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Where to eat right now: NYC

August 17th, 2012 5 Comments

On my recent trip to New York, I called on all of foodie friends to refer me to the latest and greatest on the island.  I say that because there are TONS of amazing restaurants in Brooklyn, but I never can get motivated to get out there.

Below is the list I complied with my own favorites.  The restaurants maked with an aesterick have reviews below.  You’ll be shocked to know THE HOT dinner spot was not all that, and no one offered me chips ;)


  • Cafe Grumpy
  • Saturdays
  • My old favorite: Stumptown at The Ace Hotel


  • Rocket Pig
  • Nicoletta
  • My old favorites:  Maialino in The Gramercy Hotel, Friend of the Farmer, Alidoro Sandwich Shop in Soho (Above. I always get the Brando.)


  • Acme
  • Neta
  • Nomad @ Nomad Hotel*
  • Beauty & Essex*
  • Mission Chinese Food
  • Rosemary’s
  • Isola @ Mondrian Soho
  • Red Farm
  • Hudson Clearwater
  • Brushstroke
  • David Burke Kitchen*
  • A favorite I skipped: Locanda Verde


  • Rooftop at Met
  • Jimmy – Rooftop at The Jane*
  • NoMAD hotel
  • Parlor in SoHo
  • Standard Biergarden
  • Gin Palace
  • Booker & Dax
  • Tippler
  • New bar @ Le Bernardin
  • Hurricane Bar
  • Avenue

Since I only had 4 days in NYC I couldn’t possibly make it to all of these places!  Out of the ones I did visit, some delivered, and others disappointed.

Jimmy – Rooftop Bar at The James Hotel (SoHo) 

I won’t say this trendy bar is better than the Boom Boom Room at The Standard or The Roof Gardens at The Ganesvoort.  What I will say is that I loved the scene:  a beautiful sunset over the Hudson River was the backdrop for a fashionable crowd chatting like they’re all important.  FUN! (haha)  My complaint:  drinking a martini out of a plastic glass is not worthy of $18.  Also, might want to get there early to avoid the big bouncer that shows up after sun-down.

David Burke Kitchen (SoHo)

In the basement of The James Hotel, I found a very spacious, modern, and noisy dining room. Even though I was alone, I still had to wait for a seat at the bar.  The place was packed, but not crowded.  As for Burke’s menu, the dishes were fresh and inventive, but not stellar on the plate.  I enjoyed my soft-shell crab, the company of the friendly bartender, and reasonably priced wine.  It’s what I call a SOLID experience..like The Little Owl, just a lot bigger.

Saturdays v. Grumpy’s v. Stumptown

I had NO idea there was a decent coffee shop in Soho, probably because there isn’t one!  Saturdays is a California surf shop on Crosby where they plopped a La Marzocco in the entry. The talented barista served up a notably better capp than I had at Grumpy’s in Chelsea the day before.  (Their clothing label was equally as impressive.)  I did buy a bag of Grumpy’s Ethopian beans  which made for delicious Chemex pots of coffee in my kitchen the following week.  Stumptown’s pastries are pretty much the only ones worth the calories to me and they always deliver a proper latte.  Since they’re all in different neighborhoods, you should just go to the one nearby and take a load off.


This tapas cafe, a larger version of Bar Jabon in my opinion, is the place EVERYONE wants to go to but can’t get into.  Being that is was a summer Friday when all the locals had already escaped to the Hamptons, I easily found a seat at the bar for dinner.  Unfortunately, only two of Chef Seamus Mullen’s plates delivered the caliber we expected:  pan con tomate + prosciutto, and the snap peas with sheep’s milk ricotta.  Otherwise, the bass and the octopus were both overcooked and the crostinis were cold and bland.  If you’re looking for tapas, go to Casa Mono, the Gramercy classic that never disappoints.  While you wait for your table, grab a plate of prosciutto at Bar Jabon next door.

Beauty & Essex

Stanton Social has always been a favorite of mine – great food + fun, pre-party scene.  When I heard that the chef had opened this new two-story venue, I desperately wanted to go.  But I had to wait…a long time.  Thankfully, it’s still hoppin’.  Entering through a pawn shop on the LES you wouldn’t expect much, but behind the door is…well, another Stanton Social.  The food is equally impressive while the people watching was a bit bland.  However, my out-of-town guests had no complaints.  With champagne service in the bathroom, there’s really not much to whimper about.


The second place everyone in town is talking about is Nomad in the Nomad hotel.  One would think that being a newborn sister of the Manhattan classic Eleven Madison Park you would never hear a complaint.  I heard several when I told friends I had secured a coveted 8:30pm resi there.  As many people who raved about, they gave negative feedback about every dish that was served.  For the prices they’re asking, I wasn’t going to take the risk.  That being said, all of the critics I respect LOVE everything about it.  The bar is said to be a hot spot as well, so that’s where I would dip my toe in to test the waters.

Sweet Revenge

This place was not recommended by anyone, but was OPEN at 3am and serving cupcakes!  Come to find out the West Village cafe has all of my favorite things in one place:  cocktails, cupcakes, wine, beer, and drinkable coffee.  We snagged a little of everything and went to chow down in bed.  The carrot cake took the grand prize hands down.

Many thanks to my foodies, especially @sarahashley and @allisoncook for all of your guidance!


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  • NoMad Hotel has a bar in the library — it is like being in a fabulous old English living room. Great service and terrific drinks.

  • Jackmo

    I think you’re confusing the James Hotel with the Jane Hotel. Both the places you mentioned as being in the Jane Hotel are actually in the James.

    • Good point!!! Terrible mistake!

      • Jackmo

        Too many hotels with first names, haha!

        • Approve. Seriously!! Better than “The Dream” I suppose. But I hear that hotel is fabulous :)