Tag: food

Essential New York Dishes (and Where to Get Them)

Essential New York Dishes (and Where to Get Them) by Ari KellenHot dogs.  Pizza.  Bagels.  Such dishes are as New York as the Statue of Liberty.  Yet New Yorkers know that there are plenty of other great, iconic New York dishes.  A city of 8 million people will offer 8 million different opinions on what a “quintessential” New York meal is, but I’ve chosen ten highlights, and more importantly where you should get them:

Hot dog and papaya juice (Papaya King): Most people wouldn’t consider a hot dog and papaya juice a good combo, but New Yorkers know otherwise.  While there are several establishments around Gotham who offer this combo, the original is Papaya King, located in the Upper East Side and St. Marks.  Gray’s Papaya on the Upper West Side gets honorable mention as well.

Ramen (Hide Chan Ramen): In recent years, Americans from every city have gotten onto the ramen train, including New York.  There are many places around the city who offer stellar ramen (many sing the praises of Ippudo), but my personal favorite is Hide Chan in Midtown East.

Pizza (Joe’s Pizza): “New York Pizza” is a phrase for a reason.  There are plenty of excellent pizza spots around the city (Paulie Gee’s and Vinnie’s nearly made the list), but for a traditional, no-frills New York slice, visit Joe’s Pizza.  They’ve luckily got several locations in New York, so they aren’t too hard to find.  

Knish (Yonah Schimmel’s): Few people outside of New York are familiar with the “knish”.  Even fewer are familiar with the traditional round, baked knish (most know of the square fried knish).  You can get the traditional knish at various Jewish delis and bagel spots across the city, but the undisputed king is Yonah Schimmel’s in the Lower East Side.  They’ve been slinging knishes since 1910.  My personal favorite is the sweet potato knish with a bit of hot mustard.  

Pastrami sandwich (David’s Brisket House): Pastrami as we know it was first developed in New York City by Romanian Jewish immigrants, who based it off a traditional recipe for goose.  Many say that Katz’s does the best pastrami (and it’s certainly very good), but they aren’t the only ones out there.  For a true New York pastrami sandwich off the beaten path, go to Bedford-Stuyvesant for David’s Brisket House, which makes the hands-down best pastrami in Brooklyn.  A Jewish deli run by Yemeni Muslims, it’s a true New York experience whose very existence celebrates this city’s diversity.

Lechon and rice & peas (Lechonera la Piraña): Every weekend on the corner of 152nd and Wales in the Bronx, Angel Jimenez, also known as “Piraña” and “Papi Chulo”, serves traditional Puerto Rican-style roast pork out of a food truck.  On Saturdays and Sundays, he wakes up at 4 in the morning to put a pig in a smoker, and then slow-cook it for eight hours before it’s ready.  For less than $10, a cheerful Piraña will serve you a giant plate of his lechon and a generous helping of rice and peas.  It’s the best Puerto Rican food you’ll get outside of Puerto Rico, and well worth the journey up to Mott Haven.

Chicken, mozzarella & pesto sandwich (Faicco’s): As one of the oldest Italian delis in the city (it’s been open since 1905), Faicco’s has had plenty of time to perfect its art.  Their sandwiches are as delicious as they are gargantuan, and while every variety is worth writing home about and then some, my personal favorite is their chicken, mozzarella and pesto.  Some close seconds include their classic Italian and meatball grinder.

Bagel & Lox (Barney Greengrass): Many consider Russ & Daughters to be the best bagel & lox in the city, but as an Upper West Sider, my loyalty lies with Barney Greengrass.  Once you have lox from the “Sturgeon King”, you’ll never want it from anywhere else.  

Soup dumplings (Joe’s Shanghai): No, it isn’t dumpling soup, the soup is inside the dumpling.  Hard to make, even harder to perfect, these can be found throughout both Manhattan’s and Queens’ Chinatowns.  Arguably the best comes from Joe’s Shanghai, which has outposts in Chinatown, Flushing and Midtown.  Get an order of soup dumplings with peanut noodles and scallion pancakes, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.  

Halal (Mamoun’s): Halal trucks sell gyro sandwiches on pretty much every street corner in Manhattan.  But the original, and arguably the best, is Mamoun’s in the Village.  This tiny hole-in-the-wall doles out the best falafel and shawarma in a no-frills atmosphere that attracts hundreds of visitors every day.  

Mastro’s Steak House on The East Coast

A well known and successful steak house is about to attempt 6a00d83422265a53ef010535e49ae7970bit’s east coast debut in the biggest city in the east, New York. Mastro’s, a chain that started in Scottsdale, Arizona has recently expanded and found success in California. With their next entry into a new market, Mastro’s will have to compete with a number of other, well established institutions like Morton’s, Del Friscos, Bobby Van’s, Shula’s, and many more. Their twelfth link in the chain opened in midtown last November and will add a thirteenth to their portfolio this month in Washington D.C.

Each interior of the restaurant varies in decor from city to city, but the NYC branch has a swanky feel about it. Dark wood stains and a low light-ambiance gives restaurant-goers a feeling of fancy dining, as if out of a movie. Many insist that the tendency for noise in the eatery is on the loud side with music a few decibels too high which cause conversations to turn into small yelling matches.

Mastro’s like many NYC steak houses is not a place for those light in the pockets as most of the selection on the menu can break the bank. Food is delicious but it is charged by selection leaving items like crab cocktail, crab legs, and lobster cocktail all lingering at or over $30 a pop.

Moving to the grassfed meats, prices start over $50 and end somewhere around $150 for a single piece of meat!(8 ounce Japanese wagyu strip) Sides for the main dishes did not disappoint as all of them were perfectly cooked as they should be for starting around $14.

All in all, the experience is worth a night on the town if you have the coin to fit the bill. Not much can top a great dining experience with a well cooked, well cut piece of meat, and of course great company.


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Eat Where The Celebrities Eat

New York City has uncountable characteristics that make it the best city in the world, but lately this writer has been enthralled with the incredible taste that in town chefs bring to the table (pun). If you throw a rock in any direction you are bound to hit an establishment that serves some type of edible medium, so finding the truly amazing eateries is no simple task. While celebrities have made livings making lots of money and being loved by the masses, they also know how to treat themselves to great food. Lets take a look at where some celebrities in NYC go to eat.

Polar Bar owner Ralph Lauren

Polar Bar owner Ralph Lauren

West Village- 28 Seventh Ave, South
Almanac

Who eats there?
Taylor Swift, Jaime King, Cara Delevingne, Josh Ralph

What to get:
Three tasting menus comprise the food offering. Their top option in popularity is8 courses of clams, ribs, quail, oysters, and black bass.

West Village 10 Downing Street
Cafe Clover

Who eats there?
Leslie Moonves, Sarah Jessica Parker, Common, Dianna Agron

What to get:

An American positioned menu that has a high focus on light, clean entrees. Be sure to try out their cauliflower steak, and quinoa tagliatelle. A testament to their “clean eating” mantra, they cook everything in extra virgin olive oil as a replacement for butter.

Midtown- 1 E 55th Street
PoloBar

Who eats there?
Rihanna, Ivanka Trump, Bryan Lourd, Karlie Kloss, Bradley Cooper

What to get:

Lines are backed up for six weeks in order to get a reservation here. Ralph Lauren opened this American joint which specializes in cheeseburgers, ice cream sundaes, corned beef sandwiches, and of course healthy alternatives.

Flatiron District- 345 Park Ave.
Upland

Who eats there?
Natalie Portman, Gwyneth Paltrow

What to get:

Get down on duck as a chicken substitute, and eat wings doused in chili pepper and yuzu to give yourself a deviation from the standard you are used to. You will find 88 seats in the house that has preserved lemons hanging in jars on the wall to salute their west coast roots.


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Cheap Eats | NYC

New York City is not known for its cheap eating. So when an inexpensive place to eat is found, word spreads fast about the deal! Thanks to NY Eater there are plenty more decently priced food eateries that the average person can afford! See the list below.

Banh Mi Saigonsaigon-bakery ari kellen

Pivoting from a jewelry store with a sandwich counter, it then switched focuses as their food caught fire (figuratively) in popularity. What sets them apart from the competition besides their price is the in-shop baked baguettes that house their Vietnamese sandwiches. Traditional snacks from Vietnam are also available for purchase to go along with this inexpensive and hearty meal.

Bennies Thai Cafe

Located near Wall Street, below Fulton Street, this Thai restaurant served up ground pork or chicken salads. These choices are great for some freshness in the summertime, but can also have some heat added to it.

First Oasis

A modern Syrian restaurant that has roots dating back to 1974, Oasis is in Bay Ridge close to the R. If you happen by this delicious joint, try out their Fattoush, a lamb pie called ouzi and their raw kibbeh.

Hornado Ecuatoriana

A great and lively ambiance insight this eatery is surpassed in quality only by its food. A must have when sitting down there is their roast pig, which come with salad and potato patties. You get this enormous platter of meat and deliciousness for around $13, almost equivalent to stealing.

Kelso

A somewhat well known hidden gem, this Crown Heights Panama cooking joint brings some great food to your table. What to eat when you’re there? Ojalda (fritter), jerk oxtails, curried liver and onions, escovitch fish and spaghetti and meatballs. Why spaghetti and meatballs you ask? Well, every place has at least one italian dish in this area.


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Best Brooklyn Eats

The best thing about loving finding new places to eat in New York City is that you can never stop finding new, interesting restaurants. This city is so big and diverse, it is the perfect place to expand your palate. This week I spent quite a bit of time in Brooklyn, and with the help of Freewilliamsburg.com, I found some great places to eat. For those who do not know, Brooklyn is the borough to the SouthEast of the city and to get there from Manhattan you need to cross the East River. Without further ado, here are my favorite places to eat in Brooklyn.Ari kellen

Bozu
This is a Japanese eatery that specializes in small plates, so more than one might be necessary to temper those strong appetites. The sushi is of course spectacular, as you would expect from a Japanese place. Their shrimp dumplings also left me wanting more by the end of the dish. As far as picking the right poison, Their strawberry vodka with at least 8 years of aging seems to be the go-to.

Radegast Hall & Biergarten
This German Style beer garden is best in the warmer months with a semi-outdoor auxiliary seating area with shared tables. The super long picnic look is perfect for large groups of friends or meeting new friends. Indulge in the decently priced sausage grill out back and drink german beer by the liter to get the Oktoberfest feel, all year long.

Peter’s Since 1969
The best, and most comfort food for the money you spend. It is a dream to walk in and grab some meatloaf and an irresponsible amount of sides and only pay under $10. This place is good for a night in, or a pre-night out foundation. Beer and wine are on deck for those looking to wash down some heavy food with a little spirit. The best part, they deliver.

Hidden Gems of NYC – Restaurant Style

Mulberry ProjectNew York is home to millions of restaurants situated between bright lights and skyscrapers, under bridges and near famous landmarks, but there are also those restaurants that not many people know about. They are the hidden gems that offer an escape from the big city life that comes to us when we think of New York. These hidden restaurants are usually deceiving from their outer-appearances, which are sometimes just doors with no sign, or even down small, uninviting alley ways you wouldn’t normally think to approach.  Sound enticing? Well, here’s a list of some of New York City’s hidden restaurants that’ll astonish you (if you can find them):

 

First comes Freemans, located between Bowery and Chrystie right off of Rivington Street.  Here, you’ll find a sign for “Freeman Alley,” which at first glance looks a bit deserted.  But, at the end of this alley way you’ll find this cozy American-style restaurant, interiorly decorated like an old hunting lodge.  While the taxidermy on the walls may be somewhat intimidating to hear about, don’t be scared – it goes with the whole environment of the restaurant (whose food, by the way, is sure to make you drool).

The next hidden restaurant that should be on your list to find is Bohemian, which is arguably the most coveted restaurant to find in all of New York City.  Located on Great Jones Street in NoHo, this restaurant is kept tightly hidden behind a Japanese butcher shop.  But once you find it, you’ll feel you’ve discovered buried treasure, with a $55 dollar six-course tasting menu, the Japanese cuisine that Bohemian is known for is truly out of this world.

Another Japanese restaurant on this list of hidden gems is Sakagura, which serves authentic Tokyo-inspired meals, including soba noodles (handmade) and artistically displayed salmon roe.  Sakagura is located on 211 E 43rd Street underneath an office building, where you’ll definitely be seeing some high-class business folk.

Last on this list is Mulberry Project, located at 149 Mulberry Street in Little Italy, well-equipped with an invigorating list of mixed drinks.  You may second guess the location of Mulberry Project, as it is situated beneath a small souvenir shop for those touring through Little Italy.  But don’t be shy, because once you’ve had their signature Project Burger, you’ll think of every souvenir shop you pass in a whole different demeanor.

If this list just isn’t enough to fulfill your quest to find delicious, hidden restaurants in New York City, check out Guest of a Guest’s reveal of ten secret restaurants in New York City.  Bon appetite (and bon chance)!