Category Archives: Restaurant Reviews

The Elgin

The Elgin is a great midtown bar with international flare to the menu. My friend Sean, the chef who developed the menu here, recently invited me in to try some of the food, and, of course, to shoot some photos for Instagram. Here’s what we had:

Curry Hill Wings

These dry-rub wings are intensely flavorful and deliciously crisp, and they come with a nice tangy yogurt-based dipping sauce.

Detroit Style Pizza

Although these are more flatbread than Detroit, they are absolutely delicious. We tried the spicy sausage pizza.

Tuna Poke Nachos

These are incredible. This was by far my favorite dish of the night. Make sure you order this when you come here!

Burrata

Very nice. Super soft and flavorful, especially with the balance of sweet and savory coming from the tomatoes, blackberries and strawberries.

Lamb Burger

This thick patty beauty was so flavorful, and with the tzatziki style sauce, it really brought home those Greek comfort food flavors.

Southern Chicken Sandwich

Bacon and pimento cheese sauce with fried chicken? YES! So good. We actually liked this better than the burger.

I definitely cant wait to come back here to try more of the menu, especially the cocktails. We were stuffed! Likely because of the beer.

THE ELGIN
64 W 48th St
New York, NY 10036

Barrio Chino

My wife and I stopped in this little joint for dinner last week, and we really enjoyed it.

We started with aguachile verde and ceviche, both of which were great, although I would have preferred some additional tortilla chips to pick up all that tasty goodness.

For our mains, we ordered enchiladas verde and lamb barbacoa. Both were excellent, but the shredded, slow roasted lamb was amazing. So much rich, earthy flavor. Again, more tortillas would have made this perfect.

We will definitely be back here again – I need better pics!

BARRIO CHINO
253 Broome St
New York, NY 10002

Fried Dumpling

Tucked away in a Chinatown alley near the back of NYC’s Civic Center is a little hole-in-the-wall dumpling spot that’s simply called “Fried Dumpling.” I discovered this place while frequenting joints like Wo Hop and Peking Duck House during law school, in the very early 2000’s.

I’ve been coming here for over two decades now, and although my visits are infrequent, every time I go it hits the spot. They aren’t the best dumplings you’ll eat – the dough is a little thick, and the fried crust is inconsistent – but for $5 you get about a dozen, and they’re pretty damn tasty for the price. You can choose steamed or fried. I always go with fried, because they seem to have more flavor from the griddle/flat top. A squirt of sri racha and a shake of vinegar dumpling sauce and you’re all set.

Just a note: There’s no place to sit here. It’s really just for either standing at the small shelf along the side wall, or taking your plastic clamshell to go.

My wife and I used to buy the bags of frozen dumplings they offer, so we could cook them at home ourselves. This place is a gem.

My last visit was during a @NYCZoozClub food crawl. Check out the video below if you’re interested. And use code JOHNNYPRIME for $150 off your Zooz bike at www.zoozbikes.com.

 

FRIED DUMPLING
106 Mosco Street
New York, NY 10013

Yoon Haeundae Galbi

This KBBQ joint in K-Town is great. Their beef heavy menu has an impressive list of selections, including wagyu, beef belly and dry aged prime beef. This little video pretty much sums up the experience.

I’m still full almost a day later. Highlights were the wagyu (pictured below), and the fried chicken.

YOON HAEUNDAE GALBI
8 W 36th Street
New York, NY 10018

Il Tinello East

My buddy Benny from Greenwich Steakhouse opened up a second location of the Italian joint Il Tinello. Benny is second from the right in this picture, next to me. Ask for him when you go, and tell him I sent you!

The menu and ambiance here are a little different from the original location. It feels like a more lively restaurant with a younger crowd. It was packed both at the bar and at the tables on a Wednesday night.

The bartender AJ has a nine year pedigree at Benjamin Prime, and he mixes up some excellent cocktails. Ask him about his mezcal negroni and “new fashioned” drinks.

Don’t skip on this meat martini waterfall thing. Great selection of olives, cheeses and peppers to go with the hand cut prosciutto.

Table bread service comes with an eggplant and tomato dip, and nice freshly made bruschetta.

We started with the special oysters Rockefeller, which were awesome. Nice crispy pancetta on top!

We followed these with baked clams oreganata and beef carpaccio.

For a mid course, we tried three pastas. The favorite of the table was probably this orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage. Just like mom makes.

These crab ravioli on special were incredible as well. They had a nice robust, clean crab flavor. Not too heavy with a light creamy pesto sauce.

The tagliolini with seafood is PACKED with chopped scallops, mussels, and shrimp. Great stuff.

For our mains, we tried two veal dishes. The first was a delicious glazed rib chop.

So tender and perfectly cooked to medium rare inside.

We also had the bone-in veal parm that was on special.

This was massive! Definitely something to share with your date.

For dessert, we tried the creme brulee, Italian cheesecake, tira misu and panna cotta. I think my favorite was either the tira misu or the panna cotta.

Great meal with a great old friend. I’m happy for the success of his new venture here at Il Tinello. I’ll definitely be back again soon!

IL TINELLO EAST
244 E 46th St
New York, NY 10017

Ainslie Bowery

Ainslie Bowery is a newly opened Italian joint that has a huge selection of beer.

The place is enormous inside. So big, that I really don’t know how they’re going to stay in business if they aren’t packed out every day.

Anyway, I was excited to try this new spot by us, so my wife and I went last weekend. We started with the rosemary wings and salt and pepper ribs. Both were really great. I preferred the ribs but my wife liked he wings better.

For our middle course, we split the “diavola” pizza. Spicy salami and kalamata black olives on top of fresh mozzarella and a nice tomato sauce. This was a bit too salty, but otherwise good. As you can see, one side of the pie took a little more heat than the other.

The pasta dishes were very good here. We tried the orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage, as well as the pork ragu pappardelle. We both preferred the orecchiette.

For dessert, tiramisu. This was nice. It’s rare for one of these to stand out among so many others in town, but it was perfect.

We will definitely be back to try more.

AINSLIE BOWERY
199 Bowery
New York, NY 10002

Flower Shop

My wife and I tried this place for happy hour. They offer $1.50 oysters, lower priced starters and some drink specials as well.

The oysters were great (not pictured), and so was the scotch egg.

We also tried their fried chicken. This was pretty good. At $24 the price was a bit steep, but I really enjoyed the charred lemon and unique flavors in the batter. Worth a try for sure.

I would definitely go back for more, and to shoot some pool.

FLOWER SHOP
107 Eldridge St
New York, NY 10002

Joey Roses

Joey Roses dive bar/social club on the Lower East Side that was recently featured on Eater as a spot where you can still get some cheap, good eats. After reading the article and seeing how close it was to home, I had to try it.

The thrust of the article was that, from 5pm-7pm and from 10pm-12am, they offer “buy two get a third free” deal on their sandwiches. Their sandwiches are regularly priced at $8. Can’t beat it!

They’re nicely packed Italian sandwiches, filled with mortadella, beef, salami, you name it. They have a few different selections you can make. My wife and I picked up three different sandwiches. All were good, but the mortadella sandwich was king. It comes with mozz and sweet cherry peppers on it. Killer.

Make sure you also get some of their crispy fried Brussels Sprouts. The touch of agave syrup on them really sets them apart from others. They’re perfect!

This place is so close – we will definitely be back.

JOEY ROSES
174 Rivington St
New York, NY 10002

Bobwhite Counter

This little fried chicken joint is on Avenue C at 6th Street.

There’s a craft beer spot next door called ABC Beer Co., which has nice covered outdoor seating and a great selection of beer. My wife and I snagged some fried chicken tenders and french fries to try with our beer.

The fries were a little soggy, but the tenders were good. Tender, juicy, great crisp on the outside. Good enough to make us want to go back to try the actual fried chicken pieces as well as the sandwiches. I will update this review once we get around to trying.

BOBWHITE COUNTER
94 Loisaida Ave (Avenue C)
New York, NY 10009

Zest Sushi

Weird name, great happy hour.

Zest Sushi has a very extensive menu of items for just $5.50 during happy hour, which also includes their beer and sake offerings as well. My wife and I tried a bunch of stuff, and pretty much everything was great. Here’s the run down:

Mini salmon don.

“Salmon Dream” torched sashimi.

Skewers of crispy squid tentacles.

Crispy oysters (this was the only item I wouldn’t get again).

Takoyaki (fried balls of octopus with bonito).

Crispy salmon skin roll.

For drinks, the better bet is to get the sake. They give you about 10oz for $5.50, and it’s pretty good.

ZEST SUSHI
249 Broome St
New York, NY 10002