Saturday, May 14, 2016

NYC 2016: Where We Ate

With respect to the places we ate in NYC, which ones would we recommend?

1st Place (tie):  Don Antonio

This place had awesome food!  The Margherita pizza with salami was so good we came back and had it a second night!  The wines, salads, and deserts were all excellent also.  One memorable desert:  fried pizza dough with Nutella drizzled over it.  Fabulous!
 1st Place (tie): Gallagher's Steak House

This place came highly recommended from a friend, and they were right!  The steak, the atmosphere, the drinks, and the bar (which we visited on a separate night) were all spectacular.
 I would say their filet minon is one of the best I've ever had.
 Third Place: Russian Vodka Room / Piano Bar

We didn't actually eat a complete dinner here, but judging from the hot borscht and the strawberries we had here, dinner has to be fabulous!
 The back side of the bar area.

There was a piano playing and every 10 minutes or so, a very loud singer would burst into Russian song (think Pavarotti style).  It was so beautifully done that people would encircle him with cell phones, recording the performance.
 Here is the strawberry desert we had.  Fantastic!
 And the hot borscht.  Sorry I didn't think to take a photo before we started, I wasn't anticipating it being as fantastic as it was.
 Fourth Place: TSQ Brasserie

We ate a lunch here and really enjoyed it - I had the pastrami sandwich and my wife had the chicken sandwich.  It was very good, so we also ate breakfast there the next day.  It too was good.

I think we were the only Americans in the place both times.
 Fifth Place: John's of Bleecker Street

This place has a sterling reputation and they make you wait out front for an open table, sort of Soup Nazi style.

There is also a recommendation on the door from Jack Black.  And this place was also recommended by a friend of ours.

 Our expectations were exceedingly high, and while the pizza was great we were a bit let down.
 The bottom of the pizza was fairly burned, which I affected our impression of the place.  Maybe its not normally that way I don't know, but I have to say Don Antonio's pizza was much better.  We still enjoyed the pizza greatly.
 The service was also just okay, so I'm not sure we'll make the effort to come back.  If we are in the area sure we eat there again.  But it does no better than fifth place on my list.
 Sixth Place: Dizzy's Jazz Club

We had a light dinner here since we were seeing the late set and had already had a light snack beforehand.
 My wife had a salad with chicken in it that was quite good.  I can't even remember what I had.   Apparently it didn't leave a lasting impression with me.
 Seventh Place: Jazz Standard / Smoke

The Jazz Standard club serve dinner made by the accompanying Smoke restaurant which specializes in BBQ.  I had the BBQ chicken which was great.  We'd eat here again for sure.
 Eighth Place: Wolfnights

We ate lunch here after going to the Tenement Museum, and it had some very unique wraps on the menu.  We each tried one and really liked it.  On top of that, the staff was very friendly and fun.  We'd eat lunch here again in a heartbeat if we were in the area.  Not sure it is much of a dinner place.

This photo, by the way, isn't of Wolfnights.  I was sitting in Wolfnights when I took the photo.  Several people walked by and were taking photos of that painting which intrigued me, so I took a photo of them taking photos.  Never did figure out why it was so picturesque.
Not Rated: Bouchon

We ate lunch here one day.  It wasn't really that impressive.  The bread was very hard and seating extremely limited.

I am sitting in Bouchon when I took this photo looking out the windows.  That is Rockefeller Center in the background.

BOTTOM LINE: I would say you should go out of your way to eat at Gallagher's, Don Antonio, or the Russian Vodka Room.  The other places:  if you're in the area eat there.  But I wouldn't travel just to eat there.

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