New York City
Restaurants Reviewed
El Malecon
Tartine
Standard Biergarten
Hell's Kitchen
The Grand Banks
Natsumi
 
 
 
 
 
El Malecon Restaurant

764 Amsterdam Ave, New York City, NY 10025-5703 (Upper West Side)

ISLAND FLAVOR NEEDS TO HIT THE GYM A LITTLE BIT

You have to love NY for the variety of restaurants available. Malecon is one of the many. It's cozy, clean and the portions? Grande. We visited just recently with a party of eight and ordered, which seemed to be, a coop of chickens (whole chicken Malecon Style), rice for days with both red and black beans, maduros (friend sweet plaintains), tostones (friend green bananas). To say there was food a plenty, might be a tad of an understatement. They seem to ignore portion control and if you're hungry, you are in the right place to fill up. The maduros are sweet, juicy and have a nice, nice depth of flavor. The tostones, while tasty could have been spiced just a little bit more. I found them on the dry side, but tasty like a dense chip. The beans, I confess I love beans of any color, while "decent", lacked the conviction that I would have liked. Someone from the Dominican Republic must be hiding the spices, please don't. Please don't take that as my saying they are bad, they're not, but when a dish is served, after my first taste I should not be looking for something to "spice" it up, for lack of a better term. They are hearty and well cooked as beans, slight snap, not mushy with a thickness of texture. The Malecon Chicken was plentiful, roasted skin on, but again I found myself looking for something to make it "pop". Darker parts of the chicken of course, retained the most moisture, but it was not fall off the bone moist. The white meat portion of the chicken was almost on the dry side. I kept looking for skin, to match up breast meat with, to give it texture and a lot more flavor. Adding the side of garlic sauce, which comes with the Malecon Chicken helps, but it's swimming against the current of ho hum. If you're going to Malecon for a meal, it will definitely fill you up and the pricing is spot on reasonable. I plan on going back again, to try other dishes, as I am interested in food with a Dominican flair. You won't go broke visiting, it's inexpensive and definitely you won't leave hungry. If you're a (SPT) Single Pink Tastebud, seeking a whirlwind romance with flavor and spice, bring your rose colored glasses or swipe right.


Tartine

 253 W 11th St, Corner Of West 4 Th St And West 11th Street, New York City, NY 10014-2277 (West Village

A PINT SIZED SLICE OF PARIS

Nothing like alfresco dining in the city, especially weather permitting. In the Village, on 11th west of 4th, is a little place that feels a little like a laid back Paris. Unpretentious, but inspiring, the kind of place that gets a day started or offers a little afternoon solace from everything that is the busy-ness of the city. If you're dining on the street, squeeze in and make yourself comfortable. The service is laissez faire friendly, but isn't that what you came here for? The leisurely art of eating and relaxation, a respite from the city within the city.  The menu is french inspired pub, everyday offerings that are fresh and feel farm to table. Ingredients are whimsical french mashups to tempt even the most discerning taste bud. It's cozy, personal and introverted. Perfect way to slow your roll through the city.

Standard Biergarten

848 Washington Street @ 13th, New York, NY 10014

 
WHERE'S THE MEAT?!?!?!?!

If you remember the Meat Market in the West Village / Greenwich area, you've been around awhile. The hanging slabs of beef, the meat cutters red stained aprons and creaking trucks have been replaced with commercialism, in the extreme. Hey things change, sometimes for the good and the not so. In the case of the Standard Biergarten, it's a good thing and a refreshing welcome from the stroll of storefronts on a hot afternoon in the NYC sun. Almost cave like in it's lighting, you'll appreciate the shaded coolness, friendly environment and best of all the beer. From beer to cocktails they have you covered, and just like the german spelling of biergarten, there are classic Bavarian food offerings to pair with the beverage of your choice. Here's your chance to knosh & drink and drink & knosh til your "inner German" has been filled, and you can euphorically twirl like Julie Andrews in the Swiss Alps, all while on the cobble stoned streets of Lower Manhattan's forgotten Meat Market. Probably not advised, but makes for a great visual, so go and grab a table, take a moment, let life be light for a moment as you partake in a cold pint.

Hell's Kitchen

754 9th Ave, At 51st Street, New York City, NY 10019-8419(Midtown)

SPICING IT UP IN HELL'S KITCHEN

Looking for decent Mexican eats in a very cool part of town? Visit Hell's Kitchen in Hell's Kitchen. If you didn't know, Hell's Kitchen is a NY neighborhood, Midtown West. The neighborhood that was once rough tumble and broke as a joke, is being gentrified block by block. It's not a bad thing, but hopefully some remnants of what it was will remain. Like all things re-purposed, the space is great, semi chic, softly lit, light industrial, but playful in feel. Booth, table or bar it's all good. There's a good cocktail list of drinks and twisted Mexican fare making for a well conceived mashup of flavor. Hell's Kitchen has a great waitstaff, both menu knowledgeable and friendly. Is it the best Mexican food you'll ever have? Not if you eat a lot of Mexican food, but pairing all the elements together it's a good time and I would consider it money and time well enough spent. I wasn't disappointed, I don't think you will be either.


The Grand Banks

Pier 25 Hudson River Park New York, NY 10013

PARTY DOCKSIDE ON THE WEST SIDE

Idyllic setting. Buoyant crowd. Rocking boat, literally. The Grand Banks is great theatre for drinks and living the almost boating life. Docked in the Hudson River, just off the West Side Highway at Pier 25, lies the Sherman Zwicker aka the Grand Banks.  From oysters to drinks, they're all served on a boat gently rocked by the rivers waves. Feels like a party and with the right company it is. Make your way round the deck and ultimately to the bar, grab a drink, let go. Dining? Great menu of "prime" seafood offerings to choose from. You'd be wise, if dining is your primary motivation for a visit, to make a reservation, otherwise you might wait for a bit for a table to slurp down your shucked oysters or slide that Lobster Roll into your face. The Grand Banks is a great destination for one of the best outdoor dining/drinking atmospheres in New York City and no, you're not going anywhere. It's a great way to enjoy just where you are.

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Natsumi

226 W 50th St, New York City, NY 10019-6702 (Midtown)

CLOSE TO THE THEATRE, NOT YOUR TASTEBUDS

We were excited that we (the wife & I) got to see Wicked on a recent business trip. We looked for something close to the theatre but hopefully decent as well. Well at least we got close to the theatre. I am never one to be dismissive of a place of business, but this was underwhelming. They make great use of the limited space, making for very cozy seating. I get it, its New Yawk. How you doing? So we elbow in to our table, it is cozy and a really nice use of space, just tight. As far as the food goes, well it's just ok. We ordered two apps and two sushi rolls. The Tuna Tartar salad was very good. Nice combination of flavors and the tuna deliciously prepared. The Spinach Ravioli with Lobster well, not so exciting. It was as if a note fell flat. The lobster in this dish had very little taste and brightest star was the actual the spinach ravioli. The broth that surrounded was singular in taste and lacking in depth. The sushi rolls? No curtain calls. It was underwheming. Bad? No. Memorable? Not so much. Every bite trailed off like a distant memory. Thank goodness for soy sauce and Wasabi, sushi's version salt and pepper. If you are looking for a rushed meal this might suffice, but if you are looking for a little bit more you might want to try elsewhere.