I love having visitors. Being fairly new to New York I relish the opportunity to explore the city like a tourist. I recently had two of my good friends Megan & Katy come to stay for a bit. It was glorious good fun, lots of delicious food, long life affirming conversations and raucous laughter. We discovered new places together and savored some of the staples they look forward to enjoying when here. Here are a few of the highlights:
Luke’s Lobster : I actually discovered this place when my siblings were in town but I offered it up as a suggestion for potential lunch places to visit. They give a generous portion of lobster on a buttery roll. I don’t like lobster with too many fixins so the simplicity of these lobster rolls were right up my alley. The girls visited more than once which gives me the impression they liked it too.
St. Dymphnas: We had a hankering for some calamari while wandering St. Marks. This bar was a delightful surprise. An unassuming bright little bar. It felt like an italian place, but turns out it was an Irish bar. Cheeriest Irish bar I’ve ever been to. The girls and I had calamari, a cheese plate & beer lots and lots of beer.
Rebar: The magical land of Brooklyn is starting to grow on me. Finding places like rebar is one of the reasons. It had an inconspicuous entrance I figured it was just going to be another cramped NY restaurant but once the doors open you soon realize it’s bigger on the inside (like the Tardis!). The decor could best be described as log cabin resort. Beautiful iron gate doors act as a partition between the bar & restaurant. The tables are huge as if one big mighty tree was felled and fashioned into a dining table for the whole forest. The space is lit by a charming array of rustic chandeliers & lone low watt lightbulbs. The food was good! A bit pricey but delicious the polenta dish was a real stand out. A fun place to meet a bigger group.
Hester Street Fair: The name makes it sound much bigger than it actually is but what it lacks in size it makes up for in charm. Situated in a little pocket between volleyball & tennis courts (don’t worry there are fences to keep the stray balls from flying toward your face) the fair houses a modest collection of artisans & food vendors. You can literally walk the whole fair in 2 min. We enjoyed sampling the food vendors (Luke’s Lobster is there!) and I managed to find a delicate little necklace just as I was losing hope in finding the perfect gift for a friend.
Angel’s Share: The perfect place to take someone you want to impress. The bar is located behind an unmarked door in a busy yakatori restaurant. It’s usually pretty packed on the weekends but since we visited on a Wednesday early in the evening we managed to score a table in the back room. It is a classy places with dark wood, white gloved servers & $14 special cocktails made by mixologists.
Joe Shanghai: Soup Dumplings! This place is virtually on every “must eat” list when visitors roll through town. Two tidbits of advice: 1) The dumplings are a meal unless you want a ton of leftovers. For the average party of 3, 2 orders of the Dumplings (1 pork & 1 crab) and an appetizer or 2 (scallion pancakes & green beans are my favorite) are more than enough to satisfy. 2) If you’ve never had these type of dumplings first, watch the people around you and copy their technique otherwise prepare to have the inside of your mouth scalded by an explosion of soup. This place is popular and no frills so be prepared for a long wait and to share a table.
Momofuku Noodle Bar: David Chang is a rockstar of the NY culinary scene. He has a string of Momofuku restaurants around town varying in theme & exclusivity. We like to come here for the Ramen & Pork Buns. My perfect bowl of Ramen hinges on two criteria; the pork & the broth. The ramen here hits the pork portion of that criteria out of the park. Which is also why the pork buns are a winner. We didn’t go to the milk bar (which is a block over) but Momofuku also has excellent cookies which rival my beloved Levain cookies.
My list of places to take people is slowly growing. I try to take visitors to a combination of sure fire hits and new places we can test together. If you ever decide to head out to NY for a visit, I have a handy google map with markers for all of the places I’ve enjoyed.
Looking forward to your visit!