Category Archives: NYC Food Scene
Los Pollos Hermanos Coming to NYC

A few years ago, many television fans were saddened by the end of Breaking Bad, which was one of the most popular television shows at the time. The show, which was on AMC, had several notable stages during its time. One of the most popular stages was a small fast-food chicken restaurant called Los Pollos Hermanos. While the restaurant was supposed to be a local chain based in the southwest United States, it appears that for a short period of time, fans of the show will be able to enjoy it in New York City.


A recent news story ( has pointed out that the fictional restaurant chain will be opening a pop-up restaurant in New York City in April. The restaurant will be open only for two days, which are expected to be on April 9 and April 10, and will be located at a small lot in Lower Manhattan.


The new pop-up restaurant is being used as a way to promote the upcoming season of Better Call Saul, which is a popular spin-off series and prequel to Breaking Bad. This season is expected to re-introduce Gus Fring, who was a very popular character on the show and the owner of the fictional restaurant, while also having a much darker side.


This is not the first time that a real-life version of the restaurant will be opening up. A few weeks ago, the city of Austin, Texas enjoyed their own version of the restaurant over a long weekend. The restaurant reportedly had a Mexican-themed menu including tacos, burritos, and French fries. This was surprising to some people though as it was believed that the restaurant on the show served fried chicken as well.


At this point it is not yet known what the full menu will be at the New York City location. However, it is believed that it will be similar to the Austin menu. Those that are fans of the show but located out of state could also consider checking out the pop-up location of the restaurant that will be opening in Los Angeles in the next few weeks.



The Newest Crazy Donut is Made From Spaghetti

When the cronut first came out, it was a big deal. While knock-off versions are now available everywhere from local suburban bakeries to supermarkets, Dominique Ansel’s 2013 creation was widely seen as an ingenious, innovative product that gourmets and gluttons alike were desperate to get their hands on.


2013 also saw a new savory food fad: Los Angeles chef Keizo Shimamoto created the ramen burger, a fusion of Japanese and American cuisines that comprises a basically standard hamburger with grilled patties of ramen noodles replacing the bun. Like the cronut, the ramen burger combines an American classic that is sometimes derided as unhealthy or lacking in craftsmanship with an intricate foreign cuisine in order to elevate both dishes.


In both these tried-and-true cases, however, the combined recipes have plenty in common. Both croissants and donuts are delicious, popular pastries. Both ramen and hamburgers are quick, tasty main dishes popular with basically everyone. The latest food fusion, however, seeks to destroy the boundary between dinner and dessert, and its reputation precedes it.


Pop Pasta, a food truck that travels around Brooklyn, does just that with what they call the “spaghetti donut,” which seems to be a donut made of spaghetti. The company offers several flavors based on popular, recognizable spaghetti dishes like carbonara, but baked in a donut shape.


The most mystifying aspect of the spaghetti donut seems to be whether it intends to make pasta sweet instead of savory, which many find unappealing. Pop Pasta actually markets their product as a twist on Neapolitan spaghetti pie, which involves making a spaghetti dish and baking it until it can be cut with a knife and eaten like pie. In the case of Pop Pasta, the pie tin is replaced by donut shape.


Pop Pasta claims their product is a meeting of fast food and slow food, which changes its place among cronuts and ramen burgers. Instead of combining two like things, the spaghetti donut ultimately seeks to use one food to bring out the best in another. The product debuted at Brooklyn food truck showcase Smorgasburg on April 1, 2017.

At A New Japanese Steak House In NYC, Dining Is Done Standing Up

In Manhattan, at the first U.S. branch of a Japanese steakhouse chain, customers will have the opportunity to dine on wet-aged steaks while standing up. In a recent online article, the authors profile the brand new Ikinari Steak restaurant on E. 10th Street.


While there are a few seats available for those who need them, the basic theme at Ikinari is stand and eat. There are plastic bibs that await each customer at their dining stations, and each station offers lots of eating space.


When you dine at Ikinari, you are shown to an eating station, and given a number. If desired, you can stand there and enjoy drinks and/or appetizers, or you can go right for the main course.


The ordering process involves you first bringing your number card to the ordering counter. According to the article, diners can choose from sirloin, rib eye, or filet mignon steaks. The steaks are sold by weight, as in grams. They are priced between eight and eleven cents per gram, and there is a 200-gram minimum. The steak of your choosing is weighed in front of you, then cooked to your preference.


Steaks are served on sizzling platters, and are topped with a dollop of garlic butter and some fresh garlic chips. The steaks are appetizingly served atop a bed of sliced onions, along with with a nice serving of corn.


The author of the article seems to think that the eating-while-standing-up concept might actually do well with Ikinari Steak, even though similar ventures in NYC have not thrived.


It is suggested that the reasoning behind the stand and eat concept is to promote high customer turnover. Because many people probably would not want to stand for extended periods of time, I would imagine that the high turnover rate is regularly achieved.

Citi Field: New York’s Foodie Destination

Every baseball stadium’s food options tend to reflect the local identity. You’ll find loaded hot dogs in Chicago, killer barbecue in Kansas City, and even Waffle House in Atlanta. In New York, Citi Field taps into the diversity and quality of the city’s restaurant scene to provide a truly high-end food program.


While teams across baseball are beginning to cater more and more to foodies, Citi Field already has star chef partners in place. Home of the Mets baseball team since 2009, the stadium has upped its game year after year. In 2017 alone, new offerings include burger guru Josh Capon’s Bash Burger; upscale Italian comfort from Nicoletta; and the city’s newest craze: DO, a cookie dough shop that sells varieties of dough in cups or cones like ice cream.


For the Mets faithful, even the “old standby” options are delightfully New York. Iconic chef David Chang serves chicken sandwiches at Fuku; Pat LaFrieda’s filet mignon sandwich is a delicious splurge; and pizza from Two Boots is spectacular. If you feel like braving the line, Shake Shack is always a solid burger choice. Even the standard hot dog is local – find Nathan’s, recently selected as the official hot dog of Major League Baseball, around the stadium. For dessert, there are cookies from Christina Tosi of Milk Bar, one of NYC’s favorite bakeries.


Citi Field doesn’t only class up the food options. A wide-ranging alcoholic menu is also available throughout the park, including delicious signature cocktails served in Mets-themed mason jars. If you’re more of a craft beer person, the stadium has tons of options ranging from Goose Island to local breweries like Sixpoint. And the best part? They cost the same as a Bud Light.


While the baseball team may not always be up to par, the Mets’ venue is built to provide a true New York experience with a heavy emphasis on the world class food scene. If you’re a local who wants to try something new, or a tourist looking for an overview of the food scene, consider catching a game in Queens this summer.


Alta Taking a Bigger Bite Out of Breakfast Market

Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, which might be why one New York City restaurant appears intent on creating a fine dining experience with a number of exotic meals. At Alta, located at 372 Lafayette, the casual vibe that seems ever-present will have the kitchen staff more focused on upping its game in the healthy aspects of breakfast, with a heavy Mexican flavor.


Beginning at 9 a.m. every morning, diners will be able to see more creativity in the introduction of Mexican sweet bread options like orejas and conchas and an arctic-char tostada. In the latter case, those who sample this offering will be able to taste additions like scallions, farmer cheese and serrano chili.


Head chef Enrique Olvera will also offer flaxseed-based chilaquiles, which a slightly fried tortillas with some mouth-water toppings attached. Olvera and his business partner, Daniela Soto-Innes, had been offering a more standard version during weekend brunch at their other restaurant, Cosme.


Yet other options also include guacamole-goat-cheese molletes, which offer the diner a healthy supply of black beans in every bite, and split-pea tlacoyos. Those looking for a seeming hint of stateside-based offerings can try the coconut yogurt with berries and if they need to wash it down with something, they can try café de olla, a coffee with some cane sugar and Mexican cinnamon included.


Delving deeper into the exotic considerations, a diner may be inclined to try out the chia pudding. Of course, simply offering that wouldn’t garner much attention, which is why Olvera has added items like raisins, caramelized ginger, cashews and pumpkin seeds. There’s also the mundane with a mushroom quesadilla.


Olvera and Soto-Innes know that keeping a menu basic will never draw crowds, especially when so many other options are out there in competition for the breakfast dollar.


Of course, Alta serves both lunch and dinner as well, and in the lunch area, Olvera is offering a relatively rare commodity. That’s the pambazo, a sandwich with a healthy supply of salsa applied to it, with sampling it the only way to do it justice.



Behold the Spaghetti Doughnut

An order of spaghetti is a common facet of the daily dining experience, whether it occurs at home or in a restaurant. Much the same can be said when it comes to the doughnut, which is often enjoyed with a cup of coffee while sitting at the kitchen table or within the confines of one of the countless examples in the New York area.


The thought of somehow merging the two disparate foods into one seems not only odd, but impossible. Yet that’s just what’s taken place in Brooklyn, with a food market vendor venturing into new territory with the spaghetti doughnut.


Pop’s Pasta not-so-secret recipe consists of spaghetti remnants that’s been cooked with cheese and eggs that is then crafted into the shape of a doughnut. This place, which is located within the Smorgasburg food market, could very well create an experience that will likely intrigue as many people as it revolts.


This is in effect a spaghetti pie, which Pop’s makes in the Neopolitan tradition. Much like its Italian counterpart, the pizza, this option in round in nature and made to be served individually in slices.


In the latter category, the wonders of social media have already offered many people their say, even if they’ve never actually sampled the product in question. The mere thought of a tangy and iconic Italian dish being transplanted into the shape of a sweet snack will inevitably cause confusion for some.


Some of those offering comments on Twitter have expressed a willingness to commit physical violence against anyone daring enough to try a spaghetti donut. Others simply have no interest in venturing into uncharted areas of cuisine.


The reality is that the only actual connection to the doughnut is the traditional circular shape that generations of people have come to know. There’s no mad scientist approach that seeks to somehow make a sugar-based pasta.


Trying to eat spaghetti by hand goes against all the standard rules of etiquette, yet this new option allows it to be offered on festive occasions with a minimum of cleanup.



Le Cirque Battling Through Adversity

For more than four decades, Le Cirque has been one of New York City’s iconic restaurants, offering impeccable French cuisine and an ambience second to none. However, financial reality is currently delivering a powerful blow to LeCirque’s owners, Sirio and Mauro Maccioni, who were forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.


The reason for this move is that as many as 100 creditors are owed a total of anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million, which Sirio Maccioni attributes to cash-flow problems that he considers temporary. Without this legal maneuver, the Maccioni’s would be forced to give up their lease on both Le Cirque and another of their restaurants, Circo.


While the storm looks to have passed from that vantage point, Tom Valenti, the head chef at Le Cirque, abruptly announced his resignation on March 28. That could put the restaurant in a bind for the short term at a time when they need to reinforce their credibility.


That’s because other setbacks over the past five years could be seen as creating a cumulative effect that makes potential diners take notice. This downturn began after the food critic for the New York Times considered the food overpriced and dropped his rating of LeCirque to a single star, which forced the Maccioni’s to institute early bird discounts that tend to be frowned upon by upscale restaurants.


The hits just kept coming, the next one being delivered by employees, both past and present. In 2014, the Maccioni’s had to deal with litigation related to wage violations against staff members, and due to the fact that there were numerous complaints, the lawsuit was also given class-action status. Then, last year, harassment litigation was then brought against the restaurant, which the Maccioni’s have vigorously denied.


While it would be easy to consider Le Cirque doomed, given all of the above circumstances, they’ve been able to stay nimble enough to succeed in four different locations since opening up in 1974. That sort of resilience is something to be admired and figures to sustain them through the current firestorm.

Ikinari Steak Getting Customers to Stand at Attention

Innovation in the restaurant industry is largely tied to new creations that find their way onto the menu, yet one new restaurant in New York City is offering diners something new. However, those who have the image of sitting down and relaxing while food is being prepared will likely be in need of an attitude adjustment.


That’s because at Ikinari Steak, there are no booths or even chairs for diners. Everyone who arrives will have a chance to sample some good food, but will be doing it while standing up ober the course of the meal. The reduction of clutter like tables and chairs allows the eating surfaces to offer large eating areas and plenty of space between fellow diners.


The concept of having diners stand as they eat has been tried before at bars and sandwich shops, though this is certainly out of the ordinary for a New York City steakhouse. In addition to that oddity, the ordering process begins after a diner is directed to their eating station and given a number card. From there, any appetizers or drinks are ordered and when the diner’s number is called, they can choose at an open kitchen counter between filet mignon, sirloin or rib eye steak, with the size and cooking option up to the diner.


One of the most prominent side dishes that has gotten plenty of raves at Ikinari Steak is the garlic pepper rice. This has rice that has beef trimmings mixed in with corn and the twon components of black pepper and garlic.


This concept of no seating has the earmarks of a fast food eatery, since diners may not be inclined to spend a great deal of time standing around. Yet Ikinari attempts to combine a steakhouse approach with a more casual approach that doesn’t push people out the door.


The remnants of eating at Ikinari Steak are such that plastic bibs are available when diners are directed to their eating station. In addition, fabric refresher is also available for those who prefer not to have their clothes immersed in steakhouse smoke.



Eggslut’s Food Makes You Forget Their Name

Breakfast options for those living in New York City are plenty, yet there’s always room for one more variation. In this case, the new place has an indelicate name, but brings with it strong pedigree that’s been at the heart of great success for those living in Los Angeles, with four places that bear its name.


That name is Eggslut, which was first opened by Alvin Cailan, and is now located at 62 Spring Street following its March 31 opening. It’s operating under the banner of Chef’s Club Counter and is the byproduct of some meticulous testing to determine such things as the proper size for the bun. That attention to detail may seem extreme, considering it took 16 different variations over the course of a month to get it right. Yet the process gives an indication that ensuring the quality of the food will also be an important facet of the process.


The three sandwiches that are available to diners are predictably not ones that they’d find at other places. One is the Soho Salmon, which has fish that’s been sliced thinly and also offers fromage blanc and pickled mustard seeds. To complete the sandwich, which was specifically designed for this particular market. a slice of Havarti cheese is applied.


The namesake sandwich, the Eggslut, is a convergence of potato and egg with a baguette that’s been toasted added to the mix. Perhaps taking into account more delicate diet considerations, this option lacks the healthy application of butter that similar varieties of this sandwich possess.


Finally, the Fairfax uses cage-free eggs that are joined by sriracha mayonnaise, chives, cheddar cheese and caramelized onions. The eggs are soft scrambled and have cold butter applied to them during the whisking process.


Of course, for people seeking out more exotic fare, there’s also a number of different options to consider eating. These include a grain bowl that includes things like vadouvan carrots, duck rice with orange puree, breakfast pizza and a burger that includes onions, melted pepper Jack cheese, Russian dressing and an avocado.



Transformation of New York City Food and Restaurant Scene Over the Past Twenty Years

In the past 20 years, the food and restaurant scene has transformed in New York City. The younger generation is becoming more health conscience and selecting quality restaurants with top chefs. Young people are becoming restaurant business owners curing meats, rotting items in the cellar, and creating their sausages. Customers are more interested in the expertise of chefs without selecting a particular item from the menu. When Business Insider interviewed TV personality and executive chef of Brasserie Les Halles, Antony Bourdain, he explained the changes in the NYC food and restaurant scene he observed throughout the years.



Mr. Bourdain told Business Insider that he noticed a majority of customers were concerned about the chefs and cooks who were preparing their foods in the restaurant industry, today. As he reminisces the 1990’s, the culture of famous chefs was prevalent, but different from the present. One of the most significant changes was people the ages of 18 to 35 spending their money dining at quality restaurants rather than purchasing designer purses, based on a study by Eventbrite. With the scare of processed foods on the rise nationally, NYC restaurants are catering to these people to ensure their menu items contain fresh ingredients.



It has caused a negative impact on certain restaurants to the point of consumers questioning the quality of foods, including meats, grains and vegetables. They want to know the name of farmers and what they were feeding their livestock. Although some customers aren’t concerned with the information, Mr. Bourdain is grateful that people are becoming health conscience. Restaurants are educating their staff more than ever about the quality of ingredients in main course meals. If a customer questions the ingredients, the waiters are knowledgeable of the quality of every menu item.



The transformation of restaurants is not only in New York City, but in other parts of the country. Antony Bourdain is ecstatic about what the young people have created in Manhattan and surrounding areas. Restaurants may have had a small price to pay in the transformation process, but it has attracted more young people than ever before. It’s a magnificent thing for the customers, restaurant establishments, chefs, and the younger generation contributing to creating different tasteful foods.


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