Tag Archives: West Village

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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Rock You Like a Hurricane

Oh, Irene.  You are such a tease.  And since it takes one to know one, I can say this with conviction.  You got us New Yorkers all riled up, and for what? Nothing, I tell you, nothing!  Except maybe a little junk food eating contest.  If you stocked up on food to prepare for the possible power outages, I bet you ate it all this weekend.  Not because the power went out and you needed to, but because you were so bored the food actually provided an activity.  Well, if you gained the “Irene Fifteen” this weekend, you might be looking for a light and easy dinner, out of your apartment, which of course now feels like a jail cell. 

Westville is the perfect place to go.  This small and simple restaurant has a menu that speaks to everyone.  Their food is prepared simply and tastefully, which is exactly what the doctor ordered, or nutritionist, whatever.  

The Greek Salad is loaded with olives, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onions, feta cheese and avocado.  It is served over grilled bread with melted herb goat cheese.  I like to add the Grilled Steak to this salad to make it a meal.  The steak is flavorful and juicy and the salad is crisp. 

The Grilled Lemon Herb Marinated Chicken is my favorite item on the menu.  The chicken is packed with flavor and it is incredibly juicy, the way chicken is meant to be cooked.  It is served with 2 sides from the market.  What’s the market? Glad you asked.  The market is Westville’s abundant list of veggies.   They offer everything from asparagus to bok choy and back again.  It is a vegetarian’s dream come true, and mine as well.   I love the Honey Dijon Brussels Sprouts, and for good reason.  They are little tidbits of veggie heaven.  I couldn’t resist the Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad.  After all, it is tomato season.

Riddle me this.  What’s dinner without dessert?  While you ponder that, feast your eyes on this.  A homemade ice cream sandwich. Clearly, I’ve become a little obsessed with Ice Cream Sammies recently.  This isn’t on the menu, but ice cream is, and so are cookies, and the waiters are more than happy to accommodate your needs, no matter how indulgent they are.

With three locations, Westville convenient for everyone.   I happen to love the Lower East Side location, but they offer the same menu in the West Village and Chelsea.  So, whether the weather has you feeling on a bit on the bulky side, or you just want an easy, light dinner, head over to Westville.

Westville East
173 Avenue A (11th Street)
New York, NY  
212.677.2933

Westville West
210 W 10th Street (Between Bleecker and West 4th Street )
New York, NY
212.741.7971

Westville Chelsea
246 W18th Street (Between 7th & 8th Avenue)
New York, NY
212.924.2223

I L’ove L’artusi

L’artusi is one of those great West Village restaurants.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  Great music.  Great Atmosphere.  Great Food.  And I can’t put enough emphasis on great, which makes it the perfect setting for just about any occasion.  The music is fun for a birthday but not too loud for a date.  That balance is key! The space is as exquisite as it is extensive; you can sit downstairs near the bar, in the backroom by the open kitchen, or upstairs near the wine cellar.  And most importantly, the food is heavenly. 

L’artusi even knows their food is stellar.  Their tagline is “L’arte di mangiare bene” which means “The art of eating well.”  Now, that kind of confidence really gets me going.   But it’s not just talk; L’artusi can walk the walk.  Their food is always special.  My love for L’artusi only grows with each and every visit.  And this most recent visit was no exception.

To start, we ordered the Dayboat Scallop Crudo.  The crudo was dressed in sea salt, olive oil, lemon and espelette.  Espelette is dried red pepper powder, similar to paprika.  This dish is light and airy with a hint of earthiness from the smoky espelette and spicy olive oil.

 

The Hamachi Tartar is one of my favorite appetizers.   The hamachi is paired with lemon, chives and ginger to create a refreshing dish.  These flavors play together so nicely.  This dish will stimulate your palette without leaving you in need of a palette cleanser. 

 

The Panzanella salad was a no-brainer.  I mean, how can anyone turn down pancetta, tomato, watermelon and basil?  Panzanella is usually a salad of bread and tomatoes, but I didn’t miss the bread one bit.  The watermelon was crisp, the heirloom tomatoes were juicy, the basil was sweet and the pancetta was salty.  I would be doing this pancetta an injustice to just call it salty, though.  The pancetta was thick cut, almost like a spare rib.  It was delicate but rough.  This is how pancetta is meant to be served. 

 

The Orechiette, which means “little ears” in Italian, are the perfect vehicle for the spicy sausage ragu.  The peppers and basil add a touch of sweetness, which is topped off with creamy parmesan cheese. 

 

The special pasta, which was homemade Fettuccine with portobello mushrooms, egg yolk, and shaved parmesan cheese, was sensual.  The pasta and mushrooms were light, while the egg yolks and cheese were creamy. 

 

Charred Octopus is one of my favorite things to eat, if cooked properly.  It’s not an easy dish to cook, but L’artusi knows how to do it well.  The meat is actually meaty and tender.   It is paired with simple baby potatoes, chilies, olives and pancetta.  The potatoes absorb the salty flavors from the olives and pancetta which offsets the smoky flavor from the grill. 

I don’t usually order steak in an Italian restaurant.  It’s like ordering a bagel at the diner. Sure, the diner has bagels, but you know the bagel store has better ones.  I hate to be proven wrong, but boy am I glad we ordered the steak at L’artusi.  The steak was cooked to a perfect medium, with charred crust and tender meat.  It was served with a creamy salsa blanca and crispy potatoes. 

So, I’ll leave you with this: L’arte di mangiare bene.  If eating well is an art form, and we all know it is, then L’artusi is the Met. Luckily, you don’t have to buy tickets to visit this exhibit.

L’artusi
228 West 10th Street
New York, NY
212.255.5757

Pappardelle with a Side of Attitude

As New Yorkers, we are trained to be rude, inconsiderate, and untrusting of just about everyone.  But, of course, we expect everyone to be polite and considerate to us.   So when someone is nasty, we’re foolishly surprised.  But, there is one place in New York that we not only accept rudeness, we have learned to expect it, and that my dear friends, is Bar Pitti

Bar Pitti is the more casual, next-door neighbor to Da Silvano.   The sidewalk, and restaurant, is littered with artists, bankers, and celebs anxiously waiting for a table.  But, if you expect any sympathy from the host you are sadly mistaken.  You can wait and wait and wait for a table until you are blue in the face, but will that earn you any respect? Of course not! No matter what you do or who you are, you will get an attitude from the waiter.  Sorry Charlie.  

Expectations are everything.  You have to know what you are getting yourself into. Bar Pitti is not about service, it’s about good food.   So, if you go with that mindset, you will not be disappointed.  The Pappardelle Alla Fiesolana is a plate of heavenly goodness.  These large flat noodles are covered in tomatoes, cream and bacon. Yes, please! Plus, they are homemade.  The difference between homemade pasta and the pasta from a box is like the difference between fine Italian leather and well, not real leather; the homemade stuff is just better. Sometimes the simplest of dishes are the best, so don’t overlook the Penne Strascicate, covered in a hearty yet light meat sauce, that’s as baffling as it is delicious.  Bar Pitti is great spot not only for dinner, but for brunch as well.  Just don’t order the Rose, unless of course you are hoping to get something resembling cranberry juice. 

Bar Pitti
268 6th Ave
New York, NY
212.982.3300

Speakeasy and Carry a Big Fork

Do you ever catch yourself daydreaming?  I mean really daydreaming…like caught in a stare, out to lunch, off in lala land.  Because I have literally been daydreaming about this big, warm gooey plate of risotto for a month now.  Yes, that’s right, a whole month.  This creamy creation is a plate of pure, unadulterated love.   And you can have your very own plate of this oooey gooey goodness at Hudson Clearwater.

Hudson Clearwater opened a few, short months ago in the West Village.  It’s one of those great, hidden gems…and I mean literally hidden.  The entrance to this speakeasy style restaurant is tucked away behind a small, green garden door.  If you don’t know what you are looking for, there’s a good chance you will miss it.  But once you finally arrive, you know you are in for a real treat.  After you make your way through the courtyard, you are greeted by an open kitchen and sunken dining room.  A restaurant with an open kitchen is like a golden ticket from Willy Wonka to tour the factory…and who doesn’t want to be Charlie Bucket for a night?

Unfortunately, I was seated nowhere near the kitchen.  We were seated downstairs in a small room that sort of felt like an unfinished basementNeedless to say, I would have preferred to sit in the dining room.  I forgot all about where we were seated when I got the menu…which I had carefully perused before dinner.  The second that menu hit the table I knew exactly what I wanted to order. The Squash Risotto with seasonal vegetables, sunchoke chips, and pomegranate seeds had my name all over it.  So picture this: creamy risotto filled with morsels of butternut squash so tender they melt in your mouth, crispy Brussels sprout leaves that lived on the equator of caramelized and almost burnt and vibrant pomegranate seeds that were like little bursts of happiness.

I would tell you about the arugula salad I had to start, but it was snooze-fest; amateur move on my part, I know!  One the bright side of boring, it wasn’t bad.  So, go to Hudson Clearwater, try the risotto, and order a different appetizer!

447 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
212.989.3255