Category Archives: NYC Food Scene
“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.

 

 

Emily Set to Open in West Village on June 7

Having made quite an impact in the Clinton Hill area of rooklyn with their assortment of pizza, sandwiches and burgers, the owners of the place known simply as Emily are headed to Manhattan. When they open up their establishment at 35 Downing Street on June 7, Emily and Matt Hyland will look to garner the same level of popularity as its first two restaurants.

 

Moving into what used to be the Blue Ribbon Bakery, Emily will fully exploit the availability of an in-store oven that’s roughly 150 years old. Despite that ancient status, it’s still in fine working order and is expected to crank out the signature pizzas that the original and its sequel, Emily Squared, have been producing over the course of the last three years.

 

That oven is 14 by 18 feet and will play a key role in the wood-fired cooking process, which has offered diners 13 different options when it came to pizza. Whether white or red is your favorite color of pizza, Emily has the capability to handle both. For those who really want to fill up, the RM3 brings together sausage, pepperoni and prosciutto, while The Q overwhelms you with Pecorino, Fontina, ricotta and mozzarella.

 

Yet to simply call Emily a pizza place is undercutting just how popular and delicious the burgers and sandwich options are to the customers who crowd the restaurant. In addition, things like pig ears are adorned with winter greens, while diners can choose either frizzled or fried Brussels sprouts that are mixed with things like chili and green apple dicings, with Worcestershire sauce prominent in the taste.

 

While no final decision has yet to be made, the belief by many is that the West Village restaurant will introduce curly fries to the menu, which remains a work-in-progress.

Movie Buffs Sitting Down to Dine While They Watch

Going out for a meal either before or after a movie has been standard practice for ages all across the world. The idea of eating dinner DURING the movie is something that was once ridiculed on Seinfeld, giving a hint to how such an idea was perceived just a generation ago.

 

However, the concept has become much more mainstream, with a number of New York City movie theaters offers cinema fans the chance to eat more than warmed-over popcorn and hot dogs that have been re-cooked more than a few times. Prior to 2011, a New York state law barred serving alcohol in any movie theatres.

 

That changed due to the originator of this idea, Nitehawk, which offers a number of exotic items on its menu that are sometimes thematically in tune with the film being shown. Yet there are other standard offerings like Turkish lamb sliders, truffle popcorn and Korean chicken tacos.

 

Other places like Metrograph attempt to recall film studio commissaries, though their main offerings run the gamut from chicken fra diavolo to steak tartare. At iPic, the pricy Premium Plus seats allow a couple to enjoy a film and receive table service while sitting in push-button recliners, with a blanket and pillow also available. Not surprisingly, the cost per couple is $60.

 

At the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, cushy armchairs are also available for what resembles more of a bar. Snacks, slong with salads and sandwiches are available, or those with a sweet tooth can take advantage of the 16 different floats and shakes available.

 

Some of that latter group may have some alcohol in them, though cinema buffs can also choose from plenty of different wines, cocktails or any of the different beers that now total more than three dozen. At Syndicated, snacks and booze are plentiful.

Chalait Scrambles Back to Business

A West Village diner that had only been opened for a year was forced to adapt to a new reality when it’s bigger neighbor flexed its real estate muscle. That was drug store giant CVS, which decided it needed more space and summarily told that diner, known as Chalait, to start looking for new surroundings.

 

Due to a contract buyout clause in the diner’s decade-long lease, the move was perfectly legal. That clause, which is becoming standard in most business real estate deals, meant that CVS could end the lease after four years in favor of a larger operator. Chalait could have stayed the full four years, though the buyout amount would be been diminished considerably by that time.

 

While owner Michelle Puyane had some inkling about the move approximately a month before CVS officially informed her, she still had to scramble in finding a new place to set up shop. She found it at 299 West Houston Street, though the move only allowed her to get back roughly 50 percent of the original build-out expenses.

 

One of those expenses was a $12,000 air conditioning unit that CVS immediately discarded once they took back control of the property. That cold business move annoyed Puyane, who did admit to a certain amount of naivete in negotiating the original deal.

 

However, her main concern was the image the quick move represented. In the interim, she was able to open up small spots in both Chelsea Market and Nomad, yet she knew that this was a temporary fix because of the limitations imposed by such small confines.

 

Learning her lesson, Puyane did a much more rigorous examination of each potential area, deciding that Hudson Square would work best. Plenty of businesses are within walking distance, which should help during lunch periods.

 

 

NYC Food Cart Operators on the Verge of Being Graded

The sight of a food cart is an ever-present sight in most cities and especially in New York City. However, a more stringent approach to the operation of those carts, which will soon receive grades, is in the process of being formulated by Health Committee that’s part of New York City Council.

 

This process began back on February 1, when Councilmember Karen Koslowitz of Queens introduced a plan that would apply letter grades to the food carts. The Health Committee is made up of nine members, all of whom voted in favor of the new grading system.

 

Despite the pending regulation, those operating the food carts and the organizations that represent them appear to be solidly behind the measure. Believing that the new edict will show the overall quality of the food, the Street Vendor Project was one of the measure’s earliest supporters. In addition, no vendors have yet come to offer any sort of protest.

 

A simple majority vote by the City Council is next, which would then send it to Mayor Bill DeBlasio. He’s expected to sign it, though he could take as much of the 30 days allowed to study the plan more closely. However, if he were to unexpectedly reject the measure, the New York State Senate in Albany is working on a different measure that covers most of the same areas.

 

That Albany measure is expected to quickly pass, a contrast to the rejection that took place two years ago, when the creation of a commission to handle that job was under consideration.

 

The belief by Koslowitz and other supporters is that the grades will allow consumers to make a more informed assessment won whether to eat the food prepared by a particular vendor.It will also aid in avoiding public health problems.

No Shortage of Options When It Comes to Soccer-Based Sports Bars in NYC

Given the multicultural aspects of New York City, finding a way to merge those cultures with the world’s most popular sport should be the ticket to success. That appears to be the case with a number of different sports bars that cater to those who consider soccer to be that sport, even if the rest of the world refers to it as football.

 

Each of these places is open virtually around the clock in order to accommodate the time differences that have soccer matches starting before most people have awakened or ending long after they’ve gone to bed. The differences in food offered is something that may not be as important to the clientele as the number of different types of alcohol available.

 

Much of the food in places like Smithfield Hall NYC, Banter or Football Factory at Legends is basic, with a nod toward focusing on the specific demographic or culture. For example, at the Paulaner Brauhaus, German fare is the big lure. While one of the big sellers is the bratwurst burger, there’s also five on-site beers brewed here to choose from for avid fans, who can also chew on pretzels as they watch.

 

Banter is so focused on delivering a soccer vibe that even the urinals are decorated in the spirit of a soccer goal. While that may be a tad extreme for some, the rustic approach the bar takes gets things back to basics. That is until someone who walks through the doors gets a look at all of the different draft beers and hard liquor options that are ready to be served.

 

Soccer brawls may be common across the pond, but Football Factory at Legends manages to accommodate an estimated 40 different groups of fans that are there to watch their teams.

 

 

The East Village Is Now Home To A New Seafood-Focused Restaurant

One of the great things about the food and restaurant scene in NYC is the frequent openings of new dining spots throughout the five boroughs.

 

A few minutes ago, I read a current online article that tells about the opening of a brand new restaurant in the East Village neighborhood. The restaurant is named Out East, and it’s located at 509 E. 6th Street, at Avenue A.

 

Out East features an inventive menu that contains a large assortment of seafood dishes, as well as a nice selection of vegetarian, meat and poultry offerings. The restaurant offers two floors of dining and drinking space, with two bars on the premises.

 

Starters on the opening menu at Out East include Mediterranean mixed olives, beer battered baby octopus, and a charming tomato gratin, made with preserved tomatoes.

 

The article that I read about Out East mentions how the restaurant is one of several NYC eateries that are including tuna tartare on their menus. The version of this raw tuna dish that Out East provides is made with yellowfin tuna, basil, and sunflower.

 

A range of other raw seafood items, such as marinated mackerel, bay scallops, chilled lobster, and black bass carpaccio are also listed on the menu at Out East.

 

Duck breast with mushrooms and hazelnuts, hot-smoked trout, seared culotte steak, and an incredibly delicious-sounding charred sausage-stuffed leeks, are some of the entree options that Out East is offering.

 

It’s nice to see a restaurant featuring an appealing main dish that uses leeks as a primary ingredient. In my humble opinion, leeks are delicios vegetables that are way under-utilized.

 

At any rate, it’s good to see a high quality new restaurant such as Out East opening in the city.

 

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