Category Archives: Downtown

Brooklyn Chophouse

Brooklyn Chophouse overall score: 81

From the crew that brought you Jade Sixty comes Brooklyn Chophouse, located in FiDi (not Brooklyn) and executing a very similar, if not the same, menu as Jade Sixty (Asian starters and entrees, fusion items, and good old American style chops).

Flavor: 6

We had the dry-aged (50-60 days) porterhouse for two.

This had minor dry aged flavor along the edges of some pieces. It was slightly overcooked from medium rare in some parts, but none of that stopped me from devouring it – and the temperature issue is somewhat expected with such a thick cut (2″ at least). The crust was excellent, as you can see.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

You have a nice range of steakhouse selections here, all dry-aged and prime from Pat LaFrieda’s operation.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions are on par with steakhouse country in midtown and other places downtown. There are some bargains to look out for, which I will get into below.

Price: 8

We had a comped meal here in exchange for posting pics on Instagram, but the pricing is fair for what you are getting. Think of this place like any other steakhouse, but with some nice Asian items to boot. Speaking of, the $55 Peking Duck is a great deal (more on that below).

Bar: 9

I really loved the bar and lounge area here. They’re also mixing up some great cocktails, like the smoked boulevardier:

The Brooklyn old fashioned is killer too:

Specials and Other Meats: 9

There are lots of other items in terms of specials and other meats. But the main non-beef dish to look for here is the Peking duck. Here is a video of the slicing and presentation:

Make sure you take the remainder of that 7lb duck carcass home and make soup with it. One of the best Peking duck dishes I’ve had, ever. Awesome deal for just $55.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7

We tried a bunch of stuff here. Let me get right down to it.

Bacon – nice sweet maple flavor to it.

Pastrami dumplings – these are fun and delicious.

French onion soup dumplings – the skin was a bit too thick on these, and the filling was overly cheesy in some, and overly oniony in others. I think they can benefit from a more even distribution into each sack.

Bacon cheeseburger shumai – absolutely awesome. Get these! I can easily put down three orders of these without batting an eye.

Chocolate cake – dry and we weren’t fans of the frosting.  A bit greasy, like they used shortening rather than buttercream.

The apple wontons were fun though. Mine didn’t have too much apple inside, but I just filled them with the vanilla ice cream instead.

Seafood Selection: 8

There’s a lot of great seafood on the menu, as you might expect from an Asian themed place. I didn’t try any but my next visit will be to try the salt and pepper lobster dish.

Service: 9

Really friendly and knowledgeable staff, timely with everything.

Ambiance: 9

They nailed the ambiance here. It has a great vibe inside, especially the lounge and bar area. The elevated main dining room and private dining spaces are elegant but not stuffy.

BROOKLYN CHOPHOUSE
150 Nassau St
New York, NY 10038

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

Harry’s

Harry’s overall score:  86

I came in to Harry’s for lunch on a weekend with my wife and parents. Here’s how it went down:

Flavor: 8

I went with the standard bone-in rib eye.

It comes out pre-sliced, so don’t give me shit. It was pretty good. I’ve had better, and I’ve certainly had worse. 8/10. I think it just needed a better crust, a bit more seasoning and more punch of dry-aged flavor.

My mom hit the boneless cajun rib eye.

She wen’t to work on this before I had a chance to shoot it. But I did try it, and it was unique. Unlike the other cajun rib eyes in town, there was no hint of cumin on this. But it did taste like pepper and other earthy spices. Pretty good. 8/10.

My dad had the filet mignon.

He crushed it before I had a chance to try it, but he said he liked it.

The Kobe burger is likely not made with real Kobe beef, but I’ll bite. Actually my wife bit, and I had half.

It was cooked nicely, and all the toppings were good (pickles and caramelized onions), however, the bun fell apart in my hands on the first bite. I had to fork and knife the rest. Here’s a shot of the beauty before the bun went to shit.

It comes with fries. These were pretty good, but could have used a bit more crisp:

Second trip – porterhouse – also an 8/10.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

I was here for brunch on a weekend, and the menu was still ample in terms of steak cuts. I was impressed with the variety.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions are large and plating is a step above the average nondescript steakhouse style. I liked the metal cooking plates on which the rib eyes were served.

Price: 8

Here’s a look at our William:

There are some pricey items but some great bargains as well.

Bar: 10

This is one of the most beautiful and inviting bars I’ve ever seen.

I almost wish I lived or worked downtown just so I could have an excuse to come here more often.

There’s even some great lounge seating off the bar in a semi-secluded room. Lovely. Also, the cocktails were insanely good.

Pictured here is the Old Mr. Johnson, which is easily in my top five for “Old Fashioned” or “Manhattan”-like cocktail renderings. And you’ve gotta love that H that they branded into the perfectly clear ice cube. It’s not a mold – it’s a hot brand.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There were some specials read to us, though I don’t remember what they were. But the fact that they were not on a strict “brunch menu selections only” policy on the weekend is a good sign.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We had a few things from this category. First, the tempura onion rings.

These didn’t strike me as having a typical tempura batter texture. They were a bit heavy in terms of the fry, and the onions inside were thick (but cooked through at least). The unique thing about these is that they almost tasted like curry or turmeric.

I already mentioned the fries above in the flavor section for the burger, so I won’t re-discuss them here. What I will discuss, however, is the insane house smoked Canadian bacon appetizer.

Yeah. That’s an entire pork chop that they like to call a side of bacon at Harry’s, for just $18. Get it. As your entree. It was the best item of the meal! That’s apple sauce on the side.

Awesome steak tartare.

We had some desserts as well. In particular, I liked the lemon meringue pie the best.

Not as good as some places, but up there for sure. The warm skillet cookie was a bit too sweet, so get this only if you plan to share it.

Seafood Selection: 8

I didn’t even bother to fucking look. Maybe next time I’ll hit some shellfish from the dinner menu.

Service: 9

Our waiter was good, but he had a shift change or a break right in the middle of our service. The new waiter had to kind of figure out what the fuck was happening, and I felt bad for him. Overall, great service though. My cocktail glass had a big chip on the rim, which was crazy sharp. I was surprised they didn’t catch it on the way out to me, but they fixed me a new drink quickly when I told them. Table bread was warm and nice as well.

Ambiance: 10

Simply amazing decor here. Truly gorgeous from top to bottom.

I actually wish I had taken more photos of the decor. They really did a great job with the space.

HARRY’S
1 Hanover Square
New York, NY 10004

Warren 77

This joint puts up some solid pub food. I came in with a group of food bloggers to help them promote their Stanley Cup game night specials (the joint is owned by an ex-NY Ranger). Anyway, here’s what we had:

Wings

These are breaded and served lollipop style. I liked them, despite generally having less of a preference for breaded wings.

Nachos

Stacked high with tons of toppings. Really good.

Boneless Chicken Wings

For the vagina in your group who doesn’t want any bones. Still good though – and also breaded.

Fried Pickles

A little too salty for me, but I liked the texture and sauce.

Philly Cheesesteak

I loved that this was on a hot dog potato bun. They said they usually serve it on different bread but ran out. I say stick with the hot dog bun. It was great. Low budget and tasty.

Double Cheeseburger

This was nice and basic too, but well executed. For $11 this is a great deal (fries were $3 extra, shoestring style, and  very nicely cooked). Their “77 Sauce” is like a Big Mac sauce. Dig it.

WARREN 77
77 Warren St
New York, NY 10007

Bullfrog & Baum Burger Crawl

My wife and I were invited on a really cool burger crawl hosted by one of NYC’s most influential restaurant public relations firms, Bullfrog & Baum. The crawl was to celebrate National Burger Day.

On the crawl, we visited five of the joints they represent and tried nine different burgers over the course of eight hours. We were with a group of about ten people, so we were able to split and share the burgers at each place (nine burgers is a bit much for one person, even if you stretch it over eight hours).

Stop 1: Porter House Bar & Grill

We tried three different burgers here, starting off like champs.

Burger 1: I had eaten the Bar Burger before, and it still holds up as one of the greats. In fact I liked it the best of all nine from the crawl. It’s a simple double patty with American cheese on a potato bun, with jalapenos. The best way.

Burger 2: They just debuted this Pat LaFrieda truffle burger blend and threw it onto a bun with braised short rib, red onion jam, melted Fontina cheese and even more shaved black truffles. Amazing, and probably in my top three for the day.

Burger 3: The Dry Aged burger is a beef lover’s dream. You really get that earthy, dry-aged beef flavor in every bite.

Stop 2: The Vine

The American Burger at The Vine is a great tribute to an old fashioned diner burger, but elevated in quality and flavor. I really enjoyed this one. Maybe one more slice of cheese would take it into top three favorites status.

Stop 3: Boucherie

I’ve had this baby before and reviewed it, so no need rehash too much. Great LaFrieda dry-aged blend. A wallop of intense flavor.

Stop 4: Black Tap SoHo

We tried two here. Only the strong survive!

Burger 1: Black Tap’s American Burger was excellent. So simple and delicious, perfectly cooked. American cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo (on top in photo below).

Burger 2: The Greg Norman had already impressed me in the past. It was just as wonderful again. You’d think the wagyu beef would be overpowered by the blue cheese, but it just intensified the savory crust on the patty. Lovely. It’s on the bottom in the photo above.

Stop 5: Blue Ribbon Federal Grill

At our final stop, we tried two different burgers. And both were spectacularly crafted.

Burger 1: The Fed is a nice crisp patty topped with stilton cheese, thick cut bacon and pickles. The bun is an onion poppy roll that really works to enhance the flavors. What a great burger!

Burger 2: The Bar Burger here has no cheese, but it’s got an amazing crispy sear on the patty. It’s topped with a creamy whipped herb butter and pickles, and sits on an English muffin. Really simple and incredibly delicious. This one took me by surprise!

Such a crazy day! Not one bad burger in the bunch. In fact, all were pretty damn great. It was tough to choose favorites.

PORTER HOUSE BAR & GRILL
10 Columbus Cir
New York, NY 10019

THE VINE
851 6th Ave
New York, NY 10001

BOUCHERIE
99 7th Ave S
New York, NY 10014

BLACK TAP SOHO
529 Broome St
New York, NY 10013

BLUE RIBBON FEDERAL GRILL
84 William St
New York, NY 10038

Cut

Cut overall score: 80

Wolfgang Puck just opened up a new location of his steakhouse “Cut” in downtown Manhattan. Of course I had to check it out. A buddy and I came here with our ladies to get down on some steak.

Flavor: 8
We were able to sample three different cuts: rib eye, sirloin and tenderloin. All three hailed from Creekstone Farms, and all three were bone-in.

The rib eye here is a solid 8/10. It felt a bit small for 20oz, but as you can see it had a great outer crust.

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Inside was perfectly cooked. Check out the cut:

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Where it fell short, for me, was the cap. There wasn’t much to it, unfortunately. The eye was delicious though, and I think it was the most flavorful cut of the night. I didn’t get pics of the other two.

I’m giving the tenderloin a 9/10. It had that same great sear and same great cook temp. The flavor was excellent for a tenderloin, too.

The sirloin was not marketed as a NY strip or strip loin, so I am considering it to be an “other cut” for categorization purposes. In all likelihood, it was probably a strip, but one can never be certain without actually doing the butchering oneself. This was an 8/10. Again, same great crisp and cook, and the flavor was nice for a lean cut, though I did prefer the rib eye and tenderloin over the sirloin.

As for the sauces, well, each steak comes with a free sauce on the side. There are about six to eight to choose from. We tried a bunch: house steak sauce, bernaise, creamy horseradish, and yuzu. While I prefer my steak naked, the best of the lot was the horseradish. Their house steak sauce was a bit aggressive on the tarragon (I think that’s what it was in there – not rosemary).

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
This place is truly amazing in terms of available cuts and quality. A quick scan of their menu reveals that they not only offer all of the main steakhouse cuts in various sizes, but you can also choose by farm. They offer stuff from Kansas (Creekstone), Illinois (corn-finished), Ithaca New York (grass-finished), and Snake River (American Wagyu). On top of that, they feature legit Miyazaki beef from Japan as well. You can even order a tasting that will give you 4oz from various farms, that way you can actually taste the difference between them. Currently, they only do this with the sirloin – not the rib eye. Honestly I don’t think any other steakhouse has this extensive of a selection.

As if the cuts of beef for steaks aren’t enough variety, they also feature wagyu beef short rib and wagyu beef sashimi. Amazing.

Oh, and they bring the shit out to show you, too.

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Portion Size & Plating: 7
Portions could be a bit larger here for the pricing. I understand the cost of high-end beef, but at $88 for 9oz of American wagyu rib eye, you are getting ripped off. If that’s what I am going for, I will happily just head the fuck over to Del Frisco’s to get 23oz more wagyu beef for an additional $7 (32oz, $95). And that fucker is a clear 10/10 score on flavor – one of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten.

Price: 5
See my rant on portion size above for some weight here as well. But in addition to that issue, I felt that some of the items were way overpriced for what we were getting. In particular, the marrow app, the tortolloni, and the mac and cheese.

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Bar: 8
The bar is pretty cool, and there are some great cocktails and booze selections available. However the prices are a bit too high (a non-alcoholic “mocktail” was fucking $14), and I was hoping for a more street side experience. The bar is just off the lobby of the apartment building / hotel with no view of the downtown streets, so the vibe is slightly off a bit.

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Specials and Other Meats: 9
There are no off-menu specials, with the exception of an addition that was not yet printed – another offering of steak. But there’s chicken, pork and lamb for alternative meat selections, if for some reason you are avoiding all the tasty beef on the menu. The app selections also feature veal tongue, suckling pig, and bone marrow flan. Really interesting.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
We tried a bunch of stuff. Let’s get right down to business.

The mac and cheese was really tasty, but insanely overpriced at $16. Apologies for not getting a photo of it.

The suckling pig and pork belly was excellent. Not as salty as I was expecting, but really nicely plated. Also overpriced at $25 for six cubes that were the size of large Las Vegas gambling dice.

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Bone marrow flan was very nice, but overpriced and small in size. It was similar to the creme brûlée from Beatrice Inn, only savory.

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Broccolini was fantastic. I highly recommend this item. Topped with shaved cheese and adorned with roasted tomatoes, one cannot possibly go wrong.

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Tortolloni was overpriced for seven small dumplings. They were nice and mild though, which is exactly what my wife wanted.

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Doughnuts dessert came with about six doughnut holes, all the same flavor (granulated sugar coated). Some of the purees that came with it weren’t that good (sweet potato), but the ice cream was nice.

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Seafood Selection: 8
There’s lobster, “loup de mer” (branzino), cod and sole on the seafood menu here. Scallop preparations, hamachi, a crab and lobster cocktail and a tuna tartare can be found on the app menu. Not too shabby, though I didn’t notice any oysters or clams.

Service: 9
One thing worth noting here is that you can add a variety of nice items to your order (for a fee, of course). But you can add a fried egg, white truffles, blue cheese, mushrooms, garlic, bone marrow, etc. to the steaks you order.

Bread is on point. The table receives a basket of mini pop-overs (we got a second basket) and five different style dinner rolls/breads to choose from with a nice whipped butter. All are delicious. My advice is to fill up on bread and share a really good, high end steak.

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Ambiance: 7
This place suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. There are two huge panels on one wall that show a kind of cheese-bag conversation between a chef and a woman. We surmised that this had something to do with how Wolfgang Puck met his wife, and it turned out we were right (our waitress overheard us talking and confirmed it when we asked).

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The dining room was vast and dark; a bit too sexy for my liking. And the random neon lighting at the bar felt a bit too “Miami Vice.”

CUT
The Four Seasons Hotel
99 Church St or 27 Barclay St
New York, NY 10007

North End Grill Bistro du Nord

The Union Square Hospitality Group is hosting a pop-up French restaurant called “Bistro du Nord” in the North End Grill space throughout January. This is the group of restaurants headed up by chef Danny Meyer, who recently went “no tip” and “service included” in the menu pricing of all his joints. Even the coat check is included! But the prices… for a tip-included place, they were amazing. I was expecting some inflated numbers, but to me, they all looked like what you’d see at any other restaurant.

I was invited in by the group to sample some of the delicious items that chef Eric Korsh is featuring on this limited run menu (though some items may still be available after the pop-up is finished). He’s the chef there at North End Grill, even when there is no pop-up going on, so you can expect the same level of execution and awesomeness if you happen to miss the pop-up.

So let me get down to it, because we tried a lot of good stuff.

Duck egg en meurette.

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If you’re like me, and have no idea what some French culinary terms mean, then I will explain. “En meurette” basically means that the duck egg is served in a red wine reduction, like a bourguignon or meat gravy type sauce. The egg here was nicely poached and served with mushrooms and black truffles.

Roasted oysters with spinach and bacon.

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I believe some cheese was involved as well. These were beautiful and fantastic.

Escargot with garlic and parsley butter.

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Really nice in the little skillet, and already plucked from the shell, so no work is involved.

Tarte flambe.

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This was essentially a nice, light, airy flatbread – almost like zaatar, but less aggressive with the spice.

French onion soup with bone marrow.

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Beautiful. This one was topped with a piece of toast and melty gruyere, but that bone marrow in the middle was just absolutely awesome.

Now for the entrees.

Steamed trout.

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I was a little skeptical of a steamed fish item, but this was so tasty. I even remarked that it reminded me of something Scandinavian, perhaps because of the presence of dill and a thickened broth sauce.

Crispy skate wing – my apologies for not getting a picture. This fish was so light yet flavorful that it threw me off guard. The crisp on the outside of the fish was so awesome.

Roast chicken.

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Super crispy outside skin and perfect tenderness within. The cabbage wrap was filled with more succulent, tender meat as well as some fois gras and parsley root. Very elegant.

Cassoulet.

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What a refreshing improvement from the last cassoulet my wife and I had at The House. This one had the meat on full display: pork belly and a duck leg. With trotter and white beans in the dish, this was a nice and hearty dish, but it didn’t seem heavy at all.

NY strip steak au poivre.

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I had the kitchen slice this for us so it was easier to share. This was perfectly cooked to medium rare, and the peppery sauce really complimented the prime beef. The chef trimmed off any gristle from the sides, and the quality of the cut was top notch. It was lean but very flavorful, and the texture was incredibly tender. 9/10.

On the side we had some wood grilled fennel, which was really nice and helped us digest. We also had some fries, as they came with the steak. They had a perfect crisp and were nicely seasoned.

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There’s always room for dessert.

Apple and huckleberry galette.

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This was right up my alley. Sweetness with a little bit of tartness, and then warm mixed with cold ice cream. Perfection.

Chocolate souffle.

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Perfect execution on this, and the chocolate was rich and decadent without being overpowering or overly sweet.

Paris-brest.

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I loved this. The one here was apple and hazelnut cream flavored. It was light and airy, soft yet crisp. I could easily inhale a few of these.

I think that about does it. Get your asses down here and try some of this delicious French fare while the pop-up lasts!

NORTH END GRILL
104 North End Ave
New York, NY 10282

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

Malt House (FiDi)

You may recall my recent review of Malt House in the West Village. Well, the other day I was invited to the downtown location for another press review. I have to say, as Chef Armando (formerly of STK and Five Napkin Burger) has become more comfortable in his role as Executive Chef, he has really elevated the level of food.

At the time of the West Village review, he was relatively new at Malt House. The food was good, but it had a different feel than the food I tried at the FiDi location. While both restaurants do share a similar menu, Armando brings a bit more of his personal touch to the FiDi menu. Here, Armando is more clearly elevating standard pub food to quality restaurant dining. Take my favorite dish of the evening, for instance: the artichoke and crab dip with crispy fried plantains.

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Every pub, Friday’s and Applebee’s offers something like this with tortilla chips. But Armando has removed the grossly oily and heavy texture that is so common with these dips – often laden with insanely salty cheeses and prickly, woody bits from the wrong part of the artichoke – and replaced it with a velvety smooth, light and extremely satisfying indulgence that is topped with succulent, high quality crab meat. The plantains – as opposed to tortilla chips – come with a thicker crisp as well, and they add a higher quality, more complimentary crunch element to balance with the creamy dip.

If my yammering about artichoke dip doesn’t quite convince you that this place is more than just pub food, just take a look at this gorgeous pan roasted chicken dish.

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Do you expect to see this at a bar? Of course not. That’s why I’m making a point of saying that this is real restaurant dining. That chicken dish comes with mashed potatoes, sauteed kale, mushrooms and au jus, by the way.

And as you might expect from a burger at a fine dining joint, plain old ground beef simply won’t cut the mustard. This location features wagyu beef in the grind. But that’s not where it ends. It also boasts hickory smoked bacon, a pesto aioli and Bibb lettuce on a brioche bun, with your choice of cheese, of course. But the kicker is something so simple that it’s brilliant: a slice of oven roasted tomato that just melts right into the burger to become a natural ketchup when you bite down on it. Amazing.

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Armando is also keeping things a bit more seasonal and market fresh at the FiDi location, swapping out the mahi in the fish tacos with whatever is good at the market each day, like mako or swordfish.

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If those types of fish don’t float your boat, maybe the blackened salmon sandwich will. This was good enough to make me think twice about beef for a brief moment.

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Cajun salmon with grilled onions, cucumber, avocado and sriracha aioli? Yes please. That was a great tasting sandwich!

However, my favorite thing between two buns, aside from The Cake Dealer’s thong, was the slow braised short rib slider.

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After braising, these babies are pan seared and topped with house made spicy and sweet pickles, shallots and rosemary caramelized onions. Oh my God, those onions… And those pickles… So good, and such a complex bite of food. There are lots of well-balanced flavors popping in these. I highly recommend. They’re technically apps, but I guess if you order enough of them you can call it a meal.

Speaking of appetizers, by the way, a pair of other notable mentions were the buttermilk bites and avocado bacon deviled eggs. The eggs come cleverly plated in an egg carton with six pieces per order. Very generous! And these devilish morsels tasted heavenly. The egg is mixed with the avocado to make a very creamy filling, and the sriracha and serrano peppers on top bring that slight bit of heat that you want from deviled eggs.

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The buttermilk bites, if sold in bulk, would probably be the cause of my death. I can easily see myself eating these until I pop. There’s nothing too complicated about them; they’re just southern style fried chicken morsels.

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But the buttermilk fry batter is spectacular, and the meat is tender and juicy inside. Perfect execution! What really brings these home for me, though, is the cilantro jalapeno aioli. It’s cool and refreshing, while at the same time bringing a kick of spice to your taste buds.

I also got to sample both the sweet potato and regular fries. Both were good, but I actually preferred the sweet potato fries for some reason. They ended up being seasoned better, they held a better crisp, and they actually tasted savory rather than sweet. This was a nice change, because I typically don’t like sweet potato fries.

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Malt House actually has a pastry chef now, so dessert is on point. I sampled four items: chocolate mousse, beignets with chocolate sauce, banana and chocolate filled crepes and cheesecake. All were nicely executed, simple and delicious.

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Now that I’ve gotten the food out of the way, let me talk a bit about the drinks and decor at this place. Aside from something like 200 whiskies and 40 draft beers, they also offer a nice cocktail menu and an extensive list of bottled and canned beers as well.

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In addition, this joint is hugely spacious, with a main bar and dining floor, a nice mezzanine overlooking the main floor, a private party room off the mezzanine and a massive basement called “The Armory,” which features a wrap-around bar and tons of additional seating. I love the proud patriotism on display down there. There are tons of old US flags and such (to be fair, some might be British colonial flags as well – I’m not sure). This place also boasts some other nice historic and architectural touches, like a preserved 125yr old, all-original skylight in the private room and several actual Carnegie Steel Company beams in the main bar and dining room.

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The interior pics aren’t mine, by the way. They were provided to me by the restaurant. But you get the sense of how enormous and gorgeous this place is. Go check it out for yourself one of these days. You won’t be disappointed.

MALT HOUSE
9 Maiden Ln
New York, NY 10038

Jeremy’s Ale House

What can I say about Jeremy’s Ale House? This bar was a regular stop during my old law school days, because my counselors-in-training and I could score 32oz beers in styrofoam cups for very cheap, on a pauper’s budget, all while having a blast near the picturesque South Street Seaport and Brooklyn Bridge locale of lower Manhattan.

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My wife and I were married on a yacht that used to sail from the Seaport too, and with a pair of my groomsmen having gone through law school hell with me, this was naturally where the wedding party landed after disembarking. In short, this place is associated with the most incredibly important parts of my life. As such, being invited here for a press dinner was really exciting for me and my wife, and we jumped at the opportunity.

This place is nothing short of iconic. It used to be located a bit closer to the bridge, but it has since moved. It hasn’t lost any of its charm and character, however, other than the awesome outdoor beer garden that it used to boast. The new spot has some elevated curbside seating near big windowed doors, which is cool in its own right.

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It still has the incredible collection of cut ties and bras hanging on the walls, ceiling, and over the bar, fabled to be swindled from alcohol-lubricated businessmen and women who wandered into the bar after a hard day of work on Wall Street or the Financial District in dire need of shedding their stuffy monkey suits with a carefree romp at the famed dive.

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Even my wife contributed an over-the-shoulder boulder holder to the collection:

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The walls are filled with everything from jocular anecdotes and silly images, to reflective and somber NYPD, FDNY and EMS tributes to fallen heroes of 9/11.

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Jeremy’s served as a safe house after 9/11 for people who were destined to still be in the area working cleanup. Jeremy kept the place open, and in that spirit of giving back to his community, he’s also throwing a fund raiser to help fight breast cancer at his other location, out in Freeport, Long Island.

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Jeremy himself is a really outgoing and inviting person. His warm and honest persona fills the room with a sense of familiarity and comfort.

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Much of his staff has been with him for several decades, like Milton, aka “Monstro,” who has worked behind the bar and ran the kitchen and staff for coming up on 30 years (Jeremy, seated: Monstro, right).

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Jeremy has been in the saloon game for nearly 45 years now, first opening his doors back in 1970! He reminisced to us about how the first bras graced the walls of the older locations via auction, with the money going to charity if the women felt awkward about taking the cash that was offered… but sometimes the pot would go up to nearly $200, and the girls would take it because in the 80s that was a lot of scratch for a bra! About a week’s worth of pay, for many. We also talked about how the neighborhood changed so much between then and now, and how NYC laws governing food establishments caused him to make changes or operate differently, depending on the mayor and what safety concerns they pushed in their agendas.

I was only acquainted with Jeremy’s from 2000 onward, just a third of the time it was open. And throughout those 15 years I really had no idea what was happening in the kitchen in terms of food. I never even gave food a second thought here, because, well, there were quart-sized beers!

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As it turns out, Jeremy’s serves up some pretty great pub food, and Jeremy himself is somewhat of a recipe innovator and amateur chef.

We first tried some of his lobster bisque, which currently is not on the menu. He does give it out to customers on occasion, but right now it is an off-menu hush-hush item.

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Jeremy spent years perfecting New England clam chowder recipes at home, spoiling his family in the process, who can now no longer eat the chowder at restaurants because the homemade version was so much better. The secret, Jeremy says, is in using heavy cream and half & half instead of milk, and a bit of sherry. You can see that a little shot of sherry is served alongside the chowder for mixing (or drinking, like I did).

The bisque here is made from a commercial lobster base and then enriched with some of Jeremy’s chowder methods. He adds pepper, creams and sherry (no starch for thickening), and then tops it with a generous portion of “lobster essence” (bits of lobster that are ground up and re-combined) and imitation lobster meat for substance. I have to say, it was pretty good for pub food!

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Next up was a side-by-side comparison of the dry batter seafood and the grilled seafood: Scallops, shrimp and calamari.

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Jeremy is partial to the dry batter preparation, because it seals in the natural juices and flavors of the seafood. The grill, on the other hand, gives it a fired-up taste and the seafood takes on some of the grill flavors. I’m more of a fan of that method.

Speaking of fresh seafood, if you order the shrimp cocktail here, you’re given a choice of whether you want it hot with drawn butter on the side, or chilled with cocktail sauce. The reason you’re given this choice: everything is prepared fresh, to order. When you want it chilled, the shrimp gets flash-cooked and then instantly chilled in an ice bath before it comes out to you. Pretty awesome, because the shrimp stay tasty and juicy. All too often I get shrimp cocktail that tastes like absolutely nothing, because it was cooked a month ago, frozen, and then thawed out prior to serving. The result is a rubbery, bland and flavorless piece of dog shit. Fuck that. Jeremy’s Ale House does it legit. And it is also worth noting that Jeremy makes his own tartar sauce for the pub. He uses extra relish and a bit of ketchup in the preparation to cut the sour with a bit of sweet. Very nice.

The food tasting continued with the special half pound burger that comes topped with bacon, American cheese and tomato on a pretzel bun.

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The pretzel bun is fresh and supple. Really excellent. The bacon was thick and crisp, perfectly cooked. The cheese was melty and gooey. The only downside? My burger was a bit overcooked. But I have to say, for a dive bar, this burger is pretty freaking awesome – especially for just $10 (they offer smaller burgers for about $5 or $6 as well). Also, look at the mountain of fresh homemade potato chips that comes with the burger:

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While I was digging into this fucker, Jeremy called out for Monstro to bring us over one of the Jersey tomatoes that he uses both at home and at the bar for salads, burger toppings and also just for snacking. These were picked fresh from near his hometown in southern New Jersey (he grew up in NJ, but he is originally from England). They have a slightly thicker skin than most tomatoes, but that helps to seal in the juicy freshness and sweet qualities of the fruit (yes, tomatoes are technically fruit, not veggies). These particular tomatoes were light on seeds and that slimy goop in the center, which was great for me because I hate that garbage. Jeremy even sent us home with a bunch of fresh tomatoes.

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The next item to come out was the fried chicken finger sandwich. This is about six ounces of fried chicken on a pretzel bun with pickles and fried onions. Excellent!

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What a great bar sandwich this is: The chicken was tender, the breading was crisp, the pickles were of good quality and the onions were a great topper.

While we were on the subject of chicken, Jeremy explained to us how he has (and is currently working on) some options for people who are trying to be more health conscious. He had Monstro bring out a cooked patty of his chicken burger, which is made of one third leg and thigh meat, and two thirds breast meat. But it doesn’t break up or taste like ground chicken. It eats like a pounded-flat piece of thigh or breast meat. It is incredible. Here it is: six ounces of amazing chicken, grilled to perfection:

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This patty was by far my favorite item of the night. And we just had it plain! Usually, this gets served on a bun with toppings and a side of chips, like the other sandwiches – we were just trying out the patty on its own for shits and giggles. Actually, I was slicing up some of the Jersey tomatoes and eating them together, with a little bit of Jeremy’s incredibly spicy homemade hot sauce on top:

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That hot sauce is so fucking good. But be careful, because it will make your face numb! Simple too: smoked habanero, vinegar, garlic and salt. Generous as he is, Jeremy sent my wife and me home with a few containers of the sauce, after I suggested that he bottle it and sell it.

We were getting stuffed, but Jeremy wanted us to keep trying things. He and Monstro were discussing what else we could sample when my wife asked, “What is your favorite thing to eat?” They both answered, “The hero.”

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What you have there are two different subs. One is spicy, with sliced cherry peppers included. Both have salami, ham, cheese, lettuce and a nice vinegary sandwich dressing on top. The bread is fresh, crusty Italian bread – the only thing worthy of such a sandwich. Monstro hollows out a bit of the bread’s interior so that all the fillings can fit inside the sandwich without being too massive to bite down on. I’d say this was probably my second favorite item from the tasting.

What an awesome place. I’m really glad Jeremy reached out to me for this press meal, because up until now, I just looked at this place as a joint for big, cheap beers. A watering hole, a dive bar. Now I know its a great place to eat, too!

JEREMY’S ALE HOUSE
228 Front St.
New York, NY 10038