Posts Tagged ‘champagne’

Where to Eat Now in New York City: Healthy and Not So Much

Hawaiian poke is a newish trend in New York City – it’s healthy, fresh, and relatively inexpensive.  Try Pokeworks on 37th and 6th, next to a restaurant that’s anything but healthy, Chick-fil-a. You start by picking your fish – tuna, salmon, shrimp (or even chicken), add toppings like seaweed, pineapple, and garlic flakes, and create a personalized bowl that’s far superior to those quinoa or salad bar things.
Sushi Nakazawa and O-Ya – two splurge-y restaurants for sushi and fish.  You can request no meat dishes and have an outrageous omakase (chef’s choice) meal.  Sushi Nakazawa is on Barrow Street in the Village.  O-Ya is in Murray Hill. Both feature superstar food talents, Chef Daisuke Nakazawa, a protégé of Japan’s acclaimed Jiro Ono and the O-Ya team from Boston,  Tim and Nancy Cushman.
Chicken is high on everyone’s list for healthy foods.  Le Coq Rico in the Flatiron District is Antoine Westermann’s tribute to the bird.  He brings his French-Alsatian expertise from Paris to NYC with chicken sourced from the farms of New York.  Roasted, it’s a healthy alternative to that breaded or fried version. I’d save my calories for Chef’s wonderful Ile Flôtante. For pure, unadulterated rotisserie chicken in a luxe setting, visit Rotisserie  Georgette on East 60th Street, where the owner’s many years of experience working with Daniel Boulud is in play at this sophisticated midtown restaurant.
When I’m craving something decadent, I love ordering fried chicken. It’s not something I do every day, and I realize that’s it less-than-healthy, but it’s always wonderful. My go-to is the tiny, quirky Birds and Bubbles on the Lower East Side. You go down a narrow metal stairway to a very narrow restaurant where Southern food is the star. Sarah Simmons, most recently of City Grit fame, has brought her North Carolina upbringing to NYC and paired her amazing dry-brined, fried chicken with Champagne. Who would have thought? It’s pure brilliance.

I always like finding the small bistros that really make you feel at home.  Little Frog sits quietly on busy East 86th Street, an authentic French bistro from people you should know from their time at Balthazar, and also from Minetta Tavern.  Order all seafood – try their amazing oysters — or splurge on the fab coq au vin, and you’ll have a wonderful cozy meal. It’s a quick walk from the new Second Avenue subway stop, too.

Indian cuisine has always been notable for offering wondrous vegetarian dishes, and NYC has a Michelin-starred one that takes Indian cooking to a new level.  Tulsi, on East 46th Street, brings cooking from Goa, mixes it up with street food, resulting in a showcase of unusual takes on somewhat familiar dishes.  Here, it’s worth saving room (and calories) for dessert as well. The creations from Chef Eric McCarthy (yes, that’s really his name and he IS from Goa) are anything but ordinary.

Finding a good restaurant after going to Carnegie Hall just got a little bit easier with the return of Jams to New York City. The original California cuisine restaurant of the 1980s, Jonathan Waxman’s Jams is now on the West Side walkable from the Theater District as well as Carnegie Hall. The airy room is a great choice for sampling their signature Jams chicken and pancakes with caviar and smoked salmon, both from the menu of the original restaurant.

For that special-occasion, serene but sensational dinner, book a table at Gabriel Kreuther.  The former chef at The Modern, Chef Kreuther serves up a meticulous menu of Alsatian dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious. If you don’t want to have the full set menu every night, there’s a separate bar with its own menu where you can order the tarte flambée, a pizza-like creation with sweet onions, smoked bacon and fromage blanc that put this chef on the map.  The restaurant is an oasis across from Bryant Park and has an extraordinary wine list, too. Walk next door to the amazing new handcrafted chocolate shop.

And speaking about wine, how about a wine bar and a tapas bar that’s so small that you’re advised to arrive by 5:30?  Desnuda on the Lower East Side on East 7th Street will thrill you with its tiny space and its chef’s prowess and creativity. Tea-smoked oysters are sensational — it looks like they’re being cooked in a bong — as are the ceviches.

Photo By: Daniel Krieger

If a scene is more your speed, head to the back of the NoMad, to the NoMad Bar in the city’s newly coined NoMad district (north of Madison Park), where the bar is lively and the menu is pure comfort.  In cold weather, the perfectly indulgent chicken pot pie with foie gras and truffles is a knockout, as is Chef Daniel Humm’s Humm dog, a hot dog unlike any you’ve had before. Trying to eat healthy?  The carrot tartare, originally on the menu at sister restaurant Eleven Madison Park, is an exceptional vegetarian dish, with the consistency and ingredients of its meat-based counterparts sans the meat.  Add a touch of caraway seeds, horseradish, apples and … because we’re talking about carrots after all.  It’s pretty and delicious.

And, finally, one of the newest “hot” restaurants on the Manhattan scene is in Midtown, just behind Bryant Park. Coffeemania is NOT a coffee shop.  Rather it’s a Euro-Russian-American eatery that’s chic and has unusual choices in both beverages and food. The menu is so creative that you can eat healthy (or not, as you wish).  I love the hamachi tartare (very healthy) but also the bone marrow (definitely not healthy) and the warm borscht. Teas from around the world are as creatively curated as the wine list.

Happy eating!

Enjoy Bitters and Champagne? Try These Specialty NYC Bars

With summer in full swing, kick back and relax with your favorite drink of choice at some of NYC’s finest specialty spots. Start your journey with the lighter offerings from these single-liquor venues, where you can indulge in the current craze for bitters or toast the night away with all the bubbly you’d ever want.


Amor y Amargo: Welcome New York City’s first bitters-centered bar, the brainchild of the famous bitters company Bittermens and Ravi DeRossi, father of other great liquor bars Mayahuel, Cienfuegos, and Death & Co. The intimate space features popular favorites like the 8 Amaro Sazerac and bespoke cocktails such as Negronis, Manhattans and Old Fashioneds, served dealer’s choice (they decide on the ingredients) or drinker’s choice (you decide). An indulgent tapas menu is served as well.

443 East 6th St; 212-614-6818;

Amor y Amargo


The Champagne Bar at The Plaza: Overlook the Pulitzer Fountain and Fifth Avenue as you enjoy your favorite champagne, caviar, and wines at The Champagne Bar. The bar, set in the lobby of the legendary Plaza Hotel, evokes the same old-time elegance and pristine as the original Champagne Porch opened in 1907. Order by the glass or the bottle, or sip one of the bar’s distinctive champagne cocktails including the Imperial Plaza, Rose Club Sparkle, and Imperial Tea Blossom.

Fifth Avenue at Central Park South; 212-759-3000;

The Champagne Bar at The Plaza

Flûte: Flûte Gramercy and Flûte Midtown bring the same glamour to Manhattan as their counterpart in Paris. The sexy champagne bars sparkle with champagne bottles as a backdrop behind the bar as well as with candle-lit tables, fireplaces and original artwork. Enjoy popular favorites such as Veuve Clicquot by the flute or any of the triple flight selections. Flûte also takes a spin on other classic drinks with its cocktail menu including the Bellini-tini, white champagne sangria, champagne pisco sour, Dark and Stormy, and champagne mojito.

40 East 20th Street; 212-529-7870; and 205 West 54th Street; 212-265-5269;

Christmas and New Year’s Dining: Delivered Straight to Your Home (No Cooking Involved)

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are over but Christmas and New Year’s loom ahead.  While New Yorkers love to explore the restaurant offerings of the city, these holidays, in particular, represent times to stay at home away from the crowds.  And that means creating the perfect dinner or party for friends and family.  Fortunately, if you’re not as talented at the Iron Chef or you just don’t have the space or desire to cook up yet another mega-meal, you can pretty much have anything you’d like delivered to you from around the corner or around the globe. From Manhattan dessert treats and traditional ethnic dishes to the finest Alaskan seafood to Spanish wines and oils, you’ll enjoy global treats that will make your Christmas and New Year’s galas a “meal to remember.”

Here are some of my favorites:

Premier Cru

Premier Cru

For all your champagne and other alcoholic beverage needs, the super-knowledgeable folks at Premier Cru will help you decide on the best pairings for your meal.  Buy a case and get a discount.  Can’t decide between red and white wines?  No worries — you can create a mixed case that will satisfy everyone.  Champagnes, cavas, proseccos and other bubblys are also available. 1163 Madison Avenue, 212.534.6709.



Lovely Yura has been cooking up a storm ever since I can remember at her wonderful takeout food and coffee shop on the Upper East Side.  The good news is that her prepared foods can be ordered in advance and delivered directly to your door to create a fine dining meal from soup to dessert.  The kids will love the turkey pinwheels, finger food that makes eating turkey fun, and the mini cupcakes that come in a variety of flavors. Personally, I am addicted to Yura’s butternut squash soup, her chicken soup with matzoh balls, her brisket and roast chicken, and her many side dishes.   Try the Brussels sprouts with chipped garlic, or the French green beans prepared with slivered almonds.  Forget about calories and order a pile of the richest mashed potatoes you’ll find anywhere.  Add a delicious cake or a pile of black and white cookies for dessert, and you have a classic New York City meal to warm your soul.  1292 Madison Avenue, 212.860.1707,



Anyone who visits Manhattan knows that Zabar’s is a must-visit, one-stop shop for all deli items.  And now’s the perfect time to order goodies for Christmas, from main courses like roasted turkeys and sides such as honey roasted yams, to typical Zabar’s treats like rugelach, herring in sour cream, smoked salmon and bagels (for your post-Christmas brunch), or their famous coffee beans.  For New Year’s Eve, you’ll find a wonderful selection of caviar as well.  You can pore through their many holiday baskets at their site at, visit at 2245 Broadway, or call 800-697-6301 for help in selecting the perfect individualized menu.

Cookie Panache

Cookie Panache

For sweeter treats to indulge yourself or your friends & family, Cookie Panache is a solid go-to.  Its bestsellers include the likes of Dulce de Leche and Red Velvet Vanilla chewy cookies, as well as Brownie and Blondie bites.  Perfect for special occasion planning, the website filters results based on the event theme.  From birthday gifts, to thank you acknowledgements, to get-well-soon packages, a wide range of sweet snacks are available.  Located in Manhattan, this gourmet bakery hits all the right sweet-tooth chords. Order at



If you salivate over tapas from Barcelona or olive oils that are some of the freshest in the world (my favorite is the very grassy Arbequina), you’ll want to know about DeliShop.  This Spanish food shop features everything from the finest of Spanish cooking oils to essential pastas, sauces, spices and more.  Not only does Delishop deliver to your door after just a few online clicks, but it also has an extensive list of traditional recipes for make-it-yourself world cuisine.  Some Spanish favorites include a classic paella entrée, típico cocktails and the ever-delicious tres leche cake.  Although not limited to those found in Spanish meals, selections largely draw upon an Iberian-based diet of oil, seafood, starch and more oil.  DeliShop also offers cooking classes at its four Barcelona locations, a potential vacation activity for the foodies and cravers of a bit of onsite Spanish culture.  Check out recipes, locations and food order options at


One of Figi's signature cakes

There are no false promises when it comes to Wisconsin’s delivering as the Dairy State, especially when it comes to its selections of meat and cheeses.  Figi’s has specialized in this combination of smokehouse favorites since 1944.  The variety packs are a definite win if you’re looking for a mix of new and old tastes, combining the best of all flavors into an assortment of snack-sized cuts of Colby-Jack and Cheddar cheeses, Smokehouse Summer Sausages, and buttery Cashew and Mixed Nut Add-ins among others.  Try the salami- or bacon-flavored cheese if you’re feeling daring.  Order at

Coal Point Seafood Co.

Coal Point Seafood Co.

Sick of the grocery store’s mediocre seafood section of same-old, sad hunks of fish?  Alaska wants to change all that.  From Halibut to King Crab, Snow Crab, Shrimp, Scallops, Smoked Salmon, Rockfish, Sablefish, Black Cod and more, you’ll love the choices Coal Point Seafood offers.  Fare is purchased directly from Alaskan fishermen and shipped to your door.  Coal Point even has a same-day-caught-blast-frozen policy!  You can choose from individual samplers to variety packs, and different ounce options are available.  Halibut is the Alaskan fish of choice, so that is always a good start if you’re not sure what to buy.  Order at or call 1-800-325-3877 to order direct.

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