Sunday, April 27, 2014

Everyone’s Gotta Eat

With the amazing amount and variety of food in NYC, even Pup has to take some time out in his world domination planning for some good meals.
Here are a few from this past week.  

Txikito - 240 Ninth Ave

Went to dinner with a couple friends at this nice place in Chelsea.  I didn’t know much about the restaurant other than it was supposed to be good.  Walking into the restaurant, there was a warm buzz about the place with a full crowd and very handsome waiters moving through the small space.  We had a look at the menu and couldn’t decide where type of cuisine it was.  It looked Spanish (the country) to me and Portuguese to others.  Looking at the wine list, we noticed that there were a lot of wines from Basque

I had no idea what that meant, but luckily my friends who were much more worldly and said that they are an indigenous group of people from around north-central Spain and south-western France.  A lot of the menu was written in Basque hence no one could make out what it was exactly.

We had a selection of small plates (tapa-ish) to share which were all delicious.  My favorites were the Octopus Carpaccio and the blistered Gernika peppers with sea salt.

Overall, the restaurant was nice and the wait staff very helpful and friendly.  The food was well executed and unique.  Be ready to wait on busy nights.

Bareburger – 366 West 46th Street

We wandered by this burger joint and thought it looked nice so we stopped in for lunch.  Bareburger specializes in basically all-natural, free range, sustainable, organically sourced everything.  They know where every piece of their food comes from.  There are 9 types of meat you can put in your burger.  Everything from your usual beef to your more exotic bison, ostrich and everything in between.

Since it’s my first time I just went with a regular beef burger figuring if they can’t get this right, they’re not going to get the others right either.  The burger was fine, nothing to write home about, but it did taste much fresher than other burgers (it could be that I was reading about the farm that the cow was raised and how nice it seemed).  The burger was also a very good size.  Not so huge that you can’t fit it into your mouth and not too small that you’d still be hungry afterwards.  The sides were probably the main attraction here.  The sweet potato fries and onion rings were fantastic.  The salad was also very full of variety and taste.

Overall, there are way too many good burger places in NYC so I probably won’t revisit any of them.  Bareburger is good for a light snack or if you have vegetarian friends coming with you.   

Haru Sake Bar – 1327 Third Ave

After a long day of exploring the upper east side, we decided to make a pit stop for a drink and maybe a snack.  We happened on Haru Sake bar as I’m usually pretty excited about Sake bars and especially if it’s an izakaya (basically a Japanese bar with small plates).  Boy were we disappointed, they were not an izakaya (the host almost seems insulted when we asked) and the sake selection was pretty slim (for one that has ‘Sake Bar’ in the name of the restaurant).    

We had a couple of sake based cocktails and a few shared plates which were both pretty good, but again, nothing special.  The waiter seemed a bit annoyed that we were neither drinking fast enough nor ordering enough food. That didn't make for a good experience either.  It would be that we were pretty tired and cold from the day's walking, but this place certainly didn't put us at ease.

Overall, there are much better Japanese at the higher and lower end (price and location wise) than Haru.  I don’t think we’ll be revisiting this place again.

Gallo Nero – 42 W 44th Street

After going to see Kinky Boots (and meeting Billy Porter by standing by the stage door forever like a teenage fanatic), we were looking for somewhere for a small bite after the show.  We wandering into Gallo Nero as it had a very warm open vibe to the restaurant (also a sign that said ‘Wine is how ‘classy’ people get trashed).  We sat at the little bar (6 seater) and was quickly greeted by the manager who was very friendly.  

We had 2 glasses of wine that were simply amazing.  Even better, he let us try the wines which is a new thing for me.  Often times you’re more or less guessing at which wines to order, but to be able to have a taste first is amazing.  We then order 2 of the night’s specials.  One was a Burrata (a cheese made with Mozzarella and cream.  It’s amazing and I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve had it).  with prosciutto and Beef Carpaccio.  Both dishes were wonderful and beautifully done.  Everything was so fresh.  It was light and substantial at the same time.  Reminded me of our meals in Italy.

Overall, I was very impressed with this place that we randomly found.  I would highly suggest it to anyone and it may make it on our come back list to try the rest of the menu, but with so much great Italian around NYC, we’ll just have to see.   

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