Category Archives: NYC Diners
Making the Most of Your Brunch in New York City

The very nature of eating brunch means sitting back and relaxing because the available food encompasses two specific meals. Restaurants understand the concept, with many making the appropriate accommodations to make sure that everything is just right. A number of different places do it better than anyone else in the New York area, which means that knowing where to go can make life so much simpler.

 

One of the best places to enjoy such relaxation might be Upland at 345 Park Avenue South, with food that some might consider basic. However, those that taste things like spinach-infused omelettes with Bulgarian feta or Cloumage cheese on top of pizza would likely beg to differ with such an assessment.

 

More hectic surroundings can be found at Prune on E. 1st Street, which opened nearly two decades ago. There’s not much room to go around, with roughly 20 or so tables fitting into the surroundings. Yet despite such coziness, the staff remains attentive to orders like Monte Cristo sandwiches, blueberries on top of Dutch pancakes and any number of potential Bloody Mary options.

 

In the Williamsburg area, Sunday in Brooklyn could operate just as well on any other day. That helps explain why crowds flock there, drawn by such concoctions as an innovative take on the standard sausage, egg and cheese sandwich. Here, that sausage has just a hint of maple syrup and sage, while things like malted pancakes also find a way to garner attention.

 

International bruch options can be found in places like Paowalla, which focuses on Indian dishes like Egg Kejirwal from its Spring Street location. Not to be outdone, the Australian-based Two Hands Restaurant & Bar in the Tribeca area on Church Street offers items like Brassicas and ricotta pancakes to hungry diners looking for a unique experience.

Empellon Comes to Midtown

Finding Mexican food in Midtown isn’t necessarily a tough task, though finding a place that’s put so much thought into the entire concept may be difficult to find. That belief may start shifting now that Empellon has found its way to this area, the latest evolution in chef Alex Stupak’s rise in the New York restaurant community.

 

Stupak is, by training, a pastry chef, yet the wonders that he’s created since the first incarnation of Empellon came to the West Village in 2011 have seemingly zeroed in on his capabilities when it comes to Mexican cuisine. The standard corn tortilla and taco hardly resonate with more refined palates, but when that tortilla is filled with pastrami and short ribs, the focus sharpens.

 

This newest version of Empellon, located at 510 Madison Avenue, expands the notion of just opening up a standard restaurant and letting people flock in to enjoy the food. Instead, Stupak has created a glossier impression by having two levels of eating areas and a room to hold any sort of party or celebration.

 

Such visual delights and the upscale food involved means that prices aren’t of the mom-and-pop variety. Of course, your friendly neighborhood taco shop won’t offer a Japanese Wagyu-infused fajita that will cost $125 or house tacos that set you back $30. Tamales with shredded duck inside and gourmet tacos, the latter of which has nine menu items, offer a clear message that this is anything but traditional Mexican food.

 

If that food isn’t filling enough Empellon also has desserts to tempt those whose sweet tooth can never be satisfied. Avocado parfait is one of the more exotic, yet the available drinking options may be seen as more tempting to those that want to sit back and relax.

 

 

“Breaking Bad” Pop-Up Bar Coming to NYC

Even though the show ended four years ago, people are still obsessed with AMC’s hit “Breaking Bad.” In case you’ve been living under a rock, the show follows Walter White, a chemistry teacher turned meth lord and his lab partner Jesse. Now NYC customer can drink their cares away in a “Breaking Bad” themed pop-up bar this summer. The bar, which has been serving Londoners for the past two years, has finally made its way stateside.

 

Conceived by UK-based company Lollipop, ABQ is a mobile cocktail bar set in a replica of Walter White’s RV meth lab. Groups of 30 guests can enter at a time and will be served clever concoctions that incorporate molecular mixology techniques like nitrogen cavitation. Other touches from the show include bartenders dressed in protective yellow jumpsuits and White’s alias “Heisenberg” written on a wall.

 

Though the exact location of the pop-up has not been decided on yet, several locations across Brooklyn are being considered. ABQ will open sometime in July and operate for a few months after. Over 1500 people have already secured their tickets for the experience, which cost $45 for three cocktails and two hours spent in the bar. Lollipop, the company behind the bar, is known for its over-the-top dining ideas including one restaurant where both staff and diners were nude.

 

Can’t wait until summer to get your “Breaking Bad” fix? Check out Walter’s Coffee Roastery in Bushwick. This cafe features more subtle nods to the show like a menu laid out like the periodic table, coffee served in laboratory beakers, and hints of HazMat suit yellow everywhere.

 

Cafe Altro Paradiso Plunges Into the Burger Battle

The burger wars that have populated the restaurant industry for the past decade are a far cry from the days when such fare was considered one of the last considered portions of a menu. Now, the continuing quest to take burgers to the next level is once again taking center stage at Café Altro Paradiso.

 

The reason that the men in control of the restaurant, Ignacio Mattos and Anthony Coffey, decided to go this route is because the establishments is now expanding beyond regular dinner service. Now, the hungry lunch crowd that comes through the doors from Tuesday through Saturday will be able to sample the new offerings and see if the burger tops the countless ones available elsewhere.

 

Mattos is known for taking the simple and crafting something much more imaginative when it comes to beef. The combination of dehydrated beets and steaks that have been dry-aged is one example, with beef tartares filled with sunchoke chips yet another. In short, sophisticated palates should expect to be surprised.

 

From the looks of things, Mattos is aiming big, with house-ground beef that’s been packed loosely. Within that beef will be a combination flavor that evokes rosemary, fish sauce and chile oil, while Gorgonzola cheese is placed on top of the brioche bun that’s had some mayonnaise applied to its toasted bun. To complete this heady mix, radicchio mostarda made with balsamic and sugar is applied.

 

With that much effort put into every burger by Mattos & Company, it stands to reason that the cost involved will end up being more than your standard Big Mac. The price of $22 might scare some people off, yet burger connoisseurs will likely be unable to avoid the temptation of seeing if their taste buds end up giving it a thumbs up.

 

 

The Best NYC Dine-In Movie Theaters

In a recent article, Grubstreet listed the best places to go for dinner and a movie. Dine-in movie theaters are becoming more and more popular as a one-stop date destination. It’s the same entertainment factor as the old-timey dinner and a show but with today’s newest blockbusters.

 

Their number one pick is Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema. Nitehawk is actually the theater responsible for overturning the New York law against alcohol in movie theaters and remains one of the country’s best destinations. Unlike many dine-in theaters that feature the same old menu at every showing, Nitehawk coordinates their food and drink selections to the film. They also offer seasonal non-themed food items including tacos and charcuterie boards as well as brunch and dessert selections.

 

For those on a budget, GrubStreet recommends Syndicated in Bushwick. To cut costs, this theater shows movies that aren’t first-run including everything from old Hollywood classics to months-old blockbusters. Serving up unique versions of movie snacks like loaded tater tots, bacon-topped nachos, and five flavors of popcorn, this place feels a bit cooler than a night out at a chain movie theater. Wash it down with a spiked milkshake or a movie-themed cocktail. They only have one 60-seat theater, though, so order your tickets ahead of time!

 

Want a less hipster dine-in experience? Check out iPic in the South Street Seaport. This is the coziest way to watch a movie with your boo since the living room couch. Kick back on a chaise longue or recliner or go all-out and reserve a cozy pod for two. For $60 you and your partner can cuddle up with a blanket, pillow, and table service as you enjoy swanky selections like filet mignon sliders and ratatouille pizza.

 

Hot Pot Favorites for NYC Diners

Coming together for a meal is something that’s at the heart of the idea of eating hot pot. The Asian favorite offers the combination of meat, mushroom and other considerations with a dizzying array of other options for dipping purposes. Given the melting pot that is New York City, it seems obvious that a number of places around this vast city know how to do it right in this particular area,

 

One of those is Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot, located near Hester Street. This brand actually has a chain of restaurants in China, yet there’s much more than assembly line methods that mirror McDonald’s. Instead, you have your choice of spicy, mild or sour pickled-cabbage broth, which can be used for the garlic beef, lamb shoulder or beef meatballs that make up the menu.

 

Right on Hester Street, as well as Second Avenue is Hou Yi Hot Pot, which likely offers one of the best values around. That’s because it’s essentially all-you-can-eat, with plenty of broths that have concepts like a Vietnamese taste to them as well as the non-Asian country of Italy’s own version.

 

On 37th Avenue sits Lao Cheng Yi Guo, which has some of the finest beef in this segment of the restaurant business. More creative ideas like egg-crepe dumplings and fried clay-oven rolls are options along with more traditional concerns like Sichuan peppercorn.

 

Variety is considered the spice of life and at one of its two restaurants, Little Lamb Mongolian Hot Pot BBQ, diners can choose between five broths and three types of sauces that can be further broken down by whether you prefer red or white. That’s microscopic compared to the 100-plus different cooking options. Those two establishments are located near 53rd Street along with one in Flushing.