All posts by Johnny Prime

Brooklyn Chophouse

Brooklyn Chophouse overall score: 81

From the crew that brought you Jade Sixty comes Brooklyn Chophouse, located in FiDi (not Brooklyn) and executing a very similar, if not the same, menu as Jade Sixty (Asian starters and entrees, fusion items, and good old American style chops).

Flavor: 6

We had the dry-aged (50-60 days) porterhouse for two.

This had minor dry aged flavor along the edges of some pieces. It was slightly overcooked from medium rare in some parts, but none of that stopped me from devouring it – and the temperature issue is somewhat expected with such a thick cut (2″ at least). The crust was excellent, as you can see.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

You have a nice range of steakhouse selections here, all dry-aged and prime from Pat LaFrieda’s operation.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions are on par with steakhouse country in midtown and other places downtown. There are some bargains to look out for, which I will get into below.

Price: 8

We had a comped meal here in exchange for posting pics on Instagram, but the pricing is fair for what you are getting. Think of this place like any other steakhouse, but with some nice Asian items to boot. Speaking of, the $55 Peking Duck is a great deal (more on that below).

Bar: 9

I really loved the bar and lounge area here. They’re also mixing up some great cocktails, like the smoked boulevardier:

The Brooklyn old fashioned is killer too:

Specials and Other Meats: 9

There are lots of other items in terms of specials and other meats. But the main non-beef dish to look for here is the Peking duck. Here is a video of the slicing and presentation:

Make sure you take the remainder of that 7lb duck carcass home and make soup with it. One of the best Peking duck dishes I’ve had, ever. Awesome deal for just $55.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7

We tried a bunch of stuff here. Let me get right down to it.

Bacon – nice sweet maple flavor to it.

Pastrami dumplings – these are fun and delicious.

French onion soup dumplings – the skin was a bit too thick on these, and the filling was overly cheesy in some, and overly oniony in others. I think they can benefit from a more even distribution into each sack.

Bacon cheeseburger shumai – absolutely awesome. Get these! I can easily put down three orders of these without batting an eye.

Chocolate cake – dry and we weren’t fans of the frosting.  A bit greasy, like they used shortening rather than buttercream.

The apple wontons were fun though. Mine didn’t have too much apple inside, but I just filled them with the vanilla ice cream instead.

Seafood Selection: 8

There’s a lot of great seafood on the menu, as you might expect from an Asian themed place. I didn’t try any but my next visit will be to try the salt and pepper lobster dish.

Service: 9

Really friendly and knowledgeable staff, timely with everything.

Ambiance: 9

They nailed the ambiance here. It has a great vibe inside, especially the lounge and bar area. The elevated main dining room and private dining spaces are elegant but not stuffy.

BROOKLYN CHOPHOUSE
150 Nassau St
New York, NY 10038

Royal 35 Steakhouse

Royal 35 Steakhouse overall score: 81

My wife and I came here with another couple. We got to try a good amount of stuff, so let me get right to it.

Flavor: 8

We had both the porterhouse and the rib eye. Both came in at about 8/10 for flavor.

Both were cooked to my liking of medium rare with a good crust.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

All of the standard steakhouse cuts are available here. They are all dry aged on site, and prime.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions are good, and on par with all the other major steakhouses in the area. For the price, you get a good value here.

Price: 8

Pricing is average for the area, with some good values here and there in terms of portion size and quality. You won’t feel like you got banged out.

Bar: 7

The bar is a small stretch near the front of the restaurant, separated from the lounge area and the main dining room. They make a nice martini.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There were definitely some specials that the waiter read to us, but we were set on what we wanted from the main menu, so we didn’t pay too much attention. By way of alternative meats, they offer veal and lamb.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We started with the bacon, half a strip each:

Here I am cutting it with an awesome new knife that I will tell you about soon:

 

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Next was the crab cake. This was killer! Easily one of my favorites in the city. Go get this!

We also tried the baked clams. These had a bit too much breading, so they ate a bit dry. Otherwise nice flavors.

There was also this nice wedge salad. Simple and delicious.

For dessert we had the butter cake. I had high hopes, considering this is my favorite dessert at Del Frisco’s, but here it was a bit too dry.

Seafood Selection: 7

There’s a lot to choose from by way of seafood entrees, but since I only tried the clams so far, I can’t really opine other than on those.

Service: 10

Impeccable. The staff here is amazing all the way from top to bottom, front to back. That’s the way it should be.

Ambiance: 9

I really loved the decor and set up here. They made the most of what would otherwise be a challenging space. There are some awesome booth tables on the way leading back to the main dining room, and the main dining room has super high ceilings with elegant wallpaper and wood trim. Very nice.

ROYAL 35 STEAKHOUSE
1 East 35th St
New York, NY 10016

Patavini

Patavini is a shop that’s dedicated entirely to gnocchi. My wife and I stopped in to try some and we were blown away.

My favorites were the mortadella and pistachio stuffed, and the tomato and mozzarella stuffed. You can buy this stuff to go by the pound (or by the quarter pound, as little or as much as you want), or you can have them cook them for you and dress them up with their house made sauces, which are all pretty good.

They even have sweet/dessert flavored gnocchi, and a sweet sauce so you can have pasta for dessert. We tried both the tira misu and the cannoli flavors. Give this place a shot!

PATAVINI
1794 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

Massoni

Eight dollar cocktails at happy hour was a great way to start this meal.

Followed by half price apps, like this heirloom tomato and watermelon salad. happy hour goes until 7pm too, which is great.

I couldn’t resist ordering this double patty Italian style burger, with fontina cheese, spinach & arugula, crispy pancetta and pickled cherry peppers on a potato bun. Awesome!

But the pizza stole the show. This one was topped with pepperoni, cherry peppers and honey. This crust was amazing too, Detroit style.

I highly recommend this spot for the burger and pizza.

MASSONI
11 E 31st St
New York, NY 10016

Di An Di

My wife and I went here with another couple, since we had been hearing such great things about the food.

We started with some nice cocktails. My favorite was the mezcal cocktail “smoke between your thighs.”

The best bite of the night, for me, was probably this take on a summer roll.

There’s BBQ pork inside, but also a crunchy turmeric crepe (banh xeo) for texture. Fresh herbs, veg and rice noodles inside round this out to a perfectly balanced starter.

Next up was fried pig tails.

These were great little morsels of deliciousness. The acidic pickles on top cut the fat perfectly.

Now on to the noodles. First, the dry chicken noodles. These were my favorite of the three we tried.

Very aromatic and spicy from the curry leaves and crispy onions. Awesome.

The soups were a bit of alet down, however. The pho was underwhelming, and the bun bo hue was just too light and lacked the meaty and spicy flavors to which I am accustomed.

The bun cha was nice. These are pork meatballs wrapped in spinach and served in a sweet and spicy garlic and fish sauce broth, which you eat with rice noodles.

I wouldn’t go out of my way to come back, but if you stick to the apps and those dry noodles, you’ll be a happy customer.

DI AN DI
68 Greenpoint Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222

886

I came in here for a quick bite, and left a very happy man. Here’s what I tried:

1) Sausage Party

This is a sausage that’s nestled in a sticky rice bun, but the bun has been fried to achieve a nice crunch outside. Awesome.

2) Fried Chicken Sandwich

Currently on my list of best dishes for the year, this baby is made with perfectly golden fried leg/thigh meat, and has a nice kick to it from the pickled daikon and chili pepper slaw on top. Get this ASAP.

3) Clams

Nicely cooked, good quality seafood. The broth/sauce is great with rice.

886
26 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003

Johnny Prime on German TV

Check it out:

Some guys contacted me to be their steak expert for a show on German TV with local celebrity chef Dirk Hoffmann. We ended up shooting two episodes: one for burgers, and one for steaks. The first one is the burger episode. Dirk is on a quest to find the best burger in NYC, but I send them to where it all started, Louis’ Lunch. In the second clip, I talk to Dirk about the history of the meat packing biz and we eat some steak at Gallagher’s. Then I send him up to the Bronx to check out the modern iterations of the meat packing and distribution businesses in the area.

Pure Thai Cookhouse

Pure Thai Cookhouse is probably the best Thai restaurant in what I like to refer to as “Thai Town;” the stretch of Thai restaurants from the 40s through the 50s in Hell’s Kitchen.

The place is always jam packed with waits for tables at lunch and dinner time, and we even had to wait 10 minutes to get seated at the odd 2pm time frame (they don’t take reservations). That said, if you decide to come here, be prepared to wait. Also be prepared to sit at a small table, likely on a small stool, and way too close to other diners, as if you were actually eating street food in Thailand. Usually a seating situation like that pisses me off, but I didn’t mind so much at this place.

We started with these crab and chicken dumplings that were on special for $10. They were really nice.

Next up was the Ratchaburi crab and pork dry noodles.

This dish was excellent. The pork itself was so tender and juicy. We were both expecting something dry and tough. The crab was a good portion of quality meat, and the sauce was a delicate balance of sweet and spicy.

I ordered the turmeric beef as my main dish. This came with rice, and it was very tender and flavorful. It looks mega spicy, but it was more like a medium.

My wife ordered the jungle curry, which didn’t seem like a curry dish at all. Our expectation was a saucy dish with a bowl of rice on the side. This came out more like a fried rice dish. Not saucy, but it had really great flavors. We liked this better than the beef.

I definitely recommend this place. Just be ready for a wait and some small seats!

PURE THAI COOKHOUSE
766 9th Ave #2
New York, NY 10019

La Pecora Bianca

My buddy from the Gotham Burger Social Club and I came in here with the intention to split a burger and a pasta dish, but things escalated quickly into a pretty big lunch.

We started with an Aperol spritz, still desperately clinging to the last tendrils of summer.

We went with the gramigna pasta (short n’ curlies). This is made from the einkorn noble grain.

It was served with grumbled sweet Italian sausage, red pepper flakes and broccolini. I loved this! So much better than the popular broccoli rabe and orecchiette versions that you see a lot lately. Here’s a shot of it after a light parmesan cheese snowfall.

We also had a side of eggplant parmesan to go with it. I typically despise the skin on cooked eggplant, but this was a unique preparation in which the skin on the ends of the eggplant acted like cups or little bowls for the cheese and sauce. Delicious.

Here’s that beautiful burger:

It’s two patties made of short rib and brisket, then topped with fontina cheese, crispy pancetta, pickled pepperoncini and calabrian aioli. The bun is outstanding here. It eats like a soft, pillowy ciabatta roll. Perfect for an Italian style burger. It also comes with crispy smushed and fried rosemary potatoes.

I highly recommend this burger. It’s right up there with Ai Fiori and San Matteo as my top three favorite Italian style burgers.

Last up is the hanger steak.

This was a nice and simple preparation. Nothing too complicated. Great flavor, super tender. I only wish it had a better char on the crust and some more seasoning. 7/10.

Great spot. I will definitely be back for more pasta and that burger.

LA PECORA BIANCA
950 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10022

*Note there is another location in NoMad as well.

Bluebird London NYC

This joint just opened so I came in to check it out. They are an import from London, as the name suggests, and they are doing some really nice stuff.

First up, they have some great cocktails. Their Vesper martini, Bluebird race car cocktails (their namesake) and Thai Paloma were standout.

They do a beautiful gin & tonic too. I had several of these on the night of their grand opening party:

I tried three apps: The smoked salmon, the gin cured salmon, and the steak tartare.

Smoked Salmon: Very good quality salmon, nice and light – I can see this being a big favorite at brunch time with some toast and a mimosa.

Gin Cured Salmon: Truly inspired. Delicious. The gin really alters the flavor and texture (in a very good way). Served with pickled veggies and some mustard seeds.

Steak Tartare: Awesome. I actually found myself taking some of the cream from the smoked salmon dish and mixing it in with a bite of steak tartare here and there. It was a delicious combo!

Burger: This was so good. I loved the “Big Mac” style sauce on it. Everything really came together nicely. I am generally a big proponent of potato buns, but this brioche held up nicely since it was fresh.

Beef Wellington: The best version I’ve ever had. This is one of my top dishes of 2018 for sure. Perfect in every way. I’ve never had Beef Wellington so big, bold and beautifully executed. There are actually two more slices of this not pictured. I pulled them off the plate so you could see the cook temp better. Serves two for $85 – one of the best deals you will find for this level of cuisine. 10/10.

Sticky Toffee Pudding w/Pepper Ice Cream: Very unique. I really liked the contrast of flavors between the ice cream and the pudding. I think this would round out nicely with some citrus zest or perhaps a wedge/supreme of grapefruit or clementine. Really fun!

I will definitely be back here for sure. There are a few other steaks I’d like to try, and the space is just so beautiful that it makes you want to keep coming back for more. Look out soon for their brunch and afternoon tea services as well.

BLUEBIRD LONDON NYC
10 Columbus Circle
Third floor
New York, NY 10019