A longtime fixture of the New York dining scene, chef David Burke opened his latest venture on Monday. Woodpecker is located on the northern edge of NoMad on Broadway and specializes in American-style food roasted in wood-burning ovens.
True to its name, Woodpecker is built around two giant wood-burning ovens where much of the menu’s meat and vegetable offerings are cooked. Chef Carmine Di Giovanni of the recently shuttered Mulberry Project has taken charge of the kitchen. The space features a large 35-foot wooden bar that will eventually serve wine and beer. However, as of this week, Burke had not yet begun serving alcohol in the restaurant.
The food is mainly American, but some dishes have a Korean flair that hints at the restaurant’s close proximity to Koreatown. As culinary director, Burke has taken the popular Korean snack food of seasoned crickets and added it to the eatery’s mozzarella-drenched pizza. The pizza dough is made of flour mixed with ground crickets and the nutty-tasting insects are also used as a pizza topping. The menu also includes Korean-style chicken wings garnished with sweet kkwarigochu peppers.
Burke has had a long career in the kitchen. After studying at the Culinary Institute of America and training in France, he returned to New York to serve as executive chef at the River Cafe eatery in Brooklyn. In 2003, he started his own restaurant group, which opened 10 different restaurants in New York and other American cities. In 2015, he joined ESquared Hospitality group as a consultant and culinary partner, opening Tavern 62 and advising on the menus of the group’s BLT brand.
Burke has also been a constant fixture on culinary television programs, competing on Iron Chef and serving as a guest judge on Worst Cooks in America and Hell’s Kitchen. Both Burke and his restaurants have been featured on the Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate and Reservations Required on Voom HD Networks.
New York City has always been a melting pot when it comes to population, which has translated into any number of different national cuisines being represented on the restaurant front. The country of Guyana is one Carribean nation that has a minimal imprint on the taste buds of New York, though that will be changing.
The reason is connected to the fact that German’s Soup will be opening up next week. Having become hugely popular from its home base in Georgetown, Guyana, 58-year-old Clinton Urling decided to export that enthusiasm into the Flatbush area of Brooklyn. The end result is that local residents will now have the chance to sample some of the establishment’s most famous creations.
Soups are the obvious area of expertise for Urling, who runs the business after taking over for his father, Hubert. Armed with a collection of enticing recipes, the elder Urling unleashed items on a menu that included such things as cow heel soup. Variations of chicken or oxtail versions can also satisfy the palate. This merry mix merges split-pea broth, vegetables and the lower portions of the respective animals.
Yet the scope of that menu is much more broad-based, offering pepperpot that allows the bittersweet cassareep to connect with beef to deliver a creative stew based in the West Indies. Stewed pumpkin can be a vegetarian twist along with that pumpkin that’s mixed into rice, spinach and stewed okra.
Washing down these foods can be accomplished with some mauby over ice. Here, using tree bark as its base, the drink also works in some spices and is properly fermented. Unlike some imported versions, this is made in-house.
The first thing you will notice about The Grill, the new restaurant in the reworked Four Seasons space in Manhattan, is the luxury. Waiters in expensive suits and lush decorations are obvious. It was designed to look like a 50’s New York Chophouse, and the vintage vibe is apparent. The vibe is cool, but people won’t keep coming back unless the food matches the vibe, and in this case, it does.
Named one of Eater’s “Best New Restaurants,” The first thing you notice is the bar. The bar is is, once again, one of the best cocktail destinations in Manhattan. Located underneath the iconic Richard Lippold sculpture, enjoy classic martini’s from crystal decanters.
Beyond decor and drink, the real star of the show is the food. The only thing innovative about the food is that it doesn’t try to be innovative. It tries to do Mid-Century New York cuisine to perfection, and comes very close to accomplishing it. Enjoy the refurbished trolleys from which waiters dispense sides and slice prime rib. Or consider ordering classic aged beef or taking part in the Chef’s award winning buffet.
Eater chose the “Pasta a la Presse” as the signature dish of The Grill. This excessive dish involves straining duck breast and bacon and using this as a sauce for egg noodles. Salmon and lobster are also available if seafood is your thing. The traditional lunch of lamb chops, poached eggs, or shrimp is still available, but under new management, dinner is where the talent is truly on display.
Maintaining the legacy established by some iconic New York City restaurants isn’t always on the agenda when an establishment is sold to new owners. However, in the wake of the sale of Eisenberg’s Restaurant in the Flatiron district, concerned diners don’t have to worry about the ambience of this classic place being changed.
Warren Chiu is that new owner and he bought the place on the condition that the restaurant would not be changed in any material way. Doing anything different would likely result in a backlash anyway, while Chiu reportedly has a soft spot for longstanding businesses like Eisenberg’s.
Enhancing the positives of what made the restaurant so great is the main focus, which could involve some minor tweaks along the way. As an executive with Warwick International Hotels, Chiu has the financial support to engage in wholesale changes if he sees fit. However, with decades in the business world, he knows when to stick with the knitting when it comes to running a business with this level of stature.
The former owner, Josh Konechy, had run Eisenberg’s since 2006, but had tired of continual pressure of dealing with the surrounding competition. In addition, having to work with the city government always hovering over them was an annoyance.
Prior to Konechy’s ownership, hamburgers weren’t on the menu. That changed when he installed an expensive upgrade to the restaurant’s vents. Yet with more fixes on the horizon, the financial investment seemed questionable.
Doing the basics well has always been a calling card for Eisenberg’s, with all of the past ownerships not interested in crafting innovative cuisine. Instead, long before the namesakes sold out during the 1970’s, the focus has been geared toward offering standards like egg creams. Chiu noted the appeal of buying a place that still produced the classic.
An awards ceremony was held on May 7, 2018, to honor New York’s James Beard chefs on achieving this great accomplishment. While many chefs were nominated, very few ever receive this honor. Therefore, you will want to check out their establishments very soon.
Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune took home the outstanding chef award. On top of being a well-known author and speaker, Hamilton’s Prune restaurant in the East Village offers an outstanding weekend brunch and dinner every night of the week. They do not take reservations for their weekend brunch, so you can expect a wait. Additionally, expect the tables to be placed closely together allowing this restaurant to serve as many as possible. While the restaurant is described as New American, there is a directness to the food that leaves a pleasurable memorable impression. This restaurant also does an outstanding job of classic cocktails.
Taking home best chef in NYC honors was Missy Robbins of Lilia. This Williamsburg restaurant has an industrial vibe paying tribute to the building’s former life as an auto-body garage. You will adore the small-plate pasta selections. A reservation can be very hard to obtain at this small restaurant. If you have trouble getting one to fit your schedule, then try stopping in during the day for a pastry and a cup of coffee in the back. The attached bar also serves delicious bar favorites with unique twists.
The James Beard awards are presented on an annual basis. While restaurants and chefs are nominated, the judges who are professional chefs with many years of experience vote on the winners by secret ballot. The honor of being named a James Beard award recipient comes with many media releases, a medal but no money is awarded to winners.
Vietnamese cuisine has expanded greatly over the past few decades, with diners embracing what was once an exotic choice and now serves as a viable regular option. In the Greenpoint area, a new restaurant that’s opening this week will focus a good deal of its menu options in the area of pho-based meals.
That establishment is Di An Di, which is located on Greenpoint Avenue, near Franklin Street. The name is roughly translates to “let’s go eat,” which diners will have ample opportunity to do as the trio of owners have their menu crafted to address such hunger pangs.
That threesome of husband and wife Tuan Bui and Kim Hoang, along with chef Dennis Ngo are bonded by their connection to another Bui restaurant, An Choi. Ngo served as that place’s first chef, with all three shaking things up in dining circles.
At Di An Di, the emphasis on pho includes a soup that has a poached egg and seared brisket on top. Known as Pho Thin Hanoi, it’s an acknowledgement of the owners’ culture and their fond rememberances of the classic Hanoi restaurant, Pho Thin.
Those looking for salad will have the opportunity to partake in banh trang tron, which merges green mango, sour sausage, quail eggs and shrimp floss with rice-paper salad. That certainly is a step up from the standard iceberg lettuce with tomato and French dressing.
Another available soup brings together water spinach stems, mushrooms seared in a woke, rice noodles and yuba that resembles a sausage. The soup itself is a vegetarian-based combination of spice and lemongrass noodles.
Those trying the rice-paper pizza known as banh trang nuong may be momentarily perplexed by being presented with scissors instead of a knife. That’s how this partial mix of ground pork, eggs and additional items is sliced.
Doughnuts are just plain delicious and the classic American pastry. They’re so popular that the first Friday in June is National Doughnut Day.
New York City folks love their doughnuts and boast about having some of the best-tasting varieties on the planet. Although NYC is a huge city, expert doughnut tasters from GrubStreet.com did all the heavy research and noshing to come up with their own list of “The Absolute Best Doughnuts In NYC.” The happy crew features 36 strong contenders, and here are some of the highlights:
1. The Supermoon Bakehouse has no phone number but does have a cute pink neon sign that says “Bite Me NYC.” Fat, round doughnuts are amply filled with creative, yummy flavors that change every week.
For example, their chocolate brioche doughnut is packed with thick, gooey caramel with a cacao-nib meringue.
2. Underwest Donuts specializes in cake doughnuts that are freshly fried on the spot and feature lots of appealing glazed flavors like maple waffle, halva and carwash (vanilla-lavender).
Fans love these treats for their addictive fluffiness.
3. Doughnut Plant is another winner in “The Big Apple” and with good reason. Doughnuts are made by hand daily and considered to be in the gourmet class. In addition, Doughnut Plant never uses eggs, preservatives or anything artificial.
Some favorites include peanut butter and blackberry jam, coconut cream and Brooklyn black-out cake.
4. Dun-Well Doughnuts is all about the vegan goodness, and their entire list of doughnuts are made that way. Fans claim the treats taste like Krispy Kremes with their elegant light texture.
Dun-Well likes creating amazing glazes with root-beer and Creamsicle flavors.
5. Du’s Donuts And Coffee is another leader in the bunch with a wonderful variety of cake-doughnut masterpieces. Signature flavors feature peanut butter banana and brown butter key lime.
When it comes to veggie meals, non-meat eaters expect legitimate grub. In other words, they’re looking for the real deal, and it appears that Shake Shack has nailed it with their brand new “Veggie Shack” burger.
Fans in New York City got to taste the veggie debut at select Shake Shacks located in Midtown East, the Upper East Side and Astor Place on Thursday, according to an item in GrubStreet.
The burgers look absolutely yummy and taste wicked good, say those who took a big bite. The Veggie Shack burger features a potato roll that holds the delicious goods inside like the vegan patty created with roasted beets for that medium rare appearance and blended with black beans and brown rice. The faux-beef burger comes dressed up with a tangy vegan mustard mayo and includes pickles, onions, lettuce and provolone cheese. The non-beef burger sells for $7.29 in NYC.
YouTube says that the Veggie Shack can also soon be ordered in a lettuce wrap or gluten-free bun for those who desire a different kind of burger and true vegan experience minus the cheese.
According to the Shake Shack kitchen, it took food experts approximately eight months to design the meatless burger and come up with the ideal blending of vegetables and legumes. The burger restaurant chain believes they’ve constructed the perfect veggie burger.
Some fans say the meatless version is pretty good because it’s not mushy or dry, and Shake Shack even added an interesting textural grain coating to mimic the effects of a typical char-grilled meat-filled burger one can find on the restaurant’s already famous menu.
There’s good crunch with the onions and pickles also, so it’s a delightful new, healthy option.
Where’s the beef?
It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the hottest restaurants in New York City. It will tell you about the latest food trends regardless of whether you plan on visiting the Big Apple or not.
There are quite a few restaurants that food critics are currently talking about.
Located at 929 Amsterdam Ave., this restaurant goes above and beyond a standard Chinese restaurant. Located on the upper West side, there are dishes that include burning noodles and pork in garlic sauce.
Located at 517 W. 38th St., the Mediterranean restaurant hosts a café during the day while the evening menu includes crudo, pasta, and duck by Chef Ryan Hardy.
Located in the Flatiron District at 44 W. 29th St., the restaurant is identified as new American but has influences from around the globe. Executive Chef Greg Proechel creates a number of enticing dishes that includes squid with fennel, charred broccoli, and duck breast with charred eggplant jam.
Located in Chelsea market at 435 W. 15th St., this restaurant includes lobster rolls, reubens, and cheeseburgers, all served inside of pitas. The restaurant is the brainchild of Eyal Shani, a star chef from Israel.
Plenty of new restaurants are popping up, showing New Yorkers that there are more flavors to life than cheeseburgers and Italian food. Even the Freehand Hotel in Gramercy Park is getting a food renovation thanks to two new restaurants from restaurateur, Gabriel Stulman.
If your travel plans have you visiting New York City, you can pop into any of these restaurants, assuming you have reservations. Of course, you can always wait for the trends to slowly reach wherever it is that you live.
Keith McNally is a restauranteur giant in New York, who’s fate appeared to hang in the balance as critics looked on with tilted pens. McNally is responsible for several notable locations in the city including Balthazar, which marked its twenty years in business in 2017, and Augustine which just opened in 2016.
Although he has gone through what most would consider a tumultuous couple of years, McNally continues to be a force in the industry. News recently broke of the closing of his restaurant Cherche Midi, scheduled in June of 2018 on the heels of another restaurant, Schiller’s, in summer of 2017. The city’s staple liquor bar, located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, closed it’s doors after 14 years and right around the same time that McNally was reported to have suffered a massive stroke. While some may look as these occurrences as setbacks, McNally is still thriving in the restaurant business as he makes the necessary economical moves to maintain in the ever dynamic field of food service.
Owning a business is not easy, especially when dealing with brick and mortar locations hosted on some of the most expensive plots of land in the entire country. Running a restaurant may be one of the hardest business endeavors to master and McNally has several. This savvy entrepreneur has been in business for decades precisely because he is able to make the difficult decisions when necessary. For example, McNally kept Schiller’s open even after it ceased being profitable because of his affection for the place and its people. However, he eventually had to do what was called for and that was to end that branch of his business and focus on what was working.