NYC Bhatti Indian Grill Debuts Adventurous New Design and Menu

For Bhatti Indian Grill’s 10th anniversary, Gaurav Anand wanted the restaurant that set him on a successful restaurant career to get a sexier new look, more elevated menu and an adventurous beverage program, befitting the next decade. Being one of NYC’s preeminent Indian chefs and restaurateurs, Gaurav, of Awadh and Moti Mahal Delux, has completely revamped and renovated his first restaurant.

Bhatti Indian Grill Bhunney Aloo Ke Kulhey | Photo by Lily Brown

Perennially packed and attracting celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Food Network’s Duff Goldman, Bhatti became a popular dining destination due to its delicious, boldly-flavored food, especially kebabs, which always stood out among the generic menus of its Curry Hill neighbors.

Bhatti Indian Grill NYC
Bhatti Indian Grill interior | Photo by Lily Brown
Bhatti Indian Grill NYC
Bhatti Indian Grill Anjeer Malai Kofta | Photo by Lily Brown

To amp up the menu, Gaurav has collaborated with Chef Manoj Goel who worked for Taj Hotels and helmed Varq in New Delhi, which was rated one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. When it opened in 2009, Bhatti was the first NYC restaurant to focus on India’s kebab culture and the updated menu by Gaurav and Manoj will feature 21 kebas.

Some of the new items include:

  • The extra-spicy Bullet Kebab made with ghost chilies
  • Rajma Ki Galouti, a vegetarian (red bean) version of the famous Galouti kebab
  • Bhunney Aloo Ke Kulhey cheese-stuffed grilled potatoes
  • Kasondi Shrimp with mustard and curry leaf.
  • Large dishes include Aleppy Fish Curry, fish of the day simmered in coconut with curry leaves, green chilies and lime juice
  • Anjeer Malai Kofta, traditional Punjabi fig and mixed vegetable dumplings scented with rosewater that are often enjoyed on holidays
  • Meat Martaban, a slow cooked pickle-flavored lamb dish
  • Bhuna Gosht, goat meat cooked on the bone with garlic and ginger
  • Nizami Nalli, lamb shanks simmered in lamb stock with aromatic spices.

And now loyal followers and curious foodies alike will be surprised and delighted by the stylish new design with elegant black and gold accents, even bolder food, and an adventurous all natural wine list.

Bhatti Indian Grill NYC
Bhatti Indian Grill dumplings, butter chicken and white wine | Photo by Lily Brown
Bhatti Indian Grill Alleppey Fish Curry and wine | Photo by Lily Brown

In fact, Bhatti is the first Indian restaurant to have an all-natural wine list, curated by consulting natural wine sommelier Doreen Winkler (Aska, Aldea, Sel Rrose). Each wine on the all-European list has been chosen to balance the complex flavors and spicing of Bhatti’s food.

Natural wine menu highlights include:

  • Meinklang “Foam” Orange, a skin-contact lightly sparkling Pinot Gris from Burgenland, Austria
  • Creamy white Jean Perrier Cuvee Gastronomie made with the local Jacquere grape in Savoie, France;
  • An easy-drinking Italian rose and a Spanish tempranillo with blackberry and tobacco notes.

Bhatti fans familiar with the restaurant’s generous wine BYO policy will be happy to know that it will stay in place at just $5 per bottle (limit to 2 bottles or for larger parties 1 bottle per couple).

Bhatti Indian Grill NYC
Bhatti Indian Grill ​Alleppey fish curry | Photo by Lily Brown

Gaurav enlisted a premier design company, one of India’s best chefs and an up-and-coming sommelier to help him make Bhatti more exciting than ever. Crews worked round the clock to complete the renovation in just 3 days!

Bhatti Indian Grill NYC
Bhatti Indian Grill Exterior | Photo by Lily Brown

Design House Décor, a luxury event company founded by Azizan and Nauman Ali, was enlisted for the renovation and it is their first restaurant project. The intimate 40 seat space features all new furniture and an interior design that melds the modern and traditional with gold, black and pops ofgrey throughout the jewel-box like space.

Bhatti Indian Grill is located at 100 Lexington Ave., New York, NYC, 10016. For more information visit the restaurant’s website or call 212-683–4228.

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Pilar Opens as NYC’s First Authentic Cuban Bakery

Chef and Owner of Bed-Stuy’s popular Pilar Cuban Eatery, Ricardo Barreras, has been introducing Cuban food to New Yorkers for almost 10 years. He now brings NYC its first authentic Cuban bakery with the opening of Pilar Cuban Bakery today, Thursday, January 31.

Pilar Cuban Bakery Sign | Photo by Lily Brown

Cuban bakeries are the heart and soul of the Cuban community in Miami where Ricardo grew up, but he was surprised to find NYC lacking a proper one. Pilar Cuban Bakery is next door to the restaurant.

The bakery serves an array of savory and sweet Cuban treats throughout the day, including pastelitos or pastries with fillings ranging from ham and cheese to guava and cream cheese.

Cuban Savories

The bakery also feature croquettes and empanadas such as empanada gallega (Spanish meat pie filled with cod or chorizo), as well as Cuban tamales made with ground fresh corn, sofrito and roast pork or seafood.

Croquetas and Rellenos | Photo by Lily Brown
Empanadas | Photo by Lily Brown

Cuban Bread

Cuban bread, a soft, pillowy, white baguette, is proofed and baked in house, and available both traditional-style with lard and without.

Cuban Sandwiches

The bread stars in Pilar’s Cuban Sandwich along with smoked bone-in ham and house mojo-marinated slow roasted pork, and will also be used to make other sandwiches like:

  • The Croqueta Preparada (a Cuban with two ham croquettes)
  • The Elena Ruth (turkey, cream cheese, strawberry and guava jam)
  • The Porkinator with pork five ways – housemade chorizo, ham croquettes, ham-pimento spread, Serrano ham and chicharrones

Cuban Sweet Treats

Those with a sweet tooth can absolutley find both authentic and inspired Cuban desserts which include, Drunken Plantain Tart, Key Lime Pie, cookies like Torticas de Moron, Dulce de Leche Brownies, Tropical Layer Cake, and Red Velvet Cream Cheese Cake Flan.

Drunken Plantain Tart | Photo by Lily Brown
Dulce du Leche Brownies | Photo by Lily Brown
Key Lime Pie | Photo by Lily Brown
Red Velvet Flan | Photo by Lily Brown

Cuban Coffee is a Must

Coffee is a major part of Cuban life and Pilar Cuban Bakery will have a coffee window like the ones in Miami’s Little Havana where Cubans gather to discuss politics over coffee. For many Cubans, the day starts with a breakfast ritual – Cuban bread toasted with butter and dipped into café con leche. The bakery will also serve the group-friendly colada, sweetened shots of espresso in a vessel that allows guests to share it amongst themselves. Non-coffee drinks include Batidos (Cuban milkshakes) made with tropical fruits like papaya, mamey (sapote) and guanabana (soursop).

Pilar’s Roots

Ricardo got his start serving empanadas and Cuban sandwiches at Brooklyn Flea before he and his wife Lisbeth opened the original Pilar Cuban Eatery in a 350 square foot space on Classon Avenue in the fall of 2009. The tiny space was perpetually packed and received praise from The New York Times, among others. With such a small space and limited kitchen, Ricardo moved the restaurant in 2015 to its current space on the corner of Bedford and Greene Avenues.

Pilar Cuban Bakery is located at 397 Greene Avenue in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, right next to Pilar Cuban Restaurant. For more information, call the restaurant at (347) 350-9037 or visit it’s website at pilarny.com.

Try East Village’s Papilles, Inspired by its French Expat Travels

Papilles, meaning taste buds, is the first restaurant endeavor between New York-based French expats: husband-and-wife team, Chef Andrea Calstier and Elena Oliver, together with close friend, Nicolas Thoni, a mixologist and restaurant manager of 10 years.

Diners wishing to visit the restaurant for dinner can view the full menu here, which includes dinner, drinks, wine, and it’s featured tasting menu. Papilles also announced last month that they have been included in the new 2019 Michelin Guide with L’Assiette Michelin (The Plate Michelin) designation.

Papilles | French Restaurant | East Village, NYC
Papilles Interior | Photo by Jai Nima Idowu

Born in Marseille, Chef Andrea Calstier has worked at several Michelin starred restaurants in France and most recently at Daniel in New York. He brings together his classical training and modern techniques to create unique dishes using seasonal produce and ingredients inspired by his travels around the world, which he calls “cuisine vagabonde.”

Interior of the East Village’s Papilles | Photo by Jai Nima Idowu

Next week will mark the restaurant’s 6-month anniversary, and recently introduced its new Fall dishes including, including the selection we are featuring of delicate beets, snails, veal, lychee, and one of two new cocktails, sang chaud.

Papilles | French Restaurant | East Village, NYC
Beets in various textures, huckleberry coulis, hazelnuts, autumn spices vinaigrette | Papilles | Photo by Jacqueline Clair/York Avenue
Papilles | French Restaurant | East Village, NYC
Peconic snails “petit gris” with parsley gnocchi, ginger crumbs and a froth of black pepper | Papilles | Photo by Jacqueline Clair/York Avenue
Papilles | French Restaurant | East Village, NYC
Roasted veal tenderloin, kabocha squash, maitake mushrooms, cappuccino-veal jus | Papilles | Photo by Jacqueline Clair/York Avenue
Papilles | French Restaurant | East Village, NYC
One of two new cocktails is the Sang Chaud (hot blooded) by co-owner and mixologist Nicolas Thoni
– fermented tequila, lapsang souchong liqueur, lime, smoked chili bitters, Q ginger beer, and pinot noir float | Papilles | Phot by Jacqueline Clair/York Avenue

Papilles is located at 127 East 7th Street in the East Village and is open for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm-12am and Sunday from 5pm -11pm. Reservations can be made online through resy.com or by calling (646) 850-5345.

Mayanoki Serves Sushi Lovers a Traditional 15-piece Omakase Menu Every Week

New York’s first and only sustainable sushi restaurant and omakase, Mayanoki serves local, seasonal and environmentally-friendly fish in an intimate East Village setting.  Chef Jeff Miller, formerly of the Uchi group in Texas, mans the sushi bar by himself as he serves a 15-piece omakase of fish often rarely used by sushi chefs.  While the guiding principle is on preserving fish stocks for years to come, the results are never less than delicious.

mayanoki interior
Mayanoki Interior

The idea behind Mayanoki didn’t start out with sustainability. At their original pop-up, co-founders Josh Arak and David Torchiano simply wanted to serve really great sushi, but as they began to understand how the conventional sushi supply chain works, they knew they didn’t want to contribute to the negative impact it has on the environment – nor to consume or serve endangered fish species.  They decided that to operate a restaurant they were proud of, they would have to focus on sourcing from sustainable purveyors.

Mayanoki’s beginnings a longtime Brooklyn pop-up

Mayanoki began its life as a pop-up at Brooklyn Oenology in 2012, where it stayed for 4 years.  There, Josh and David met the winery’s general manager, TJ Provenzano, who later joined their team as co-owner and beverage director, bringing his wealth of knowledge of local and sustainable wines to the restaurant’s opening in 2017.

The counter is run by Chef Jeff Miller, who prior to moving to New York late last year, was the Head Sushi Chef at renowned restaurant Uchi in Houston.  Chef Miller has been making sushi for over a decade since 2007 when he moved to Gainesville to attend the University of Florida. His career started when he walked into Dragonfly Sushi and Sake and was confused with a friend of the owner, who was also supposed to start working there that day.

Sushi Chef Jeff Miller | Mayanoki

He was offered a job on the spot without any training, but quickly proved himself and stayed for five years. He then relocated to Texas to work with the popular sushi restaurant Uchiko in Austin. He quickly moved up the ranks within the restaurant group, opening
Uchi Dallas as Sous Chef, and later Uchi Houston as Head Sushi Chef.

Sushi fans will love this fifteen piece omakase delight

Mayanoki serves a traditional 15-piece omakase menu where guests can watch how their sushi is prepared and learn firsthand where it comes from.  A list of wine and ciders from New York State, sakes from Japan, and an optional wine, cider and sake pairing are offered.

With a penchant for sourcing almost exclusively from the East Coast and the Northeast, the omakase menu at Mayanoki changes nightly based on availability and seasonality.  Many fish are rarely seen on sushi menus, while endangered species like Bluefin Tuna and Atlantic Salmon are never served.

Santa Barbara Uni & Ikura | Mayanoki

Instead, sustainably raised and ethically caught species are highlighted (sourced as locally as possible), including Bluefish, Porgy from Long Island, Spanish Mackerel from Florida, Shrimp from ECO Shrimp Garden Upstate New York, Arctic Char sustainably farmed in Iceland, Almaco Jack from the Big Island in Hawaii, and mussels from Prince Edward Island.

The course of the Omakase dinner at Mayanoki

While the menu changes daily depending on fish availability, it often starts with a piece of dashi marinated oyster nigiri topped with roe.  This is the perfect introduction to Mayanoki’s eco-friendly practices as it highlights their partnership with the Billion Oyster Project, an initiative that seeks to restore the health of the New York Harbor using empty oyster shells donated by restaurants to repair the marine ecosystem.

Other fish include: Bluefish, an oily fish similar to mackerel found on the East Coast, cured in salt then vinegar and aged in the traditional Edomae style for 3-5 days before being served.  This lends an umami taste to the fish and makes it more tender. Porgy from Long Island is offered fresh with soy sauce and Meyer lemon zest.

Spanish Mackerel | Mayanoki

Spanish Mackerel often makes two appearances throughout the meal: first, it is seared with a torch and finished with a white ponzu sauce, light soy sauce and a sprinkle of Oregon sea salt.  The second preparation involves chives and sesame salt after cold smoking the fish for 30 minutes with walnut wood.

True Diver Scallops from Maine come with fresh and fermented Meyer lemon , and Spanish olive oil.  Shrimp from ECO Shrimp Garden – the first indoor sustainable shrimp farm in New York, which uses systems that recirculate salt water from the tanks and leaves almost no carbon footprint – is cured and seared with a torch, then drizzled with shrimp
heads oil.

The optional alcoholic beverage pairing

Unique to Mayanoki is their beverage program, with wines, ciders and beverage pairings unusual to most sushi restaurants.  Guided by deliciousness and sustainability, Beverage Director TJ Provenzano sources all of the wines and ciders from New York State’s small producers, from crisp Hudson Valley apple ciders to dry Finger Lakes Riesling to barrel-aged Long Island Sauvignon Blanc.

The pairing, which is optional but highly recommended, accentuates the sushi first, and elevates each course by not overpowering or dominating, but enhancing it.  North Fork wines especially with their maritime climate, sandy soil, and subtle salinity have proven to be truly unique and seamless pairings with local species. The only exception to local sourcing are junmai sakes – the only product brought from Japan.

Bluefish | Mayanoki

The intimate dinners are hosted by Service Director Briana Emerson-Provenzano, the former beverage curator and assistant general manager of al di la Trattoria. In fact, the warm, intimate space has a private home like ambience.  With just eight seats at the bar, guests can watch Chef Miller cut and prepare the fish right in front of them.  The experience is designed to be interactive, whether asking the chef questions about the fish or chatting with fellow diners.  It feels like eating at a friend’s house, in the best way possible.

Mayanoki is located at 620 East 6th Street in the East Village; no phone.  The restaurants serves its omakase dinner menu Wednesday – Sunday with seatings at 6:30pm and 8:30pm.

Reservations are required and can be made via Resy.com.

Lamano: Cozy Spanish Tapas in New York’s West Village

When you think of Spain, it’s hard to overlook the many delicious flavors that come to life in the country’s food – particularly so in tapas. There’s much speculation about the origins of Tapas – which translates to “cover” – but there are plenty of tales. Myths run wild of bartenders urging sherry drinkers to cover their glasses with thin slices of bread or meat to prevent fruit flies from falling in. No matter the story, tapas have been heavily influenced by introductions of new and diverse spices over time.

Nowadays, tapas are mostly enjoyed as pre-dinner bites, though they can easily translate into wonderfully-diverse dinners.

Walking into LAMANO in the West Village, we’re in for a treat.

This newly-opened neighborhood spot offers a cozy respite from the busy streets of New York and an authentic taste of tapas paired with refreshing drinks. The restaurant is the second Lamano (another is in Chelsea) and has a modern design with reclaimed wood, Spanish accents, a fun neon sign, and a hand-painted map of Spain on its back wall showcasing both restaurant locations.

Lamano Interior

From what I’ve read, the owners, Jorge Guzman and Chef Partner Mario Hernandez, are “continually inspired by the Spanish tapas tradition during their trips to Spain.”

Guzman was born in the Dominican Republic to a father who owned hotel, restaurant and discotheque businesses, and soon discovered he had his own passion for the hospitality industry.  Since his move to New York City, Jorge has opened several restaurants and plans to open more in 2019 – also in the Dominican Republic and Buenos Aires. Chef Hernandez credits his cooking “education” to his grandmother and cooking in her kitchen in Cuernavaca Morelos, Mexico. He immigrated to New York City with his father in 16 but always sticks to his roots and uses the flavors of home to inspire his dishes.

Tapas, Tapas, Tapas

Our menu for the evening consists of seafood, meats, and cheese all selected by Lamano’s chef and presented by general manager, Diego Nuñez, a native of Galicia, Spain. In talking to Diego, his passion for food, drink, and Spanish culture really shines through.

Cava and red sangria | Lamano

As we wait for our food, we’re sipping on deliciously, refreshing Red and Cava sangria – a nice breather from the heat.

Diego starts bringing out dishes to try from patatas bravas (crispy potatoes with spicy salsa brava) to Pulpo a Feira (poaches octopus with potatoes in olive oil and pimenton) to foie gras with wild berries and boquerones (white anchovies in picual olive oil with pickled piparra).

Patatas Bravas, Octopus and Anchovies | Lamano

We order signature cocktails that pair nicely with the various tapas. My favorite is the El Betis consisting of white vermouth, cucumber juice, and pepper, while the other drink is a Sherry Cobbler (Amontadllio sherry, pineapple syrup, lemon, orange, and cherry).

Specialty Cocktails: Sherry Cobbler (Left), El Betis (Right) | Lamano

As we’re still nibbling, the next group of tapas arrives: gambas al ajillo (red shrimp with garlic and quindilla peppers), chistorra a la sidra (basque-spiced sausage with apple cider), croquetas de jamon (a personal favorite of serrano ham croquetas with cheese),  higos con jamon (jamon serrano with figs; deliciously spiced), and a tortilla (free range eggs, potato confit, caramelized onions and truffle oil).

Croquetas de Jamon | Lamano
Shrimp Tapa | Lamano
Octopus Tapa | Lamano

We’re filling up quickly, but Diego brings us a final treat. He’s holding a hand-selected specialty for dessert: the Tinto & Blanco Lustau, a delicious sherry paired with an orange peel and rich botanical accents.

If you’re looking for authentic tapas, refreshing drinks, and a cozy vibe, why not try Lamano next? I promise it won’t disappoint.

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About the Author

Nicolette Orlemans writes for Mezze Weekly in New York City. She grew up in a multicultural, bilingual home in The Netherlands to a Polish mother and a Dutch father. She is currently based in New York City, where she works as a communications strategist. When she’s not working, Nicolette loves to travel, and has visited much of Europe, seen many of the U.S. states, and traveled to Egypt. In November 2014, Nicolette founded #CultureTrav, a Twitter chat that focuses on how travelers personally experience travel – adapting to cultural differences, bridging any language gaps, creating new homes as expats, and much more. For more information, visit her website.

Icon German’s Soup Opens in NYC and Pays Tribute to its Guyanese Heritage

Guyana’s iconic 58-year old German’s Soup opened its first U.S. location on May 15th, a small restaurant and take-out at 793 Utica Avenue in Brooklyn. The original restaurant in Guyana is one of the country’s most popular dining spots, serving a range of soups from closely guarded family recipes to classic Creole dishes that highlight the diversity of the country’s population with influences from Africa, the Caribbean, India and China.

Opened by Sons of Guyana Native

German’s Soup NYC’s opening is spearheaded by Clinton Urling and Hubert Urling Jr., the sons of founder, the late Hubert “German” Urling Sr., who opened the first restaurant in Guyana’s capital of Georgetown in 1960 – it quickly became the go-to spot for everyone from local workers to the country’s political elite. When ex-pat Guyanese return home for holidays, they always stop at German’s, which gave Hubert’s sons the idea to open in Brooklyn. The New York opening will be the first U.S. outlet for the company.

Handed-down Creole Recipes

The Creole recipes are all handed down from Clinton’s father. The nourishing soups are based on slow cooked yellow split peas and loaded with meat, plantains, corn and more, making them heartier than broth-based soups and offering more sustenance. (Great for the morning after, too 😉 Daily soups will include the signature cow heel soup, along with oxtail, chicken, beef and vegetarian versions.

Rotating daily specials will showcase Guyanese specialties such as pepperpot, a meat stew made with cassareep (a cassava root condiment) and spices that is one of Guyana’s national dishes, along with pork or chicken curry, BBQ chicken and sides such as cookup rice (cooked with meats and herbs in coconut milk), macaroni pie, stewed okra, yucca and more.

They will also serve housemade Mauby, a fermented beverage made from the bark of the Mauby tree with sugar and spices popular all over the Caribbean.  Traditionally fermented in small batches, it’s now typically sold commercially as non-fermented soft drink or syrup to mix with water – at German’s will be made from scratch.

Go check out German’s Soup at 793 Utica Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, or online at its website here.

XS Poppers Debut at NYC’s Drunken Dumpling Following XL Potstickers Fame

Drunken Dumpling, helmed by the spawn of 63-year-old former Joe’s Shanghai Chef Qihui Guan, set the food blogosphere on fire with the introduction of XL XLB — a soup dumpling the size of your face — best enjoyed with two straws.

With lines that rivaled Dominique Ansell’s circa 2013 Cronut queues, the gigantic XLB was proclaimed to be the most coveted item in the city by Eater and The Chew, selling out within the first 15 minutes of shop opening for four consecutive months. Despite its famous dissenters, including Anthony Bourdain and Eater’s own critic Robert Sietsema, Drunken Dumpling toppled every high-traffic food-stagram feed.

The XL XLB saw standalone-concept imitators from Washington, D.C. all the way to Sydney, Australia… and even made “Miss January” in New York Magazine’s 2018 calendar.

Chef Guan has returned with a counterpoint to the XLB, via a collaboration with Brunch Boys’ Jeremy Jacobwitz dubbed the “XS”: Size 0 dumpling poppers topped with chili oil.

More traditionalist, but still oozy and textural in an outsize way, are the lattice-style baozi, or Potstickers with Crisp Skirt. Drunken Dumpling has also added the Choco-Bao, sesame seed chocolate-filled buns.

Soogil Brings the East Village Modern Korean Flavors with French Technique

NYC’s East Village is now home to a new modern Korean restaurant. Soogil is named for Chef/Owner Soogil Lim who worked in the kitchen at Daniel for 7 years before becoming Executive Chef at Hanjan.

Fried Sweet Potatoes & Kimchi Soup | Soogil

Born and raised in South Korea, Chef Soogil Lim originally majored in biology, but his interest in the culinary world was sparked when he went into a restaurant and saw a sign that said “Make People Happy.” Upon graduation from the Culinary Institute of America, he began his training in French cuisine at Daniel.

Short Rib | Soogil

Through his hard work, he was able to move up the ranks and become the first Korean Sous Chef in the restaurant’s history. After working under Chef Boulud for 7 years (3 of them as Sous Chef), Soogil became Executive Chef at Hanjan, where he ran the kitchen for 4 years. With his first restaurant, he will blend the two backgrounds he knows best: French and Korean.

Soogil’s small plates menu marries authentic Korean flavors with French technique and is split into three sections: Garden, Land and Sea. Concise descriptions belie the intricate cooking methods and flavors of Chef Soogil’s personal cooking style:

  • For the Mung Bean Sprout Korean Pancake, he purees mung bean sprouts with pork fat then pan fries it and tops with a kimchi sprout salad.
  • Spicy Soft Tofu builds on a housemade tofu flan with shrimp, squid and manila clams, with a spicy seafood brothmade with dried herring and kombu stock poured over the dish tableside.
  • Spanish Mackerel is grilled and served atop swiss chard-wrapped rice seasoned with ssamjang, a condiment made with doenjang (fermented soy bean paste), gochujang, sesame oil, scallions and garlic.
  • Sweet Potato Beignets come with a chilled white kimchi soup – white (non-spicy) kimchi is traditionally eaten by Koreans in the winter.
  • Slices of succulent Pork Belly are accompanied by mini kimchi-radish rolls.
  • Pieces of braised Chicken are served with root vegetables and spicy fermented shrimp sauce.
  • Soy braised, fall off the bone Short Rib is served with winter vegetables such as kabocha squash, carrots, pearl onions and marble potatoes along with side dishes of rice and kimchi.
Tofu Soup OH | Soogil

The restaurant occupies a cozy dining room with large French windows overlooking the East Village streets. Up front, a wood counter bar seats 7, while the dining room welcomes 32 with an alcove table for 6 – 8 perfect for small parties. Muted tones offer refinement, from the light grey color palette to white oak tables to the dark stained floor. Original works by artist Suzy Taekyung Kim adorn the walls; minimalist lighting fixtures and traditional Korean pottery dishes complete the intimate space.

Soogil NYC
Soogil’s cozy interior

Stop in to Soogil  for dinner, Monday through Thursday from 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, and 6:00 pm until midnight on Friday and Saturday, as well as 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm on Sunday nights.

Soogil is located at 108 E. 4th Street, NYC. Reservations can be made by calling 646-838-5524, or visit the restaurant’s website for more information. 

Sen Sakana is a Taste of Peru and New York City’s First Nikkei Kitchen

In a place where you would image every type of food to exist, it’s pretty amazing that Sen Sakana is New York City’s first Nikkei kitchen. The Peruvian Japanese restaurant—you got that right, Peruvian Japanese—is actually a cuisine that is over a hundred years old. Wondering how on earth the cuisines of two countries that are an ocean apart might co-mingle in the concept of Sen Sakana in the heart of Manhattan?

Chicken Nanban | Sen Sakana

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The gastronomy of Peru is as complex as it is rich. From its indigenous Incan cuisine, to the influences of the Spanish, and even the Italians and the Chinese, Peru has a history of embracing the ingredients and traditions of others with their own. A sort of believe in strength in diversity when it comes to food that today has Peru at the top of the world’s food destinations.

When Japanese immigrants made their way over to Peru in the 1900’s to work on the country’s railroads, they eventually intertwined their traditions with that of the Peruvians, resulting in today’s Nikkei style of cuisine that Peru is well-known for.

Nikkei Ceviche | Sen Sakana

At Sek Sakana guests can experience dishes like Tiradito, where sashimi meets ceviche, like big eye tuna rolled with sprouts and pickled radish, nestled atop a spicy jalapeno cilantro sauce; the Causa Onigiri, the Peruvian take on a Japanese rice ball with yellow and purple potatoes; Salchipapas, Peru’s classic street food with miso mustard and kurobuta sausage; and a Japanese chicken curry empanada. Stop in for lunch or dinner at Sen Sakana to give these modern Nikkei dishes a try, and you’ll get a taste of Peru’s deeply rooted history of innovative cuisine.

Sen Sakana is located at 28 West 44th Street, New York, NYC 10036. For more information about the restaurant, visit it’s website.

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Good Stock’s French Origins Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler in NYC with Cajun-style Gumbo this Mardi Gras

If you’ve ever been to Louisiana, you’ll have learned very quickly that its history is as rich as the recipes passed down from generations of parents since at least the 1700’s. That’s when the French arrived from Canada (forced out of the Acadia region by the British) and founded New Orleans, bringing with them traditional ways of cooking and ingredients that over time became intertwined with other influences on the state’s cuisine, including African, German, Spanish, and Caribbean, to name a few.

Today, step into any restaurant or home in Louisiana and you’ll find two distinct cultures of delicious cooking—Creole and Cajun. Both need proper introduction, but there is probably no staple that brings them together as two—Gumbo and it’s roux. Although, you’ll find distinction in each.

For example, Creoles use tomatoes and Cajuns do not, which is how you can tell the difference between Cajun and Creole gumbo (or jambalaya). The roux, including its texture and taste, is the key component in Gumbo—it’s strictly French and pretty much what makes gumbo, essentially, GUMBO, but these days you’ll also find it made in light and dark varieties.

For Louisiana-born founder Ben LeBlanc, it was Gumbo that became a major part of the reason he started the New York City-based artisanal soup company Good Stock.  Growing up in Houm, LeBlanc lived by the French phrase, laissez les bon temps rouler, or “Let the good times roll!,” and eating well, both part of the fabric of life in south Louisiana.

good stock soups nyc
Founder / Owner, Ben LeBlanc | Good Stock

“I missed the gumbos from back home,” he says. “It made no sense to me that in a city where you can get the best of nearly every cuisine across the globe, you couldn’t get a good gumbo.” So he set out to change that by creating his own version of the Cajun classic.

For Good Stock’s Fried Chicken & Andouille Gumbo, Ben took inspiration from his favorite Louisiana chefs’ gumbos and combined their best features to make his own. While the exact recipe is secret, they start by frying farm-to-table D’Artagnan chicken (popular on the menus of all New York City’s four-star restaurants) and using the leftover oil to make a very dark roux.

While the roux is darker than most Cajun-style gumbos, the thinner broth mimics classic Cajun gumbos as opposed to the thickness of a Creole gumbo. The chicken and Andouille sausage (also from D’Artagnan) add depth to the flavor. Brought over to Louisiana by French immigrants, Andouille-style sausage is smoked pork mixed with pepper, onions, wine and seasonings.

nyc good stock soup
Soup at Good Stock | Facebook

In celebration of Marde Gras, or Fat Tuesday, alluding to the last day of feasting before Lent for Catholics, you can get your eat-on New Orleans-style at Good Stock. The Fried Chicken & Andouille gumbo will be available from February 9th – February 18th  at both Good Stock locations at 31 Carmine St. in the West Village, and Urbanspace Vanderbilt (E. 45th St at Vanderbilt);  $9 for 12oz or $11 for 16oz. Following the holiday, the dish will be on the rotational menu throughout the year.

For more information on Good Stock, visit the soup eatery’s website here

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