Category Archives: American

International Wings Factory

These are some of the most creatively flavored wings I’ve ever tried!

Not only are the sauces and flavors great, but the chef will cook them to your desired level of crispiness as well; tender, extra crisp, or extra extra crisp.

I think my favorite wing flavor is the tandoori dry rub with a close second going to the lemon dry rub.

We also tried American Gold, which was a surprisingly good mustard-based sauce:

Black pepper teriyaki:

Vietnamese mango chili:

And traditional buffalo:

Every one of them was excellent. You really can’t go wrong.

Even the variety of dipping sauces is staggering, and also all good.

The red onion rings were killer, as were the buffalo cheese fries with bacon, jalapeños and scallions.

And the glazed burger?!?? BRILLIANT! You can have a different burger experience every time you eat here by selecting a different wing flavor to glaze the burger with each time.

So fun. I can’t wait to go back. Best wings I’ve ever had in my life.

INTERNATIONAL WINGS FACTORY
1762 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10128

Pig Bleecker

This joint offers some of the most unique and delicious dishes I’ve come across in a while. I went with a group of food Instagrammers to help the restaurant get some pics out to the masses, so we were able to sample a lot of stuff.

First off, the cocktails are really creative.

If you like apertif type drinks, try the Greyfriar or the Donna Reed. I generally shy away from them due to the bitter element, but these were extremely tasty and have me re-thinking the entire class. My favorites, though: Old Smokey, I’m on Fire and Deacon Blues.

Take a look at the food menu.

Everything looks/sounds good because everything IS good. I’m serious. Every item we tried was not only good but often times outstanding. I seriously think this is my new favorite restaurant.

Okay on to the goods. I apologize in advance for some of the pics that I didn’t bother editing. I was primarily concerned with getting just a few to look great for Instagram, in particular the steak, burger and fried chicken dishes.

These little corn bread wafers are a nice change from standard table bread in a basket.

SNACKS

The Pecan Candied Bacon is served in a mason jar. They reminded me of the stuff my wife makes, only without the spicy element.

The Deviled Steak & Eggs is essentially a deviled egg with steak tartare under the whipped yolk. Excellent bites.

STARTERS

If there’s only one thing Chef Matt Abdoo should have as his legacy, it’s his ability to make incredible sauces. These BBQ Chicken Lollipops feature one of those amazing sauces. They are fantastic.

Grandma Val’s Meatballs are really great. Again, that sauce is killer.

This next dish of fried cod cheeks was not on the menu, but they might have been one of my favorite dishes of the night. I could easily eat bucket-loads of these. Nice light and puffy batter, simply garnished with pickled peppers and scallions. Awesome.

I’m usually not a fan of cooked oysters, but the Grilled Oysters here definitely changed my mind.

MAINS

Brisket Ravioli with black truffle butter? Yup. They even shaved a bunch on top, table-side.

Beautiful.

We shared the Bleecker Burger, which is probably now one of my new favorites. It’s in the style of a Big Mac; double patty, special sauce (yeah – it’s an incredible sauce). Nearly flawless in execution. As a friend pointed out, it just needs an element of crisp, whether from the patty or a leaf of iceberg. The house pickles are perfect.

The Linguine Cacio e Pepe and Lasagne dishes were both nicely executed as well, but I didn’t get a shot of either, unfortunately.

FOR THE TABLE

Let me start with the amazing Smoked & Fried Chicken. This is a whole chicken, and it’s expertly breaded and perfectly fried.

I enjoyed this more than Ando and Ma Peche, which seem to be the top of the pack for many fried chicken aficionados. Again, the sauces that come with this are amazing, but the waffles with whipped sweet and salted butter were the real show stoppers. I’ve never had a waffle that tasted so good.

Here comes the big daddy: the Tomahawk Chop with Smoked Beef Rib. Essentially, steak and brisket.

This is an aged Pat Lafrieda cut that has been lightly smoked before being properly finished off as a steak. It’s served with smoked cap and brisket, and another amazing steak sauce.

This steak tastes like a delicious hybrid between BBQ and traditional steakhouse fare.

It’s smokey and sweet, but also earthy and savory. It really blew me away. 10/10.

SIDES

The Mac & Cheese is really tasty, and topped with a cheese powder that will take you back to your childhood.

These Hand Cut French Fries are more like flattened and squashed baked potatoes. Very good, and not the same as the shoestring style fries that come with the burger.

The Utica Greens are made with escarole, which I love to see on menus. I didn’t get a pic, but this really popped from the smokey bacon and cherry peppers.

Finally, we tried the Anson Mills Grits, which I also liked very much.

DESSERT

Mason Jar Oreo Cheesecake. Velvety and delicious.

Mango Sorbet with Yogurt Chips & Fresh Mango. So bright and flavorful.

Karen’s Key Lime Pie. Perfect rendition of this classic.

Brownie Hot Fudge Sundae with Virginia Peanuts. Decadent.

Buckeye Milkshake (like a peanut butter and chocolate ice cream shake). This is something special. Not only is it gorgeous, but it is filling, yummy and satisfying.

They were all awesome, and overall this was an amazing meal. I can’t wait to go back and try their 155 Steak, a Teres Major/Shoulder Tender cut, so keep an eye out for updates.

PIG BLEECKER
155 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10012

Meatball Shop

The Meatball Shop just opened up a new location on 9th Avenue at 53rd Street. The space is pretty cool, and it even has a bar attached called “Sidepiece,” where they feature all of their great cocktails and more food items.

My favorite cocktail there is a tequila and mezcal based drink called “the girl with the nice pear.”

My buddy brought me with him to shoot some photos for Instagram influencing purposes, so we were able to try a bunch of stuff. We started with the buffalo chicken meatballs, which were really great.

Next, this truly one of a kind tomato soup that is served with grilled cheese balls. This is only available for a limited time and only at the Hell’s Kitchen location, so get on it while you can.

This dish was awesome: pork meatballs in pesto on a bed of spaghetti. I really liked the texture and flavors here.

Meatball Shop also does something called “smash” sandwiches. Basically they flatten a pair of meatballs, cover them with melted cheese and dress with sauce before putting it all on a nice sandwich bun. This one here is made with chicken meatballs and topped with their classic tomato sauce and melted mozzarella. We added an egg on top because we rule.

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We didn’t stop there. Dessert consisted of a chocolate chip cookie and vanilla ice cream sandwich. Simple and delicious.

But my favorite was the brown sugar ice cream banana brulee split.

Amazing meal. I’m sold on this place for sure.

MEATBALL SHOP
798 9th Ave
New York, NY 10019

Ethyl’s Alcohol & Food

Ethyls Alcohol & Food might be my new favorite place to hang out. Not only is the bar an awesome throwback to NYC’s dirty 70s, but the food and drink quality is top notch and really reasonably priced. You might think you’ve taken a time machine back to the 70s.

Check out the decor.

The place doubles as a gogo dancing bar late on certain nights, and there’s even a small stage for live music. They even host movie and bingo nights!

It’s the safer, cleaner, sometimes family friendly girly bar of the dirty 70s, I guess.

But the food. Man. Let’s get into it.

The fidollaburger. Five bucks.

The double – my favorite.

The stack, a double topped with an egg, guac, lettuce, tomato, onions and bacon.

The Coventry sub, a burger log topped with port wine cheese, watercress, bacon, sautéed onions and gogo sauce – all on a pretzel bread sub roll.

Wings.

Mexican cheese stuffed mole meatballs.

Disco curds.

Fried chicken sandwich.

Banana Spiders – shredded, fried plantains.

Fish tacos.

Everything is delicious and nicely cooked. I’m dead serious you can’t choose poorly from these items.

The same goes for the cocktails. We tried a bunch of them, including a negroni on tap. The newest addition to the cocktail menu is replacing the negroni though, and it’s called the Gent. Bartender Julia mixes up amazing cocktails here, like the spicy tequila and blood orange concoction called “Hot Blooded.”

Get up there and try some of the delicious shit.

ETHYL’S ALCOHOL & FOOD
1629 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10028

Philip Marie

I picked up a Groupon for this place because they were offering a steak dinner for two with wine for a fairly low price. It doesn’t take much to get me motivated to try another steak, so this was a no-brainer purchase for me.

Let’s get down to business. The Groupon got us the following, in addition to two glasses of wine:

Chopped Salad for Two: This was a BLT salad and probably one of the top salads I’ve eaten in a while. Obviously it contained bacon, lettuce and tomato, but it also had a great pop from pickles and the right kind of dressing that made you think you were actually eating a BLT without the bread.

Crostini for Two: Mushroom and cheese, and salmon with goat cheese. Both of these were really good, fresh and crisp with great pops of flavor. Unfortunately I focused my lens on the uglier of the two. The salmon one was very pretty.

24oz Steak with Grilled Veggies and Mashed Potatoes for Two: The rib eye was cut into two portions rather than served family style and pre-sliced, which was a bad move. As you can see from the pics below, one side was all cap with a little eye (top) and the other side was all eye with a little cap (bottom).

In any event, it was served beautifully on a hot skillet. The grilling method meant less seared edges, but at least they hit medium rare nicely; pretty much dead on.

There was some gristle and inedible fat, but not an overwhelming amount. It could have used a bit more seasoning as well. 6/10.

As for the veggie sides; I felt that they skimped on the broccoli. We each had 1 small head, and it was a shame because the broccoli was actually tasty and not a throw-away. The mashed potatoes were a little on the dry side but not intolerable.

To sum it up, this was a decent deal. I probably wouldn’t do it again, but I’m not bummed that I purchased it. I think it runs about $80, but if you’re considering getting it, make sure you have a good coupon code to knock back the cost a bit.

PHILIP MARIE
569 Hudson St
New York, NY 10014

Sea Grill

The Patina group of restaurants is awesome. If you sign up for their email list they send you a $50 credit to use for your birthday, and they give you a pretty big window of time to come in and use it. We used my wife’s credit for a dinner at Sea Grill recently.

I started with a hearts of palm salad. I was hoping for more hearts of palm, expecting less leafy greens, but it was good nonetheless; just a bit tangy from all the citrus.

I had the wagyu strip loin for my entree. At $56 this is a very small portion. The meat was tender and perfectly cooked, however, so that’s a plus. The cut could have used a bit more char on the edges, but it still comes in at a 7/10. It would have been an eight if it wasn’t for the price/size ratio, even with wagyu in mind.

My wife tried the oyster stuffed quail. It sounded really interesting, but ultimately the flavor combination was a bit odd. The bird itself had a nice game, iron and blood flavor, which is exactly what you want sometimes when getting down on game birds. I think those oysters just threw it off for me.

For dessert we shared the key lime pie. This was tangy and tart, and it was a generous-sized piece; easily good for sharing.

SEA GRILL
Rockefeller Center
19 W 49th St
New York, NY 10020

Pat’s v. Geno’s

The classic Pat’s / Geno’s rivalry has been done to death, so I’m not going to write a treatise here. I’m gonna tell you how it is plainly: Both are highly overrated, but they’re worth hitting at least once just to do it.

My wife and I tried one sandwich from each place, the same exact way: cheesesteak with wiz. No onions, no mushrooms, no other cheeses. Why? I wanted to test the meats out. $10 each.

PAT’S

Pat’s gives you more meat and more cheese on a superior bread.

However, that meat is riddled with chewy wads of fat. I’m a champion of rib eye fat, but this was no bueno. We spit pieces out several times throughout the process of eating our respective halves. Also, the quality of the meat seemed a bit shitty. You can just taste it. I think they also cook too much at once, because it had a steamed, rubbery texture as opposed to a nice griddled crisp.

GENO’S

Geno’s has the better ambiance, if such a thing can even be assessed.

Geno’s also had better meat quality, although that quality was still sub par on the whole. On the other hand, Geno’s didn’t give enough cheese on the sandwich. Lame.

So each had a benefit and each had a negative, but both were overrated. I think these places suffer from too much business. They make so much quantity so far ahead of time to deal with crowds, that they lose quality in the process.

In the quest for cheesesteaks, I suggest hitting Shorty’s or Wogies here in NYC. They’re better than these two joints by far. A buddy who grew up outside of Philly tells me that the better cheesesteaks are found in local pizza shops anyway down there, and that Shorty’s and 99 Miles to Philly are apparently pretty close to the real thing here in NYC.

PAT’S
1237 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147

GENO’S
1219 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Feast

As many of you know, I occasionally gather with various friends to devour entire carcasses of animals. We call ourselves The Carcass Club. This latest “meating” went down at a joint aptly called Feast.

A buddy of mine, NYCFoodFomo, organized this as an Instagram influencer meal. It was on the house, given that we were going to glaze Instagram’s face with our “cam-shots” from this “pork-fest.”

I used “quotes” there so that you knew I was actually making a reference to something else besides food photos…

Anyway, here’s what you get at Feast, for just $75/pp:

First Courses

Flat bread with fried egg, smoked gouda, arugula and horseradish cream.

This was nice and crispy, and the arugula is even lightly dressed, which was very nice. This dish would make for a great breakfast, actually.

Brussels sprouts with lap cheong sausage, creme fraiche, grain mustard, dried cranberry and cider vinaigrette.

The sausage really works perfectly with the sprouts. Instead of the typical bacon, this swap for lap cheong was smart, because it has a similar meaty sweetness.

Second Courses

Suckling pig with gravy.

I was shocked at how well the flavor of their 24-hour brine penetrated the flesh of this 28lb pig. The meat really took on the peppercorn flavors. And one of their secrets is to use the whey byproduct from their homemade cheese making process as a tenderizer in that brine. So awesome.

They break the pig down for you and plate it into sections: head area, shoulder area, rib area, and ass/legs area. Apologies for not getting a shot of that stuff for you. It wasn’t super pretty, but it was pretty cool to see piles of meat and a pig skull.

Chicharrones with lime.

They also give you a bowl of the crispy fried skin, which some would say is the best part of the suckling pig.

Kabocha mac n’ cheese with gruyere and toasted pumpkin seed.

The sweetness of the pumpkin in this dish threw me off a bit. Perhaps I just needed to be in the Thanksgiving holiday zone to fully appreciate this one. Nonetheless, it was tasty.

Taro fries with miso aioli.

It’s always a challenge to get taro fries good and crispy. The sauce was excellent, but the fries themselves were more like mashed potato logs. Not a bad thing: just not crispy like a French fry.

Smoked mushrooms with a soy glaze.

These were fucking incredible. The smoke added such a great woodsy flavor to an already earthy and woodsy mushroom (oyster). This was my favorite item of the night.

Indochine ratatouille.

I’m generally not a huge fan of ratatouille, but this had some nice robust and savory flavors.

Dessert Course

Chef’s seasonal selection, which, during this visit, was a caramelized apple cobbler with cold maple whipped cream and pomegranate seeds. I think there was even some diced up zucchini mixed into this unique dessert.

That about does it. I highly recommend giving this feast a go. You’ll need a minimum of eight carnivores to take it down.

FEAST
102 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10003

Bedford & Co.

My friend Jean invited me to Bedford & Co. for an Instagram infleuncer dinner, since she and a few others were going to be digging into a nice large format rib eye for two (along with other tasty items) and tasting a variety of wines for the restaurant’s “Wine Wednesday” pairings with their somm, Sarah.

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This 28-day dry-aged 40oz bone in rib eye from Master Purveyors is a “for two” steak, which comes with lardo, watercress and roasted garlic for $125. We were five, so we pigged out on other shit too.

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The prices of beef have certainly gone way up lately. I remember when I was chomping on 36-40oz steaks for one at half the price just a few years back. But hey, this one was free! Not gonna complain.

We were able to sneak into the kitchen to watch Chef Justin Neubeck and his team flame this baby up for us.

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But while we were waiting for that to finish cooking and then properly rest, we sparked up some scallops with pumpkin puree, kafir lime and roasted pumpkin seeds.

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This was a really interesting flavor combo, and I really liked it. The round sweetness of the pumpkin contrasted nicely with the acidic pop from the lime.

The entrees rolled out all at once, and the five of us Instagrammers went bonkers taking photos of everything.

The first thing I tried was the Long Island duck breast.

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Garnished with a scallion ginger oil, glazed with honey, and accompanied by a cranberry purée, this was easily one of the better duck breast dishes I’ve had in quite a while.

Berkshire pork chop was next.

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I’m hard to please when it comes to pork chops. My mom used to cook them in a glass covered electric skillet so that they were somehow juicy on the inside but crisp on the outside, and with onions, potatoes and cherry peppers. Very Italian, as I later discovered. With all that said, this was a pretty good version. It had a sour orange glaze and was served with pink winter squash and marinated radicchio.

The main event was that steak, though.

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A cut this thick is difficult to cook properly. Lots of times you’ll end up with some spots that are too rare, while the outside is overcooked. I have to hand it to these guys; they did a pretty solid job with this monster.

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As you might have noticed from the raw shot above, there wasn’t much of a fat cap on this baby, but what scraps were there after trimming was used to make the lardo, which was really nice. Also I feel like the 28-day dry aging was done masterfully (by Master Purveyors, no less). They really packed a ton of funk and earthiness for the minimal end of the aging process. 8/10.

Since this was essentially a carnivore party, we had to try the burger at this place. It has been getting a fair amount of attention on social media lately, and for good reason. Look at it, for fuck’s sake.

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This beauty is topped with bloomsday cheddar, caramelized onion and thick cut braised pork belly. So juicy. Get it when you come here, even if you have to split it with a group of people, like we did.

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And of course the fries are excellent as well, which are cooked with herbs right in the fryer oil.

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We did a pair of sides as well. Brussels with bacon and apple cider, and roasted wild mushrooms. These were dynamite! The roast on those sprouts was fantastic. Great texture and crisp. And the mushrooms were the perfect pairing with the earthy steak.

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Just when you thought we were full, the desserts came out. Chef Canty makes all the stuff in house. We got to try the carrot cake (my favorite of the three – so rich and delicious), cheesecake in a jar, and apple crostada.

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Definitely one of the best carrot cake renditions I’ve had in the city, right up there with Bob’s Steak & Chop House and Ocean Prime.

I definitely recommend this place to anyone who generally likes any of the shit that I got to try. All high quality, deftly executed shit.

BEDFORD & CO.
The Renwick
118 E 40th St
New York, NY 10016

The Bedford

My friend Nina from The Food Joy set up an event here at The Bedford as a way to gather up all the crazy Instagram influencers in one place for a post-holiday holiday party, and to provide some well-deserved promotion for this awesome Williamsburg gastro-pub.

I only sampled a few of the many items that came out, but everything I tasted was excellent.

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Let me get right down to business:

The Bedford Plank Burger is a grass-fed, custom blend patty, topped with grilled onions, garlic aioli, chili-ketchup and American cheese.

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Very simple construction with top level execution.

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This baby was so tasty. I will definitely be back for another one of these. It comes with an amazing side of crispy battered fries as well. This is an excellent buy at just $14.

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I also tried this open faced kielbasa sausage and egg sandwich.

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The sausage is split and grilled, then set on a bed of wilted spinach atop a slice of sourdough, with a smear of grain beer mustard on the plate for dipping. Great for breakfast!

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I also tried the ricotta gnocchi with roasted cherry tomatoes and chorizo. The sauce was creamy and tangy – very nice.

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Last but not least, beer braised pork shank!

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This was super tender, as you might expect. The outside had a good crisp as well. Great quality meat from the Niman ranch.

I also tried the mint julep creme brulee, which was very creamy and interesting (I didn’t shoot it). However I did shoot these two items, which I did not try: flatbread and dandelion salad.

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I definitely recommend this place. Not only is the food good, but the cocktail and beer menu is very nice too.

THE BEDFORD
110 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11249