Favorite NYC Restaurants - Fall 2016

I spend a lot of time in Manhattan and enjoy some really incredible meals at wonderful restaurants while I'm there. I am frequently asked to recommend places to eat for people planning a trip to NYC. I decided it might help to write a blog post on the subject! First of all, if you want to go to of-the-moment spots, you have to plan EARLY. Make reservations far in advance if possible; otherwise, you will have a choice of 5 p.m. or 10 p.m., with all other times taken. Here are a few hints about making reservations: if you use the online booking service the restaurant is affiliated with, but still cannot find an available time on the date you need, pick up the phone and call. Often they have kept sometimes open for this reason. However, if you are directed to "Resy" (which many of the hottest restaurants use), you can only reserve up to two weeks in advance. I'm saying you need to start trying at 12:01 a.m. two weeks ahead of the day (remember that NYC is on EST)! Those restaurants won't give out a phone number either. They encourage just walking in. You can get a drink and wait, but a lot of these hip places are super small and you might be waiting an hour or two. Some will take your cell number and call you when your table is ready. You can walk around the neighborhood unless it is freezing outside. 

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I have all-time favorites like ABC KitchenPerla and Balthazar, and Blue Stone Lane for breakfast, but I want to tell you about some newer ones you might enjoy. One relatively new restaurant that is over-the-top exceptional is CHARLIE BIRD. If you haven't been yet, GO! More recently opened is its sister restaurant, PASQUALE JONES, which primarily serves wood-oven cooked pizza. They also have a pretty extensive wine list. There is only one dessert offered a night, but it is always tasty. This place is EXTREMELY popular, so be prepared to wait for a table. We sat at the bar and watched them cook the pizza; lots of fun! Besides our truffle pizza, we had some very creamy burrata with pistachios to start. 

 

Next on the list is KING, 18 King Street in Soho. We had Gnocchi Alla Romana with white truffle (it was truffle season!). This dish was unforgettable! We also had a green salad with mustard dressing, which sounds boring but was not, and a chocolate tart with creme fraiche to finish....YUM.

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LADY BIRD is located at 127 Macdougal Street, Greenwich Village. This is a VEGAN restaurant, not vegetarian. I was very skeptical at first. My daughter is a vegetarian, and I have been subjected to similar restaurants before....or so I thought. The food at Ladybird is outstanding!  I finally asked our server if I had been mistaken about it being vegan. We even ate FONDUE?! How do you make fondue without cheese?? The entire meal was lovely, the servers friendly, and the presentation was beautiful. The restaurant was even relatively quiet, which is pretty much unheard of in NYC; I guess Vegans are more well behaved than other diners!

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We had breakfast recently at Cafe Gitane at 242 Mott Street in Soho. I LOVE everything about this tiny place. It's a very cool French-Moroccan spot with an interesting crowd of mostly locals. The food is fabulous (I can't find a better word to describe it?!). Go when you have time to leisurely eat and watch the world go by. A Saturday morning is perfect.

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We had breakfast recently at Cafe Gitane at 242 Mott Street in Soho. I LOVE everything about this tiny place. It's a very cool French-Moroccan spot with an interesting crowd of mostly locals. The food is fabulous (I can't find a better word to describe it?!). Go when you have time to leisurely eat and watch the world go by. A Saturday morning is perfect.

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Another restaurant I highly recommend is ESTELA, at 47 East Houston Street in Noho. I think I had the best burrata I've ever put in my mouth there (and I LOVE burrata). It was "burrata, salsa verde on charred bread", and it was INCREDIBLE. 

 

The restaurant at the Nomad hotel is very hip, and the food is exceptional. I had the Kabocha squash, roasted with red pear and pumpkin seeds. Then the celery root tortelloni with black truffle and parmesan. I could eat that pasta every single day. The sauce was truly magnificent- a little frothy, so light, but absolutely loaded with flavor. You might have noticed, I go light on the meat and fish when ordering, but the person I was dining with had the tuna and raved about it.

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Another restaurant with a great reputation is the Standard Grill, located in the ever-fabulous Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District. For a change, this trip we had breakfast there before going to the nearby Whitney Museum. I had the avocado toast with a poached egg, a scone (the pastries are delicious), and a green juice. It was a wonderful breakfast that was filling enough to sustain me through a tour of all open floors of the incredible Whitney (if you haven't gone yet, GO). 

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Last, but certainly not least, is DIRTY FRENCH, located in the Ludlow hotel at 180 Ludlow street. This spot is a favorite, and every bite you put in your mouth is extra yummy, starting with the housemade bread to begin the meal.

These restaurants are just a few of many remarkable spots to try in NYC. As I continue to eat my way through the city (I may be the only style consultant that gains weight due to the demands of the job?!), I will share my favorites with you. Going to these places is more than going somewhere to enjoy a nice meal; it is an experience- from the building itself, the crowd (I always wish I could go from table to table and say, "You look like an interesting person, tell me your story!"), the ambiance, the presentation of the food, as well as the food itself. These chefs are the new guard, creating really unique culinary delights, influenced by all kinds of flavors and locally sourced meats, fish and vegetables. Speaking of that, WILD AIR at 142 Orchard Street, is UNBELIEVEABLE. It is walk-in only though, and very small. Every single bite is amazing, with so many flavors happening at once, all you can do is nod your head and smile, over and over again. Also not to miss is CATCH, with a creative seafood-focused menu,and a large selection of sushi options. Oh well, there are just too many to go over in one post, so I will just say, "TO BE CONTINUED......!!!" Bon Apetit!

Alison Bruhn