By Hillary Latos
One of the best things about living in New York is the plethora of ethnic cuisines and fine restaurants where you can embark on a gastronomic journey of world flavors. This month we explored haute Chinese to authentic Latin, Italian and Old world Greek styles of cuisine. But what is most impressive about eating out in NYC is the abundance of culinary talent just within our reach.
The NY steakhouse scene is elevated to new heights thanks to Reserve Cut at the Setai Hotel. Specializing in contemporary Kosher cuisine, everything from the sushi and seafood to the specialty dry aged steak is executed to perfection. Owner Albert Allaham is a master butcher who descends from a long, 200-year lineage of butchers, who sources the restaurant's meat from his Brooklyn butcher shop, The Prime Cut. At the head of the kitchen is Chef Gavin Citron, a seasoned veteran on the culinary scene whose robust style lends himself to be an innovator on contemporary American cuisine. Sushi ranges from traditional roles to artistic and unique combinations such as the spicy tuna served over crispy rice and chipotle aioli or grilled black cod and tuna rolls. Other tempting starters include the flavorful apple smoked short rib tacos, and the Kobe beef carpaccio. Be sure to order the proprietor's cultivated special, the Prime Reserve cut, that could possibly be the best steak you have ever had.
Reserve Cut reservecut.com
What was once Oscar's brasserie on the corner of 50th and Lexington has been transformed into Le Chine, a glamorous lair that evokes the heady decadence of Shanghai 1930s serving haute Chinese cuisine. The sumptuous décor tempts the senses with hand painted Cherry blossom wallpaper amidst a contemporary palette of black, bronze, deep blue and gold. This ambitious project brought in star chefs from Beijing and Shanghai to create contemporary yet authentic Chinese dishes that represent different regions of China executed with a French twist. Their raw bar is inspired by the seafood traditions of the Zhejiang cuisine with local ingredients like long island fluke cured with Chunkiang vinegar, and rare lobster tail with black bean. Venturing into the exotic realm are dishes such as beef tongue slices with lemongrass and basil, crispy Mangalitsa pork collar, and the whole Long Island duck served Peking style or with cucumber, cantaloupe or minced with lettuce cups. As the Waldorf was one of the most expensive hotel sales in history, naturally no expense has been spared with Le Chine.
Le Chine lechinenyc.com
Executive Chef Shane Lyons has a creative mind when it comes to cooking, and his latest adventure into the kitchen is the Chef's Counter at Tribeca's Distilled NY. Limited to only 4 people, this interactive private dining experience takes you center stage to all the action in the open air kitchen as you sit at the counter and engage with Chef Lyons. Dishes are seldom repeated and he creates a new menu each time based on his personal inspiration with exclusive plates just for the counter guests. His specialty is in pairing flavor rich ingredients in unique combinations such as a smoked duck with caramelized pineapple, seared sea scallops with a lobster reduction, and broiled cod with a miso honey glaze. To enhance the experience the Beverage Director, Scott Kennedy will pair innovative cocktails with the artisanal salts to truly create the optimal tasting combination.
Distilled NY distilledny.com
With previous stints at Chicago's Blackbird, NYC's WD 50, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and Alison Eighteen Chef Roxanne Spruance has worked with some of the most renowned chefs in the country. Throughout her enviable tenures, she developed her signature style with an unstoppable creative force that pushes the boundaries of contemporary American cuisine while creating a sustainably driven kitchen. Growing up as an athlete, Roxanne has an inherent fearless attitude which has been translated to her approach to food where she experiments with using strong flavors and different ingredients that cross genres and ethnicities. A specialty of the house is the roasted bone marrow accented with braised beef tongue morsels followed by a date sherry shot down the bone marrow luge. Evoking a cool minimalist vibe awash in a contemporary neutral palette and large bay windows, Kingsley feels more Tribeca than East Village, which sets the stage for a truly unforgettable meal to come.
When it comes to Italian, New Yorkers have had a long standing love affair with Il Mulino that has rightfully earned its reputation as one of the best Italian restaurants in the city. While it can take months to score a reservation at the formal flagship, Trattoria Il Mulino is the chic and contemporary sister restaurant that serves many of the classic Abruzzan specialties without the long wait. Mouthwatering options include thin crust pizzas with epicurean toppings such as truffle and porcini mushrooms, as well as the grilled octopus, refreshing watermelon and burrata, and their famous ricotta meatballs. Other signature favorites include the garlicky roasted Langostino, porcini ravioli with a truffle cream sauce and the sublime thinly sliced veal piccata. After work, the bar is brimming with the young and beautiful professional crowd who come for the delicious food as much as the buzzy scene.
Trattoria Il Mulino www.trattoriailmulino.com
Growing up in the Lower East Side, Ariel Mendez wanted to pay homage to his Dominican roots as well as the history of the neighborhood. His namesake bistro specializes in authentic Latin cuisine that sizzles with flavor with a décor that is reminiscent of the Lower East Side's past. Large floor to ceiling windows, jet black chandeliers and exposed brick walls evoke a distinctively cool downtown industrial vibe. Start with a range of delicious tapas such as shrimp dumplings, carnita tacos and empanadas, or skirt steak arepa. Vibrant notes of sweet and savory flavors which are the hallmarks of Dominican cuisine, shine through in their mango glazed short ribs and pair perfectly with their fruity mojitos and tropical caipirinhas that are perfect fuel for a night on the town.
Ariels Bistro arielsnyc.com
Learn firsthand about the history and secrets of Greek cuisine in a fun and engaging cooking class taught by founder and professional chef, Maria Benardis. Explore the origins, wisdom, and ingredients of each traditional dish as Benardis imparts practical techniques in recreating these delicious meals at home. Everyone participates in this intimate and interactive experience and later reaps the rewards of their labor over a multi course convivial feast paired with Greek wines. Benardis believes that, "Food is one of the most intimate ways to delight the senses, escape the everyday and bring faraway places to life. Food is a ritual; it's about love, spirituality, philosophy, and an experience that simply must be shared and enjoyed in the company of family and friends. This is the Greek dining experience. But above all it is a celebration of life!"
For a schedule of upcoming classes visit greekalicious.nyc