Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Why I Went: A few friends and I have a weekly happy hour ritual, and while we try to mix things up, we tend to gravitate towards places that we have already frequented and are in walking distance to either our offices or apartments. Zengo is in our rotation, and it should be part of anyones' who works or lives in the area. Plus, they have an amazing happy hour deal with $5 plates and drinks from $4-8.

Vibe: Zengo consists of three levels, with varying vibes to fit most moods. The ground level has a small bar perched at the side of the large dining room, making it perfect for a drink before a meal. The downstairs (aka La Biblioteca de Tequila) is a bit more of a scene, with low lighting and harried bartenders. My favorite is the Sake and Shochu bar upstairs, which is a bit mellow, with a few tables and a small bar that are usually occupied by the usual mid-town work types.

Food: We ordered a bunch of plates off the $5 menu, and even though it took awhile to come out, it was worth the wait. And the bartender upstairs is ridiculously nice, and kept apologizing and bought us a round to make up for the wait time. Anyway, to the food:

Chipotle Yellowfin Tuna- This was super fresh, with a nice spice from a sesame-chipotle rouille that was mellowed out by avocado

Volcano - This roll consisted of seared salmon with red crab, cucumber and chipotle aioli which was a favorite of our group

Braised Short Rib Flatbread- The short ribs were so tender they melted in my mouth. Arugula and manchego rounded it out nicely. Also, not sure why this is called Flatbread on the happy hour menu and Cocas on the main menu, but it means the same thing, basically it's a small pizza.

Roasted Mushroom Flatbread - Mushrooms, eggs, and never disappoint. I will always order this when I go to Zengo.

Zengo, 633 Third Ave at 40th St., 212-80-8110

Friday, July 16, 2010

Calle Ocho

Highlights: Proveleta, Ceviche, Lomo
Lowlights: Sorbet
Price:Dinner: Appetizers $9-39, Entrees $21-29, Sides $8, Dessert $6-8. Brunch: Entrees $12-28,  Sides & Sangria Bar prices
Snouts: 4 out of 5
Location: 46 Columbus Ave. b/t 81st & 82nd phone, 212-873-5025

Usually when Restaurant Week rolls around in NYC, I have a ritual I partake in. I scroll the list of participants,  view their RW menu offerings and more often than not, pass on making a reservation due to the utter lack of imagination put into the dishes. But, this year there was a glimmer of hope in one Calle Ocho, where they move beyond the typical soup/salad, chicken/salmon, lame dessert model and offer some creative dishes that are way flavorful.

Upon walking into the restaurant, I took note that I need to come back for happy hour since it seemed to be a scene, not in a bad way but offering up enough people to instill energy in the air without being too crowded that you are constantly maneuvering your drink for fear of someone knocking it all over you. I digress. We were led to the dining room and it was buzzing with all the RW participants. My friend and I were starved, so we ordered the Provoleta to hold us over while we perused the menu. I fell in love with this dish on my trip to Argentina, melted cheese can do no wrong and the fried black pepper bread it's served with makes an nice container for the gooey goodness. As if the cheese weren't enough to hold us over, we dove into the  yucca rolls with black bean spread that kicks the regular bread baskets ass! A bottle of red was in order so we settled on the Altiva Malbec and placed our order.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tia Pol

Highlights: Tortilla Espanola, White Sangria, Assorted Spanish Meats
Lowlights: White Sangria strength varies by bartender!!
Price: Tapas $1.50-16, Brunch $4.50-12, Lunch $9-9.50
Snouts: 3 out of 5
Location: 205 10th Ave. b/t 22nd & 23rd, 212-675-8805

Some friends and I have decided that we need to up our game with the opposite sex, so this summer we have implemented the Summer of Seduction. I won't go into details, in case my mom ever reads my blog (um, she hasn't yet but you never know!), but it's a points based system and whoever has the most points at the end of the summer wins! So, part of our routine thus far has been to meet at Tia Pol to share sangria, tapas, and our latest exploits (or mock each other for not having any or the ones we've had!).

First off, the staff is awesome! They have endured our sarcasm by joining in (including  a poll regarding who our waiter look like- Brad Pitt in Kalifornia or Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites (it's Ethan, and that was one bet I won!!)) and they always know when to bring another pitcher!! The space is small, so I wouldn't recommend it for a group or even on a Friday or Saturday night, but on Sunday afternoon, it's perfect! The tapas is very old school, with not a lot of creative items on the menu, but what they serve is authentic enough to keep me coming back. I am a sucker for a Tortilla Espanola and their eggy, potato concoction whets ones appetite for

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation- May 17th

Share Our Strength is one of the best charitable organizations in country. For someone who lives to eat, it's mind blowing that people in NYC don't have enough food to live. Help out by attending their event Taste of the Nation, NYC on May 17th. . Details below. 

Taste of the Nation NYC
May 17, 2010
Grand Hyatt New York
109 East 42nd Street
Park Avenue @ Grand Central Terminal
New York, NY 10017

Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation® is the nation's premier culinary benefit, featuring top chefs and mixologists -- all of whom are coming together to donate their time, talent and passion to end childhood hunger in America.

Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation NYC 2010 will be an evening of tasting and toasting to support the fight against childhood hunger. This year's Taste of the Nation event will feature signature dishes and desserts from more than 50 of the finest restaurants in New York, along with a selection of top-rated wines and creative cocktails. An incredible auction, live book signings by top chefs and other exciting features await the evening’s attendees.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Yerba Buena Perry

Highlights: Empanada, Ropa Vieja de Pato, Kumquat Caprihania
Lowlights:  Trio of Fries, Slow Service & Loud
Price: Appetizers $8-15, Platos Principales $22-55, YB Fries $7-12, Vegetales $7, Dessert $6-8, Cocktails $12  
Snouts: 3 out of 5
Location: 1 Perry Street at Greenwich Ave, 212-620-0808,

Yerba Buena's reputation for serving innovative South American cuisine had intregued me for quite a while. I live near the Avenue A location, but in the past 2 years I was not able to get my ass in gear to try it out, so leave it to me to travel further than necessary to try the same food. The Perry Street location is typically designed with exposed brick walls, low lights, and tables a bit too close together. There is  a modest size bar to grab a cocktail while waiting for your friends to arrive, which is where I started off my evening with a killer Kumquat Caprihania which was perfect for taking the edge off a stressful week. (not really, just got back from vacation, but it writes better this way).

The menu had an interesting array of dishes, some familiar and some new riffs on old standbys. We started out sharing the savory Empandas filled with manchego cheese that added a nice punch to spinach, and the accompanying hominy scattered on the plate added a nice textural component to the dish. The Trio of Fries could have been

Monday, March 29, 2010


Highlights: Red Snapper Ceviche, Hummus, Zucchini Cakes
Lowlights: Sea Scallops, far from my apt
Price: Meze $7-22, Bread & Sides $3-11.50, Soups & Salads $10-14, Main Courses $24-30, Dessert $10
Snouts: 3 out of 5
Location: 773 10th Ave. at 52nd St., 212-713-0271 

After interviewing for a potential new job, I went to dinner at Taboon with a friend to re-hash and enjoy some Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Food. Everything on the menu was enticing, so instead of the usual app/main combo, we decided to share a bunch of dishes. While perusing the menu, we ordered a spicy, full bodied Syrah from Isreal, Clos de Gat Harel Syrah, my first Isreali wine which was a pleasant surprise.

My favorite dish of the night was the bright, vibrant Red Snapper Ceviche that had a nice crunch from cucumber and radishes and was mellowed by avacado. The Hummus was silky smooth and had the added punch of schoog, a Yemenite cilantro based salsa and the accompanying House Foccacia was the perfect dipping partner since the spices sprinkled on top added a different