Category Archives: American

Chat n Chew

This local diner is in the vein of the American classic in feel, but with a bit less traditional menu items.

They have a great selection of cocktails, which are part of their happy hour menu as well.

I was impressed with the food. I tried a lot of stuff so here it goes:

Mac & Cheese

Great flavor on this and a nice blend of cheeses.

Asian Grilled Chicken Salad

Loved the sesame balsamic flavors on this.

Korean Wings

These are not batter fried in the traditional Korean style, but they are still sticky, sweet, spicy and crisp.

Fish & Chips

These are perfect. The best I’ve had, actually. The cod is juicy and flakey, and the batter is perfectly golden brown and crisp. They get hit with a dusting of curry too so the flavors are great.

Burger

This 10oz monster is great. Classic style, cheddar, LTO. Comes with fries for $15.

Crab Cake

This was nice and meaty. Also comes with fries and coleslaw.

Flatiron Steak

Lean and flavorful, this baby can be eaten with just a good sear on the outside. 6/10.

Coca-Cola Cake

Wow. They re-reduce the Coke back into a syrup and that gets mixed into a chocolate sponge and topped with crispy chocolate cookie bits, and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Really nice.

Give this place a shot! I know I will be back.

CHAT N CHEW
10 E 16th St
New York, NY 10003

Holy Ground

Holy Ground is a new sacred place for me. I like to call it Tribeca’s answer to the West Village’s 4 Charles. Only here, along with a sexy set-up, you get a bit more space and a hell of a lot more smoke.

Now, don’t get all excited; you can’t smoke here. I’m talking about smoked meats. I struggled with how to categorize this joint, but I ultimately decided to call it BBQ rather than a steakhouse or traditional restaurant, because several of the meat proteins are focused on smoking and/or slow and low roasting. Even their grilled steaks are slow roasted first, to allow flavors to penetrate deep into that tender, pink flesh.

You step into this meat sanctuary on the northwest corner of Reade Street, just east of West Broadway. That’s a mouthful, but read it carefully again and let it sink in. The door is pretty nondescript, but you’ll know you’re in the right place when you see this:

A hostess will lead you through a dimly lit, winding corridor and down a set of narrow, carpeted stairs.

At the bottom of the stairs is a landing with a small but really fucking awesome bar parlor.

From there you can take in the vibe of this place, which is 100% my speed. It’s old tile. It’s dark wood. It’s deep reds. A speakeasy.

A few “rooms” are tucked away in nooks and crannies, up two steps here, around the wall there. Here’s the best seat in the house (when you look up):

Here is booth where we sat:

The four of us did some serious fucking damage. Let me get into it.

The cocktail menu is nice, but I had just tried a couple of cocktails (and a burger) earlier that evening at Manhatta, so I went with my usual: a gin martini. They are a bit on the small side, in those dainty, round, old fashioned martini glasses.

On a second trip, we tried both the red head and the odeon. Both were great. The odeon, on the right, is slammable!

The food menu is pretty meat-forward, but they do have some star quality fish and veggie items, which I will get into shortly.

We started with three apps and an entree to begin. I will tell you up front that we ordered nearly half of the menu, and nothing was bad. But the first thing to come out were these tremendous head-on, grilled red prawns.

They were damn delicious; one of my favorite dishes of the night. The heads hold a lot of juice, so when you pop them off, you may want some bread nearby if you aren’t going to slurp it all directly down your gullet like I did.

Next up was a plate of wings. These are smoked and char grilled, so they carry a fuckton of flavor. A great starter or bar snack.

We also grabbed the radicchio salad, which was one of my favorite items of the night. No shit. These veggies were perfect. I managed to get a shot before it was all gone, but my pic doesn’t do the dish justice. I will be returning soon to get it again.

The return shot:

We shared the beef rib as an appetizer. This is an impressive dish.

You’ll notice that sauce and color across several of the BBQ style dishes here. It has a mustard base with a little smokey and hot kick to it. Absolutely delicious. It’s like a cross of Carolina and Cajun style sauces. Very unique, like nothing I’ve ever tasted before.

The beef itself is slow smoked; tender, but still texturally intact. It isn’t some sloppy, soft, boiled, braised bullshit. This is the real deal. 9/10. And we learned that all the meats they use come from Dartagnan foods, which is a very high end purveyor of top notch proteins and gourmet ingredients.

On a second trip, my wife and I had the pork belly appetizer.

This is easily one of the best dishes I’ve had all year. The crackling is crisp, and that fermented chili sauce is killer. They only have a few of these per night, so go early if you want to try it. It is incredible!

Round two was the big show. This is where we crushed it. We couldn’t really narrow down our selections, so we just ordered everything – even the fish. We each had a different favorite too, which was pretty cool, and usually means that everything is great.

First, the wagyu brisket. This is the half-pound portion size for $21.

Again slow roasted and smoked, topped with that same delicious sauce. This is by far the best brisket I’ve ever eaten. 10/10

Next up, the Kurobuta pork shoulder. This is the individual portion size for $32.

This was so juicy. Extremely tender, and again that sauce really pushed it along into greatness. 8/10.

You may be thinking, “Well, shit, why don’t they come up with some more variety in the sauces on these things?”

My answer is this: most people aren’t ordering every major protein on the menu when they come here. Most likely just one person at the table is getting a dish that has the sauce on it. And most BBQ joints have the same sauce on the table for you to slather onto your meat anyway. No one is complaining there about variety, are they? I say it’s fine. The sauce is delicious, and it works with those three BBQ dishes (pork shoulder, beef brisket, beef rib).

Our next protein was the king’s cut prime rib with smoked herb jus.

This baby was cooked dead on to medium rare even though it was smoked for hours first. That is a feat in itself, but it still managed to stay juicy and tender. Bravo. 9/10.

Take a look at how thick it is too, and the size of the cap. This easily feeds two people who have normal appetites, possibly three.

Last but not least in the world of meat was the grilled wagyu rib eye. This “Thousand Dollar Steak,” as it’s called on the menu, is 30-days dry aged and served with a demi-glaze and onion puree.

It, too, is smoked before being grilled. This went a little over, but it was no matter because it was still incredibly tender and flavorful. The sauce reminded me of a really concentrated onion gravy like mom used to make. It had a spectacular cap too. 8/10.

But wait… there’s more! Whole branzino.

This was char-grilled to perfection and served with a nice bright tartar sauce and lemon. One of my buddies said it was just like his mom used to make, and he loved it. This was one of my favorites of the night as well.

On a second trip, I tried both the ribs and the chicken. Both were served in a different sauce than the beef items above. They were different from one another, but both were on the sweeter side. I generally dislike sweet in my entrees, but this was mild and just right, not over the top. The chicken had an almost maple flavor to it.

The half order of ribs is enough for one. There were eight good-sized ribs on the plate.

For sides, we tried the broccoli, collared greens and mac and cheese.

The mac was the most superior of the three for me, and it was wildly tasty when we dragged those thick rigatoni pasta tubes through that delicious BBQ sauce.

I’m not sure how we managed, but we tried a few desserts as well.

This was a strawberry shortcake, and it was served uniquely in a glass, almost upside down, if you will, with the graham cracker crumble as a topping rather than a crust.

A classic ice cream sundae in a mug. Vanilla and chocolate ice cream, toffee sauce, vanilla crumbs and whipped cream.

This is the Black & Blonde:

The base is a bed of toasted meringue, and on top are some toasted hazelnuts, a white chocolate bar and salted caramel.

This is one of my new favorite places to eat. Not only is the environment great, but the food and service are top notch as well. This place is going to start getting packed out, so make your reservations ASAP. I’m going back again very soon, and again and again as often as I can.

HOLY GROUND
112 Reade St
New York, NY 10013

Manhatta

There’s another French onion soup burger in the game, from Manhatta.

It’s very tasty but it definitely requires a fork and knife, as it sits in a puddle of soup and has some stewed onions and onion rings on the top bun. In any event, it’s one hell of a swanky place in which to get messy. Lots of fun. Check out the view!

I’ll be back in here for a proper dinner soon enough. Until then, this will be a short review.

MANHATTA
28 Liberty Street, 60th Fl
New York NY 10005

The Cannibal

The Royalton burger is fantastic (named for the farm where they get a lot of their meats). I usually don’t like brioche buns, but this one held up just fine. What’s inside? Dry aged wagyu beef, beef heart, malted bacon jam, Vermont cheddar, smoked tomato and frisee.

For $27 it comes with fries, and they’re great: crispy shoestring style, nicely seasoned, crisp and flavorful.

But they also sell “animal fat fries,” where the animal fat used to fry the potatoes changes on a nightly basis. When I went, it was beef fat.

These are really nice, but I kinda liked the shoestring fries better.

Next up, General Tso’s pig face!

This thing is insane, and for $85 it can easily feed four people. It comes with cilantro, pickled onion and pancake wraps.

We also tried a few starters. First, the kielbasa pigs in a blanket. The mustard on these was awesome! Great puff pastry, really nice flavor on the meat.

Soy-chili beef jerky. So tender and flavorful!

And finally, an array of desserts. Peanut butter pie, raspberry cheesecake, and an assortment of cookies.

I’ll definitely be coming back to this place to try some steaks. In the meantime, I highly recommend you get your asses over here for the Royalton burger.

THE CANNIBAL BEER & BUTCHER
113 E 29th St
New York, NY 10016

Hank’s Juicy Beef

After our Chicago trip, I realized there was a place downtown that serves Chicago style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches. That place is called Hank’s Juicy Beef.

Here’s the run down:

The hot dog is great. A fine representation of the Chicago dog.

Nice and plump too.

The Italian beef sandwich is on par with Portillo’s, which was my favorite of the trip. The giardiniera had both celery and carrots in it, and the sliced peppers were added in for the spicy version.

We added some provolone to it as well. The only down side was the bread. It was a little stale. I guess that’s why you get it dipped, and continue to dip it into the jus cup that they provide.

We also tried their sweet Italian sausage sandwich. This was great as well. Same deal with the bread though.

Curly fries for the finish!

I definitely recommend giving this place a try.

HANK’S JUICY BEEF
84 Chambers St
New York, NY 10007

Al’s Beef

For my third and final Italian beef sandwich of the Chicago trip, I tried Al’s Beef.

Portillo’s is still better. This one was nice, but just not quite up to snuff. The giardiniera here was just celery. No carrots or other pickled veggies. Also, when you ask for spicy, they just give you the celery with crushed red pepper and a bit of roasted pepper strips in it; not sliced hot peppers like both Mr. Beef and Portillo’s. I added provolone this time to mix it up.

Oh well. You live and learn. It was still enjoyable though.

AL’S BEEF
169 W Ontario St
Chicago, IL 60654

Mr. Beef

My wife and I hit this joint on the way home from a speakeasy next door called The Drifter. I couldn’t resist with a name like Mr. Beef.

With a no-frills interior and a simple flat top griddle in back, this was a no brainer joint that I had to try.

We took a sandwich to go, with the dip sauce on the side.

Not too bad, but I would have liked a better giardiniera with more than just celery. The spicy peppers were nice though.

Meat quality wasn’t as good as Portillo’s, but it’ll do the job if you’re in a bind.

MR. BEEF
666 N Orleans St
Chicago, IL 60654

Portillo’s

Portillo’s is a Chicago mainstay, so it was only natural that it was our very first stop on a trip to Chicago last weekend.

We ordered two Chicago classics, the Chicago style hot dog (poppy seed bun, sport pepper, yellow mustard, relish, pickle, etc), and the Italian beef sandwich (shaved beef with giardiniera).

The dog was pretty much perfect. I would have liked more sport peppers, but hey. No complaints otherwise.

This was my first time having a proper Chicago Italian beef sandwich, and I was blown away. The dip into Italian herb infused gravy is the perfect way to finish this sandwich, and the spicy giardiniera is the perfect way to get pickled flavors into it. I added some shredded mozzarella for good measure. This is different from a Philly cheesesteak for sure, but I like it much better. It’s more about the beef!

We also tried the chocolate cake shake and the frozen custard, both of which were great desserts.

PORTILLO’S
100 W Ontario St
Chicago, IL 60654

Ferris

My wife and I came here with her sister and brother in law for a nice duck meal.

We started with the chips and dip, which are pork rinds served with a chicken liver mousse:

These were fantastic, but my favorite item of the night was this wagyu and uni tartare dish.

Just absolutely perfect. This wasn’t on the menu, and it was compliments of the house!

Next up was this really tasty blood sausage dish, which was probably one of the best blood sausage plates I’ve ever had. It was not encased, not too salty, and mixed with some delicious toasted seeds and oats.

The charred broccolini wasn’t too charred, and mostly stalks and stems as opposed to the florette heads, but I really liked the addition of grapes to this.

The snap pea salad with clams, black bean and rice cake was nice as well. We didn’t even order it!katskatsu

One of the other stars of the night was this iberico “katsu sando” pork sandwich. These things are getting popular in NYC, typically with expensive wagyu beef, but this pork version was excellent and we didn’t blow the bank account to try it.

Next up was lamb belly pasta, which was really nice and reminded me of the killer pasta dish my wife made with minced lamb belly.

And for the final star dish of the night, the Crown of Duck.

This is a full breast of duck cooked up to a perfectly crusted Chinese five spice -laden crisp.

Awesome. We didn’t order dessert, but two items came out to us anyway! Seriously great service here. First was chocolate mousse.

Next was yuzu ice cream with sea salt and olive oil. I loved this!

I will definitely be back here to try more dishes, and to try the menu as it changes with each season.

FERRIS
44 W 29th St
New York, NY 10001

Anchor Bar

The other day while walking around our neighborhood, my wife and I noticed that Anchor Bar had opened. For those who don’t know, Anchor Bar up in Buffalo is supposed to be the place that created what we now know as “Buffalo Wings.” The Buffalo location has become quite the tourist trap, so I am told, and people like to bicker about which place is better: Anchor Bar or Duff’s.

Well, I’ve been to neither. But I have been to some pretty fantastic wings places here, like Bonnie’s Grill and International Wings Factory (my two favorites – Bonnie’s for traditional Buffalo style, and IWF for the vast array of amazing flavors and dry rubs). Some people tell me that Dan & John’s is great too.

Anyway, we decided to give Anchor Bar a try. We ordered three styles: Hot (top), Suicidal (middle) and Habanero Dry Rub (bottom).

I’m not sure if they’re weakening the spice levels for the pussies out there, but hot was more like a mild or medium to me.

I expected suicidal to destroy me. Instead it was just a more earthy and granular flavor that had the same level of heat as the hot flavor.

The habanero dry rub was the weakest in spice of the three, and at times it felt like the flavors didn’t penetrate into the meat. They were nice and crunchy though.

Overall the wings were good. Above average for sure. I still think I like Bonnie’s and IWF better, but this is a pretty solid spot and very convenient.

My favorite thing that we ate was the beef on weck. I hope you people realize how fucking difficult it was to fool autocorrect from making that say “beef on deck.” Fucking annoying bullshit. The sandwich was good here, particularly the bread (I’ve had better roast beef).

Weck is a special kind of roll that also hails from the Buffalo area, typically topped with thick grain salt and other seeds and spices. The roast beef is sliced thin and served hot on the sandwich, typically with nothing but horseradish. I sliced up the pickle spear that came with the sandwich and put that on there as well. And it may be blasphemous, but I’ve always thought this sandwich would kick serious ass with some melted cheddar on top.

The great thing about this item at Anchor Bar is that for $16 you can get the sandwich and five wings – the best of both Buffalo specialties in one meal. Give that a shot if you go.

ANCHOR BAR
327 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019