Cornelius has long been a favorite because of their $1 oysters during happy hour, an offering they now have all day everyday (score!). We hadn’t visited in a while so we wanted to confirm their oyster hours and learned not only of this fact, but also that their menu has changed. So we stopped by and met the new chef Dave, who came out wondering who was ordering all the oysters and the specials. I like that touch. A chef has rarely come out to tell me (sincere or not) how much he feels that my gusto in sampling all his/her dishes is flattering to him. Dave sent over a half portion of the only special we were not able to try, and also a warm pecan pie on the house. I love being loved by restaurants, especially in New York. I think the love makes or breaks them. In this city where restaurants are a dime a dozen, you’d think everyone would catch on to that fact.Continue reading
Did I tell you New Yorkers are very particular with their pizza? I think I did here. Each resident of this lovely city has his or her favorite pizza joint, and mine is Lucali. Of course, it wasn’t always Lucali. I spent many years pre-Lucali making the trek to Grimaldi’s and Patsy’s, lining up for hours for a slice at DiFara’s, experimenting outside our shores in Rome’s Pizzeria Da Baffeto, and in Sint Maarten’s La Fregate. One cannot underestimate the joy of finding a good pie.
But I digress. Usually when I am asked if I have tried (insert name) pizza yet, I am skeptical, and depending on the reliability of the inquirer’s taste and the delivery of his feedback, I might give it a shot. Friends of friends recommended this place, and we’re glad we listened. It now tops our list. Continue reading
Aliseo reminds me of the little grandmother cooking in the back of this small hole in the wall retaurant called Alfredo e Ada in Rome, so I was glad to learn that its owner grew up in the kitchens of the Adriatic Coast of Italy. Situated in the newest restaurant hotbed in Brooklyn, Vanderbilt Avenue, Aliseo’s presence doesn’t jump out at you but instead fades into the background the way a word-of-mouth-famous restaurant should.
I like this area because I’ve lived in it for about a decade, long enough to be happy dining well in a part of town you wouldn’t walk at night just a few years ago.
Indeed, Vanderbilt avenue seems to the newest Park Slope Fifth avenue with the number of creative and exceptional restaurants to choose from. Among them are Cornelius, The Vanderbilt, Amorina, R&D, Milk Bar, Cataldo’s, and speakeasies like my favorite Weather Up.
We walked in early on a weeknight when a gentleman was still making pasta at the bar. “This is fettuccine,” the owner said as he held up a batch of fresh noodles. We loved that it was empty and we had their attention to ourselves. In the busy New York restaurant scene this is rare unless of course the said place sucks. Continue reading
Weather Up is a speakeasy-style bar in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. For the uninformed, speakeasies were illegal establishments that served liquor during the time of prohibition in the 1900s when the sale and purchase of alcohol was prohibited by law. These kinds of bars are hidden from normal view, some of which required a password for entry.
Weather Up was built in that style. While most people discover this place from friends who took them there, ours is (always) a special story. From 2003-2007, we lived in a duplex brownstone in Park Slope and walked our dog Greta at least three times a day. Next door a dog named Lily, a fellow pitbull with a beautiful tan coat, would bark from the window or come rushing out to say hi to Greta. Lily belonged to a guy whose name we never asked. He was dating a tall blonde model-esque lady and they walked Lily together for a year or so, until she disappeared and was replaced by another model-esque black woman who I guess became his girlfriend. (Where is this story going?!) Continue reading
It was my wife’s birthday and she had chanced upon the latest list of NYC restaurants awarded Michelin stars. She sent me the website of Dressler in an email and asked what I thought. Like a good spouse I said, “Whatever you want, you get.”
Thank god. Dressler blew us away from start to finish, from the ambience of an old wood and steel bar, ornamented carved lightboxes, red leather cushions, and black leather booths. Happy hour started at 5:30. We were so there.
The relaxed and empty bar before six invited the novice to their specialty cocktails. We ordered our selections and were pleased with the fact that none of them were sweet but instead volunteered their flavor readily: cucumber for the Ingenue and beet for the Stackhouse. The Kumumoto oysters tasted like heaven, like urchin in a half-shell, their trademark smaller fluted shells cleaned nicely for one’s eager mouth. Kumumotos are considered the aristocrat of oysters and apparently have their own following. I want to know where to sign up. Continue reading