Prolific restauranteur Stephen Starr has created many restaurants that loom large in our collective New York memory, but most are not memorable for the food. If you ever had a girlfriend who wanted a “Sex and the City” type experience when visiting New York, all you had to do was book a table at the latest Stephen Starr place. They were all consistently glitzy, sleek and populated with pretty young things. But now Starr has made an interesting match with chef Justin Smillie, who’s just as serious about food as Starr is about setting the scene. (more…)
This sunny corner spot by the owners of Mayfield, also in Bed Stuy, opened just in time for outdoor dining season. The main attraction is the back patio, which in Hot Bird fashion holds several picnic tables and a food truck. It’s not quite as large a space, so you may find yourself jockeying for position during peak hours, but think of it as an excuse to make friends with your neighbors. (more…)
The map is back! All the restaurants and bars reviewed on this site, all in one place. Click through here to find it on Google Maps, or look for it anytime in the right sidebar of the homepage of Gastro Chic.
So apparently there’s this neighborhood in New York called the “Upper West Side.” Who knew? As a downtowner I rarely go above 23rd Street, but much to my surprise a whole crop of fancy stores has opened up on Columbus Avenue near the 72nd Street 2/3 express stop. Stroll past Maje, Theory and Reiss and you’ll find the newish Maille mustard store, a little slice of Paris in New York. (more…)
There’s something to be said for good bones. Restaurant decor can go a long way in transforming an odd space into a good one – see Claudette, for example – but when you start with something as architecturally impressive as the interior of the Puck Building, you have more leeway in what you can hang on the walls – and put on the menu. It’s an unusual concept to open a restaurant that’s not the vision of any one particular chef or restauranteur but a magazine. Fortunately Chefs Club by Food & Wine Magazine gets a certain gravitas from the surroundings, whereas otherwise it might seem utterly newfangled. (more…)
So a new French bistro opened in the neighborhood. This wouldn’t be so remarkable if it weren’t for the closing of so many bistros in Greenwich Village and the East Village over the last decade – often to become a TD Bank – but Claudette, started by the guys who brought you perennially popular Rosemary’s, was big news from the start. “It’s right around the corner from your apartment,” my mom said when we dined here on a random Monday night, months after it opened. “You should make it your neighborhood place.”
“We haven’t been able to get in until now!” This was sadly true. (more…)
Milan might not be the place that springs to mind when you think of great seafood, but there are some surprisingly good fish restaurants in this city. One of them, and one of the best values, is Trattoria La Griglia on Viale Premuda.
A popular, relatively new place on the main drag of Tribeca, Distilled fills up on a weekday night with people who seem to have made it their neighborhood canteen. Indeed, Distilled’s motto is “redefining the public house.” With its soaring ceilings, big glossy dining room set with casual four-tops and a bar that runs along the entire side wall, it has the feel of a modern day dining hall. But this isn’t just the place to load up on drinks and grub on your way to somewhere else. Distilled has the kind of food that merits a special visit. (more…)
On our second trip to Puerto Rico, we stayed in San Juan, where you have not just the beautiful beaches of Isla Verde but also the sophisticated restaurants that are part and parcel of a life in a big city. San Juan, founded by the Spanish in 1521, is a rambling mash up of old and new. In the Santurce neighborhood surrounding La Placita, a crowd comes out to drink and dance salsa on a Friday night, spilling out of the Taburna Los Vazquez and onto the streets, where you can go buy a mojito or a greyhound made with freshly squeezed grapefruit and stroll through the plaza. (more…)
My aunt recently gave me a whole trove of recipes from my late grandmother. Hand-written on index cards, they contain some midcentury curiosities we would probably never want to eat again (deviled egg casserole, anyone?), but also a few gems that might otherwise be forgotten.
As soon as I came across this recipe for orange bread, I remembered eating it as a child in her kitchen, though that was a long time ago now. My grandmother had a meat grinder bolted to the kitchen table for grinding her own hamburger meat. This recipe used that grinder on orange rind to mince it into small pieces. (Now everyone would freak out about E. coli before doing that.) You can do the same with a food processor. Whether or not you want to “test for doneness with broom straw,” as her original recipe suggests, is up to you. (more…)
One blustery day in Paris I was craving French comfort food – not so much a specific thing, but the idea of it. There would be chicken and leeks and mushrooms and a very French sauce.
We were renting an apartment with a kitchen, but I didn’t want to buy a bunch of groceries we’d just have to throw away later, so the recipe would have to be simple. So this is a chicken fricassee-slash-coq au vin blanc, made without chicken broth or lots of extraneous ingredients. Instead, white wine, butter and cream do all the work. Serve with rice for a comforting meal with a French accent. (more…)
Of all the neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Dumbo is perhaps the most radically changed since the bad old days of early ’90s New York. Where there once were abandoned factories, artist squats and dark, deserted streets, there’s now a buzz of pedestrian activity, luxury condos and even a fancy florist taking up two storefronts. Atrium Dumbo is a sign of the times, bringing artisanal food and $13 cocktails to a once forlorn area right by the river. (more…)
When Wylie Dufresne’s 71 Clinton Fresh Food opened in 1999, it was notable – and notorious – for luring wealthy uptown diners to the Lower East Side, then the land of artists and immigrants. Blocks away from early hipster hangout Max Fish, Clinton Street was clogged with black Town Cars loitering outside while their well-heeled charges dined inside, drawn by news of Dufresne’s molecular gastronomy. (more…)
Try as I might, I could never be a sushi purist. As much as I appreciate the exquisite creations at places like Neta, where local fish gets molded onto a bed of perfectly seasoned rice right before your eyes, there are some times you just want a deliciously inauthentic spicy tuna roll. To paraphrase the Paul Newman paradox: why go out for a hamburger when you can have steak at home? Because sometimes you just want a hamburger. (more…)
For the last ten years, one man has dominated the French restaurant scene for downtown New Yorkers: Keith McNally. It’s hard to imagine the Meatpacking District without Pastis or SoHo without Balthazaar, two highly stylized restaurants that stole Paris bistro decor and food so effectively that the trend of antiqued mirrors, subway tiles and flea market fixtures has been stolen back by a copycat place in Paris.
But with Pastis closing for nine months in 2014 as a new building is constructed above and longtime chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr leaving McNally’s empire, change is afoot. Now popular local chef Andrew Carmellini (Locanda Verde, the Dutch) is throwing his hat into the ring with the opening of French mega cafe Lafayette. The old Chinatown Brasserie (and Time Cafe/Fez) space has been overhauled with no expense spared, columns covered in glossy Art Deco patterns of inlaid wood, red leather banquettes ringing the raised dining level, walls opened up with huge plate glass windows, copper pans glinting in the saucier and rotisserie station and glassware glimmering above the bar. Baz Luhrman could walk right in and film another scene for the Great Gatsby. (more…)