Tag Archives: burger

Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine

6 Apr

I live in a neighborhood that has a new building opening pretty much every week.  There has been a vacancy in the first floor of the apartment building on 10th Ave between 37th and 38th Streets for a while.  I held out hope that it would be a grocery store (the one real lacking part of this neighborhood… well… besides the bums). But a few weeks ago we noticed that whole bunch of basketball player pictures were put up in the window.  Oh well… another sporting goods store… a huge one taking up an entire city block…

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But no, it actually turned out to be a restaurant.  Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine soft opened a couple weeks ago and then had a red carpet opening last weekend.  Clyde Frazier, of NY Nicks Fame, is certainly a NY icon. Known for being a hall-of-famer, all around fan-favorite, and effusive suit wearer, he teamed up with Ark Restaurant Group to open up what might be the biggest NYC restaurant I’ve ever seen.  It is literally a full city block.  Mike checked out the menu before we left, and found out they have pavlova, which may be my most favoritist thing ever (and sorely lacking in NYC… gotta go to London to get it usually).  I was in.

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The moment you walk in, it is 100% Clyde Frazier.  Huge floor to ceiling columns bare his face (and suits).

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The walls are adorned with some of the great sports photos of his heyday. 

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Even the ceiling is designed in a school of fish motif that, on further investigation, is actually all different images of… what else? funky suits.

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The north end of the restaurant is a bar with many TVs above to watch the games.

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Right above our table was even an ode to his suit design.  With some insane patterns and boots.

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Upon heading to the bathroom, a large looming Clyde looks down upon you.

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And as if we weren’t already on Frazier overload, he showed up in the flesh to take pictures and meet and greet diners.

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In the most amazing tiger print suit with matching boots.  I had to pose for a picture if only to be able to show you, dear readers, just how amazing this suit is.  (Turns out, he’s a really nice guy who spent the whole night talking to each and every table)

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The kitchen is huge and open-format in the main dining room.  There are a few dozen TVs to watch (what else?) games, but I read that they will display artwork when the games aren’t on.

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There are nice, elegant touches to the restaurant that elevate it above the sports bar I thought it would be.  It’s an identity crisis for sure, but one that somehow just makes sense.  It was downright enjoyable to feast your eyes on all the crazy decorations.

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I ordered a Clyde style drink (The “Stumbling & Bumbling”) made with patron silver tequila, patron citronge tequila, fresh strawberries, and basil muddled with sugar.  It was served in a lovely, big glass and they were not bashful with the alcohol.  I was pretty much drunk half-way through.  Fantastic.

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The menu was as eclectic as the man (see full menu in the slideshow at the end).  It featured some standard southern favorites along with Asian inspired dishes and hearty Jewish comfort food.

So we started with the duck liver with duck cracklings and toast.

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This was liver the old fashioned way.  Liver the way grandma made.  

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Mike got… of course… the hamburger. It was Clyde’s signature 10 ounce burger with cheddar, apple smoke bacon, and caramelized onions. It came with homemade chips and a crisp pickle.  I thought this burger was surprisingly excellent. The caramelized onions were top notch and the burger was perfectly cooked and juicy.

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I went with the root vegetable salad, that came with goat cheese vinaigrette.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but I certainly was taken by surprise by how damn good this was.  Vegetables cooked to perfection (soft but still full of flavor) in a goat cheese style sauce with pumpkin seeds (I think) and delicate seasonings and oils.  It was refined.  It was delicate. It was delicious. 

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We went on to check out dessert and noticed that one of our favorite local dessert wines was listed, Duck Walk Blueberry Port. Yum!

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And, of course, the pavlova!  It was served with passion fruit soup, Greek yogurt, and fresh fruit.  The meringue was crispy on the outside and pillowy on the inside. I didn’t love the inclusion of Greek yogurt (I guess I’m a sucker for classic style… with whipped cream) but I was impressed that the meringue was so delicately and well cooked.  Not the best pavlova I’ve ever had, but it satisfied the need for the time being. And I am quite a harsh judge when it comes to pavlova.

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Overall, I was totally impressed and surprised by this place. I was expecting it to ride on its celebrity fame and just be, well, average.  Even the sheer size of it made me think “this place can’t possibly be good.” But it was.  It was actually damn near great. I look forward to going back to try some of their heartier entrees, and their rotisserie chicken looked especially appealing.  I’m curious how good their steaks are, and I can’t wait to find out.  I’m glad they are right down the street. I have a feeling I will be returning often.

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

 

Their menus were all covered in funky patterns to match Clyde’s funky outfits, but their cocktail menu looked like a basketball.  Nice touch.  Below is a gallery that shows the full menu (including drinks and desserts) as it stands as of April 6, 2012.

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Beauty and Essex: Love it or Hate it?

26 Jan

There are some places that you hear so much about that you start to think it just MUST suck.  While I like the idea of “hidden” restaurants, such as Beauty & Essex that has the front of an antique store, they have a tendency to cater to an audience that cares about things like clothing labels and high heels.  I was in sneakers and no-brand jeans.  But Beauty & Essex was around the corner, we needed dinner, and there were 2 seats at the bar.

Sold!

The front is a “gallery” with some cool treasures.

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You enter through the door and the bar is mostly surrounded by exactly the type of people I thought it would be.  I looked around and immediately decided I was going to hate this place just out of principle.

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But then… this was placed in front of me…

Roasted bone marrow with rioja braised shallot marmalade.

Sigh… my hatred flew out the window and I drowned in the buttery marrow on the perfectly toasted bread with that just-sweet-enough marmalade to make me dance in my bar stool (little known fact: when I REALLY like food, I literally dance as I eat it).

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Then came the fried oysters… I cannot remember what was on these onions…

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But I remember thinking that fried oysters shouldn’t be that delicious.  Frying should ruin the flavor of the oysters… but oh no… not here…

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Our next selection was spaghettini with zucchini, lemon, parsley pesto, parmigiano and a sunny side up egg.  It was such a great blend of flavors, with bursting freshness.

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And of course, we tried the burger. It came with garlic aioli, beefsteak tomato, goat feta, and crispy bbq fries.  It was an excellent burger. I enjoyed the taste of the bun, but it fell to one of the biggest burger bun problems… halfway through it was in pieces.  But it didn’t matter…  it was good.

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And then we couldn’t stop there, right? We had to have dessert.  We got the black bottomed butterscotch pot de creme.

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It was adorable in the jar and came with 2 cookie spoons. Nice setup. Delicious. Rich. And perfect.

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And then I went to the bathroom… where there is champagne.   And as I laughed at the ridiculousness of this as well as at the women dressed to the nines in the bathroom, I realized that Beauty & Essex is the kind of place I don’t belong.

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It’s too designed.  Too New York snob.  It’s everything I hate…

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But I LOVED it.  Each and every bite.

Thanks Beauty & Essex… you couldn’t even make this sneakered, snarky, cynical New Yorker hate you for very long.

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Love Lane: Mattituck, LI

5 Jan

After our wonderful adventure exploring the wineries in Long Island, Lori suggested we do dinner at one of her favorites, Love Lane Kitchen.

We didn’t have reservations, so they told us it would be about 30 minutes.

Luckily, right next door was Love Lane Market… and I love me a market. (I think they may be owned by the same people, but I’m not positive)

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They stock their shelves with great ingredients, many of which I am familiar with and some new ones.  It reminded me of a little Eataly.

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But with a bit more personal touch.

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I have this odd love for these types of chairs. I THINK the top is what they use to form horse saddles, but I could be making that up.

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Even their tiled floor was cool.

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I REALLY wanted to try the rotisserie duck, but we wouldn’t be able to eat it before I was off on a trip. Lori and her ABF got on though and said it was great.

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They even had a selection of homemade pastas.

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And homemade mozzarella.

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As well as a wood fire pizza oven in the back.

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This is the type of market that I wish would open up near me in Manhattan.  But it was just perfect in this little Long Island town, on Love Lane.

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As soon as we got out of the market, Love Lane Kitchen was calling our names.  We sat down and immediately dove into some delicious, fluffy rolls.

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We began with a calamari salad.  It’s refreshing to have calamari that isn’t fried and this was delicious, with a dressing that brought out all the great flavors.

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Mike, shockingly, got the cheeseburger.  Since it was devoured before I even remember picking up my fork, I’ll assume he enjoyed it.

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Lori got the skirt steak.  I tried some (without the sauce) and it was juicy and perfectly cooked.  It also had a nice char on it, so the flavor was great.

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Lori’s ABF chose the short ribs.  Oh these were good.  They were so tender and the sauce was a perfect compliment.

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I went with the pork belly with a slow cooked egg.  This was cooked to perfection, with both crunchy bits and the melty soft fats that make pork belly oh so good.

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And boy oh boy do I love eggs. It was on top of a radicchio (I think) which is usually a bit too bitter for me, but with the sweet of the pork and the egg yolk, it was delish!

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As if we weren’t indulgent enough, we split THREE desserts.  We got the cheesecake, the apple pie, and the chocolate pecan pie.  All three were good, but nothing was outstanding.  And I was too full to even look at another bite.

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Though the pumpkin cheesecake did just keep on calling out to me… “just one more bite!”

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Love Lane Kitchen was a perfect end to a perfect day.  Great, home style food cooked with love and attention.  Everything was scrumptious and I would love to go back to try more.

Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10

For Lori’s take on our meal at Love Lane Kitchen, visit her blog here.

RARE (Fashion District)

10 Nov

I had heard great things about Rare for some time, and had a few cocktails in their bar on the east side, but I had never sat down for a meal.   We went with a big group of people one night, so there was an assortment of food ordered.

We started with the french fry tasting basket which includes cottage fries, hand cut, and sweet potato fries. All were well cooked but nothing special.

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I thought that the assortment of sauces/ketchups/mustards was clever. (I just love sampling)

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We also tried the parmesan truffle fries.  There is never anything bad about parmesan truffle fries, but I did want a bit more truffle.

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We also tried th elollipop wings, which everyone liked. (I can’t weigh in because they had peppers)

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We also tried the frickles (fried pickles) which were again good, but not great.

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The greek salad was unlike any greek salad I had ever seen before! It was topped with full lamb chops and smelled delicious.

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The steak also smelled great and came with a lovely slab of butter. (Why are the things that are SO good SO bad for us?)

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I heard the burger was great, but I wanted to sample… so I got the Burger Trio, which is the chef’s selection of mini burgers.  I believe I had a bacon cheddar burger, a short rib burger and something else.  It was good, but I can’t say it was memorable.  I wish I had tried the real burger to get a real sense of it.

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Here is why I had burger envy…

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They all looked great and everyone who ordered the burger was very pleased with their decision.

Overall, I enjoyed my meal at Rare but I didn’t feel like I had enough to really judge the meal by.  Everything I ate was just so-so, but I don’t think I ordered well.

I will have to go back to give an official Nom rating.

Pier 9

23 Sep

 

Pier 9 opened up on 53rd and 9th Ave earlier this year.  It took over the space that used to be Agua Dolce and seemed to become this new place overnight.  

Inside is very “under the sea” with dividers made of old sails, a watery color palette, and some plants that looked almost tropical.  It was almost a little TOO designed.  But it looked very nice.

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They put most of their menu onto a mirror, however, it seems as though must had changed since they finished this according to the menu we were given.

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We started with the lobster mac and cheese.  It was labeled as “non-traditional” and good thing, it certainly was anything but traditional!  It was like big, individual tubes of pasta stuffed with lobster and cheese and topped with lobster.

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It was delicious.

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Perfectly creamy and a really beautiful presentation.

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We also received biscuits, which Mike very much enjoyed.  

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They had peppers, so they brought me some surprisingly delicious toast instead.

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Mike got the burger.  Yup… even in a seafood restaurant, Mike judges by their burger.  He enjoyed it, but said it wasn’t anything super duper good.

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I got the scallops over celery root puree, eggplant, capers, raisins, and pine nuts.  It was a wonderful mouthful of textures with great flavor.  I was really impressed with this dish.  And the scallops were perfectly cooked and great on flavor.

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For dessert, we chose the s’mores donut. It was a homemade donut with marshmallow and s’mores ice cream.  I’m not a huge donut fan, but I LOVE s’mores.  Problem is… what I love most about s’mores is the combination of crunch, sticky, sweet, chocolate, melty goodness.  In this dessert, the donut reigned the plate and I thought it was good, but not my kind of dessert.  

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I was not expecting to like this place.  It had all the makings of a place that was so overstyled that they would let the actual food take a back seat. But this was food first.  And it was creative and delicious.  Well done.

Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10

 

 

 

The Breslin

19 Sep

I had been hearing buzz about The Breslin for quite some time, so when we were in the neighborhood and Mike suggested we see if they had any open seats, I was completely game.

They have an open kitchen in the back, and I was particularly amused by their decorations, which included “stuffed heads” that looked like stuffed animals and, as you can see in the picture below, pig toys hanging from meat hooks.

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Everywhere you looked there was something clever and cute.  (Look closely below to see the cute stuffed animal zebra “mounted head”)

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Mike and I started with the Terrine Board, which had guinea hen with morels, pork pate, headcheese, rabbit & prune, and liverwurst, and was served with pickles, piccalilli, and mustard. (Or at least I THINK that’s what it was).  Whatever it was… it was GOOD.


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Even the bread they served it with was perfectly crunchy.

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We then tried the scrumpets with mint vinegar.  I cannot for the life of me remember if these were pork or lamb, but it didn’t much matter.  After much Googling, there does not appear to be a definition of scrumpets really out there.  So let me define it simply by describing what these were…

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Slow cooked, melt in your mouth, juicy meat encased in a breaded, crunchy, fried (but not greasy), case that tasted a bit like heaven when you bit in.  There you go.  Scrumpet: A taste of heaven

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We also had to try the burger, since everyone kept talking about how awesome it was.  It was a lamb burger with feta (we got the cumin mayo on the side).

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It needed no cumin mayo.  It was perfectly cooked, perfectly juicy, perfectly charred, and perfectly delicious.

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The dessert menu was called “Evening Puddings” and was a great selection of delicious sounding desserts.

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We chose the dark chocolate brownie with salted caramel ice cream and brown butter bourbon sauce.  YUM YUM YUM. I want to go back and try more of these (ok… and the breakfast menu… and more off the dinner menu)

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This was a fantastic meal.  It’s one of those places that I’m kind of glad isn’t next door, or else I would be a lot fatter.  Everything was cooked to perfection with great ingredients and clever pairings.  Absolutely delicious.  And if you go, get the Scrumpets!

Total Nom Points: 8 out of 10

 

 

The West End Grill – Hell’s Kitchen

14 Jul

 

We try to try new places in Hell’s Kitchen when they come up, so we were excited to check out West End Grill (on 8th Ave between 48th and 49th Streets). 

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It had a good modern bar look and feel.

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And it was SO new that I couldn’t help but notice that even the garbage cans in the bathrooms were spotless.

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We told the waitress of my peppers allergy (yes… this is foreshadowing of what is to come) and were assured that the lobster tacos would be just fine.

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But as soon as Iopened it, I saw little dark green pieces… so we asked her to ask the chef about peppers. She came back and said it was fine. So I showed her the pieces of peppers, she went back into the kitchen, then proudly came out to tell us “Oh! That’s just a jalapeno! You’re fine!”  

Well hello, idiot, what is jalapenos last name?

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Soo…. it was on to the short rib spring rolls we went.  THESE were outstanding.  Rich, well cooked short rib in a crunchy spring roll shell.  Delicious. 

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Then our meals came out… Mike got a burger and fries… which was… fine.

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I got a steak with crunchy onions and mashed sweet potatoes.  Hmmm… this steak was bland, overcooked, under-seasoned, and theome. onions on top had almost no flavor.  The sweet potatoes tasted like mashed sweet potatoes… which is fine if you’re cooking at home and all… but we were not at home.

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Overall, this place was hardly worth writing about.  It was almost entirely average, which obviously clueless waitresses, and some damn good short rib spring rolls.

If you’re in the area, and want a good nosh, get the spring rolls… maybe a beer.  Don’t bother with the rest.

Total Nom Points: 5.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 5.5 out of 10

 

 

Alchemy (Brooklyn)

21 Feb

We were wandering around Brooklyn on a rainy evening after seeing a fantastic exhibit at Brooklyn Art Museum (Norman Rockwell… it’s thru April 10, 2011), looking fora  place to grab a bite.  We walked by a number of places and used Urban Spoon to find a recommended place.  Before we knew it, we had wandered to 5th Ave in Park Slope to find Alchemy (56 Fifth Avenue at Bergen Street).

Inside, there were a few small tables and then a few communal tables.

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We started with Herbed Goat Cheese in Philo Dough with watercress, pears and lime vinaigrette.  The Philo was perfectly crispy and the salad underneath was very good.  I also loved how the goat cheese paired with the pear.

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We got brussels sprouts and shells and cheese with bacon and peas as sides.  The sprouts were DELISH!  The shells and cheese needed more depth.

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Mike got the burger.  It was well cooked and the fries were well crisped.

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I chose the Grilled Hanger Steak (all natural angus beef) with herbed butter, mashed potatoes and kale.  The potatoes were DELICIOUS and the steak had a good char.  And what could be wrong with butter on steak? Nom nom nom.

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I’m always skeptical of kale that isn’t crispy, but this was perfectly cooked so the ultra bitter taste was gone and it was just delicious, greeny, garlicky goodness.

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The dessert menu had some great options…

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But I had to choose the Sticky Guinness Pudding with toffee sauce and candied hazelnuts.  How could I not?  And MMMMMM was it good!  I wanted to lick the plate.  The pudding itself was a bit overcooked, but the flavors were so good that it didn’t even matter.

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I don’t know why I am constantly surprised by how good food can be in Brooklyn.  We have been pretty lucky with our BK Stumble Upons.  Overall, Alchemy was better than good.  The price points are close to NY, and the food is NY quality.  I would go back here in a heartbeat.  I would love to try Alchemy for brunch.

Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10

Beacon

26 Jan

Mike and I had an itch for brunch, so we made a reservation at Beacon on West 56th Street between 5th and 6th Aves.  I had heard great things about their burger.

The space was beautiful.  Very open with nice decorations without being overdone.

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Lots of vertical lines in a lofty space.  And I really dug the lamp shade chandeliers.

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We were starving by the time we arrived and were thrilled to see that brunch came with a basket of breads and muffins.  Unfortunately, it took a LOOOOONG time for our items to arrive (the table next to us had similar service problems, even though the place was nearly empty).  Luckily they were worth waiting for.

Mike, of course, got the burger.

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It was perfectly good and perfectly scrumptious.

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I went with the steak and eggs, which was a filet mignon and “shirred” eggs.  I still have no idea what shirred means, but it seemed to mean fried.

The steak was in a delicious red wine sauce that I wanted to lick off the plate.  Very tasty.  The steak itself was nothing special.

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For all the buzz I heard about this place, I was expecting more.  But it was satisfying and delicious, even if the service was lackluster throughout.

Total Nom Points: 6 out of 10


Tir Na Nog

16 Aug

We met up with some family friends who were in the city from Upstate New York before a Yankees Game.  We had very little time and they were coming to Penn Station.  There aren’t a ton of great options near Penn Station, but Tir Na Nog (on 8th Ave at 33rd Street) has offered up some decent meals for me in the past. 

First up was the quiche du jour.  I can’t recall what it was, but I know it was enjoyed.

The open face steak sandwich came on Toasted Rustic Bread with Sweet Onion Jam, Melted Boursin Cheese, French Fries.  I know this was a hit and I was lucky enough to try the fries.  These were AWESOME fries! Perfectly crispy on the outside, just the right seasoning, and potato-y on the inside.

Both my dad and sister ordered the Vanilla French Toast with Maple Syrup.  My dad declared it “the best French Toast” he ever ate.  Stacey said it was good, but not that good.  I agreed with Stacey.

The burger looked tasty, too. But it was on the other side of the table so I’m not sure.

I chose the Smoked Salmon Benedict and it was DELICIOUS.  Perfectly cooked eggs, great light hollandaise, deliciously smoked salmon, and perfectly cooked potatoes.

Mmm Mmm Mmmm.

I was actually really impressed by the brunch here.  I wasn’t expecting much seeing as though it is near Penn Station and many Irish places in NYC come out with very run of the mill, bland food.  This was all the classics done right.

Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10