Category Archives: Food Halls

La Lena

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:

LA LEÑA
10 Hudson Yards
New York NY, 10001

Dell’ Anima

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.

Speck Carbonara:

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.

DELL’ ANIMA
Gotham West Market
600 11th Avenue
New York, NY 10036

Turn-Style

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.

BLP case

BLP open

They also offer sliders, sandwiches and interesting drinks.

BLP sandwiches

Their Triple Pork sandwich is amazing!

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Another spot I tried out is MeltKraft. This is also definitely worth a trip to Turn-Style.

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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

MeltKraft

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.

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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?

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It also pairs up nicely with the tomato soup, which has a nice herbaceous kick to it from the fennel.

MELTKRAFT
TurnStyle Food Hall
1000S 8th Ave
New York, NY 10019

Northern Tiger

This stand at Hudson Eats slings some decent dumplings and noodles.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This contained two types of noodles: spaghetti-like clear “glass noodles,” and wide, flat noodles.

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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.

NORTHERN TIGER
At Hudson Eats
225 Liberty St
New York, NY 10281

Hard Times Sundaes

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.

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One of the best places to get this style of burger is Hard Times Sundaes at Urbanspace Vanderbilt.

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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.

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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.

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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

Delaney Chicken

Urbanspace Vanderbilt plays host to some of the absolute best food in town. Delaney Chicken is one of them.

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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!

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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.

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DELANEY CHICKEN
At Urbanspace Vanderbilt
230 Park Ave
New York, NY 10169

UrbanSpace Vanderbilt

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+.

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Hard Times Sundaes puts up a great roadside burger, and they even serve bacon-wrapped, deep fried hot dogs as well. Fantastic!

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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.

Finally, Red Hook Lobster Pound is always a solid choice for a lobster roll, as is Roberta’s for pizza.

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Bolivian Llama Party

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; but Bolivian Llama Party is a different story. This place is serving real food; not some pre-packaged bullshit.

BLP sign

BLP front

BLP menu

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.

BLP case

BLP open

Bolivian Llama Party also offers slider sandwiches and interesting drinks. We tried three different saltenas; Beni (beef), Toco (pork) and Chimba (chicken). We also tried two different sliders (triple pork and beef brisket).

BLP sandwiches

BLP all

Two of the saltenas were a bit too sweet for my liking. One was beef, and I’m not sure if the other sweet one was pork or chicken. We got them mixed up in the bag, and when you bite into these things the filling in one is largely indistinguishable from another. The third, which was either Toco or Chimba (I’m leaning toward Toco), was delicious and packed with great savory goodness. Both sliders were excellent as well, but I preferred the pork slightly over the beef. You can’t go wrong with either  of those sliders, though.

Triple Pork full sandwich is amazing!

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Roast pork, bacon and pork belly cracklings.

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BOLIVIAN LLAMA PARTY
TurnStyle Food Hall
1000S 8th Ave,
New York, NY 10019

Gansevoort Market

Below is a quick and dirty photo dump of some of the cool joints in Gansevoort Market. My wife and I strolled through after eating lunch so we didn’t really partake in anything here. When I get back down here I will update this post accordingly.

Bruffin:

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 Luzzo’s Pizza:

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 Some other interesting shops, like gelato, tacos, sushi, etc.

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MEAT! Cappone’s and Macelleria:

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 Some signage:

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This little crepe joint was cool too – I nabbed some video:

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Greek yogurt being made, teste bag format:

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Bangkok Bar looked delicious:

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Donostia has some interesting looking sandwiches:

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This was probably the coolest thing to behold. Bacon on a stick for $5, and it was HUGE:

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Would love to try a chorizo dog too.

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Essentially I need to go here with the intention of eating, vomiting to make room, and repeating. Fuck yeah, Bulimia!