Sushi Samba 7

•June 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

1sushisambaLast week I planned a dinner at Gabi Hamilton‘s place, PRUNE on the LES but the reservations they had were too late as was Minetta Tavern once again. Sushi was at the top of the list so I called up Sushi Samba 7 and made a reservation for 3 at 8:45. My best friend Alex and Jess were joining me and we couldn’t wait for it. I was supposed to have my birthday party here back in September but a friend of mine opted to throw me a bash at Woo Lae Oak in SoHo,a stellar Korean restaurant. So our mouths were watering for some Samba Sushi. We hopped a cab on broadway and drove right up to the doors where a hostess met us with our name on the list and reserved us a table atop their infamous rooftop canopy. The evening was gorgeous, a very clear warm night overlooking Seventh avenue and the West Village.3sushisamba

Having practically starved ourselves for this meal, there was some ordering to be done. 

We ordered an apertivo for the table Otsumami: assortment of Edamame, green bean tempura and Shishito ( mini, sweet-hot pepper with sea salt) a recommended dish for a group to pick from, very delicious and light. The dipping sauce was a mayo horseradish which is always fun for tempura foods.Picture 8

We each ordered a Samba 7 Roll: crispy Lobster, scallion,cucumber,celery,jalapeno with wasabi chimichurri dipping sauce. These rolls came equipped with the Claw in tempura batter as well as part of the tail and displayed very well, so between the 3 of us we had an entire lobster in our rolls.Picture 3

Jess ordered a few pieces of thinly sliced Yellowtail Sashimi Seviche ginger, garlic, soy.Simply refreshing, ultra thin and filled with surface taste. Nothing like it.

Alex ordered an Avocado Roll and Spicy Tuna both classic rolls and both very common yet often made terrible, these were great. Small and not stingy on the ingredients.

I ordered as an appetizer 2 Crispy Yellowtail Taquitos: Shiso,avocado,roasted corn miso,spicy aji panca sauce    I loved these, I wish I had ordered more but there was a minimum of 2 per order. Nice and bite size…and fun to eat.Picture 6

On top of my Samba 7 Roll I also ordered something that really caught my eye. The BoBo Brazil Roll: seared Kobe Beef,avocado,kaiware,shiso,red onion, chimichurri ponzo. This roll took the prize that night, for the best roll and it wasn’t even fish. The kobe was so tender and layered thinly on top with a dab of ponzu. Very tasteful and presented like a true piece of art.

I ordered a piece of Fluke sushi and Salmon sushi as well, that were just right and very fresh( of course).Sushi Samba, Treasure Island - Bobo Brazil Roll 1

Some of the local in the West Village hate the Samba rooftop canopy and put together petitions to take it down, but that was over-ridden by the state. But I may have to say sitting up there enjoying a meal with great friends on a beautiful evening is something that can’t be matched. The food is spectacular and the view amazing,all you need is right up there just a few feet above seventh avenue. And for those who think that samba 7 is pretentious and overrated, take a stab at it one day with an open mind, and I am sure you will soon realize the place is truly amazing.Picture 5

 

Sushi Samba 7

87 Seventh Ave. South, at Barrow St.

New York, NY 10014

212.691.7885

Sushisamba.com

Otto Enoteca Pizzeria

•June 27, 2009 • 1 Comment

OUT963282Picture 2The other week I decided to try Mario Batali‘s pizzeria in Manhattan’s West Village a very casual Italian restaurant. Otto, part wine bar part pizzeria has a wide variety of Wines by the bottle and by the glass…over 500 types actually. My friend Caroline has been telling me to try it for months and having been to his other establishments and being in the area I gave in. I called up my friend Noel and my sister Danielle and put our names down on the list. Around a half hour wait, which would be terrible in most other restaurants, but thanks to the brilliant wine bar setup we hung out at the standing tables and had a Bellini and a beer. We were given a slip that read ” OTTO Enoteca Pizzeria Biglietto”  which means Otto ticket naturally and printed on the bottom was BITONTO, a small city in the South East of Italy near Bari on the heal of the boot. Now that we have secured a reservation we waited patiently for our destination to roll up on the Arrivals-Departures ticker at the Host station. 494324881_a24fd61687Picture 3

After 20 minutes went by, Bitonto rolled up and we were whisked away to our oasis past the crowds to a nice table toward the back of the restaurant.

Our waitress was nice but wasn’t attentive enough for us to appreciate her, but she was very helpful when we asked which was the best pizza on the menu. Her answer, everything is great but it really lies in what is most appealing to you to eat, whatever it says is on the pizza and nothing else. I should have probably went with her advice. Picture 5

Noel ordered the special of the evening…

A Pancetta and mozzarrella basil pizzathis was one of the best mini pizza’s I have had in a long time, and I don’t really enjoy pizza so much, its very hard to find a good pizza that isn’t oily or too thick.

my sister ordered…

the Asparagus & Goat Cheesethis one took second place on the night and still was appetizing even with all the asparagus.

And I ordered the Funghi & Taleggio– it was great on the first slice, but she wasn’t lying when it came out, it was loaded with mushrooms and very little cheese. You would have to be an absolute mushroom adorer to eat this, they were just too over powering for me to handle, and went for Noel’s pizza.Picture 6

It was a really fun place to be and the pizza’s really are delicious…but follow this advice, order what is most appealing to you, you actually will get what you want here. A tough thing to find out there in the world.141343227_e0b81c4639

Buon Appetito 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OTTO Pizzeria

One Fifth Avenue NYC 10003

212.995.9559

Ottopizzeria.com

99 miles to Philly

•June 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Picture 6Ok, I know it isn’t the finest cuisine but who can resist Steak and Cheese!? I know I can’t no matter what time of the day. When I moved into the neighborhood nearly 4 years ago this September, 99 miles was my weekly stomping ground. I have never been to Philly yet to experience the real deal, but my friends who have and the ones from there say that 99 miles is delicious and though it is NO Pat’s Steak it still lives up to the name.markshields.com-genos-vs-pats-cheesesteaks-philadelphia-pa-3221-big-picture

The owner Brad Kranz who has been making steaks since he was a teenager knows what he’s doing behind the spatula. There are many places in Manhattan that make “Philly” cheese steaks, but Brad’s joint is hands down the best one in all of NYC. Located in the heart of the East Village at 94 3rd avenue btw 12th and 13th he delivers to the perfect cliental of college students and tourists. A tiny 6 table dine or take to go shop, this place makes thousands of steaks a day, and it is never not busy. In the classic ordering style of Pat’s Get in, order, Get out (or stay) makes it very efficient as well as the menu abbreviations of Wit’ or Wit’Out for onions and Whiz if you want it. 3221600188_857a91f34c

CheesesteakThe steaks are made fresh on the spot tender and cooked to your liking with any topping you want, as well as a special for $10.99 that comes with steak fries and a drink of choice. If you don’t like red meat they also make chicken and vegetarian as well.169072193_41d26d8d65

To me there is nothing like grabbing a quick Steak with Whiz and Onions to go, it is one of the most satisfying sandwiches I can think of. Don’t be afraid of the grease soaked parchment its the true signature to a cheesesteak, if there is no grease stain at the bottom of your paper bag, you better bring it back.

If you are from Philly or want to try a philly cheesesteak but can’t make the trip this is the second best if not The Best alternative to making your stomach love you.

99 miles to Philly

94 3rd Avenue New  York, NY 10003

212.253.2700

99milestophilly.net

The Smith

•June 25, 2009 • 1 Comment

  2thesmith  The other week Bryana and I were looking for a bite to eat close to my apartment and having been to this restaurant nearly 10 times, I couldn’t help but go again for their delicious burgers. The Smith located on 3rd avenue and 10th street of New York’s East Village is THE place to be when it comes to a late night meal with friends. Ever since it took over the previous UNO chicago pizza The Smith has created a name for itself serving New American favourites. Such as Mac’ N Cheese served in its skillet,  Alsation Pizza, Crispy Calamari, and a Burger Deluxe with the works.

This place is never empty, no matter what the weather it is always packed full of NYU, Cooper Union and SVA students…a great 20somethings place to be. It’s a fun atmosphere to be in, almost like a ski lodge with the wood booths and wide open dining area which makes it loud yet enjoyable to be around. When the weather is nice the doors open up to the street and you can people watch all day while indulging into some great CHEAP food.

The moment we were seated by the hostess our waitress was right there with two glass bottles one clear (flat water) and one green(sparkling water) and a small baguette with butter before we ordered. A must for every restaurant I think. 

When it was time to make the final decision we went with the…

Classic Roasted Tomato Soup Cheddar MeltPicture 3

The MAC + CHEESE

and The Burger Deluxe special sauce, cheddar, bacon, the works and my added AvocadoPicture 2

This was enough food for four people easily, we were so full from just these three orders. But I will have to say that The Burger Deluxe is one of the most delicious burgers I have ever had in all of NYC and the East Coast for that fact. If you can handle it, I strongly recommend getting their burger…you will NOT be disappointed or leave hungry.And while you’re there you are bound to make a few new friends, a true delight to eat at.Picture 5

 

 

The Smith

55  3rd Avenue New York, NY 10003

212.420.9800

TheSmithnyc.com

Tio Pepe

•June 13, 2009 • 2 Comments

Picture 2On a gorgeous sunny monday, what better way to spend it then walking through the West Village. Oddly enough I had a craving for beef wrapped in a tortilla with cheese… Instead of just going to Chipotle and ordering a quick burrito, we wanted to find something a little more original and close to the real deal as we could get. The owners of the talked about Burrito Loco merge both Spanish and Mexican cuisine, what seems to be successfully. Owning half the block they have pretty much cornered the market on both aspects and haven’t had a problem since they’ve been there since 1984. 

Being located next to restaurant alley Cornelia Street, it can get tough with high end restaurants and oyster bars, but Tio Pepe offers up something none of these have… Homeliness. The interior makes it seem like the entire family may be in the kitchen cooking up your meals for you, which I wouldn’t doubt. It is a family friendly place to be, almost grottolike. The staff, though when we went was short because it was 3pm were very nice and spanish of course. Our waiter resembled Dustin Hoffman to a T, just the spanish version…a little awkward at times with the water but that was alright because the food made up for it.

 I ordered the…

Burrito MachacaFlour tortillas filled with shredded beef or chicken presented with salsa ranchera, guacamole and sour cream. I had to get the shredded beef. It was so delicious and tender, it just melted in your mouth. The cheese salsa and guac along with it is the best combo you can ask for in mexican cuisine I feel.3408148106_dbf8877bf0

Bryana ordered a salad with Artichokes, baby lettuce and beets that was nice and light.

After that she had the…

Pollo al AjilloChicken sauteed with garlic and extra virgin olive oil.

I’m not a huge chicken eater so this dish wasn’t really appealing to me to order, but it did have a very light taste which is great.Picture 4

There were no complaints with this late lunch, all in all it was nice and relaxing with some soothing spanish music as we indulged into some authentic cuisines from around the globe.

I have also been told the Paella Valenciana is a dish to be ordered when there for dinner, and I wouldn’t doubt this one bit. They know what they’re doing.

I recommend Pepe if you’re ever in the West Village craving some authentic Spanish or Mexican fair, this is the place to be. Very cheap.

Tio Pepe

168 West 4th street New York, NY 10014

212.242.9338

ask for Jimmy

HIRO

•June 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Picture 3    Sunday evening when I returned to Manhattan, Bryana and I wanted to grab some sort of Japanese. Good Japanese of course. Being that we are in the East Village of NYC the streets are riddled with the finest Japanese cuisine around…other than Japan. The TONY awards were to be on so we didn’t want to stray, instead we ordered in from a restaurant that I’ve been going to for nearly 4 years. HIRO, hidden below the streets on the south side of 10th street between 3rd and 4th next to the bar Black and White. The reason I’ve been coming here for 4 years is because of the food…many people don’t know of this place which makes it my dirty little secret. You may say, then why make this review public. I’m doing this because of some reviews given on NYMAG.COM about the worst experience a person has had with them. Apparently something was incorrect and perhaps they double charged this person and the delivery man didn’t know of this, and if so they should have complimented this. But needless to say the proprietors of this establishment are very sweet and have been nothing but welcoming to me and my guests that I bring in.

 My mother and father actually discovered this place years ago so I can’t take credit, in fact my mother ordered the best roll on the menu that isn’t even sushi the Chicken Tempura Roll topped with avocado and spicy mayo. A killer roll and very reasonable

The prices are similar and in some areas a little bit lower than the famed HARU of nyc another one of my favorites but to be honest Hiro has the better and freshest fish I’ve had in Manhattan. Who would have thought for such a tiny quaint restaurant below street level.

The owner to remain anonymous originally had HIRO in South Miami where the fish were at its freshest moved to the Village of NYC to get away from the sushi craze of the boardwalks. The staff remained the same and he kept the rolls the same and even added a few more…’If it’s not broken, don’t fix it’.

We ordered the…Picture 5

Chicken Tempura Rolls topped with avocado

Spicy Yellowtail Scallion

White Dragon Rollsspicy white tuna, crunch flakes topped with avocado and tobbiko 

as well as two pieces of the freshest and most desirable looking Salmon Sushi around.Picture 2

Other rolls that I recommend

Black Pearl Roll– Spicy yellowtail, crunchy topped with yellowtail and black caviar- That resembles KOI’s famed $1000 High Roller Sushi Roll with a fraction of the cost.one-thousand-dollar-sushi

Mango Roll– Mango, cucumber topped with Lobster salad and mango sauce

Village Roll– Tuna, Salmon, eel and shrimp on top of california rollsPicture 4

This list just keeps going with a total of 38 Specialty rolls.

I highly recommend Hiro, the staff is very welcoming and are at your every need and the glasses are always full. If you’re in the neighborhood walk in and take a quick look round at the freshest sushi grade fish i’ve ever seen at the bar. The colors are so brilliant they are guaranteed to ignite your sushi sense and salivation.

Hiro Japanese Restaurant

84 East 10th Street, New York, NY 10003

212.674.9752

FREEMANS

•May 29, 2009 • 2 Comments

2946310250_d05aafd86d_bTalk about hidden treasures…

Freemans located at the end of Freeman Alley of New Yorks LES is a real gem. I have been told about the restaurant on several occasions and had yet to go and visit it. So on wednesday afternoon Bryana and I walked around SoHo, The Village and LES and made our way to Freeman Alley located on Rivington between The Bowery and Chrystie. We walked all the way to the end of the alley to find gorgeous robin’s egg blue glass doors and scattered plants at the entrance; it looked like the front of an old english home. The Maitre’ de was super nice to us and offered us to take the tour on our own since they had just opened for lunch, we loved it. 

 We came back for dinner that night with my sister Danielle and it was packed, we put our names down for a 40 minute wait and then made reservations at Minetta Tavern, Keith McNally’s new digs when all of a sudden the maitre’ de came running out , “a table for 3 just opened up!!” we immediately accepted as we did not want to miss out on this strike of luck. Seated in what seemed like a vintage hunting lodge filled with stuffed fowl and gorgeous paintings from the late 1800’s early 1900’s.

I was told to order the

Hot Artichoke dip with crisp bread–  Very creamy and filled with artichokes unlike other restaurants that lack on the artichoke aspect and liquify their dips to become more saucelike. Three people could easily benefit from this single order at a great price.

Picture 1

my sister ordered the…

Grilled Cheddar Toasts– Also very delicious and packed full of cheese and what seemed like a light hint of horseradish, perhaps a little overkill with the amount of cheese but who can complain with too much cheese? 

Bryana ordered the soup of the day  Broccoli cheddar that was very creamy and though i’m not a huge fan of broccoli, I wouldn’t have had a problem ordering this one.

As for our Entrees my sister and I bother ordered the…

Picture 2Seared Filet Mignon roasted onion, mashed potatoes and horseradish cream Being a meat lover and fanatic I thoroughly enjoyed this healthy chunk of meat with a perfectly seared red onion and horseradish drizzled potatoes was a meal made to perfection. 

Bryana ordered the…

Seared Diver Scallops Fava bean puree, fennel, olive salad, Lemon vinaigrette and a small stem of dill  This dish was a breath of fresh air. After paletting meats and potatoes, tasting these ultralight scallops was so refreshing…you felt like you just took a dip in the atlantic. They weren’t stringy or tough, a rare thing to come by with scallops the chef hit culinary gold with this dish.IMG00740-20090527-2235

Time for DESSERT

Danielle ordered her favourite 

which was a special dessert of the day

Stout Sticky Toffee Pudding– made with a light stout beer

The beer gave off the wrong taste for this pudding and took away from the dates and the sauce.

I ordered the…

Hot Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce– The brownie was very thick but thanks to the ice cream and the chocolate sauce it made for a very nice combination when consumed all at once.



Freemans is a great spot hidden in the back streets of the LES, perfect for any night whether it is a summer night or wintery evening its the spot to be and is very cozy. Make sure to get there early to put your name on the list. No Reservations.314524122_929f2be77e

 

FREEMANS

End of Freeman Alley

Rivington btw Bowery and Chrystie- New York, NY 

212.420.0012

http://www.freemansrestaurant.com