Category Archives: Press Reviews

Emilia by Nai

Once again my friend Ruben absolutely nails it with his third restaurant, Emilia. Check out this quick video of some of the dishes we tried:

I can’t wait to go back and try more stuff. He is still in the process of perfecting the burger (he’s working on the bun), so I’ll definitely try that again.

Favorite items so far: artichoke with soy cured egg and crispy sunchokes, red snapper, and monkfish liver mousse.

EMILIA BY NAI
174 1st Ave.
New York, NY 10009

Vosteed Cutlery

I just got these beauties in the mail. Check out my unboxing video here:

These knives are really beautiful, and this is my first time using carbon steel for a knife.

I know I love the material for cooking (my deBuyer pans), but how will they function in the form of a blade? I guess we’ll see.

I used the utility knife to score the fat on a strip steak, then I used the chef’s knife to slice for serving/plating:

Both were awesome on their first use. I suspect the strength of the material will mean that the edge will hold longer than usual. Time will be the ultimate test!

Haswell Green’s

having gone to Haswell Green’s several times for cocktails over the years, I finally made it over there to try the food. I have to say: the burger matches the quality of the cocktails: AWESOME!

It’s a double smash patty burger on a potato bun with pickles, cheese and special sauce. Very simple, but really well executed. Go give it a shot. I actually think this might be my favorite burger in that part of town. Better than Black Tap, all the steakhouses nearby, and any other bar or fast food joint slinging burgers for theater patrons.

The boneless wings pork+veal meatballs are decent as well.

But make sure you try some of their cocktails. Really nicely crafted.

HASWELL’S GREEN
240 W 52nd St
New York, NY 10019

Arthur & Sons

On June 8th, the west village will have a brand new, old school style red sauce Italian joint: Arthur & Sons.

The concept comes from the guy who brought you Black Tap’s burgers and iconic shakes, Joe Isidori.

The small, bright and warm space feels like home. A seat at the window-side bar with a mezcal negroni was the right move to start the evening.

Don’t skip on the antipasto.

This and the bread with house flavored oil are the sirens tempting your appetite to a shipwreck of over-eating, though. Save room for what’s next!

Meatball parm sandwich.

Mozzarella en carozza.

FRIED GALAMAD!!!

Just like home at an Italian’s house, that’s only the beginning. Then comes the pasta: spicy rigatoni alla vodka.

Of course Benny Bowties is smiling.

Look at those tubes – no flop!

And holy shit – the chicken parm is a feast!!!

And to finish off the night, some cannoli.

This place is going to pop, so get ready! I can’t wait to try everything else.

ARTHUR & SONS
38 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10014

Vinyl Steakhouse

Vinyl Steakhouse overall score: 84

I was recently invited into Vinyl Steakhouse for a complimentary meal in exchange for posting some photos on my Instagram account. But as you know, I like to keep it real in my reviews here, for all you meat maniacs. Let’s get into it.

Flavor: 9

My wife and I shared both the boneless 16oz wet-aged cajun rib eye, as well as the dry-aged porterhouse for two. Both really hit the mark for flavor. I only took a point away because the porterhouse was cooked a slight bit beyond medium rare.

As you can see, this was mainly isolated to the grey banding, but, honestly, I don’t think it took much away from the over all experience (9/10).

The rib eye was pretty much cooked perfectly. The cajun flavor was light/mild, but I think it was the right move to use a fresh cut rather than an aged cut for this, as the flavors may have wanted to compete a bit. Perhaps a marinade would pump up the flavors a little more (8/10).

Also worth noting here, the steak sauce it blessed with white truffle, so you’ll definitely want to try it. This is one of the only steak sauces that I actually used at a steakhouse. It was incredible!

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

There’s a great selection of both aged and fresh steaks, as well as bone in and boneless steaks, and steaks for one or two. The beef hails from Greentree Packing Company, and the chef, Alex, told us that their dry aging room is adorned with planks of cedar wood and salt blocks, which are said to impart flavor and create a nice environment for aging beef. I definitely tasted some of that dry aged flavor on the porterhouse, so the tricks they’re doing worked.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

I dig the plating here. They scrapped the traditional steakhouse style of all white, plain looking plates, and went with a little bit more style that’s unique and fitting to their vibe. A ring of gold, patterns, grooves. Very vinyl/wax. As for portion size, the apps and sides were nice sizes for sure. A hulking 6-8oz crab cake; enough beef carpaccio to satisfy a light appetite; two turnovers on the dessert plate. It works. The single portion steaks are a little on the small side (8, 10, 14 and 16 ounces), however, I think this was done to keep the prices from being jaw-dropping. The US has seen a massive bump in beef prices, so I appreciate the effort at keeping steaks to a comfortable size for the price.

Price: 8

A 16oz fresh cajun rib eye (no bone) comes in at $59, and the steaks for two (porterhouse or rib eye) are $139, aged, at 36-38oz. I think this is really fair, especially given the quality.

Bar: 8

The bar here is nestled midway into the restaurant, past the host and turntable area, and just before the intimate yet social dining room. Without window space, the bar area is dim, but there are some seats along the front window near the record player that would be fun for cocktails. In fact, that’s where we ate, because the light was perfect there.

The cocktail menu is awesome.

We tried four of the signatures, each one better than the last. I highly recommend the “Magickal Childe,” named after the Wiccan store owner that used the space before them (pictured above).

Specials and Other Meats: 6

They have some chicken on the menu, but nothing else by way of red meat flesh other than beef. I appreciate the beef-forward menu big time, so don’t let the lower score here fool you.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9

We started with a crab cake. This was awesome. The roasted corn really made it pop.

We also tried the beef carpaccio. The slight age on this, as well as those dots of spicy horseradish mustard, took it to the next level. This is one of the best I’ve had in a while.

On the side, we tried the marrow corn, which was really nice and carved right off the cob, served in a husk.

For dessert, we tried the cherry turnovers, a la mode with vanilla ice cream. I liked these; not too sweet. The more discerning Cake Dealer thought the dough was a bit thick in parts, and slightly undercooked.

Seafood Selection: 7

There’s scallops and salmon here by way of entree selections from the sea, but we didn’t try them. We did enjoyed the crab cake though, as noted above.

Service: 10

The staff here is awesome. Everyone is excited about the menu, from the drinks all the way to the desserts. Very friendly, even when it comes to music disagreements! That’s right: you may hear the in-house audiophiles debating music as they swap out records to play. They even asked our opinion, which I thought was pretty cool.

Table bread is excellent, by way of Balthazar. Pictured here is sourdough and baguette, but they also offer focaccia (all on the house with creamy, whipped honey butter).

Ambiance: 10

These guys really made great use of the space, and, in doing so, created a very unique dining experience based off of the GM’s passion for, and background in, the music industry (he was a producer and record label owner). The front DJ area takes you back to the old days when the living room, basement, or bedroom, was lined with book shelves containing LOTS OF WAX.

They generally like to play whole album A and/or B sides right through, just as many of the artists intended (these days, you’re lucky to get two good songs on an album, let alone a great concept album that you actually want to play start to finish).

We pretty much finished every last bite of food here, despite ordering like animals. So i’ll definitely be back here for more, and soon. Give this place a shot!

VINYL STEAKHOUSE
35 W 19th St
New York, NY 10011

Brooklyn Chop House (Times Square)

The new Times Square location of Brooklyn Chop House delivers everything you know and love about the downtown location. As such, this review is really just a piggyback on that with the same scoring, showing the new stuff I tried below.

Nice crisp martini from the smallish (for the location) but well appointed bar.

Great seafood “pac man” dumplings.

Dough was a little too thick on these philly cheese dumplings:

Perfet “crispy” filet.

Whatever this new crispy preparation is on the menu – I like it. 9/10.

Bacon a little underwhelming for the price point, but tasty.

Nice aged rib eye on the bone. 8/10. Definitely some steak improvement over the one downtown.

The sizzling plates will literally splatter all over the table, so watch your clothing!

Lobster fried rice was low on both lobster and fry. More like a steamed rice. A bit mushy.

Ultra rich “double height” chocolate cake, served on it’s side.

This was a comped meal in exchange for some posting on social media, but this is what the bill would have been. Pricey steaks!

TOTAL SCORE 81/100

BROOKLYN CHOP HOUSE
253 W 47th St
New York, NY 10036

Velotric Discover 1 E-Bike

Check out my unboxing, assembly and user review/experience of the new Velotric Discover 1 e-bike.

This is a great commuter bike for the city!

If you’re interested in getting one, they’re currently running an Easter deal for $300 off with code EASTER. Click HERE to go grab yours!

You can also check out:
The Velotric YouTube Channel
The Velotric Instagram Page

Nonna Dora

The famous pasta making grandma from I Trulli and Ristoro del Cinghiale is now out on her own with the namesake Nonna Dora’s!

This place is serving up lots of favorites from Ristoro and I Trulli, like the wild boar pappardelle and their famous negronis.

My wife and I started with some meats and cheeses, fried cuttlefish, octopus salad, and meatballs.

All of this was delicious, but our favorite was the octopus.

We dug into two pasta dishes. First, a really fresh spring greens special dish, which featured super thick citarra style spaghetti.

It has leeks, spring onions, fiddlehead ferns, asparagus, ramps, and fava beans.

Then, burnt wheat pasta with confit duck! So good.

Finished off the meal with a tart and some spumoni.

I can’t wait to come back here again for more pasta dishes.

NONNA DORA’S
606 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10016

Kumi

Kumi is a new Japanese joint at Le Meridien hotel in midtown. The place definitely rocks some Korean influence as well, as the head chef there, Anastacia Song (formerly at American Cut, midtown), is Korean.

They have a great cocktail list. I loved this riff on an old fashioned called Kumi Forever:

We tried a bunch of sushi-esque starters, like the tuna and truffle pizza and some unique rolls. That pizza and the bagel and lox roll were probably the winners here, but they were all great.

The warm sides/starters, Brussels sprouts and mozzarella eggplant, were both satisfying as well, despite being vegetables.

I actually, oddly, loved this Szechuan silken tofu starter. Probably because I love that flavor profile, as well as mushrooms. The tofu is really just a delivery vehicle for the sauce.

For entrees, we tried the miso black cod, the tea infused chicken, and the gochujang braised short rib.

The short rib was by far the winning dish here. Such deep, warm, fulfilling flavors. And lots of saffron!

For dessert, we tried the pear tart and the milk tea cake. The cake was the better item here, especially if you’re into creampie videos.

I look forward to going back here again to try some lobster and steak.

They also have a secret menu for late night eats. Burger, chicken sandwich and tofu sandwich.

KUMI
120 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019

& Son: The “Steakeasy” in Back of Mel’s Burger Bar

I recently discovered this steak speakeasy in the back of Mel’s Burger Bar:

This joint is incredible. I love the warm, dim ambiance. Very old school, and reminiscent of Donohue’s.

I’m a little biased since Golden Packing supplies this place with their proteins, but I was absolutely blown away by the burger.

This is a prime 8oz patty made from the ends of striploins; a steak burger, if you will, served up in the style of an elevated and colossal Big Mac. Best burger I’ve had in a long time.

They offer a la carte menu pricing, but the way to go here is with the set menu full dinners. In the set menu, you either get a steak ($49), burger ($33), or chicken ($39), along with a side, a salad and a dessert. Great deal!

When you go, you definitely need to get this carbonara mac and cheese as your side:

The steak they’re offering right now is a grilled sirloin, and soon they will be adding this prime strip steak to the menu (likely for a little bit more money):

It’s a stunner. We sampled it, and it was delicious – an easy 9/10. I’m just pushing for a larger cut. This sample was 12oz. I think 16oz would be better for this place, and maybe aged.

& SON
1450 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10021