Category Archives: Restaurant

It’s Crunch Time…

So, its crunch time, and I’m not referring to the Captain, although I wish I was.   I mean it’s almost V-Day.  4 Days and counting.  Whether you have a new love, old love, or last minute love, you need to plan something.   Unless of course you are unattached this holiday, and in that case, you can stop reading now.

If you are looking to impress your Valentine, or at least not piss them off, I have a few suggestions for you.  Nothing says “I want to spend time with you like dinner.”  Hey, there’s a reason most people go for drinks on a first date.  But dinner isn’t just dinner on Valentine’s Day. So make sure to pick a restaurant that shows you put a little thought into this.

Here are a couple Bite- Sized Valentine’s Day picks…

Bobo.  This French restaurant in the West Village is the perfect quaint and quiet backdrop for a romantic night.  The food will impress.  Just make sure you will too.

In Vino.  This Italian restaurant in the East Village is warm and cozy.  A nice bottle of vino at In Vino is sure to set the mood.

Marc Forgione.  This rustic American bistro in Tribecca is known for their exceptional food and killer cocktails.  What more could you ask for?

Going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day can be uber-annoying, especially if there is a pre-fixe involved.  Pre-fixe has me predisposed to think overrated.  Pre-fixe? More like please fix this ASAP, and get me a real menu.   So, if the kitchen is more your scene than Kittichai, then you know what you have to do.  Love is in the air, literally, if you cook at home.  You’re entire apartment can smell like love, or short ribs, which is the same thing really.

Valentine’s day is a Tuesday this year, and it’s hard to prepare a whole meal after work.  So, my suggestion, start early.  Make things this weekend you can refrigerate, or freeze, until you are ready to serve them.  Like soup, click here, here and here to see a few soup recipes.  Another recipe you can make in advance? Gnocchi!  Make the dough this weekend, precut the gnocchi and freeze them.  On Tuesday, take them out of the freezer right before you want to cook them. They will just need a few minutes in the boiling water, and voila! You will have a meal sure to impress!!

Craving a little more spontaneity? How about breakfast? This oh so important meal can be a totally unexpected Valentine’s surprise.  Start your morning with pancake hearts or a heart shaped egg in a hole.

Looking to heat things up, but not in the kitchen?  Check out Shag Brooklyn.  This unique adult store, art gallery, event space hybrid is hosting a Valentine’s event for the books.  Aphrodisiacs and Amor is a blindfolded tasting meant to tease, tantalize and tickle your taste buds.  Their words, not mine.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen sex store, and head to Nitehawk Cinemas.  This movie theater takes the idea of dinner and a movie to a whole new level.  The theater has a full restaurant that delivers your food to your seats during the show!

Great, dinner down, but one gift to go…Check out Tasting Table’s Valentine’s Shop.   Of course, this will only work if your Valentine is a foodie.  Otherwise, best of luck to you!

What are you planning this Valentine’s Day?

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Chai Five For Kutsher’s Tribeca

There’s a new kid on the block, and by kid I mean restaurant and by block I mean neighborhood. Tribeca welcomed Kutsher’s with open arms, almost at the same time Demi pushed him out.  But, there’s no actual relation here.  Kutsher’s Tribeca is the new restaurant brought to you by the Kutsher Family, as in the Kutsher family who owns Kutsher’s Country Club in the Catskills.

The century old resort is infamous, well infamous to Jewish families in the tri-state area.  It’s been a second home to hardworking families, focusing on community, tradition, and of course, good food.  Just like its upstate predecessor, Kutsher’s Tribeca has the same goals of creating good food, which is exactly what it does.

Kutsher’s is reinventing what it means to be a JAB – Jewish American Bistro.   The menu is filled with nostalgic dishes that have a modern twist.   Chef Mark Spangenthal is turning old classics into new favorites.

One of my old favorites dates back to my camping days.  Kutsher’s put its spin on Bug Juice, to make an adult friendly drink for the kid inside of us. Although it’s normally made with Vodka, I ordered mine the Bite-Sized way, with tequila instead.  Tequila, home-made fruit punch and grapefruit bitters. But the most noteworthy part of this cocktail are the punch ice cubes.  As the cubes melt, the juice dissolves so the drink doesn’t get watered down.  Now that mixologist is a real mench!

We started with the Wild Halibut Gefilte Fish, which was plated with beet and horseradish tartare and garnished with a micro arugula and parsley vinaigrette.  Beet and horseradish tartare might just be a fancy way of saying horseradish, but there was nothing snooty about this dish.  The wild halibut is mild which gives the gefilte fish a subtle flavor, unlike the jarred stuff you might be used to.

I couldn’t pass up Milton’s Short Rib & Brisket Meatballs with caramelized onions and creamy horseradish sauce and can you blame me? Such a whimsical spin on an old classic cannot be ignored! My hopes were high for this dish, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed.  The meatballs were tender and intensely flavorful.  They were totally reminiscent of mom’s brisket.

You know how much I love latkes, so of course I also ordered the Crispy Potato Latkes at Kutsher’s.  Well, really I asked for two orders of them, one with apple sauce and sour cream and one with caviar, in true Bite-Sized fashion.  They were crispy and dense, which made them the perfect vehicle for sweet apple sauce and salty caviar.

I have a hard time turning down Challah, so when I saw that the Country Club Chopped Salad had challah croutons, I decided it also had to be ordered.  Chickpeas, apples, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, walnuts and challah croutons were mixed together on top of a bed of butter lettuce.  Tossed in a lemon honey vinaigrette, this salad was a delight, emphasis on the light.

We also ordered the Crispy Artichokes alla Judea.  The artichokes were lightly seasoned with lemon, garlic, parsley and paired with a salad of greens and shaved parmesan cheese.   The crisp greens balanced the salty artichokes and creamy cheese.  This small dish with big flavor was one of my favorite appetizers.

The Grilled Romanian Steak was intensely flavorful.  Caramelized onions and a well developed glaze made this steak unusually robust.  Each bite was better than the last.  It was served with a roasted garlic and mushroom knish that was less than stellar, but the steak was so delicious the knish was quickly forgotten.

Some girls might run at the first sign of schmaltz, but not this Bite-Sized Blonde.  A little rendered fat never hurt anyone.  Okay, it might hurt someone.  Schmaltz and Svelte are not exactly words that go together.  But in the case of Schmaltz verse Svelte, Schmaltz always wins.   So, I ordered the Duck Schmaltz Fries.  They were perfectly crunchy on the outside but light and airy on the inside, the way all good fries should taste.

I ordered the Brussels Sprouts, because let’s face it, after the schmaltz, I needed a little green. The Brussels Sprouts were roasted with rosemary and olive oil for an earthy taste.  Simple sprouts, simply good.

Dinner isn’t over until the fat lady sings, or I get dessert, but after this meal, I was quickly on my way to becoming the fat lady.  Good thing I don’t sing.

We started with the cookie plate, and yes I just said started.  You didn’t think that’s where dessert was going to begin and end did you? This was no ordinary cookie plate though.  Hamentashen, rugelach and macaroons filled this plate.  Another whimsical item on the menu that was so cleverly delicious!

The Rainbow Cookie Hot Fudge Sundae was calling my name, and I don’t even like rainbow cookies.  Well, I don’t love rainbow cookies.   You know how I feel about cookies.  Covered in vanilla ice cream and marshmallow fluff, these rainbow cookies transformed into heavenly sweetness.

But, the star of the dessert menu was the Chocolate Babka Bread Pudding.  It was creamy and seriously decadent.   I would say this was one of the best things I ordered all night, but the truth is, everything I ate was one of the best dishes I ordered all night.    Forget two thumbs up, Kutsher’s gets a Bite-Sized Chai Five.

Kutsher’s Tribeca
186 Franklin Street
New York, NY
212.431.0606

St. Anselm

St. Anselm, sounds like a name with power, and meaning I suppose.   I’m not sure who this St. Anselm guy is, but if I had to guess, I’d say he was the patron saint of all things delicious.  I mean, why else would they name a gem of a restaurant after him?

St. Anselm is a restaurant in my new favorite neighborhood, Billyburg – or Williamsburg to the newbies.   Williamsburg is loaded with great restaurants, so to stand out there you really have to bring something spectacular to the table.  And St. Anselm brings something spectacular, really spectacular.

This tiny restaurant is not boastful.  In fact, it’s the opposite, which leads me to believe this St. Anselm dude was also pretty modest.  The restaurant is unpretentious.  But not in the Manhattan way that can actually be pretentious masquerading as low key.  This is BK unpretentious, which equals a literal translation.  The restaurant is dark, but surrounded by a glowing light force from the open kitchen.   You know I’m all about an open kitchen, see here, here and here.  Its fun to watch the chefs at work, but it’s also fun to check out their equipment.  This open kitchen isn’t exactly the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, but the food that comes out of there can be considered a work of art.

We started with the Clams.  They were fresh and salty.  Flavored with garlic and parsley, these tiny, little suckers were a bright way to start the meal.

We also ordered the Bibb Salad.  A pretty typical starter of crisp lettuce, plump tomatoes, crispy fried shallots and sweet shallot vinaigrette.  Simple but delicious or delicious but simple? Either way, you get the idea.

So you know that feeling you get when you hear music and you feel compelled to dance? Well that’s the feeling I get when I see a burger on the menu.  But think less dancing, more eating.  So, of course I ordered the Patty Melt.  The tender patty of meat was perfectly juicy and topped with Swiss cheese and caramelized onions.    The onions give the burger a subtle sweetness while the mild Swiss cheese makes it slightly salty.   Complete with toasted white bread and spicy pickles, this patty melt was one for the books.

But, if you go to St. Anselm and don’t have the appetite to order everything (weird), the one thing you cannot, and I repeat, cannot pass up is the Butcher’s Steak with Garlic Butter.  This is one of the best steaks I have ever had in my entire life. The butcher’s steak is also known as a hanger steak.  The reason behind the name? This cut of meat is known for its flavor, so butchers used to keep it for themselves rather than sell it! After eating this steak, you’ll understand why.  The meat is incredibly tender and flavorful.  The grill gives it a deep flavor.  With a hint of saltiness, and a touch of butter, this steak is melt in your mouth magnificent.  Besides the fact that this is one outrageous piece of meat, it’s also $15. Yes, you read the correctly.  This is the best $15 I’ve ever spent in my life.

What’s a steak without a side? Similar to chips without dip, which is something this Bite-Sized Blonde is totally against.  So, for sides we ordered the Shishito Peppers, Pan Fried Mashed Potatoes with Truffle Oil, and Grilled Berkshire Bacon.  The peppers were smoky from the grill, but maintained their spicy flavor.  Not every shishito pepper you eat is spicy.  But eater beware, the spicy ones can hurt a little.

The Pan Fried Mashed Potatoes with Truffle Oil came highly recommended, and for good reason.  The exterior was crusty and the insides were soft and buttery.  But there are two things this Bite-Sized Blonde can never get enough of, and that’s shoes and truffles.  And these potatoes could have used a little more truffle oil.  Plus, it would just  be weird to get new shoes at dinner.

The Grilled Berkshire Bacon was thick cut and meaty.  It was good, but after the Patty Melt and Butcher’s Steak, I was unquestionably full.  Which is why it was a miracle, or insane, that we also ordered dessert.  We sampled each dessert on the menu.  Not sure my belly or brain registered them, since I was already at the point of no return.

One last thing you should probably know, St. Anselm is owned by the same, culinary inclined duo that own Fette Sau, Joe and Kim Carroll.  That carries a lot of weight, because their food will make you carry a lot of weight, for good reason.    When you win the Zagat Award for Best BBQ in NYC three years in a row, you know you are doing something right.  And that something they are doing right, is the same something they are bringing to St. Anselm.

Whether you’re a Manhattan Man or Borough Babe, St. Anselm is the perfect place for you.  So, go, eat the Butcher’s Steak, and tell me all about it!

St. Anselm
355 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn NY
718.384.5054

Dime Piece

Real estate is all about location, location, location.  This is especially true for restaurants in New York.  I mean, midtown isn’t exactly known as the hub of great restaurants for New York City.  Probably because it’s made up of mediocre steakhouses and overpriced salads.   Looking for a great restaurant in midtown is as useless as finding meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.  Well not really, but you get my drift.  The great ones are few and far between, which is why I was surprised to find myself dining at a great midtown restaurant.  Tenpenny, located in the Gotham Hotel, was a refreshing breeze on a hot summer’s day, despite the fact that it is winter and the restaurant isn’t breezy at all.  But it was indeed a pleasant surprise.

Tenpenny is totally unassuming but has this innate charm that draws you in the way a loveable nerd can grab hold of your heart.  Except, there is really nothing uncool about this place.  The bright red wall in sea of distressed brick is pretty awesome.  But, you know this Foodie is obviously more concerned with the interior of menu then the décor.  So, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty.

We started with a plate of artisanal cheeses which were served with a generous dollop of fig jam and cranberry walnut bread.  I love cheese, so much so, that I am no longer lactose intolerant.  True Story.  And a plate full of cheese is as good as gold to me.  Forget flowers on Valentine’s Day, just get me cheese.  The cheeses varied in texture and flavor, but they all played wonderfully off the sweet fig jam.

When House Cured Bacon is listed as an appetizer, you order it.  Like if Landry Fields called me and asked me to hang out, I’d say yes.  You don’t question good things; you just go with them, which is exactly what I did.   This bacon was outrageous.  The savory bacon was intensified with the addition of soy, scallions and cinnamon.  It was served with nutmeg custard and toasted bread.  Did that just blow your mind? Imagine how your taste buds would feel.   That’s alright, you can take a minute to regain your composure before you continue…

In true winter food fashion, I also ordered the crostini with sweet potato and marshmallow.  Totally reminiscent of Thanksgiving.  But sometimes the classics are classics for a reason.  Let’s just say, you won’t find this dish on my Thanksgiving menu next year.

I know I’ve told you before, and I don’t want to get all senile on you, like weird Uncle Jack.  But I could eat a cheeseburger for the rest of my life and be a happy girl.  With that said, I’m a tough burger critic; don’t let the blonde hair and big smile fool you.  Although the Double Cheeseburger wasn’t the Burger at the Dutch, it was kind of great.  Not one, but two blended patties sit comfortably on a toasted potato bun, topped with tomato, provolone and homemade mayo.  I know, I didn’t think this meal could get better after the bacon either.  But it did.  The burgers were grilled perfectly and the sweet potato bun absorbed all of the drippy burger juices.  As if that wasn’t enough, it also came with homemade bbq chips.  Now, that’s what I’m talking about midtown.  Way to step up your game.

I sampled a good amount of the menu, and it just left me wanting more.  Although, I don’t know how much more I could have eaten.  There’s ways next time.  Til then, Tenpenny.

Tenpenny
16 East 46th Street
New York, NY
212.490.8300

Know of another stellar midtown restaurant? Comment below!

The Land of Milk and Honey Bunches of Oats

Music to set the mood…

Hello! Bonjour! Hola! Shalom! I must start by saying Happy New Year! And also by apologizing for the serious delay in new content. I was away on an amazing trip to Israel. Two weeks in the land of Milk and Honey just wasn’t enough. But the good news is, I get to be with you now. So, in this new year, expect lots of new recipes and restaurant reviews, obviously starting with the first reviews of the season…restaurants in Israel. Hey, you never know when you’ll be there next and preparation is everything. Well food is everything, but without a little research, you could be eating mediocre shwarma, and that’s good for no one.

So, food in Israel. I know what you are thinking. Hummus, hummus and more hummus. Well you are not entirely wrong, because you’re exactly right. When in Rome Israel, right? Local cuisine is prevalent for a reason. It’s usually the best of the freshest ingredients combined with local spices and flavors. And one of the best native foods in Israel is the falafel. This crispy creation is born from, you guessed it, chickpeas aka hummus. I had great falafel in Tzfat, a small city located in the north. Fun fact for you, or Madonna, Tzfat is actually known as the center of Kabbalah. But, now you know one more thing about Tzfat; they serve excellent falafel at a quaint restaurant called The Bagdad Café. This tiny, and I really do mean tiny, restaurant can seat about twelve people at once. Although the waitress (singular as there was really only one) can’t handle that many people. This is probably a great time to tell you the service in Israel is less than stellar. But what The Bagdad Café lacks in service, they make up for in taste. The falafel was served warm and crispy, with a refreshing salad, creamy hummus and warm bread. It was slightly greasy but light, which made it the perfect meal after a night of drinking Israeli tequila. Well a perfect Middle Eastern meal after a night of drinking Israel tequila.

Now, I know you probably don’t associate the words Chinese food and kosher. And truthfully, neither do I. But, if you find yourself in Tiberias, craving sesame chicken, then there is only one place to go: Pagoda. According to my dinner dates, it was the best kosher chinese food they ever ate. Since it was the only kosher chinese food I’ve ever eaten, I’ll have to take their word for it.

I wasn’t expecting much from the food in Jerusalem. Quite honestly, I thought it was going to be bad, real bad. But, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the best things happen when you least expect it. And the food in Jerusalem blew me away.

The first restaurant we went to was Machane Yehuda. Named for the neighborhood, this trendy restaurant was everything I needed and more, i.e. not kosher. It was also lively and fun. The open kitchen is visible to almost every table in the restaurant, and you know how I feel about an open kitchen. We shared a lot of the menu, including a creamy polenta with mushrooms and truffle oil. This melt in your mouth polenta was some of the best I’ve had. The lamb chops were cooked to a perfect medium. The tender meat was packed with flavor. We also shared the sea bass, which was a light, but flavorful addition to the dishes we ordered. The sirloin with truffle butter was a dish we couldn’t pass up, partly because a meat and milk combo in Jerusalem is not easy to come by, and also because it came highly recommended. The flavors were great, but the steak was overcooked. After a few bottles of wine, and great conversation with new friends, this mistake quickly became forgivable.

The second restaurant we went to in Jerusalem was Chakra. I know I’ve already told you about how the service in Israel is, well to be honest, terrible. But the service at Chakra was great. Our waiter took excellent care of us; at one point in the night, he gave us an entire bottle of Stoli. Key word: gave. Besides the generosity of the waiter, the restaurant was excellent. We ordered spicy tuna on toast points as an appetizer, which rivaled many of the tuna tartar appetizers I’ve had in New York. We also shared the root salad, asparagus, and sea bream to name a few. This restaurant also has an open kitchen. I could totally get used to dining in Israel. If you are in Jerusalem, this is a must!

The Jewish Shuk in Jerusalem is a site to see. Filled with shops and stands of all kinds, this market has everything to offer. Fruits, veggies, nuts, spices, and best of all, pastries. Come hungry – leave happy. Yup, I said it. Sorry IHOP.

Moving on to the next stop on my cultural and culinary tour of Israel. Tel Aviv is an amazing city with great food, which obviously means great hummus. Abu Hassan is one of the most famous hummus restaurants in Tel Aviv. It’s a local place, filled with locals, which can be intimidating in Israel. My advice? Be aggressive. B – E – aggressive. Sit down at a table, whatever table is available and order. Ask for hummus and whatever else they recommend. I wish I knew what I ate, because it was awesome. But I have no idea. The most important thing to know, is that the pita is warm, the hummus is creamy and you have all of 20 minutes to sit down, order, eat and leave. So make every second count. This place is worthy of the madness.

Another excellent dinner was had at Social Club. We ordered one of every appetizer, including eggplant, artichokes and carpaccio. But the star of the meal was an incredible papardelle pasta with duck, and oh yea, pork chops. Insert angel face emoticon here.

Breakfast in Israel is usually hummus, cucumbers and tomatoes, and if you are lucky, shakshouka, which is a hearty tomato stew with eggs. But, there’s one great place in Tel Aviv that takes breakfast to a whole new level, Benedict. I heard about breakfast at Benedict’s for months before my trip to Israel. I thought all the good things were probably exaggerated. I mean how good can pancakes in Israel really be, right? WRONG. The pancakes at Benedict’s are literally the best pancakes I have ever had in my entire life. Each pancake is one inch thick. They are soft and sweet, like cake, but light and airy the way pancakes should be. I had mine covered in white chocolate with a shot of espresso. Yes, that actually happened. I resolve to figure out how to make these pancakes before the end of 2012, even if that means returning to Tel Aviv for breakfast soon. Great resolution, right? Although the pancakes at Benedict’s are a must, you should also know they make a banging shakshouka, so order both.

Also noteworthy in Tel Aviv, is Nanutchka. This Georgian restaurant offers tasty food with an eclectic atmosphere. The live music makes this restaurant a fun and exciting place to enjoy delicious food, especially the lamb shank.

Important to note, all Shuks are not created equal. The Carmel shuk in Tel Aviv is awesome, but in a different way than the shuk in Jerusalem. Sure, you can find many of the same things, spices, fruit, and restaurants. But this shuk is also filled with more chachkies. The best day to go is Tuesday, when the artist fair is right next door. You can pick up jewelry and Judaica. But don’t forget to sample some of the amazing spices and grab a bite to eat. My recommendation: La Cafe. Located in the middle of the Shuk, this small coffee shop and restaurant offers a strong shot of espresso and a great pita.

All this great food was amazing. But my best food experience in Israel was at a soup kitchen, Ichlu Reim. This amazing charitable organization helps all Israelis in need, regardless of race or religion. I spent one morning helping prepare food for upcoming meals. The experience was humbling; I feel truly privileged to have been a part of such a great act of kindness. Of course, there are other ways to help the people in need by helping the food bank. Donations are always needed. If you would like to donate to the food bank, click here.

It pains me to end this post because it officially means the end of my trip. But, here’s to more Israel posts in the future and to next year in Jerusalem.

Sorella So Really Good

I have this weird love hate relationship with the Lower East Side.  I Hate, with a capital H, that I can never get a cab anywhere in the Lower East Side.  Seriously, I think what Paula Cole really meant was “where have all the cabbies gone”?  But I do LOVE the neighborhood, and in particular, the neighborhood gems.  And one such neighborhood gem that I cannot get enough of is Sorella, because Sorella is so really good.

Sorella is a modest Italian restaurant on Allen Street that serves small plates.  This rustic yet chic restaurant is dimly lit for a touch of romance.  It has this homey feeling that makes you feel comfortable right away.   The same can be said of the service.  With a few key recommendations from the waitress, we knew we were awaiting a great meal.

Similar to tapas, small plates are meant to share.  This is my favorite way to eat because you get to try so many things, and so many of Sorella’s things are exceptional.  Don’t get it twisted, Sorella may serve small dishes, but they pack a big punch.

We started with a few meats and cheeses, because the joys of salty meat and creamy cheese are hard to pass up.  The prosciutto was delicate and mild while to soppressata was dense and salty.  Paired with creamy cheeses, honey and hazelnuts, this was the perfect way to start our meal.

I don’t know about you, but I have a very difficult time passing up Brussels sprouts.  Sure, I maybe a parent’s dream come true, but I’m really just a humble vegetable eater.  Can you just picture the devious smile across my face?  Well, you should try cause it’s awesome.  Just like the Shaved Brussels sprout salad I had at Sorella.  This salad was the perfect balance of flavors.  The mild Brussels sprouts were the perfect base for the crunchy croutons, salty capers, spicy red pepper flakes, sweet onions and creamy cheese.  Piled high, this salad was a big mountain of excellence.

After the Brussels Sprout salad, we ordered the Beef Carne Cruda.  But this was not your average Beef Cruda because this beef was imported from the Hearst Ranch in California.  That’s right, Hearst, as in Hearst Corporation.  The Owner and Chef of Sorella, Emma Hearst, imports her beef from her family’s cattle ranch in California.  Seriously cool right?  As if that isn’t cool enough, rumors are floating around about her opening a steakhouse in New York using the beef from her family’s cattle ranch too.  While these are just rumors right now, I’m still crossing my Bite-Sized fingers that this becomes a reality one day soon.  One more thing, Emma Hearst made the list of “30 Under 30” by Zagat, and no one can argue that this 24 year old is seriously deserving of such exciting recognition!

Okay, back to the beef.  The bright red, supple meat is garnished with simple fried onions and accompanied by side salad of shaved celery and radish.  So simple, yet so good.

I had never heard of Pici pasta (pronounced peachy), but after a solid recommendation from the waitress, I knew I wanted to try it.  Plus, how do you really resist a pasta called Pici?  The thick, doughy noodles swim in a bowl of hearty pork ragu, ricotta and pepperoncini.  This is an unusual dish that I would make my usual meal.

Agnolotti are ravioli, and these ravioli were Bite-Sized. No truly, they were tiny, but seriously divine.  The agnolotti were soft and pillowy.  Stuffed with beef short ribs and drizzled with sage butter and parmesan cheese, these baby ravioli were robust bites of comfort.

A side of broccoli was a must, especially after we found out it was fried and covered in a spicy aioli.  Reminiscent of Japanese style broccoli tempera, these bites were unexpected for an Italian restaurant.  It was like a surprise party for my tastebuds.

A trip to Sorella wouldn’t be complete with dessert, because dinner isn’t really done until you have dessert.  But especially because they have a gelateria next door called Stellina.  We ordered 3 scoops of gelato, and each was better than the last.  Seriously, this was THE best gelato I have ever had in the United States.

We also ordered cheesecake.  I know, I was surprised we weren’t too full also.  But, we weren’t so cheesecake we ate.  The light and airy cheesecake was shaped like a pyramid and covered in a delicate layer of smooth chocolate.

If your mouth isn’t watering, I think you might be sick.  So, please make sure to call the doctor.

Sorella
95 Allen Street
New York, NY
212.274.9595

F-ing Sunday

Sunday is about one thing and one thing only and it starts with an F.  Foo…Foo…Food…Chinese food to be exact.   Probably not the F word you were thinking of, but I already told you, football isn’t my sport of choice.

Sunday and Chinese food are two terms that are interchangeable to me.  It is the way I say goodbye to the week, physically and mentally because without Chinese food, there is no end in sight.  If the week doesn’t end, then what you have is just one big long run-on week and that is enough to make anyone crazy.

One of my favorite Chinese restaurants in New York is Mr. K’s.  Located in midtown, this Chinese restaurant is anything but ordinary.  The restaurant is fit for Chinese royalty, or really New York royalty.  It is elegantly decorated, with oversized couches and glass tables.  The restaurant is also adorned with jade and silver as well as fine art.  You know the moment you walk in you are going to be treated like a King and enjoy a seriously delicious meal.

Chinese cooking is all about the Ying and Yang, which is a well-balanced meal in texture, color, flavor and temperature.  Using fresh ingredients, Mr. K’s establishes this level of Ying and Yang in all of their dishes.

I like to start with the Crispy Beef, which is shredded and then fried to perfection and covered in a soy-scallion glaze.  These little bites are just enough to get your palate going without filling you up.

I judge a Chinese restaurant by their Peking duck, and I think Mr. K’s makes one of the best Peking Ducks in all of New York City.  Bold statement, but totally true.  The pancake is warm and doughy, but light enough so it doesn’t overpower the rich duck.  The skin is crispy and the meat is juicy.  Paired with cucumbers and scallions, and complimented with sweet and tangy Hoisin sauce, this duck is one of the best dishes in all of New York; forget that we are just talking Chinese food here.

Another one of my favorite dishes at Mr. K’s is the Hunan Shrimp.  These gargantuan shellfish are sautéed with peppers and mushrooms in a tangy Szechuan sauce.   The shrimp are always perfectly tender.  The peppers maintain their crunchiness to balance this dish.

If you like shrimp, but crave something on the spicier side, the Prawns in Garlic Sauce is going to be your dish of choice.  The soy-garlic sauce that envelopes these succulent shrimp has a hint of heat, just enough to warm you up, but not too much to make you sweat.

Of course, you cannot eat Chinese food without a little fried rice and the fried rice at Mr. K’s is great.  This Bite-Sized Blonde prefers brown rice in her fried rice.  Does it make this dish any healthier? Probably not, but I feel better about eating fried rice when it’s brown rice.  The brown rice gives the dish a nutty flavor, which compliments the veggies so well.

If lo mein is more your speed than fried rice, then you are in the right place.  Mr. K’s makes a noteworthy Vegetable Lo mein.  The noodles are al dente and served warm with assorted crunchy vegetables.

It’s not all about the carbs though – the vegetables are also delectable.  My favorite veggie dish is the Bok Choy, which light but packed with flavor.

I almost forgot to mention a very important part of Mr. K’s.  They bring you lemon sorbet in between courses to cleanse your palate.  Any restaurant that pays attention to your palate, so much so they cleanse it in between courses, is a fine dining establishment.  And so, with a full belly, and a smile across my face, I proudly give Mr. K’s two Bite-Sized Thumbs up.

Mr. K’s Restaurant
570 Lexington Ave. (51st Street)
New York, NY
212.583.1668