New York City offers so many dining choices and never enough time. This is a universal traveler’s lament, and, if you are heading to New York City any time soon, here are some of my new favorite places to visit for your consideration from Greenwich Village to Jersey City.
Spending time with my uber foodie friend Jennifer Zawadzinski, PR rep extraordinaire, means covering lots of ground in a city with over 11,000 restaurants. My March 2014 trip did not disappoint.
Over the decade, there are two restaurants which remain at the top of my favorite dining list – Italian Sette Mezzo on the Upper East Side, and the ultimate Greek experience, Avra Estiatorio, in Midtown. (See if my favorite dreamy manager Socrates is still there.)
This year I’ve added visits to Light Horse Tavern in Jersey City, Le Parisien and Malatesta Trattoria as notable dining experiences while keep E&E Grill House in the theater district as a recommended spot. Here’s why:
You’ll have to venture off the Manhattan track to Jersey City, but once you do, you’ll fall in love with this charming city just beyond the Holland Tunnel.
Stepping into the Light Horse Tavern on a Wednesday evening, I immediately loved the ambiance. Seated in the cozy upstairs area, you might wonder how this might impact service but the wait staff didn’t disappoint. While I’m pretty sure our Jersey City waitress might have wanted me to speak a little Southern, when she brought on her full-Jersey girl, I was mesmerized by her charm, and, yes please, more worter!
I enjoyed the Agnolotti pasta, cousin of the ravioli, ($21) with butternut squash and pecans. For dessert, we had a trio of palette cleansing, delicious homemade gelatos. Jen Z. reports the food is very consistent and yummo.
Next notable stop was Le Parisien Bistrot in the Midtown East area of Manhattan. Considered the Murray Hill area, it was a great lunch choice which oozed Frenchy-French-ness. My friend Charles Sanchez smartly made the reservations via Open Table and it was packed for a Friday lunch. I thoroughly enjoyed the Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese with an apple walnut vinaigrette ($9) and the Grilled Portabello Sandwich with goat cheese and basil pesto ($11). Charles loved the mussels in a garlic and wine sauce ($17) served with French fries.
Lunch was a PR brainstorming meeting for friend Lisa Kirchner’s soon-to-be released memoir, Hello American Lady Creature: What I Learned as a Woman in Qatar. Here’s her book trailer and she will be coming to Nashville so stay tuned.
A very unpretentious Italian restaurant, the first thing you need to know is just like Sette Mezzo, bring cash. “Distinguished Member of Technical Staff” of a national telecommunications company, Scott Morelock, joined JZ, me, and the fabulous Chris Vystrcil, an integrated sales director for Martha Stewart Living. (Please forgive me Scott for never getting over the wonderfulness of your job title.)
An all-male operation from what I observed, Malatesta is now on my must-dine list. From the unique menu presentation and the cute, attentive waiters to the authentic ambiance, none of these elements would matter if the food wasn’t scrumptious, and, it was! I opted for the tortellini and my companions various pastas. All so flavorful, yummy, homemade and mid-range in pricing.
After a large evening karaoke-ing, the next morning friend Scott and I had a delicious breakfast with friends at Jersey City’s Brownstone Diner & Pancake Factory, featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins & Dives.”
Last year, I wrote about the E&E Grill House located across from Eugene O’Neill Theatre where “Book Of Mormon” is still playing in the theater district. I popped in to see how things had progressed in the year and am pleased to report it remains a consistently great dining option. Same bartender “Tom” prepared an artistic Irish coffee for me. And, before seeing “A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder,” I dropped in again with a friend to enjoy a crab cake ($15) before the show. Not quite as obnoxious as how Seinfeld’s Elaine Bensen ordered, I do always inquire “are your crab cakes crabby or cakey?” E&E’s are crabby (the preferred choice) and just as delicious as a year prior. Be sure you have a reservation, if you are trying to catch it before a show. And, be on the lookout for any cast members of “Chicago.”
I was pleased to venture back to Harlem for dinner at friend Anne-Marie McGonnigal’s dreamy apartment. Previously, daughter Maggie & I had eaten at Melba’s which you should definitely try. This year, being able to enjoy dinner at a friend’s home was such a treat! JZ and I enjoyed a fantastic roasted chicken prepared by Ms. McGonnigal. And, she sent us home with party favors – homemade peach jam!! I’ll give an update as soon as her website is live so you can get your own.
I’m hoping to get a chance to write about the sites I enjoyed but I blog for eight other companies, including the soon-to-be revealed HGTV Smart House 2014 project for builder, Carbine & Associates. So, in case my spring is too crazy, this year I saw the Beautiful The Carole King Musical – don’t miss it – and took an architectural walking tour of Greenwich Village with Big Onion – recommend this as well. Be sure and check out my flipagram trip overview below and happy travels!
Here’s my flipagram trip wrap-up!