Category Archives: Press Reviews

Esora Omakase

I was recently invited to try a new Wagyu and tempura Omakase restaurant connected to J-Spec in the East Village, called Esora.

This was one of the most incredible Omakase experiences I’ve had. We started with a trio of appetizers: wagyu tartare + uni, scallop + caviar, and tofu.

All were excellent, but the wagyu tartare and uni was possibly the best bite of the night!

Next up was sashimi. More wagyu strip, as well as sea bream and blue fin tuna.

Wagyu sushi? YUP! We got a taste of both Hida and Ozaki strip here. Torched (Ozaki), and raw (Hida).

The tempura portion of the meal was so much fun, and the bites seemed to just keep coming!

Prawn heads (and bodies):

Okra:

Magochi fish:

Maitake mushroom!

Tenderloin wrapped in shiso leaf. Awesome!

Corn:

Scallop:

Squash blossom and Japanese pumpkin:

Sea Eel:

And finally, sweet potato:

We washed that down with a really tasty seafood and mushroom soup, served in a nice tea kettle with citrus (dobinmushi).

Next, we had STEAK! Wagyu strip from Hida:

…and from the Ozaki family brand:

Check this out!

I liked the Ozaki a bit better:

There was also sea bream rice with ikura:

And finally, dessert: earl grey tea panna cotta, roasted green tea, and peach compote.

I highly recommend this place. Make sure to call ahead at least 24hrs before booking. There are only seven seats at the bar with the chef, and there are a limited number of seatings each day.

ESORA OMAKASE
239 E 5th St
New York, NY 10003

Syosaku Knives

Check it out – I did a sharpness test with this beautiful sujihiki knife that I got from Syosaku:

Awesome! Grape tomatoes weigh almost nothing, so that blade is sharp as hell!!!

I whipped it out at a cookout last week and it was a hit. Check out the prep and also the final slicing here, with some tenderloin tail tacos:

These knives are great! If you think you want to buy one, follow THIS LINK.

Bronson’s Burgers

There’s a new burger joint in Nolita and it’s pretty great!

They’re serving Golden Packing beef burgers with cheddar, pickles and caramelized onions on a delicious house baked bun.

The chicken sandwiches are made from fried thighs, so they’re extra tender and juicy!

Great crisp on them too. They also have excellent fries and onion rings.

As well as some interesting “cheeseburger hash browns.”

Don’t skip on their shakes and homemade lemonades too. We had both basil and blueberry mint. They were incredibly refreshing on a hot summer day.

BRONSON’S BURGERS
250 Mulberry St,
New York NY 10012

PJ Bernstein

I stopped here for lunch and was really pleased with the meal. Started with a fried knish and wasn’t disappointed. Hot and crisp, super velvety interior.

The Butcher’s Special sandwich, with tongue, corned beef and pastrami, was a big win. Half a pound of meat!

The Rueben sandwich is served open face style, and was equally delightful.

Topped that off with some fries and pirogies. The fries were perfect. As for the dumplings, I preferred the meat ones over the potato.

Then washed it all down with some chicken soup. DELICIOUS!

This place is great. I definitely recommend.

PJ BERNSTEIN
1215 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10021

Life Rooftop

Life Rooftop took over the space formerly known as the Viceroy at the top of Le Meridien hotel, near Central Park. The views are spectacular.

The cocktails are excellent.

And the food, which is more along the bites and small portions angle, is really delicious. The seafood tower is impressive. It comes with lobster, king crab, langoustines, shrimp, clams, oysters, caviar, tuna tartare and hamachi crudo.

The lobster roll is pretty packed full of meat too.

The stars of the meal for me, though, were the deviled eggs with caviar, and the wagyu tartare.

Their dessert sundae and churros were really great too. I’d definitely eat here again.

LIFE ROOFTOP
24 W 57th St
29th Floor
New York, NY 10019

Hancock Street

Last night I checked out the new joint from Mercer Street Hospitality Group (Lure Fishbar, Bowery Meat Company, etc.), Hancock Street. Everything was awesome, so let me get right into it.

APPS:

The sea urchin on crispy potato was a great bite to start the meal.

We followed this with an absolutely delicious steak tartare.

PASTA:

The squid ink linguine with calamari, crispy garlic, and sea beans was really unique and beautiful.

But the duck bolognese mafaldine was the better of the two.

SIDES:

Excellent fries!

I was even impressed with the veggies. Both the cauliflower and the carrots are worth your time. If I had to choose just one, I’d go with the cauliflower.

MAINS:

The short rib felt more like a grill or broil, or a very fast braise. I expected a more tender, pull-apart preparation. It was still tasty as hell though. 7/10.

The veal schnitzel was the best dish of the night. Amazing flavor profile with the capers and onions underneath, and a beautiful light and airy crisp on the breading. 10/10.

They overcooked the first steak that came out, but they made it right with a second one. It was really delicious, well seasoned, and came as a composed dish with a side of mushrooms. 8/10.

DESSERT:

The rhubarb crumble was a great finish to this great meal!

I would definitely go here again, and I recommend you go as well!

HANCOCK STREET
257 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10014

Primal Cut Grille

The menu here at Primal Cut Grille (Inside the Sapphire 39th Street strip club) is largely the same as the menu at Primal Cut (inside the Sapphire 60th Street strip club). This review is just a photo dump of the items we had there, with reference back to the original review of the 60th Street location (which is now undergoing renovations). Also check out this cool video of their baller’s steak, the Golden Tomahawk:

Dolly Varden

Dolly Varden is a new cocktail bar and restaurant in the theater district that takes its name from an old trolley car that used to run throughout Manhattan and terminate in the area. Their outdoor seating even takes the form of the old railcar, which is pretty cool.

The indoor space is gorgeous. This place used to be one of the House of Brews locations (same ownership here; the other House of Brews is still open). They really did a great job on the remodel.

This joint was initially intended to be a cocktail bar, which is why you see such amazing drinks on the menu, like this Wooden Nickel, a mixologized version of an Old Fashioned, garnished with an ice rose.

I tried four cocktails and they were all dangerously delicious and slammable.

But once the pandemic hit and threw their bar plans into the wind, they pivoted, bringing on Chef Sean to cultivate a cheffed up bar menu that will keep people coming back for more.

We tried four of the apps on the menu:

Saigon Wings

Fish sauce brined, lightly breaded and perfectly crisped wings topped with pickled chilis and micro cilantro. Delicious.

Cornmeal Crusted Calamari

Lime sriracha aioli, mango salsa and queso fresco adorn these crispy delights. Similar toppings as the wings.

Back Ribs

Killer! Black bean sauce and sambal give this an Asian kick, and the crushed peanuts on top really bring it all together for a dynamic flavor profile.

Mussels

This was just a sample size portion that Sean wanted us to try, so expect more when you order. There’s bacon, kimchi and gochujang in the broth. These were really great! I wish we had thought to order the full size.

Next up was the burger.

The DV Railcar Burger is topped with tomato confit, melted white cheddar and marrow glazed onions. While that might sound like a heavy burger, it actually ate very light! Absolutely delicious.

Our other main was the Trees Major steak, which is my favorite cut of beef. It has all the flavor of chuck but with all the tenderness of filet mignon.

It’s very rare to see this cut featured on menus, but I think it makes for the perfect bistro steak, as it’s affordable, tender and delicious. Great for a steak frites dish. Here, it was topped with chimichurri and served with some lightly dressed greens. An easy 9/10.

On the side, we also had this fried maitake mushroom. This thing was awesome, especially when swiped with some of that saffron aioli.

I will definitely be back here to try more of Chef Sean’s delicious creations. I hope you can make it over there too, and help bring the theater district back from the brink of extinction!

DOLLY VARDEN
302 W 51st St
New York, NY 10019

The SearPro

I recently got my hands on a SearPro after seeing some kickass videos of it being used on Instagram. Here’s an unboxing video:

Then I finally used the fucker on some blue fin tuna belly:

This thing is amazing! I currently have the Searzall but the SearPro blows it away. It’s way more powerful, it spreads the flame just as much as the Searzall, and it gets the job done in a third of the time. Also – NO CHEMICAL SMELL/FLAVOR ON THE FOOD AFTERWARDS!!! Many searing torches fail miserably in that department. The SearPro is not one of them!

This thing fucking RULES! If you have any interest in shooting flames onto shit, then get this!

Smashed

Smashed is a new smash burger joint on the lower east side. They just opened four days ago. My wife and I stopped by to try a few items out. We went with the classic double and the blue cheese and bacon burger.

I was blown away by the flavors and the quality. This joint uses fresh beef, and they grind their own burgers in house.

The burgers were perfect in every way. Great toast on the bun, perfect crisp on the patty, great melt on the cheeses, nicely prepared griddled onions, and a killer, unique sauce that really puts the “special” back in “special sauce,” because these days everyone is really just using thousand island dressing. That’s lame.

I preferred the classic double, since the meat really shines there. I can’t wait to go back and try their rendition of a smashed Big Mac.

And the fries? Excellent as well. But I’m looking to try their smashed potatoes on my next trip.

SMASHED
177 Orchard St.
New York, NY 10002