A cousin was caught in a photo of Marea when it was named #1 Best Restaurant in America in GQ, which is where we heard of it for the first time. That cousin, the creator of the Avanzato Feast of Seven Fishes, raved about it as his latest favorite restaurant, so we knew it would be good. But in the way things go by the wayside in NYC, we still never made it out there until a work perk forced us to.
And it was divine. The server was friendly and tolerated my wife’s question on whether the beautiful dish on the website was in the menu. (It was not. It was merely an image from their photo shoot.) We ordered what we thought was a modest selection of two appetizers, a pasta dish and an entree, and ended up stuffed anyway.
Ricci – Sea Urchin, Lardo, Sea Salt Crostinis
The sea urchin wrapped with lardo could very well be your last meal at deathrow. I could do without the lardo as the urchins were meaty and melted in your mouth, the lardo upping the whole combination to another level of indulgence. What is lardo anyway? To me it just sounds like cured fat. Continue reading
We were chasing the high we got during our week in the Andalucia region of Spain, where we had the best churros, paella, tapas, and the best trip with my sister and her husband. The closest we could get to replicating our time in Spain was to make our own paella, or to find a close enough comparison.
Fortunately we had a Gilt City deal waiting when we got back and although we were skeptical that Ventanas would satisfy our Spanish cravings, we were happy to not be so disappointed.
Sardinas Fresca – The sardines were fresh and delivered in a big portion.
Who doesn’t want quick, cheap and good? This formerly NJ-based restaurant is now a food truck serving midtown and Union Square. I order via Seamless for my office lunch (No lunch break: boo! Free Lunch: Yay!) for a reliable Asian spice fix with the plus of being able to select brown rice. Where else can you find a brown rice bibimbap? Nowhere.
Seoulfood’s spicy pork bibimbap is a treasure bowl of vegetables, pickled daikon and carrots, greens, kimchi, chili and spice. While their short rib and bulgogi leave much to be desired, the spicy pork is the star of this truck and is perfect in a taco, bun, or slider. I’ll take the bibimbap, thank you.
Various locations, find them at
It was part of an extended birthday celebration that we made our way to Gordon Ramsay at The London, and it just so happened to be perfectly timed with the week the Michelin list came out maintaining the restaurant’s two-star rating. Not that I follow ratings closely, I actually prefer the little known places that will never have enough pull to get written up in the NYT. But our friend made the executive decision and we followed her initiative. My default answer to many things is “No,” but an offer of food is never one of them.
Any excuse is good enough to eat well. Why not go through an actual list to either praise or debunk each one?
Caviar and hamachi in a tall glass bowl.
The 45-seater dining room is tucked behind frosted glass doors which separate it from the more casual Maze bar and restaurant outside. GR’s formal dining room is cozy and romantic, but could use a good window or two to make it less stuffy inside. I was too intimidated to use my camera flash so you have to excuse the dark photos.
Assorted foie gras
We opted for the tasting menu (called Menu Prestige) on that evening to celebrate over a course of a few hours. 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.”
Our choice cocktails for the evening: Ingenue ( Crop Cucumber Vodka, Fresh Cucumber, St Germain, Lemon, Prosecco) on left, and Stackhouse (Kraken 5-Spiced Rum, Fresh Beet Juice, Lime, Habanero Shrub) on right.
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