Going to new restaurants and eating diverse foods is a great passion of mine. Having sampled the fare at countless New York City eateries over the years, I feel that I am qualified to advise New Yorkers and out-of-towners alike on where to let their appetites run wild.
- Grimaldi’s Pizzeria (see my original post): This landmark, located in Brooklyn beneath our namesake bridge, has been around for several decades. Instead of acting as a vessel for toppings, their pizza dough is a perfect entity of its own; their sauce is far from just some red stuff that comes out of a jar, and their mozzarella is not the shredded rubbery kind you can find in a chain supermarket. Their pizza is simply the best in the city. Paying a visit here will yield an unforgettable, affordable dining experience. They do not accept reservations or credit cards, so bring cash and be prepared to wait for a table (and maybe even bribe the doorman).
- Momofuku Noodle Bar (see my original post): This trendy place is just a small part of David Chang’s culinary empire. Among other things, this man is responsible for taking a Japanese utility food (ramen [rah-men]) and elevating it to haute cuisine status. For this he deserves to be applauded. Order the pork buns and original ramen whist sipping on some sake and you will experience that which can only be described as a foodgasm. MNB has communal tables and doesn’t accept reservations. It gets crowded during dinner service so if your party is largerer than two, come at 5:30pm sharp to be seated fast.
- The hidden burger joint at Le Parker Meridien Hotel (see my original post): Behind the inconspicuous red velvet curtain adjacent to the reception desk of this fancy-shmancy midtown hotel, is a small neon sign in the shape of a cheeseburger that is the only indication of this treasure’s existence. Peek behind the curtain and a small rundown room that is usually packed with hungry eaters will reveal itself. The room is dark, wood-paneled and displays countless confessions of love from satisfied customers on the walls. It is my belief that not many people – not even native New Yorkers – know about this place. The burgers there aren’t the best (if you want the best, find yourself at Five Guys, DBGB, Bare Burger or 5 Napkin) but the atmosphere is definitely the coolest. No waiter service. Credit cards not accepted. Wine and beer available.
- Doughnut Plant (see my original post): Simply the freshest, most delicious doughnuts to have ever graced my mouth. The menu changes seasonally but never disappoints. This place is infamous for their square jelly doughnut, inside which the jelly is distributed evenly throughout, as opposed to its round counterpart that tends to spew its contents at first bite anywhere but into the mouth. You may be tempted to purchase a beverage along with your yeasty treat but make sure you examine its price first, because in my humble opinion, no doughnut shop tea should cost nearly $5 unless it comes with a complimentary foot rub.
- Bisous Ciao (as seen in this post): This small, chic storefront on the Lower East Side that charges obscene prices for its confections is a great reflection of New York snobbery; its small, chic confections, however, are magical enough to make you forget what you thought snobbery meant. A wide array of heavenly, pastel-colored French macarons await you there. The passion fruit, lavender, rose, and lemon flavors are my favorites.
- Capsouto Freres (as discussed in this post): High ceilings, a vintage wooden bar with matching stools, starched tablecloths, and silverware so shiny it will blind you – this classic French bistro is “old New York.” There is no better place to take your special someone to share a meal that you two will not soon forget. Order Bouef Bourguignon, and then the hazelnut souffle for dessert. And make sure to put that extensive wine menu to good use. I have not been to many restaurants in this price range so I will not claim that this is The Best French bistro fare this money can buy. However, this place does hold special memories for me and I’m sure it’ll do the same for you.
Do you think this is a good list? What would yours look like?