By Hillary Latos
For November we wanted to celebrate the vast culinary scene New York has to offer. From iconic spots that have shaped the restaurant scene to perfect weekend brunch spots and modern interpretations of our favorite fare to haute vegan and Asian cuisine to cozy comfort and healthy fare, it’s all about the myriad of choices the greatest city in the world has to offer.
The water club
Following an extensive renovation post Hurricane Sandy, the iconic and romantic Water Club has been renovated and restored to its former grandeur. Enjoy the raw bar and daily catches of the day in an atmosphere that feels like you are sailing on a river cruise along the East River with unobstructed views. Cross out with and start sentence with local grilled seafood specialties like lobster, clams, fish and scallops delivered straight from Montauk to the restaurant eliminating the middleman stages of a fish market. A perfect spot for happy hour during the week or their famous Sunday brunch which includes a lobster special complete with mashed potatoes and key lime pie, this nautical themed famed eatery is one of Manhattan’s most beloved institutions.
500 East 30th Street NY, NY 10016
KOA is named after its seasoned restaurateur owner Keiko Ono Aoki, which was designed to bring modern Haute Chinese to NYC. To complete this venture she tapped Japanese Iron Chef Yuji Wakiya to create a menu that fused the best of Japanese and Chinese cuisine. The first thing to revolutionize an Asian staple food was to create a new kind of gluten free soy milk noodle dish made with an exclusive and succulent broth created daily with Osakan soy milk and soup stock. Creative western additions to this popular Asian dish include the spicy dandan noodles with soy milk, roast beef sorba with seared steak, bleu cheese and crispy onion rings, as well as a delicious lobster sorba. Other timeless Chinese dishes that demonstrate an Iron Chef’s talents include the delicately crisped and spiced Hehe-a-he chicken, yuzu crispy shrimp, and the crispy crab wontons laced with a sweet chili dipping sauce. Set in a sleek and sexy space with dark wood and cozy banquettes that can double as a lounge, the restaurant is a beautiful as the cuisine.
12 West 21 Street NY, NY 10010
Communal Oven & Earth
Healthy eating has never been easier on the Upper West Side thanks to Communal Oven & Earth. The menu was created around locally sourced and seasonal ingredients and based on health purposed ingredients- grains, fruits, and veggies. Empower the body with one of their many fresh vegetable juices and smoothies with different benefits whether you are looking to nurture the nervous system, liver, or boost immunity. Other healthy minded options are the delicious slow roasted vegetables drizzled with garlic, pesto and a sundried tomato tapenade, baked empanadas filled with spicy chicken, spinach or paprika beef, and signature communal flatbreads with mouthwatering toppings such as Maestro portobello mushrooms, margarita or apples & pesto. Perfect anytime of the day, the décor reflects a casual green Northern California aesthetic with Upper West Side sophistication.
141 West 72nd Street NY, NY 10023
Tertulia at Harding’s
What can be better than fine dining married with classical chamber music? This was the brainchild of music aficionados Julia Villagra and James Austin Smith who felt compelled to design a chamber music series that would attract her peers where they can enjoy drinking, eating, socializing with live music. The upcoming season of Tertulia presents works spanning over four centuries performed by a different musical group or ensemble, paired with different curated menus of contemporary American fare at the Flatiron favorite, Harding’s. Ticket pricing starts at $25.00 for general entry, $80 for dinner, and goes up to $140.00 for a drink and front row seating with a concert interspersed between the three course meal serving main courses such as Atlantic Branzini, crab cakes, veal and ricotta meatballs with shaved pecorino finished with a satisfying dessert. From now until May 2015, every month will feature a new concert and menu designed to engage and inspire.
32 East 21 Street NY, NY 10010
Blossom on Columbus
After a seven-year hiatus, Blossom on Columbus has reopened on the Upper West Side with a 2,000 square foot dining mecca for vegan enthusiasts. Creative takes on vegan cuisine include exclusive signature dishes such as zucchini napoleon, stuffed poblano peppers, vegetable lasagna, pintxos avocado with onion and capers, and flautas filled with sweet potatoes, black beans or guacamole. This fall, owners Ronen Seri and Pamela Blackwell are expanding their menu to include tapas and brunch favorites that dispel any doubts that vegan cuisine sacrifices taste. Customer favorites include the soy bacon burger, mushroom ravioli with truffle “butter” sauce, trumpet mushroom caviar, dill crème salmon tofu with trumpet mushrooms and leek fennel compote that demonstrate Executive Chef Ramiro Ramirez’ culinary talents that elevates vegan cuisine to a new gastronomic level.
507 Columbus Avenue NY, NY 10024
Café el Presidente
As a sister successor to the popular Nolita taqueria, owner Dario Wolos had a bigger vision in mind when opening Café El Presidente in the Flatiron. Designed after a 1950s style Mexican cafe, with every detail attended to from the white ceramic tiles counters, checkerboard floors, plastic beige diner plates, exposed brick walls, and open air kitchen. Though the interior is recreated from the past the menu is a contemporary twist on the Mexican staple food- tacos. One of the things that put Tacombi on the map was their delicious flour tortillas made in house with a proprietary recipe using three kinds of flours and a healthy serving of lard while the corn tortillas are vegetarian. On special occasions try chef Jason DeBriere’s specialty of the house is the pork shank adobo, the menu staple, which has been slow, cooked over 24 hours as well as the tacos al pastor with spit roasted pork paired with pineapples, onion and cilantro. Other mouthwatering favorites are the crispy cod fish tacos, ceviche, homemade guacamole, and quesadillas made with Chihuahua cheese and sweet charred corn and roasted poblano. Open daily from breakfast to dinner, get a healthy start to the day with one of their fresh pressed juices from the colorful ‘frutas naturales’ bar.
30 West 24 Street NY, NY 10010
Love Café & Bar
Feel transported to a romantic café off a cobblestone road in Eastern Europe at Margarita Abramov’s Love Café and Bar which pays tribute to her Russian roots with authentic homemade dishes just like her grandmother made. The quaint 18 seat dining room in Kips Bay feels like dining in a friend’s home and is decorated with charming Russian folklore with live Eastern European ‘gypsy’ music daily to add to the atmosphere. Abramov’s old world specialties are her perogies, Hungarian goulash, stuffed cabbage and signature crepes stuffed with delicious fillings like mixed seafood, chicken and béchamel or beef stroganoff in wine sauce. End the night on a sweet note with crepes laced with cinnamon apples, nutella and banana or a classic crepe suzette.
430 Second Avenue NY, NY 10010
Isola Trattoria & Crudo
Inspired by the Amalfi Coast, Italian Riviera and Sicily, IsolaTrattoria&Crudo Bar in the Mondrian Hotel captures the essence of this otherworldly area through their flavorful Italian cuisine and lush greenhouse setting that was modeled after the famous Boboli Gardens in Florence. A magical place for brunch, the 5,000 square foot greenhouse brings the outdoors in with hanging plants, a glass ceiling, and dramatic crystal chandeliers. As Executive Chef Victor LaPlaca hails from Sicily, brunch has an Italian influence with flavorful pastas such as the rigatoni Bolognese, cacio e pepe with grana padano and pecorino romano, as well the robust chitarra with roasted tomato. For other tasty options choose from the creative thin crust pizzas like tuna carpaccio with truffle aioli and caramelized onion, or egg pizza with smoked ricotta, mortadella, spinach, peppers, and fontina topped with a hollandaise sauce. As Isola is known for their craft cocktails with an Italian twist, indulge in a Bloody Caprese with Absolut, Tanqueray, tomato juice, balsamic vinegar, capers and grated parmesan to complete a boozy weekend brunch.
9 Crosby Street NY, NY 10013
BV Grill & Steakhouse Bar
Bobby Van’s is renowned for their award winning steaks and American grill fare, and BV Grill & Steakhouse is their latest incarnation of a younger more modern version of the classic steakhouse. During the warmer months, the convivial bar opens to an expansive outdoor space with Midtown street side views and inside the casual yet sophisticated dining area is warm and inviting with leather banquettes, cedar wood accents, soft lighting and exposed brick walls lined with black and white photos detailing the past history of the famed steakhouse. Known for their dry aged steaks- the porterhouse, steak gorgonzola, veal chop and Korean skirt steak salad are succulent and prepared to perfection. There is also an extensive selection of seafood such as the diver scallops in a champagne and prosciutto sauce, jumbo lump crab cake, miso Chilean sea bass, and clams oreganato that offer a delicious alternative for pescatarians. Leave plenty of room for the indulgent desserts such as key lime pie, coconut layer cake, and crème brulee for a sweet reward that’s well deserved.
919 Third Avenue NY, NY 10022