Occasionally, people will ask me for restaurant recommendations, as I’ve somehow tricked them into thinking I’m somewhat hip to the food scene (hint – it has a lot to do with the phrase its getting a lot of press – stay tuned) I usually ask them to narrow it down, by price, vibe or food type. I have a few standbys but in picking a restaurant I go by two main things
1. Restaurants that have just opened – because no matter how the food is, you can’t deny that it feels great when you see a place grace the food section of Time Out New York and for you its already BEEN THERE DONE THAT, BABY.
2. New York Mag’s Restaurant Section. GREAT RESOURCE. They allow you to narrow by neighborhood and price, and let you add features like outdoor dining and critics’ picks. I know there are many other websites like Menupages but I love me some New York Mag.
Ok so after that intro, let me begin by talking about a couple of places I love here. I do wish I had MY photos to accompany them, but you’re actually lucky you are spared.
Fatty Crab – West Village
GOODNESS ME DO I LOVE FATTY CRAB! If their super cool, casual friendly hipster staff, dim lighting, and creative cocktails are supposed to impress you, guess what? It worked on this guy. Seriously though, I do think the servers are genuinely friendly, and the South Asian cuisine is amazing, if not cheap. The Fatty Duck is insanely good. Also try the baby bok choy in oyster sauce, picture above. Little hint, you have to put the whole thing in your mouth at once, trust me on this one -otherwise you are gnawing and salivating. Not cute. Ok I lied, here is a picture I took of this little appetizer that in retrospect, was too pricey but whatever. Wild strawberries with chili, sugar and salt dip. MMMM.
Moustache – West and East Village
I was so pleased when I stumbled upon Moustache a mere 3 minute amble from my apartment,tucked into the corners of Bedford street. First off, I deeply adore Middle Eastern food. Second off, while the West Village is a restaurant paradise (oh and $$$$$$$$$), there aren’t THAT many places that are easy and affordable, yet have character. I was recently there and had their grilled baby lamb sandwich (isn’t lamb…already a baby..) SO TASTY. Absolutely lied again because now I am going to make you look at another pic I took of one of their signature “pitzas”, this one was some sort of mozz and roasted red pepper situation…
Oh and the east village location has a NEAT outdoor garden. I’m a fool for an outdoor garden! Who isn’t?
Momofuku – mostly East Village
Like most of New York, I am blown away by David Chang’s iconic restaurants, including Noodle Bar, Ssam Bar, Ko, Milk Bar and most recently Ma Peche. Though he appears to be kind of a jerk, the man knows what he’s doing. His restaurants creative, inventive and risk taking – sort of Korean + everything. The pork buns…. THE PORK BUNS!!! They are literally softer than a baby’s bottom. Yes, that is the only way I can describe them…filled with pork belly and pickled goodness. Ko is the high-end, with a set menu for 14 guests, Noodle Bar is the most approachable, with ramen and more, Ssam Bar is sort of the in between. And Milk Bar…may need its own post. Yes, I just realized it does. Oh and Noodle Bar puts on these fried chicken dinners – I do not have words. Two chickens, one Korean fried, one Southern fried, lettuce to make wraps, with all sorts of SAUCES AND FIXINS…for like 4-8 people. Did it with a few friends last summer – life changing.
Joseph Leonard – West Village
Joseph Leonard is one of those restaurants that I feel I was part of its beginning….aka I feverishly read pre-opening news, pored over the menu when it was released and… have eaten there. I know that sounds absurd and I am 99% joking but there is something about reading about a restaurant coming into existence, seeing the different phases it goes through, reading about its first reviews and then actual being able to have a meal there…I don’t know what to compare it to. Maybe its just me…Anyway, Joseph Leonard is classic West Village to me – dimly lit, adorable, rustic little spot, with trendy dishrags as napkins and a mason jar full of pickles on each table. MMMM. A perfect place for an intimate dinner with friends. Its menu is hearty new American – mussels and fries, shrimp and grits, burgers. It’s a project of Gabriel Stulman, of Little Owl and Market Table; the restaurant is named after his two grandfathers. Allegedly another project by him is opening nearby soon!
Ok well… this list will CERTAINLY continue…soon. Stay tuned.