New York rss

Restaurant recommendations, new openings, and highlights from the NY Chowhound community.

From Mediterranean to Mexican in Queens, All Before Lunch

At Astoria’s Cafe Bar, the Mediterranean Breakfast is scrambled eggs with scallions and olives or onion and tomato, according to the menu. Menus can lie. “The cook seems to want to throw in extras, like asparagus, leeks, whatever he’s got around,” says Monkey Man Jake. With the accompanying toasted pita, tahini, and tzatziki, it’s a surprising morning feast.

In Sunnyside, the Rose serves up an authentic and well-made Irish breakfast that bests rival versions in Manhattan, says lindoca. A familial connection with the well-regarded Butcher Block assures a supply of high-quality sausage, rashers, and black and white puddings.

Mexican favorite De Mole offers a short breakfast menu of four or five choices. One good one: eggs with chorizo, rice, beans, tortillas, coffee, and fantastic cinnamon-scented hot chocolate. The eggs can come out under-seasoned, but a splash of house-made green salsa will make things right, says chefcoleman.

At Jahn’s in Jackson Heights, JH Hill’s occasional indulgence is chocolate chip pancakes–nice and moist and extremely satisfying.


Cafe Bar [Astoria]
32-90 36th St., between 34th Ave. and Broadway, Astoria, Queens
718-204-5273
Locater

Rose Restaurant [Sunnyside]
44-07 Queens Blvd., between 44th and 45th Sts., Sunnyside, Queens
718-784-0745
Locater

Butcher Block [Sunnyside]
41-12 Queens Blvd., between 41st and 42nd Sts., Sunnyside, Queens
718-784-1078
Map

De Mole [Sunnyside]
formerly El Jarro
45-02 48th Ave., at 45th St., Sunnyside, Queens
718-392-2161
Locater

Jahn’s [Jackson Heights]
81-04 37th Ave., between 81st and 82nd Sts., Jackson Heights, Queens
718-651-0700
Locater

Board Links

Breakfast Lover in Queens

Chinatown Brasserie: Dressed-Up Dim Sum and More

Chinatown Brasserie, a posh palace thick with self-consciously uber-Chinese decor, seems to be the kind of restaurant that chowhounds love to trash. But there’s some great upscale Chinese chow here, thanks in part to a dim sum master lured away from Brooklyn’s well-regarded World Tong.

“Chinatown Brasserie is all that!” marvels Pan. “Best dim sum I’ve had outside of Asia, and certainly the best in New York.” Chef Joe Ng, who won a following for his fresh, inventive dim sum in Bensonhurst, offers a pared-down selection in Soho, but it’s first-rate. It’s also pricey, costing several times what you’d pay in most Chinese restaurants. Highlights include steamed roast duck-shrimp dumplings, crispy taro root shrimp, and pork-and-crab soup dumplings (“heavenly, delectable morsels of yumminess,” sighs Dandel). Flavors are vivid–fresh chive notes sing out in shrimp-chive dumplings, for example–and occasionally surprising, like the kaffir lime that accents delicious pan-fried curried chicken dumplings.

Beyond dim sum, the menu offers mostly Chinese-American standards–overseen by a different chef–and they’re surprisingly good. xavier credits top-quality ingredients and unusually skillful prep work. Recommended: crispy orange beef, Peking duck, kung pao chicken, roast duck spring rolls, dry-sauteed string beans with roast pork. These dishes, like the dim sum plates, are more expensive than average; prices run from the high teens to the high $20s.

But you’re paying in part for the scene, and some don’t mind that. “Chinatown Brasserie is one of the few Chinese restaurants with a hip ambience and upscale decor,” observes Dandel.

So what’s going on back at World Tong under chef Ng’s replacement? Regulars say dim sum is still better than average, though not quite as good as before. bolletje reports a recent lunch of familiar favorites–shumai, shrimp-stuffed eggplant, beef rice noodle rolls, green sesame balls–plus some new winners, including fresh, juicy pan-fried dumplings filled with shrimp, pork, and greens. Generally, steamed items are as good as ever; fried items seem to have slipped. And–who knew?–they serve delicious coffee, bolletje adds.


Chinatown Brasserie [East Village]
formerly Time Cafe
380 Lafayette St., between Great Jones and E. 4th Sts., Manhattan
212-533-7000
Locater

World Tong Seafood Restaurant [Bensonhurst]
6202 18th Ave., at 62nd St., Brooklyn
718-236-8118
Map

Board Links

Chinatown Brasserie is all that!
Weekend Review- WD-50, Chinatown Brasserie long
Chinatown Brasserie —Pricey, but good
Chinatown Brasserie
World Tong review

Masterly Ravioli and Other Bites Around Arthur Avenue

In the Bronx’s Little Italy, Borgatti’s is a venerated hound destination for fresh pastas, none better than its ravioli. “Totally heavenly,” sighs rose water, after trying the ones filled with ricotta. “The pasta was light and fresh. And the filling was dense, salty, chewy and smooth simultaneously.” kenito799 recommends the smaller meat ravioli, whose filling is subtly seasoned and delicious. Cavatelli and dried pastas (plain, spinach, whole wheat, squid ink) are also excellent.

Chas shares a story about his Italian grandmother, a superb home cook who made killer ravioli. One holiday, he took over some of Borgatti’s. “After she tasted them, she looked at me and said, ‘I think these are even better than mine.’” He agrees: these babies are the best ravioli he’s ever tasted.

Another longtime neighborhood favorite is Calabria Pork Store, best known for its house-cured meats, but also a source of exceptional ricotta–exquisitely delicate and creamy, rose water reports. Among the meats, Cheese Boy singles out cheese-and-parsley sausages, loaded with bits of cheese. kenito is hooked on the dry-fermented sausages–especially the fennel and spicy varieties–that hang from the ceiling like meat stalactites and create the shop’s unmistakable funky smell. “It is a small miracle that places like this exist anymore,” he adds.

There’s also houndworthy cheese at Casa Della Mozzarella, just down the street from Borgatti’s. “Getting there just as the mozzarella is pulled from the water is like hitting the lottery,” says peasoup. Others are partial to Calandra for its intensely flavorful canestrato–“sweet, salty, tangy, a total cheese experience,” says kenito.

At Teitel Brothers, kenito adds, look for marinated white anchovies packed in a plastic tray: “Spread them out on a plate, sprinkle thin slices of hot pepper and capers on them, and add a squeeze of lemon juice: antipasto heaven.”


Borgatti’s Ravioli and Egg Noodles [Bronx]
632 E. 187th St., between Hughes and Belmont Aves., Bronx
718-367-3799
Locater

Calabria Pork Store [Bronx]
2338 Arthur Ave., between E. 186th St. and Crescent Ave., Bronx
718-367-5145
Locater

Casa Della Mozzarella [Bronx]
604 E. 187th St., between Arthur and Hughes Aves., Bronx
718-364-3867
Locater

Calandra Cheese [Bronx]
2314 Arthur Ave., between Crescent Ave. and E. 186th St., Bronx
718-365-7572
Locater

Teitel Brothers Retail and Wholesale Grocery Co. [Bronx]
2372 Arthur Ave., between E. 186th and 187th Sts., Bronx
718-733-9400
Locater

Board Links

Borgatti’s Ravioli and Egg Noodles

Amazing Deep-Fried Macaroni at Brooklyn’s Chip Shops

Deep-fried macaroni…well, why not? For Brooklyn’s Chip Shops, which toss chocolate bars and cherry pies into the Frymaster, it’s no stretch to do the same to a battered ball of cooked pasta, held together with cheesy, mayonnaisey sauce. “First I doubted. Now I’m a believer,” testifies frenetica. “It’s so delicious. And if you smother it in ketchup it becomes kind of an interesting parody of Italian food!”

Also recommended: Scotch eggs. For the uninitiated, they’re hard-boiled eggs covered in sausage meat, breaded and–naturally–deep-fried.

Atlantic Chip Shop [Cobble Hill]
129 Atlantic Ave., between Henry and Clinton Sts., Brooklyn
718-855-7775
Locater

Park Slope Chip Shop [Park Slope]
383 5th Ave., at 6th St., Brooklyn
718-832-7701
Locater

Board Links

Atlantic Chip Shop–fried macaroni!!

Martine’s: Choice Chocolates on the Upper East Side

Hang around Martine’s at the right time of day and you can watch fancy European-style sweets made by hand from Belgian Callebaut chocolate, French butter, fresh cream, and other top-quality ingredients.

“Absolutely amazing!” swoons comida, who’s fallen hard for the cherry cordial with brandy. Among the other choices: cappuccino hearts, hazelnut-praline butterflies, chocolate cellos, pianos, and palettes, and truffles with caramel, raspberry, cognac, champagne, or Grand Marnier. They’re $2 and up per piece and well worth it, comida swears.

Martine’s Chocolates [Upper East Side]
1000 3rd Ave., near E. 60th St., in Bloomingdale’s, 6th floor, Manhattan
212-705-2347
Locater

Martine’s Chocolates Too [Upper East Side]
400 E. 82nd St., near 1st Ave., Manhattan
212-744-6289
Locater

Board Links

Anyone try Martine’s chocolates?

Catch of the Day: Superior Trout at Brooklyn’s Damis

Damis in Greenpoint makes pierogi, bigos, and all the Polish standards, and for all we know they could be stellar. But a waiter steered Monkey Man Jake toward the trout instead. Smart waiter. Dusted in flour, quick fried in butter and lemon, dressed with lemon-dill sauce, this is one outstanding plate of fish. It comes with dill mashed potatoes and perfectly cooked vegetables, and goes down great with a bottle of Zywiec beer.

“Unlike most stick-to-your-ribs Polish food,” Jake adds, “this was light, subtle, and melt-in-your-mouth tender. I don’t know how I’m going to order anything else.”

Damis Polish American Cuisine [Greenpoint]
831 Manhattan Ave., between Noble and Calyer Sts., Brooklyn
718-349-7501
Map

Board Links

Damis–Polish in Greenpoint

Ennio and Michael Revisited: Solid Italian in the Village

Greenwich Village fixture Ennio and Michael gets scant attention from chowhounds, but it has a loyal retinue of regulars, and dkstar1 can see why. It’s a dependable spot for satisfying Northern Italian chow, fairly priced–better than much of the competition in a neighborhood rich with Italian options.

If lasagne is among the daily specials, get it. It’s a traditional version, made with hearty meat sauce, and it’s delicious. Pastas generally seem to be a smart order. The signature rigatoni alla Ennio–with chopped sausage, onion, peas, and mushrooms in creamy pink sauce–is tasty, well cooked, and amply portioned–not in Babbo’s league, but at $16.50 not nearly as expensive, dkstar1 notes.

Also good: spiedini alla Romana (mozzarella breaded and covered in anchovy-caper sauce), baked asparagus with a crisp Parmesan crust, mussels in red wine-garlic sauce enlivened by chiles, and, for dessert, huge fresh cannoli. Meat courses are popular but variable. Rack of lamb with rosemary (at $29.75, the priciest entree) was a healthy serving of six ribs, but slightly overcooked and served with lackluster potatoes. Service is gracious, discreet, and unpretentious.

Ennio and Michael Restaurant [Greenwich Village]
539 LaGuardia Pl., between W. 3rd and Bleecker Sts., Manhattan
212-677-8577
Locater

Board Links

Ennio and Michael’s–Review

Yeti: Nepalese Meets Japanese in Sunnyside

The menu at Sunnyside’s Yeti straddles an imaginary border between Japan and Nepal–and so far more hounds are lining up on the Nepalese side. It’s not that the Japanese food is bad. Miso soup is lovely and bright-tasting, loaded with seaweed and fresh tofu. Sushi is serviceable, and a generous helping of shredded sashimi distinguishes the otherwise ordinary Yeti Salad.

But what really steals the show is the Nepalese stuff: intense garlic-buckwheat leaf soup, tasty momos (dumplings) with lively hot sauces, and other Himalayan dishes. “I find some surprising and delicious food here,” says Monkey Man Jake, who loves the well-balanced thalis–varied, ever-changing combinations of small bites presented in a bento-like box. A jerky-like beef appetizer is exotically intriguing but only for diehard jerky fans, cautions melon. At lunchtime, an appealing buffet offers five or six hot dishes plus steamed bread, cooked greens, and a fresh-looking iceberg and radish salad.

Beyond the chow, service is uncommonly pleasant, the mood festive and warm. “It is one of the coziest, sweetest little restaurants I have been to in a long while!” melon writes.

Yeti, open since spring, isn’t the first restaurant in the area where Himalayan cooks have put their stamp on a Japanese menu. Yamakaze, just four blocks away, added Tibetan specialties to its lineup of sushi and noodles earlier this year–and makes much better momos, says tracyk.

Yeti Japanese and Nepalese Restaurant [Sunnyside]
43-16 Queens Blvd., between 43rd and 44th Sts., Sunnyside, Queens
718-784-9384
Map

Yamakaze Restaurant [Sunnyside]
39-11 Queens Blvd., between 39th St. and 39th Pl., Sunnyside, Queens
718-361-8232
Locater

Board Links

Sunnyside–Yeti

Boqueria: Crowd-Pleasing Spanish Flavors in Chelsea

Hounds who have squeezed into Boqueria, the hot Spanish spot in Chelsea, report inventive, flavorful tapas and other Catalan-inspired bites. “Terrific! It was almost like each dish was competing to outdo the previous one,” raves RCC, who was knocked out by crispy roast pork, salt cod fritters, fried quail egg and chorizo on toast, and a stellar special of chopped razor clams on the shell.

Also recommended: potato-onion tortilla, blistered Padron peppers, skewered grilled lamb marinated in lemon and cumin, and bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with almond and Cabrales. It’s not all tapas, pinxtos, and other nibbles; the menu also offers larger plates like roast lamb shoulder, braised chicken with mushrooms, and New York strip steak.

Detractors complain of meager portions, close quarters, and a deafening din. “Intolerably loud, and the food isn’t that good. Tia Pol is many times better,” grouses gutsofsteel. “This place is very noisy,” acknowledges RCC, “noisier than the Barcelona marketplace it is named after. Tight, crowded, and extremely busy. A potential turn-off–unless you’re into very good Spanish food and a decent selection of Spanish wines.”


Boqueria [Chelsea]
formerly L’Acajou
53 W. 19th St., between 5th and 6th Aves., Manhattan
212-255-4160
Locater

Board Links

Bouqueria in Chelsea–Terrific!
Boqueria Review
Boqueria, new tapas restaurant in the Flatiron District?

Superior Dumplings and Other Flushing Mini-Mall Finds

Best North Dumpling Shop lives up to its name. This new shopping-mall stand serves delicate, well-seasoned boiled dumplings, Shandong style. Flavors are fresh and light, reports HLing. She singles out pork and sour cabbage dumplings, which top the version at Waterfront, a nearby northeastern Chinese restaurant.

Best North makes at least nine other fillings, and unlike many competitors they offer most varieties fresh, not just frozen to go. The herbaceous dumplings with pork and dill (sometimes translated as fennel) boast fine flavor, texture, and filling-to-dough ratio–better than at Manhattan’s Tasty Dumpling, says HLing. Other choices include vegetable, seafood, mutton, beef-turnip, cabbage-celery-pork, and the classic chive-shrimp-pork. This new shopping center also has a tiny sushi stand and a larger stall called Old Northeast.

Another chowish Flushing mini-mall is at Main Street and 41st Road, where a handful of food vendors are spread out on two floors, tucked in among hair salons and shoe and handbag shops. On street level, near the back of a narrow row of shopping stalls, you’ll find excellent lamb noodle soup–$4 for a large tub of wide, flat hand-rolled noodles in fresh, subtle broth. “A great noodle experience, the best I’ve had in ages,” raves Polecat. “What kicked this into the stratosphere, however, is the slide-off-the-bone chunks of fatty lamb.” Look for a sign with a picture of a man in a chef’s hat.

Downstairs, Chengdu Tian Fu offers Sichuan dishes like meats or vegetables in chile oil, ma la rabbit or beef tendon, and fiery “water cooked” pork, beef, or fish. eade ranks it among the three most authentic Sichuan places in Flushing; the others, he says, are Little Pepper and the Sichuan stand in Main Street’s J & L Mall (see below).

Across the aisle from Chengdu Tian Fu is Happy Family, a Fuzhou-leaning place with a brief menu of dumplings, fish balls, stews and noodle soups, with nothing over $5. (This is the owners’ second try in this space; their first was a Fuzhou vegetarian place whose dishes were tasty, unusual, and made with care, yet never found an audience, laments HLing.) The third vendor downstairs is a closet-size Wenzhou place called Lui; no reports yet on the chow.

A block and a half south, there’s news from J & L Mall, a destination for uncompromisingly authentic Chinese chow. Until now, the lack of English signage at this bare-bones food court has frustrated those who don’t read Chinese. But hounds are beginning to crack the code, sharing a floor plan and translated menus from the Sichuan, Guizhou, and hand-pulled noodle stands at the back of the mall. Still largely a mystery, for now: the Muslim Chinese and Fuzhou stalls closer to Main Street.


Best North Dumpling Shop [Flushing]
135-08 Roosevelt Ave. #A4, near Prince St., in Prince Shopping Center, Flushing, Queens
917-834-4991
Map

Waterfront International Restaurant [Flushing]
40-09 Prince St., between Roosevelt Ave. and 40th Rd., Flushing, Queens
718-321-1363
Locater

Tasty Dumpling [Chinatown]
54 Mulberry St., between Bayard and Mosco, Manhattan
212-349-0070
Locater

Noodle soup vendor [Flushing]
41-28 Main St. (street level), at 41st Rd., Flushing, Queens
Map

Chengdu Tian Fu [Flushing]
41-28 Main St. #31 (downstairs), at 41st Rd., Flushing, Queens
Map

Happy Family Restaurant [Flushing]
41-28 Main St. #29 (downstairs), at 41st Rd., Flushing, Queens
718-360-7370
Map

Xiao La Jiao, a.k.a. Little Pepper [Flushing]
133-43 Roosevelt Ave., between Prince St. and College Point Blvd., Flushing, Queens
718-939-7788
Map

J & L Mall [Flushing]
41-82 Main St., between Sanford and Maple Aves., Flushing, Queens
Map

Board Links

new favorites: Northeastern dumpling place and update on bakery in Flushing
ISO Vegetarian Restaurants in Queens
Happy Family Vegetarian–basement at 41 rd & Main street
Fantastic Big Flat Lamb Noodle Soup in Flushing, 41-28 Main
Floor plan of Flushing food court located on Main St between Maple and Sanford