. So, I went on a solo dinner to Somtum Der in the East Village to take advantage of their happy hour. For happy hour it was 1/2 price drinks and $6 fried chicken thigh. In addition I ordered the thai tea panna cotta and larb moo spring roll.
Fried Chicken Thighs
Thai Ice Tea Panna Cotta
Po Pia Larb Moo
The restaurant is closed from 4-6pm and it opens at 6pm sharp. Since I was dining alone I had the option to sit on the stool or on a table so I chose the table. Once I sat on the table I felt that service was rushed. Other than the rushed service the food was on point. I was impressed by the mangosteen martini especially with the price the quality of the drink (balance of juice with alcohol). I would definitely return to this place with friends to try their som tum and suggested combination sets.
Almost two months ago we were privileged to attend the preview of this year’s Queens International Night Market behind the New York Hall of Science inside Flushing Corona Park in Queens. With a small fee $5 which went to charity, we get the opportunity to taste dishes from returning and new food vendors. Founder John Wang, started the International Night Market back in 2015 in the effort to create a cultural event to celebrate the diversity of immigrants and small businesses. The Night Market was designed to sell dishes at a cap of $6 and in the beginning of this project, I’ve learned that half of the proceeds were going to be donated.
On April 27, there were 54 food vendors that participated in the event. The vendors came from various countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Colombia, Korea, Vietnam, Burma, Mexico, Moldova, Malaysia, Ukraine and Indonesia. In addition, to the diverse food options, there were unique food creations such as the Moffle Bar and Twister Cake.
This was my fourth time I visited the Night Market and this time my goal was to taste the food at Burmese Bites. This vendor always had a long line because you get your money’s worth. Portion sizes were shareable. So finally we were able to order a dish from Burmese Bites. Burmese Bites were selling three dishes and we ordered the Keema Palata for $6. The dish tasted authentic and really good plus it fed two people, the portion size appeared deceivingly small but it was extremely filling.
During our visit to the Night Market, we sampled food from 7 out of the 54 food vendors. We just want to disclose that healthy food choices during this visit did not cross our minds as we were embracing the diversity that was celebrated through cultural and even fusion dishes. Below are the dishes that we tried that stood out from the event. The total cost of the dishes below we spent was: $40 for two people, which was not bad for 7 different dishes.
There were five other dishes we tried including the Pho Ga (chicken pho soup) from Em Vietnamese for only $5. The soup was really good especially that it was cold that night. The soup was also hot, fresh and filling.
We were already full at this point so we walked to various vendors and we spotted another vendor that we wanted to try: Jibarito Shack which is a Latin food vendor that served sandwiches using fried plaintains instead of bread. As a result we decided to split a low carb sandwich. We ordered the El Dominicano made with roast pork, pickled onions, queso frito and Dominican salami for only $5. The sandwich was definitely low carb but the first two dishes we had previously were better.
We also checked another new vendor called KINI – Korean Dakgangjeong & Ganjang Chicken. We ordered the Ganjang (not spicy) fried chicken $5. The chicken was messy but tasty however it wasn’t as crispy as Bon Chon.
The next place we tried again was Joon a Persian rice cup spot that can be filled up with various flavors. We got the Pomegranate Walnut Chicken and Tumeric Beef and Eggplant at $6 each. Personally I like overcooked rice which is a little dried but other people didn’t like it. In addition, the proportion or balance of meat with sauce to rice was uneven meaning that there was more rice leftover after eating the meat(s). The leftover rice had no flavor and once it got cold, the taste was not the same once served hot.
For dessert we went to Wembie for some awesome Farmer cheese donuts ($4). The donuts definitely hit the spot.
We ended the night with Ecuadorean dark chocolate from Element Truffles. These chocolates were raw, organic and dairy free. We ordered a small dark chocolate bar with sea salt and tumeric for $3.
The Queens International Night Market runs every Saturday night starting at 5pm until midnight starting now until August 17 and September 28 thru October 26. It’s free and prices for each food item is capped at $6.
Hello once again! This month was very adventurous with various eating adventures and weight gain. However, I was successfully able to achieve one of my goals for this year, which was to write more reviews on Yelp and OpenTable. I am happy to announce (yes I know it’s cheesy) but I am now part of Yelp Elite. Therefore I am very excited to take part in more exclusive Yelp events and network with more elite Yelpers.
I am happy to say that I have attended at least one of my lunch and dinner restaurant recommendations for NYC Winter Restaurant week thanks to my new friends from Catholic NYC.
So let’s begin with the list of restaurants I was able to eat at for the first official NYC Restaurant week of 2019:
The restaurant has two floors which calls for segregation from the restaurant week people and their high end regular clients. Overall service was good, my waiter was knowledgeable and recommended the great wine pairing with my entree. This would be a great special occasion restaurant or for a date night for two. Now to the meal:
– The appetizers offered for restaurant week were different variations of their regular menu appetizers. So I settled for the burrata with arugula, beets and poached pear, which was tasty with the Portuguese white wine. Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo or the photo did it make it to this phone.
– For the entree, I settled for the miso butternut squash glazed bass, which was part of their regular menu and beautifully presented. The skin was crispy, and the meat combined with the squash and the leeks plus the white wine was perfect.
– For the dessert, I paid an extra $8 for their classic baked alaska, which was the highlight of my meal and worth the extra cost. The dessert presentation was amazing, the walnut cake, banana gelato, and lemon meringue plus carmelization smokiness was to die for.
I came here to have dinner with three people and we had the opportunity to take advantage of the happy hour. The happy hour deals were good. The cool thing about this place was for $42 you get to order four things (Two appetizers, entree and dessert).
Overall the restaurant was busy and after paying our bill, the hostess had to “kick us out” of the table for new guests. She was really nice and accommodating by providing us with a free drink at their lounge. I ordered the “From Beirut with Passion” cocktail which is a basil cilantro mint infused vodka with sparkling passion fruit. This drink after was much stronger than the happy hour version.
– For the two appetizers I went with the steak tartare with onions and jalapenos and the fattoush salad. The tartare was a small portion designed to be cut into quarters to accommodate the perfect balance bite. Therefore the bite tasted good with everything combined. Next the fattoush salad arrived. The salad was refreshing, very minty and crispy due to the toasted pita chips, which worked really well after eating the tartare.
– For the main entree I ordered the Lamb Makboubeh and it was meaty, gamey and hearty especially with the dirty rice and mixed nut mixture. The cucumber yogurt sauce really helped mask the gaminess of the lamb shank. I only ate half of the dish and took the rest home.
– For the dessert came I ordered the ilili candy bar and it was a small portion compared to a regular order. It tasted so good and was a perfect end to the meal.
This restaurant is my go to spot to take a group of people because their menu is the same for restaurant week. Service was efficient and very quick. I sat in the standing table at 5 to 8 and was done with everything at 9.
First I ordered a mocktail: Moscow Mouse which was good and refreshing.
– Appetizer: I ordered the pastrami salmon with falafel. The pastrami salmon was not the same as I had it before. The falafel was a healthier version that caught me by surprise because it was chewy and it did have the breaded crispy crunch that would be found in most if not all authentic falafel.
– Entree – I ordered the roasted branzino. The dish was one of the best dishes I have had in this restaurant to date. The branzino had a great roasted crisp especially combined with the squash, crispy artichoke and artichoke puree. The puree was the best I have had to date.
– For the dessert I went with my server’s recommendation of the chocolate hazelnut crunch cake. Unfortunately, the picture of this beautifully presented dish did not save on my phone. The cake was rich but it has to be consumed with the whipped cream for a balanced taste.
For restaurant week I came here for dinner with three friends from Catholic NYC. This restaurant was another good go to spot to take a group of people because their menu is the also same for restaurant week. The restaurant from the outside looks like a hole in a wall, after bypassing the crowded bar there was a open deceivingly unknown space for dining. I would return to have brunch because the back area of the restaurant had a awesome sunroof plus I was informed that there was a speakeasy.
First I ordered a mocktail: Paul Hogan, which was good and refreshing.
Appetizer: I ordered the roasted beet salad. The salad was definitely colorful just as our server described and it was tasty and refreshing.
Entree: I ordered the barramundi which was both popular and highly recommended by our server. The dish was roasted perfectly crispy and mixed with vegetables it had a great balance of flavors. The dish compliment well with the Pinor Gris from Australia.
Dessert: I had to have the bread pudding which was so good and a perfect end to this dessert.
I finally had the privilege to enjoy lunch at the Dutch for NYC restaurant week. I barely made it to lunch before the kitchen closed for dinner. The staff was very accommodating and ensured I was well taken care of. Service overall was great. I took advantage of the deal $26 for two courses which was a great bargain for the amount of food I got. I highly recommend this restaurant for lunch for restaurant week, it’s worth it.
I had the hot tin roof cocktail which was good, refreshing and somewhat medicinal. For the appetizer I went with the shrimp cocktail, the shrimps were huge and the right amount of the crab louie made this deceptively small dish very filling.
The entree was the highlight for me, the roasted chicken kale caesar salad with lots and lots of cheese was huge that it could feed two people. This salad was so good, the chicken was tender and skin was so crispy while the kale and cheese combination hit the spot. I was only able to eat half of it.
For the final night of restaurant week dinner I came to Riverpark with 5 people fromCatholic NYC 15 minutes before they closed. This restaurant is absolutely gorgeous. Service was efficient and accommodating especially when they were going to close for the evening. I would return to have brunch because of the view and outdoor dining option.
Given the time of night I went light and pescatarian.
Appetizer: I ordered the cauliflower sformato. The appetizer was pretty and custard in combination with the cauliflower was to die for.
Entree: I went with the diver scallops and clams which was light and perfect for that of the evening.
Dessert I had to have the persimmon cake with the ginger ice which hit the spot and was a perfect end to this restaurant week adventure.
Happy 2019! It’s been 21 days after the New Year but Chinese New Year is coming up. Anyways one of my goals for 2019 is to actively blog while fighting a health scare, working multiple projects and pursuing my next career move. Let’s begin 2019 with a game plan. This game plan is the Winter 2019 NYC Restaurant Week which runs today (January 21) thru Friday February 8.
This restaurant week was not heavily advertised and when I visited the website, I saw that American Express was no longer sponsoring the three week promotion. Well, after reviewing the 313 menus posted, I was more disappointed about the lower amount of discounts offered this season. In addition the timing was terrible on this end because Chinese New Year is on the week of February 4th so I really had to pick and choose my places this season. First, I am going to provide the total number of restaurants offering the best values for lunch, dinner and brunch based on our criteria.
For this season’s restaurant week, I have listed my recommendations for lunch, dinner and brunch.
Brunch: Catch for two and Rahi for two
Lunch: Frankie & Johnnies for one, The Dutch for one, Lure Fishbar for one and T Bar Steak and Lounge for one. For two people, La Pecora Blanca, Legasea, Mamo and Park Avenue Winter are my picks.
Dinner: For solo dinner nights my picks are Ilili, Delmonico’s, Rahi, Park Avenue Winter, Cesca and Gabriel’s. For two people, Maloney & Porcelli, Fine & Rare, Pig & Khao and Mamo. For three people, there’s Club A, Scarpetta and Burke and Wills. If you want to do a group dinner RiverPark, Woodpecker and David Burke Tavern are your best bets.
On September 27, 2018, I had the privilege to win the Yelp/ Instagram contest to attend the Sip for the Sea event at the Central Park Zoo to benefit the Wildlife Conservation Society and New York Aquarium. The mission of the event was to promote marine conservation and education at the New York Aquarium. The event featured 22 sustainable dishes and wine pairings from various restaurants. The food and wine options were overwhelming and unfortunately had only seven of these items so I can’t have favorites, but they all tasted good and the wine pairings complemented each bite.
I can’t wait to visit the restaurants that participate at this event. Thank you Yelp, Instagram for everything. Thank you to the organizers at Sip for the Sea for accommodating me and my guest for this great event.
Five months ago my friends from college wanted to do a girls night with dinner at the new and popular chicken and waffle spot in Long Island City called Sweet Chick. Personally I have heard how popular this place was in Brooklyn, but the one in Long Island City was said to be bigger and more accommodating than its original location. They are also two additional locations, one in Brooklyn and the other in the Lower East Side in Manhattan.
When my friend contacted me on Saturday afternoon, she informed me that this restaurant did not accept reservations and it was walk in only. Given my knowledge of this franchise’s popularity, I decided to take a cab to the restaurant. I was glad I did because the nearest train station was closed for routine weekend repairs. When I approached the restaurant, there was a line going out the door of people putting their names down on the wait list. As I got closer to the host inside the restaurant, the host was telling each person on line that the wait was two hours. When I heard that the wait time was two hours, most people walked out, but I stayed so I can talk to the host and even the manager about wait time, when the restaurant did not appear crowded. Anyways, I put my name down and the host stated that they would try to reduce my wait time and as more and more people decided to leave, my wait time was reduced to 30 minutes. Thirty minutes was definitely better than two hours. By the time, my friends arrived and we were finally seated. To start, I ordered the Pink Noise cocktail ($12). The cocktail tasted really good (flavors were well balanced), but strong (there were two maybe three different liquors in this cocktail) and I was buzzed throughout the night despite consumption of the fried chicken and waffles.
Pink Noise – White Rum, Brut, Luxardo, Rhubarb-Ginger Shrub, Lime and Grapefruit Bitters
Now to the food:
For the table we ordered the Crawfish Hush Puppies ($11). The hush puppies were greasy. The hush puppies also contained corn, which enhanced the texture. I loved the jalapeno jam because it complemented the saltiness of the hush puppy. If you don’t want to feel that you’re eating greasy fried fish fritters, the remoulade sauce was a great addition if you want to mask the oily exterior while embracing the crawfish flavor inside.
Crawfish Hush Puppies – Remoulade Sauce, Jalapeno Jam
For those who can’t eat seafood, there are the pork belly nuggets ($10), but personally it was too small of a portion for the price. It was also forgettable. Personally it was a failed attempt to create a balanced dish of a sweet marinated pork belly with a pickled fruit and the acidic kimchi.
We ordered three different chicken and waffles dishes ($19 each); all look really good and interesting. In addition, you can even design your own chicken and waffles meals.
Nashville Fried Chicken Waffle – my friend ordered this meal because it was one if not the spiciest meal in the menu. My friends like their meal, I took a bite of the chicken and it was packed with Southern flavors and spice. If you like hot and spicy, this is a choice you won’t regret.
Buffalo Fried Chicken Waffle – my friend ordered this meal and tasting a piece of that buffalo fried chicken, it definitely lived up to its name. What I mean is that this was definitely a chicken and waffles version of Buffalo Fried Chicken. It is a twist from a classic that will leave you satisfied.
Fried Chicken Parmesan – I am a sucker for cheese so when I saw fresh mozzarella on top of a fried chicken served on a little cast iron plate with tomato sauce, it was over. The mozzarella, basil and parmesan waffle complemented the tomato sauce.
Overall the fried chicken was properly battered and the texture of each bite from three different dishes was very consistent. Plus, the dish helped alleviate the alcohol buzz from the Pink Noise.
Nashville Fried Chicken Waffle with Milk Jam Waffle
Buffalo Fried Chicken Waffle – Celery and Carrot Waffle, Blue Cheese
To end our evening of awesome comfort food, we ordered the entire desserts menu. All the desserts were to die for. If you want to go towards the healthy route, stick with the blueberry cobbler. Personally I would choose the Daily Special Donut Ice Cream Sandwich, which was amazing.
I realized why service was slow throughout the evening because the chef was ensuring that every dish that came out of that kitchen was up to par and all of our orders did not disappoint.
After sharing this information here on my blog, I am craving chicken and waffles. I definitely want to check out the other locations especially the one in the Lower East Side.