Five restaurants to munch on when in New York
New York is full to the brim with restaurants serving the finest cuts of steak, the tastiest sushi and the best fruity cocktails. Read on for my personal recommendations.
52 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011, USA | societycafenyc.com
Hidden inside the charming Walker Hotel in the heart of Greenwich Village is a new restaurant with a market-to-table ethos. Executive chef Christopher Zabita, something of a rising-star in cookery with experience in world renowned establishments such as Bar Boulud heads up the team here at the Society Café.
The menu is full of fresh seasonal produce from nearby Union Square Green Market, which chef Zabita personally visits four times per week to pick and buy the best of New York’s ingredients. This dedication to the food he serves creates undeniably fresh dishes that make locals and tourists alike descend to Greenwich Village to eat authentic New York food.
Every dish exceeded the one it preceded; the pasta was homemade and each mouthful was better than the next. My second course was a meaty bass fish which was served to look like an artistic garden. To finish, after feeling stuffed with New York’s finest ingredients, I made the worst decision of the evening – I decided to share the cheesecake. What an awful mistake, every mouthful was a delicious, and trying to eat more than your fair share was a mission we both attempted.
The cocktail menu is as exciting as the food. One week into my visit to the USA and I had still not found a cocktail I truly enjoyed until this dining experience. The Kitten on the Keys had all the components to consider it one of my favourite cocktails. The freshness of cucumber, with the summery feel of the strawberries, this was the ideal antidote to a muggy New York day in the July heat.
Del Frisco’s Grille Brookfield Place
250 Vesey Street New York, NY 10280 | delfriscosgrille.com/brookfield-place
The second sister restaurant of the infamous steak house, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, shares many attributes which make this a great alternative for Downtown city workers who don’t want to trek up to Midtown at the end of a busy day in the office. The restaurant has the ability to suit all groups of diners with its energetic vibe, range of delicious food, and its high-end yet casual look. As soon as you enter the restaurant you are warmly welcomed by your waiter or waitress, and recommended dishes from the menu which instantly make the choice of which scrumptious dish you will pick less daunting. The service is synonymous with its signature cocktail, the VIP.
After slurping our way through the pineapple concoction that is the VIP cocktail, my only complaint of the experience so far was the cocktail should be the size of the swimming pool! The cocktails set high standards for the evening, and luckily we were not disappointed when the appetizers arrived. The cheesesteak eggrolls were mouth-watering and utterly divine. The only way I could describe them to a friend on my return was an Asian fried spring roll with steak and melted cheese – if that description doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, ignore this and take the waiter’s recommendation. This is a must order dish!
After tucking into the cheesesteak eggrolls and crab cakes, the main event of the meal was laid down in front of us – the steaks. This is the cornerstone of the Del Frisco experience – aged USDA Prime Beef – serving only the best hand-cut steaks, chops and ribs.
I recommend coming to Del Frisco’s with an empty stomach, because after you have filled your bellies with steak and cocktails, it is almost impossible to resist a pudding. With real difficulty I finally picked something from the menu, the Nutella bread and butter pudding and in one word, wow!
This restaurant is where you will find American food at its best: the big portions you desire, the wholesome menu you want, and the cocktails to wash it down with. This restaurant is for the foodie with confident eating capabilities and someone searching for weekend gastronomic delights on a rainy Monday or Tuesday.
For steak lovers who want the more glamorous Del Frisco experience, click here, to read my review of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House moments from the Rockefeller Centre.
The Regency Bar and Grill, Loews Regency
540 Park Ave, New York, NY 10065 | loewshotels.com
Despite the pouring rain on this Tuesday morning in New York, the wonderful image I had in my mind of breakfast at the Loews Regency was still intact. On any given weekday morning, between 7am and 10am, Park Avenue is lined with a collection of immaculate shiny black cars waiting to collect the clientele of the Regency Bar and Grill. Inside, the tables are overflowing with the movers and shakers from the worlds of Wall Street, entertainment, media and politics – Anna Wintour is said to be a regular here before her day at Vogue begins.
The breakfast here has an interesting history, beginning in the mid-70s during New York City’s financial crisis when Bob Tisch, founder of the Loews Regency, invited the city’s business and political leaders to his Park Avenue hotel for breakfast before their working day started. They spent the time discussing ways to help the city recover from bankruptcy. Acknowledging the significance of the participants, Mr. Tisch used the term ‘Power Breakfasts’ to describe the early morning meetings, which forever changed how business was done in New York.
Sitting at my table, I was surprised how close I was to the neighbouring table, but the proximity allowed me to experience a volatile discussion which erupted alongside me – the pair were almost yelling at each other about the financial benefits resulting from Trump’s presidential victory. There is nothing discreet about this location, it is unashamedly a place where the powerful gather to self-publicize and self-promote, but not in a discreet way! This is definitely eating with entertainment.
The gourmet offerings at this establishment, like the diners, are of course superb. The Eggs Royale I ordered was delicious, with the muffin and salmon topped with a very generous amount of caviar. Truly a meal for Kings and Queens. This is the place to come for wonderful food, and maybe some eavesdropping!
Chalk Point Kitchen
527 Broome St, New York, NY 10013 | chalkpointkitchen.com
In the heart of SoHo, at 527 Broome Street, resides Chalk Point Kitchen, a 60 seat ‘market-to-table’ eatery owned by Lower East Side restaurateur, Matt Levine and his indieFORK team. 18 months on from the launch, chef Rebecca Weitzman embodies the ethos of the restaurant being totally committed to ‘farm-to-table’, sustainable practices, while spearheading the creation, direction and design of the menu of Chalk Point Kitchen. Her passion for locally sourced produce brings a fresh and ever-changing menu to SoHo. The establishment pays homage to the history of the location, with exclusively sourced ingredients from the Tri-State Area – you really are getting New York on a plate.
The restaurant has a slightly rustic atmosphere, which is quirky, eccentric, and exactly what I love. The staff, led by the wonderful and charming Georges Florus, were delightful and recommended a gastronomic treat, convincing me that carrots were a worthwhile side order at $15! Begrudgingly I took the advice with a large amount of scepticism…how wrong was I! – I never appreciated that the meagre carrot could become such a divine delicacy. The creamy honey glaze with feta clouding carrots the orange was just incredible. Trust me you will never taste carrots like it. Besides this superb dish, I had avocado with lots of spicy sauce, perfect for health, boosting metabolism, and I could eat that smooth green texture all day long – I think I definitely contribute to the rise in avocado sales!
This is an all-day diner at its best, delicious food with great taste, and a little secret, downstairs there is a bar where you can sip superfood cocktails all night long, that really is the yin and yang of New York nightlife.
The Shop, Andaz 5th Avenue
485 5th Ave, New York, NY 10017 | newyork5thavenue.andaz.hyatt.com
If you are based in the centre of the city, or rising early to hit the famous 5th Avenue shopping streets, The Shop at Andaz 5th Avenue is not a window to miss. Located near Grand Central Station on the corner of 41st and 5th, these pre-war apartment residences create a perfect atmosphere for intimate dining. For those wishing to find fresh and seasonal food, the menu features dishes made with ingredients from some of the best purveyors of fine food in New York City. Other produce is sourced from local farms such as field greens, wild arugula, heirloom tomatoes, chicken and pork.
A fresh fruit bowl, before my avocado on toast, came with a delightful selection of pears, berries, melon and pineapple. Tucking into this sweet, succulent and local produce made me appreciate the restaurant’s sustainability standards despite the industry’s ferocious competition in a city such as New York. The tide is changing, diners no longer want fast food for breakfast, they also want fresh, local produce to get the real taste of the place being visited.
The food is simple and delicious: it is exactly want you want from a breakfast, something healthy and nutritious, topped off with an almond cappuccino, to set you up for the day, before storming the shops for exchange rate bargains and the next big thing.