New York rss

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

All-Star Contender at Michael Jordan’s

Hounds aren’t quite sold on Michael Jordan’s steaks, but their hamburger is a winner. It’s 12 ounces of well-seasoned ground sirloin, broiled to a nice crust, served on a lightly grilled bun with decent steak fries–pricey at $14.50 but excellent, reports ESNY.

Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse [Grand Central Terminal]
23 Vanderbilt Ave., in Grand Central Terminal, Manhattan
212-655-2300
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Review of the burger at Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse

Hamburger Toppings with a Twist

The Twisted Burger plays it straight with the meat, turning out a solid, classic hamburger, says Quetzal. The twists are in the thirty-plus toppings. Two popular choices are the Vermonter (Vermont cheddar and grilled apple) and the Blue Pig (bacon and blue cheese). Some others: the Honolulu (fried pineapple and white American cheese), Secretariat (horseradish, cheese, sauteed onion), and the Break Up (raw onion and Limburger). Chicken sandwiches come with the same toppings. Hot dogs are also unique and good, done in a hollowed-out roll that almost completely encases the frank and fixings (a shorter and more conventional lineup of cheeses, chili, bacon, etc.).

In Hell’s Kitchen, restaurant and caterer Mitchel London has pared its cafe menu down to just two items, hence the new name: Burgers and Cupcakes. Cheeseburgers are spectacular, says Felixnot (they come with American, cheddar, Swiss, blue, pepper jack, or goat), but fries are even better–fresh cut, nicely salted, very crispy.

On the Upper West Side, Nice Matin remains a dependable spot for the satisfyingly messy bistro-style creation dubbed the Five Napkin Burger: 10 ounces of beef with sauteed onion, aioli, and compte cheese, says JoanN. Great fries, too.

The Twisted Burger [East Village]
430 E. 14th St., between 1st Ave. and Ave. A, Manhattan
877-989-4783
Locater

Burgers and Cupcakes [Clinton]
formerly Mitchel London Foods
458 9th Ave., between W. 35th and 36th Sts., Manhattan
212-643-1200
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Nice Matin [Upper West Side]
201 W. 79th St., at Amsterdam Ave., Manhattan
212-873-6423
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Best UWS Burger?
Burgers and Cupcakes —Mitchel London’s new place
Best fries around?
Twisted Burger–Anyone tried it?

Super Fried Fish at Brooklyn’s Liman

The Turkish seafood house Liman is best known for simple, beautifully grilled fish, but its fried stuff also kills. If St. Peter’s Fish (more commonly, tilapia) is on the menu, get it–and ask for it deep-fried in garlic oil. Best dish in the house, swears mysaltandpepper.

Liman Restaurant [Sheepshead Bay]
2710 Emmons Ave., between E. 27th and 28th Sts., Brooklyn
718-769-3322
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Need help identifying a Turkish restaurant

Seared Fish That Cuts the Mustard

Nice quick takeout bite at gourmet grocer Agata & Valentina on the Upper East Side: head for the sushi case and look for seared tuna or salmon, advises Cheese Boy. They’re encrusted with cracked black peppercorns and lightly toasted fennel seeds. Each order comes with a killer mustard sauce–if you don’t see it, ask for it. Best time to go: lunch hour to around 3 p.m.

Agata & Valentina [Upper East Side]
1505 1st Ave., at 79th St., Manhattan
212-452-0690
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Mustard sauce?

Blue Crab Mondays at the Hideaway

For just a few more weeks, the Hideaway in Tribeca is serving blue crabs on Monday nights. Flown in the same morning from Maryland, they’re excellent, says lilhornet–three big ones for $19. They’ll be around through September, maybe a bit longer.

Beyond the seafood special, this year-old bar and restaurant has a short menu of sophisticated pub bites (e.g., smoked deviled eggs) and more substantial fare, like chile-marinated skirt steak and broiled shrimp with chorizo butter. GIS likes their burgers, crab cakes, and crispy free-range chicken, pan-seared then finished in the oven.

The Hideaway [Tribeca]
185 Duane St., between Greenwich and Hudson, Manhattan
212-334-5775
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The Hideaway- any info?
Blue Crab Night Mondays at The Hideaway

Florence’s: Flavors of Home, West African Style, in Harlem

Florence’s is a cozy joint that serves spicy, satisfying chow from Ghana and Ivory Coast. An Ivorian braised fish dish, attieke poisson braisse, is a knockout, according to our first report, from Peter Cherches. It’s a whole tilapia topped with onions, tomatoes and peppers, and served with starchy attieke (fermented cassava) and wonderful, incendiary chile sauce.

As with other West African cuisines, expect plenty of soups and stews, and dishes featuring peanut sauces, fermented grains, and fufu (starchy mashes of cassava, plantain, and the like). A thick, long-cooked Ivorian okra stew, gombo, is smoky, slightly spicy, and a tad funky from dried shrimp. Peanut soup with goat can be bland, though the meat is tasty and not at all gamy. Among the appetizers, a Ghanaian street snack called kelewele–cubes of ripe plantain fried with chile, ginger, and other spices–is addictively delicious.

Service is friendly and helpful, and the Ghanaian family that owns the place sets a warm, inviting mood. “It was like being a guest in their home,” Peter marvels. “I want to hang out there again. I want to try everything on the menu. I want to take all my friends.”

Florence’s Restaurant [Harlem]
2099 Frederick Douglass Boulevard (between W. 113th and 114th streets), Manhattan
212-531-0387
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Florence’s: Fabulous West African in Harlem

Petite Soo Chow: Shanghai Surprise in Cliffside Park, NJ

Chinese-challenged Cliffside Park now has the real deal in Petite Soo Chow, reports marachino. Shanghai specialties like xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and fish head clay pot are “easily the kind of stuff that would warrant a trip to Chinatown or Flushing.” Wu Xi spare ribs and red-cooked fish are also worth a try, says kNOwTASTE, who finds the food “a bit better than your average Chinese restaurants in Flushing or Chinatown, which makes it excellent in Bergen County.”

Service is cordial and attentive, and on weekends there’s northern-style Chinese breakfast–shaobing, steamed buns, soy milk and crullers, and the like.

Petite Soo Chow [Bergen County]
607 Gorge Rd., near Lincoln Ave., Cliffside Park, NJ
201-313-1666
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Pettie (sic) Soo Chow in Cliffside Park–authentic Chinese

Cafe Riazor: Rewarding Old-School Tapas in Chelsea

Hounds have had little to say about Cafe Riazor, a downstairs Spanish hideaway that’s been around since the ‘70s, and jungirl thinks it deserves better. She reports a satisfying spread of tapas–stuffed piquillo peppers, chorizo asado (grilled sausage), patatas bravas (fried potatoes in tomato sauce), pulpo a la gallega (octopus in olive oil and paprika)–plus paella negra (with squid ink) and a couple pitchers of sangria. “I don’t think they’ve renovated in ages, but I like the old-school charm,” she adds. “I honestly don’t know why this place is so overlooked.”

Cafe Riazor [Chelsea]
245 W. 16th St. #1, between 7th and 8th Aves., Manhattan
212-727-2132
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where is LA NACIONAL, the great tapas restaurant everyone speaks of?

Italian-Style Sandwiches from Downtown to Uptown

At Piada on the Lower East Side, the namesake specialty is a sandwich from Emilia-Romagna–a toasted flatbread stuffed with meat, cheese, vegetables, or sweet stuff like fruit, preserves, or Nutella. “Ingredients are fresh, the sandwiches are delicious, and the owners are Italian guys who are actually always there and make your sandwiches,” reports lia, who’s especially fond of their Amarcord (prosciutto, mozzarella, arugula), and pressed ciabatta with prosciutto or mortadella, fontina, and artichoke. Salads, soup, espresso drinks, and breakfast sandwiches with egg, cheese, or speck round out the menu.

On the Upper West Side, a sleeper pick for less authentic Italian-style sandwiches is Soup or Sandwich, whose name pretty much sums up its menu. Among the dozen fusioney panini, one tasty un-Italian choice is the Chicken Tijuana: moist grilled chicken with pepper jack, roasted peppers, and spicy mayonnaise. “A really good sandwich–not fake spicy, really spicy,” says Pupster. “Nothing to make a special trip for, but if you are heading into Central Park for a picnic, a convenient place to grab a couple panini.” Other options include a Cubano, tuna melt, churrasco, and even such Italianate varieties as the Tuscan Melt (fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil, pesto mayonnaise) and San Pietro (prosciutto, fresh mozz, roasted peppers).

Piada [Lower East Side]
3 Clinton St., between Houston and Stanton, Manhattan
212-677-5415
Locater

Soup or Sandwich [Upper West Side]
265 Columbus Ave., between W. 72nd and 73rd Sts., Manhattan
212-362-6076
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best sandwiches in lower manhattan?

Rinconcito Mexicano II: Killer Quesadillas in the South Bronx

If you think you know quesadillas, try the one at Rinconcito Mexicano II in the South Bronx. “Quesadillas will never be the same again,” promises PAL, who declares this “one of the greatest little Mexican restaurants in all of New York City.” A thick tortilla of fresh-made masa encloses fresh, possibly house-made white cheese and comes with deep, spicy, garlicky red salsa. Order it with carnitas: you’ll get rich, flavorful roast pork, nicely crisped in places, reports Spoony Bard. Tacos are also good, he adds, including one with deliciously goaty barbacoa.

Rinconcito is a charming, narrow storefront joint, one of many Mexican establishments in the surrounding Mott Haven neighborhood–and apparently unconnected with a restaurant of the same name on 39th Street in Manhattan.

Rinconcito Mexicano II [Bronx]
381 E. 138th St., between Willis and Alexander Aves., Bronx
718-401-8314
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Chow-worthy Bruckner Blvd. and South Bronx?