I mentioned in my post the other day that my cousin got married in Manhattan back in June, which gave me an excuse to hang out in New York for a few days. But honestly, when does anyone ever need an excuse to hang out in New York? London, New York, Hong Kong…best cities in the world in my opinion and cities I never need an excuse to visit. Here’s where I ate and drank when I was in New York.
The National Bar & Dining Rooms: When my brother dropped me off at The Benjamin, I still hadn’t had lunch yet so after checking in, I headed straight to the hotel restaurant. It was totally packed with movers and shakers and I was ignored there for a while. I ordered a chicken caesar salad which arrived as a sliced chicken breast and some lettuce and a tiny dollop of dressing. Errr…the bare minimum. I ate it and paid like a gazillion dollars for it and swore to never return. The Verdict: Pass.
Le Relais De Venise L’Entrecote: I knew we’d be able to have a quick lunch at Le Relais De Venise L’Entrecote in Midtown, which would let me get back to the hotel with enough time to get ready for the wedding. If you’re not familiar with the restaurant’s concept, it’s pretty much all you can eat steak and frites and green salad. The restaurant was practically empty when we arrived and still half empty when we left. We managed to demolish a lot of steak and a lot of frites and a surprisingly copious amount of green salad. Service was polite, efficient and surprisingly French throughout. This was a definite crowd pleaser. The Verdict: I like it.
Jue Lan Club: In the mood for Asian food the morning after the wedding — and in an attempt to relive our youth — we dropped into Jue Lan Club, located within the old Limelight. (I really can’t believe The Limelight is now a gym, a set of boutique shops, and a Chinese restaurant.) Service was oddly elderly Italian and it was all you can drink Bellinis. (Or maybe it was just two Bellinis. That’s what I had. Two Bellinis.) The food was nothing to write home about, and the atmosphere was oddly quiet and oddly odd. We should have gone to Chinatown. The Verdict: Pass.
Cosme: You know how after you spend a lot of time with friends and family, you really need an escape? Well Cosme was mine. I booked a table for one here seriously within a month I think of seeing the new season of Netflix Chef’s Table, featuring chef Enrique Olvera and his restaurant in Mexico City, Pujol. I liked Cosme, but the service was just so darn fast, I was done with my meal in about 45 minutes. (My server was tremendously sweet, to be fair.) It’s a very large space — cavernous — and the tables are spread out, which is nice. The Verdict: Good but not as good as Pujol. Plus, too fast for me.
I spent a few nights with my brother in Astoria and understood immediately why he liked it so much there. Lots of cool restaurants and bars and a great neighborhood vibe. The area is rapidly gentrifying though…highrises taking the place of old bungalows. I had to work a lot while I was at my brother’s, so I relied on him to bring me food: New York pizza, bagel sandwiches, and the occasional empanada, but here are a few places I tried while I was in the hood.
The Sparrow Tavern: I REALLY liked The Sparrow. It was pretty expensive for what it was…I think lunch for two was $50…but the old school meets new school vibe was great, our server was great, and my pulled pork sandwich was surprisingly tasty. Also…the pickles were excellent. This experience was probably helped by the fact that my brother apparently eats here a lot. The Verdict: Go if you are in the ‘hood.
Mosaic: Much like I had my getaway moment at Cosme, I also had my getaway moment at Mosaic, a wine bar down the street from my brother’s. Yes, I went to a bar by myself while I was in Astoria. But my brother had a late work call so it was just me and the dog hanging out. Rather than just sit around and watch TV, I checked Foursquare for places to go in the ‘hood and they directed me here. I liked Mosaic, although I liked the drunk people sitting next to me less. Also, they need to check their margins on the roast nuts they’re selling. I can’t believe how large my portion was for the price. The Verdict: It’s okay. Better with friends probably.
I’m probably missing more than a few bagel places on this list, and then there’s also the bar at The Waldorf Astoria, which my cousin Jen and I hit up late one night — best line of the trip: “What do you mean you’re closing in ten minutes? I thought this was the city that never sleeps!!??”