New York City Dining Part 2 of 3
We continue our urban cuisine adventure from our previous post.
We started the day with lunch in Tribeca at the Manhattan institution Tribeca Grill. After an Ozzy Osbourne sighting we were able to sit with the owner/restaurateur Drew Nieporent, one of the most renowned in Manhattan, he opened the first Nobu, launched Montrachet and other venerable NYC hot spots. Food was hearty and straightforward, and the dessert sit-down with Drew was enlightening.
Continuing to Walk through Tribeca up to SoHo to an Italian sandwich shop called Alidoro, known to “in-the-know” circles throughout Manhattan. It was formerly “the sandwich Nazi” story that gave way to the “soup nazi” of Seinfeld fame, but was bought by an Italian family. Endured an amazing prosciutto and roasted pepper hero.
We spent an hour and a half at Mario Batali’s latest forray Eataly. An entire Manhattan city block devoted to Italian specialty foods/ingredients for purchase. Salumeria, custom pasta maker/counter, fish monger, butcher, plus a pasta restaurant and indoor farmer’s market with local and imported produce. We ventured up to the rooftop beer garden for a look around as well.
Our 4th stop from day to evening was spent at Chef Daniel Boulud’s Daniel. A fine French dining institution on Park Ave & 65th Street; the finest we experienced on this trip. We enjoyed an 8-course chef’s tasting menu (with some pre-selecting) but if you counted all the components, we probably had 25 different things delivered with impeccable service. The dessert course was 5 different petit fours on a plate with several other portions, just a huge amount of variety. What a show.
Started with lunch at David Chang’s ramen shop Momofuku that took Manhattan by storm in the early 2000s, bringing ramen culture and Japanese noodles to easterners. He’s exploded on the national foodie scene, with stints on Anthony Bourdaine and so forth. Ramen places are big in New York right now. Though the reputation is great I’d have to say that the quality would be common here in Hawaii. Everyone in there was Caucasian, which I thought was a bit interesting.
The Jewish Deli Russ and Daughters is Manhattan’s most famous smoked fish house, been around since the early 1800’s. We sampled some of their two dozen varietals of smoked salmon, some trout, but I had cured sable fish on pumpernickel with cream cheese onions and capers. $15 for one bagel but it was the best cured fish I’ve ever had. They had caviar, smoked fish, pickled herring, gifilte fish.
Another Lower East Side institution is Katz’s Deli. Mile-high pastrami or corned beef sandwiches, counter and seat yourself style. Hasn’t changed since the turn of last century.
Dinner at the Mario Batali eatery named Po that launched his empire.
A drink and app at Rosa Mexicana. This Union Square off-shoot of the first “high-end” Mexican restaurant in Manhattan, the original is on Upper East Side, that opened in the early 1980s and shocked the city with neuvo platings of this simple cuisine.
Blue Water Grill is a hidden gem, also in Union Square. We chatted with the head bartender over a drink, scope of this massive, two story seafood restaurant plus jazz club in the lower level.
Second dinner was at Craft, Tom Colicchio’s initial foray into Manhattan dining that put him on the map. This place hit it home with amazing fare, décor and atmosphere.
ABC Cucina is a recently opened hot spot across street from Craft in Union Square, this is Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s latest. Tapas and small plates, eloquent cocktails. We sampled a few of each.
OK we’re just getting started. Don’t miss next Friday’s day 4 and 5 and my thoughts on the New York dining scene. Stay hungry.