During a quick visit to The Big Apple last week, my husband and I had dinner at Uncle Boon’s, a new Thai and Rotisserie Grill downtown in Nolita. It took several tries to book, since this modest-sized restaurant sets aside only a few reservations, encouraging walk-ins instead. I persevered on line, booking a table for two, and hit the jackpot! Cozy and unpretentious, Uncle Boon’s delivered tempting dishes with bold, multi-layered flavors.
Crispy Frog Legs with Noodles, Lemongrass and Thai Herbs Salad
I started with a sautéed chopped lamb salad with cucumbers, mint, shallots, and chiles, a dish with plenty of heat, My spouse tried crispy frog legs served over glass noodles garnished with a lemongrass and Thai herb salad. Both were delicious. For mains my boneless beef short ribs were fork tender and extra spicy. But, definitely, the winning dish of the evening was my husband’s roasted duck leg served in a sublime soy anise broth along with a caramelized tangerine and a steamed duck egg. (I went to sleep dreaming about that beautifully seasoned broth!)
Roasted Duck Leg in Soy Anise Broth
Jean Georges‘ Nougatine 1 Central Park West (between 60th and 61st), New York, New York
Molten Chocolate Cake with Ice Cream at Nougatine
In the same building on Central Park West adjacent to the famous Restaurant Jean Georges, you’ll find another eatery called Jean Georges’ Nougatine, its less expensive sibling. The talented chef oversees both kitchens, and the menu at Nougatine, when I stopped there for lunch recently, was tantalizing and a veritable bargain at $32 prix fixe. In the Big Apple to attend an international food meeting, I and another food writer went for a midday meal at Nougatine where we savored a parade of creative and beautifully presented dishes. Continue reading
Magnolia Bakery New York . Chicago . Los Angeles . Dubai
Rockette Cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery
On visits to The Big Apple, I often feel in need of an afternoon treat to pick me up. So, I head for Magnolia Bakery. Founded in 1996 in Greenwich Village, this bakery (now with multiple stores) showcases American baked goods, hand crafted and made fresh daily. There are luscious pies and cakes, sheets of cookies and bars, and much more to satisfy sweet cravings. I can’t resist their cupcakes! You can choose from a wide variety, including caramel, devil’s food, lemon, banana, vanilla, and chocolate to list just a few. Continue reading
The Dutch 131 Sullivan Street (at Prince Street), New York, New York 10012 212-677-6299
I became a fan of Andrew Carmellini’s cooking when he was at A Voce near New York’s Madison Park. Last year when he opened Locanda Verde downtown, I made a reservation a month in advance, and it was worth it. The Italian offerings were creative, perfectly cooked, and served by a helpful staff. So, when I read that this talented chef was opening a new American place called The Dutch in Soho, I couldn’t wait to try it. I met Natanya, my young friend and talented cook, for lunch there recently, and over a two-hour meal we sampled dishes until we could eat no more.
It’s hard to describe the food at The Dutch except to say that it is inventive, yet surprisingly simple, with an emphasis on quality ingredients. There’s plenty of fresh fish (with a first-rate oyster selection), choice meats, and no end of local produce. A welcoming treat arrived the minute we set down: a small warm loaf of peppery corn bread and sweet butter set on a wooden board. Most of it disappeared before we had even glanced at the menu. Continue reading
Fishs Eddy 889 Broadway at 19th Street, New York, New York 10003, 877-347-4733
I rarely go downtown in Manhattan without making a stop at Fishs Eddy. This funky store near Gramercy Park sells dishes, flatware, mugs, platters, glasses, and a host of other items, all displayed from floor to ceiling in a relatively small space. This unique emporium, started 25 years ago and named after a small town in New York State, offers an array of tempting merchandise at affordable prices. Some wares are seconds or discontinued, others are custom, but all are distinctive, fun, and playful.
I love their cake stands, their colorful dishes, their polka dot glasses, and their serving platters. Even my husband, a “non-shopper,” finds things of interest. Stemless wine glasses were his latest purchase. As an amateur prop stylist (that’s the person who selects the dishes and other props for food shots), I almost always leave Fishs Eddy with a treasure or two for future photos.
The Plaza Food Hall 1 West 59th Street, Concourse A (lower level), New York, New York 10019
Recently during a short visit to New York, I went to the Plaza Food Hall, located on the lower level of the Plaza Hotel for lunch. I had read about its opening in June of last year, and wanted to check it out. I confess that I arrived thinking it might just be another food court, but my solo meal there far surpassed my expectations. I only ordered two things, but both were delicious. A watercress salad with an assortment of shaved, pickled radishes, served mounded atop a grilled goat cheese panini was beautifully balanced in flavors. A mere hint of lemon jam spread beneath the sandwich, lent just the right sweet and tart notes to this dish. A whoopee pie cupcake, a rich, tender chocolate little cake, topped with thin layers of cream and chocolate, and then coated in a dark chocolate glaze, was perfection as well. Continue reading
Eataly 200 Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street, New York, New York 212-229-2560
For those who love pasta, prosciutto, and Parmigiano, a visit to Eataly, New York’s new food emporium that opened on August 31st is a must. Located on 5th Avenue (at 23rd Street) this 50,000 square food shrine to Italian gastronomy includes an espresso bar, a gelato station, cheese and bread counters, fish and vegetable stands, and much more. The variety and number of pastas sold is mind-boggling. Ditto that for balsamic vinegars and olives oils. There’s a butcher to help you purchase meats and a vegetable butcher to assist with produce. Continue reading
ABC Kitchen 35 East 18th Street (between Broadway and Park Ave.) New York, New York 100003 212-475-5829
I have long been a fan of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurants, and his newest venture, ABC Kitchen, in the Flat Iron area of Manhattan, did not disappoint. Located in the well-known ABC Carpet and Home store, the restaurant is led by Chef Dan Kluger. The emphasis is on locally sourced and organic ingredients with items like delectable Kabocha squash (a sweet, orange-fleshed autumn variety) fresh ricotta and buffalo mozzarella cheeses, and finely cured meats as star attractions. Continue reading