Fare to Please Both Bubbeh and Foodie – Review of Balaboosta

BY CRAIG CAVALLO

Photo by Craig Cavallo

When you eat at a restaurant that serves foreign fare, the food should act as a portal.  It should open doors that warp space and time and take you on a tour of the country’s cuisine.  The success of the journey is entirely up to the chef, and in the case of Balaboosta, Einat Admony proves to be a wonderful tour guide.  We were introduced to her culinary stylings in 2005, when Taim was opened in the West Village out of a longing for the street food of Tel Aviv.  Balaboosta results from a desire to serve these authentic Middle Eastern flavors in a more formal setting.  The restaurant will have its second birthday this year, though something tells me it’s going to skip the terrible two’s.

Balaboosta is a Yiddish word that means “perfect housewife” and the atmosphere is ripe with these sentiments.  It feels as if you’ve walked into the chef’s apartment.  A picture of her aunt is the first thing you see, and the only thing to dress the white brick wall it hangs on.  It’s intentionally lit and hints at the significance of tradition and heritage that comes forth in the cuisine.

The beverage program dances a sensual tango around the fact that they don’t have a full liquor license.  Wine based cocktails and wines by the glass prove to be excellent distractions from the long waits.  There is a white on offer from Rueda, Spain.  It is here, planted at high elevations, that the acidic verdejo grape thrives.  It is blended with a small amount of sauvignon blanc and the result is a very aromatic, bright, and mineral driven wine.  Four thousand miles away from home it shines in the glass and makes for an utterly delightful way to start an evening.

The menu is predominantly Middle Eastern but shows influences from neighboring Mediterranean countries, particularly among the small plates.  Patatas bravas ($7), a staple in Spanish tapas, are served beneath a dusting of zaatar and accompanied with a garlic aioli.  Crispy cauliflower ($10) comes to us via the coastal city of Palermo in Sicily and is balanced here with currants, pine nuts, and lemon.  Harissa oil, inspired by the North African chili sauce, adds a bright streak to the fried olives ($7) that come piled above organic labneh.  The golden quinoa salad ($7) is a reflection of Balaboosta’s roots and is the perfect harmony of all five basic tastes.  It is incredibly light and refreshing and the addition of fried shallots adds a crunch that makes the palate dance the hora.

There is a genuine care behind this cooking, an effort put forth to make Balaboosta unique.  Many restaurants feature fish roe, even fish roe sauce, though to my knowledge, no restaurant has made a wasabi infused flying fish roe and used it to dress shrimp that have been wrapped in delicate strands of phyllo dough before a quick visit to the fryer.  And when grilled lamb chops ($28) come to table tucked under a blanket of Persian lime sauce you can only hope it’s going to be as good as it looks.  It is.  The acid in the limes is the Jeremy Lin assist to Tyson Chandlers rich, charred lamb.  It’s good.  Israeli good.

Perhaps the brick wall was painted white so as to act neutral, to better allow the bright food to color the room.  Maybe it’s a carryover from Israeli decor, where interiors are painted white to help cool down the rooms from the hot, Mediterranean climate.  Whatever the case, I’m sure it was intentional.  Nothing seems to be done randomly here.  The staff is kind and precise.  They do everything to make you feel as if you were in their home aside from saying, “Welcome to our home.”  Balaboosta is a restaurant that demands a return visit with elegant subtlety.  The menu showcases a modern take on Middle Eastern food that is deeply rooted in tradition.  The only thing it lacks is a bad choice.

Balaboosta on Urbanspoon

Happy 2011! The Gotham Palate's 2010 in Review

BY ELENA MANCINI

On behalf of The Gotham Palate team, I’d like to wish all New Yorkers and TGP readers around the world a happy and peaceful new year. May it be filled with bountiful, pleasurable food adventures!

2010 was an eventful year in the New York City scene. Financial shortfalls did their share in shaping the scene with a broad spate of shutterings–the most illustrious of which included the closing of the beloved institution of Tavern on The Green in January 2010, but the year also brought with it the arrival of highly anticipated restaurant ventures, characterized by the opening of multi-celebrity-chef owned gastromall and eatery, Eataly (It’s an awesome entrepreneurial feat, despite my criticisms of its scale and scope, which I will reserve for a separate post), the proliferation of locavore cuisine and the continued sprawl of eateries offering quirky and unique dining experiences throughout the outer reaches of the city’s five boroughs from Greenpoint, to Staten Island to Inwood and SoBro, formerly known as South Bronx.   and quality of dining initiatives, including the New York City Health Department instituting an across the board health rating system for all New York City restaurants.

As Founding Editor of The Gotham Palate, I am pleased to look back upon another year of collaboration,  palatal journeys, food-centric events, exciting travel and experimentations in reporting. I am grateful to a cadre of talented and committed writers whose generous contribution continue to make this blog a fun and worthwhile venture for me, as well as a continued learning experience. Some highlights from 2010:

Some of TGP's team of writers posing together at first TGP mixer

Some of TGP's team of writers posing together at the first TGP mixer

In mid-March, the team of The Gotham Palate writers, who until then had only benefitted of their virtual acquaintance, finally met in person at the first Gotham Palate Mixer. It was a fun evening of like-minded people getting to know each other,  comparing notes observations of the NYC restaurant scenes, and brainstorming for new ideas in food writing and restaurant reviewing. The conviviality was enhanced by wine, home-cooked pastas, cured meats and dips and spreads, including The Gotham Palate Mascarpone Spread. Click on the image below for the recipe.

The Gotham Palate Mascarpone Spread

The Gotham Palate Mascarpone Spread

This  summer, Nicole Mancini offered a true insider tour of a Little Italy that you won’t find on your Lonely Planet guide, the Bronx’s Arthur Avenue Little Italy. In her piece Nicole does some comparison shopping and tells us where to buy everything from the freshest mozzarella to the most exotic Italian meat delicacies.  To read Nicole’s post, click on the image below.

Nicole Mancini having fun with the oyster shuckers at Randazzo's

Nicole Mancini having fun with the oyster shuckers at Randazzo's

After having spent the last half of 2009 and the first half of 2010 researching on my manuscript, which has now seen the light of print, I am delighted to announce, I rewarded myself with a trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Since I could only get away for five days, I wanted to make it as comfortable and relaxing as possible. I was wisely advised to stay at the Paradisius Palma Real. This spectacular, beautifully-kept property offered ocean views of the Playa del Bavaro from all angles, and was rated 20th on the Conde Nast Traveler’s List  of “Top 25. Caribbean Resorts.” Given how great my experience at the Paradisius Palma Real was, I can barely imagine what the number one pick must be like.

Magnus Hirschfeld and the Quest for Sexual Freedom - click on the image to order a copy

Magnus Hirschfeld and the Quest for Sexual Freedom - click on the image to order a copy

Paradisius Palma Real, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Paradisius Palma Real, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The resort not only did an excellent job at delivering abundantly on the all-inclusive package that comprised of unlimited food service and beverages, but had an inexhaustible array of offerings and included meal service at all hours of the day including 24 hour room service in addition to pool and beach side bars and wait TGP7service.  Bar service included top shelf cognacs and scotches, but what I TGP8found most enjoyable were the Banana Mamas (made with a shot of Mamajuana, a Dominican specialty that is made from rum, red wine and honey infused with tree bark and herbs, said to have medicinal and aphrodisical properties)  TGP10

Legendary bartender at swim up bar

Legendary bartender at the Aqua swim up bar

and Pina Coladas that the jovial staff delivered to my cabana table.

The luxury buffets featured a broad array of fresh fish, fruits and produce and judiciously prepared cuisines inspired from culinary traditions around the globe. Staff was also ready to   Daily fresh squeezed juices included pineapple, papaya, mango and orange. The many food stations include a large active grill, manned by competent cooks that encourage and promptly fills special requests. Other culinary special requests are promptly filled. The resort also features five a la cart restaurants.

The retrospective of TGP’s 2010, continues with international travel courtesy of Claire McCurdy. Claire traveled to Venice this past August,  where she attended the 12th Annual International Architecture Exhibition at the Biennale festival. In her food and travel reportage for TGP, Claire cleverly depicts the architectural designs she saw at the exhibit and furnishes a lively account her experiences of Venetian aperitifs as well as some of the culinary high points and low points. Click on the image below to read her blogpost.

Photo by Claire McCurdy

Photo by Claire McCurdy

The theme of travel continued to populateTGP’s exciting year and adventures with Beth Kaiserman’s trip to New Orleans and my trip to Sonoma Valley, California last fall.

TGP12

Beth Kaiserman shares of how while on a family adventure for Halloween, she stumbles upon the hottest place to cool down in Nola. Click on the popsicle for the full post.

Sonoma Valley Hill - from the grounds at Nicholson Ranch

Sonoma Valley Hill - from the grounds at Nicholson Ranch

Wine tasting at Nicholson Ranch, Sonoma Valley, CA

Wine tasting at Nicholson Ranch, Sonoma Valley, CA

A friendly llama at Nicholson Ranch, Sonoma Valley

A friendly llama at Nicholson Ranch, Sonoma Valley

A glass of 2007 Pinot Noir Sonoma Valley Estates

A glass of 2007 Pinot Noir Sonoma Valley Estates

At a professional conference in Oakland this fall, I was naturally unable to resist the ninety minute vicinity of the Californian wine country.  The group of friends and I were immediately drawn to Nicholson Ranch a charming vineyard located on the southern tip of Sonoma Valley. It was a lush, welcoming estate amid the hills and had a large pond on the grounds. We opted for an under $4 five wine tasting that included two Pinot Noirs, a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Merlot and a Chardonnay. With the exception of the Merlot, all of the wines were to my liking, but I especially enjoyed the 2007  Pinot Noir Sonoma Valley Estate , a smooth wine with cherry notes  and the Chardonnay. Consensus dictated that we for a bottle of the Pinot Noir for sharing. We enjoyed the gold-medal winning Pinot Noir, undisturbed at a table overlooking the pond  and greeted the sunset witha sense of awe and wistful gratitude. Wishing to prolong the experience beyond the vineyard’s 6pm closing, and the wedding that it was poised to host, I decided to purchase another bottle of the Pinot Noir to take back with me to New York and inquired about nearby lodges. The folks at the Nicholson Ranch knew just the place, the Lodge at Sonoma Resort and Spa, a ten minute drive north of the estate. Our whimsical decision to overnight in Sonoma was wonderfully accommodated with luxury cottage suites, with king size therapeutic mattresses, jacuzzi bath, state of the art TV large screen TV, and an enchanting garden patio area with outdoor furniture.  The lodge also has a bar and a modern elegant restaurant serving local, seasonal cuisine and facilities for weddings and formal events. It was the perfect impromptu getaway!

Armed with a pocket video camera and a desire to “be in the know” Stephanie Amy Collazo traveled on an adventure underground to Manhattan’s Lower East Side, to explore the hot new speakeasy, 2nd Floor. Stephanie’s successful advancement through 2nd Floors labyrinthine passages, allowed her to be rewarded with Mixologists Ken Eberle’s, Topsy Turvy, Maiden Prayer and Absinthe Truffle. For Stephanie’s full lowdown on 2nd floor click here. To watch her video interview with 2nd Floor owner and host, Tony Powe, click on the video below.


In December, Carolyn Onofrey proposed a way to turn TGP’s local food adventures up a few daring notches with the launch of her monthly column, “What’s On…?” By focusing on a random block in New York City every month, exploring its histories and eateries, Carolyn brings together her passion for food and the city, and targets with radar-like precision the “must check out” food blocks in NYC for everyone else.

http://www.thegothampalate.com/2010/12/whats-on-doyers-street/

Photo by Carolyn Onofrey

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Happy 2011! The Gotham Palate’s 2010 in Review

BY ELENA MANCINI

On behalf of The Gotham Palate team, I’d like to wish all New Yorkers and TGP readers around the world a happy and peaceful new year. May it be filled with bountiful, pleasurable food adventures!

2010 was an eventful year in the New York City scene. Financial shortfalls did their share in shaping the scene with a broad spate of shutterings–the most illustrious of which included the closing of the beloved institution of Tavern on The Green in January 2010, but the year also brought with it the arrival of highly anticipated restaurant ventures, characterized by the opening of multi-celebrity-chef owned gastromall and eatery, Eataly (It’s an awesome entrepreneurial feat, despite my criticisms of its scale and scope, which I will reserve for a separate post), the proliferation of locavore cuisine and the continued sprawl of eateries offering quirky and unique dining experiences throughout the outer reaches of the city’s five boroughs from Greenpoint, to Staten Island to Inwood and SoBro, formerly known as South Bronx.   and quality of dining initiatives, including the New York City Health Department instituting an across the board health rating system for all New York City restaurants.

As Founding Editor of The Gotham Palate, I am pleased to look back upon another year of collaboration,  palatal journeys, food-centric events, exciting travel and experimentations in reporting. I am grateful to a cadre of talented and committed writers whose generous contribution continue to make this blog a fun and worthwhile venture for me, as well as a continued learning experience. Some highlights from 2010:

Some of TGP's team of writers posing together at first TGP mixer

Some of TGP's team of writers posing together at the first TGP mixer

In mid-March, the team of The Gotham Palate writers, who until then had only benefitted of their virtual acquaintance, finally met in person at the first Gotham Palate Mixer. It was a fun evening of like-minded people getting to know each other,  comparing notes observations of the NYC restaurant scenes, and brainstorming for new ideas in food writing and restaurant reviewing. The conviviality was enhanced by wine, home-cooked pastas, cured meats and dips and spreads, including The Gotham Palate Mascarpone Spread. Click on the image below for the recipe.

The Gotham Palate Mascarpone Spread

The Gotham Palate Mascarpone Spread

This  summer, Nicole Mancini offered a true insider tour of a Little Italy that you won’t find on your Lonely Planet guide, the Bronx’s Arthur Avenue Little Italy. In her piece Nicole does some comparison shopping and tells us where to buy everything from the freshest mozzarella to the most exotic Italian meat delicacies.  To read Nicole’s post, click on the image below.

Nicole Mancini having fun with the oyster shuckers at Randazzo's

Nicole Mancini having fun with the oyster shuckers at Randazzo's

After having spent the last half of 2009 and the first half of 2010 researching on my manuscript, which has now seen the light of print, I am delighted to announce, I rewarded myself with a trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Since I could only get away for five days, I wanted to make it as comfortable and relaxing as possible. I was wisely advised to stay at the Paradisius Palma Real. This spectacular, beautifully-kept property offered ocean views of the Playa del Bavaro from all angles, and was rated 20th on the Conde Nast Traveler’s List  of “Top 25. Caribbean Resorts.” Given how great my experience at the Paradisius Palma Real was, I can barely imagine what the number one pick must be like.

Magnus Hirschfeld and the Quest for Sexual Freedom - click on the image to order a copy

Magnus Hirschfeld and the Quest for Sexual Freedom - click on the image to order a copy

Paradisius Palma Real, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Paradisius Palma Real, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The resort not only did an excellent job at delivering abundantly on the all-inclusive package that comprised of unlimited food service and beverages, but had an inexhaustible array of offerings and included meal service at all hours of the day including 24 hour room service in addition to pool and beach side bars and wait TGP7service.  Bar service included top shelf cognacs and scotches, but what I TGP8found most enjoyable were the Banana Mamas (made with a shot of Mamajuana, a Dominican specialty that is made from rum, red wine and honey infused with tree bark and herbs, said to have medicinal and aphrodisical properties)  TGP10

Legendary bartender at swim up bar

Legendary bartender at the Aqua swim up bar

and Pina Coladas that the jovial staff delivered to my cabana table.

The luxury buffets featured a broad array of fresh fish, fruits and produce and judiciously prepared cuisines inspired from culinary traditions around the globe. Staff was also ready to   Daily fresh squeezed juices included pineapple, papaya, mango and orange. The many food stations include a large active grill, manned by competent cooks that encourage and promptly fills special requests. Other culinary special requests are promptly filled. The resort also features five a la cart restaurants.

The retrospective of TGP’s 2010, continues with international travel courtesy of Claire McCurdy. Claire traveled to Venice this past August,  where she attended the 12th Annual International Architecture Exhibition at the Biennale festival. In her food and travel reportage for TGP, Claire cleverly depicts the architectural designs she saw at the exhibit and furnishes a lively account her experiences of Venetian aperitifs as well as some of the culinary high points and low points. Click on the image below to read her blogpost.

Photo by Claire McCurdy

Photo by Claire McCurdy

The theme of travel continued to populateTGP’s exciting year and adventures with Beth Kaiserman’s trip to New Orleans and my trip to Sonoma Valley, California last fall.

TGP12

Beth Kaiserman shares of how while on a family adventure for Halloween, she stumbles upon the hottest place to cool down in Nola. Click on the popsicle for the full post.

Sonoma Valley Hill - from the grounds at Nicholson Ranch

Sonoma Valley Hill - from the grounds at Nicholson Ranch

Wine tasting at Nicholson Ranch, Sonoma Valley, CA

Wine tasting at Nicholson Ranch, Sonoma Valley, CA

A friendly llama at Nicholson Ranch, Sonoma Valley

A friendly llama at Nicholson Ranch, Sonoma Valley

A glass of 2007 Pinot Noir Sonoma Valley Estates

A glass of 2007 Pinot Noir Sonoma Valley Estates

At a professional conference in Oakland this fall, I was naturally unable to resist the ninety minute vicinity of the Californian wine country.  The group of friends and I were immediately drawn to Nicholson Ranch a charming vineyard located on the southern tip of Sonoma Valley. It was a lush, welcoming estate amid the hills and had a large pond on the grounds. We opted for an under $4 five wine tasting that included two Pinot Noirs, a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Merlot and a Chardonnay. With the exception of the Merlot, all of the wines were to my liking, but I especially enjoyed the 2007  Pinot Noir Sonoma Valley Estate , a smooth wine with cherry notes  and the Chardonnay. Consensus dictated that we for a bottle of the Pinot Noir for sharing. We enjoyed the gold-medal winning Pinot Noir, undisturbed at a table overlooking the pond  and greeted the sunset witha sense of awe and wistful gratitude. Wishing to prolong the experience beyond the vineyard’s 6pm closing, and the wedding that it was poised to host, I decided to purchase another bottle of the Pinot Noir to take back with me to New York and inquired about nearby lodges. The folks at the Nicholson Ranch knew just the place, the Lodge at Sonoma Resort and Spa, a ten minute drive north of the estate. Our whimsical decision to overnight in Sonoma was wonderfully accommodated with luxury cottage suites, with king size therapeutic mattresses, jacuzzi bath, state of the art TV large screen TV, and an enchanting garden patio area with outdoor furniture.  The lodge also has a bar and a modern elegant restaurant serving local, seasonal cuisine and facilities for weddings and formal events. It was the perfect impromptu getaway!

Armed with a pocket video camera and a desire to “be in the know” Stephanie Amy Collazo traveled on an adventure underground to Manhattan’s Lower East Side, to explore the hot new speakeasy, 2nd Floor. Stephanie’s successful advancement through 2nd Floors labyrinthine passages, allowed her to be rewarded with Mixologists Ken Eberle’s, Topsy Turvy, Maiden Prayer and Absinthe Truffle. For Stephanie’s full lowdown on 2nd floor click here. To watch her video interview with 2nd Floor owner and host, Tony Powe, click on the video below.


In December, Carolyn Onofrey proposed a way to turn TGP’s local food adventures up a few daring notches with the launch of her monthly column, “What’s On…?” By focusing on a random block in New York City every month, exploring its histories and eateries, Carolyn brings together her passion for food and the city, and targets with radar-like precision the “must check out” food blocks in NYC for everyone else.

http://www.thegothampalate.com/2010/12/whats-on-doyers-street/

Photo by Carolyn Onofrey

Share/Save/BookmarkSubscribe

NYC loves meatballs – Review of The Meatball Shop

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

The Meatball Shop
84 Stanton Street
Lower East Side
212-982-8895/themeatballshop.com

A cranberry and turkey delight at The Meatball Shop

A cranberry and turkey delight at The Meatball Shop

On a Wednesday night, The Meatball Shop is packed.  In fact, nearly every night of the week The Meatball Shop is packed.  The Meatball Shop has one simple concept: meatballs. With options, (but not too many) you can mix and match your favorite meats and sauces to create your ultimate comfort food meal for minimal cost in a trendy Lower East Side restaurant.

After our 15 minute wait outside the crowded restaurant, my guest and I entered the homey low-lit restaurant complete with vintage photographs of someone’s family lining the walls.  Our ditsy waitress was nice enough as she explained the special for the night, a turkey meatball served Thanksgiving-style with stuffing and cranberry sauce and when asked for her opinion, gladly told us which balls and sauces topped her list.

Three silders at The Meatball Shop

Three silders at The Meatball Shop

We ended up ordering the turkey meatball special and the sliders ($3 ea) (a good way to try a variety of flavors).  Our dinner came out quickly, and we dug in.  The turkey meatballs with homemade cranberry sauce were everything that Thanksgiving should be.  The tart cranberries with the mellow meatballs, creamy gravy, and fresh thyme put a smile on our faces as we were aching for just one more bite.  The sliders, a single meatball with a bit of sauce soaked up by the buns that housed them were a bit dry, the standout of the three being the classic beef meatball with a simple tomato sauce.  Although I was wishing for more sauce, the quality of the locally sourced ingredients and the great thought put into each detail of, not only the menu but also the décor was as evident as the owners were, manning the bar and the takeout counter.

For dessert we tried the homemade chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich ($4) with house-made vanilla ice cream.  The simple sandwich alone would keep me coming back to The Meatball Shop with the flavors and textures being on point and not too sweet.  Even though it may have not been the most practical to eat, the cookies being much too hard for the ice cream, the sandwich was an absolute delight.

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The Meatball Shop on Urbanspoon

Oohs and Oz – Review of Bondi Road

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

Bondi Road
153 Rivington Street
Lower East Side
212-253-5311/thesunburntcow.com

Burger with the Lot at Bondi Road

Burger with the Lot at Bondi Road

Looking for your Aussie fix?  Head to Bondi Road and enjoy the sights and sounds of Bondi Beach without ever having to leave Manhattan! Bondi Beach is a divey, beach themed spot teeming with the young and beautiful (if not slightly hipster) local crowd of New York.  Upon entering Bondi Road, you are greeted by the authentic Aussie staff and escorted to your tiny table.

I happened to be dining at Bondi Road for Saturday brunch, where $18 buys you your entree and endless cocktails. It was already late in the day when my friends and I arrived, so I opted for the Hamburger with the Lot.  Having no idea that “The Lot” was an Australian specialty, I was both surprised and giddy when my burger came out piled nearly eight inches high with melted cheese, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onion, a fried egg, pickled beets, pineapple, and bacon.

As I ate my way through the burger, I can’t say that all of the flavor combinations were spot on (pickled beets and pineapple, anyone?), and there was so much going on that the burger simply tasted like just another topping, but I certainly felt transported to Bondi Beach, although it certainly could have been the screwdrivers that our waiter kept feeding us. As a last treat, our waiter brought us a flavored shot called “The Brooke Shields”.  It was a blue concoction, possibly Hypnotiq based, and it was the perfect way to finish the meal adding to the carefree beach-y feel. For lunch and dinner Bondi Road specializes in a $10 “catch of the day”, a market fresh fish selection such as barramundi or their Tasmanian sea bass ordered your way either breaded, grilled, or fried.

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Bondi Road on Urbanspoon

A Swanky Lower East Side Staple – A Review of The Stanton Social

BY CAROL ONOFREY

The Stanton Social
99 Stanton Street
Lower East Side
212-995-0099/thestantonsocial.com

French onion soup dumplings – Photo courtesy of PetitChef.com

French onion soup dumplings – Photo courtesy of PetitChef.com

Since it’s opening in 2005, The Stanton Social has been a staple on the Lower East Side for inventive tapas in a swank setting, drawing the rich, famous, and fashionable from around the globe.  Although getting a reservation may be a bit difficult on some nights, the upstairs lounge is a great alternative to the downstairs dining room for stopping by to meet a few friends for a drink at the bar or grabbing a sexy banquet space perfect for lounging and snuggling while you sip on a signature drink from the diverse cocktail list.
*Try the Cucumber -Vanilla Cosmo ($13) for a light and refreshing cocktail to sip on while you gawk at the cute bartenders.

Executive chef/owner Chris Santos has created a plethora of comfort food and inspired tapas from around the world.  Standouts include the sweet and salty French onion soup dumplings ($12), served piping hot (don’t burn your mouth!) and covered with crisp and gooey cheese browned inside the broiler and the barbecue duck confit and black bean empanadas ($10), served with a blood orange jam and bursting with flavor and moist duck confit.  Other can’t miss dishes include the sinfully, too-rich-for-your-own-good ‘Kobe Philly’ ($9) with a truffle and goat cheese fondue, and the nori spiced tuna tartare roll ($13), a refreshing start to your meal.

Doughnuts with chocolate, caramel, and raspberry sauce. – Photo courtesy of NYCFoodGuy.com

Doughnuts with chocolate, caramel, and raspberry sauce. – Photo courtesy of NYCFoodGuy.com

Try two or three of these small plates per person and don’t forget dessert!  Classics like the warm homemade doughnuts and the double chocolate chip cookies are always a satisfying end to your meal.

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Stanton Social on Urbanspoon


Two sips of heaven: Review of D’Espresso

BY ELENA MANCINI

D’Espresso
100 Stanton St.
Lower East Side, Manhattan
212-982-7030 / despresso.com

Espresso Bar at D'Espresso

Espresso Bar at D'Espresso

Located in the heart of bohemian trendiness, stands D’Espresso, a sleek and shiny non-descript espresso bar with a decor-concept that could be exported to any international airport throughout the globe. While cold and characterless spaces are generally an immediate turn off for me, my taste buds and coffee-conditioned brain cannot resist the prospect of the being confronted with rich, robust flavors of an espresso done right.  And since a name as straightforward as D’Espresso evokes such a specialized approach to the beverage, I could not simply walk away without giving the place a try.

Employing high quality Danesi beans, D’Espresso baristas delivered just that:  a distinctly satisfying espresso that was muscular with balanced acidity and a wondrously thick patina of crema that lingered on the palate long after it was consumed, and served at the requisite hot temperature in preheated heavy pre-heated porcelain, I could not all too passionately begrudge its straightforward, no-frills to hospitality approach–to the point of lacking restroom facilities– for the two sips of heaven they deliver.  Why? Espressos this good simply don’t come by all that often outside of this beverage’s motherland, and even there one word of mouth wisdom and discernment are in order.

Cappuccino at D'Espresso

Cappuccino at D'Espresso

One forth of the way into it and still no end to the foam

One forth of the way into it and still no end to the foam

Happily, D’Espresso’s espresso accolades can be extended to its cappuccino. Made with the same Danesi beans and frothed into a hot meringue of milk and espresso, the cappuccino offers the perfect entree into the day and antidote to afternoon lulls. The under $5 double-shot skim caps that I’ve enjoyed there have been typically strong without excessive bitterness and made with a tight creamy froth that held past the quarter mark of the cup. As with the espresso, the cappuccino was served hot in pristine white, preheated Danesi porcelain.

For non-espresso drinkers, there’s little point of my recommending this place to you, but if you’re joining your espresso loving friends, the coffee bar also serves an array of Italian sodas and cold beverages.

There is also an assortment of tasty small sweets, danishes and baked goods to accompany the espresso experience and small tables and bar seating, which easily encourage a second round of these  eminently encore-worthy espressos and cappuccinos.

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D'Espresso Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

Two sips of heaven: Review of D'Espresso

BY ELENA MANCINI

D’Espresso
100 Stanton St.
Lower East Side, Manhattan
212-982-7030 / despresso.com

Espresso Bar at D'Espresso

Espresso Bar at D'Espresso

Located in the heart of bohemian trendiness, stands D’Espresso, a sleek and shiny non-descript espresso bar with a decor-concept that could be exported to any international airport throughout the globe. While cold and characterless spaces are generally an immediate turn off for me, my taste buds and coffee-conditioned brain cannot resist the prospect of the being confronted with rich, robust flavors of an espresso done right.  And since a name as straightforward as D’Espresso evokes such a specialized approach to the beverage, I could not simply walk away without giving the place a try.

Employing high quality Danesi beans, D’Espresso baristas delivered just that:  a distinctly satisfying espresso that was muscular with balanced acidity and a wondrously thick patina of crema that lingered on the palate long after it was consumed, and served at the requisite hot temperature in preheated heavy pre-heated porcelain, I could not all too passionately begrudge its straightforward, no-frills to hospitality approach–to the point of lacking restroom facilities– for the two sips of heaven they deliver.  Why? Espressos this good simply don’t come by all that often outside of this beverage’s motherland, and even there one word of mouth wisdom and discernment are in order.

Cappuccino at D'Espresso

Cappuccino at D'Espresso

One forth of the way into it and still no end to the foam

One forth of the way into it and still no end to the foam

Happily, D’Espresso’s espresso accolades can be extended to its cappuccino. Made with the same Danesi beans and frothed into a hot meringue of milk and espresso, the cappuccino offers the perfect entree into the day and antidote to afternoon lulls. The under $5 double-shot skim caps that I’ve enjoyed there have been typically strong without excessive bitterness and made with a tight creamy froth that held past the quarter mark of the cup. As with the espresso, the cappuccino was served hot in pristine white, preheated Danesi porcelain.

For non-espresso drinkers, there’s little point of my recommending this place to you, but if you’re joining your espresso loving friends, the coffee bar also serves an array of Italian sodas and cold beverages.

There is also an assortment of tasty small sweets, danishes and baked goods to accompany the espresso experience and small tables and bar seating, which easily encourage a second round of these  eminently encore-worthy espressos and cappuccinos.

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“Beyond the Burger” – Review of DBGB Kitchen & Bar

BY SARAH IP

DBGB Kitchen & Bar
299 Bowery
(between Houston St & 1st St)
East Village, NY 10003
(212) 933-5300 /
danielnyc.com/dbgb.html

Mission: Restaurant Week lunch. Where to go? Only one place on my mind: DBGB.

Winter Squash Soup. Photo by Sarah Ip.

Winter Squash Soup. Photo by Sarah Ip.

Classic pub fare has heart and soul – and DBGB Kitchen & Bar is no exception. Providing a high-quality dining menu with stylish drinks and an upscale environment, it’s where food and drink go hand-in-hand. The gourmet dishes are complex and refined; it’s definitely a cut above your average ‘ole pub. Because of the “gastronomic” prices, DBGB attracts more of an affluent clientele.

DBGB is the brainchild of Chef Daniel Boulud and was created to be a chill, downtown dining destination melding the British tavern with the French brasserie experience. Gastropub touches are evident throughout the restaurant: brass shelves displaying kitchen goods and utensils stand side-by-side with plush black seats and old-fashioned coat rack hooks…all in muted shades of black, bronze and grey. DBGB also takes a cue from the Bowery’s industrial background. The ambience screams understated chic. [Read more...]

“Beyond the Burger” – Review of DBGB Kitchen & Bar

BY SARAH IP

DBGB Kitchen & Bar
299 Bowery
(between Houston St & 1st St)
East Village, NY 10003
(212) 933-5300 /
danielnyc.com/dbgb.html

Mission: Restaurant Week lunch. Where to go? Only one place on my mind: DBGB.

Winter Squash Soup. Photo by Sarah Ip.

Winter Squash Soup. Photo by Sarah Ip.

Classic pub fare has heart and soul – and DBGB Kitchen & Bar is no exception. Providing a high-quality dining menu with stylish drinks and an upscale environment, it’s where food and drink go hand-in-hand. The gourmet dishes are complex and refined; it’s definitely a cut above your average ‘ole pub. Because of the “gastronomic” prices, DBGB attracts more of an affluent clientele.

DBGB is the brainchild of Chef Daniel Boulud and was created to be a chill, downtown dining destination melding the British tavern with the French brasserie experience. Gastropub touches are evident throughout the restaurant: brass shelves displaying kitchen goods and utensils stand side-by-side with plush black seats and old-fashioned coat rack hooks…all in muted shades of black, bronze and grey. DBGB also takes a cue from the Bowery’s industrial background. The ambience screams understated chic. [Read more...]