Category Archives: American

The Lions

First, check out my Ride & Review video HERE:

This place has been popping up all over Instagram, and once I saw the images of their burger and mortadella sandwich, I knew I had to get in ASAP to try.

We went right when they opened at 5pm on a Saturday, and the place was jammed by 5:30. Apparently everyone had the same idea!

We started with the fried mozzarella and Lions baked potato (with sour cream and an egg yolk).

The baked potato was a game changer. It was so freaking flavorful. We both loved it. As for the mozzarella…

Perfect temperature for stretching! And surprisingly light. Very flavorful.

The burger was 100% perfection. A nice thick aged patty, topped with two slices of American cheese, atop a slice of grilled onion, which helps to protect the beautiful sesame seed bottom bun. Four slices of pickle came on the plate as well. We obviously put them on top.

My pictures sucked, but the interior was a perfect medium rare / medium, which is ideal for this ind of “steakhouse” style burger. This was a killer. On par with Luger or Red Hook Tavern for just $18. For $4 you can get fries with it, and the fries were excellent. Nice and crispy, not too salty. The only down was that they charged us for the side order of fries ($8) rather than the “accompanying” fried ($4). I was wondering why this was such a huge order.

The mortadella sandwich was excellent too. While it ate a bit salty due to the Calabrian chili tapenade, the flavor was out of this world. The pistachio studded mortadella had a ton of porky character, and the blue cheese on this was more like a spread than a crumble or a saucy mess. It worked, though I questioned whether it would when I saw it on the menu.

As you can see, this came with chips. So we had three types of potato with this meal: chips, fries and a baked potato.

Side note: They also make a great martini.

This place is also going to be offering a steak night on Wednesdays for something like $35, and monthly “Beefsteak” meals which will be an all-inclusive price that covers drinks, starters, steak and dessert. I really can’t want to try those!

THE LIONS
132 1st Ave.
New York, NY 10009

The Baroness

First, check out my Ride & Review HERE:

I’ve been meaning to get over to this joint ever since I learned that my guys over at Golden Packing supply the burgers and some other meat proteins here. So I rode up on the Zooz and met with Tyson and Lupe, both Golden gang members, to chow down.

The savage wings are smoked and then fried, so they pack a ton of flavor. The burnt ends bologna was masterful. I’ve always wanted to try smoked BBQ style bologna, and this place definitely has me wanting more. The skillet mac and cheese was really nice. Also smoky and flavorful. The standard “Judith” 6oz burger was perfect. Great crisp on the patty, some caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles… really nice. I probably could have crushed two of these!

I would definitely go back to try more!

THE BARONESS
47-18 Vernon Blvd.
Queens, NY 11101

Little Maven

First, check out this awesome episode of Around the Hood in 8 Minutes, which features Little Maven.

My chef buddy Josh Capon opened this joint in late November, and I finally got a chance to check it out in the new year. The Cake Dealer’s birthday weekend is always filled with great food, and this was our first stop for the occasion.

We started with some great cocktails (get the Maven 75), and Josh sent over some bites for us to try out that highlight his fun menu.

Whipped Tahini

Tuna Tartare Cannolis (These are AMAZING)

Caesar Cups

The broiled oysters here are fantastic. Very similar to Capon’s famous broiled oysters from Bowery Meat Co.

This sizzling grilled octopus is so tender and tasty. The potatoes were perfectly seasoned and crisp.

We also had a delicious duck confit and mushroom ravioli dish that was on special, but I forgot to snap a pic. You’ll have to watch the video to see it, and to hear Josh explaining how to properly confit duck!

For the mains, we went with the dry aged duck and the steamed black bass in Thai green curry. The duck was one of the most tender and perfectly cooked I’ve had.

Absolutely stunning! It came with turnips and wine poached pears. Rich without being too heavy, which was the same comment I made about the ravioli.

The black bass really stole the show, however.

It came with a crispy rice cake and a mixed herb and green bean salad that were both so damn tasty when mixed with the green curry. It had a kick of spice without being too overpowering. I could eat this every day!

Josh also sent over some really unique and soft miso chocolate chip cookies, as well as a banana split for the birthday girl. Chocolate, vanilla, banana cream and strawberry/raspberry flavored ice creams. Save your appetite for dessert!

I can’t wait to go back and try more of the pasta dishes, and of course the steak frites.

LITTLE MAVEN
30 W 18th St
New York, NY 10011

The Ordinary

Our last meal of 2023 culminated with a seafood blowout in Charleston, at a joint called The Ordinary.

We started with a massive seafood tower, filled with all sorts of delicious raw and cooked goodies.

The best of the tower was probably the peel and eat shrimp, which was a shocker for me.

This oyster slider was superb too. Highly recommend it.

I also liked the smoked mussels here as well.

This clam toast was salty, and it ate more like a panzanella. But I did enjoy it.

This rock shrimp fried rice ate more like couscous or broken rice, and it wasn’t fried at all. That said, it was still very tasty.

For sides, we did the roasted squash and sweet potatoes. I could have passed on these.

Our two main fish dishes were roasted tilefish and mustard crusted flounder. Between these, the flounder was the easy winner. It was the best part of the meal.

This was a pretty good meal overall, and I would definitely recommend it to people heading down to Charleston and looking for good seafood.

THE ORDINARY
544 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

Fig

For our final meal of the trip to Charleston, we went to the often difficult to reserve Fig with a couple that I’m friends with who live nearby. I managed to score a last minute reservation at 9:15pm, and we ended up closing down the joint at close to midnight. It turned out to be our overall best meal of the trip. Let’s get into it…

We started with a bunch of items that we all shared. Broiled oysters aji dolce, chicken liver pate, raw hogfish (similar to snapper) with rice and popcorn (crazy!), lamb bolognese ricotta gnocchi, and wagyu beef tartare.

These were, each of them, all-star level dishes, and I am hard-pressed to pick a favorite among them. I would order each of them again in a heartbeat, but I think I was most surprised by the hogfish. It was so unique, and I’m a sucker for popcorn. The gnocchi was definitely meant to be a main dish, but we shared among the four of us.

For mains, we also went heavy with five dishes. Baked wreckfish, sautéed flounder, mustard crusted swordfish, Berkshire pork milanese and lump crab spaghetti with lemon and bottarga.

Again, everything really incredible. I think, though, what stood out the most to me was the swordfish. The capers and mustard crust really paired beautifully with the medium-rare cooked fish. Loved it!

For dessert, we went with these lemon curd cream puffs, which were really nice.

I highly recommend Fig if you’re in Charleston. Absolutely delicious!

FIG
232 Meeting St
Charleston, SC 29401

Lowland Tavern

This newly opened Charleston joint converts an old downtown townhouse into an elegant bar and restaurant space that serves up some modern American cuisine.

We started with some lighter bites, the tuna crudo (more like poke), and a celery salad.

Both were really nice and fresh, but the celery salad stole the show, of all things.

For entrees, we had a pasta dish consisting of a bolognese style sauce with shells, and grilled triggerfish with collards in broth.

Between these, the fish was the slight winner for me. While the flavor of the pasta sauce was delicious, the pasta itself was overcooked and a little mushy for my liking. The fish was a nice leaner style, tighter muscle flesh type of white fish. It reminded me of chicken breast!

For dessert, we had the banoffee pie, which was an absolute stunner, and easily the best dessert of the trip.

I would definitely go back here on future trips to Charleston, especially for the gorgeous bar in back.

LOWLAND TAVERN
36 George St
Charleston, SC 29401

Oyster House

My first bite during my second visit to Charleston was Oyster House. We just stopped in for a drink and a snack before getting onto a horse-drawn carriage tour of the city. We tried a nice variety of both local and northeast oysters. I think we liked the Lady Fingers the best (long ones).

The shuckers were awesome, and it was a nice treat to sit at the raw bar instead of the regular bar or a table.

OYSTER HOUSE
35 S Market St
Charleston, SC 29401

Little Jack’s Tavern

This is the one spot in Charleston that I wish I could do all over again.

We had just eaten two meals, but we had to pop in to try the burger (shaved among four people).

The burger was simple, and small. It was also, however, delicious, as were the garlic fries. I wish I had more of an appetite, because I would have liked to try the steakhouse bacon, the coulotte steak, and a few other items. Next trip I will definitely go back here.

LITTLE JACK’S TAVERN
710 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

Leon’s

Leon’s is a popular fried chicken joint in Charleston. We popped in there for a taste of their chicken, as well as their broiled oysters, for which they are equally famous.

We ate a shitload of oysters while we were down in SC. These were nice, but not our favorite of the trip. I think we tend to lean more toward raw than cooked though. These, however, were still good.

The chicken was the real star here. The skin was super crisp on the outside, with nice, tender and juicy meat beneath. The spice on the skin was just right. A little heat – red pepper type – creeps up on you at the end. Awesome.

They also do a nice frozen gin and tonic.

LEON’S
698 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

Veronika

Veronika is the restaurant inside the Fotografiska photography museum on Park Avenue near 23rd street. My wife took me here for dinner, and I have to say, everything was pretty great.

We started with two tartares: uni and tuna, and wagyu. I liked the wagyu better but both were really nicely executed.

This German style veal shnitzel with a fried egg on top was the perfect shared course for the middle of the meal. I think the batter could have used a bit of salt after it came out of the fryer, but the capers with anchovy in them definitely added salt to the bites we had with them.

For our mains, we did the bone in strip and the lamb saddle.

Between the two, the lamb was much better. Nice and roasty. Perfect. The strip was dry aged but again it could have used a touch more salt. Perfectly cooked though. 8/10.

For dessert, we had an interesting take on strawberries and cream, served inside a meringue tube of sorts. Here are the before and after pics.

I would definitely go back here again! The food was great, and the ambiance was absolutely stunning.

VERONIKA
281 Park Ave. South
Second Floor
New York, NY 10010