Destination: New York
Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s farm-to-table restaurant in ABC Carpet & Home offers a fun, laid-back ambience, seasonal menus focused on local ingredients and a design-conscious dining room—after all, you are in one of New York’s most fashionable home decor store. The menus change often and showcases a nice mix of pastas, salads, pizzas and small-plate dishes. ABC Kitchen is best for lunch during a shopping spree downtown. And if you fall in love with the porcelain dishes, made by a local artisan in Connecticut, you can purchase it on your way out.
The Bubby’s kitchen stays open 24 hours a day, but the best time to eat there is brunch, when the casual and airy restaurant is filled with diners who return religiously for the fluffy buttermilk biscuits and house-smoked salmon. Be prepared for a wait on prime weekend mornings but expect to pass the time sipping Bloody Marys at the bar next to Justin Timberlake.
This small wine bar in the West Village has really good small plates and crostini. I order their walnut pesto crostini every time I go. It’s perfect to meet someone for a drink and then turn it into dinner if your having a good time. A sister restaurant, called Buvette, is located down the street from Little Owl. It’s the same concept and just as tiny.
This West Village spot is perfect for brunch or lunch. Order the Ruby’s Bronte burger, which comes with Gruyère cheese, truffle mayo, sweet chili sauce, avocado, arugula and tomatoes. I have tried to make it on my own many times and it never lives up the restaurant’s version. They also have amazing cocktails.
This quaint French brasserie is an all-time favorite on the Upper East Side. Do not expect the most seamless service, but it’s still a great neighborhood spot for classic French food and familiar scene. Highlights on the menu include haricots verts salad and moules marinieres (the best in the city).
This restaurant is located on one of the most picturesque streets in the West village. The meatball sliders are the perfect way to start your meal and you can’t go wrong with the pork chop or fish dishes. There’s always a wait (word has gotten out about this place), but it’s worth it.
Taking over a seemingly jinxed restaurant space (in this case the failed Ago in Robert de Niro’s Greenwich Hotel) is no easy feat, but chef Andrew Carmellini, a former Daniel Boulud protege, has pulled it off beautifully. His Locanda Verde, opened this summer, is a perfect spot for a casual lunch or relaxed dinner thanks to a dining room that captures a convivial tavern vibe and a menu that’s family-style Tuscan.
Marcus Samuelsson’s Harlem restaurant opened to much buzz in early 2011. The scene and the wonderfully diverse crowd (ranging from downtown hipsters to elegant Harlem matrons and everyone in between) are a hit. Cuisine is decidedly southern comfort, including such favorites as “Mac & Greens” and “Dutch Bass & Grits.”
Manhattan’s dining scene is so dynamic, originality is rare. Sorella is a small restaurant and wine bar on an unappealing block in the Lower East Side, but the cuisine is truly divine. The Piedmontese fare served tapas-style, and the menu is made for sharing. Chef Emma Hearst exercises continual tweaks to her seasonal menus, but one starter that remains constant is the pate de fegato. Silky chicken liver mousse on a crostini, topped with a layer of bacon and a fried egg. People who boldly detest chicken liver become converts after one luxurious bite.
Hearst is playful with her evening specials, and recently served a thick pork chop breaded in graham cracker crumbs and cream of wheat, served with lightly dressed greens and cubes of bright watermelon. (We ordered a second chop after the first bite) The service is casual, but impeccable. Sorella is a dinner spot for intimate groups seeking a refreshing change, and those willing to venture into the heart of the downtown scene. Reservations for the dining room recommended for dinner, walk-ins welcome at the wine bar. Sorella is a favorite among the Indagare staff.
Opened in 2004, the ever-buzzing Spotted Pig remains one of the most difficult tables to get (they don’t accept reservations, so be prepared to wait). Headed by chef April Bloomfield, who also opened the John Dory in Chelsea, this gastropub offers a delightful fusion of British and Italian fare, composed of local, seasonal ingredients. The ricotta gnudi with brown butter and sage are legendary.
Torrisi Italian Specialties
This Little Italy eatery is incredibly crowded for lunch, but their turkey sandwiches and Italian subs are amazing. The dinner is a set menu each night (you can choose from two options) and their food is very good. People start lining up in front of the restaurant at 5:00pm to get on the list when they open at 6:00pm. They do not take reservations.
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