Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ten Bites from the Big Apple

There is one city in this country that demands you to eat and eat well, and that is none other than New York, New York. It doesn't matter if you are grabbing a hot dog from a greasy man with gold caps or sitting down to a six course prix fixe meal set on a white tablecloth, the Big Apple is a place where food of all walks of life just seems to taste better.

Chef, Lil' Bit and I just wrapped up our trip to the mountains with a whirlwind culinary sprint through NYC. This is our second trip to "the City" this year and like every other visit our itinerary revolved around food. Below is a list of our ten favorite restaurants we have eaten at thus so far. If you live in the city and you haven't eaten at them yet, do. Sooo do. If you happen to visit the city make a point to make a reservation. If the place doesn't take them, go any way. It will be worth the wait.

The Spotted Pig: This bar is rock n' roll and the food is absolutely unbelievably wonderful. I had the best Bloody Mary of my life here, and one of the most delicious hamburgers I have ever put in my mouth.

Prune: I had my birthday party here in February and we came back for an encore last Sunday for brunch. This food is authentic, straight forward, and simply perfect. If you go for brunch, get there when they open at 10 am, or be prepared for an hour wait. If you order the fish plate, order it as a shared appetizer because it is a whole lot of fish for one person to take down.

Momofuku Noodle Bar: I had been dying to eat here, and finally did last Saturday for a late lunch. The picture above is of their steam buns with pork. We ate our first serving and had to follow up with a second order because they are literally one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth. If you live in NYC go and eat them. Go quickly.

Barney Greengrass: I have an affinity for fish, particularly when it is smoked or pickled. Barney Greengrass, as it is spelled out grandly on the sign of this landmark restaurant, is The Sturgeon King...and if you are into smoked fish this is the place. Bar Pitti: This is a little Italian joint in the West Village that is beyond amazing. Any restaurant that is running 20 specials on a chalkboard brought to your table you know is going to be good.

Momofuku Bassam Grill: For $200 you get a pork shoulder that feeds ten with a wide variety of accouterments that make for a fabulous feast. Bib lettuce, oysters, rice, kimchi, hoisin sauce and other delectables.

Katz's Delectassen: The word deli and New York are basically synonymous. Katz's has been around since 1888, and while there are other deli's in the city that may be a little less on the tourist map quest, this place has a killer pastrami sandwich. Remember the orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally? That was filmed in Katz's and basically sums up the experience perfectly.

Babbo: Owned by Mario Battali, we had the eight course here. It was phenomenal, but the most memorable thing about this place was the music. There is nothing like fine dining with David Bowie and Beck booming.

Back Forty: We just ate here this past weekend and the vibe is warm and casual and the food creative yet accessible...kinda like what we do at 29 South. If you like donuts...they serve them warm for dessert. The night I was there they were drizzled with a cherry glaze...major yummy factor.

Locanda Verde: Located in the Greenwich Hotel owned by Robert DeNiro, we had a great meal here. The waitress gave us the run down of the menu and described each dish as "meant to be shared." We took this to a whole new level when the man at the table next to us shared his lamb chop. The one thing you are not going to want to share on this menu is the fettuccine with white bolognese...beyond delish.

ps. I have to share our one celebrity sighting in the city. After dinner with friends at Locanda Verde we went to this great little bar across the street. When I say little, I mean tiny. It was about midnight when this big guy in a black T shirt and long jean shorts walks in with his dog. When I saw him I thought to myself...this guy is so mafioso...definitely the muscle in the neighborhood. Then, he turned and low and behold... James Gandolfini. He asked if the bar served food, and then walked out whistling for his pup who followed leash dragging behind him. Poor guy can't shake the character even in real life.

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