Category Archives: Restaurants

John Dory’s Here!

The new John Dory opened in the ACE Hotel.  Cannot WAIT to try it.

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Dell’Anima Still Rocks

Dell’ Anima is a small place along a portion of 8th Ave right before 8th Ave gets ugly.  It’s always busy, which might be why it opened a wine bar next door.  There is a high-top counter along the open kitchen which is a great place to ponder why you can’t eat pasta every night.  This place was the subject of my first blog post, so it’s been around awhile, but is still doing fantastic, swerving simple but slightly upscale Italian food with a solid wine list and KILLER cocktails.. Try the roasted orange negroni. On this particular night, we sampled a seafood stew (continuing my obsession) and split the pasta carbonara.  See the egg yolk, just waiting to be broken?  So good.

Dell’Anima, 38 8th Ave, West Village.  For more info visit their website.

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AFB: Where to Go

HEY NEW YORKERS!  Need some restaurant inspiration this week?  Here are 5 spots to try.

Just Opened, Casual: the fried chicken and apple pie at Hill Country Chicken, 1123 Broadway nr 25th, in Flatiron.

Sexy Small Plates/Bar that You Haven’t Been to Yet: L’Oubli for a brandy smash, steak tartare, a glass of wine, croque monsieur, a country pate, more wine.  From Eric Demarchelier’s son Benjamine.

Well-Reviewed Asian ‘cue: Fatty ‘Cue for Heritage pork ribs slathered in smoked fish sauce and Indonesian long pepper sounds cool. As does Red Curry duck with sweet pickled daikon, washed down with a cold bottle of Tiger.  91 South 6th St, Brooklyn

The Sweet Little Favorite that Never Disappoints and is Cheap: Lovely Day. 196 Prince nr Elizabeth, Nolita.  This lovely little vintage-Asian-gamine Thai spot was closed for the longest time due to a fire, and is now BACK. Ginger-fried chicken and chow fung noodles, yesssss.  And it has a brand new downstairs level with more seats so now you don’t have to wait so damn long.

The Upscale but Pretty Farm to Table Restaurant: ABC Kitchen. Love roasted squash with parmesan and lemon, roasted carrot and avocado salad, spaghettini with shrimp and red chili flakes,  and am crazy for the Sundae: salt caramel ice cream, candied peanuts and popcorn, whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

Inside Hill Country Chicken


Inside L'Oubli

Fatty 'Cue

I love Lovely Day

ABC Kitchen's Kitchen

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Quick Bite: Peel’s

outside Peel's

Peel’s is the brand new, surprisingly polished, very white, comfortable sister to taxidermied hipster restaurant Freeman’s. It’s a slightly more upscale diner with a takeout counter and a big long bar.

The savvy Freeman’s people know that cocktails attract customers like bees to honey, so even though it’s diner food, you can get a pretty damn involved cocktail.  That’s why  a cocktail is $13 and a cheeseburger is $12.  Must be those hand-muddled juices.

a peek at the menu

The wide, high-top wood communal tables on the first floor are my favorite.  Peel’s is totally casual, a place you can drop in with pals for an unfussy dinner, cheap beer and a fine Sazerac.

Peel’s,  325 Bowery at E. 2nd St.  No website as far as I can tell.

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Eating Afar: Bobo’s Barn Dinner

The biggest draw of the Catskills is also its biggest drawback: there is absolutely nothing going on up there.  So we were pretty psyched to hear that Carlos Suarez, proprietor of Bobo in the West Village, was up in our neck of the woods hosting an “autumnal barn dinner.”  Good food!  People! Farm!  Yee-hawwwww!

The food was fantastic.  The Bobo chef Patrick Connolly cooked all day over an open fire in a clearing on the farm, and after the sun sank (and the temperature along with it) we stood around the still going fire with glasses of wine, warming our hands.  I’m still in awe that Patrick cooked so much food for us, and every dish was So. Good.  The crowd was a mix of city, weekend Catskillers and locals, including the family of Neversink.  Carlos set a gorgeous table with linens and fresh wildflowers, and strung lights above the rafters.  It was beautiful.

Dinners like these are pretty special, because it takes everyone out of their element and into something different (like, a rustic old barn covered in hay in the middle of a field in upstate New York).  You get to connect with the farmers, with the chef, and with people you may not meet otherwise.

Bobo is planning another of these dinners, so I suggest you email them and get on their mailing list because seats fill up fast.  Visit their awesome blog at: bobonyc.tumblr.com

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Dishing: Greg Gimble, Lingerie VP

By all accounts, it seems Greg Gimble has a dream job.  He’s a young VP at Va Bien, a lingerie company his parents started 30 years ago. He contacted me to introduce me (the fashion editor me) to the line (which, by the way, has some pretty excellent and tres sexy bodysuits, the wearing of which is in diametric oppositon to the essence of this post).  This is Greg, looking only slightly dumbfounded by his good luck, on a recent photo shoot.

Yet for a guy who lives and breathes lingerie, he is impressively food-obsessed.  A native Manhattanite who now lives in Puerto Rico where the company is based, Greg holds his favorite meals close to his heart.    I’m particularly intrigued by an indoor bocce ball court,a perfect place to work off spaghetti-induced calories.  And I wholeheartedly second Blue Ribbon fried chicken: it is divine.

Greg takes it from here, dishing on his top five meals in the city:

-Dinner at Kanoyama, with a good friend who I have not seen in months.  Broiled black cod marinated in miso, or perhaps some fried oysters, followed by anago (saltwater eel) sushi and an assortment of the fresh fish they have on a given day.  Hopefully they have kinmedai (golden eye snapper) and akashidai (red snapper).  They almost always have great toro from Boston.  To drink, a cold bottle of Onigoroshi sake.  No dessert, just a cup of green tea. Kanoyama, East Village.  For more info visit www.kanoyama.com

inside Kanoyama

-Dinner at Aurora, with a best friend who I see often.  Tuna tartare with avocado followed by a porterhouse for 2 – though they almost never have it; out of 10 times that I call in advance they might have it once.  They always have a ribeye for 2 but it doesn’t hold a candle to the porterhouse, which is perfection incarnate – or “in carne” I should say.  Bottle of Barolo.  Dessert back home after walking a a bit, perhaps an apricot tart from Balthazar’s bakery or just some sorbet. Aurora, Soho and Brooklyn.  Visit www.auroraristorante.com

-Dinner at Il Vagabondo, with my parents.  Prosciutto & melon followed by “veal vagabondo”, which consists of sauteed escalope of veal covered with eggplant and mozzarella.  Bottle of Montepulciano.  Bocce ball dessert –  3 layers of ice cream covered in a round chocolate shell.  The ice cream could be better but its charm makes up for it, especially if we’re seated next to the bocce ball court in the restaurant. Il Vagabondo, Upper East Side.  Visit www.ilvagabondo.com

-After hours snack / dinner #2 at Blue Ribbon, with whoever will go with me – but more frequently by myself, after ducking out of a party that got too crowded.  Fried chicken with collard greens and mashed potatoes, or sweet & spicy catfish with the same sides.  The catfish if it’s hot out and I crave a cold glass of Sancerre. Blue Ribbon, the restaurant on Sullivan in Soho and the Bakery (also serves fried chicken) is on Downing in W. Vill.  Visit www.blueribbonrestaurants.com

some good ol' fried chicken

-Delivery from Phoenix Garden, by myself.  Spring rolls followed by minced squab with lettuce wraps, or sauteed prawns and a side of bok choy.  Cold light beers.  Followed by a minimum of 2 hours on the couch. Phoenix Garden, Midtown East.  Visit www.phoenixgarden.com

To check out Va Bien’s collection, visit www.vabien.com


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Love That Dutch Design

photo from vandaagnyc.com

For the first time, I thought I could live in a restaurant.  Vandaag is light and airy, clean lines, modern, the loudest details being subtle textures like wood slab ceilings and tiled walls.  There are big windows looking out onto the East Village Streets.  An old Lynyrd Skynyrd song plays.  The servers wear cute printed aprons and converse.  The restaurant has a clear focus: food from Denmark and Holland, genever (gin) and aqvavit.  Not a bad focus.

I know nothing about Dutch food, but I do know I was in the mood for simple comfort food, whatever that may be.  We tried a romaine salad with crumbled sausage, bitterballen (braised oxtail croquettes), and gravlax.  They sent out an amuse bouche of hen pate, which was lovely, but made me feel like I was due to have a fancier meal than expected (or desired).  The food is super creative and thoughtful.  The owners come from Mayahuel, an expertly conceived tequila restaurant, so it’s no surprise they left no Dutch detail untouched.  It’s a niche restaurant in fine form.

Will I return?  Yes.  I really want to try their Ham Burger, with gouda and charred onion, and maybe one of their beer cocktails.  I might come with a group, as they have nice big booths to squeeze into, and the airiness of the restaurant is such a refreshing change to the usual table-upon-table setup of most New York restaurants.  You almost feel like you left the city altogether.

Vandaag, 2nd Ave bet 6th and 7th Sts, East Village.  For more information visit vandaagnyc.com

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