Writing about restaurants and books, wine and theater, art galleries and museums

Tag Archives: restaurants

New York Restaurant Week this winter runs from January 23rd to February 10th, 2017.  Restaurants that participate can offer a lunch prix fixe for $29.00 and a dinner prix fixe for $42.00.  Some restaurants offer only lunch or dinner, some offer both.  Some of the restaurant prix fixe are better deals than others (some are no better than the menu the rest of the year).  Tavern62 by David Burke is offering its whole menu as part of Restaurant Week, not just a limited prix fixe menu.  Tavern62 is located on East 62nd Street in the same townhouse where David Burke previously had restaurants davidburke & donatella and Fishtail

The menu includes some of David Burke’s signature dishes, like Pastrami Salmon, Candied Bacon and his cheesecake lollipop tree.  The menu on the restaurant’s website hasn’t been updated, yet.

Everyone starts with a mini muffin.  Butter is served on a small block of Himalayan salt.

I started with the Tuna Poke–light and fresh.

My companion had the clothesline candied bacon.  It comes with scissors.

candiedbacon

My companion’s main course was the bacon ravioli (yes, a bacon-themed meal). It looks like ravioli in a creamy cheesy sauce, but what you can’t tell from looking at it is how smoky and complex the flavors were.  It was an absolutely unique and delicious dish.

Going with a lighter, fishier theme, I had the roasted branzino.  Again, it looks like a simple dish, but the veracruz sauce had tons of flavor and unexpected heat.  The fish was moist and perfectly cooked.

We shared the pecan tart and the smores cake for dessert.

All in all, it was definitely one of the best restaurant lunches I’ve had in a while.  And Tavern62 by David Burke offers a great selection and value for restaurant week. I’ve already made another reservation–if the menu stays the same, I already know what I will order:  the chowder and the bacon ravioli.

The maitre d’s check-in desk also displays Burke’s fondness for Himalayan salt.  The restaurant also has some walls made of Himalayan salt.

 

 


Yesterday I had a fabulous meal at M. Wells. A couple days earlier the M. Wells folks sent out an email saying that they were having a Labor Day party. There would be a DJ, food for a fixed price of $30 and a cash bar. As is usually the case with M. Wells’ special events, there were no details about the food. The email only stated they would “celebrate the best of our summer specials and take a peak at our upcoming fall menu”.  You have to be prepared to jump in without any details.  You have to ignore the press who usually get it wrong (Time Out said the menu would include fish quenelle and lobster, veal kidney with sea beans and salt-crusted squab–none of which were served). With M. Wells, you have to put yourself in their hands, go in blind and trust in Hugue. Whatever it is, it is bound to be surprising, generous and wonderful. Yesterday was a case in point.

We got our wristbands and a couple of drinks from the bar, sat down at a table and over the next couple of hours, the following dishes were brought out to the two of us:

Seafood platter

Seafood platter

The seafood platter had 6 oysters and 4 little jars which contained geoduck, mussels, clams, and roe. What a way to start! (Later we saw that king crab legs were being added to the platter)

Baked potato

Baked potato

A baked potato was served with the seafood platter. The roe with creamy horseradish sauce from one of the jars was a perfect topping.

Hamburger

Hamburger

We shared a juicy hamburger and fries.

Fries

Fries

Pan con tomate

Pan con tomate

The pan con tomate was loaded with flavor.

Stuffed guinea hen

Stuffed guinea hen

The guinea hen roulade was stuffed with something sausagey (foie gras was mentioned) and topped with a mushroom sauce.  The best part with the exterior–it was wrapped in a thin french toast.

Pork chops w/anchovy butter

Pork chops w/anchovy butter

One of the regular items on the M. Wells Steakhouse menu is a “stack of pork chops.” We got a beautiful stack of two delicious chops.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

The cauliflower was roasted, topped with puffed rice and served with a sauce with a little heat and Indian flavors.

Fried chicken

Fried chicken

Fried chicken with a yummy gravy for dipping.

Foie gras gnocchi

Foie gras gnocchi

Much more a croquette, than gnocchi, this was oozing foie gras. OMG!

Wild hare in civet

Wild hare in civet

A special meal at M. Wells has to include wild hare.

Dessert

Dessert

We were stuffed by this point, but managed to eat all of our dessert-maple pie, something like a chess pie and a chocolate icebox type cake.

Oh, and the music was terrific–it started out with New Orleans music and built up to dance music.  A lovely way to spend Labor Day.  Thanks M Wells!

 

 


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Though the restaurant Mission Chinese Food closed last autumn, you can now enjoy their greatest hits.  Mission Chinese Food is doing a pop-up behind Frankie’s Spuntino in Brooklyn.  It started as a one night pop-up in April, and then kept going.  It continued a couple of days a week in May.  And now they are continuing in June on assorted Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Danny Bowien and team have brought their dragon with them and it is now decorating the ceiling of a room out back in the garden behind Frankie’s in Carroll Gardens.  The old illuminated menu board from the Orchard Street restaurant and some of the wall decor are also there.

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The menu is fixed priced:  $40 per person, though there were a couple of supplemental add-ons available for the table  (crispy pork peking style or salt n’pepper king crab legs, the night I was there).  In addition to the eight courses on the menu, we were served two other courses:  a red cabbage with toasted buckwheat and anchovy vinaigrette and a ramen noodles (no broth) with peanuts, scallions and fennel seeds.
The food was as good as ever.  My tongue was numb and my lips were burning from the wings.  I enjoyed the cucumbers and the eggplant dishes on the cold platter.  I loved the crunchy kasha in the red cabbage and the slight hints of licorice when I bit into a fennel seed in the noodles.  Also pleasing was the smokiness of the bacon and the texture of the rice cakes.  It was like the old Mission Chinese without the wait (they take reservations by email).

 

Rice porridge

Rice porridge

Cold platter

Cold platter

Chicken wings (after we started eating them)

Chicken wings (after we started eating them)

Salt fish fried rice

Salt fish fried rice

Mapo tofu

Mapo tofu

Tennessee bacon and rice cakes

Tennessee bacon and rice cakes

Kung pao pastrami

Kung pao pastrami

Market greens

Market greens

Red cabbage

Red cabbage

Ramen noodles

Ramen noodles


Friends have been telling me for years that I should start a blog.  I don’t know whether or not I really should, but I going to go ahead and give it a try.  I am going to use this space to write about the things I love about New York (restaurants, theater, art galleries and museums) and more (wine, books and travel)