- Minetta Tavern in the Greenwich Village
- Montenapo and Monkey Bar restaurants, in Midtown
- Chef Michael White's new restaurant Marea, on Central Park South
- Three new Italians: Sora Lella, Kesté Pizza&Vino, Tonda
- DBGB Kitchen and Bar: Daniel Boulud's luxe burger & souffles
- Miss Favela: Brazilian fare in Brooklyn
- Danny Meyer of Union Square Café opens the Maialino trattoria at the Gramercy Park Hotel
- Paris chef Pascal Barbot cooks alongside David Chang at Momofuku Ko
- The Standard Grill, hot restaurant at The Standard hotel, in the Meatpacking
- Daniel awarded 3 stars in the new Michelin Guide New York 2010
- Ditching Patrick for Pulino's
- Eleven Madison Park: always a good surprise
- Newcomers on the Bowery: Hecho en Dumbo, Faustina and Pulino's
- Pigging out at Maialino
- Jean-Georges Vongerichten at the Mark Hotel
- Benvenuta Faustina at the Cooper Square Hotel
- Where New Yorkers grab their sandwich
- The Modern at the MoMA
- Midtown: La Grennouille and Casa Lever
- Lombardi's: New York's first pizzeria
- Chef April Bloomfield's The Breslin finally opens at the Ace Hotel
- Eleven Madison Park: the jewel on Danny Meyer's crown
Had lunch at Marea on Wednesday. Was very much looking forward to it, especially after seeing (reading) all the hype on Grub Street.
Boy, what a disappointment.
The non-descript façade already turned me off: how can anything this talked-about seem so un-stylish? As we walked-in, a flashy Egyptian marble bar bid us welcome.
The service was bad beyond words. Can't count how many times I had to wave my hands to try to get someone's attention. I have to cut them some slack - it was, after all, their FIRST day open for lunch. But still, with all those servers you'd think they'd figure out how to communicate with each other! Finished my Ligurian beer and never had anyone ask if I'd like anything else, until I - after trying to flag down 3 guys - finally got one server to come to my table so I could order wine. Geez.
The music really bothered me. Pop-rock. In a formal dining room filled with dressed-up people in their 40s - 60s. The two just didn't go together.
The (tough and cold) bread came with neither oil nor butter. I've seen this done at other places but... come on, how 'bout a little extra-virgin?
Just so this isn't all negative, I did appreciate one nice touch: for now, they're offering 20% off - a "soft opening deal" of sorts. Nice idea.
I figured I should try 2 apps and one main.
As I said before, our bread was only so-so and did not come with oil or butter. I had lunch at The Modern the day before, where both the bread and the butter were exceptional, so I couldn't help feeling let down...
The fluke crudo was nice. Can't think of anything more illuminating to say. I'd add
a pinch of fleur de sel if I had it at the table...
This was delicious. Morels from Oregon stuffed with shrimp and lardo, and a tiny bit of wild watercress.
Then came the main course: seaweed marinated east coast halibut, spring vegetables, manila clams, sopressata
I felt guilty about not enjoying this dish. Was I not attuned to the subtleties going on? After all, I was at a fish restaurant of a famous chef. Which has been written about extensively. Surely this man REALLY knows his fish. And yet.... why did it seem so boring? The broth, too subtle. The seaweed taste of the marinade, nowhere to be found. The carrots, too al dente to be cut with a spoon, too big to fit in the mouth whole. The fish, just ever so slightly overcooked.
Overall, the dish was... oh dear God... BLAND. There. I said it. Something I'd eat at a spa. Nice. Pretty. Bland. And no spoon to scoop up the broth with. Sigh...
Go figure: the best part of the meal was dessert. Or desserts, in the plural. Chef sent out 3 of them.
First up: 3 cubes of cloud-like zuchini cake topped with lemon cream, and a quenelle of frozen yogurt. Tart and sweet, creamy and soft. Delish. Loved the churros-like fried zuchini garnish.
Another great dessert: cocoa nib cream, chocolate and hazelnut tarte, and, on the side, fior di latte ice cream. Perfection. Especially for gianduja lovers like me. :)
And the third one contained that tired coconut-pineaple combo that every single chef seems to feel obliged to use. Still, it was delicious: a fluffyt ricotta cheesecake topped with cooked and diced pineaple and coconut icecream on the side.
Even the mignardises were yummy: lemon curd and meringue in tiny pastry cups that fell apart to the touch, and little chocolate-strawberry cakes that mimicked the Italian flag.
Still, the the excellent desserts were not enough to make the meal feel right. Too many mishaps - especially with service... Overall, I'd say I won't be going back.
Take a trip to sample some of the most inspiring designs by Brazilian emerging and established artists. You don’t have to fly to South America. The lively party last night at MoMA’s Soho store kicked off Destination: Brazil, a new MoMA exclusive product collection featuring 75 items that you could only get in Brazil. Some are already staples of the innovative Brazilian product design such as the eclipse lamp, but most objects are fresh off the manufacturers south of the Equator. Many artists were present (Camila Sarpi, Arthur Casas, Renata Meirelles, and the cute boys from the Osklen store (who you can meet personally on your next NYC shopping spree at Osklen’s two locations).
The MoMA store was packed and lively with chatty guests enjoying caipirinha (the national lime-cachaca drink), admiring (and buying!) the limited edition pieces. The charming Brazilian ambassador, Osmar Chohfi gave an inspiring speech, and some lucky lady won a ticket to Brazil by TAM Brazilian Airlines. The objects are colorful, beautiful and lively, the perfect representation of this tropical country, definitely worth a visit. I wasn’t so fortunate to win a free trip, but until then I will dream of Rio every time I look at my bracelet featuring Ipanema’s black and white sidewalk design. A piece of the best of Brazil all available worldwide a click away!
For more incredible tips on Brazil, visit our sister blog: Brazil for Insiders.
Unless I have a doctor’s appointment, a business meeting or the occasional play on Broadway, I simply avoid going to Midtown. The rows of drab office skyscrapers separated by wide traffic-heavy roads and sidewalks cramped with crowds – come on… that’s just not inviting. That was until recently. Now I actually see two reasons to endure Midtown steel tower dullness: Monkey Bar and Montenapo.
There’s nothing bland about those two recently opened restaurants.
Monkey Bar is the second restaurant venture of Vanity Fair’s editor in chief Graydon Carter. Celebs and high rollers attract rows of paparazzi in front of Waverly Inn, his first restaurant, every single night. When I went to Monkey Bar last Tuesday I saw no one, literally, not a single person at the door. I even thought I was at the wrong address. Hard to believe it’s the hottest new restaurant in town. Easy to see why once you step inside. The interior feels like a charming brasserie. I really tried to get a good look at the all around vintage mural depicting happy monkeys doing human business so that I could describe that fascinating work a little better here, but you’ll have to forgive me. My eyes kept getting distracted looking at Tom Ford instead, his magnetic demeanor sitting in the booth right across from me. As if that wasn’t enough, in comes the chief himself, Mr. Carter and Co., two booths away, sitting across from Donny Deutsch. Once my appetite of celebrity spotting was satisfied I was able to focus on the surprisingly haut cuisine tasting meatloaf, and enjoy my yummy bellini cocktail. Ok, I confess, slightly ogling impeccable T.F., but no worries, without being creepy.
60 E. 54th St, near Park Ave. 212-838-2600
For a genuine powerbroker lunch experience, even if you aren’t one, head to Montenapo, the brand new restaurant named after Via Montenapoleone, the chi-chiest Street in Milan, the Italian capital of fashion. Also italiano is architect Renzo Piano who designed the impressive The New York Times Building, which houses Montenapo. (Yes, some buildings, only a couple of them, manage to break the monotony of the area’s steel towers) The meraviglioso interiors match the delizioso food signed by chef German Lucarelly (Bice). Try the tradizionalissimo risotto milanese, or a branzino after snacking on the softest burrata.
Montenapo at The New York Times Building, 620 8th Ave. (entrance on West 41st Street between 7th & 8th Avenues), 212-764-7663, montenaporestaurant.com
Ah, the new found appeal of Midtown (ok, MoMa I’ll never forget you!)