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NYC’s Top Restaurants*

NYC , restaurants , Uncategorized - March 2, 2012 - 0 Comments

* according to Forbes Magazine (with my own commentary) . . . since they didn’t include my very favorite, Cafe Habana, I’m putting this disclaimer first thing.

Since my time in NY, I’ve had lots of friends ask for recommendations for good places to eat. Folks, I traveled to NY on a teeny little budget, so all my recommendations are probably not exactly what you want. I am sharing Forbes’ list, direct from their December 2011 issue. It should be current, but double check with their website before heading out that way:

ABC Kitchen – fresh, organic comfort food ~ emphasis on locally grown. James Beard Foundation named it Best NE Restaurant of 2011. Look at the foundations they support.

American Girl Cafe – tea parties, brunch, afternoon tea, and dinner . . . if you’re in the city with your young daughter, this is a must.

AquaGrill – 15 years of the best seafood ~ and raw bar ~ in the city. Located in the hip ‘hood, SoHo.

Artisanal Bistro – After its 2001 opening, Gourmet magazine wrote, “it may already be one of the best bistros in New York.”

BarBasque – this restaurant may possibly be as delicious to the eyes as it is to the palate. IN the Flatiron area of Midtown.

Bar Breton – Galette with Nutella? This chef’s got my vote. A contemporary French-inspired menu prepared by a native Frenchman.

Billy’s Bakery/Buttercut Bake Shop/Crumbs Bake Shop/Cupcake Cafe/Magnolia Bakery – Bake shops are popping up everywhere in the city. I did indulge in one of Magnolia Bakery’s cupcakes and can agree, it’s worth a trip. Go to their original location, on Bleecker Steer in the Village.

BLT Bar + Grill/BLT Burger/BLT FIsh/BLT Prime/BLT Steak – These restaurants seem to be part of a chain, ESquared. I did have two different people recommend eating at the BLT Grill which is located in the W Hotel. Sorry I missed it.

Blue Smoke/Daisy May’s BBQ/Dinosaur BBQ/RUB Righteous Urban BBQ – when I googled Blue Smoke, it gave me an error message: “Bandwidth Limit Exceeded.” That tells me this citified BBQ might be almost as good as it is in these southern parts of the US of A.

Boulud Sud – Click over to their menu. The Marmitako Albacore Tuna sounds divine. Charred Eggplant, the Narli Chocolate Tart with Pomegranate Coulis and Orange Blossom Cream. Oh, the yum just goes on and on.

Cascabel Taqueria – Never been, but I can guarantee you I’ll visit this place on my next trip. They serve modern interpretations of traditional Mexican dishes. The signature Cascabel tacos are made from nixtamal corn (dried corn, treated and softened in lime water), not unlike the Aztecs used centuries ago.

E.A.T. – Opened since 1973, it is just a time-tested, good ol’ NY deli-style eatery. For teatime, think I’ll have a Cucumber & Chevre on Ficelle, a Raspberry Tart, and a Mimosa, of course.

Empellón Taqueria – They opened their doors in March of 2011 “with the intention of treating tacos with a high level of respect and serving them in a unpretentious and social environment.” Love that copy! But $12-39 tacos? How unpretentious is that environment?

Flex Mussels – I will visit this restaurant on my next visit. Mussels with Indian curry, garlic, cinnamon, start anise, and white wine. Or mussels with karrif line, cilantro, white wine, and lemongrass. Look at the Portuguese mussels . . .

Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant – Boys, now listen to me. There are just some places you take your lady. Can you imagine, sitting amongst the hustle and bustle of Grand Centeral Station. . . feeling the movement of the trains floors below. Propose here and I promise you she’ll say yes. I imagine the food is good, too.

Hell’s Kitchen“Nouvelle” Mexican Done Right “- gussied-up Mexican food for Gringo foodies, Hell’s Kitchen is among the best. I love the neighborhood, too. Fun place, great food and reasonably priced.

John Dory Oyster Bar – Gotta love it. Their cocktail menu is longer than their good menu. Look at the Bottlerocket (if, that is, you like jalapeños in your drinks).

Kin Shop – Aquatic vegetables? Chili jam, snake beans, duck eggs. These ingredients tell me this place must be authentic Thai. Just north of Washington Square, it’s on 6th between 11th and 12th . . . in the Village.

Kings’ Carriage House – a bit hoity-toity, too much red velvet and brass for me, but apparently this three-course table d’hote dinner menu is quite superb. The reviews rave about their lamb, salmon, prime beef and pheasant potpie. “Biscuits and a nightcap of port” sound a bit too stuffy for me.

Koi – beautiful place to dine in Bryant Park (love this park, especially when the ice skating rink is in full swing). Got to look at the photos.  The menu doesn’t look quite as exciting as the interior.

L’Ecole – OK. So this is the official restaurant of the French Culinary Institute. Three-course menu served by young, fresh-faced students? An appetizer, entrée, and dessert for only $47. I can just tell you I’d love this place.

LeCaprice – Look at the Valentine’s Day dinner menu. It’s in the Pierre Hotel on Fifth Avenue, overlooking Central Park. $95 or $125 if you get wine. Good wine!

the little owl – this is a place I passed time and time again and kept saying I was going to stop in. So neighborhood-y, relaxed, lots of laughter spills out onto the sidewalk. Even the website makes me want to dance. My kind of place, for sure.

Maya – am I imagining it? But has Mexican become hip all of the sudden? Maybe we Americans have finally started cooking like the Mexicans have cooked all along, using more than ground beef, cheddar cheese and re-fried beans. This restaurant sound divine with roasted striped bass, 3-chili crusted tuna, huitlacoche-mushroom filled crepes.

The Mermaid Oyster Bay – all I’m going to say is: ‘Go look at their website!”

Minetta Tavern – another authentic NY-deli style tavern/restaurant. This one in the Village, claims it was frequented by Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Eugene O’Neill, E. E. Cummings, and the like. It is described as “Parisian steakhouse meets classic New York City tavern.”

Periyali – Here’s another one ~ you must look at their menu online. I’d be here all night if I type all the menu items I’d like to order. Their delicious ‘home cooking’ and family recipes are extensions of “Patmian House,” a seasonal restaurant on the Greek isle of Patmos.

Petrossian – Founded in 1984, this restaurant is located on Manhattan’s West Side, one block from Carnegie Hall and four blocks from Lincoln Center. Lalique crystal wall sconces, bronze sculptures from the 1930’s, etched Erte mirrors, Limoges china, Lanvin chandelier and pink Finnish granite . . . too much for me. Think I’d rather order some Moelleux au Chocolat from their bakery.

Plataforma Churrascaria Rodizio – Brazilian meat, meat and more meat. I’ll leave my seat at this restaurant for the boys. I do love steak, but not this much of it!

The Plaza Food Hall – love the sound of this place. Dine-in or take-away, this ‘food hall’ gives you delectible options form eight food stations. While there, you can also purchase a bouquet of flowers, cookware, or even watch a cooking demonstration. { sound a lot like Eataly, which, if in New York, you MUST visit. I’m surprised Forbes did not include it on their list }

The River Cafe – Here’s another  one, boys. Nestled under the Brooklyn Bridge with breathtaking views of the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty, this dinner will be magical. I promise. Hell, you could propose AND get married here. They got altars in the back room, apparently!

Rouge Tomate – features ‘seasonally inspired, locally sourced Modern American cuisine’ ~ sounds SOOOO fresh. Even the desserts sound healthy. Click on their menu!

Sojourn – not only does the menu look good, but the surroundings just look like my cup of tea. Dark wood, dimly-lit, quiet. A place where you can talk. But take a glance at their $28 brunch menu. My order would be: the Almond Crusted French Toast, Chorizo Hash and of course, the unlimited Bloody Mary’s (a 2-hour limit!).

The Standard Grill – Folks, this restaurant is under my favorite spots in Manhattan, the High Line. I recommend you go for a late lunch. Then just as sunset starts rolling in, order a ‘John Daly’ or a “Spiked Berry Lemonade” ~ in a to-go cup ~ and spend the next two hours strolling along Manhattan’s newest wonder.

Tamarind – {I had to chuckle: the ‘About Us’ section on this restaurant’s website lists the owner’s accomplishments. Nothing about the restaurant’s chefs, its atmosphere – zilch about the food } But when you go back and examine the menu, one quickly understands why this Indian restaurant made the list.

Tribeca Grill – Robert DiNiro co-owns this restaurant. Among its investors are such luminaries as Bill Murray, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Sean Penn, Ed Harris, Peter Max. With a line-up like this, the food must be good.

Untitled at the Whitney – LOVE the name. LOVE the art. Love everything about this place. Think I’ll stop by and get one of their Four & Twenty Blackbird Pies next time I’m in the Big Apple.


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