Category Archives: NYC Restaurants
Avocado Restuarant Opens in Manhattan

Avocaderia, a Brooklyn eatery that serves only avocado-based dishes, opened its second location in Manhattan on Thursday. The restaurant opened its first location in April 2017 and quickly became known for its variety of avocado toasts.

 

Avocaderia was launched in 2017 by three Italian friends. Francesco Brachetti was working as a business analyst in Mexico when he discovered avocados, a dish he hadn’t encountered before. He convinced his cousin Alberto Gramigni and startup CEO Alessandro Biggi to partner with him in a New York restaurant that serves only avocados. The idea raised eyebrows in the restaurant industry, as avocado toast has become a joke used to denigrate millennials permanently glued to their phones and Instagram.

 

Despite the naysayers, the Brooklyn restaurant was a success on its opening day, running out of avocados after only three hours. After the successful launch, Brachetti decided to compete in the Shark Tank reality show to get more capital and publicity for his brand. Judges Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran each grabbed 10% of the company, paying $200,000 apiece for the privilege. Brachetti used the money he earned from their investment to open a new location in Manhattan.

 

Brachetti selected the old Terminal Warehouse in Chelsea as the site of his new branch and put Alberto Gramigni, his cousin and a Tuscan chef, in charge of the kitchen. As with the original, the restaurant’s menu is based around organic avocados that are sourced from Michoacán, a state in western Mexico. The company’s second effort also offers Avocaderia’s famous avocado toast, as well as avocado salads and burgers. The drinks menu even includes several avocado-based smoothies.

New York Food Trucks Named Among Best in the Country

The Daily Meal food website released a list of the best food trucks in America on Friday, and five New York food trucks made the grade. From lobster to barbecue, the Daily Meal celebrated the best food vendors on wheels that the Big Apple has to offer.

The site ranked the Cinnamon Snail truck first among New York food trucks and the eighth best food truck in the country. Created by chef Adam Sobel and family, the Cinnamon Snail food truck features a menu full of vegan takes on popular dishes. From its famous Korean Barbecue Seitan to Bourbon Hazelnut Pancakes, the truck’s menu has been a hit with patrons both in New York and in New Jersey.

The distinctive blue and tan trucks of Luke’s Lobster have been trundling through New York since 2009. With their focus on sustainable seafood and penchant for slathering their delicious lobster rolls in vast quantities of butter, Luke’s Lobster has gained a loyal customer following over the years. The Daily Meal ranked the seafood restaurant on wheels 31st in the nation.

Taïm Mobile’s distinctive Middle Eastern cuisine has become a staple in New York City. Since 2005, husband and wife duo Stefan Nafziger and Einat Admony have been dishing out their tasty falafel to hungry diners. Their special roasted red pepper tahini helped them to earn a top spot on the Daily Meal’s list.

Although Korean-Mexican fusion started in Los Angeles, Edward Song’s Korilla BBQ food truck has captured taste buds in New York since 2010 with its tasty bulgogi burritos and pork tacos. The truck’s bacon kimchi fried rice and beef chosun bowl helped to snag the 78th spot on the list as one of the country’s best food trucks.

Uncle Gussy’s food truck earned the 94th spot on the list. The aqua blue truck can often be seen in Midtown dishing out grilled souvlaki and savory yellow rice to famished customers. Uncle Gussy’s also holds the distinction of being on Yelp’s list of the top five food trucks in New York City.

New Pho Eatery Opens in Brooklyn

The culinary trio made up of Kim Hoang, Tuan Biu and Dennis Ngo finally opened their new pho restaurant this week on Greenpoint Avenue in Brooklyn. Di An Di had one of the most hotly anticipated new openings in New York City this spring.

The team behind Di An Di is already well known for An Choi in the Lower East Side, opened in 2009. Dennis Ngo helmed the kitchen and Tuan Bui owns the eatery with his brother Huy. The restaurant became popular for offering Manhattan diners a mid-level indoor space to enjoy banh mi and pho. Together with Tuan and his wife Kim Hiang, Ngo announced in November 2017 that they were opening a new pho restaurant in Brooklyn.

After much anticipation in the foodie community, Di An Di launched this week in the space formerly occupied by the Hail Mary diner. With its airy, well-lit green and white interior, the restaurant presents a soothing atmosphere for diners to enjoy their pho in peace. The fresh taste of the steaming pho is complemented by the space’s abundant greenery and natural wooden furniture.

The menu features five different kinds of pho, including Southern Vietnam-style pho bò, a type of beef pho. Chef Dennis Ngo also cooks up a vegetarian version of his spicy lemongrass noodle soup and a vegan variety of his turmeric món cuốn, a type of Vietnamese roll. The menu also includes other traditional dishes like fried pig tails, as well as a selection of cocktails, beer and wine.

While the venue is hosting private events for patrons, it not yet open to the public. According to the owners, Di An Di is experimenting with a soft open this week and will be fully open to the public next week, although its hours have not yet been finalized.

David Burke Unveils New Restaurant in NoMad

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.

German’s Soup Headed to Brooklyn by Way of Guyana

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. Guests even had the opportunity to indulge in the Guyanese version of barbecued chicken.

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 restaurant itself is located at the corner of Utica and Linden.

The Grill is one of Eater’s “Best New Restaurants.”

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.

Eisenberg’s Not Planning on Change After Ownership Change

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.

James Beard Honors Gabrielle Hamilton as Top Chef

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.

Non-Meat Eaters, Meet Shake Shack’s New Veggie Burger

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?

Who’s asking?

Shake Shack in Manhattan Tests Vegetarian Burger

One of the most prominent fast-food restaurant chains in the United States chose New York City as the testing ground for a new vegetarian hamburger patty, and the taste tests reported thus far are not very encouraging.

In recent years, Shake Shack has emerged as a worthy competitor to major fast-food empires such as McDonald’s and Burger King; the company already had a vegetarian burger option on the menu, but it mostly consisted of a large portobello mushroom dipped in a creamy cheese sauce, a recipe that does not quite evoke a burger patty. On April 20, Shake Shack started serving a new veggie patty made with black beans, beets and brown rice; the texture and consistency of this new recipe is supposed to evoke the experience of a traditional burger patty, but at least one review by a food journalist from the gastronomy website Eater suggests that Shake Shack is not quite hitting the mark.

Ryan Sutton described the Shake Shack vegetarian patty as an overly crunchy eating experience that dissolves into a mushy feeling with an offbeat taste. Mr. Sutton’s summary is that the portobello burger offered by Shake Shack is a better option for diners who do not want a beef patty. This meatless burger is served on Shake Shack’s popular hamburger buns that are made with potato starch; the toppings are generous and include provolone cheese, tomato, lettuce, onions, and pickles.

Shake Shack faces competition in the New York market from White Castle, a legendary chain that has been trying to improve its menu with the “Impossible” burger, which is made with a vegetarian patty that is surprisingly tasty even though it does not evoke the texture or flavor of a regular slider.

The New York Shake Shack locations currently serving the new veggie patty are: Upper East Side, Midtown and Astor Place.

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