This is not a drill people, Restaurant Week is once again upon us! Despite what the haters and hipsters have to say, I, for one, am super excited to head over to the greatest city in the world and chow down on some epic eats! This year’s Restaurant “Week” runs from July 25, 2016 to August 19, 2016 (I know that is more than a week, DEAL WITH IT!) and will run you $29.00 for lunch and $42.00 for dinner. Here is a link to all the participating restaurants; NYCGO.
However, if picking a restaurant seems more daunting than hitting a Noah Syndergaard fastball, then keep reading. To make your life easier, I have compiled my essential epicurean guide to this event once again. This time, I embarked on a mission to steer clear of the ordinary haunts and attempted to find the spots that are slightly off the beaten path, gastronomically speaking.
These restaurants might scare people off on a regular Monday, due to their rather adventurous cuisine and, let’s be honest, New York City price tags. However, thanks to the beauty of Restaurant Week, we can give these eclectic establishments a whirl without the worry of buyer’s remorse. So, without further ado, let’s take a Gastronomic walkabout around the globe, simply by driving across a river. (The following list is in no particular order, so make sure to scroll to the end)
Restaurant: The Cecil
Address: 210 West 118th Street at St. Nicholas Avenue New York, NY 10026
Why You Should Go: The Cecil has basically created a culinary style that is unique to their establishment deemed Afro-Asian-American. Pair that awesome sauce with their chic décor and hip ambience and you have a recipe for a memorable night out.
What You Should Order: Collar Green Salad, Fried Chicken Fried Rice, and Triple Chocolate Cake
Cuisine: American New, Japanese Sushi
Restaurant: Tender Steak + Sushi
Address: 130 West 47th Street, NY 10036
Why You Should Go: This unique and modern eatery flawlessly combines a traditional American Steakhouse with an authentic high end Sushi joint. Tender made my list because of its culinary range, offering everything from burgers to sushi. This restaurant is great for the group that just can’t decide on one type of cuisine.
What You Should Order: Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice, Tender Wagyu Burger, and Crème Brulee
Cuisine: American New
Restaurant: Distilled New York
Address: 211 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013
Why You Should Go: Distilled New York is a throwback to a near forgotten era where public houses, pubs, and bars were not just full of D-Bags looking to get drunk and laid. Back in the day, these establishments were home to impromptu town hall meetings and actual political discussions, based on informed opinions as opposed to what party you are affiliated with. Distilled is trying to harness that vibe and reinvent the old school Public House. Not to mention they have a standup beer menu and their food is pretty epic.
What You Should Order: Distilled Wings, Country Fried Duck and Waffle, Night Cap
Cuisine: American New
Restaurant: Chef’s Club
Address: 275 Mulberry St. Manhattan, NY 10012
Why You Should Go: Brought to you by Food & Wine, this swanky restaurant boasts a collaborative menu from a rotating list of some of the world’s most renowned young Chefs. The Chef’s Club also offers eaters the unique experience of watching the drama of the kitchen unfold before their eyes thanks to their open kitchen, which is located in the center of the eatery.
What You Should Order: Calamari & Giardiniera Salad, Spicy Beef Ribs, and Chocolate Pretzel Whoopie Pie
Cuisine: American New
Address: 283 W. 12th St. New York, NY 10014
Why You Should Go: First and foremost this sexy eatery has just earned itself a Michelin Star, which should be reason enough to visit. However, that is only the tip of the romaine. Blenheim is redefining the term Farm to Table, by literally growing the food that appears on their impressive menu on their own farm, located in the Catskills. Plus, they are serving this amazingly fresh fare in a beautifully inviting atmosphere. Reservations are hard to come by, but try to score one of the outdoor tables which allow you to enjoy your dinner while participating in one of my favorite NYC past times, people watching.
What You Should Order: Poached Farm Egg, Roast Chicken, and Honey Semifreddo
Cuisine: American New
Restaurant: Smoke Jazz & Supper Club
Address: 2751 Broadway Manhattan, NY 10025
Why You Should Go: Smoke Jazz & Supper Club is one of NYC’s most distinguished Jazz Clubs and they just so happen to have a world renowned Chef playing her tunes in the Kitchen to boot. Let Smoke set the mood for your date night with their vintage décor, candlelit tables, soulful live jazz performances, and remarkable food. It is like the Barry White songs of restaurants, if you are picking up what I am putting down.
What You Should Order: Mousse of Foie Gras, Lobster Ravioli, S’mores Brownie
Restaurant: Burke & Willis
Address: 226 W 79th St, New York, NY 10024
Why You Should Go: Visiting Australia has always been a dream of mine, alas the never ending plane ride has always scared me away. Thanks to Burke & Willis, I can now try traditional Southern Hemisphere food, without having to endure crying infants, stale air, and 3 inches of leg room for 21 hours twice in 2 weeks.
What You Should Order: Kangaroo Ham (+$5.00), Australian Lamb Rack (+$10.00), Affogato
Address: 111 East 29th Street New York, NY 10016
Why You Should Go: Resto’s attempt to replicate the quant bistros that are all over Paris and Brussels is spot on, and the food transports you to these foodie havens as well. Furthermore, Resto offers outdoor seating to add to the already wonderful dining experience.
What You Should Order: Country Ham, Chicken & Liege Waffles Bacon, Honey Panna Cotta
Address: 480 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10017
Why You Should Go: Sticking with the theme of this article, Vermillion’s culinary exploration of the intersection of Indian and Latin-American cuisine is distinctive and playful. The Restaurant Week menu was not available at the time that I published this post, which usually keeps a restaurant off my list, but I am a sucker for Indian Cuisine and their regular menu looked straight up fantastic.
What You Should Order: Your guess is as good as mine…
Address: 128 First Avenue Manhattan, NY 10009
Why You Should Go: Why shouldn’t you go? Unless you have access to a private jet and unlimited money, I would imagine that you don’t eat traditional Hawaiian food very often. Noreetuh offers a small slice of paradise in this otherwise brick-faced world. Plus they have a decent craft beer list and an impressive wine selection to get you into that serious vacation mood.
What You Should Order: Noreetuh Salumi, Mentaiko Spaghetti, and King’s Hawaiian Bread Pudding
Address: 157 Duane St. Manhattan, NY 10013
Why You Should Go: I pride myself on rocking every single style of food that I can literally and figuratively sink my teeth into, and I have yet to have Laotian food. So, to be honest, I am not exactly sure what I would order or if it will be at the level of some of the other spots on the list. However, I am damn sure, that it will be an experience and just a quick peek at their website will show you that although I can’t guarantee anything, I am betting on Khe-Yo punching me right in the taste buds.
What You Should Order: Maine Lobster Dumplings, Steamed Red Snapper in Banana Leaf, Vanilla Rice Pudding
Restaurant: Pig And Khao
Address: 68 Clinton St. Manhattan, NY 10002
Why You Should Go: It is not a secret here on the internets that I love pork more than the internets loves videos of cats. I have a rule whenever I am searching for a restaurant or bar and it is quite simple; follow the pig. While it may have been the name of this eatery that drew me in, it was the pork centric menu that landed it on my exclusive list of where you should eat. Oh, Pig And Khao, you had me at Pork Jowls.
What You Should Order: Grilled Pork Jowl, Pork Belly Adobo, Baby Back Ribs, Turon
Restaurant: The Russian Tea Room
Address: 150 W. 57th St. Manhattan, NY 10019
Why You Should Go: For 80 years, the Russian Tea Room and its ornate décor has been wining and dining NYC’s elite. Much like a baseball fan walking into Wrigley Field, a foodie can feel the culinary history oozing from this legendary eatery. Not to mention they have, arguably, the best Russian Food this side of the Atlantic.
What You Should Order: Team Room Red Borscht, Boeuf à la Stroganoff, Cheesecake
Cuisine: Soul Food
Restaurant: Root & Bone
Address: 200 E. 3rd St. Manhattan, NY 10009
Why You Should Go: Soul Food is not for everyone, I respect and acknowledge that. However, I assure you, Soul Food is for me and that is why Root & Bone lands firmly on my short list of must visit eateries in NYC. Root & Bone combines ultra-comfort food, southern hospitality, and culinary expertise to form, IMHO, one of the best true eating experiences the city has to offer.
What You Should Order: Grandma Daisy’s Angel Biscuits, Braised Short Rib Meatloaf, and Chocolate Dirt Cake
Restaurant: Socarrat-Paella Bar
Address: 953 2nd Avenue New York, NY 10022 / 284 Mulberry Street New York, NY 10012 / 259 West 19th Street New York, NY 10011
Why You Should Go: What is not to like about Paella? The math is sound folks! Handfuls of amazingly seasoned seafood, meat, and vegetables + perfectly prepared rice + gigantic portions = Hot Damn. Socarrat-Paella Bar brings this amazing dish to Restaurant Week in style with several variations available.
What: Pulpo a la Plancha (Grilled Octopus), Paella de Arroz Negro (Seafood Paella with squid ink), and Churros Con Chocolate.