reika: (Default)
One of the best restaurants over all is Phayul, up a narrow staircase, next to a hair salon, and usually packed. The husband-and-wife team who run the place, Chime Tendha and Dawa Lhamo, serve a typical mix of true Tibetan recipes and the Indian- and Chinese-accented dishes that have become comfort food for the community. Chili Chicken, a spicy stir-fry of green peppers, golden chicken, purple onions and red chile paste, is on almost every table, along with momos and sepen, a fiery blend of dried chiles, garlic and cilantro. [Source]
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Dinner - Dick's Last Resort at the Gaslamp

Lunch - Buster's Beach House at Seaport Village
Dinner - Coyote Cafe in Old Town

Breakfast - Lael's breakfast buffet at Manchester Grand Hyatt
Drinks - Tipsy Crow at Gaslamp, Top of the Hyatt at Manchester Grand Hyatt

Breakfast - Richard Walker's Pancake House
Snack - Pinkberry
Drinks - The Little Club
Dinner - South Beach Bar and Grill

Lunch - Ra Sushi
reika: (Default)
My first experience at NYC Restaurant Week was a visit to Blue Water Grill on Union Square. I passed that restaurant many times when I had my college internship in that area, and it always looked packed -- which for me, was always a good sign. If it's popular, there's gotta be a reason why that's so.

Unfortunately, our meal there was AWFUL. The staff was stressed out and messed up our orders twice, the scallops were flavorless, and little scoops of sorbet for dessert felt like an afterthought. I was never going to eat RW again, I promised.

Fast forward many years, to when I genuinely look forward to visiting a new venue each time Restaurant Week rolls around. This summer, I chose Park Avenue Summer (with my mom) and Sho Shaun Hergatt (with the boy) for my eating venues.

Both places were absolutely exquisite. Both used the best of the summer's bounty and highlighted them in each chef's style. Park Avenue Summer had us noshing on corn succotash, watermelon amuse bouches, and peach coleslaw -- all familiar food with expected twists. At Sho, the dishes were prepared so beautifully, with a few of the dishes getting a final touch at table, which only served to highlight the freshness and flavor of each course.

I highly recommend both these places if you're ever in NY.
reika: (Default)
I had a 30% off coupon to Robataya, so I figured it was a good a time as any to try it. I've actually been wanting to go to a robatayaki, if only to say that I've been to one.

A robatayaki is actually another form of the izakaya, where they serve food that goes well with drinks. In a robatayaki, you commonly sit at a counter and watch the food grilled in front of you and then passed to you on a wooden paddle. Most of the food that's grilled include vegetables in season, fish, or meats.

As far as I'm aware, there are only two 'nice' robatayaki places in New York: Robataya (where we ate last night) in the East Village and Inakaya in Times Square (which is actually participating in the upcoming Restaurant Week, hmm). They're actually pricier than your average izakaya, but at the same time, I think that the food and the dining experience is worth it as these establishments use just the best and most premium of ingredients.

reika: (Default)
It's not deliberate, but I've noticed that in my travels lately, I usually take at least one picture of my table setting. They're not always spectacular or absolutely memorable, but I think it's just my way of reliving that snippet of a moment.

There's a lot to be said about those brief moments before the 'show' starts. Expectations are just as important as the event itself, if not more so.

reika: (Default)
Empire Room, a new cocktail bar at the ground floor of the Empire State Bldg., is open. The drinks are a tad pricier than your average NYC cocktail bar, and the place itself isn't even located on a high enough floor so that you can justify the drink with a view (like the Hancock Bldg in Chicago).

Thinking this'll be a pass.
reika: (Default)
Angel's Share
B Flat
Brandy Library
The Campbell Apartment
The Dove
Pegu Club
Smith and Mills
Little Branch (3-Aug 2010)

Char No. 4
Clover Club
Hotel Delmano
The Jakewalk
The Richardson (5-Aug 2010)

To visit
Raines Law Room
Death and Company
Employees Only
Madame Geneva
Dutch Kills
White Star
reika: (reika)
I've passed by this restaurant for years. It's a block away from the church where my family and I go to Mass. I never realized it's the last of its species. Must pay a visit very soon.

Yet, at the only remaining outpost of the beloved franchise, on an undistinguished stretch of delis and banks on 37th Avenue at 81st Street in Jackson Heights, Queens, even a waiter struggles to remember what the names are all about.

What exactly is in the Nut Special?

"You know, it’s got the nuts." [Source]
reika: (Default)
I've resisted the lure of the Bobby Flay restaurants for years. I have no problem watching his shows on tv, true, but there was something about his style of cooking that didn't draw me in. But yesterday, mostly out of the prodding of friends, I willingly went in and ate at Mesa Grill, and gosh darn, I actually enjoyed it.

I picked the spicy salmon tartare, pan-roasted chicken, and the chocolate peanut butter flan. I was thinking that I made a mistake ordering the chicken instead of the mahi-mahi, but that entree was really good. The chicken skin was crisp, and the meat was juicy and flavorful. A good roast chicken is the litmus test of a good cook, and Bobby Flay's was spot on.

If I have to nitpick, I'll say that I didn't care for the obsequious waitstaff. I think our server came by to ask how everything was just as soon as we received each new course. We told you we're okay five minutes ago man, we're still fine.

The NY space is very nice, and I suppose as his flagship restaurant, it has to. I appreciate restaurants where my dinner companions and I can actually have conversations where we don't need to yell.



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