y recent trip to New York came and went faster than I could have imagined. But rather than being in the city for fashion week as I usually am, this time it was to explore. Being accompanied by a first-timer, New York opened up to us in ways I’ve never seen it before. Plus, having become obsessed (you could say) with food and dining in the last couple of years living here in Paris, this trip to New York for us was all about the eats.
131 Sullivan Street, Soho
Recently named the best restaurant in New York, The Dutch is the epitome of “cool” according to New Yorkers at the moment. Knowing this, we went in with very high expectations, which weren’t quite met. (The restaurant was good, but the best, I don’t know about that…) The menu is the new kind of standard of NYC dining- a great oyster selection, sides like brussel sprouts, and quirky takes on down-home cookin’. The wine list was extensive, and we opted for a Greek wine that was just right with our heavy dishes, although a bit over priced. Starting with the fried chicken, we were disappointed at how fatty it was…but they were wings, so we should have expected this. The burata was sub-par compared to others I’ve tasted (it was small, and I am a fan of keeping burata simple with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper…no fancy sauces), and the tartare a weak impression of the typical French dish. The oysters, however, were perfect. Small and succulent, we ordered some kind I had never heard of with the help of the waiter, and were pleasantly surprised.
My real accolades for The Dutch come in with the main dishes. We may have struck out in the entree round, but my smoked and roasted chicken was a thing of beauty. Tender and juicy, with a smoky, earthy sauce and roasted vegetable is something I could eat often. After all of this food, we couldn’t go for dessert, and apparently they are known for their pies. So, perhaps next time we’ll do it differently and skip the appetizers in favor of some good old pie at the end.
Atmosphere here was great- white tiled walls, old-meets-new, a New York meets Paris kind of bistro. Good beer on tap, too.
Wine, Appetizers, Main Dish all for around $50
344 Bowery, East Village
We happened upon the Wren for a simple reason, it was across the street from our hotel (The Bowery Hotel). After losing (until the taxi driver tracked me down and returned) my camera (my child), I was in dire need of an adult beverage and a cheese plate, my favorite comfort food. After quickly checking out the reviews online, we learned this gem had only opened two weeks before. Lucky for us, this meant little crowds, and an eager bar staff. We cozied up at the last two open seats at the bar, which would become our “spots,” and checked out the menu. Specializing in cocktails and gastronomic eats, this “gastropub” quickly impressed us. I started with an Aviation while my beau had an Old Fashioned. Jeremy, who was trained via The Grammercy Tavern, and recently came back to NYC after a jaunt in Western Europe working with Michelin starred chefs and fashion icons, quickly became our “bartender soulmate.” Not only did he know just what cocktails to mix up, but he had impeccable taste in all things cultural, which lead to great conversation.
To eat, we decided on a cheese platter, which admittedly came with too little cheese and too many walnuts and apples for my taste, but was eclectic and delicious. The bread was superior…some kind of raisin bread, toasted to perfection. I then had a BACON broth, cauliflower soup…killer. And he had the classic Fish ‘n Chips. Our bottle of red was a bit over priced ($70 in the restaurant compared to $26 in the liquor store). Finishing dinner with a shot of Chartreuse (after discussing our common respect for this ancient elixir) and a Whiskey Business (a kick-your-butt whiskey concoction) we decided The Wren was our new home base, and went back every night of our trip.
228 West 4th Street, West Village
We stopped by this West Village hotspot for an after dinner drink with some friends, only to find out that it is the sister bar to The Wren…what are the chances. Good crowd, good drinks, food looked good (but we didn’t eat), and nice staff. Check it out!
848 Washington Street, Meatpacking District
Before leaving New York, we decided on a quick lunch in the MPD at The Standard Grill. I’ve been here several times before for drinks or dinner, but never for lunch. Except that one time I devoured some oysters and a couple glasses of wine solo at the bar during fashion week…but thats another story.
I fell in love with the Standard’s cheeseburger. Unlike the mind-blowingly buttery, juicy burger I had the day before at Shake Shack, the Standard’s burger was the gourmet, high-class version. Using brisket, a great white cheddar, two thick cut pieces of smoky bacon, and the perfect bun, this burger was everything I needed after a night of drinking. The fries were crispy and perfect, and the pickle, which you can also ask for à la carte, was stellar.