By Hillary Latos
This month we wanted to celebrate the ethnic diversity and home cooked cuisine of the Big Apple’s melting pot. From home cooked Lebanese dishes to the flavorful Japanese Izakaya bites to contemporary Mexican to Portugese and Contemporary American, we are fortunate enough to have the flavors of the world at our doorstep. Whatever flavors you’re craving, New York has it all.
Hecho en Dumbo
Hecho en Dumbo was born out of a small pop up café in Dumbo, which quickly outgrew it, digs to find its more permanent home in the Bowery. The idea was to dispel the stereotypes associated with Americanized Mexican cuisine and bring back the authentic flavors that mirror the contemporary culinary scene in Mexico City. Chef Danny Mena wanted to celebrate his native cuisine through tasty small plates- antijitos or “little whims” which celebrate the authentic Mexican gastronomy scene that’s hard to find stateside and shared the vision with partners Ethan Smith and Monica Ramos. With most of the staples created in house, ingredients sourced locally and spices sourced from South of the border, every dish is fresh and unique. Start with the succulent roasted bone marrow with carmelized wagyu beef tongue, or the fire roasted octopus salad with a garlic anchovy mojo. House specialties are the grilled black sea bass melts in your mouth drizzled with jalapeno aioli and the lamb barbacoa with grilled lamb chops, lamb sausage, neck and requeson. Favorite small dishes are the smoked sablefish tacos and the vegetarian empanadas with pumpkin, squash blossom, poblanos and zucchini. Pair the exotic flavors with creative cocktails like the fiery jalapeno laced Pink Panther margarita or the refreshing cucumber basil gin martini
Hecho en Dumbo
Mira Sushi & Izakaya
Modeled after the savory Asian street fare served in Japan’s traditional Izakayas, which is the Japanese equivalent to a pub, Mira Sushi & Izakaya has brought this concept to the Flatiron. For Food Network fans, a must have is chef Brian Tsao’s Bulgogi tacos which beat Bobby Flay’s dish and led him to the finals. Juicy morsels of the sweet and spicy beef are complemented with a kimchi and Korean pear slaw sandwiched in a crispy wonton shell that is bursting with crunch and flavor. Other flavorful bites are the spicy tuna pizza with guacamole on a crispy roti, Kobe beef hot stone, spicy wontons, and the Tako Yaki octopus balls drizzled with Kewpie mayo and Tonkatsu sauce that are as authentic as what you would find in Osaka. The creative twist on Asian cuisine doesn’t end with the small dishes, the sushi selection ranges from whimsical and creative to classics. Former Nobu sushi chef Owen Wu has created signature rolls like the rock lobster roll shaped like a sinewy lobster complete with the head and tail with copious amounts of lobster seasoned with spicy mayo and sweet soy, or their dynamite roll with wild blue crab, avocado and topped with seared scallops and fried vermicelli. The volcano roll is topped with seared spicy tuna and caviar and fried with a crispy panko crunch with a spicy sweet aioli. To complement the Asian fusion flavors try a sochu flight, or an exotic Asian inspired cocktail like the yuzu lychee sangria or ginger lemongrass mojito.
Mira Sushi & Izakaya
46 West 22nd Street
After stints at NYC’s top restaurants including Bouley and Per Se, Portuguese American Chef David Santos decided to bring his culinary skills to his own space and launched Louro in the West Village. Louro is Portuguese for “bay leaf” which embodies his childhood memories of family trips to France and the Mediterranean with the fragrant scent of bay leaf wafting throughout family meals. Santos cooks what he loves with a focus on contemporary American cuisine peppered with Portuguese influence. Start with a Maryland Surf & Turf with crab and Old Bay spiced bone marrow or the Asian inspired kimchi fried rice with calamari, clams, shrimp, and duck egg. For large plates, his menu is influenced by seasonal ingredients with like branzino in a bouillabaisse broth and saffron aioli, octopus Bolognese with goose pancetta over homemade tagliatelle, and a pork chop with almond puree, poached cherries and cippolini onions. Every Monday Chef Santos also offers a different themed chef’s table, Nossa Menu for $65 tasty off the menu options in an informal supper club format.
142 West 10th Street
Explore the exotic flavors of the Arabia with a French twist at Au Za’atar in the East Village serving classic dishes spanning the cuisines of Lebanon, Tunisia, and Morocco. Like mother like son, Salwa Fallous grew up in a traditional Lebanese household and spent plenty of time in the kitchen watching her grandmother pull together elaborate meals and wanted to share their favorite family recipes in an intimate and cozy rustic setting that feels as authentic as the cuisine. Choose from an extensive selection of mezze (small plates) such as Lebanon’s national dish- Kebbe Kras made with lean beef and bulgar wheat, onions and Lebanese cheese, escargot with butter and garlic, or the lamb tartare. Vegetarians will find plenty of delectable options like eggplant baba ghanoush, spinach pie, sweet fig crostini, and moussaka. By using traditional techniques of grilling, the marinated grilled lamb dishes are tender and succulent and equally as tasty is the braised lamb shank with an Armagnac prune sauce. A favorite is also the grilled branzino stuffed and seasoned with summer herbs featuring a crispy skin on the outside and tender flaking meat inside. The best way to enjoy this royal feast is with a large group of friends to try a little bit of everything that will surely lead to a memorable evening.
188 Avenue A
The Regency Bar and Grill
Contemporary American cuisine takes on a new level at The Regency Bar & Grill. Combining old and new, the hotel evokes the posh elegance of a Park Avenue hotel on the Upper East side with the contemporary and stylish flair of the neighboring Madison Avenue. Run by seasoned restaurateurs Gherardo Guarducci and Dimitri Pauli of the famous Milanese chain Sant Ambroeus they know their discerning audience and what they want. A master of contemporary American cuisine Executive Chef Dan Silverman honed his culinary talents at Union Square Café and The Standard Grill. While their power breakfast is a who’s who of the business world attracting a bevy of heavy hitting A-list media celebrities and moguls, dinner is where Chef Silverman’s culinary talents shine. Start with the crisp shredded radish and snowpea salad with pickled shitakes with a sweet and savory dressing. Indulge in the extensive raw bar with a variety of oysters from the East and West coasts as well as hamachi and crabmeat. Sublime renditions of Italian pasta dishes are the fusilli with oxtail ragu, and the Louisiana crayfish tomato linguine. For main courses try the grilled veal chops dressed with a delicate mushroom sauce or the summer preparation of seared yellowfin tuna with sunchokes, artichoke, and grapefruit. Finish the unforgettable meal with a sweet ending like an affogato with homemade gelato melted by an Italian espresso.
The Regency Bar & Grill
540 Park Avenue
Big Smoke Burger
One of the best exports to come from our neighbors to the North, is Ontario based Big Smoke Burger which just opened its first stateside outpost in Chelsea. The Canadians have seemed to master the art of the American classic churning out generously sized organic Beretta Farm beef patties that are juicy and tasty on the inside with the perfect char grill crisp outside. Combine that with creative and gourmet toppings like gorgonzola and rosemary garlic mayo for their Blue burger or the subtly spiced chipotle mayo and caramelized onion Spicy burger. For those who want a little bit of everything try the Crazy burger with jalapeno havarti, chipotle may, bbq sauce, coleslaw and hot peppers. Though their specialty is in beef burgers, alternatives to beef are equally as satisfying such as the lamb burger topped with a cilantro feta spread, grilled chicken with balsamic dressing, and healthy green veggie burger with goat cheese. If you’ve ever been out past 4 am, disco fries or what the Canadians refer to as poutine were the preferred sustenance to soak up the excesses of the night- these crispy fries bathed in gravy and Ontario cheese curd are well worth every decadent calorie.
Big Smoke Burger
70 7th Ave