boston chefs in NYC in search of insane bar dining
we used to be new yorkers, but moved to boston 4 years ago and have had little time to return to the city to explore new and fun food. coming next weekend and want to eat well. we're not looking for fancy per se, but some impressive food w/equally impressive service. we like dining in a bar scene. while that does not purely denote bar stools, it should reflect our sentiment. would prefer to say within the manhattan confines, but east/west/lower/upper-- we are well versed w/the subway.
thanks in advance.
I used to live and chef in Boston and then eventually moved to New York, so I think I could give you a good rundown.
For a Franklin Cafe type place Employees Only on Hudson. Good food, best cocktails in the city along with the best steak tartare.
The Spotted Pig is a gimme but you should go early or late because it is a shitshow in between.
I think the Tavern at Gramercy Tavern is worth a revisit. I have eaten there three times this year and haven't been disappointed.
Degustation is definitely up there in the quality and value sector. The chef worked at Clio.
Bar Boulud for charcuterie and wine is killer.
Pegu Club has another Clio alum as the chef and he has rolled out a nice bar menu.
What I can't recommend are the Momofuku establishments. Consistently overhyped and disappointing to me.
Let me know what you think.
I highly recommend bar dining at I Sodi on Christopher St and Alta on W. 10th St. I Sodi is Italian in a sleek setting by a woman from Tuscany - great service & wines, not to mention fantastic dishes. Alta has killer creative small plates in a former meeting house. Beautiful and lively bar.
You might like Grayz. It's off the beaten path, but very good. It started off just doing 'bar nibbles', but the menu expanded to a full blow lunch and dinner and also became far better after Gray Kunz's departure. (I like Kunz, but this place really blossomed, post.) There's definitely seating at the bar or very near it. It still feels a little more like a bar than restaurant.
If you want to small plates and haven't tried it, the downstairs bar at Tailor could be interesting. I'm frankly not a fan of the food, but the cocktails are interesting and mostly very good and the food worth trying once.
Agree with Kathryn's Momofuku Ssam suggestion.
I was at Tailor recently and tried some of the desserts (hadn't been there for real food since the opening) and was pleasantly surprised. I loved my manchego cheesecake, wrapped in a thin layer of blackberry, with graham cracker ice cream, and bits of shiso oil. My fiance also really enjoyed his soft chocolate with mole.
For cocktails, the solids are worth a try (loved the "rice krispie" white russian in vodka milk) and the crumble was just as good as ever. Brown butter rum really hits the spot in this weather. We also tried the nutty monk (walnut infused cognac) which were also quite good, as well as was the green apple. They all seemed quite seasonal and appropriate for some brisk weather.
They also gave us complimentary coriander cotton candy with micro cilantro and dehydrated pineapple. Seriously delicious!
So you want casual, delicious food in a counter setting with a bustling crowd? Not too stuffy or formal?
What about Degustation, Casa Mono or other tapas joint, the bar at Babbo, the bar at Otto, really any Batali spot, the bar at Gramercy Tavern, the bar at the Modern (many Danny Meyer places are conducive to having a meal at the bar), Momofuku Ssam Bar, Momofuku Ko, the bar at Allen & Delancey (maybe, their chef JUST left), is sushi in the cards? Sushi places are not exactly bustling but delicious nonetheless.