My wife and I have been dying to come here ever since we saw them setting up shop at Market Line soon after we moved in. It’s a beautiful seafood bar, done up really fancy as a place you’d love to just sit and have a cocktail, but also with open view to the kitchen and prep stations for all the delicious food.
We tried a lot of shit, so let me get right into it.
Raw littleneck clams topped with crispy shallots and a fish sauce mignonette. Perfect way to open up the meal. Pair this with their pickled ginger, shochu and gin martini.
Dry aged rib eye tartare, coarse cut. So tender and flavorful! The shrimp chips make for a perfect vehicle for mouth entry, and they add a great textural crunch.
Cumin lamb belly skewers. I really loved these. If you love cumin lamb noodles at places like Xian Famous, you need to try this. It’s LAMB BACON!
Tiger prawns. You’ll want to drink the sauce! This item was the whole reason my wife wanted to go, and it really delivered. It was her favorite dish (along with the hamachi collar).
Crispy baby octopus with Thai lemongrass curry and fried Thai basil. Ask for a small bowl of rice so none of that curry goes to waste!
The grilled pork jowls were next. This was probably my favorite of the meal. It comes with a lime pepper sauce that acts like a Carolina style vinegar BBQ sauce, almost, but Asian style as lime and pepper are common in places like Vietnam and Cambodia. It cuts the fat of the jowls so perfectly I can’t even describe it properly!
Turmeric dill hamachi collar. This is so delicious and large, it’s enough to share among two people. Light, flavorful, and amazingly aromatic.
Laotian ginger pork sausage over garlic noodles. WOW! The sausage is made in house and it’s so fucking good!
We washed it all down with this watermelon and lychee slushee. So refreshing and just the right amount of natural sweetness.
I can’t wait to go back and try the rest of the menu, especially their surf and turf!
88 Essex Street
New York, NY 10002
I went to La Leña in Hudson Yards’ “Little Spain” specifically to try a cut of steak from an 8-10yr old Holstein dairy cow from Mindful Meats in California.
This “Vaca Vieja” style steak is common in Spain and other parts of Europe, so I was psyched to try it. The beef was very lean, and also dry-aged, making it ripe for a quick cook. However, the restaurant spent nearly an hour cooking it in their fantastic open flame style kitchen. They ruined it.
We ordered medium rare but it came out to us somewhere between medium and medium well.
Ultimately it was a very uneven fire, with some parts in the center being properly medium rare, but with way too much thick grey-banding on the exterior.
Amateurish, and likely fired by a cook who was unfamiliar with open flame cooking. The result was a grainy textured eating experience. Not much in the way of flavor either. I had hoped for more uniqueness, having heard that dairy cows can develop great marbling with robust flavors when they get up there in age. 5/10.
At $120 for 24oz this was a complete rip off. Not only that, but when we informed the waiter of the improper cook, he simply said thanks and that he would let the chef know. No offer of a new steak. No money off the bill. Not even a free dessert or drink.
If you must go here, stick to the pork until these guys learn how to cook a steak. My wife said the pork tasting menu was good. Also, nice gin and tonic:
The new burger here, as of 2022, is AMAZING! Get it.
This spot just opened up in the Gotham West Market food hall, and is formerly of west village fame. My wife and I tried a pair of cocktails and a pair of pasta entrees. All were great. Here’s the breakdown:
Roasted Orange Negroni:
Tastes just how it sounds. Really great cocktail with prosecco, campari and roasted orange.
Blame it on the Aperol:
Aperol, gin, lemonade and soda. Perfectly refreshing.
Perfectly cooked tagliatelle with freshly shaved cheese and a gorgeous egg yolk, spiced up and naturally salted by the generous amount of speck in the dish.
Oyster Mushroom Pappardelle:
This was the winner. Amazing texture in the wheat pasta, nice pop from the Aleppo peppers, and great earthy flavors from the garlic and mushrooms.
We will definitely be back to try the other pasta dishes for sure, and likely for the apps and main meats as well.
Gotham West Market
600 11th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
I’ve been a little bit bummed out about the kiosks available at TurnStyle, the semi-new food hall located underground at the Columbus Circle subway station. It seems to be mostly coffee, candy and merchandise. I had high hopes for a Chinese noodle joint, but that spot turned out to be pre-packaged sushi and poke bowl counter.
Doughnuttery was a failure for me, as most of the toppings taste similar and the very small doughnuts are a buck each.
Bolivian Llama Party is a different story. This place is serving real food; not some pre-packaged bullshit.
Saltenas, in particular, are their specialty. They’re similar in form to empanadas but they differ in style. They typically consist of a soupy filling and a slice of hard boiled egg inside of a baked outer crust.
They also offer sliders, sandwiches and interesting drinks.
Their Triple Pork sandwich is amazing!
Another spot I tried out is MeltKraft. This is also definitely worth a trip to Turn-Style.
The kiosks and stores will turn over every so often, making way for more restaurants and shops. Overall this place has a few great spots to eat and shop, but hopefully there will be more soon.
TURNSTYLE FOOD HALL
1000S 8th Ave
New York, NY 10019
The Somerset is a really nice grilled cheese sandwich that’s available at MeltKraft, down in the Turn-Style food hall at Columbus Circle. I got to try this when I was invited to a PR event to promote Turn-Style and all the shops within.
What’s so special about it? Melted gruyere, cured ham, cornichon, pickles and grain mustard. The version pictured here has some added prosciutto, because why the fuck not?
It also pairs up nicely with the tomato soup, which has a nice herbaceous kick to it from the fennel.
TurnStyle Food Hall
1000S 8th Ave
New York, NY 10019
This stand at Hudson Eats slings some decent dumplings and noodles.
My wife, a friend and I came here after a crazy chocolate event at ICE to get something a little savory to balance the palate.
We tried an order of their special kung pao chicken dumplings.
These were chock full of good quality chicken, but they were a bit over-sauced and dense. Good flavors though.
The next dumplings we tried were some pan seared pork and chive fuckers.
These were much better. They had great texture and contained the right balance of juices and meat inside. Very nice.
Finally, we tried an order of sour and spicy chicken noodles.
This contained two types of noodles: spaghetti-like clear “glass noodles,” and wide, flat noodles.
I think they could have used a hit of spice to them, but the chicken meat was high quality and the flavors worked. This place is worth a shot if you’re in the area, especially for the pan seared pork dumps.
At Hudson Eats
225 Liberty St
New York, NY 10281
If your taste in burgers is anything like mine, you like to keep it fairly simple but always delicious. They say “you don’t mess with perfection,” and I believe that’s vital when it comes to the outstanding combination of meat and cheese. That perfection, for me, is a classic flat top griddle burger with crispy edges and a medium center, covered all over with melted American cheese, and topped with lettuce, tomato and fresh jalapenos. It must also be slapped on a potato bun with a bit of mayo.
What started out as a meager food truck venture turned out to be one of the most sought after “roadside” style burgers in the city. Two years later, this place is consistently hailed as one of the best burgers in town by some of the most respected burger critics around. I agree with them.
I came here to celebrate their second “BURGthday” with a bunch of other NYC food scene press people. Since this was my first go at this place, I kept it simple, sticking to my favorite style, as outlined above. I was impressed! Everything was perfect – seriously.
A bunch of people were getting triples, because they do look amazing in photos, but I really wanted to experience the single in all its glory, perfectly ratio’d between bun, meat, cheese and toppings. It was so fucking good, and I wish I had more right now.
But I also got to try their bacon wrapped hot dog as well. These are not dick pics with toasted foreskin. These are delicious hot dogs.
I had this once with avocado at Crif Dogs, WAAAY back in the day, before I started reviewing restaurants. I loved it then, and I love it now. I like glorified hot dogs, and wrapping them in bacon and deep frying them is probably one of the best ways to do it. I liked it so much on that first bite, that I totally skipped any additional toppings like mustard, ketchup or onions.
Do yourselves a favor and get your asses over here ASAP.
There’s also a luncheonette spot out in Brooklyn that serves the burgers and also a nice skirt steak sandwich:
Watch the video of the steak sandwich being made:
HARD TIMES SUNDAES
At Urbanspace Vanderbilt
230 Park Ave
New York, NY 10169
Urbanspace Vanderbilt plays host to some of the absolute best food in town. Delaney Chicken is one of them.
I first tasted their spicy chicken sandwich a few months ago and immediately hailed it as my favorite, and easily the best in town. Yesterday I grabbed one of their classic chicken sandwiches to test for consistency. It was right on the fucking money!
I seriously can’t get enough of this thing. It comes on a nice potato bun with simply some pickles and house mayo. You wouldn’t think much of that, but the chicken is so perfect, and the sandwich is huge. The outside has a light, crispy and slightly spicy breading, and the inside is some of the most tender thigh meat chicken I’ve ever tasted. I still prefer the spicy to the original, but just look at this damn thing… It’s unbelievable.
At Urbanspace Vanderbilt
230 Park Ave
New York, NY 10169
I’ll just come out and state, right off the top, which places to focus on here. Obviously there are good items at all the vendors, but these are my highlights:
Delaney Chicken might be the best fried chicken sandwich in NYC. It’s big, juicy, crispy, with great toppings that set it apart from some of the other joints that are gaining traction in the city these days. I liked it better than Fuku+.
Hard Times Sundaes puts up a great roadside burger, and they even serve bacon-wrapped, deep fried hot dogs as well. Fantastic!
Kuro-Obi is an offshoot of Ippudo, so it’s a legit spot for good ramen. I had it at City Kitchen and liked it alot.