Third in my neighborhood series.  Great restaurants and street life! My favorites, combined with some from Eater and Zagat.  Or grab some food from Eately or the food trucks and join the crowds enjoying the views and weather.

  • ABC Kitchen – 35 East 18th Street,  212-475-5829 – Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s casual, but stylish restaurant is centered around fresh, farm-to-table cooking.
  • Boqueria Flatiron – 53 West 19th Street, 646-651-4654 – Graze your way through some of my favorite tapas dishes at this small Spanish restaurant.  Great bar also.  It will be the cheapest trip to Barcelona you can get.
  • Cosme – 35 E 21st St., 1212-913-9659 – Enrique Olvera, very famous Mexican chef opened his first NYC restaurant.  Don’t expect the usual Mexican fare as Chef Olvera did his research on what NY’ers want and has incorporated his research in his space and cooking.  What you have is a inviting,  hip space and innovative Mexican inspired dishes.  But this is the only bar I will recommend skipping.  High, awkward, and uncomfortable chairs don’t make the dining experience pleasant (or getting on or off them!).  Not to be missed, the Duck Carnitas below (really, really amazing).  (cosmenyc.com)

  • Cote Korean Steakhouse – 16 W 22nd Street,  212 – 401-7986 – definitely upscale from it’s neighbors in Korean Town, this stylish, Michelin-starred restaurant decided to apply the American steakhouse genre to Korean barbecue. The menu’s got a mix of chophouse standards with subtle Korean flavors, made with beef that’s dry-aged on site and cooked tabletop. Opt for the butcher’s feast, priced at $48 per person and featuring four different meat cuts, banchan (small dishes with various pickled or fermented vegetables), salads, two stews, egg souffle, and soft serve. For a la carte ordering, there’s a range of steak (USDA Prime, on-request reserve cuts, and American Waygu, combining Japanese Waygu and American Black Angus) plus options like bibimbap and kimchi stew.
  • Covina– 127 E 27th Street (212-204-0225) – Warm and friendly, with a large inviting bar and bartenders.  Owners of O Ya, Tim and Nancy Cushman opened a second NYC restaurant in the Park South Hotel.  Mediterranean and American cuisine featuring great share plates, home made pastas, pizzas that they cook in a specially built oven, and wood-grilled fresh and beef .  Don’t miss the warm hummus with grilled pita and fresh vegetables, kale salad, or any of the meat pizzas.

  • Ferris – 44 W 29th Street,  212 – 213-4420 – New American restaurant turning out creative Japanese-inflected dishes with adventurous ingredient pairings. Highlights from executive chef Greg Proechel include the blood sausage, carrot agnolotti with lamb neck, and cote de boeuf, plus the yuzu-lemon frozen yogurt for dessert.  This team from Maison Premiere, and Le Turtle received a great review in the NYT. The blonde-wooded space, trimmed with potted succulents, feels further downtown than its high-20s address.
  • Fusco – 43 E 20th Street, 212-777-5314 – Scott Conant is back in the old Veritas space with very creative Italian dishes, featuring seasonal ingredients that will change with what is fresh at the markets.  We felt at home the minute we walked through the door.  David, at the bar, is warm and welcoming, and Scott comes out during your meal to chat for a while.  This is definitely a place you want to return to over and over again.   And now the food!  Oh my, was it delicious.  We had the Stromboli with our cocktails, warm and filled with salami & smoked mozzarella, that got our taste buds wanting more.  Hard decision on what to order as everything sounded wonderful.  We finally chose, with David’s help, the Tuna Tartare with pickled ramps, black olive & tonnato cream (one of the best tartare we have ever had), Short Rib of Beef with fava bean salsa verde & tarragon spatzle – SO GOOD!, Black Cod with potato froth, ramps & hazelnut salsa verde, and the Eggplant with asparagus & pine nut gremolata..  We finished off with the Meyer Lemon Curd Tart with torone & ginger gelato that exploded with flavor (and David sent us out pre and post desserts and dessert wine that pared perfectly with all three).  OK, you can tell, we LOVED this place! See you there next week.

  • Gramercy Tavern – 42 E 20th Street,  212 – 477-0777 – While Union Square Cafe is technically Danny Meyer’s oldest establishment, Gramercy Tavern (opened in 1994) is an essential part of his sizable empire and the city’s perfect American restaurant.  Chef Michael Anthony offers tasting menus at lunch and dinner, with an a la carte menu available at lunch, in the more formal-feeling dining room.  The menu evolves seasonally, but light, elegant seafood and vegetable-based dishes are the main attraction. There’s also the more-casual tavern space up front that is a la carte.
  • Hanjan – 36 W 26th Street,  212 – 206-7226 – Serving a mix of modern and traditional Korean fare this restaurant is intended to be a riff on a traditional Korean tavern. Choose from dishes like 24-hour braised beef short ribs, sizzling cod roe bibimbap, and 150-day aged kimchi and pork stew. There’s also a coursed dinner for $50 per person that includes three appetizers, a stew, and all the necessary accessories (kimchi, banchan, and rice), plus ice cream or sorbet for dessert.
  • Italiene – 19 W 24th St, 1212-600-5139 – Chef Jared Sippel, from Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, has opened his first New York restaurant (Fall 2016). Menu is a mix of Northern Italy and Southern France cuisine.  And from all the hype, he seems to be in the position of becoming one of New York’s best new chefs.  The food is elegant and refined and offers two different experiences, casual and more reasonable, and formal and more expensive. The casual taverna is styled after a neighborhood osteria and offers funky small plates like grilled octopus, multiple pastas and pizzas, dumplings, and “electric goat” (which has no goat in it to my surprise!).  In the dining room, you can chose a four-course, $98 tasting menu.

  • John Dory Oyster Bar – 1196 Broadway, 212-792-9000 – more than just oysters, but pretty much all seafood. Crudo, clam chowder, chorizo-stuffed squid – those are the sort of things you eat at John Dory. We like it best as an early evening spot where you can eat a bunch of things that used to live in the ocean while you catch up with a friend. There are great cocktails, and a good wine selection, however, so you can certanly hang out all night.
  • Junoon – 27 W 24th St ( 212-490-2100) – new Indian dining in the Flatiron district with upscale French service in the main dining room where they only serve a pre-fixe menu. But also have a more casual a la carte cafe. Don’t  miss the Goan shrimp in a fiery piri-piri sauce, the Lahsooni Gobi  cauliflower (crisp-fried with a garam masala crust), the spicy Ghost Chili Murgh Tikka (chicken in pistachio puree, spaghetti squash, and sundried tomatoes) . The numerous house baked naans are excellent, and so is the raita, which the kitchen folds with pomegranate seeds and shreds of fresh mint.

  • Le Coq Rico – 30 East 20th St., 1212-267-7426 – Antoine Westermann (Alsatian chef with 3 Michelin stars & 3 restaurants in Paris with the same name) opened  his “palace of poulet”.   They have a comfortable dining room and two bars.  One bar only snacks and the other, in front of the open kitchen with rotisseries, has a full menu (and of course my favorite place to dine).  They have found an American bird with the flavor of the highly prized French poulet de Bresse, and it is like no other chicken I have ever tasted.  You must order the Baecheoffe (which won Westermann his Michelin stars). Expensive but will easily feed 3-4 people. Other birds are served, plus innards, and creative takes on eggs. Chef and staff are extremely friendly and helpful, I really felt at home and can’t wait to return. (lecoqriconyc.com)
  • Nur – 34 E 20th Street, 212-505-3420 – modern Middle Eastern food including “street food elevated to fine dining”.  Chef Meir Adoni is pretty famous in Tel Aviv for Middle Eastern food with elements of French technique, infused with his Moroccan heritage and a global flair.  A mouthful, but it seems to work. Menu is designed for sharing so you can sample many of his culinary delights. Loved the octopus, sea bass, smoked eggplant carpaccio, the Horias (lamb kebab in grilled pita with pine nuts and eggplant.  And you must are any of his breads as Adoni’s partner is the founder of Breads Bakery.

  • O Ya – 122 E 28th Street (adjacent to Park South Hotel)-  Maybe my new, favorite Japanese restaurant!  Boston chef Tim Cushman, 2012 James Beard Foundation Award winner,  opened this wonderful omakase restaurant (but they now have an a la carte menu) with inventive, beautifully plated sushi, sashimi and other small bites.  Good wine and sake menu also.  Modern, minimalist setting has carved wooden booths and a long sushi bar.  The Omakese is expensive, 18 – 24 courses for $185 and $285 but the a la carte menu makes it much more reasonable.  A must try (I cannot wait to go back)!
  • Pondicheri – 15 W 27th Street (646.878.4375) – pan-Indian restaurant behind a dock door in the Flatiron district.  Chef Anita Jaisinghani, is a Houston based chef (and I have eaten in her wonderful restaurant there, Indika, and Pondicheri) earned a James Beard award.  Open from Breakfast to Dinner, from a cafe in the day to elegant dining at night she serves up incredible baked goods and interesting dishes.  Don’t miss the braised-goat-lentil samosa, and the quail (stuffed with pine nuts, roasted in the tandoor, and dripping with cilantro chutney)!
  • Rouge Tomate Chelsea – 126 W 18th Street, 646-395-3978 – housed in a former horse stable, the restaurant is warm, cozy, and welcoming.   The food is sustainability and seasonality driven. My favorites are the Crudo’s, Roasted Cauliflower, Tomato Salad, Sea Scallops and Organic Salmon.  They have a happy hour menu at the bar from 5 – 7 PM so try one of their wines with some olives marinated in lemon & rosemary and togarashi/sesame nuts.

  • Simon & The Whale – 23 Lexington Ave, 212 – 475-1924 – Restaurateur Gabriel Stulman transports the feel of a locals-filled West Village spot to Gramercy with his newest project, housed inside the Freehand Hotel. A mishmash of cuisines comprises the menu from chef Matt Griffin, like pork collar milanese with aioli, apricot, and arugula or squid confit with smoked mussels. The baked goods are by Zoe Kanan, an alum of Milk Bar and Sadelle’s, now whipping up items like zeppoles stuffed with smoked gouda and bacon. The warm, brass- and gold-detailed digs, which are much more spacious than Stulman’s other projects like Fairfax and Joseph Leonard. Upstairs in the hotel there’s also Studio, an all-day restaurant run by Stulman’s Happy Cooking group and featuring Kanan’s baked creations.
  • The NoMad Restaurant – 1170 Broadway, 212-796-1500 – in the stylish NoMad Hotel, the owners of Eleven Madison Park opened this more casual, well not that casual really, dining establishment.  Great spot for a special dinner with great food and wine list, but quite expensive for the quality.  You might get seated in a small room with a fireplace, or you might wind up in a larger dining room under a big glass atrium. It is a mix of styles and the enjoyment of your meal can vary drastically according to where you happened to be seated. Order the chicken for two, cooked in a wood-burning oven and served with deposits of foie gras–rich brioche inserted under the crackly skin.
  • Union Square Cafe – Park Avenue South/ 19th St. in the space that was occupied by City Crab.  Danny Meyer relocated his longstanding restaurant, along with a 450-square-foot space next door, Daily Provisions, serving coffee, breakfast pastries, breads, and a large to-go menu of sandwiches, salads, and rotisserie items.  The restaurant is warm, cozy, and the bar inviting.  Service is great, as that is the core of Danny Meyers philosophy. Food was as good as I remembered.  Say yes to the bread, butter and olives to begin the meal (give up those carbs next week) and try one of the pasta dishes or the burger.  I had a special that day of goose stuffed ravioli, pretty special.

  • Upland – 345 Park Ave South, 1212-686-1006  – Justin Smillie, who received 3 stars from The Times when he was at Il Buco Alimentari, is the chef.  and I think the second hottest chef in town (Daniel Rose is first).  He hooked up with Stephen Starr from Buddakan and what they have created is a Californian / Italian Brasserie that actually works.  The food is creative and  delicious.  His signature dish, and my favorite hands down, is the short ribs (I normally do not like short ribs, but I dream of this dish).  Love the kale & sausage pizza (blackened crust and enough to share with your friends).  Also excellent is the Grilled Veal Ribs, Whole Crispy Mushroom, Five Lettuce “ceasar” (trust me I NEVER order Ceasar Salad – this is quite unique), Hamachi Crudo, Slow Cooked Lamb Neck, Long Island Duck Breast.  And for lunch the burger is a must.  Large wine list with many reasonable priced finds. (uplandnyc.com).
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