ManhattanTwist's Recent Reviews
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Showcased by capers, slivered almonds, and lemon zest, this side dish would provide a welcome burst of brightness to any table.
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.
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.