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Bar Blanc

Posted on Feb 12, 2008 in Reviews

Address: 142 W. 10th St., at Waverly Place. Phone: (212) 255-2330. Dinner: Tues.-Sun., 5:30-11 p.m. Closed Mondays. Cuisine: Creative European. Vibe: Stylish lounge. Occasion: Intimate date; chic dining. Don’t Miss Dish: Four-cheese ravioli; ginger-roasted red snapper. Price: Appetizers, $12-$18; entrees, $26-$36; desserts, $10. Reservations: Recommended. Everyone looks beautiful at Bar Blanc. Perhaps it’s the way the candlelight bounces off the polished white tables that casts an unmistakably flattering glow throughout the space. It’s a stylish stage set in the West Village, where diners lounge on shimmery banquettes in the 65-seat dining room. Bar stools wear plush leather and even the servers are fashionably dressed. But make no mistake: Bar Blanc is an ambitious restaurant in a laid-back disguise. This supposed “wine bar” offers a four-course tasting menu ($72) that begins with steamed foie gras and follows with sea scallops...

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Posted on Feb 5, 2008 in Reviews

Address: 103 W. 77th St., at Columbus Ave. Phone: (212) 362-3800 Dinner: Mon.-Sat., 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 5:30 pm.-10 p.m. Cuisine: New American Vibe: Understated townhouse Occasion: Destination dining; civilized date Don’t Miss Dish: Salmon a la plancha; grilled venison Price: Appetizers, $12-$16; entrees, $28-$36; desserts, $10. Reservations: Recommended Eating salmon on the upper West Side doesn’t sound particularly thrilling, but at Dovetail it’s a religious experience. The rosy fish, grilled à la plancha, is exhilarated by a creamy horseradish gribiche (egg and mustard sauce) and bursts of caviar. With its buttery finish, it’s an intense and entirely satisfying appetizer. So is much of the sophisticated cooking at Dovetail, a New American restaurant that recently opened up on the upper West Side. Chef-owner John Fraser isn’t concerned with the trend toward hypercasual dining. With a rigorous sherry menu and...

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Brasserie 44

Posted on Jan 23, 2008 in Reviews

Address: 44 W. 44th St., between Fifth & Sixth Aves.  Phone: (212) 944-8844 Hours: Dinner, Sun.-Thur., 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5:30 p.m.-midnight. Breakfast & lunch service. Cuisine: Modern American. Vibe: Yacht adrift. Occasion: Under-the-radar dinner; hotel dining. Don’t Miss Dish: Sweet onion tart; olive oil poached salmon. Price: Appetizers, $14-24; entrees, $24-44; desserts, $12-15. Reservations: Accepted. Capsule: The nautically themed Brasserie 44 feels like a restaurant adrift in the Royalton Hotel. A $17.5 million facelift and a newly minted restaurant were meant to reignite the once iconic Royalton Hotel. So where is everybody? Media moguls once flocked to the Philippe Starck-designed boutique hotel. Its futuristic lobby looked like a runway leading to its restaurant, 44, the city’s most fashionable cafeteria. But even the best of trends fall out of fashion. After a dramatic renovation, the Royalton Hotel’s lobby now...

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Posted on Jan 22, 2008 in Reviews

Address: 109 South Sixth St., near Bedford Ave., Williamsburg (718) 782-2333 Dinner: Sun.-Thur., 5 p.m.-11 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5 p.m.-midnight. Closed Sundays. Cuisine: Contemporary Latin. Vibe: Vibrant Spanish villa. Occasion: Neighborhood dinner; Group dinner. Don’t miss dish:   Pinchos de res (cubed filet mignon); escolar in blood orange sauce. Price: Appetizers, $7-12; entrees, $15-21; desserts, $7-8. Reservations: Accepted. These days, there are many temptations in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I learned this en route to Viñas, a new Latin American restaurant in this burgeoning neighborhood. First, there’s Peter Luger. The aroma of its butter-sopped porterhouses wafts out onto the streets. Literally. If you can resist this seduction, there’s yet another: the lure of Dressler, with its romantic portrait window and sophisticated American fare. Though nearly impossible to refuse both temptations on my first visit, I persevered toward a quiet street with few signs...

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Posted on Jan 15, 2008 in Reviews

Address: 920 Broadway, at 21 St.  Phone: (212) 533-3663 Dinner: Mon.-Thurs., 5-11 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 5 p.m.-midnight; Sun., 5-11 p.m. Cuisine: Italian-American Vibe: Retro glamour Occasion: Group dinner, casual date Don’t Miss Dish: Ricotta bruschetta, pumpkin mezzaluna Price: Appetizers, $6-$18; entrees, $15-$23; desserts, $7-$9 Reservations: Recommended Capsule: Manhattanified Lunetta is but a pale reflection of the original. Manhattan has seen its share of Brooklyn-Italian imports over the past two years. Frankies Spuntino set up an outpost on the lower East Side, Aurora surfaced in SoHo and Lunetta just recently cropped up in the Flatiron District. But Lunetta’s journey across the bridge was by far the most untraditional and storied of them all. Partners Adam Shepard and Jim Heckler launched the Boerum Hill eatery as a modern Japanese restaurant named Taku. Though Shepard received critical acclaim as a chef,...

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21 Club

Posted on Jan 2, 2008 in Reviews

Address: 21 W. 52nd St., near Fifth Ave.Phone: (212) 582-7200Dinner: Mon.-Thur., 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5:30 p.m.-11:30  p.m; lunch, Mon.-Fri., 12 p.m.- 2:30 p.m. Closed Sundays.Cuisine: AmericanVibe: Midtown country clubOccassion: Power-lunch spot; time-warp dinnerDon’t Miss Dish: Mixed grill of game, pommes souffles, apple crisp.Drink Specialty:Exemplary global wine selection.Price: Appetizers, $12-23; entrees, $30-45; desserts, $10.50. $35 prix fixe lunch menu; $40 dinner prix fixe menu.Reservations: Recommended; dress code strictly enforced. A changing of the guard in the kitchen demands a revisit to this NYC classic. There is nothing subtle about the dress code inspection at the ’21’ Club. It is an unapologetic once-over by hosts, who vigilantly deny entrance to guests in jeans or sneakers. Though this midtown institution may have surrendered ties at lunch, it strictly enforces an old-school jacket policy. It’s ironic that a former speakeasy with bar...

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Posted on Jan 1, 2008 in Reviews

Address: 79 MacDougal St., between Bleecker & Houston Sts. Phone: (212) 260-0100 Hours: Dinner, Mon.-Thu., 5-11 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5-11:30 p.m. Cuisine: Modern American Vibe: Glamorous dining car Occasion: Romantic date; see and be seen dinner Don’t Miss Dish: Portuguese sardines, steamed egg with polenta, roast lamb saddle Price: Appetizers, $6-16; entrées, $21-26; desserts, $8-11 Reservations: Highly recommended Capsule: Smith’s is not just another pretty face Step into Smith’s main dining room and you’ll feel like you just stepped aboard a luxury railroad that’s made its final stop in the West Village. It’s appointed with black-leather booths, chandelier sconces and a mirrored ceiling – a stylish setting that’s attracting nearly as stylish a crowd. Smith’s rests in a long, narrow storefront in a neighborhood populated by dive bars, coffee shops and NYU students. It’s an unlikely destination for a glamorous...

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Irving Mill

Posted on Dec 21, 2007 in Reviews

Address: 116 E. 16th St., between Union Square East & Irving Place  Phone: (212) 254-1600 Dinner: Fri., 5:30-11 p.m. Sat. 5-11 p.m., Sun. 5-10 p.m. Lunch: Mon-Sun., noon-2:30 p.m. Cuisine: Seasonal American Vibe: Sprawling farmhouse chic Occassion: Group dinner; family affair. Don’t Miss Dish: Cauliflower ravioli; roasted Arctic char. Drink Specialty: Impressive wine by the glass offering. Price: Appetizers, $10-$16; entrees, $24-$30; desserts, $9. Reservations: Recommended Capsule: A diluted brand of seasonal American crops up at Irving Mill. It’s not enough for restaurants to showcase their greenmarket produce on the plate anymore. They are wearing this season’s harvest as if it’s the hottest fashion accessory – a culinary badge of honor. Just follow the trail of fruits and vegetables to your table. A pomegranate-stocked wheelbarrow greets you at the entrance of Union Square’s Irving Mill. There’s a “harvest table”...

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Posted on Dec 18, 2007 in Reviews

Address: 199 Prince St., between MacDougal & Sullivan Sts.  Phone: (212) 375-8275 Dinner: Sun., Tue. & Wed., 6 p.m.-12 a.m., Thu.-Sat., 6 p.m.-3 a.m. Closed Mon. Cuisine: New American Vibe: Quaint neighborhood spot Occasion: Casual date, neighborhood go-to dinner Don’t Miss Dish: Codfish with Gruyere broth, roast chicken Drink Specialty: Stargarita Price: Appetizers, $7-$14; entrees, $18-$25; desserts, $5-$7 Reservations: Not accepted Soho’s best-kept secret harbors a talented chef and a triumphant roast chicken. “I’ll have the chicken,” is a request I’m hearing a lot lately in prominent New York City restaurants. What was historically a predictable dish designated for the unadventurous eater has recently become a first-string player on many esteemed menus. Union Square Cafe has a moist rendition in their back pocket. So does Cafe Boulud. And then there’s the roast chicken at Shorty’s.32. Chef and co-owner Josh...

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Athens Tavern

Posted on Dec 6, 2007 in Reviews

Cuisine:  Contemporary Greek Vibe: Unassuming neighborhood spot Occasion: Family dinner Don’t-Miss Dish: Baked whole fish; rabbit with bergamot Drink Specialty: Greek wines Price: Appetizers, $5-$12.95; entrees, $17-$27; desserts, $6.50-$8.50 Reservations Accepted, but not necessary. Address: 23-01 31 St., at the corner of 23rd Ave. (Astoria, NY) Phone: (718)267-0800 Capsule: This earnest Greek restaurant delivers a terrific baked whole fish. You don’t dine at Athens Tavern for its decorative nods to the Mediterranean coast. It’s a humble Astoria eatery on a street with a healthy scattering of Greek restaurants. There is no vaulted ceiling or breezy white drapery. It’s a simple space with white paper-covered tables, windows facing the street and terra-cotta walls and kitschy canvases of men performing a traditional Greek dance. You go to Athens Tavern for the whole baked fish stuffed with wild greens. On some nights,...

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Allen & Delancey – Reviewed

Posted on Nov 29, 2007 in Reviews

115 Allen St. (btwn. Delancey & Rivington Sts.)  Phone: (212) 253-5400 Hours: Dinner, Mon.-Sat., 6 p.m.-12 a.m., Sun., 5 p.m.-11 a.m. CUISINE  Contemporary European. VIBE Cozy lower East Side haunt. OCCASION  Romantic dinner; Bar dining. DON’T-MISS DISH  Caramelized bone marrow, Sweetbread raviolo PRICE Appetizers, $12-18; entrees, $20-29; desserts, $10. RESERVATIONS  Highly recommended.   At Allen & Delancey, a well-heeled woman spooned bone marrow into her mouth. It was a nonchalant bar gesture, followed by a leisurely sip of a cocktail. This is a culinary sign of the times. Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “Live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” Dining on bone marrow was likely not what the philosopher had in mind, but fitting, as this is not an uncommon sight at New York City restaurants in the 21st century. Allen & Delancey is the...

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Market Table

Posted on Nov 20, 2007 in Reviews

Address: 54 Carmine St., at Bedford St. Phone: (212)255-2100 Cuisine:  Seasonal American Vibe: Quintessential neighborhood spot & grocery Occasion: Casual date, neighborhood dinner Hours: Dinner, Mon-Sat, 5:30p.m.-12a.m.  Closed Sundays Don’t Miss Dish: Gnocchi with short ribs; Pan roasted chicken. Drink Specialty: Rotating wine selection. Price: Appetizers, $9-$12; Entrees, $17-$29; Desserts, $5-$9. Reservations: Reservations recommended Not just another trip to the market… Shop for groceries and you’ll be tempted to stay for dinner at Market Table. What looks more like a corner grocery store is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after tables in town. The only entrance to Market Table’s dining room is by way of an adjoining grocery shop, a makeshift preview of what’s on the menu. Think general store meets butcher shop, where customers can purchase anything from exotic dried fruits to burger patties. Yes, this is...

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Posted on Nov 6, 2007 in Reviews

At Chez Bobo, beauty runs only skin deep. 181 W. 10th St., at Seventh Ave. (212) 488-2626 Dinner: Mon.-Thur., 6 p.m.-11 p.m., Fri-Sat, 6 p.m.-12 a.m., closed Sundays. CUISINE  European bistro VIBE  Brownstone chic OCCASION  See-and-be-seen dinner; cocktails. DON’T-MISS DISH  Tarte flambee PRICE  Appetizers, $8-16; entrees, $18-26; desserts, $7. RESERVATIONS  Recommended Checking in for dinner at Bobo feels like you’re checking into a bed and breakfast – in the West Village. Reservationists answer the phone, “Bobo residence.” Hosts greet from behind an antique desk. The only thing missing is the little bell on the counter. Once you pass the hostess desk, you feel as if you’ve entered a European dinner party or a chic supper club with homespun charms. Chef Nicolas Cantrel’s European bistro menu similarly follows suit: bouillabaisse, steak frites and tarte flambee. Owner Carlos Suarez has also...

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Posted on Oct 30, 2007 in Reviews

Fiamma is reborn, better than ever. 206 Spring St., near Sullivan St., (212) 653-0100 Dinner: Mon., 6 p.m.-10p.m.; Tues.-Thurs., 6-11 p.m.; Fri., 6 p.m.-midnight; Sat., 5:30 p.m.-midnight. CUISINE  Modern Italian VIBE  Civilized glamour OCCASION  Special occasion, intimate date DON’T-MISS DISH  Tuna crudo, Le Marche lasagna PRICE  Prix fixe, $75; desserts, $12. RESERVATIONS  Highly recommended When chef Michael White departed Fiamma Osteria, restaurateur Stephen Hanson (founder of B.R. Guest Restaurants) was forced to find a chef capable of protecting his upscale Italian’s star stature. Fiamma had never been just another B.R. Guest restaurant. It was the luxury convertible in an 18-car garage filled with reliable, hospitality-driven establishments (Dos Caminos, Ruby Foo’s). Hanson seized the opportunity to upgrade: He changed the plates, the menu, tweaked the decor and even dropped the “Osteria” from its title. Most importantly, he secured chef Fabio...

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Posted on Oct 23, 2007 in Reviews

Expect the unexpected. 525 Broome St., between Sullivan & Thompson Sts. (212) 334-5182 Dinner: Sun.-Thurs., 6 p.m.-midnight, Fri.-Sat., 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Closed Mondays. CUISINE  Progressive American VIBE  Stylized speakeasy OCCASION  Adventurous dining DON’T-MISS DISH  Passionfruit poached char, Crumble cocktail. PRICE  “Salty” small plates, $15-$17; “sweet” small plates, $11-$12; cocktails, $13-$15. RESERVATIONS  Reservations accepted Tailor is an adventure in dining – a walk on the wild side of food. Pastry chef Sam Mason demonstrated his innovative technique at WD-50, home of molecular gastronomy and cutting-edge cuisine. At his funky, new SoHo restaurant, Mason unleashes an unusual vision of “salty” and “sweet” small plates. His menu obscures the line between savory and sweet, food and drink, and just about everything in between. Picky eaters beware: Chicken and vanilla ice cream make no appearances on the menu. Think foie gras with peanut...

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BLT Market

Posted on Oct 20, 2007 in Reviews

1430 Sixth Ave., at Central Park South; (212) 521-6125 Lunch, 11:45 a.m.-2 p.m., Mon.-Fri.; brunch, 11:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun.; dinner, Mon.-Sun., 5:30-10 p.m. CUISINE Seasonal New American VIBE Farmhouse chic OCCASION Family dinner, pampered affair DON’T MISS DISH Veal-and-pork ricotta meatballs, American kobe skirt steak. PRICE Appetizers, $12-$21; entrees, $26-$38; desserts, $9-$11. RESERVATIONS Recommended. When the chef launched BLT Steak, he lured with freshly baked popovers just as suavely as he persuaded with a succulent porterhouse. Now Laurent Tourondel runs a booming corporation: BLT Fish, BLT Prime and BLT Burger are all notches on his rapidly expanding belt. At BLT Market, he bows to both seasonal and artisanal themes. It’s impossible to miss the signs. Just check in at the hostess stand; whitewashed shelves are stacked with artisanal goods: domestic olive oils, as well as vinegars and syrups from...

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Los Dados

Posted on Oct 17, 2007 in Reviews

73 Gansevoort St., near Washington St. (646) 810-7290 Hours: Dinner, Sun.-Thurs., 5:30-11 p.m., Fri. & Sat., 5:30-midnight CUISINE  Regional Mexican VIBE  Dimly lit, cavernous space OCCASION  Festive group dinner, night out DON’T-MISS DISH  Grilled shrimp & Yucatan pork achiote tamal. PRICE  Appetizers, $7-$17; entrees, $13-$19; desserts, $7-$10. RESERVATIONS  Recommended. Baskets of tortilla chips and kitschy Mexican shrines might be the last thing you would expect from the Meatpacking District, especially from David Rabin and Will Regan, the pair responsible for such exclusive clubs as Double Seven and Lotus. Here, no clipboard-wielding hostess or velvet rope stands between you and the entrance of Los Dados, the district’s first Mexican eatery. Parties and clusters of strangers congregate over Margaritas along a communal table in a dimly lit dining room. Regan and Rabin have enlisted chef Sue Torres to execute “Mexican home...

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Accademia Di Vino

Posted on Oct 17, 2007 in Reviews

1081 Third Ave., near 64th St. (212) 888-6333 Open seven days a week, noon-midnight. CUISINE Italian VIBE Sprawling wine cellar OCCASION Neighborhood bites, casual family affair DON’T MISS DISH King salmon crudo, truffle pate pizza PRICE Appetizers, $4-$15; Entrees, $14-$45. RESERVATIONS Recommended Apparently, New York can never have too many Italian eateries. At least, that’s what the latest battery of restaurateurs is banking on this season. Enotecas, vinotecas, trattorias – they are the latest incarnations of Italian fare. Accademia di Vino aspires to be all three. In the landscape of the upper East Side, partner Anthony Mazzola (‘Cesca) tempts fate in a space that has housed ­several short-lived pursuits – Mainland, Wild Tuna and Ollie’s – to name a few. Mazzola has recruited chef Kevin Garcia, who also helms ‘Cesca’s kitchen, to undertake an ambitious menu. Its street-level wine...

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Crave Ceviche Bar

Posted on Oct 15, 2007 in Reviews

946 Second Ave., near 50th St. (212) 355-6565 Dinner: Sun.-Wed., 5:30-10 p.m., Thu.-Sat., 5:30-midnight. CUISINE Creative ceviche VIBE Lively neighborhood haunt OCCASION Solo flight, casual date DON’T-MISS DISH Spicy yellowfin tuna; Kona kampachi PRICES $8-$25 RESERVATIONS No reservations accepted There are those few precious restaurants you contemplate keeping to yourself. It is a selfish act, though not an unreasonable one, as a way to safeguard tiny haunts harboring gutsy chefs and even gutsier flavors. Crave Ceviche Bar is one of those rare finds in a part of town better known for its happy hours and expense-account dinners. Candlelight dances about the beachy nook, marked with white paneling, wood floors and exposed brick walls. Scribbled on a blackboard are not daily specials, but the names of hopeful diners anxious for one of 21 seats. This is the first obstacle. The...

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Centro Vinoteca

Posted on Oct 5, 2007 in Reviews

Address: 74 Seventh Ave., nr. Barrow St. Phone: (212) 367-7470 Dinner: Mon.-Sun.CUISINE  Inspired Italian Vibe:  Stylish West Village clamor Occassion:  Night out downstairs, intimate date upstairs Don’t miss dish: Rabbit involtino, fennel pollen-crusted porkchop Drink Specialty: 25 well-priced quartinosPrice: Appetizers $3-$18; entrees $19-$36;     desserts $8 Reservations: Recommended a week in advance This is chef Anne Burrell’s domain.  Visible through an open kitchen, Burrell (Felidia, Savoy) dons a cowgirl skirt and a newly minted executive chef coat, her spiky-haired likeness stitched onto the sleeve. She’s the embodiment of a rock star chef: ambitious, saucy and thrilled to be making her long-awaited debut. These traits texture nearly every fearless dish on the Italian menu, a welcome detour from the garden variety trattorias of late. Owner Sasha Muniak (Gusto, Mangia) and designer Thomas Juul-Hansen have morphed what was formerly Lemongrass Grill...

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