Showing 1 - 20 of 937
IJustWantToEat's Recent Reviews
It has been a while since we went for fondue at Kashkaval, a restaurant in Hell's Kitchen that takes its name from a sheep's milk Bulgarian cheese. I admit that I thought it was closed as, end of 2013, they announced that their landlord would not renew their lease and that they were launching a petition. I guess it worked out as this place is still there, although very different: it used to be a marketplace selling awesome cheeses, with a tiny dining room in the back. Now, this is a restaurant only and it is fairly big.
We were there during Happy Hour, so I got a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc for just $8, perfect to go with fondue (we say that it is not good to drink water when eating fondue, but it might be just to entice people to drink wine...).
What is great with their menu is that they offer fondue per person with no minimum, contrary to a lot of restaurants where there needs to be a minimum of two persons per order. So, we decided to get two different ones:
The Kashkaval made with Bulgarian Kashkaval cheese:
The truffle fondue made with gruyere, truffle peelings and truffle oil:
With the fondue, we...Read more at: http://www.ijustwanttoeat.com/post/restaurant-review/cheese-fondue-at-kashkaval-garden-in-hells-kitchen
I think I probably would have never gone to Tehuitzingo if it was not a suggestion from one of my blog readers who always had great comments or suggestions to my posts. Yes, from the outside, you just see the name, Tehuitzingo Deli and Grocery and would never guess that this place serves great food at reasonable prices, using fresh ingredients. I mean, I had to verify again on my phone the name of address and, when confirmed, entered in that small place.
Right there, you see their market, selling a bunch of Mexican products, from hot sauce to tortillas or candy.
Then, in the back, is the counter where you will order your food. We were the only ones, early last Saturday, the city still recovering from the first snow of the season. After we ordered, we sat on the stools, decorated with roosters, and did not wait long before our food came.
We started off with a side of guacamole and chips. Pretty good, although not the best guacamole ever, the tortilla chips seem to be homemade.
Then, we got quesadillas. Cheese for Jodi:
Cheese and...Read more at: http://www.ijustwanttoeat.com/post/restaurant-review/mexican-food-at-tehuitzingo-in-hells-kitchen
Opened beginning of 2014 at the corner of 57th Street and 6th Avenue, The Wayfarer defines itself as a purveyor of classic American cuisine. I like the atmosphere of the place that is cozy and modern, with great music in the background and a nice vibe. I should mention that the service was really good: efficient and courteous.
And the food! Simply delicious, from seafood to meat, without forgetting desserts, it showcases quite creative dishes. For instance, they have fried chicken rolls that were a very interesting combination, that definitely worked. With it, I also tried the spicy tuna roll that was made with big eye tuna.
Next was the octopus: well cooked, not rubbery, it had a nice char on the outside.
The last appetizer I tried was the seafood platter that had lobster, shrimp, clams, oysters, scallops, as well as a nice tuna and salmon tartare. It tasted very fresh and the only thing I would have done is to make the presentation a bit more spectacular, like Mastro's does.
For the entree, I breached my rule that is not to order steak unless I am eating in a steakhouse. Well, I could not resist when I heard their special: a Japanese wyagu ribeye served with bone marrow. This 10oz steak was perfectly cooked, tender and slightly charred. It was fantastic.
I also tried the...Read more at: http://www.ijustwanttoeat.com/post/restaurant-review/great-dinner-the-wayfarer-midtown-manhattan-nyc-new-york
We were back to Long Island City, looking for a place to have lunch and found Café Triskell, a French crêperie coming straight from Brittany from where the owner, Philippe Fallait is from. And I have to say that it felt like a little corner of France, miles away.
We were there for crêpes and did not even consider any other dishes, although I regretted not ordering the escargots that the table next to us were eating with much pleasure. No, we went for their buckwheat crêpes. Jodi chose the pear, aged goat cheese, honey (without almonds) one, that was served with a small salad.
I went for the ham, egg and cheese.
Both crêpes were delicious, very slightly crispy. In Jodi's crepe, I loved the combination of the sweet and savory. With mine, it was quite a classic crepe, very good, with a perfectly made sunny side egg, but I wish there was a bit more ham. Despite this, I would recommend it.
For dessert,...Read more at: http://www.ijustwanttoeat.com/post/restaurant-review/cafe-triskell-french-crepe-long-island-city
One time we were working late, one of my colleagues who is originally from India, ordered some food from The Kati Roll Company. I mean that was a revelation and each bite was so divine that I could hear angels singing on my shoulders. I love that place: the food is not only good, but cheap and, if I could, I would go there on a daily basis! Kati rolls are street food wraps that originated from Kolkata in India. There are many variants, but, at The Kati Roll Company, they are made by wrapping warm paratha, a type of Indian flat bread, around a variety of meats, vegetables and cheese.
But beware: this place can turn to a madhouse, packed with hungry patrons avid to get a wonderful bite. In fact, we went at different times and, as you can see, it goes from quiet to crazy. The best time to go is before 6pm for sure...I love the decor with its yellowish walls that seem rundown, with Bollywood (the Indian Cinema Mecca) posters all over.
Here is what we ate:
Jodi always went for the chana masala, a vegetarian dish made with chickpeas that they enhanced with lime, cilantro, chutney and pickled onions. Very good, but make sure you ask for not spicy.
The shami kebab that is minced lamb kabab blended with chickpeas and eggs. Pretty good: I love the taste of lamb, so I was in heaven. A bit spicy though...
And then their best seller:...Read more at: http://www.ijustwanttoeat.com/post/restaurant-review/kati-rolls-indian-street-food-nyc-ny
I finally made it to the Nutella bar at Eataly, the fantastic market place located close to the Flatiron. And I did not regret it! If you are a Nutella lover, this place is for you and, for sure, you will not know what to get, the choices all looking good.
I was there after lunch and so got my espresso (I am addicted to coffee). But it was not your regular espresso: it was topped with a delicious homemade whipped cream and some Nutella.
With it, I chose the bombolone, an Italian beignet that was also filled with a generous amount of Nutella (although there is never enough). It was a large beignet, well made, being not heavy and airy.
For a first...Read more at: http://www.ijustwanttoeat.com/post/review/eataly-nutella-bar-italian-nyc-ny
We heard about Blaue Gans, an Austrian restaurant located in TriBeCa, thanks to our friend Tessa and decided to have dinner there one night, as we were in that area. the place was packed for sure and it had a nice atmosphere, a bit artsy, the posters of various exhibits surely playing a role there.
I decided to accompany my meal with a glass of Riesling, "Terrassen" Federspiel, Tegenseerhof, Wachau 2014 that was deliciously sweet.
We started off our meal with the bratwurst, that was served with potatoes, sauerkraut and some horseradish that was delightfully spicy. It was a perfect way to start the meal, the sausage being delicious.
Then, Jodi went for the roasted cod, served with carrots and asparagus, and a Riesling sauce. It was a nice presentation, with beautiful colors. The fish was flakey and perfectly cooked.
On my side, I went for...Read more at: http://www.ijustwanttoeat.com/post/restaurant-review/austrian-dinner-at-blaue-gans-in-tribeca-nyc-new-york
We were really excited to have dinner at Zora's Cafe, a restaurant in Hell's Kitchen that serves soul food. We passed so many times in front of this 20 seat tiny place that I got curious. It started well, with a homemade lemonade that was delicious: not too sweet and with a perfect tartness.
And some very good homemade corn bread that was served with butter and drizzled with honey.
But then it started downhill: the kitchen, quite small, was so slow, it took forever for our food to come and it was not even hot! We got:
Hush puppies: just ok, a bit dry.
Fried green tomatoes: just ok, some slices being hard.
Linda's Mac and Cheese: promising when digging into it with a spoon, it was cold and so the cheese was not gooey.
Fortunately,...Read more at: http://www.ijustwanttoeat.com/post/restaurant-review/soul-food-at-zoras-cafe-in-hells-kitchen-nyc
When Jodi has something planned for lunch or dinner, and I end up going by myself or with a friend, I always try to find places where the food would be limited for her, like chicken or lobster places. These places can be of various level, from restaurants to take out. This time, I was at Chirping Chicken, a fast casual restaurant with, as of today, four locations in the City. I went to the one in Hell's Kitchen that was not that crowded but seemed to be a spot for police officers.
The dining room looked better than what I expected, filled with large tables. You order at the counter in the back and, if you eat there, you get a number and they will bring the food at your table.
I decided to try only chicken, although I saw many other options on their large menu: ribs, shrimp or lamb were some of them. I started first with the chicken wings, small size. I ordered them spicy but was expecting more heat. Otherwise they were good: crispy on the outside, the chicken was well cooked, moist.
Next was the 1/4 chicken meal that come with pita, a salad and one side. I admit that I did not really care much about the salad, although it could help me try to justify the fact that it was a healthy dinner...The chicken, charcoal broiled, was pretty good: moist, with a slightly crispy charred skin, there was definitely no need for any sauce with it.
The side however was...Read more at: http://www.ijustwanttoeat.com/post/restaurant-review/chirping-chicken-in-hells-kitchen-nyc-new-york
I was looking for a sake bar when I stumbled upon Sake Bar Hagi 46, the outpost of Sake Bar Hagi near Times Square. We got seated in the back of the restaurant where a large party was enjoying some food and probably too much drinking, making the noise level close to unbearable...So, needless to say that, although we enjoyed our meal there, we did not take our time to appreciate it fully and, as soon as we payed the bill, guess what? The large party left!!! I had only one fear: that they followed us!
Anyway, the food there was pretty good and I loved the fact that they served small plates so we could order a bunch of them. Here is what we had:
Frog legs karaage or deep fried frog legs. I am not sure where they found these frog legs but they were huge! The frogs were probably the size of a kitten! Otherwise, it was delicious: crispy on the outside, meaty (tastes like chicken but more bland), it was moist.
Karaage ponzu or deep fried chicken with ponzu sauce and grated daikon. Similar to the frog legs, it was crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, the chicken being well cooked. I liked the slight taste of the ponzu sauce that was not overpowering, but admit that I did not care about the daikon.
Fried pork gyoza: good, tasty, but not the best I had.
Age tofu: my least favorite dish. Not sure how they prepare this, but it was weird, a bit gelatinous. I definitely did not like the texture.
Vegetable...Read more at: http://www.ijustwanttoeat.com/post/restaurant-review/sake-bar-hagi-46-japanese-hells-kitchen
Taking its name from a village in the Town of Southampton in Suffolk County, New York, Sagaponack is a restaurant located few steps from the Flatiron. I ended up there one day after finding that they serve a surf and turf burger, a dish I never heard of before. So I went one day for lunch.
I did not go around the restaurant, but definitely, the decor sets the tone: sea and food, or I should say seafood.
I was not sure what to drink with my burger and then noticed their nice selection of cider. So, I went for a Wolffer No 139 dry white cider, that is made with 17 different varieties of apples and a small quantity of asian pear.
Then came the burger that looked fantastic: the bun was topped with a grass-fed beef patty perfectly cooked medium, bacon and some chopped lobster. It was quite big and you need to press on it to be able to take a bite, the lobster releasing some juice that I thought would make the burger soggy. But it was fine and the first bite was sublime, the lobster and the meat patty pairing well together. This is for sure a decadent dish that would satisfy the burgers and lobster lovers.
With the burger was...Read more at: http://www.ijustwanttoeat.com/post/restaurant-review/surf-and-turf-burger-at-sagaponack-in-nyc-new-york
Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
I was recently invited for a dinner at Cafe Istanbul, a restaurant on Steinway in Astoria that serves Mediterranean, Egyptian and Turkish cuisine. Opened over two months ago, this place is the dream come true of Mumbai native, Sonny, who spent 18 months creating this place, making it comfortable and very open.
Cafe Istanbul is a hookah lounge, so if you like a hookah during or after your meal, or just with a bite, this might be your spot. As I do not smoke, I did not try it, but saw many people there, enjoying it. Well, they may even have enjoyed their hookah desserts, that have exotic flavors like mango, orange of pomegranate. I never thought flavored hookah even existed.
In term of beverages, know that this is a halal restaurant, so they do not serve any alcohol. However, they offer great tea made with mint leaves. There is Moroccan (made with green tea), Egyptian (made with black tea) and Turkish. You can really taste the difference between each of them, not only by the color, but also the taste that goes from lighter (Moroccan) to stronger (Turkish).
Foodwise, we were there for a treat, prepared by Chef Fathi who is from Egypt. We started off with some hummus and babaganouj that we ate with some pita. These were delicious: the babaganouj had a delicious smokey flavor and the hummus a texture that definitely showed it was homemade. I loved the nice drop of olive oil in the middle that I mixed with these spreads while dipping my piece of pita.
Then, we got the cigars, called sigora boregi. They were made of feta cheese, parsley, dill, herb wrapped up in homemade Turkish phyllo. Some were just filled with cheese, and others with lamb as I told Sonny that I love lamb. It was very good, served with a homemade tahini sauce. The shell was hot and crispy, not too thick, and the filling melted. However, I could not really taste the lamb, whose flavor was too subtle, overpowered by the cheese that was predominant.
Next were two salads: the Turkish shepherd salad, made with feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions topped with parsley. And the fattoush salad, made with mixed greens.
But then came an appetizer I was really looking forward to try: the lamb liver. Cooked in a pan with just some oil, it reminded me the way my mom use to cook liver. Simple, but tasty. If you like liver, this is a dish I recommend.
But the lamb extravaganza did not stop there! I also got...
We were walking on 33rd, behind Penn Station, when Jodi pointed out Lobster Craft a restaurant that specializes in ...lobster...and follows the success of a food truck operated by Captain Mike, a coast guard captain and licensed lobster fisherman.
More of a casual place, you order at the counter and your order will be ready in just few minutes. I decided to go for The Coastal, their classic lobster roll served on a toasted split-top roll baked daily. They use a whole lobster from Maine, from the claws to the tail, and for sure there is a lot of it. The lobster is topped with hot butter and a pinch of their secret seasoning. I thought that it was an ok roll, the lobster being slightly overcooked and needing a bit more butter. It came with some potato chips that were...good for potato chips.
With the lobster roll, instead of a beer, I decided to go with a glass of Chardonnay, served on tap.
I admit that...Read more at: http://www.ijustwanttoeat.com/post/restaurant-review/lunch-at-lobstercraft-lobster-roll-nyc-ny
Being part of the food bloggers community is a great thing as you meet great people who enjoy good food, whether in a fancy restaurant or in a casual place. It is thanks to a blogger friend if mine, Malini, The Restaurant Fairy, that I discovered Oppa, a great Korean place in the new Gansevoort Market.
Opta means "old brother" in Korean (yes, this is not the Greek one): it is an endearing name that girls in Korea use with their male friends. When going to Oppa, you need to know few things. First, it is own by the same people who own Bar Suzette in Chelsea Market where I went for dessert after this (I love their butter and sugar crepe). Second, it might only have five seats at the counter, you can just grab your food and go in the back of the Gansevoort Market, where there are large tables...and a piano. Lastly, if you order the chicken sandwich, they will mention to you that it takes 12 minutes. It is simply because they are using an incredible machine to cook it. So do not expect to see them fry the chicken!
So, the fried chicken sandwich is called the Busan Chicken Sandwich. It is composed, besides chicken, of a brioche (really good), pickles, daikon, lettuce and sesame leaf. And when you see them applying their sauce on the chicken, you start drooling.
And then, when it comes in front of you, it is hard to wait before having that first bite. And that bite is spectacular: that chicken is definitely the star there. It is crispy, moist and comes very hot. I love the sauce that is sweet and spicy (you can ask for less spicy). The brioche bread is perfect with it as not dense. I loved it so much that I went back two days later to eat more by the way...
If you prefer a lighter version and still want to eat that fantastic crispy chicken, you can get the Bulging Wings that are made with a Bulgogi Gochujanj Chili sauce. They not only...Read more at: http://www.ijustwanttoeat.com/post/restaurant-review/fantastic-korean-fried-chicken-sandwich-at-oppa-in-the-gansevoort-market
I recently received a coupon to try Tres Carnes, a fast casual tex-mex restaurant with few locations in the city. We went to the Flatiron one and I admit that I was surprised as to how good it was, definitely better than the other restaurants in the same segment. It is not only due to the freshness of the ingredients, but also because of the slow cooked BBQ meat they serve. It is not a big place for sure, but we had no problem finding seats at the large table in the center of the dining room.
Food wise, I was surprised to see that, similar to ice cream or frozen yogurt places, they offer you to try some of the meat they serve and so, I tried the smoked brisket that was good, although not outstanding. But anyway, I decided to get a burrito called Carlito's Way, that not only contains brisket, but also smoked chicken, blackeyed-black beans, pico, radishes, cotija cheese and creme. Normally, there is rice, but I always prefer burritos without. It was quite a tasty burrito and I literally inhaled it, the two meats being a nice combination.
Jodi went for a vegetarian taco that had squash in it. It was made with a soft white tortilla.
As she did not have that...Read more at: http://www.ijustwanttoeat.com/post/restaurant-review/fast-casual-tex-mex-at-tres-carnes-near-the-flatiron
I was really looking forward for our dinner at Gazala's Place in Hell's Kitchen, sometimes craving Middle Eastern cuisine. We found it walking one afternoon on 9th Avenue, seeing the owner, Gazala Halabi making some pita at the window.
Gazala's is quite a small place so don't be surprised to have your back on your neighbor's chair. For the time we arrived to the time we left, the flow of patrons continue to arrive and go, probably having the same cravings as we did.
They have a large menu, with quite classic items for this type of cuisine and so, we decided to go with their vegetarian sampler where we could pick five different items. Our picks were: hummus, babaganouj, tahini, falafel. Overall, it was ok and I thought even disappointing. The hummus and falafel were good, but the babaganouj and tahini had a weird taste...
We ate them with their paper thin pita I mentioned before, a pita that was delicious and slightly chewy.
We also got the potato cigars that are rolled pita stuffed with mashed potatoes, curry and other spices. I loved it: it was deliciously crispy on the outside and it reminded me the ones my family cooks but more in a triangle than a cigar shape (we call them "bestel").
As were were close to Grand Central Terminal and were not that thrilled about the choices in the food court there, we decided to go to Pershing Square, a restaurant that reminded me of a brasserie because of its decor. It was definitely beautiful, with lots of light thanks to the large windows.
Food wise, they are apparently known for their breakfast, but what I wanted to try was their lobster roll that looked spectacular. Unfortunately, it felt short in delivering, mainly because the roll made it heavy, so heavy. There was a lot of lobster, but also lots of mayo...
It was served with delicious homemade potato chips, cole slaw and avocado, as well as pickles.
Jodi got the seared tuna Nicoise salad that was superb. First of all, the presentation was beautiful, looking like a deconstructed Nicoise in a way, although the french beans, kalamata olives, cherry...Read more at: http://www.ijustwanttoeat.com/post/restaurant-review/lunch-at-pershing-square-in-nyc-ny
Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
Last Saturday, we went to Bonnie's Grill in Brooklyn, a restaurant that describes itself as a "hardcore burger and wings establishment". So I could not not go to this small place that has its charm, to try...burgers and wings.
I did not feel like trying one of their beers, bottled or draught, and went for a root beer, a soda that I discovered in this country and really like, especially with burger or pizza.
We started off with the mac and cheese, that they serve in a cup, great if you love mac and cheese but do not want to overindulge. It is made with three cheese, jalapeños (did not taste them) and bacon bites (I got a big piece of bacon in it). It was good, creamy and tasty.
Next were the wings: I got a smaller portion considering that I wanted to try the burger to. I liked them: crispy on the outside, the chicken was moist, and the sauce delicious and mild, although I ordered it medium spicy.
Then came the burgers that were prepared on the grill behind the bar, filling the room with a nice scent.
Jodi went for the spiced veggie burger with mushrooms, avocado and pickles, with fries; a fairly good veggie burger I would say.
On my side, I went with the spiced black angus burger and just ordered some American cheese on top. The 8oz patty had a nice char and was juicy, slightly overcooked unfortunately (I asked for medium). But overall, it was a good burger and I was scared at first that the grilled bread would be dry based on how it looked, but it was...Read more at:
I was recently invited at Bettola, an Italian restaurant located on the Upper West Side with a fantastic background story. This place is under new management since May of this year and I would say a colorful management. It all started in a ski trip where co-owner Giga Leszay met a rockstar turned Chef Vlado Kolenic. Yes, you heard well: rockstar turned Chef. Vlado was the lead singer of Taktici, a popular band in former Czechoslovakia that defected from the iron curtain at the end of the 70s. This is an incredible story that you can find here, on this short video. When Giga saw an opportunity to take over the ownership of Bettola, she did not hesitate and reached out to Vlado, as she needed a new Chef. Et Voila!
I like the place: warm, it definitely has this neighborhood feel that Giga and Vlado are shooting for, ensuring that people have a good time there. What I like is that they are not trying to be the best Italian in New York, but simply provide a nice experience to their patrons. But don't get me wrong, their food, although not 100% Italian, is quite good. And I am even amazed by it considering how tiny their kitchen is!
Here is what we tried:
Crab balls, a take on Italian meatballs with simply crab...balls served with marinara sauce (small tasting portion):
Eggplant Napoleon, roasted eggplant, tomato and mozzarella, baked In their wood-burning oven:
I should in fact mention that they have a wood fire oven that they were able to get through a grandfather clause, as the construction of new wood-burning ovens is restricted. There, they cook also the meatballs as well as pizza. And we tried one: the Bianca, made with mozzarella, parmesan, mushrooms and truffle oil. Definitely a great pizza, thin in the center, with nice charred bubbles on the outside.
Next was the Wise Guys Bolognese, homemade fettuccine with meat sauce: simply delicious and comforting.
Shrimp Prosecco, that are served with a sauce that has coconut milk in it, and with Israeli couscous.
As we were talking about seafood with Vlado, he insisted...Read more at: http://www.ijustwanttoeat.com/post/restaurant-review/bettola-italian-upper-west-side-vlado-kolenic-taktici-new-york-nyc
It has been a while since we wanted to try Honeygrow, a casual dining place that serves locally sourced high quality ingredients. So we made it and I admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the experience. First, I like the minimalist decor, very naturalistic and zen, with the light colored wood and the black and white photos.
Then there is the food. I did not expect the screen where you can choose either to pick one of their composed dishes or customize one, going from salad to stir-fry.
Once your order is placed, they prepare it in the open kitchen and I think we got it in probably 6 or 7 minutes. Very efficient!
Jodi went for a salad that she made with arugula, romaine, tomatoes, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, pear, egg, parmesan crisps and mustard soy sauce on the side (not enough though).
On my side, I chose to make my own stir-fry with egg white noodles, free-range chicken, egg, carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, sesame seeds, roasted cashews and a sweet soy five spices.
I only...Read more at: http://www.ijustwanttoeat.com/post/restaurant-review/honeygrow-in-hoboken-nj-healthy-eating