While Bell's beers have built a cultish national following over three decades starting in their native Michigan, they've been just a tantalizing rumor in New York City. That changed last month, when the craft-brew pioneer rolled into town in a big way—not just at beer-geek hangouts but also at chain groceries, drugstores, and corner delis. "It is ridiculously good stuff," rose water writes on Chowhound, "and has quickly taken me from working-mama-who-is-too-tired-to-drink-alcohol-ever to let's-have-beer-with-dinner-again-tonight-shall-we?"READ MORE
Those who don't think macarons make a proper meal were pleased to learn that Ladurée's palatial month-old restaurant in SoHo would cover other food groups as well. Early Chowhound word on the savory dishes from the French-leaning menu is mixed. Tasty, generously portioned salads and club sandwiches win praise; undersalted omelets and pommes dauphine marred by a heavy dose of truffle oil do not. READ MORE
A bakery that calls itself Eclair had better make really good éclairs. Happily, Chowhounds who've tried them have no complaints. In fact, Monica declares them the best she's had Stateside, just sweet enough and distinguished by an outstanding shell. The praline flavor's her favorite, followed closely by plain, maple-walnut, and passion fruit. Other 'hounds single out the proper crème pâtissière filling. READ MORE
Eim Khao Mun Kai knows what it's about: Hainan chicken rice, the only dish it serves. The twist at this signless storefront, which opened just over a month ago in Elmhurst, Queens, is that its spin on this southern Chinese street bite is Thai—as Chowhounds have discerned from the spot-on fixings, including chiles and robust ginger-garlic soy sauce. READ MORE
The ramen scene in Upper Manhattan has never been stronger—an observation that wouldn't have meant much in the noodle-challenged recent past, but suddenly uptown has the real thing in West Harlem's Jin Ramen and, since summer, Yasha Ramen in Morningside Heights. Yasha (which means "demon") has won over Chowhounds with its signature ramen—chicken broth, pork chashu, scallions, bamboo shoots—as well as knockout spicy chicken wings. "We'd go here again and again," swears one fan, c oliver.
One of Hurricane Sandy's highest-profile casualties was The River Café, a waterfront landmark that most Chowhounds celebrate less for its food and more for its sweeping postcard views of the downtown skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. Fifteen months after the storm, it's back in business, and recent 'hound intel suggests that the cooking, as well as the damaged structure, has received a needed makeover. READ MORE
The Smile, which started dispensing coffee and coolness four years ago in NoHo, colonized Tribeca last summer with a little café called The Smile Newsstand. Chowhounds go for its house-made financiers, muffins, and other baked treats, as well as coffee brewed with beans from the upstate roaster Plowshares. Attention, shoppers: The café's inside Shinola, a Detroit transplant that proudly sells bicycles, watches, and other examples of good old American craftsmanship.
Chowhounds know Chef Tomoko Kato's French training and Japanese sensibility from Cha-an, the East Village teahouse hideaway. Now she's showcasing her elegant sweets at Patisserie Tomoko in Williamsburg. Recent winners at the three-month-old bakery and dessert bar include chestnut-coffee pastries, pleasingly floral gin-glazed donuts, and an airy custard-filled brioche cube. "Get yours soon," wewwew urges.
It's easy to walk right by La Chapincita without noticing that this Guatemalan market also houses a little kitchen. But one Chowhound ventured inside, followed his nose past the groceries in front, and was rewarded with satisfying home-style cooking, notably a spicy turkey stew. The daily-changing steam-table spread might also include beef and vegetable soups, whole fried fish, and chicken pepián in pumpkin-seed sauce, all served with rice and small, thick house-made tortillas. READ MORE