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Classic Hamptons restaurants that are still going strong

Posted on Jul 21, 2008 in Best Of, Reviews

Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton remains the top table in town. DELLA FEMINA As much about the guests as its fine American cooking. Cuisine: Modern American. Don’t-miss dish: Maine Day halibut with local asparagus; Strawberry shortcake. 99 North Main St., East Hampton, (631) 329-6666 EAST HAMPTON POINT A terrific view of the harbor matched by a terrific raw bar. Cuisine: New American. Don’t-miss dish: Gazpacho oyster shooters; milk chocolate Ovaltine semifreddo. 295 Three Mile Harbor Road, East Hampton, (631) 329-2800 FRESNO A romantic garden with excellent wine list. Cuisine: American. Don’t-miss dish: Calamari with coriander-chipotle aioli; grilled pork chop. 8 Fresno Place, East Hampton, (631) 324-8700 LA PARMIGIANA Families flock to this Southampton spot for its pastas and pizzas. Cuisine: Casual Italian. Don’t-miss dish: Spaghetti with frutta di mare; baked lasagna. 48 Hampton Road, Southampton, (631) 283-8030 MIRKO’S...

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Best of NYC’s Summer Cocktails

Posted on Jul 18, 2008 in Best Of

These days New York’s finest mixologists seize the fruits of the summer as much as the chefs do… PDT 113 St. Marks Pl., nr. First Ave. (212) 614-0386 Short for “please don’t tell,” the secret’s out about this East Village cocktail den.  Connoisseurs collect for Jim Meehan’s Hemingway Daiquiri or the High Roller Menu.  But right now, the hot weather drink to order is the East India Cocktail, made from fresh-squeezed pineapple and orange juice with a kick of cognac. Then again, there’s always Up-To-Date — a spicy rye cocktail with hints of citrus and chamomile. Elettaria 33 W. 8th st., nr. MacDougal St. (212) 677-3833 The at this funky Village haunt have conceived an imaginative cocktails to complement the Akhtar Nawab’s cooking.  The Mai Tai (pictured right) screams summer, but we were just as swayed by the absinthe-spiked...

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Best of New York City Ice Creams

Posted on Jul 18, 2008 in Best Of, Summer

Shake Shack Madison Square Park (212) 889-6600 If in a strictly dessert mood, grab the faster B-Line at this famous burger and ice cream destination. For every day of the week, a special flavor is available: go Tuesday and Wednesday this month for raspberry jalapeno or coffee and doughnuts (pictured right,) the latter of which is smooth, peppered with coffee grounds, and loaded with chunks of doughnut just crispy enough to balance the extra creamy custard. Classic vanilla and chocolate, as well as an assortment of toppings, are also available every day. Emack and Bolio’s 389 Amsterdam Ave., at 79th St. (212) 362-2747 This company launched its first outpost in Boston, but every branch somehow feels like your local ice cream store.  Here, they offer super premium ice cream with ingenious flavors, rock n’ roll roots, and...

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New York’s Top Classic Desserts

Posted on Apr 13, 2008 in Best Of, Dessert

Balthazar 80 Spring St., at Crosby St. (212) 965-1785 This classic French bakery brims with exquisite breads, cakes, pastries and other treats. But the sleeper here is the splendidly moist bread pudding ($4.) Made with the bakery’s own cherry focaccia, this cake can be eaten like a fruit-filled muffin, but far creamier and denser with an unbeatable cinnamon essence. Fat Witch Bakery Chelsea Market 75 9th Ave. @ 15th St. New York, NY 10011 1-888-41 WITCH You’d be hard pressed to find a denser brownie in the city. These insanely  decadent squares are worth every calorie.  If you’re not a chocolate person, there’s also a stellar blondie.  Described as a chocolate chip cookie in brownie form, it’s a cube of chewy perfection ($1.40.)  The white chocolate Snow Witch, Red Witch (cherry), and Breakfast Witch (oatmeal, nuts and coffee)...

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New York’s Best Cookies

Posted on Apr 1, 2008 in Best Of, Dessert

Vosges Haut-Chocolat 1100 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10028 (212) 717-2929 Vosges is known for folding unusual flavors, like wasabi and bacon into its chocolates, and the same goes for its exotic cookies. Caramel, toffee, and chocolate chip adhere to the classics, but go for the most unique: the Naga cookie.  With an orange hue, the cookie is chock full of coconut, milk chocolate chips, pumpkin puree and sweet curry.  It’s the perfect mate for a warm cup of tea. Insomnia Cookies 50 W 8th Street New York, NY 10011 1-877-63 COOKIE This is a dangerous newcomer for anyone with late night sugar cravings (pictured right.)  For a mere ninety nine cents, you can pick from seven delicious varieties of cookies, delivered directly to your door – freshly baked, warm, and gooey until 3 AM.  We’re partial...

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Chic Easter Brunch Eats

Posted on Mar 16, 2008 in Best Of, Holiday Eats, Spring Eats

Abboccato 136 W 55th St., btwn 6th & 7th Aves. New York 10019 (212) 265-4000 This elegant midtown Italian offers a $65, 5-course Easter menu with Tuscan bread soup, followed by ricotta dumplings in a licorice herb sauce.  For the main course, lamb chops come encrusted with porcini mushrooms and served with bone marrow flan. For $95, a wine pairing for each course is also made available for the occasion. Little Dishes 434 7th Ave., btwn 14th & 15th Sts. Brooklyn 11215 (718) 369-3144 If the weather cooperates, you can celebrate Easter in the back garden of this quaint Brooklyn restaurant.  Brunch features biscuits with rose jamm, pork butt served with cheddar grits and scrambled eggs, or the English Ploughman’s plate.  A Bellini or Bloody Mary should pair nicely with this hearty menu. Aureole 34 East 61st...

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Valentine’s Day – Dining Out

Posted on Feb 8, 2008 in Best Of, Spring Eats

It’s getting down to the wire for Valentine’s Day and you can probably write off all the usual dining suspects.  Yes, they’re completely booked.  But there are still plenty of restaurants and some off-the-beaten path spots to celebrate the romantic occasion.  Without further ado… Meskerem 124 MacDougal Street New York, NY 10012 (212) 777-8111 There’s nothing more sensual than eating with your hands.  This dimly lit Ethiopian spot affords an exotic and lowbrow evening, where couples can dine on wonderfully tangy flatbread as well as fiery stews spiced with berbere pepper.  Round out the meal with the spongy rum cake. Saul 140 Smith Street Brooklyn, NY 11201 (718) 935-9844 This intimate spot on Smith Street always manages to dazzle without a hint of pretension.  Chef Saul Bolton issues a refined, five-course meal ($100) for lovers as well as their...

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Best Valentine’s Day Chocolates

Posted on Feb 3, 2008 in Best Of, Spring Eats

If your special someone is the type who gets teary-eyed over those Jared jewelry commercials, she/he will be probably expect a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day.  Of course, you could take the easy way out and grab a Whitman’s Sampler or even Russel Stover’s “Private Reserve” from Duane Reade.  Instead, we suggest you seize the opportunity to indulge in the city’s finest chocolates.  We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite chocolatiers and their truffles: Jacques Torres Chocolate (pictured right) 350 Hudson Street at King Street New York, NY 10014 (212) 414-2462 One of the world’s premier chocolatiers, Torres celebrates Valentine’s Day with his “Champagne Kiss,” a box of champagne-laced chocolates for $15.  Torres takes a more daring turn with its dark chocolate sauce labeled “Love Tonic” and raspberry “Body Paint,” both for $9. Roni Sue’s Chocolates...

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Best Valentine's Day Restaurants 2008

Posted on Jan 29, 2008 in Best Of, Spring Eats

Where Valentine’s Day is concerned, there’s nothing more romantic than dining out in New York City. While veterans at the reservation game may have already secured some of the most coveted tables, there’s still a handsome selection of enchanting venues. Here are 10 of the city’s most romantic spots. RAOUL’S 180 Prince St., between Sullivan & Thompson Sts., (212) 966-3518. This quintessential SoHo bistro and its classic French fare make for an effortlessly romantic evening. The three-course meal ($75) features chestnut and foie gras ravioli as well as sea bass with Maine mussel fondue. Request the cozy enclosed garden, then retreat to the upstairs loft for an after-dinner reading from the resident fortune teller. ELEVEN MADISON PARK 11 Madison Ave., at 24th St., (212) 889-0905.  Serious food lovers can feast on acclaimed chef Daniel Humm’s outstanding French fare and...

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NYC’s Best Dishes of 2007

Posted on Jan 6, 2008 in Best Of

In keeping with our annual tradition, we fondly remember the best dishes of 2007… Top Ten Dishes of 2007 Soto’s steamed lobster with uni mousse – Chef Kosugi made a dazzling first impression on New York with an ethereal lobster layered with uni mousse: Sweet bits of lobster received a briny rush of uni and a salmon caviar garnish. Address: 357 Sixth Ave., at Washington Place Phone: (212)414-3088 Allen & Delancey’s Sweetbread Raviolo – After being released from Gordon Ramsay’s upscale inferno, chef Neil Ferguson made an unexpected move downtown to the cozy quarters of Allen & Delancey, where he imagined this savory appetizer: Tender sweetbreads get tucked into a raviolo atop braised cabbage and a vigorous Bolognese sauce. Address: 115 Allen St., nr Delancey St. Phone: (212)253-5400 Gramercy Tavern’s Crab Raviolo – Chef Michael Anthony proved himself more than...

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New Year’s Eve – Dining Out

Posted on Dec 9, 2007 in Best Of

Though it’s universally understood that New Year’s Eve will always be one of the more overrated holidays, it’s nonetheless a lovely excuse to celebrate at some of NYC’s newest and finest restaurants… Brasserie 44 – Usher in 2008 in the dining quarters of this newly renovated hotel (pictured right).  Restaurateur John McDonald seems to have a knack for pleasing the hip set, so expect a properly festive evening. Chef Scott Ekstrom (Oceana) will be cooking a $135 prix fixe dinner, featuring sunchoke soup and a duo of ribeye and short ribs. Phone:(212)944-8444 Address: 44 West 44th St., nr. Sixth Ave.   Del Posto –  For a decadent night out, dine at this elegant Italian in the Meatpacking District.  Chef Mark Ladner will be preparing a $250 seven-course meal with lobster, caviar, and truffles.  It’s an old world dinner party,...

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Christmas Dining Out

Posted on Dec 2, 2007 in Best Of, Winter Eats

A New York City Christmas not only guarantees festive hordes of shoppers and tourists, but also chestnuts and hearty holiday feasts.  For those who can’t possibly squeeze everyone into their pint-sized apartments, restaurants kindly open their doors and kitchens on Christmas Eve and Day. Whether you celebrate with suckling pig or Chinese, there’s a charming cornucopia of options. Chinatown Brasserie – Chinese restaurants have been keeping the “open on Christmas day” policy long before it was fashionable.  Try tweaking this year’s tradition and head to this sleek Noho Chinese.  Authentic dim sum is prepared with a greenmarket-fresh outlook – chop suey this is not. 380 Lafayette Street, (212) 533-7000 Bouley – A lavish holiday spread of modern French cuisine awaits at this bastion of fine dining.  Indulge in a $130 six-course menu and have your way with their unmatched...

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Best of Dessert: Part One

Posted on Nov 29, 2007 in Best Of, Dessert

Otto Enoteca and Pizzeria 15th Avenue and 8th Street 212-995-9559 If you haven’t already noticed, olive oil gelato is currently seizing its moment in the restaurant limelight.  But Otto’s rendition is the real deal: Sprinkled with sea salt and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, its subtly sweet and mellow.  Likewise, the hazelnut stracciatella harkens Nutella, and the pistachio proves itself profoundly creamy. Levain Bakery 167 West 74th St, nr. Columbus Ave. (212)874-6080 A permanent fixture on our “Favorite Desserts List”, we’re humbled in the over-sized presence of this UWS bakery’s cookies.  In a nutshell, you’re simply not going to find a better cookie – chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, dark chocolate chocolate chip, or dark chocolate peanut butter chip – in New York City.   Just yesterday we learned by way of Eater, Bobby Flay couldn’t Throwdown with these talented...

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Autumn Cocktail Roundup

Posted on Nov 14, 2007 in Best Of

These days, cocktails have become as important as dinner, and a good mixologist as valuable as a top chef.  Though some revelers are content to sling back beer year round, many enjoy autumn’s produce in their potable (and alcoholic) forms. Think apples, tart cranberries, and fragrant pie spices.  Serious bartenders around Manhattan have stepped up, offering out-of-the-ordinary cocktails that make it nearly as enjoyable to drink in this city as it is to eat. Death & Company – Maple syrup explores its adulthood in a Maple Julep made with Rittenhouse rye whiskey at this East Village sleeper, which just keeps conceiving first-rate libations. 433 East 6th Street, (212) 388-0882 Gramercy Tavern – Fresh cranberries, macerated until plump and spiced with Goslings rum, add a sweet-tart burst of seasonal flavor to the tavern’s “Drunken” cranberry Daiquiri.  But really anything Juliette...

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Best Thanksgiving Take-Out 2007

Posted on Nov 11, 2007 in Best Of, Fall Foods, Holiday Eats

Whether you’re the one making Thanksgiving dinner this year, or a guest at someone else’s table, you don’t have to make everything (or anything at all) these days.  Even when eateries close for the holiday, they still make sure you’re well fed… City Bakery (212) 266-1414 3 W. 18th St., nr. 5th Ave. Although this Gramercy bakery is closed on Thanksgiving Day, it offers a catered menu that can be enjoyed at home.  Turkey is a given, but their sides steal the show: an option of southwestern cornbread stuffing, butternut squash with Asian pears and hazelnuts, and spicy cipollini onions all add a bit of verve to the ensemble. With desserts, highlights include Indian apple pie ($25) and cranberry caramel walnut tart ($30). Clinton Street Baking Company (646) 602-6263 4 Clinton St., btwn E. Houston & Stanton Sts. This...

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Dining Out on Thanksgiving

Posted on Nov 8, 2007 in Best Of, Fall Foods, Holiday Eats

This year, we give thanks to all of the NYC restaurants who keep their doors open on Thanksgiving, and keep our kitchens free of mayhem and mess.  No more must we wait on daunting lines at Whole Foods or slave away all day roasting turkeys.  This year, you may want to opt out of an at-home dinner and dine out on Thanksgiving. Our top picks: Prune (212)-677-6221 54 E 1st St.btwn 1st & 2nd Ave Stop in this East Village gem for a New American Thanksgiving dinner. Gabrielle Hamilton whimsically substitutes braised capons for turkey and sides avail a combination of both the classic and unusual: stewed chestnuts with ricotta and sea salt, as well as butternut squash with pear and candied bacon. Chubo (212) 674-6300 6 Clinton Street This tiny yet worldly restaurant offers a four-course prix-fixe dinner...

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Autumn’s Best

Posted on Oct 28, 2007 in Best Of, Fall Foods

Seeing as seasonal and Greenmarket ingredients are this year’s black, the latest menus are wearing autumn’s best and brightest edibles – pumpkins, chestnuts, root vegetables and countless varieties of squash.  We thought we’d highlight a few particularly pleasing offerings: The Orchard – John La Femina’s (Peasant) LES restaurant, diligently turns out global, seasonally-driven dishes.  This time of year he effortlessly sates with butternut squash agnoletti mingled with toasted hazelnuts. 162 Orchard Street, (212) 219-8570 Back Forty – Previously the chef at Savoy, chef Peter Hoffman has ventured off on his own at this newly minted East Village spot.  Heeding the seasons and Greenmarket at every turn of the menu, Hoffman highlights parsnips with a simple, salty tossing of white anchovy and an aleppio vinaigrette. 190 Avenue B, (212) 388-1990 Momofuku Noodle Bar – Brussel sprouts reach their peak of...

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Bacon Hits Happy Hour

Posted on Oct 23, 2007 in Beer Bars, Best Of, Sneak Peek

This weekend we stumbled upon a truly peculiar cocktail at Double Down Saloon, the New York spin-off of an infamous Las Vegas bar.  This artful dive bar serves up a house-infused bacon vodka.  Committed to his peculiar vision, the owner has special bacon flown in from Kentucky, which he then fries up and soaks in high-quality vodka to create a “Bacon Martini” or Bloody Mary.  And if bacon vodka wasn’t sufficiently audacious, each martini is topped with a juicy stick of Slim Jim to gnaw while sipping.  Bartender Joan likens the libation to “a good scotch.” Address:14 Avenue A, just above Houston St.Phone: (212) Until we eat again,Restaurant Girl**Don’t forget to subscribe for Restaurant Girl’s weekly...

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SHARE Hosts 4th Annual “A Second Helping of Life”

Posted on Sep 13, 2007 in Best Of

25 of the city’s finest women chefs will gather Monday, September 17th, for the 4th Annual SHARE event, to raise money in support of ovarian and breast cancer survivors.  Executive Chef of the event Rebecca Charles of Pearl Oyster Bar will have Ruth Reichl as her sous chef, creating her legendary lobster roll.  Acclaimed mixologist Julie Reiner of Flatiron Lounge will be mixing up her famous sidecar. Other chefs to include: Gabrielle Hamilton (Prune), Nicole Kaplan (Del Posto), Anita Lo (Annisa), Amy Scherber (Amy’s Bread) Patricia Yeo (Monkey Bar), plus many more…   A Second Helping of Life A benefit for SHARE featuring New York City’s top women chefs   Monday, September 17, 2007 V.I.P. Reception 6-7 pm and General Admission Tasting from 7-9:30 PM Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers Tickets: $300.00 for the tasting; $500.00 for tasting and...

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Brunch Anyone?

Posted on Aug 7, 2007 in Best Of

Little Giant – Framed in floor-to-ceiling windows, this LES spot does justice to southern cooking.  There are so many  aces on this menu, it’s hard to choose: biscuits & gravy, a mean grilled cheese with pickles or grits.  Your best bet – the trucker’s breakfast – where you can maximize the spread: scrambled eggs, sausage, hand-sliced bacon, mushrooms, gravy and molasses baked beans. Address: 85 Orchard St., at Broome Phone: 212.226.5047 202 at Nicole Farhi –  A cafe smack dab in the middle of a store has never been my idea of the perfect setting, but when the food’s this good, you just suck it up.  It doesn’t feel like much of a sacrifice after you’ve sampled the warm goat cheese salad with crispy prosciutto or the lamb burger with chickpea fries.  Oh, and once you’ve ordered, you can...

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