Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Potatopia

Never go.  It's awful.  And potatoes are my favorite food group, so I would know. Oh I was also a little buzzed, so it should have been awesome.  It was not.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Juliana's Pizza is Awesome

Another day where I found myself Hangry. After only having a Nathan's hot dog and fries for lunch, and then clams for a snack, I was ready to eat again.  My stomach was craving something tasty, after feeding it with deliciousness all day.  Upon returning from Coney Island, I went to Juliana's, the pizza place next to Grimaldi's, down by the Brooklyn Bridge Park. 


Upon arrival, I am told that the oven was off for 10 minutes, so there was a slight delay.  Not to worry, as it was only 4 pm, and I was ashamed at my hunger after eating Nathan's.  Sitting at the bar, I watched the man above make pizza after pizza.  By the 18th one, I couldn't believe our pizza wasn't ready yet!  We clearly had a lot of pizza eaters ahead of us.  Luckily, it was well worth the wait.


For a first timer, the classic margherita was the way to go.  The crust on this pizza is my dream.  Not too thin that it flops.  Not too thick that it sits in your stomach all day.  Cheese and sauce balance each other, with basil to add the perfect touch.

I can't wait to go back.  Next time, I am ordering the #1: Housemade mozzarella, Scamorza affumicata, pancetta, scallions and Oregon-grown white truffles in olive oil (no tomato).  YUM.

Have a delicious day!
NYC Menu Girl

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Narcissa

Just like Skal, my Narcissa order was simple.  Two appetizers, two entrees, featuring awesome ingredients, that should simply taste good with the correct preparation and a slight flair.  Narcissa, unlike Skal, knocked it out of the park.


Located in the East Village Standard Hotel, I have the joy of walking past Narcissa every morning on the way to the gym.  This vegetarian friendly spot features seasonal produce from the Hudson Valley. But carnivores can delight too, because alongside some of these lovely veggies are fabulous cuts of meat, prepared with sophistication and finesse.


To start, we ordered the egg and pork belly salad, and a lovely beet dish.  A salad topped with egg and bites of pork belly proved to be a good combination.  It was not the stand out of the night, but it was still great.  Beets used to be a foe, but this dish turned them friend, with a lovely preparation and some nice pickling on the side to add flavor.


For dinner, we knew what we wanted almost immediately.  The Carrots Wellington sounded so amazing, especially on Yelp reviews.  A rabbit classic turned vegetarian delight was definitely intriguing.  To add to the veggie delight would have to be a great meat dish, so we opted for the Duck Breast.


When they arrived, we knew we were in for a treat.  Carrots Wellington, served over a sauce that I would lick off a plate if socially acceptable, was my first bite into our entrees, and I was sad to turn half it over to my dining companion.


Little did I know, the duck dish would be a highlight of my year.  A perfectly cooked piece of duck that is both simple and flavorful is something I can appreciate.

This bill also came to $100, just like at Skal, but this food was actually exquisite, and if anything, it was a pretty good deal.  That Carrots Wellington dish is only $20.  Saddle up to the bar one day and order it up.  You won't be disappointed, but you might be disappointed if you order wine to accompany it.  The Narcissa critique is simply that the wine glasses are too small and poured too high. A $15 glass deserves a better bowl.

Have a delicious day!
NYC Menu Girl

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Mile End Burger

Now we have a top ten burger.  The Smoked Meat Burger, at Mile End Deli, located in Brooklyn and Manhattan, with mustard-mayo, red onion, fried egg, american cheese, and an onion roll is a KILLER combo.  The onion roll is actually pretty sizeable compared to the patty itself, so you get a little extra bread there.


Smoked Meat Burger means that you probably should skip the Smoked Meat Poutine, right? WRONG.  The Smoked Meat Poutine is one of the best dishes in this city.  Get it.  You will have zero regrets.  Fries, cheese, gravy, and smoked meat is a combination worth wearing Santa pants for. Santa Pants means elastic pants, obvi.

Have a delicious day!
NYC Menu Girl

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Peter Luger Burger

It's good, but not a top ten burger for me.  And skip the onion.  It totally overpowers the burger.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My New Enemy

With some delicious eats of the summer must come a few missteps.  Little did I know that the Summer of 2014, the Summer of Kerry, would also feature by far one of the worst restaurants I have been to in NYC.

Skal.  It's Scandinavian.  And it's awful.  When I look back, I know that I've had some bad bites during my 7+ year stint, but a lot of them have faded into the background. So why is the terrible meal permanently stuck in my brain?

Expectations can really shape an experience.  My friend really wanted to try a Scandinavian restaurant. This restaurant had decent reviews.  Moreover, the menu seemed thoughtful, ever-changing, and a great addition to the Lower, Lower East Side (it's pretty far down there).

With high expectations, and a $100 bill at the end of the night, I genuinely feel worse for the wear, and definitely poorer.  When I play that game of what I could have spent that $100 on, I just get angry.  That's 3 Hometown BBQ Beef Ribs.  That's a dinner at Narcissa, which, spoiler alert, was way better than Skal.  That's a case of Astor Wines 12 Wines of the month.

Located on a corner, and seated at an outdoor table in July, the night was destined for greatness.  A cool air breeze, sourdough bread, and two glasses of wine were the perfect start to the evening.  It all ended there.

The broccoli appetizer sounded great, as did raw beef.  So we decided to start there, on our journey that would ultimately end in disaster.


Undercooked broccoli is no way to start a night.  I couldn't even cut it into pieces on the plate without a steak knife, and with fear that a piece would go flying.  Memorable for sure, but memorable for how awful it tasted.  The raw beef was a deconstructed tartare, tasting fine, but leaving inspiration at the door.

Entrees should be the redeeming factor, although my hope had faded, since appetizers usually hook me and leaving me wanting more...appetizers!  Arctic Char is a lovely delightful fish, but this was just boring.  Fish usually makes me feel healthy, fresh, light, and airy.  This was just boring.  Luckily, we ordered another dish that sounded just killer.  But all it did was kill my soul.

Pork Belly & Scallops, it read, with sweet corn and chili.  These are some of my favorite things! Together, they were sure to sing in harmony.  What it lacked though was the conductor, who brings the harmony together.  All of these elements were featured on a plate, but there was no sauce, no flavor that tied them altogether.  Dry and bland, which was so sad, because all it needed was one additional element.  It needed the bow on the present, the icing on the cake, the m & m's on the fro yo.

The bill came, and my credit card wanted to draw a sad face.  This menu features great ingredients that simply need good preparation and a tasty twist to stand out.  I don't cook often, but I can say with real confidence that I could have done this better.


We headed back to the East Village, and had gelato at Fresco Gelateria.  By and far, it was the highlight of our night.

Have a delicious day!
NYC Menu Girl

Friday, September 26, 2014

My New Lover

On July 4th, I took a lover.  I call him Hometown BBQ.  He changed my life, with his beef ribs, mac and cheese, corn bread, and so much more.  Although I've only visited my lover one other time, I think of him often and dream of his menu items I have yet to try.


Hometown BBQ celebrated its 1 year anniversary recently.  Located in Red Hook, this BBQ joint is not the easiest place to get to, but that's not stopping people.  You can take the F to Carroll Street, and then walk 35 minutes (that's not a joke).  Or you can hop on the IKEA ferry.  OR you can befriend someone with a car.  If you live in NYC, you need to have one friend with a car.  It's a game changer. Look at your friends.  If you can't identify one with a car, you must make a new friend.


After a morning of relaxing, and only a bowl of bran flakes in my belly, I headed to Hometown BBQ. The line was to the door, at 2 pm, which meant a 50 minute wait.  A line is not nearly as sexy as a comfy table, so the wait caused quite a bit of hangryness.  As we approached the counter, the excitement took over, and the joy finally set in.

The Beef Rib
We ordered mac and cheese, the beef rib ($25 a pound with portions starting at 1.3 pounds), brisket, lamb belly banh mi, cornbread, collard greens, and key lime pie.

The beef rib was by far the best thing I've eaten all year. Moist, succulent, and falling off the bone, I just want to eat it every day.  The brisket was also pretty good, rivaling some of the top joints like Hill Country and Dinosaur BBQ.  The lamb belly banh mi grew on me.  Initially, I felt that the bread was too thick and chewy, and was hiding the lamb belly flavor.  But it ultimately came through.

As for sides, do not skip them. Jalapeno flavored mac and cheese is a must, with a nice kick and a great compliment to the meat.  Cornbread is a given, in my opinion.  The collard greens made us feel better about our bad choices that day. And why wouldn't you have key lime pie? Your calorie intake is already out the door.
What we left behind
While you are devouring beef ribs, you will rather enjoy the ambiance.  A large, garage type space, with guys that look like they are straight out of a Texas bbq restaurant behind the counter and a bar with tvs and nicely priced beers make this a great joint to hang out at.

Sauces are the real key here though. Do not be shy on filling those little cups with sauces to bring home.  They allow it, and you should do it.

Now get on tinder to find someone with a car, and go to Hometown BBQ.

Have a delicious day!
NYC Menu Girl

Thursday, September 25, 2014

So It's Been 3 Months

I am the WORST.  Right?  I basically just took a summer vacation from my blog without even planning it. But, if it is any consolation, I spent my weekends out and about, filling every minute with fun, sun, adventures, and occasional sleep.  It was the Summer of Kerry, a summer I've been waiting for after summers of bar exams, breakups, and weddings.  Summer 2014 was mine. 

Below is a short list of some of the places I went to this summer.  

  1. Narcissa
  2. North fork Inn
  3. Sripraphai
  4. Pizzarte
  5. Crif Dogs
  6. Parmys
  7. Hometown BBQ
  8. Bacchanal
  9. Prosperity Dumplings
  10. St. Austere
  11. Peter Luger 
  12. Hakata Ton Ton
  13. Donostia
  14. Skal
  15. Potatopia
  16. Ample Hills Creamery
  17. Littleneck
  18. Barn Joo
  19. The Gander
  20. Il Cantinori
  21. Sotto 13
  22. Pizzeteria Brunetti
  23. Original Nathan's
  24. Jeepney
  25. Juliana
  26. Momofuku Ko
  27. Hot Kitchen
  28. Unidentified Flying Chickens
  29. Paulie Gee's 
  30. Hay Rosie Craft Ice Cream
  31. The Gorbals
  32. Contra
So yea, I was pretty busy.  I won't be able to tell you about all of these places, but please do not hesitate to reach out to me at kerry @ thenycmenugirl.com to get feedback on any of the places above.  Happy to share my thoughts!

Stay tuned for details on some of the highs and lows of this summer eating.

Have a delicious day!
NYC Menu Girl

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hudson Eats is a Food Court

And that ain't bad. But it is a food court, and don't think it is something else.  When you think of food courts, you think of Ranch 1, Wendy's, Nathan's, Manchu Wok, and maybe, if you are lucky, a random Philly Cheesesteak spot. What you don't think of is every awesome artisanal food spot in Manhattan condensed to 1 location, each with its own outpost.


Head down to Brookfield Place.  And by head down, I could not be more literal. This building is in Battery Park City, by the Manhattan Sailing Club.  Take any subway, and you are still a 12 minute walk away. Already, this place seems like a hassle.  I think it will do well with a few downtown offices and the new opening of the 911 Memorial Museum, just 7 minutes away on foot.

When you walk in, you realize you are in a food court. Unlike Gotham West Market, which feels like a cafeteria, this definitely resembles a mall. The difference between a food court and a cafeteria may not seem like a real thing. A food court is a series of restaurants in one location, and you pick a place to get your food. A cafeteria feels more like a place where you would take a tray and grab a few things. Although each place at Gotham West Market has its own register, you do feel like a beer from one place, ramen from another, fries from a third, and coffee from a fourth make up your meal, whereas Hudson Eats feels like each person in a family grabs what they want and meets up at a table.


Scope it out.  All of the names are familiar.  You have Black Seed Bagels, which judging by my last post, you know I skipped.  Umami Burger is going to be a huge hit here, but was sadly closed the day I went, since I went on day 2 of this food court. Dos Toros Taqueria has a prominent spot, across from Skinny Pizza, a NJ pizza spot and Num Pang, the best banh mi sandwich in town. For basic sandwiches and salads, you will find Tartinery and Olives (not affiliated with Todd English's restaurant). And for your usual Seamless type restaurant, you can hit up Chop't or Dig Inn, the healthiest choices, which are not far from your treat of a Sprinkles cupcake.  Top it all off with a grilled cheese sandwich from Little Muenster, and you should not be lacking in choices.


We opted for Dos Toros Taqueria to start, and ordered a taco. Sadly, they were out. We got a quesadilla, which resembled the quesadilla I've had from their 13th street location. Their quesadilla is kind of a smaller burrito. I prefer my quesadilla's to be flat and cheesy, not plump.  But it still tasted good.

Next, we selected Skinny Pizza, on the strategy that it was one of the few places we could not find anywhere else in Manhattan.  A BBQ chicken pizza slice and mushroom slice later, and I had no regrets.  Both were pretty good. They may not stand out as great NYC pizza, but the price was right.

Is Hudson Eats a destination? If you have access to Union Square, you can hit up Dos Toros, Umami, and Num Pang without a problem (well, maybe a small wait at Umami).  It really makes sense if you are in the area, and want to enjoy water views!

Have a delicious day!
NYC Menu Girl

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lavender Lake - Your Outdoor Destination

It's the summer, so we love to read about all of the best bars in the city. Lavender Lake takes the cake for outdoor fun in Brooklyn. Off the beaten path, perhaps, you take the F to Carroll Street and walk 10 minutes.  It is not far, but it is in the opposite direction of the rest of Carroll Gardens fun. This spot is a destination, with not much else around it to seek refuge in case of crowds.


Here is the trick.  This bar opens at 2 p.m.  If you arrive by 4 p.m. on a weekend, you are almost guaranteed a table in the backyard. With burgers, fries, and crispy brussels sprouts, the food will keep you there as you sip on $6 beers or $4 narragansetts, which is my cheap beer of choice.

You will get great service, fun crowds, and nothing at all douchey. In a year, this place will be overrun with vineyard vines jerks, so get it while you can.

Have a delicious day!
NYC Menu Girl


Friday, June 13, 2014

Black Seed Bagels - Not Jumping on that Bandwagon

Sorry to be contrary, but Black Seed Bagels just ain't my jam, or rather, cream cheese.  This new bagel shop opened in Nolita back in April, much to the city's excitement.  Finally, Montreal style bagels are coming to NY!  Wait, why do I care about that? I live in NY, so I probably want a NY style bagel. But I am open to new things, and change, and yada yada yada.  With a day of errands ahead, why not get a Montreal style bagel in my system?


The sun was shining. The birds were chirping. And there was NO line. I heard this place sports a long line, so I was happy to get right to the front.  They offer five different flavors of bagels, which is about 20 too few for me. Although I am an whole wheat everything girl at heart, I dabble in my bagel flavors. Sourdough bagels fulfill the fancy in me.  Salt bagels just scream unhealthy, and I scream hooray! Pumpernickel makes me feel like I am branching out. Sesame bagels with several sesame seeds rock my world. Multigrain makes me justify all the drinking I did the night before. Egg bagels are just flat out delicious and deserve more street cred. What is that - an onion bagel? Hey, I am down for offending people with my breath all day. Heck - put scallion cream cheese on that sucker.

Everything bagel won out over the very few choices at Black Seed, while my friend opted for sesame seed. If you go everything, you might as well throw in the towel and order scallion cream cheese.  My friend went for veggie cream cheese.  Each bagel was $1.50, with spreads coming in at $1.75.  Say hello to the $3.25 bagel, which is not uncommon in NYC.


We waited at least 10 minutes for this bagel. Clearly, they want you to have the freshest bagel imaginable.  They called my name, and I unwrapped my bagel with my teeth because I was starving. My first thought, and yes, that's what she said, is "wow this is small!"  Granted, every large bagel I eat puts me under for about 7 hours, but I like it that way. But maybe each small bite would be worth it.


My teeth started chomping at this bagel, and it was...slippery. This bagel came fresh out of the oven, so it was extremely hot, causing the cream cheese to be somewhat melty. This is NOT my jam.  My cream cheese should be like a deli meat - on the bagel, in a chunk.  A slight meltiness is sexy, but I shouldn't be licking cream cheese off of my fingers. That is not sexy.

Overall, I do not want this Montreal style bagel. It is too small. It is too hot. And it is no better than any other bagel, so why am I going out of my way to spend the same amount of money on a smaller, not tastier, bagel?

Have a delicious day!
NYC Menu Girl

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Red Rooster

For some, life above 100th street is like leaving the island of Manhattan.  For others, it is their university, their home, and the source of great culture and beauty.  I have not ventured up their as often as I should, and Red Rooster gave me a reason to turn it around.

Red Rooster is Marcus Samuelsson's restaurant, who you probably know from the Food Network. This Southern comfort restaurant right off of the 2/3 train. If you are new to this neighborhood, I promise you won't get lost since you can see it as soon as you emerge from underground.

Armed with a reservation, and the desire to dine al fresco, we were seated at a table outside.  Moments after placing an order, the rain came down fast and furious. We were moved downstairs to the Supper Club, at a small sort of high-top table, with side by side chairs. It was more like a mini bar.  I was comfortable there, as was my friend Meghan, but I feel that some would not have enjoyed the arrangement. Considering the circumstances, I was pleased with the table. Beware folks - you may be able to dine al fresco at a restaurant, but you take on the risk of bad weather.

Preparation can be key when tackling a menu, and luckily, a co-worker had been the night before and coached me. She said that there is not a big distinction between the appetizer and entree sizes. This is also reflected in the prices, where a small app is $11 and a large app is $17, and a small entree is $19 and a large entree is $27. She told me to approach the menu by looking at what I really wanted, and be menu category agnostic.


Oysters & Wings take the top spot on the menu, as they should, since this combination is super delightful, obscure, and a match made in heaven.  The oysters are fried, and not quite as crunchy as I would like on the outside, but melt in your mouth good.  Wings are a food that I simply crave on a daily basis, as well as oysters.  Who knew I should combine them?

The other appetizers consist of a few salads (no thanks) and some bigger items like Chicken & Waffles, which is a perfect example of an appetizer that is more like an entree. We passed on the rest of the appetizers and opted to order 3 entrees.  Leftovers are always good, so why not go for the gold?

Yardbird is what people are talking about on Foursquare, so I ordered that obviously, and with a side of mashed potatoes, I was confident in its delightfulness. The Catfish, with cheddar grits, had Southern comfort written all over it, and became a must have for me.  Pasta may not call out to you at a Southern restaurant, but Oxtail Pappardelle combines two of my favorite things - Oxtail and Pappardelle.


They coursed it out, by bringing the Pappardelle and the Oysters & Wings first, followed by the Catfish and Yardbird.  The Oysters and Wings were a delight.  And the Pappardelle was perfect. With a great sauce, a nice chunk of bread, and meat, it was perfection.


Out came the Yardbird and Catfish.  Although tasty chicken and potatoes always win me over, I couldn't stop clawing at the Catfish, and spooning grits into my mouth over and over.

We couldn't eat all of the $80 worth of food we ordered, but it tasted great the next way.  I highly recommend this spot to kick back and take a trip uptown that takes you down South.

Have a delicious day!
NYC Menu Girl

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

This is a large risotto ball

When you start down the arancini track, you never go back.  It's a fried risotto ball, and comes in all sorts of varieties.  Terroir sports several types, including beet risotto balls, one of my favorite dishes in the city (which is weird, since beets are not on the top of my tasty list).  


This particular arancini is from The Ritz Carlton in Aruba.  May not be accessible via subway, but its luscious looks should leave you wanting to hunt for the best arancini.  Sometimes, they come plated like above, as a full appetizer.  Other times, they are fried on the smaller side, so you can pop them in your mouth for fork-free risotto pleasure. 

Where do you go for delicious risotto balls?

Have a delicious day!
NYC Menu Girl

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Away I go!

I am off to Aruba tomorrow for a week with my Mommy!  We usually go in January, but we postponed this year because my brother and his wife decided to have the most adorable, most fun, little (well actually, he's kind of big) baby boy in January. Literally, this baby has turned my world upside down.  I am so obsessed with him.  I watched this video of him sneezing maybe 10 times one day because it was so cute.  I've never known that many babies, so it is very new for me, and I can't believe how quickly I turned into someone who talks about bottle feeding and finds great enjoyment in putting together baby furniture.

I will be off the grid for the week, bar hopping through Aruba.  Yes, my Mom and I bar hop many nights. But we also have a reservation at a new spot, White Modern Cuisine, and we are re-visiting Carte Blanche, a 14 seat 5-course dinner that we went to 3 years ago.

Have a delicious week!
NYC Menu Girl

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mexico City Burger at El Toro Blanco

The Burger Brigade strikes again, this time at El Toro Blanco.  We headed downtown, from our Bryant Park office, to Houston and 6th avenue, to eat a $16 burger.  As we come up from the subway, the sun is shining, one of the first beautiful weekdays of spring.  Passing people walking their dogs, NYU students filming a project, and groups of school children on a trip, we finally arrive at El Toro Blanco, a restaurant with ample outdoor dining space.  It was just one of those Fridays that you just couldn't be happier to be alive, so adding a cheeseburger to it would definitely be the icing on the cake (the mustard on the hot dog? the hollandaise sauce on the eggs benedict?).  


We ordered 6 Mexico City Burgers, medium rare.  It is the only burger on the menu.  As part of Burger Brigade, we really like to try a restaurant burger.  A lot of restaurants offer one awesome burger, and we like to see just how awesome it is, as opposed to going to places that only serve burgers.  We mix it up though, and don't discriminate.


The server dropped our burgers and we all took our first bite.  We always take the first bite at the exact same time. Is that creepy?  I think it is adorable.  This burger ROCKED.  It is so juicy.  The pico de gallo is so great that you wonder why you haven't had it n all of your burgers.  And the chipotle dusted waffle fries are a great accompaniment.  They could have been cooked a little longer, but no biggie. I am big on fries, and I think these hit it out of the park because they really were a a match with the burger.  

I ate the whole thing and was full for approximately 9 and 1/2 hours.  My co-worker had to unbutton her pants in a meeting because she was so full.  Could a dainty lady split this burger with a friend? Definitely.

Have a delicious day!
NYC Menu Girl