ManhattanTwist’s Reviews

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ManhattanTwist's Recent Reviews



Coarse Interior


The West Village is home to some of the city’s best restaurants, so its fitting that Chef Vincent Chirico opened up Coarse right in the heart of it. The restaurant is covered with graffiti-style faces drawn by Noëmi Manser, along with street photography by Amon Focus, giving it a cool New York City vibe. The space seems to center around a big concrete ‘floating’ communal table in the middle of the space, with smaller banquettes and tables surrounding it. Even the restroom will bring a smile to your face, with more of its cheeky artwork within.






Now, Coarse isn’t your typical restaurant –guests who make a reservation for the tasting menu paired with beverages ($79) or without ($59) will dine at the aforementioned chef’s communal table. An a la carte menu is available for those not seated at the communal table. When we had the opportunity to dine here, we tried out the tasting menu without beverage pairings. Each course seemed to be better than the last.




We enjoyed a couple of courses before we got to a dish comprised of oyster mushroom, soft egg and white truffle. The chef came to our table and shaved fresh truffle on top – it was outstanding. The presentation was wonderful and the combination of ingredients made for a mouthwatering dish.




The Alaskan king crab with chili was a tease – it was just enough to get a hankering for more, with fresh, tender crab meat, garnished with a spicy kick of sauce.




The hands down favorite of the evening was the beef short rib with parsnip puree. It was unfair how tender the meat was. We could have had a few more plates of this baby.




For something a little outside of the box, Coarse is a sound choice for a fun, intimate dining experience. We might just be back for more.




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The upper 50’s/lower 60’s on the east side of Manhattan is a bit of a geographic no man’s land. Not quite Midtown, not quite the Upper East Side, this area has taken on some alter egos in the past few years (Turtle Bay, Tudor City, Sutton Place – ish), but it still gives off the feeling it doesn’t quite belong.  Luckily, restaurants keep opening up here, giving it more of a residential, neighborhood-y vibe.


Simon Indian Palace is the newest addition to this budding area, and for a restaurant that’s only been open for two weeks, they’ve done a remarkable job at both running the restaurant, as well as marketing its opening. The staff is warm and attentive, and in lieu of its missing liquor license, is currently BYOB.


Here’s what we ate:




Garlic Cauliflower


Crisp florets of cauliflower are fried and smothered in a sauce reminiscent of a sesame chicken glaze.  This was one of my favorite dishes of the night – the simplicity of it made it an approachable dish for someone not very familiar with Indian cuisine.


Lamb Korma


Succulent hunks of lamb in an almond-flavored curry was absolutely fantastic. With Indian food, I tend to fall into a rut of re-ordering the same dishes by rote. It was nice to get outside my comfort zone and try something new, and this was a home run.


Vegetables 2


Vegetable Jalfreazi 


Mixed vegetables like cauliflower, red bell peppers, and eggplant cooked in a tomato-based sauce accompanied by garlic rice. A delicious way to eat your veggies.


Naan 2




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Chalk Point KitchenChalk Point Kitchen
American (Traditional) / Vegetarian




A SoHo favorite amongst chronic brunch attendees, Chalk Point Kitchen once again proves that it is so much more than avocado toast. The Kitchen’s refreshed winter menu has arrived, offering something for everyone, and doing it all with comfort and style.


The cozy country aesthetic and the gracious staff are the cornerstones of the success of Chalk Point Kitchen, but the real beauty of the place is that it is always reinventing itself. Rather than resting on its laurels, the kitchen turns over new menu items seasonally, as well as weekly, keeping things fresh for even their most regular of guests.




We had the opportunity to sample some of the dishes off the revived winter dinner menu – here’s what we loved:


Hudson Valley Dug Leg Confit




I recently had a duck confit at a well-known French bistro in SoHo (that shall remain nameless), and I have to say that that duck could not hold a candle to the duck confit at Chalk Point. Zesty and moist, this dish was paired with roasted delicata squash, Brussels sprouts, walnuts, and a mustard seed dressing, and successfully outshone everything on that plate. What an incredible way to kick off our meal.


Cast Iron Seared Octopus




Local beets and puffed amaranth give this octopus a shot at ingenuity, and it is a solid appetizer, but the duck confit was a tough act to follow.


Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb




Two meaty chops, crusted with whole grain mustard, crackle as your fork and knife split them apart.  Crispy chickpea fritters and roasted cauliflower accompany the meat for a bit of variance, and red wine roasted black figs add a sweetness that you didn’t even realize you needed. A spoonful of lemon-juniper yogurt completes the umami packed entrée, one of the best I’ve had in a while.


Roasted Carrots




This dish has been around almost as long as Chalk Point itself, and it’s no surprise why. Feta, black truffle and lemon layer on top of each combine so well that each bite explodes with a cheesy, truffley, lemony lilt to a perfectly toasted carrot.


Mushroom Gratinee




Cold weather calls for stick to your ribs dishes like this one, and you can rest a little easier knowing that the main component is mushroom. Hudson Valley camembert oozes over the grilled caps that are garnished with a drizzle of sherry, toasted rosemary and gluten free bread crumbs. It is the stuff non-hallucinogenic mushroom dreams are made of.


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spoon table and barspoon table and bar
American / Cafes / Breakfast & Brunch




Tucked away on a quiet stretch of Madison Avenue is a homey restaurant invoking the feeling of a small town. White wood walls give it a seaside vibe, and all the manic energy of the city outside quietly melts away as your sip your first glass of wine from an interesting and off the beaten path wines-by-the-glass list.


Years of experience, hospitality and love have gone into a restaurant that has worked hard to reinvent itself. Spoon Table & Bar‘s new location has churned the wheels of innovation, as well as recruited a new band of followers. Though a short walk from its original Flatiron location, the cultural disparities are just jarring enough to spark a conversation. Owner and Executive Chef Melissa Chmelar has been in the restaurant business for over fifteen years, and her warmth and dedication to her craft are as tangible as they are infectious.


Spoon offers comfort food prepared simply and deliciously, for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, and is a grounding addition to the revolving door of this neighborhood.


Here’s what we ate:




Berkshire Pork Chop


Grilled and on the bone, this bright ray of meaty sunshine was smothered in a whole grain mustard sauce and served with creamy, scallion-y smashed potatoes and flash-fried Swiss chard and kale.  Zesty and just a little bit spicy, this was a home run.




Fried Chicken Sammie


Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside: this is how a fried chicken sandwich is done. The bourbon pickled green tomato and fennel slaw didn’t hurt, either. If you’re in the mood for a stick to your ribs sandwich, this is the way to go.




Cauliflower Steak


Showcased by capers, slivered almonds, and lemon zest, this side dish would provide a welcome burst of brightness to any table.




Banoffee Pudding


Fresh bananas float atop layered piles of dulce de leche and vanilla pudding. Garnished with whipped cream, chocolate chips, and stroopwafel, which adds both a crunchy texture and a vessel with which to scoop the pudding. Thinking I was too full for dessert, I nearly passed on this sweet gem. Don’t make the same mistake – save room for dessert.



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Luke's LobsterLuke's Lobster
American (Traditional) / Seafood / Lobster Rolls




Luke’s Lobster is a staple in New York City. Since it first opened in the East Village back in 2009, it has grown to have multiple locations, not only in New York, but across the country. The restaurant is known for serving up sustainable Maine-style seafood dishes, and we are big fans.


Their Midtown East location hosted us to try their new Winter menu and we’ll give you the inside scoop. Here’s what’s new:




Tail & Kale Salad: This salad, comprised of baby kale, warm quinoa, chickpeas, pickled red onions, roasted pumpkin seeds, and doused in Luke’s poppy seed vinaigrette is a great way to warm up with something slightly lighter.




L.G.C.: Due to its popularity last year, Luke’s Lobster has brought its lobster and gruyere grilled cheese. Honestly, what’s not to love?




C.G.C.: Our favorite on the new menu is this killer crab and gruyere grilled cheese. It is the perfect cold night treat — we’ve been dreaming about it for weeks. Plus, both the grilled cheeses are great when paired (and dipped) in their clam chowder.


So when the weather gets colder and you need something savory to warm you up, head to your local Luke’s to check out their limited time offerings this season.



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Ellen's Stardust DinerEllen's Stardust Diner
Burgers / Sandwiches / Diners




Many a New Yorker has heard of the infamous Ellen’s Stardust Diner. Located in the heart of Times Square, it’s not ideally situated for a seasoned New Yorker who tends to avoid the crowded hub, but that’s no reason to miss out on the musical fare that tourists flock to.


The retro 50’s themed diner attracts many out-of-towners to see their world famous singing waitstaff, also known at ‘Stardusters.’ The locale has launched many Broadway careers and once you hear some of these performers you’ll see why. Plus, with sky high rents in the city, it’s not often we have the dough to spend on tickets to a Broadway show, so the appeal here is great. For just the price of breakfast, lunch or dinner, you can hear some of your favorite show tunes all sung by talented and enthusiastic up and comers.




For dinner, we stuck with the diner classics — burgers, fries and shakes. We whet our appetites with the highly recommended Stardust Nachos, served with pepper jack and cheddar cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream (we added chili and chicken atop ours). This was a great, greasy and cheesy way to begin any meal, if you ask me.






With plenty of burger selections, as well as other entrees, it was tough to make a decision, but we went with the Be Bop a Lula Burger (it even sounded fun), topped with American cheese, bacon, grilled onions and sauteed mushrooms. It came with plenty of fries and we ate more of it than we expected to after all those nachos. But it was a good burger and I’d definitely have it again.






But our favorite thing we tried here was most definitely the S’mores Milkshake. We don’t know how they managed it, but it really tasted like a s’more, even down to the smoky, burnt flavor of the graham cracker and marshmallows. It was seriously amazing.


So if you’re looking for a little music to brighten up your day and a good burger and shake to fill your stomach, get out of your comfort zone and venture to Times Square and pose as a tourist for a day at Ellen’s Stardust Diner.


Twisted Talk: Have you ever been to Ellen’s Stardust Diner before? What was your favorite thing on the menu? Discuss below!


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Untamed SandwichesUntamed Sandwiches
Sandwiches / Gluten-Free





The sophomore follow-up to its Midtown West flagship, the new Dumbo location seeks to bring flavor and style to this ultra-hip, start-up focused neighborhood.


With cleverly named sandwiches built for all types of eaters, Untamed is a fun, satisfying way to chow down between the bread. Not crazy about bread? Don’t worry, the owners have got you covered. You can opt for a platter, served over cheddar jalapeno grits, or have your meats and veggies served over a salad of fresh market greens and a lemon vinaigrette. Gluten-free bread is also available.


Here’s what we loved:




The sandwich that started it all, this OG is still as satisfying as ever. Red wine braised goat meat, carrots, kohlrabi slaw and whipped goat cheese come together to form the perfect combination of savory goodness.


The Butt


Pretty self-explanatory, but this pork butt braised in cider adds an extra hint of sweetness to these already hefty sandwiches. Sharp cheddar cheese and broccoli rabe round it out, with the the one-two punch of pepper jelly and Dijon mustard for extra flavor.




Sheemaker’s Bounty


Quite possibly one of the strangest combinations to hit even a vegan restaurant, this sandwich fries almond butter and pairs it with charred broccoli and pickled raisin jelly, giving it a cruciferous take on a PB&J. Bizarre as this combo may be, I couldn’t put it down.


Nettle Neck


The flavor of this was too pronounced for my liking, but this sandwich rips your favorite Easter dish off the tablecloth-covered dining room table and repurposes it for an on-the-go scenario. The bread is slathered with a delightful walnut nettle pesto, the better to accentuate the braised lamb neck within. Gruyere cheese is a fantastic pairing but the baby onions and grilled onion tops are so prominent that it drowns out anything else in each bite.




Frere Jacques


Beef brisket, caramelized onions, whole grain mustard, and gruyere cheese. Classic French, classic sandwich. Can’t lose with this one.






This newly renovated lunch spot on 28th Street and Madison Avenue evokes the esthetic of Venice Beach, California. The wide, open dining room, floor to ceiling windows, and white washed walls makes it a very calming environment to order a very healthy lunch.


Not only is the food here healthy and packed with as much flavor as it is nutrients, but it is all locally, organically sourced, with emphasis placed on in-season ingredients and a constant commitment to freshness. EXKi is derived from the French word “exquis,” which means exquisite or delightful.  EXKi’s goal is to provide a healthy and delightful experience that keeps guests coming back for more. The service at EXKi is kind and helpful, and you couldn’t ask for a better overall lunch time dining experience.


Here’s what we loved:


Bowls Bowls Bowls




The main attraction here at EXKI are the grain bowls, which you can craft yourself or order one of the house specials. You can also order these over greens, but the grains really make it a substantial lunch option that won’t leave you hankering for a 3pm snack.


We ordered the rosemary garnished salmon bowl, which is served over a quinoa/cauliflower rice blend, roasted broccoli, and toasted almonds. I chose to add a butternut squash sauce, which was absolutely the right call.


The roasted chicken bowl was also a solid choice, served with farro, watercress, roasted peppers and toasted walnut dressing. It was so refreshing to sample two different main dishes that don’t sacrifice flavor for health.




The matcha latte, at the very height of fashion right now, is an absolute must, along with off the beaten path brands of teas, lemonades, and flavored seltzers, all of which are delicious, and healthy!


If you’re eating at the same sad salad place every day or trying to slim down before the holiday rush, check out Exki when you can. You won’t be disappointed.


Twisted Talk: Have you been to either of these places before? What’s do you normally eat for lunch? Discuss below!


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A dojo in the middle of the East Village, Robataya ramps up the American ideal of Japan in a glittering commercial of a meal. Empty bottles of sake line the wood-paneled walls and the giant table in the entryway seats 24 and overtakes the room


Fresh fish and vegetables are on display in baskets, and everything here, from mushrooms to mackerel to wooden mats are part of the decor. The autumnal season’s bounty is laid out on display, a cornucopia of abundance in honor of the changing seasons.




We’re here to pay homage to the harvest, and the menu showcases elements of autumn that inspire the feeling of crisp days where you want to cozy up with a robust glass of wine and a oversized sweater. Being that Japanese food always falls to the lighter side of the pendulum, it’s negligible that the actual weather doesn’t agree with that sentiment – it’s 75 and humid.




No matter, because every dish at Robataya is executed with precision, and lacks no flair – two chefs cook behind the enormous bar, often hopping up to grab more vegetables or fish from the display.


Here’s what we loved:


Fig sesame tofu 




The tofu is simple, slippery and sweet, and it’s a wonderful combination to prep the palette for the meal to come.






Comprised of three different species, the variety in the sashimi contrasted enough to present a nice range. File fish tastes vaguely of citrus but is light and delicate, file fish skin is scratchy and salty and wonderful. The big eye snapper is reminiscent of tuna – all fatty and wonderfully fresh.


Robataya Roll




Next up was the sukiyaki soy beef and tonkatsu fried pork roll, wrapped with meats served in sushi form. It was incredibly interesting and innovative to have rice and vegetables wrapped with meat, but it really worked well together.


Uni Shiokobu Yaki




Though I’m a bit of an uni fanatic, I’ve never had it grilled before, and it was fantastic – earthy and nutty and sweet all at the same time. The salted seaweed accentuated the natural flavors of the uni, and the presentation was whimsical and well thought out. This was by far my favorite dish of the evening.


Cooked Rice and Salmon with Salmon Roe




Though this dish was delicious, it checks all the boxes normally filled by the “hot” portion of a standard sushi restaurant. I’d like to come back to sample other entrée options, but the salmon roe in this dish was substantial.




It should be noted that there was a ceremony of mochi-pounding, an autumnal ritual in Japan, that took place in Robataya the night I attended. Fresh mochi is starchy and delicious, and very much unlike the kind found in the frozen section of your local supermarket. That’s one of the things I loved about Robataya — with every course came another surprise.


Robata is a type of Japanese grill, and ya is place – a place of grills. While this is the most simplistic of summations, we couldn’t think of a better place for grilling and eating than Robataya.


Twisted Talk: Where do you go for Japanese cuisine in the city? What’s your favorite type of Japanese cuisine? Discuss below!


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If you’ve ever seen Meet the Parents then you know that Koh Samui is an island off the coast of Thailand. Named after this island oasis, Samui, a new Brooklyn restaurant, dishes out Southeast Asian inspired fare in the midst of Fort Greene. Chef and owner A. Napadol brings a healthier version of Thai to the borough with a less saucy and sugary version of Thai favorites.






The menu, comprised of dishes utilizing locally sourced ingredients, has a number of small plates, soups and salads, noodles, rice dishes, as well as bigger staples. All of the dishes are based on family recipes, infused with some European influences. These influences are not only found in the food, but in the cocktail list, as well. Twists on classics make for an interesting, yet tasty surprise in drinks such as the Ginger Caiprinha (Cachaça, Canton, lime) and the Pickled Pepper Martini (Prairie Vodka, Thai pickles, peppers). The Tumeric Garlic Chicken Wings, served with a sweet chili peanut dip, made for a wonderful appetizer. The juicy chicken, complemented by the crispy skin, was packed with flavor and the sauce brought us right to Thailand. The Curry Puffs also felt like a must-try as they are a staple on Thai menus everywhere, and they were tasty, but if you only opt for one app, go for the wings.




We also had to try their Pad Thai, because no visit to a Thai eatery is complete without these yummy noodles. You can choose between vegetarian, shrimp and chicken and we ended up trying the shrimp pad thai. Unsurprisingly, it was delicious. We’d love to go back and try their drunken noodles next! We also opted for their Salmon Panang Curry, which was one of our favorite dishes of the evening. The sauce was phenomenal and the fish was cooked perfectly. It was almost disappointing eating here because we wanted to try everything on the menu and were unable to. We didn’t have room for dessert, but we definitely have room in our schedule for a return trip soon.


Twisted Talk: What’s your favorite Thai spot in the city? Do you head to Fort Greene often? Discuss below!


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The owners of Malt House, a cozy neighborhood bar in Greenwich Village, have outdone themselves with their monolith of a second location in the Financial District. With Chef Armando Avila (formerly of STK and Five Napkin Burger) at the helm of both restaurants, this upscale dining experience elevates all of the reasons you loved the original location.


The Financial District location of Malt House is a testament to seventeen months of renovation and intricate interior design that is built off of the original structure of this 7,000 square foot space. The restaurant is three floors, consisting of the main dining room and 60-foot bar, an upper mezzanine level with additional seating for dining, as well as a private dining room, and the lower level, chicly named the Armory Cocktail Parlour, which was my favorite floor. The Armory boasts Manhattan’s largest American Whiskey collection to date, with over 200 whiskies available on a nightly basis, and a rotating list of historically themed cocktails.


For two Irish immigrants who love their adopted homeland, this restaurant pays homage to Old New York, and the effort put into this renovation is elegantly paired with a deep rooted passion for American dining. With a rapid increase in residential properties in the Financial District, Malt House has quickly escalated to a neighborhood hot spot, drawing large crowds after the work day, as well as on the weekends. The polished, homey feel of Malt House is undeniable.


Here’s what we ate:


Avocado Bacon Deviled Eggs




I’ll let that sink in for a minute. This combination of ingredients makes for an excellent twist on a tavern classic.


Crab and Artichoke Dip




Despite the fact that this dish contains three cheeses, there was a light, airy quality to this dip that makes it very approachable. The plantain chips are also a great twist on a dish that usually comes with pita or tortilla chips.


Slow Braised Short Rib Sliders




Pan seared and incredibly tender, the rosemary caramelized onions complete this decadent dish that is always a great option for sharing.


Wagyu House Blend Burger




This blend is made in house and garnished with hickory smoked bacon and pesto aioli for an extra kick of flavor, and is absolutely terrific. If you love a good bar burger to go with your beer, this is a slam dunk.


Blackened Alaskan Salmon Po Boy


Not something I would normally order, this sandwich was an excellent alternative to the normal offerings at an American tavern like Malt House. The grilled onions and cucumbers accentuated the Cajun spices on the salmon, and the French fries are (as always) well done and delicious.


Twisted Talk: Have you ever been to any Malt House locations? What’s your favorite dish? Discuss below!


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via Manhattan Digest Credit: Jason Greenspan

via Manhattan Digest
Credit: Jason Greenspan


PN Wood Fire Pizza is the newest addition to the blossoming food scene north of Madison Square Park. PN stands for Pecore Nere, or black sheep, because this is a place where no one is afraid to stand out. Utilizing ancient grains, which are not refined nor enriched, is a cornerstone of the business model at PN. Each pizza is made to order with your choice of multigrain or stone-ground flour, along with six other flour options for an ultra-personalized pizza experience.


Open for only four months, this quaint and cozy pizzeria will no doubt evolve into a neighborhood gem as well as a sought after pizza destination. The walls are decorated with giant bags of flour, with conversation starting canvases plastered with descriptions of each ancient grain used in all of PN’s delicious pizzas.


Owner Giacomo Baldi greets you with a firm handshake and a warm smile, welcoming you into his restaurant as if it were his living room. His knowledge of food and wine, as well as his charming and relaxed attitude make for an excellent pairing.


Here’s what we ate:


Prosciutto Mozzarella Crostini




A heartier take on bruschetta, this well balanced crostini was a fantastic way to kick off my meal.


Eggplant Parm


eggplant parm


This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. The eggplant is grilled instead of fried, changing the entire concept of a classic Italian staple. It made for a lighter, guilt-free version that made me feel like I was in a weightwatchers commercial…except it was delicious.


Truffle Meatballs


60% pork, 40% beef, and 100% truffle flavored, these meatballs give my mother’s a run for her money.




pesto gnocchi


There was a lot going on in this dish, and it seemed a bit ambitious for a restaurant marketing itself as a smarter pizzeria. Zucchini pesto flavored and topped with slivered almonds and pine nuts just seemed overwhelming for a pasta that is already dense to begin with.


Shrimp Pizza


shrimp pizza


If you are a seafood fanatic, this is a dream come true. This newest addition to the menu is bold and ambitious in a way that is completely successful. The abundance of pea shoots give it a light, springy feel. The multigrain crust smells earthy and has a weighty feel to it that is different from a semolina or a white flour, and actually balances the lightness of the shrimp very well.


Tartufo Pizza




As if you needed an excuse to order this, it was my favorite dish of the night. White pizza comprised of fresh mozzarella and raw Tuscan sheep’s milk so gooey and light that it feels like you’re eating a cheesy cloud. Artichokes and peppery pancetta complete the pizza’s substantial ingredients, but it is the black truffle puree that really brings it all together.


If you’re curious about the use of different kinds of grain for pizza dough, are in the NoMad area, or are just in the mood for a reasonably priced, stellar meal, swing by PN Wood Fire Pizza. You won’t be disappointed.


Twisted Talk: Have you tried out New York’s hot new pizzeria yet? What’s your favorite kind of pizza? Discuss below!


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Gallow GreenGallow Green
American (New) / Cocktail Bars


more roof


Perched atop the McKittrick Hotel that is best known for housing the theatrical production Sleep No More is a hidden gem called Gallow Green. Fauna and flora drape themselves across refurbished wooden beams, creating an air of rustic warmth that is not especially common in this part of the city.


Executive Chef Pascal Leseach’s new menu features innovative pizzas and appetizers meant for sharing. The updated cocktail list is excellent, each drink better than the next, and ties in nicely to the Shakespearean theme enacted in the theatre below.




Here’s what we loved off of the new menu:


Charcuterie Board


meat plate


It seems silly to place a charcuterie board on your favorites list, but this was done so well that it’s worth mentioning. Thick slices of proscuitto, funky foie gras mousse, and a saucisson salami paired with toast points was an awesome way to kick start the meal.


Lamb Meatballs


lamb meatballs


While I usually prefer my meatballs to have a bit of a crispy outer layer, the flavor on these bad boys is superb. A must order, especially if you’re there with a group.


Squash Blossoms


squash blossoms w crab


Fried squash flowers stuffed with jumbo lump crab meat. Do I need to say any more?


Margerita Pizza


You can’t beat a good Margherita pizza, and this one does the trick: fiore de latte mozzarella, tomato and basil, all come together for a simple, delicious classic.


Tunisian Pizza


Off the beaten path, this exotic pie featured merguez sausage, eggplant, and feta cheese, easily making it our favorite of the evening.


lobster roll


To drink: Honestly, all four cocktails were superb, but my personal preferences lead me to favor the below:


A Rose by Any Other Name


Michter’s Rye, rooibos and rosehip tea, and fresh lemon made this my favorite drink of the evening. If you’re a brown liquor drinker, this is a light refreshing take on your favorite drank.


Something Wicked


something wicked


Corralejo tequila with fresh pineapple, piri piri, and tamarind infused agave made this drink a spicy, flavorful drink that you can enjoy again and again (especially in one sitting!). Piri piri is an African bird eye chili, so this one does have a kick to it, but it’s well worth the initial shock factor.


Twisted Talk: Have you been to Gallow Green before? What’s your favorite rooftop in the city? Discuss below!


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Mediterranean / Greek / Cocktail Bars




As someone who reviews restaurants for a living, it’s always a wonderful treat when one really surprises you. Such is the case with recently opened 1633, located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. You won’t be able to sneak a peek inside, as small porthole-type windows guard against sidewalk rubberneckers. And instead of entering through the main dining room like most restaurants, you will be escorted inside through the kitchen, where you will receive a small snack from the chef, before proceeding on to your table.




The dining room itself is a treat, with floral wallpaper on the ceiling, a flowing fountain, neon lights, and a smorgasbord of other details, which somehow all work together to create a fun dining experience. The restaurant serves mezepoli-style cuisine with whimsical, playful names and style — chef Dionisis Liakopoulos reconstructs common Greek dishes into new and exciting fare that excites diners. We started with the Mousse-AKA, a short rib, zucchini and eggplant ratatouille with torched bechamel and graviera chips. This is a must-have item! It was so satisfying we could have left after this dish and been happy. We also tried their potato croquettes, which were hearty and very addictive.


1633_ nyc_croquettes




For the main show, we tried two highly recommended dishes — the Lazy Beef (braised short rib, trahana risotto, tomato molasses) and Gregory’s Comfort (roulade of organic chicken, sliced fries, roasted tomatoes, horned peppers, graviera). The former was definitely my favorite of the two, with plenty of flavor a new variation on risotto I hadn’t tried before, while the latter had a nice, crispy skin to it and was juicy and tender.






Paired with our meal, we tried two of Zane Harris’s cocktail concoctions. The Moro Mou is a spin on a margarita, with tequila, lime, salted pistachio orgeat and nutmeg, giving it a nutty flavor to balance out the sweetness, while Jen’s Blossom was a lighter, more refreshing choice with old tom gin and strawberry-rhubarb-black pepper srub.


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With all deliciousness of dinner weighing us down, dessert seemed unthinkable by the end of the meal. Despite our protests, the chef still brought us out a treat of a small chocolate jelly type sweet, which left us feeling just a little bit sweeter.


1633 is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5pm-2am.


Twisted Talk: Have you been to 1633 yet? What do you think of this unique menu? Discuss below!


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kitchen sink


Formerly referred to under the umbrella of “upstate New York,” Beacon, a small town in the Hudson River Valley, is undergoing a cultural facelift.


A different kind of gentrification is occurring here, one that allows Beacon to shine, embracing its quirkiness and its distinct personality that separates it from the rest of the towns dotting the landscape of this lush river valley.


Kitchen Sink, a fledgling restaurant that is as endearing as its name, encompasses the hip vibe that is lending Beacon its renaissance. Flanked by kitchen-themed décor and gorgeous wood work, Kitchen Sink is at once kitschy and quite serious, and aims to make you feel as if you are eating in someone’s home rather than a restaurant, without sacrificing technical acumen.


table view of KS


One year in, executive chef and owner Brian Arnoff charms and disarms his clientele with expert technique and ambitious flavors. Like many restaurants in the Hudson Valley, this ever changing menu is seasonally driven, and the freshness in each dish highlights Kitchen Sink’s close proximity to quality local ingredients.


Arnoff’s skill set only enhances these dishes by presenting accurate portrayals of different types of cuisines the world over, and seamlessly integrating myriad recipes into an innovative menu that excites. It is not every day you find a staple of Vietnamese cuisine (Banh Xeo) alongside Indian-style butter chicken and have BOTH dishes perfectly executed.


A simple salad of local greens and a light lemon vinaigrette prepares you for the delightful, outside the box dishes that are to follow.




Kreplach, pierogi style dumplings that are crispy and flaky like egg rolls, are stuffed with tender, oniony brisket. My family fought over the last one, and I’m guessing we aren’t the first or the last to do so.


carrot soup


Chilled carrot soup, something I wouldn’t instinctively order, was so highly recommended by our very attentive server that I felt it was a must. I maintain that is the case, as nobody can say no to a bright and refreshing chilled soup with a dollop of crème fraiche.


sa bass


Sea bass is poached and paired with bright spring vegetables, flavorful onions, and a light risotto in vegetable stock. I found myself slurping up the jus with a spoon.


Walnuts and spicy ground lamb and a double helix of umami came together to form elegant patties for the lamb kofta, enhanced by a creamy chickpea puree, sour yogurt, and a spicy carrot slaw.


butter chicken


Butter chicken seems transported straight out of an Indian restaurant, with heaping piles of white and dark meat swimming in a hearty tikka masala sauce and resting atop a bed of spinach couscous. This was definitely a top contender for favorite dish of the evening.


steak banh xeo


Steak Banh Xeo is a whimsical take on a traditional Vietnamese Banh Xeo. This savory turmeric and rice flour crepe was adorned with a rare steak, cooked for 24 hours in a sous vide, and was by far my favorite thing on the table.


If you live near Beacon (or even if you’re just up for the day), be sure to swing by one of the contributing factors that has allowed Beacon to come into its own as a place with a unique identity and a story all its own.


Twisted Talk: Have you ever been to Beacon, NY before? What’s your favorite restaurant in town? Discuss below!


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Have you ever wanted to sip rosé on a patio in Saint-Tropez or drink copious amounts of champagne with friends in the French Riviera? Well you can, sort of. Nestled away in the uber-chic area of the Meatpacking District sits the infamous Bagatelle.


While not new to the neighborhood, since its reopening in 2012, the French bistro, which seats 95 people, has been making quite a name for itself. Breathtaking is the perfect way to describe the decorative moldings, crystal chandeliers, interesting artwork and striking white décor. Bagatelle NY has quite a reputation for its extravagant brunches, but they want you to know that they own lunch, as well.




The new summer prix fixe lunch menu at Bagatelle is one not to be missed. For just $29, you are able to indulge in an appetizer, a main course and dessert. Starters include halibut ceviche with micro cilantro and gnocchi truffes à la Parisienne de Nicolas—homemade gnocchi with black truffle pesto filling and truffle sauce. The main dishes will have your mouth watering, too. In the mood for a burger? Try Bagatelle’s twist — the Salmon Burger. It’s served with tomato confit and tartar sauce on a wheat bun. I always love a good pasta dish for lunch and the tomato linguine with a hearty meatball was no exception, however, I suggest you try to save room for dessert. The prix fixe menu offers a sorbet, Choux Choux Caramel and a plate of delectable seasonal fruit. And while it may be lunch, don’t forget about Bagatelle’s impressive champagne and wine list. A glass of bubbly complements any meal!




If you’ve visited Bagatelle for brunch or dinner, then you know you’re in for a treat. Bagatelle NY opens at 11:30 for lunch, Monday – Friday.


Twisted Talk: Have you dined at Bagatelle before? What’s your favorite dish? Discuss below!


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henri's backyard backyard


More of a companion piece than a sequel, the second Brooklyn-based restaurant by restauranteur Binh Douglas of the HENRI Hospitality Group is off to a great start. In a cozy space previously occupied by the Pickle Shack, Henri’s Backyard is a “bar-forward” laid back environment in which to sip a cocktail and an assortment of snacks under the protective canopy of shady trees in the heart of Gowanus.


Here’s what we loved:




henri's bourbon cocktial


A bourbon based cocktail artfully mixed with a berry puree and a champagne floater, this drink was light and breezy while still being whiskey based, a tough accomplishment in 90-degree heat. It was our favorite drink of the night.


Life’s a Peach


A softer option, this rum-based cocktail with muddled peaches and St. Germaine added more of a feminine feel to this cocktail list.


Veggie Chips and Dip


henri's veggie chips ad dip


Bean dip can usually go one of two ways – bland and starchy or flavorful and creamy. I’m happy to report that this rendition was the latter, and we kept going back for more.


The Un-Kosher Dog


henry's hot dog


This is a hot dog wrapped in bacon. I don’t think you need any more incentive here, but in case you do, the mustard and pico de gallo dressing make for solid selling points.


Corn on a Cob


henry's corn elote (1)


Served in the traditional Mexican elote style, this cob is topped with a potent garlic mayo, cotija cheese, and a zesty chili lime salt.


BK Made Veggie Burger


Never one to seek out a veggie burger, this was one of the best I’ve had in quite some time. Spicy sprouts and quinoa make up the base of the patty, and the herbed yogurt sauce is a wonderful accompaniment to the hearty multi grain bun.


Vietnamese Baby Back Ribs


Sticky and spicy, these ribs make for a rich, fatty entrée when you’re feeling gluttonous, or an appetizer to share with friends you’re not afraid to get down and dirty with. Have wipes handy because you’re not going to want to skimp on the sauce.


henri's backyard beer taps


HENRI’s Backyard is sure to become a regular part of your Gowanus rotation by bringing the best backyard straight to your backyard.


Twisted Talk: Have you been to HENRI’s yet? What’s your favorite summer spot in Brooklyn? Discuss below!


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Bill’s TownhouseBill’s Townhouse
American (New) / Sandwiches / Salad


Bill's Townhouse Bar


This could just be one of my favorite new spots in town. Visiting Bill’s Townhouse is a wondrous delight…the recently reopened three story townhouse is like a museum, with old black and white photographs covering the walls, a library of leather bound books, and all the ambiance of a mid-1800’s speakeasy. If it weren’t for the delicious food, we’d spend our whole evening here wandering into every nook and cranny. bills_townhouse_noodles


As we mentioned, the townhouse dates back to the 1800’s, and has hosted a famous speakeasy during Prohibition, as well as Bill’s Gay Nineties. In keeping with the theme (and name), Bill’s Townhouse serving speakeasy-themed cocktails and live piano in the tavern Monday through Friday from 8-11pm (and it’s awesome).






The menu here boasts a great raw bar, as well as some out-of-the-ordinary classic American dishes like lobster thermidor and beef wellington. These old school bites are not to be missed. We started off our evening with the highly recommended Lobster Thermidor and Buttered Egg Noodles with Meatballs. Neither dish is something I would typically order, but both left me wanting more. As a main, we tried the Scallop Newburg, which was outstanding. Accompanied with leek, mushroom and sherry cream, these scallops were prepared to perfection. Other options include everything from Seared Hamachi and Smoked Pork Belly to Bone-In Ribeye and Fried Chicken Cutlets.




Do. Not. Leave. Without. Dessert. This is a warning. Their Yellow Cake, served with chocolate ganache and whipped cream, is out of this world. I was planning on just having a bite but ended up licking the plate clean. It was simple, but oh so good.


Even if you’re just looking for an after-work drink, this spot will do the trick.


Twisted Talk: What’s your favorite spot to eat in Midtown? Have you dined at Bill’s Townhouse yet? Discuss below!


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Big Bottom Biscuit BarBig Bottom Biscuit Bar
Sandwiches / Breakfast & Brunch




I haven’t met a person yet who doesn’t love indulging in a delicious, buttery biscuit every now and then. Luckily, Big Bottom Biscuit Bar of California fame has opened up shop at Osteria Cotta Monday through Friday from 7-2pm and weekends from 8-11pm. With so many niche restaurants and bars opening up all over the city, touting their own unique specialties, it’s no surprise that this southern delight is joining in on the fun. From gourmet rice krispie treats and specialty waffles to pudding pockets and stores full of mustard, new concoctions and fads are popping up like a 13-year-old girl’s acne. The menu here is all about the biscuit, with both sweet and savory options for customers to enjoy.






Options range from classic and simple — big bottom biscuit with butter and jam, big bottom biscuit with mascarpone and honey and big bottom biscuit with vegetarian thyme gravy — to the more jam-packed — big bottom biscuit with pork ragu and parmesan and the Sea Biscuit, which is topped with smoked salmon, creme fraiche and pickled onions and capers. They’ve also partnered up with Stumptown Coffee to serve patrons a dose of caffeine with their carbs.




Our favorites were the pulled pork and strawberries and cream, but we’d be just as happy with a plain biscuit because that’s how good they are. If you have a hankering for some comfort food in the near future, make sure to check them out.


Twisted Talk: Are you a biscuit fan? What topping would you choose? Discuss below!


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cheeses of europe


When European councils of food come to New York, it’s always an adventure. Beginning in a wonderland of Francophile curds, the French know their way around some whey. Brought to you by Cheeses of Europe, in partnership with La Ligue des Fromegers Extradoinaires, an association born under the Colectif Fromaginaire, a movement whose job it is to put cheese into the public eye and, most importantly, in places where it is not actively appreciated. Through events that are festive, creative and instructive in nature (see below for cheese themed décor), the ligue aims to gather people together to share the pleasure of cheese with as many people as possible.




During a walking tour beginning at the exemplary Soho fromagerie French Cheese Board, I was surrounded by a slew of non-English speaking cheese nerds, and I couldn’t have been happier. After bombing a blind taste test of a strong Comte, I was almost ready to call it a day but decided to at least make it to the next location. Dodging fat, glossy raindrops, I arrived at an open space on Bowery and Kenmare Street that was FILLED. WITH. CHEESE.  I had a strong inkling I had escaped Manhattan and surreptitiously ascended to heaven, and I wasn’t mad about it.


cheese spread


In the center of this loft-like space was a tiny town entirely made of cheese, including an electronic train that circled through the town with delicious dairy cargo.  Scattered among what I like to refer to as a cheese ballroom, were small high-top tables with baskets of bread and orange slivers that resembled goldfish but in reality were (you guessed it) a hard, orange cheese. There was also a bar with a delightful array of French wines, include a Provencal rosé, a very dry Riesling from Alsace, and a wonderful sparkling brut.


cheese town


In the rear of the space is a fully functional kitchen, where a balding French chef works diligently to create different dishes with the spread of French cheese.  I enjoyed a tiny but filling bowl of quinoa risotto with Camembert, and it was mind blowing.


If your heartbeat starts to quicken when you think about cheese, check out French Cheese Board on Spring Street to further your cheeseducation and make your heart and your stomach happy.


Twisted Talk: Have you ever been to French Cheese Board? What’s your favorite kind of cheese? Discuss below!


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The NormThe Norm
American (New) / Tapas/Small Plates / Breakfast & Brunch




Most people head to the museum for a day of culture and art, but the Brooklyn Museum‘s added something extra to entice you inside. The museum, which spans five floors and showcases 5,000 years of human creativity, caters to one of the largest and most diverse audiences in the country. From the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art to the Visible Storage Study Center, this museum is definitely worth checking out. But it wasn’t just the exhibits that brought us to check out the museum last week.


After an impressive adventure throughout the exhibits at the Brooklyn Museum, you are bound to work up an appetite. Luckily, this museum is home to recently opened restaurant The Norm, a welcome alternative to your mundane museum cafes. Brought to you by the Brooklyn Museum and its food program partner, Great Performances, The Norm plays to its audience, bringing museum-goers a taste of the multi-cultural heritage found in the borough of Brooklyn.




I cannot emphasize enough how stunning the design of this restaurant is — Anda Andrei, along with Enrico Bonetti and Dominic Kozerski, have accomplished something truly remarkable here. One side of the restaurant houses an array of paintings from the museum’s collection, which would otherwise be in storage, awaiting a feature in an exhibition. On the opposite wall, guests will be impressed by the museum’s custom-made crates that are used to transfer and house different works of art, all in a compelling mint green color and complete with signs and stamps that tell the story of where these pieces have been. As if this isn’t enough, the space is further enhanced by the incorporation of both traditional wooden table seating and comfy, plush chairs around more casual, happy hour-style tables. The culmination of all these elements is nothing short of breathtaking (photos don’t do it justice).




But enough about that — we know it’s the food you’re dying to learn about. Chef Saul Bolton uses seasonal and locally sourced ingredients to bring diners a fresh array of menu items to choose from. Perfect for those just needing a mid-day refresh, the menu has a section of snacks that will accomplish the job: the Bombay Snack Mix, comprised of crispy legumes, coconut, cilantro, red onion and lime, gives a zesty kick to these addictive munches, while Jack’s Housemade Beef Jerky is sure to give you a protein-fueled pick me up.


Entreés range from The Norman Burger and Steamed Wellfleet Littleneck Clams to Chicken Mole Poblano-Style and Tonkotsu-Style Ramen. The latter, which we sampled, is cooked for 48 hours and is complemented with slow poached egg, braised pork belly, mushrooms, scallions, black garlic oil and chili paste, and makes for a surprisingly filling meal.




Along with your food, make sure to enjoy the drinks, which include an affordable wine list, beer selection, house-made sodas and cocktails (the Frenchman is awesome). Uniquely, the beverages will be curated by artists with a knowledge of spirits, like Tom Sachs, who helped to curate the tequila selection. Even the desserts are impressive, with options like Jack’s Dark Chocolate Mousse, Norm’s Ice Cream Sundae, and Vanilla-Scented Crepe Layer Cake. There’s nothing on the menu we tried and didn’t like, which makes it even more impressive that many of the items are vegan and gluten-free — you’d never know.




During the warm summer months, the restaurant will expand to the outdoor terrace and even become an outdoor beer garden this summer. Currently, the restaurant is open from 11am Thursday through Sunday, but there are plans in the works to expand operating days and hours in the near future. Step into the Brooklyn Museum’s The Norm to witness art and food collide.


Twisted Talk: Have you been to the Brooklyn Museum before? Are you excited to go to a good restaurant in a museum? Discuss below!


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