There’s such an astounding concentration of restaurants in Manhattan, it’s easy to find good food without walking more than a few blocks. And thanks to seamless.com, you probably don’t even have to leave your house. But there are a lot of neighborhoods worth going out of your way for if you’re craving something special.
Restaurant week in New York has long since wrapped up, but I’m not getting around to writing about some of the restaurants I was able to visit until now. Oops. It’s just as well though, because I would return to any of these restaurants again. If I could afford them…
What I love about restaurant week is that it gives you the chance to try out places that would ordinarily devour an unhealthy portion of your paycheck. You’d save places like these for special occasions. Granted, a $38 dinner is still pricey, but worth every dollar at the restaurants I was able to go to.
Telepan, in the Upper West Side, offers very elegant American favorites, using organic and seasonally changing ingredients. Though the restaurant emphasizes freshness in its ingredients, the mood felt a little stale because of the outdated furnishings and artwork that bordered on cheesy. But the food is really well executed. It’s the kind of place I would take parents visiting from out town, though not my first pick for a dinner date.
Despite being one of the southern most cities in the US, I ordinarily would never trust Miami to produce quality southern cooking. For ceviche and cuban sandwiches I would go to Miami, but for grits and collard greens in Florida, I figured you’d be better off in a place like Gainesville.
I recently finished my oh so brief vacation, a whirlwhid tour of the Bay Area in California. The Bay Area is blissfully far away from the two cities where I’m currently spending most of my time – Miami during the week, and Brooklyn during the weekends. Central California is also so full of so much good food, it’s hard to know where to begin this blog entry. But something very different I noticed about Bay Area restaurants, markets, grocery stores, etc, was how open they often were about how the food (and the wine!) made it from the farm to the table.
One thing I love about food in New York, which I think makes it different from food in many other places in the world, is its specialization. Not only is it possible to find “the best Italian” or “the best deli” or “the best ____,” but in New York, these best of categories seem take on a whole new level of specificity. There are restaurants that make entire menus focused around a single food item. For example, take The Meatball Shop.
Guess what their shtick is… Meatballs, meatballs, and some more meatballs, which come in many iterations with different sauces (i.e. pesto, tomato, and spicy meat), settings (atop polenta, nestled within a bun), and meats (pork, buffalo chicken, even veggie!). After doing a little math, I figured out you can order your meatballs one of 1,080 ways.