Throwback Thursday – 2019 NYC Winter Restaurant Week

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:

1) Delmonico’s

2) ilili

3) David Burke Tavern

4) Burke and Wills

5) The Dutch

6) Riverpark

Delmonico’s

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.

Ilili

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 was 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.

David Burke Tavern

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.

Burke and Wills

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.

The Dutch

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.

Riverpark

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.

New York City Restaurant Week Winter 2019 Game Plan

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.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts and follow me on Instagram: tablespoonsandteaspoons and Twitter: spoonstt.

Cheers!!

Flashback Friday – 2018 NYC Summer Restaurant Week

TGIF — It’s Flashback Friday and it’s been over six weeks since I’ve last posted here.  Well, it’s restaurant week again and we are entering the last seven days of this high end eating on a budget event.  This year’s restaurant week started on July 23 and ends next Friday, August 17.

Did you know that NYC restaurant week started 26 years ago to welcome the Democratic National Convention (DNC)? We all know who won the election.  Anyways, back to food, NYC restaurant week started with 95 participating restaurants in 1992 to approximately quadrupling to 380 in 2018.  This season, few restaurants in Brooklyn, Queens and even Staten Island are jumping on the bandwagon for this budget friendly opportunity.  This season was disappointing because lunch/brunch meals are only two courses (appetizer with entree or dessert) for $26 and a three course dinner remains at $42.

After 3 weeks of thorough review of 317 menus out of the 380 restaurants, here are the logistics that are broken down into: best lunch, dinner and brunch for 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5+ people.  Our criteria is comparing what the restaurant is offering for restaurant week to their daily lunch/dinner/brunch menu; for example, if crudo is part of the regular lunch appetizer menu, we want to see if the restaurant is serving the same item on their restaurant week menu.  Some restaurants are even offering parts of their regular as part of restaurant week, which is a great way to go.

We will begin with the total number of restaurants that are offering the best value meals for lunch, dinner and brunch based on our criteria.

Slide1Personally one of the reasons why I have yet to participate in this year’s restaurant week is because I am on a diet, which I will disclose at some point this weekend. Therefore, we created another table that breaks down the overall number of best value meals to accommodate the vegetarians, pescatarians, people in low carb diets (that’s me) and comfort (those who want to YOLO)!

Slide2

Even though I am on a diet, I do plan to take advantage of restaurant week, which is easier said than done because there is no control of how the food is made.  However, with the comfort meal types, the appetizers are either on the vegetarian, pescatarian and low carb side.  The hard part is dessert, which in case, lunch is ideal, but due to my full time job, I can’t take advantage of the lunch offerings this season.

In the past, I have shared my experiences of eating at restaurants for restaurant week and if you need any ideas or suggestions,  below is the list of places I have eaten at for past restaurant weeks:

Capital Grille at all three New York City locations (Grand Central, West 50s and wall Street) their 14 ounce bone-in dry aged sirloin steak is still being offered for this restaurant week.  In addition from now until September 2, Capital Grille is also offering what they call a “Generous Pour”, which costs only $28 for a tasting of seven wines with the purchase of dinner.   The suggestion for this restaurant week:

Lunch for 1: Caesar Salad & Signature Cheeseburger with Truffle Fries

– Dinner for 2: Wedge of Bleu Cheese or Clam Chowder

Bone-In Dry Aged Sirloin Steak  (14oz) w/ Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans

Seared Citrus Glazed Salmon w/ Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans

Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake and Creme Brulee

Fonda (Comfort Food) in the East Village has awesome happy hour specials, but for restaurant week it’s a good way to get four friends to get together for drinks and happy times.  Check out my post on what the guacamole, enchilada suizas and dessert (morenitas).

Blenheim (Comfort Food) a Michelin rated restaurant offers a stipulation from my experience eating here two years ago.  The menu changes frequently for the season, which makes it exciting.  This season, a solo dinner is the way to go with the following: Fried Chicken, Pork two ways and Chocolate cremeux.

Tavern 62 by David Burke (Comfort Food) located at the beginning of the Upper East Side is one of the few restaurants that are utilizing their regular menu have new customers try their food and feel that they belong. They have great happy hour specials, where there are $10 burgers and $8 fries.   Check out the pictures and previous write up about the transition from Fishtail to Tavern62 by clicking on the “Tavern 62 by David Burke” link.  I do plan on returning to this restaurant because I feel welcomed but more importantly it’s a great deal for restaurant week and the customer will get their money’s worth.

Other restaurants I definitely want to try are the following:

Smith & Wollensky – Dinner for 4 – Comfort Food

Appetizer: Mixed Green Salad, Caesar Salad, Calamari, and Pea Soup

Entree: Filet Mignon, Lemon Pepper Chicken,  Salmon Waldorf, and Pan Roasted Branzino

Dessert: Cheesecake, Bourbon Pecan Pie, Chocolate Mousse Cake and Coconut Layer Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

Barraca – Dinner for 2 – Pescatarian/Vegetarian

Appetizer: Ensalada de Mercado and Pulpo a Feira

Entree: Paella de Verdura (minimum 2 people) and Paella de Calamares

Desserts: Churros de Rellanos and Corte de Helado

In addition, offering a great $18 wine pairing deal for restaurant.  They are also one of the few restaurants that are offering a three course lunch meal for restaurant week for $26.  Plus, they have a great $6 happy hour menu from 4pm to 7pm.

Nickel and Diner – Dinner for 1 – Pescatarian/Low Carb

Appetizer: Smoked Salmon Chowder

Entree: Ginger Crusted Halibut

Desserts: Honey Semifreddo

In addition, they have a great happy hour menu from 3pm to 7pm.

Lugo Cucina Italiana – Lunch for 2 – Low Carb/Pescatarian/Vegetarian

Appetizer: Kale Mango Salad, Mussels Fra Diavolo

Entree: Salmone Al Forno, Eggplant Parmagiana

Although I may have disappeared here on my own site, but I am posting on my Instragram page: tablespoonsandteaspoons.  Please follow me.

I will continue to strive to post more often here.  Stay tuned….

 

 

 

Meatless Monday – Rad Thai Salad

It’s Leap Day and for the last several days I have been recovering from the class I took during Union Square Fest at Athleta.  That workout was so intense that I struggled walking up and down the stairs for several days.  Right after the workout, I decided to swing by Sweetgreen.20160224_204541 Sweetgreen uses all their ingredients grown from local and community farms so everything is fresh.  I decided to order the lowest calorie dish (375 calories) called the Rad Thai, derived from the Thai street dish Pad Thai.  This salad consists of organic arugula + organic mesclun, sprouts, carrots, shredded cabbage, spicy sunflower seeds, cucumbers, basil, citrus shrimp, and one round of spicy cashew dressing.  The salad was incredibly filling.  My favorite part of the salad was the citrus shrimp.  The total cost of this salad was $12.85 plus tax.  The price is reasonable given the ingredients used.  I would definitely return and try the Spicy Sabzi.

For those who do not have access to Sweetgreen or the organic ingredients, this salad can be made on a budget and it can serve more than one person.

Salad Blend – Arugula & Mesclun or any mixed salad = 2 for $5 at Stop & Shop

Sprouts – Chinese or Asian Supermarket usually sells for a decent price.

Shredded Carrots = 3 for $5 at Stop & Shop

Cabbage – usually the best sale is before St. Patrick’s Day at the price of either $0.19 and $0.29/lb. at Stop and Shop.  Red Cabbage is usually purchased at $0.99/lb. on sale at any supermarket.

Shrimp – $6.99/lb at Stop and Shop

Spicy Sunflower Seeds – convenience store e.g. CVS, 7-11, Duane Reade

Cucumbers – usually purchased $0.99/lb and below.

Basil – I usually purchase a fresh pack at an Asian supermarket (approx. $2.00/lb)

Citrus Marinade – orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, sriracha

Spicy Creamy Cashew Dressing (Derived from “Redeeming the Table”) – Juice of 1 orange, Juice of 1 lime or lemon chopped raw cashews, garlic, sea salt, red chili flakes and Grinds of black pepper

I have not made this dish personally, but after researching the ingredients, now I want to make this dish.  It would be serve as a great and quick potluck dish too.