It’s almost sickening how many wonderful places there are to eat in NYC. Sickening. I mean, how is a person supposed to choose? And what about when you only have one weekend? That’s only, like, 6 meals! Ohhhh…it gives me anxiety! What if I screw it up?! What if I have a bad meal? I’ll never forgive myself. Ok, maybe I’d forgive myself but I’d definitely be annoyed.
So I thought about it long and hard before our weekend trip to the city and came up with a decent game plan. I made a couple of reservations and left a couple meals to chance (although I had a pretty solid mental list composed). I incorporated a couple of places that I’d been to and loved and a couple of places that were new to me.
Here’s how it went:
Our arrival meal was at Marea. I dined there once when I lived in NYC and it stuck with me as one of the greatest meals I had in the city. It was pretty damn good this time too.
Deliciously full-flavored while also staying light, bright and very spring-y. Me like-y.
Creamy, crunchy, earthy, nutty. Damn, this was good.
I remember falling completely in love with this dish the first time. The depth and richness of the sauce is incredible. Then you get little bits of meat butter (that’s the marrow) that haven’t melted all the way that make it even more decadent. And somehow the tender little octopus seem to hold their own! Oh yeah!
Perfectly seared and tender. And the plate is gorgeous! The roasted hazelnuts give a nice nutty balance to the sweet beets and acidic sauce. Delish!
Everything was all beautifully prepared and balanced. I guess 2 Michelin Stars is a pretty good indication that these guys kinda know what they’re doin’.
For lunch the next day, we headed to the ‘new’ Momofuku Ssam Bar. They’ve recently changed the concept to a rotisserie duck driven menu. I’ve been to multiple Momo’s before and since my man loves duck, I figured this would be a good stop.
I think my favorite part was the chive pancake. Not at all what I was expecting, but fabulous. It was crispy and salty and greasy (in a good way? Can I say that?). I wanted to control myself, but I couldn’t.
It was quite simple, otherwise. The duck lover thought it was good but neither one of us was falling out of our seats about it.
Luckily, they still have the Pork Buns on the menu (along with Duck Buns). These babies were as good as ever. Meaty, soft, sticky, sweet! Yipee!
Uh-huh. I kinda wished I’d ordered a giant plate of these all for myself. Is that wrong?
We didn’t love the broccoli salad. In fact, we both took one bite and that was enough. Too smoky, fishy and mayonnaise-y for me. Yeah, yeah. It says so in the description but it was still stronger than I expected. I’m sure someone likes it. Just not us. No offense.
For me, personally, the new concept just isn’t my thing. I’ll head to Ko next time.
Dinner that night was at Manzo in Eataly. Wowza. Not the lightest dining day I’ve ever had in my life, huh? You can check out what I had to say about it here.
Now it’s time to push through… must…keep…eating…
Then next lunch was at Market Table. *Sigh* I love Market Table. I’ve loved Market Table from the first time I stumbled into it after walking across the Williamsburg bridge. Yeah, long walk. It greeted me with a melon salad with fresh mint, mache and goat cheese. So bright and fresh and juicy and delicious. I’ll never forget it. Since then I’ve been back plenty of times. I’m always surprised at how limited the menu is (it changes often) but I’ve never had anything I didn’t love.
This time was no exception. In fact, I ordered what could be an all-time favorite at Market Table: Roasted Vegetable “Falafel” with Feta, Taziki and Chili Oil.
OMG, was this good! Sooo flavorful and packed with veggies. There wasn’t a chickpea in sight but I didn’t miss it in the slightest. Apparently, this is just a delicious concoction of whatever veggies need to be used up in the back. That’s my guess, anyway. But when all your veggies are fresh and gorgeous, who cares?
This one was predominately peas and pea mash. I could identify some carrots and onions but that was about it. And, unfortunately, our server wasn’t much help on the subject. I’m inspired though. I think I’ll try to make a veg mess patty myself. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
I’ve had a better burger here than the one we got this time. Not that it wasn’t good, it was just overcooked.
White cheddar and caramelized onions always help a burger, as does good bread, all of which were present here.
I have to admit that I didn’t even try a bite of my petit friend’s soft shell crab even though she kindly offered. Weird, I know. I don’t know what came over me. I was having one of those moments where I decided that I didn’t have to try every, single piece of food within my range of vision. Yeah, that was lapse in judgement. I should have tasted it. It looked really good.
Plus, softshell crabs aren’t in season for very long. Who knows when I’ll get another chance. Dang!
I really like the space at Market Table too. It’s small and neighborhood-y with big windows on 2 walls that open all the way up. I think it’s a great place for brunch, lunch and dinner!
Scarpetta was a restaurant that I had on my list from the very beginning but somehow I never managed to eat there. I’m glad I finally made it. Such beautiful dishes…
Now, I thought this place would be a good option because I remembered seeing some crudo on the menu and by this point, we were ready for something a little lighter. That all went out the door when that evil waiter brought the bread basket. Damn him! It was so good.
One of them was rolled with salami and cheese. It was like, the greatest little salami sandwich ever. We agreed that we could cancel our order if they just brought us a basket full of this. So much for light…
Ok, we were glad we didn’t cancel because here’s the tuna crudo:
This one really was light… and fresh and beautiful. The tuna was tender and delicate and filled with vegetables and preserved truffles (I think that mean ‘out of a jar’ but they couldn’t put it that way on the menu). The little pickled mushrooms and lively microgreens were in perfect balance with the rest of the delicate flavors.
And we couldn’t pass up having pasta! That would be ridiculous. So we ordered the handmade Taglietelle with Guanciale and Spring Vegetables.
It was fab. There was just a little guanciale to lend some saltiness and fat but it wasn’t in anyway over used. The peas and asparagus were fresh and bright and the pasta had an excellent bite. Wonderful!
Lastly was the Striped Bass with Artichokes, Leeks and Spring Onions…. Oh yeah, an crispy pancetta. I guess you gotta please the masses.
Our last meal of the weekend was Sunday brunch. Gottino is a cozy little wine bar and was one of my go-tos while I lived there. It was on my walk home from work and served delicious food and Italian wine late-night. So, since I knew the regular menu was great, and I’d only ever heard or read about their brunch (it got quite a bit of hype when they first started it), I thought it was a good option. I just couldn’t risk having crappy food for our last meal in NYC.
Brunch was clearly a second thought for Gottino, but they make it work. They put everything together behind the bar with minimal equipment. There’s a toaster oven, a panino press and an espresso machine with which they make coffee drinks and steam eggs (they had to use that second steaming wand for somethin’, I guess!). Kinda crazy, huh?
You can’t tell but these are all on appetizer plates. Little food for a little place.
They simply fill the crepes, fold them over and push them into a toaster oven for a few minutes. Turned out pretty damn good if you ask me.
The prosciutto and steamed eggs were good too. Simple, but that’s ok. A little shaved parm and good EVOO and voila! Breakfast!
And a little crostino with some deliciously sweet sundried tomatoes, creamy cow’s milk cheese and salty capers. Another simple but excellent snack!
It’s a great place for a snack. There are a couple of interesting salads, some crostini, a couple hot items like braised rabbit and an awesome selection of salumi and cheese. I definitely recommend you give it a try if you’re in the area.
Overall, success! I love eating in New York! And, please, leave a comment with your fave NYC eateries so I can add them to my list for next time!