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Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekly NYC Blog Post - 4.22.2013

Some accidentally delicious restaurants and an amazing show!


An Nhau
I feel like not that long ago I was whining about how there isn't any good Pho in NYC.  And I'm still probably right.  But Brooklyn managed to impress me with some great pho last Thursday night.  An Nhau is in Williamsburg and has a beautiful, garden-esk back patio filled with plants.  It's covered but you'd never know!  The service was very pleasant as was the atmosphere and it feels hip without being overly crowded.

Photo Credit: An Nhau Website

I had the Chicken Pho with flat rice noodles in chicken stock with shredded chicken, bean sprouts, lettuce, cilantro, scallions, chives, fried shallots, black pepper and a hint of sesame oil.  It was hot, FILLED with goodies and came with spicy sauce so I can make it how I like it.  I gobbled it RIGHT up.  I would totally come back here.  I highly recommend for a first date or with a group of friends before a show.

Smorgasburg - DUMBO
For those of you read my post on Smorgasburg from last summer... this one is slightly different.  Instead of going to the version of event in Williamsburg, this time we hit up the event in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).  I liked this version WAY better.  The food and drink booths were set up in this abandoned, open air, building right near the water with a gorgeous park and view of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges right there.

The food was okay.  We went to the Vietnamese place and the BBQ brisket place both of which didn't have a lot of flavor.  I did buy a black-n-white cookie that was one of the best things I've ever eaten even though it was too rich to finish on my own!  We were laughing at ourselves a little since we would wait in a massive line for a little overpriced bite of something from a restaurant that is down the street from us in the East Village.  It'd be a whole lot easier to walk a block and try a real meal there than to come all the way to DUMBO.  But that's what makes Smorgasburg fun is the whole experience of being outside, eating, and laughing with friends.  And it was the perfect day for it.  Highly recommend the trek as long as you have slightly low food expectations.



Trestle on Tenth
I've been wanting to try this place for awhile but since it is so far west and I usually exercise after work I've never had an occasion that worked.  So when a coworker offered to take me to lunch near Chelsea Market I jumped at the chance to try this place out.  First off, our waiter's name was Nick, and he was GREAT.  Secondly, the place is SO charming and has a little patio in the back (although it was too cold to sit outside).  Thirdly, the menu was an interesting take on the classics. 

For example, we ordered the steak tartar with quail egg and toasted baguette to start.  This is not a new dish but the way it was served was!  The tartar was filled with all sorts of yummy spices and veggies and had tons of flavor.  It was slightly spicy and had a good, non-slimey, consistency.

The butter lettuce with crispy bacon and buttermilk dressing was good but could've used more bacon and my seared atlantic salmon with corn, asparagus and cherry tomatoes was SO good.  The outside was crispy and the inside was flakey and the whole dish was HOT which is nice with fish.  I feel like usually it comes out lukewarm.

Overall a very enjoyable meal especially when it's topped off with a caramel ice cream sundae!  I was stuffed and probably needed a nap instead of going back to work, but I would recommend this place to anyone for a first date, work lunch or night out with the girls.



The Belfry
Post Fuerza Bruta, we happened upon The Belfry, which according to my friend used to be another bar that sported beer pong and NYU students.  Long gone is that frat party and in it's place is a real chic gastropub-esk bar with a full menu of pickleback shot drinks.  This was during my non-drinking phase so I was only able to shoot the pickle juice but it was pretty tasty!  The bartender was really nice and offered me some ginger beer.  I plan on going back soon.

Photo Credit:

The Crooked Tree
I've walked past this place and always wondered if it was good because it looks really cute.  I'd heard fairly boring stories about it but when Scoutmob had a 50% off deal I decided I'd try it out.  I ordered the savory brie, argula and tomato with added soppressata.  The meal looked BEAUTIFUL when it came out.  But it was tasteless.  The cheese was really gooey, the soppressata wasn't spicy at all and the tomato was watery.  I was so sad to be so disappointed because my waiter was such a sweetheart!  The lemonade which they make there was really sugary and also not a win.  I sadly won't be back which kind of breaks my heart.

Edi and the Wolf
Okay this is one of the coolest looking restaurants I've seen in NYC.  When you walk by it looks almost like an abandoned green house with vines crawling up the side of the building.  But if you look closer and take a peek inside you see a VERY cool, very cozy restaurant built from wood and iron with the feel of a lodge.  Not a lot of room at the communal tables but my friend and I were able to snag two seats without a reservation at 9pm on a Saturday.

Photo Credit:

The food matched the restaurant - hearty and cozy.  The braised pork belly with poached egg, shishito pepper and ginger pickled mushrooms was flavorful and beautifully presented.  I wish the portions had been bigger because it was so good.  The pork just melted off my fork and the shishitos had just the right amount of kick.

I followed that with the lamb ragout pappardelle with baby root veggies, poached egg, garrotxa cheese and gremolata which I was told was the thing to get.  Again beautifully presented, huge portion and VERY good.  In fact I was so full with a couple bites left and still trucked through.  Dessert was not going to happen!  Highly recommend this place for a bite with a friend or a second/third date.


Otto's Shrunken Head
No idea how we ended up at this crazy East Village bar but within the first five minutes I'd found myself (sober) in the back room where a three man band was playing death metal dressed in only small white underwear covered from head to toe in fake blood.  Quite the experience.  I did find plenty of friends to play Big Buck Hunter with too.  This place is nuts.  Not to be done sober again but I'd come back for the people watching alone.

Photo Credit: Otto's Website


Fuerza Bruta
My friend suggested this experience to me a million years ago and I swear I thought it was a Groupon for a soccer game so I passed.  Then an Australian friend was in town the other day and told me about this awesome 360 degree Cirque de Soleil-esk show which I thought sounded so cool.  Turns out... SAME THING!  So, we bought Livingsocial deals and went last Friday.  There are three ways to get tickets as a heads up - 1) buy a face value ticket for $70-80; 2) buy a deal online and go for about $50 or 3) wait at the ticket office a couple hours before and get a last minute ticket for $30.

The show was amazing.  It occurs all around you and incorporates props, actors, lights, water, etc.  It's about an hour and a half and you are totally mesmerized through the whole thing.  There are about five "acts" but I don't want to go into too much detail or I'll run it for you.  The few things to note are it's better if you are drunk (I was not) and they tell you you can get soaking wet if you want (the only time this could happen to you is if you choose to run under the fountain at the very end when the dance party happens).  So, if you are spending your whole time worried about when they are going to spray you stop worrying.  Try to be in the "middle" as much as possible when they lower the swimming pool down over your head.  It's the coolest part and being in the center makes it ten times better.  I won't tell you why.

Overall I would totally go back if I scored tickets right before ($30).  I wouldn't pay $80 for this but the $50 was totally worth it and they always have deals so just be patient.



Tavern on Jane
Putting it under West Village because close enough...I actually JUST ate at this place right before this post and I'm still a little in shock.  Okay so background is that my friend came by my office to take me to lunch and as usual I was struggling for a good place near Chelsea Market to eat that isn't $$$$ or terrible.  Scoutmob had a deal at Tavern on Jane that had a lot of stars.  After cross referencing with Yelp where it also had reviews I took a leap of faith and we went there.

The place we walked up to is one I've walked past a million times and NEVER would've thought to go in.  It just looks like your standard Irish pub (which I generally avoid).  This worried me but again the power of mass reviews pushed me onwards (and I was starving).  I ordered the Grilled Sirloin Steak with roasted shallots and balsamic tomato relish and chimichurri.  It. Was. Fantastic.  Even the french fries were good and I don't really like fries.  I highly suggest pouring the balsamic and the tomatoes onto the sandwich (they come in a cup on the side) to truly appreciate this sandwich.  The baguette was fresh, the slabs of steak were huge and well cooked, and the onions were just tangy enough.  One of the biggest meal shocks.  I will definitely be back here for lunch.  The best part?  Thanks to Scoutmob I got 50% off so my meal was $13 with tax and tip.

For those of you who frequent Hudson Street you may remember a little pizza place called Slice that I reviewed awhile back.  It has since converted into Wild, a similar pizza place with a whole new perspective.  The menu is seasonal and the pizzas are delicious.  This is such a romantic little spot for a date or to catch up with a girlfriend.  It can be pretty chilly outside though!  We ordered the butternut squash with pistachios and goat cheese which incredible.  It had SO much taste to it - like everything had just been picked/made from scratch.  The sweet capicola pizza with cherry peppers and basil was equally as good.  And to top it all off the ginger lemonade was one of the best lemonades I have ever had.  This experience transported me to a spring that just refuses to show up.  Love this place.

Photo Credit: Wild Instagram


Met up with a friend here and thought it was a very cute place and the staff was really friendly.  We ordered the meatballs, and then three of the crostinis -  the duck prosciutto with ricotta, the tuna, capers and spicy olive oil, and the ricotta and honey.  Both ricotta ones were a little boring and the ricotta was slightly runny.  The tuna one had just the right amount of spice and was crunchy and not too fishy.  The meatballs were fantastic and came with plenty of red sauce which I always find as a critique with meatballs.  Good date spot or after work dinner especially for people who work near Chelsea Market that want something good that's not TOO expensive.  

Photo Credit: Zampa Website


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