Tag Archives: NYC

PouletCajun

Le Bilboquet Opens with a Bang

After months of anticipation, UES hot spot, Le Bilboquet, finally reopened in its new location next to fi:af on 60th between Madison and Park. While I was initially concerned that opening at a larger venue would undermine Bilbo’s exclusivity of being small, intimate space, the new location in many ways works better. Now offering space for up to 100 patrons and more room for unique art by Peter Tunney, Bilboquet’s new space epitomizes the restaurants maturity, success and clear fact that it indeed ranks among NYC’s elite restaurants, beyond just a UES hangout.

PouletCajun

Despite the larger setting, the restaurant maintains its people watching, long waits and extremely difficult tables that require “reservations” or in other words, connections to be seated.  As expected, prices have slightly increased, portions are slightly less substantial and the attitude is just as arrogant as the original but one thing is clear, Bilboquet remains the hottest restaurant on the Upper East Side.

Le Bilboquet

20 East 60th Street

New York, NY, 10022

P: + 1 212 751-3036

Lafayette

Lafayette Everything Balthazar Isn’t

Among the most highly anticipated openings this Spring, Lafayette is arguably the most talked about restaurant to open in some time.  Andrew Carmellini, Josh Pickard and Luke Ostrom, responsible for the immensely popular The Dutch and  Locanda Verde are behind the new 150 seat French Bistro that is in the former Chinatown Brasserie (and club Rehab/Fez).  In addition, Tom Colicchio’s longtime partner at Craft, Damon Wise, is responsible for curating what is a very attractive and excellent menu. While many french bistro’s abound in New York, seldom do restaurants have the range, depth and innovative creativity that Lafayette‘s possesses. While Lafayette’s menu is comprised of a French-Gallic influence, it is best described as being very South of France, thus incorporating traces of Italian and French. As a result, the menu offers a unique combination of french bistro classics including: Beef Tartare, Grilled Mediterranean Octopus, Oysters Sargent and Steak Frites. In addition, the menu is also comprised of exceptional Italian pasta’s including: Linguine Noir with Seafood and Chorizo, Macaroni with Veal Ragout and Brebis, and Spaghetti Nicoise with Tuna, which is a unique French-Italian hybrid.  While there is no one stand out “signature dish” the two big winners are the Duck Au Poivre and Rotisserie Chicken. The Duck Au Poivre is served with organic grains, radish and smoked bacon. In addition to Au Poivre being highly unique way of preparation for french bistro’s, the Duck was exceptionally tender, flavorful and exquisite.

Lafayette

What stands out at Lafayette, in addition to the outstanding food and impressive menu, is the scene. Located on the corner of Great Jones and Lafayette, in the heart of NoHo, Lafayette is currently one of the most talked about “it spots” in town. On a Tuesday evening at 930P.M, the restaurant is completely full, with what would appear to be a unique blend of  discerning foodies, socialities and tastemakers. Usually, restaurants that are “scenes” are not known for their food (I.E: Waverly Inn). However, Carmellini’s Lafayette defies conventional thinking. Rather than be known as a scene for the scene, why not be a scene because of the delectable cuisine? Despite close proximity to perennial favorites Bond St., Indochine and Acme, Lafayette is immediately  not only among the best French bistro’s in town, but also, is a legitimate scene comprised of some of Manhattan’s finest (that is not a tourist trap) that in many ways represents everything Balthazar was but no longer is.

Beatrice Inn

Graydon Carter’s, Beatrice Inn: the Quintessential Clubhouse for the A-List

Upon descending into the West Village speakeasy, I immediately am confronted with a moment of deja vu as I cogitate and reminisce of the former Beatrice Inn, headed by Paul Sevigny and Matt Abramcyk, which ruled the NYC nightlife scene for over two years in the late 2000s. Best known for attracting models, socialites and heavy party animals, The Beatrice Inn was the place to be at the pinnacle of its brief existence. However, over two years following the Beatrice’s demise,  Vanity Fair icon and Editor in Chief, Graydon Carter, announced his plans to transform the former denizon of transgressions into an upscale, neighborhood chop house. Considering Carter’s massive success with the celeb infused Waverly Inn and takeover of midtown’s Monkey Bar, hype immediately emerged regarding Carter’s third undertaking.

Following the soft opening in late 2012, The Beatrice Inn, like Carter’s previous two “clubhouses” received less than favorable reviews regarding its menu and in fact dealt with high turnover as Per Se alum, Brian Nasworthy, only lasted a few months, prior to being replaced by A Voce, alum, Hilary Sterling.

Beatrice Inn

It’s five past Nine on a Friday evening and the front bar is bustling with beautiful people. Akin to the Waverly, the Beatrice’s bar deserves tremendous praise as it not only represents a great place to hang before being seated, but is also acts as a perfect destination to people watch and grab a speciality cocktail before going out. After hanging for nearly twenty minutes, our group was seated. Overall the room was packed, with nearly every table comprised of an eclectic mix of upscale, discerning patrons. The range in age reminded me of a typical upscale restaurant in Paris where no definable age bracket abounds. As we approached the table, I noticed Sting and his wife seated to our right, which underscores the power and influence of Graydon Carter.

Although the menu is limited, it nevertheless is comprised of some auspicious starters including: Garoe Sausage ($15), Marinated Beets ($15) and Dumplings ($14/$26) . The Garoe Sausage (Wild Boar, Squash Brodo, Egg Yolk and Pine Nuts) was small but tasty and the Marinated Beets (Pistachios, Foie Gras, Tardivo and Orange) was quite good. In fact, Carter and Sterling’s menu is indeed vegetarian friendly, focusing on a plethora of vegetable based sides and appetizers that are worth a try. The standout starter were the Dumplings, which were served hot, including ham, goat cheese and gnudi. While the price based on the miniscule portion was prohibitive, the soft texture and creativity of the handmade dish, which reminded me of a warm mozzarella side I relished at one of my favorite’s, Antico Arco, in Rome, is easily one of the best on the menu.

While the menu is devoid of any one standout entree, it features american classics including: Roasted Chicken ($26), Halibut ($32), New York Strip ($45), Veal Breast ($29) and Lamb Porterhouse ($45). Like the Dumplings, quality over quantity abounds at the Beatrice as portions are relatively small but yet the substance and epicurean is omnipresent.  Overall, the food and menu at the Beatrice does not encapsulate the modern speakeasy’s brilliance and charm and unique character. The Beatrice Inn stands out amongst many pretentious “wanna be” sceney restaurants because it does not pretend or try to be cool, it is cool. Carter forwent a active website, omits to publicly display a number (a mobile number is used to confirm reservations via text) and continues to fortify his most recent creation by maintaining a very “in the know” crowd, thus, creating a level of comfort and social affirmation. In a city that is inundated with private membership clubs and modern speakeasy’s, The Beatrice Inn represents one of the most genuine and sophisticated rooms that proves to be a quintessential clubhouse for the A-List.

The Beatrice Inn

285 West 12th Street

New York, NY, 10014

Cafeteria

La Goulue to Reopen, Cafeteria to Expand to TriBeCa

La Goulue

Longtime French favorite, La Goulue, which closed in 2009 after 36 successful years on Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side has plans to make a return to the UES after years of speculation regarding its plans to reopen. According to Grubstreet, La Goulue plans to reopen on East 61st street in the near future, finally confronting years of uncertainty created by Jean Denoyer who proclaimed he was “aggressively looking for a new spot” following the closing in 2009. La Goulue’s plans for returning to the east 60’s will certainly spark controversy as longtime French favorite, Le Bilboquet, also plans to reopen on east 60th this Spring. For now, foodies who can not wait til La Goulue’s return can still enjoy delectable french cuisine at its sister restaurant, Orsay on 75th and Lex.

Cafeteria

As if one was not enough, long time Chelsea hot spot, Cafeteria, will be expanding to TriBeCa in the newly designed Cosmopolitan Hotel, which is currently under renovations, according to DNAInfo. While the TriBeCa outpost will not be open 24 Hours like the original in Chelsea, it will serve iconic American dishes like the Mac and Cheese and Meatloaf til 2A.M. Considering Cafeteria’s failed expansion to Miami a decade ago and the fact it has a sister restaurant, Delicatessen in SoHo, it will be impressive to see the second outpost succeed.

Momofuku Ko

Momofuku Ko To Celebrate 5 Year Anniversary with 2 Night Special

In celebration of Momofuku Ko’s five year anniversary, David Chang will host two nights of specials that will bring it back to 2008, when the restaurant opened, by featuring some of the original chefs and dishes from five years ago. In addition, Momofuku Ko will serve its prix fixe for the original price of $85 per person, a $40 reduction from the current $125 a head. According to Chang, the restaurant will begin to take reservations online starting tomorrow (Friday March 15th) at 10A.M. Please refer to Momofuku Ko’s website to secure a ressie.
Momofuku Ko

Momofuku Ko
163 First Avenue,
New York, NY, 10003

Carbone

Torrisi Team Unveils Carbone in SoHo

Carbone

The boys behind NoLita Italian favorite Torrisi (and Parm), Jeff Zalaznick and Rich Torissi have collaborated with Mario Carbone to open a new Italian gem, Carbone tonight (Friday March 8th). Located on 181 Thompson Street, Carbone boasts art curated by Julian Schnabel’s son and uniforms for the waiters designed by Zac Posen. According to Carbone, the restaurant will play on the theme of fine dining from “Midcentury Italian American.” Carbone will feature a plethora of pasta’s, beef carpacio, caesar salad and lobster fra diavola among other delectable dishes. Based on the success of both Torissi and Parm expect Carbone to be a hit.

Carbone
181 Thompson Street,
New York, NY, 10012
P: + 212 254-3000

Lady M

Plaza’s Food Hall Expands; Adds Sushi of Gari and Luke’s Lobster

This afternoon, the Plaza’s Food Hall will expand, adding ubiquitous brands Lady M, Luke’s Lobster, Sushi of Gari, William Greenberg Desserts, Tartinery and Pain D’avignon among others. Overall, the move not only verifies the success and relevance each brand possesses but more importantly demonstrates an aggressive move for the Plaza to re-brand its Food Hall. While the Food Hall has enjoyed some success since it opened in 2010, it was always confronted with the challenge of overcoming prohibitive prices for mediocre food.

In addition, the food sold previously at the Food Hall failed to associate with noteworthy brands, such as William Greenberg, Lady M or Sushi of Gari. Nevertheless, the decision to add these omnipresent merchants to what is clearly a touristic dominated venue is genius. Now, tourists do not have to travel around New York, going from Upper East to SoHo to Midtown to try their favorite brands. While the Food Hall was not too busy despite its opening this afternoon, it is only a matter of time before lines emerge.

 

Food Hall @ Plaza Hotel

1 West 59th Street,

New York, NY, 10019

P: + 1 (212) 986-9260

BillsTurkeyBurger

Bill’s Bar and Burger @ Tuscan Turkey Burger

In a city inundated with superlative burgers, New York may be one of the most difficult markets to successfully distinguish a burger amongst the rest of the competition. Nevertheless, despite the profound competition that exists, including classic burger spots: J.G Melon’s, P.J Clarke’s, Burger Joint and Spotted Pig among others, Bar and Burger has gained a tremendous degree of buzz and hype surrounding its selection of burgers. Among several delectable choices including: Bill’s Burger, BBQ-Bacon Burger and Spicy Jalapeno Burger, I went with the Tuscan Turkey Burger.

Prepared with freshly ground Turkey meat, the Tuscan Turkey Burger is mixed with aged Provolone, Mustard Aioli, Onions and Tomato on a Multi Grain Bun. Overall, while the portion of meat could have been greater (only 6 oz), the quality of the meat was impressive. In addition, the selection of aged provolone combined with the mustard aioli was delicious. While Bill’s Bar and Burger may not be on the level of Burger Joint, P.J Clarkes or J.G Melon’s, it deserves to be considered in the conversation regarding the city’s ten best.

Bill’s Bar and Burger Meatpacking:

22 9th Avenue,

New York, NY, 10014

P: + 1 (212) 414-3003

Googa Mooga Festival

Googa Mooga Festival Inundated with Excessive Lines and Poor Execution

(Photo Courtesy: Great Googa Mooga Festival)

This past weekend, thousands of New Yorkers took advantage of beautiful weather by attending the inaugural Great Googa Mooga Festival at Prospect Park in Brooklyn. The two day event transformed Prospect Park into an amusement park comprised of an abundance of celebrity chefs, 75 vendors from some of the most renowned and ubiquitous restaurants and 20 live music performances. While the event’s vision and itinerary should be applauded for its originality, the Googa Mooga Festival‘s execution should be condemned. Although the event featured 75 vendors including Burger Joint, Craft, Colicchio and Sons, DBGB Kitchen & Bar, Hill Country Barbecue, Luke’s Lobster, Momofuku Milk Bar and Simply Chicken by Jean Georges, among others, lines exceeded 45 minutes at the minimum. In addition to excessively long waits, some vendors only accepted Googa Mooga dollars, which required another long line in order to exchange real money for the event’s form of currency. The most glaring problem that pervaded during the event was the lack of defined difference between the general admission (free) and $250 Extra Googa Mooga ticket.

(Photo Courtesy: Great Googa Mooga Festival)

While the Extra Googa Mooga permitted entry into certain “exclusive” elements of the event, located at the Boathouse, including entertainment hosted by celebrity chef’s Tom Colicchio, Anthony Bourdain and David Chang, to name a few, each Extra Mooga ticket holders should have been granted enhanced privileges, such as being permitted to skip lines for vendors, for instance. Perhaps the event should have been divided amongst paying customers with the Extra Googa Mooga and the general admission. However, by combining both into nearly the same venue, the dominating number of general admission ticket holders undermined the quality and purpose of the Extra Googa Mooga ticket. To make matters worse, when free food was given out to the Extra Mooga ticket holders, for instance, the Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, chaos immediately followed as food would disappear within just a few minutes. In the end, the event’s poor execution undermined a strong concept and that featured a praiseworthy selection of vendors and on site celebrity chef’s. Since it was the event’s first year,Googa Moogadeserves another year of evaluation to gauge whether its overall execution and operations can improve after learning from its mistakes.

Tasting Menu

Millesime Turns Back the Clock to 1904 and Serves 4 Course Tasting for $1.25!

French brasserie, Millesime, located in the Carlton Hotel, turned back the clock on Thursday, serving a four course tasting for $1.25. To commemorate the year the venue’s building was built, Millesime served a four sumptuous courses for a price that could only be attained if one lived in the year 1904. Serving both lunch and dinner, Millesime sparked tremendous interest as lines formed around the block that exceeded 45 minutes of waiting. The tasting was comprised of Tomato Bisque, Oyster Rockafeller, choice of Chicken Marengo or Lamb Stew and New York Sundae to conclude the well crafted menu.

First/Second Course: Tomato Bisque, Oyster Rockafeller

While the portion was small, the Tomato Bisque was highly delectable. Combining a succulent tomato puree with cream, the soup was very palatable. In addition to the Tomato Bisque, the Oyster Rockafeller was equivocally delicious, which resulted in a profound craving and lust for more.

Third Course: Chicken Marengo

While the Tomato Bisque and Oyster Rockafeller deserve praise, the Chicken Marengo was the preeminent dish. Served with tomatoes, mushrooms and potatoes, the Chicken Marengo was an excellent entree that underscores the tremendous range, culinary artistry that Millesime embodies. The dish further justifies the contention that Millesime deserves to be considered amongst the best brasseries in a city inundated with exceptional cuisine.

Fourth Course: New York Sundae

While suffice to say, I typically overlook Sundae’s while ordering dessert, the New York Sundae was a fantastic choice for this unique four course tasting. In many ways, it exemplified New York of yesteryear, representing the taste and popular consumption trend of the early twentieth century. Overall, the dessert was the consummate final dish to one of the most unique and awe-inspiring tasting’s I have experienced in quite some time.

Millesime:

92 Madison Avenue (@ Carlton Hotel),

New York, NY, 10016

P: + 1 (212) 889-7100