Trip date: May 2022
Choosing where to eat and drink in NYC is so tough! There's always the list of places you've read about since your last visit, and if that last visit was before Covid as mine was, that's a pretty long list! And then there are the places you've been in the past and loved and want to go back to as well as the classics that you haven't made it to yet. So my friend Lorraine and I had a lot of work to do with our lists but I think we nailed it!
When in NYC you just gotta have a bagel! One morning we stopped by Ess-a-bagel and then ate in one of the little parks that dot the city. My lox with scallion cream cheese on an everything bagel was absolutely delicious!
Our hotel, The James, was just blocks away from Dominique Ansel Workshop so we walked over one morning and sat outside at one of the handful of tables they have on the sidewalk. The pastries here were fantastic! We shared a kouign amann and a strawberry/lemon verbena danish. I wish I could have tried about 5 more things! Yum!
While walking in the Meatpacking district on our last full day in the city we passed by Fabrique Bakery which is the bakery in Stockholm to get your cardamom bun from. I was very happy to grab one to go and can confirm that they are just as delicious in NYC as in Sweden!
My friends know that French bistro food is one of my favorite things, so Frenchette had been on my list for some time. The interior is slightly casual with Art Nouveau touches and the menu was more creative than I expected. We ordered a lovely white from the Loire and then shared an amuse of mortadella with tonnata. Divine! I couldn't resist the schnitzel, I rarely can, and since this one came with huckleberry compote and spaetzle it was like an entree made with me in mind. And it was fab! Lorraine had the roast chicken which was stellar and served in it's own pot. A really wonderful lunch!
One day we met my friend Albert for lunch at Barbuto. Luckily Albert knows the menu inside and out, as we were running quite late, and took the initiative to order. Oh my, what a spread we all shared! A (huge) meatball, kale salad, carbonara, roasted potatoes, and roast chicken! Everything was fantastic!
Cosme opened way back in 2014 but I still hadn't been. With one Michelin star and being on the World's 50 Best Restaurant list in the past, I was very excited when we landed a reservation!
The octopus tostada was one of the best things I have eaten in a long time! The kampachi pastrami sopa was a little bit mind blowing! The uni that topped the black garbanzo bean tetela (a Oaxacan specialty stuffed triangle corn pocket) was excellent and the texture perfectly complemented the beans inside. And of course no one should go to Cosme and not get the signature duck carnitas. Or the corn husk meringue. We had both! It really was just an excellent dinner, with some really gorgeous flavors and textures. Loved it!
Another place long on my list was Atoboy; I was very excited to try the Korean inspired dishes here. Since opening in 2016 they have opened Atomix, their two Michelin star tasting restaurant, but we didn't have time for a tasting menu on the dates they had availability. So Atoboy it was, and boy was it great!
The menu is 4-course prix fixe with optional add ons. It's a very casual atmosphere but the flavors are so elevated! Another octopus dish, this one with rhubarb! Stunning. And because 4 courses weren't enough (sarcasm) we added on the fried chicken which comes with it's own bunch of delicious sides.
There are only five restaurants in NYC with a 3 Michelin-star rating. Le Bernardin has had their stars for 10 straight years and is also currently listed at 44 on the 50 Best Restaurant list. Lorraine and I decided to go for lunch on our last day in the city.
When we made our reservation we expected to do the 3-course lunch prix fixe menu, but upon being seated and presented with a few different menus we discovered they were offering the Chef's Tasting menu at lunch (only offered for the entire table). We decided to go all out and order that with wine pairings. I mean, all we had planned for the rest of the day was a flight home!
Le Bernardin is an all fish/seafood restaurant and boy do they do it perfectly. And the service was impeccable! Always there but never intruding. The dining room was designed by the award-winning group at Bentel & Bentel (The Modern at MoMa, Craft in LA, Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston, etc) and is sleek and modern and filled with natural light in the daytime.
I am someone who loves a true 3-star experience. I want the sauces, the caviar, the foie gras, etc. These are the things I can't get just anywhere and I was thrilled to see Le Bernardin pull out all the stops; and at lunch!
And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the people watching is also quite a show! You've got the "ladies who lunch", each sporting their most recent plastic surgery, the old men with ridiculously young girlfriends, wealthy tourists wearing crazy athleisure wear, and old-monied families looking quite bored with each other.
This meal was absolutely spectacular. It's expensive, obviously, but the service, atmosphere, ingredients, presentations, wines, etc. made me feel I got what I paid for. If I had any quibble it would have been that I was so full I didn't have room for my mignardises so it would have been nice of them to offer to send them with me in a little box.
And with that, I wrapped up a fantastic return to NYC. Lorraine and I took a Lyft Lux to Newark Airport where I changed into joggers in the bathroom for the flight home. Klassy! I had used miles to fly First Class on Alaska, where I drank canned wine. Oh how fast a situation can change! haha!
All NYC photos here.
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