A couple of weeks ago I have travelled for the first time ever to the US, destination New York City.
Although it is impossible to fully grasp the gastronomic diversity the big apple has to offer, I want to share some addresses that I particularly enjoyed during my trip. Nb: I heavily used the gastro guide Zagat, which I fully recommend (although not all the reviews are spot one: Mira Sushi at Flatiron 46 W. 22nd, while very good indeed is not worth the 27/30 points it has gotten on Zagat).
First of all for breakfast: if you want to enjoy the most gorgeous view over Central Park and eat at one of the big hotels without breaking the bank, consider having breakfast at Asiate at Mandarin Oriental next to Columbus Circle. The view is truly stunning, food is very good (without being exceptional) and the price for breakfast is still bearable (not sure if I would recommend it for dinner, where the price tag is considerably higher while I don’t think the food is that great).
Let’s move to lunch.
For a classic bagle try Ess-A-Bagle (2 locations), a very classic bagle shop with a very unflattering but charming decor. The bagles are very classic but taste great.
Now for my favourite place ever, I will truly not forget this lunch: M. Wells Dinette at MoMA PS1. The restaurant is essentially a classroom with an open kitchen and the menu written onto the blackboards. Everything is a little bit offbeat but is just so right (how many “trendy” places do not manage to find the right balance between the hip factor and great quality)! The waiter has been absolutely lovely (offering us a coffee and a slice of cake for letting us wait for a dessert that finally did not come). The food was amazing: expect some modern, unconventional but tasty dishes made out of great, fresh and seasonal ingredients. I am not sure I spotted the Québecois factor there should be (the chef is Québecois apparently) but never mind.
The restaurant, open only from 12 to 6 pm is located at MoMA PS1 in Queens the younger sibling of the traditional MoMA.
The price tag is more than correct and the wine menu is lovely as well.
Do not miss this place!
If you want to go for a burger at a hip but nevertheless laid back place, check out Five Leaves in Brooklyn. The burger was great with juicy and tasty meat. The service can be a bit arrogant but the quality of the food and the setting of the place (both inside and outside) make up for this. A budget friendly bill comes on top. Apparently they also make great pancakes, although I haven’t tried these.
Another tasty option is the Cambodian sandwich shop Num Pang. They have 5 locations all over NY, I have been at the one in Chelsea market. They serve warm sandwiches Cambodian style, which will be fancy enough to get you out of your comfort zone, but so delicious that anyone should like it. Highly recommended for a somewhat different, hearty and healthy lunch idea.
Now for dinner I can recommend the semi-gastro restaurant Battersby in Brooklyn.
This tiny restaurant that goes almost unnoticed from outside serves inventive and modern cuisine. While booking (absolutely crucial) you can opt for a five or seven course surprise tasting menu or opt to eat à la carte. They also have a very romantic outside backyard seating although we did unfortunately not manage to stay after 10 mosquito bites within 15 minutes.
We had the five courses and while I did prefer one or the other, everything was fresh and pleasant with great flavour combinations. A little minus point for serving twice raw fish although I do believe the kitchen was actually out of what should have been the course as the waitress presented a different menu upon arrival.
At Battersby I had probably the best dessert in the last few years (very rarely I believe that the dessert is the best component of a menu, but this was the case here!): an intriguing layered composition of ice cream, pineapple flavoured Italian meringue, crash pineapple, topped with slivers of French meringue. Doesn’t sound that great? Well it has heavenly!
A special mention also for the great wine menu with a very good selection of out of the ordinary wines (with lots of European wines and lots of by the glass options to choose from).
Considering the quality of the food and the impeccable service, the bill seems very reasonable.
What are your favourites in New York?