Category Archives: American

Tambour Bistro & Wine Bar

Tambour Bistro and Wine Bar is a cool spot that serves up some great Mediterranean style eats in Brooklyn. They have a great deal going on: for $120 you get an appetizer, a dry-aged porterhouse steak from Romeo Brothers (Bensonhurst meat shop), a side and a dessert.

My wife and I came in to try this stuff out. Here’s what we had.

First, some nice wines. I had a Rioja and my wife had a white that I can’t pronounce.

The mussels here are incredible. Make sure you ask for a spoon to slurp up the sauce at the bottom of the bowl. There’s white wine, roasted chili peppers and herbs in that crack sauce.

This arugula salad was simple and refreshing, with kalamata olives, feta cheese, pickled shallots, English cukes and marinated baby tomatoes.

Next up was the main event: a 70-day dry-aged porterhouse, served Florentine style, with charred lemons and rosemary.

This thing was a real beauty. Perfectly cooked with that great brown Maillard crust on it.

There was a lot of earthy funk on this from the aging process, so wiping an occasional bite across the charred lemon was a great way to cut the fat and funk with a pop of brightness.

We finished every bite. I highly recommend this steak. 9/10.

On the side we had the asparagus with crumbled parmesan cheese. That’s an Italian chimichurri sauce in the back. Basil, oregano, lemon, etc. Great with the steak actually.

For dessert, we had this perfectly executed creme brûlée.

This baby was big, creamy and flavorful.

I will definitely be back here to try their bacon as well as some other cuts of steak. I suggest you give it a shot too, especially if you live in the area.

TAMBOUR BISTRO & WINE BAR
652 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Le Bernardin

I took my wife to Le Berdardin for her birthday this year.

First, let me say that they make some great cocktails here. We tried four altogether. They averaged around $20 each.

The bread service here is spectacular. Almost as good as my favorite spot for pre-dinner bread, Marea.

The amuse of raw seafood preparations was probably my favorite part of the meal, and it wasn’t even one of the seven tasting menu courses.

And this kampachi crudo with dried olives was amazing. So flavorful yet so simple.

The crab cake of peekytoe and dungeoness with lobster shell broth was really nice. This place knows what they’re doing around seafood.

The halibut with dashi and radish was nice…

But the Faroe Islands salmon with mushroom and black truffle sauce stole the show in terms of fish filet dishes here.

Our next entree was a surf and turf of wahu (Hawaiian white tuna) and wagyu. The portion was very small, but I didn’t mind so much at course five.

We had a ton of desserts here. First was the coconut sorbet with coconut meringue.

Then a chocolate gelato and chocolate cake thing with gold leaf and meringue sticks.

Then a complimentary chocolate mousse cake thing for my wife’s birthday, of course with more gold leaf.

And then petit fours.

Honestly, I would have preferred more amuse crudos from the start of the meal over this sweet shit. But everything was nice nonetheless.

The bill was big, but luckily I had a $150 gift certificate to use from a very generous friend of mine.

I probably wouldn’t go back, but I would definitely recommend this place for someone who is looking for an impressive night out with their spouse.

LE BERNARDIN
155 W 51st St
New York, NY 10019

Legacy Records & Ada’s Place

Legacy Records is the restaurant, and Ada’s place is the bar/lounge upstairs. Both places are serving up some awesome food, connected by the same kitchen staff and crew.

While at first glance you might think that prices are high for the portion size, once must remember that these are “no tipping” establishments, where the tip is already worked into the pricing.

LEGACY RECORDS

I started at the main bar with a brandy old fashioned. This was delicious and beautiful. The ice game is on point here.

Later on I tried the “Fig Fix,” which was somewhere between a mint julep and a berry bramble type of drink. Very nice, but I prefer the stronger shit.

We started with three different crudos. Each crudo comes with four pieces, unless otherwise prepared (like the fluke, which is a tartare). They’re all around the $20-$25 range. First, and my favorite, was the hamachi with cilantro citrus cream and puffed rice.

This red snapper was “veddy tasty.” Do not choose what Hiro-san offers in the mystery box over this. If you haven’t seen Weird Al’s masterpiece film, UHF, then you missed that reference completely. Do yourself a favor and go watch it. Now. Before finishing the rest of the review. You’ll thank me later.

Third, the scallop. These were small. I wish there was more to them, because they were delicious; bright, acidic, creamy, smooth… everything you want in a crudo. And beautifully presented.

After the crudos, we transitioned to some smaller plates. First was the octopus.

This was executed nicely, and consisted of about 1.5 tentacles worth of meat.

This next dish was a special entree listed at $40, but we split it as a shared app. Pigeon with parsnips and some other shit.

The meat was roasted rare to medium rare, and was pretty much in the realm of duck in taste. The waiter said it was deboned, but I think they were really just referring to the thigh, breast and rib sections, as the wings and lower legs were not deboned.

Then we switched over to the pasta dishes. My first, and favorite, was the pesto cavatelli with sausage and mint. Incredible.

This torchio pasta was perfectly cooked and came with clams.

The spaghetti with uni and red pepper was great too, and the sauce reminded me of peri peri sauce from Portugal.

At this point we also tried some of their house made bread and butter. I didn’t shoot it, but both bread and butter varieties were good. However, at $8, I’m not sure I would order it. Fortunately for us, they brought it out on the house since we had a lot of delicious sauce to soak up from the pasta dishes.

We tried two entrees. First was the dry aged rib eye.

This was perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious, though it lacked that dry-aged flavor punch. It was only aged for 14 days, so that may be why. It ate more like a filet than a rib eye, which was a nice surprise in terms of texture. However, at $48, it was a bit on the small side (maybe 8-10oz max). The Brussels were too acidic/citrus flavored for my liking, but the meat really was almost perfect. I think it was just the eye, or longissimus dorsi, and not the cap though, which was a little bit of a bummer. Overall this was still an 8/10, so I was happy.

Next up, duck for two.

We were four people, so we only had one slice of duck each. I could probably eat all of this myself as a main if I wanted, but it really is a good portion size for two. If you get this with a date, you’ll basically each get two of these, which I think is fair for the $98 price tag including tip:

I should note that this is one of the best duck dishes I’ve ever had, right up there with Little Frog, The Grill and Ferris. I already have this listed as a contender for the best dishes of 2019.

We skipped dessert downstairs, but went up to try some of the items on the bar menu upstairs at Ada’s Place.

ADA’S PLACE

First, the duck and honey sandwich.

This is basically a slightly oversized slider, but the flavor is immense. The duck comes from the leg meat of the duck that we ate downstairs (which was only breast), and it is paired with kimchi and a delicious spicy red pepper sauce, which is balanced deftly by the addition of honey. Another contender for best dishes of 2019. Awesome.

This burger was great too. It’s described as a crudo burger, so expect it to come out rare.

This, too, is dressed with a spicy red pepper sauce, but the fresh mozzarella cheese cuts it beautifully with a nice, mild creaminess. We split one “slider plus” sized burger among four of us, so I need to get back in here and try this all by myself.

Finally, the Tuscan fried chicken.

This is a steal at $24 for a bowl of beautifully batter-fried and spiced thigh and breast meat. I could eat buckets of this. I also really liked the combo of red pepper, lemon and rosemary.

In short, I highly recommend this place. Everything we tried above was great – no bad dishes. While the price tag may feel steep for some items, you need to remember that you’re getting superior quality in every dish, and you have that tip already included. Go give it a shot. I know I’ll be back. Maybe even tonight.

LEGACY RECORDS & ADA’S PLACE
517 West 38th St
New York, NY 10018

Pomona

This spot took over the space that was formerly Beautique. Chef and partner Michael Vignola, who used to be the head chef for the Strip House restaurants, has created an amazing menu here. My buddy and I tried a lot of stuff, so I’ll get right to it.

Foie Gras Sliders:

Incredibly tender and decadent, cut nicely with some acid from the apple slaw.

Mackerel & Potato Tartare:

The hazelnut, creme fraiche and jalapeno sauce really made this pop. This was so delicious.

Nduja Baked Little Neck Clams:

This is a perfect marriage of the classic seafood and pork flavor combo, with a slight boost of heat from the nduja. Great starter!

Truffled Chicken Dogs:

Probably one of the best upscale riffs on a hot dog that you’ll have. I didn’t get much truffle flavor and there was no brioche bun as the menu suggested, but the texture and porcini mustard were nice.

Duck Burger:

Jurgielewicz farms duck burger patty made of ground breast, confit of leg, foie, and fresh duck liver all seasoned with l’orange spices. Seared and rested in a rich duck jus. Duck skin mayo, grapefruit jam and killer fries. This place is no joke!

Seared Miyazaki A5 Wagyu:

AMAZING! This was dry-aged for 20 days and also cooked in dry-aged beef fat. This is some of the best beef I’ve ever had. 10/10.

Duo of Deviled Rib Eye:

This unique duo packs a powerful smoky and dry-aged punch! It features smoked deckle (bottom) and grilled eye (top), each rubbed with chili, herbs and spices, and served with black garlic bone marrow. This should be on your “must try” list! Chef Michael really nailed this. 10/10.

Creamed Escarole:

I love the use of escarole here in place of spinach. Escarole is such an under-appreciated green. This is a good “creamed spinach” dish for your steak entree. I think more butter and a bit less cream/cheese would make this pop a little more. Or perhaps I’d just like to see a sauteed version with some cannellini beans in the mix to remind me of growing up in an Italian household.

Ripped Sunchokes:

I love sunchokes/Jerusalem artichokes. They’re like an awesome cross between a potato and an artichoke. These were smashed and fried, and then seasoned with shredded pecorino cheese and rosemary. Great side dish.

Goose Fat Tater Tots:

These are so crisp and flavorful. This should be your go-to potato dish here. Awesome.

Chocolate Mousse:

This has a nice texture to it, almost like cheesecake but light and fluffy. Great espresso ice cream to go with it too.

I highly recommend this place. Everything here was very good to outstanding. I can’t wait to try more of the menu and supplement this review over time.

POMONA
8 West 58th St
New York, NY 10019

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