Brooklyn Crab: Finally some positive press.
This week, our critics sat out the restaurant reviewing to drop an awesome Fall Preview package instead — but don’t worry, we still have a way for you to find the best eats in the city. What did the rest of New York’s professional eaters think of the city’s restaurants this week? Read all about it, straight ahead.
At La Vara in Cobble Hill, the presentation is nothing special, but the method of frying artichokes served with anchovy aioli had Pete Wells trying to divert his friends’ attention so he could swipe them all. he awards two stars.
At Neta in the West Village, Masa alums create “cool fish” dishes sometimes topped with things like bonito flakes and usually dancing to the groove of the old funk playing in the restaurant. And while it’s not an expensive “temple” of fish like Masa, Tejal Rao says ordering a tasting menu ($95 or $135) isn’t a mistake. Also not a mistake: starting off with a shot of tequila that’s poured over yuzu-flavored ice and sprinkled with smoked salt — or as Rao calls it, “a high five from the universe.”
Robert Sietsema calls Tacos Cachanilla in Sunset Park one of New York’s most evolved taquerias. the giant flatbreads they use are too big to be called tortillas, he says, and inside you’ll find yellow rice, fried chile strips, onions, and skin-on French fries. other varieties have the giant tortilla enfolding a chile relleno stuffed with Brooklyn-made Oaxacan cheese or boiled eggs. But Sietsema suggests trying vegetarian here, as the veggie options often surpass their meaty brethren.
As far as Brooklyn Crab in Red Hook goes, the New Yorker says haters gonna hate. Yelpers tried to kill the restaurant’s buzz early on, but nowhere else provides the opportunities to drink beer, play mini golf, and eat seafood outside while gazing at the New York Harbor. an advertisement of the Sunday football special indicates its outdoor compartments will be enclosed and heated as summer wanes.
Cómodo in the West Village has all the spice of a Latin-fusion atmosphere — except the spice. the Daily News’s Stan Stagner says the friendly restaurant needs to add some salt, but he nonetheless recommends the duck breast, pao de queijo lamb sliders, and the hibiscus spring rolls.
Ryan Sutton writes that Crave Fishbar in Turtle Bay seems to have recovered from a fatal crane accident in 2009 that destroyed the old venue. Now, across the street it’s bustling, serving good raw fish dishes (albeit at times overwrought with too many ingredients). he even likes the fried chicken, served with vinegar sauce, American cheddar, and Israeli couscous. he only complains about one price (the $31 lobster curry) and awards one and a half stars.
Compromises must be made, strategies thought out. Up on the High Line, the old elevated subway track recently transformed into a garden walkway, and listed everywhere as a must-do New York attraction, packed crowds of European tourists are shuffling along in the pounding sun of early afternoon, complaining about the heat and humidity. This is the sort of error that must be avoided, like walking on the sunny side of the street, or descending into the Hades of a midtown subway station at rush hour, or neglecting to drink copious amounts of water.
The best reason for coming here in August is the intensity of the experience, but it can batter and overload the senses. The racket of construction, as the city ceaselessly devours and rebuilds itself, the wailing sirens, the incessant honking, the yelling and barking of street crazies — all of it eats into you a little deeper when it’s 35C with 80 per cent humidity.
The need for sanctuary and refuge increases, and there’s no better time of year to linger in the air-conditioned museums and art galleries, or float around Central Park lake in a rowing boat with your sweetheart and a chilled bottle of Sancerre.
Float around Central Park lake in a rowing boat (Alamy)
My sweetheart, Mariah, a great lover of fine food, is particularly excited to be here for “restaurant week”, an August tradition by which 150 of New York’s best restaurants offer three-course set menus for a fraction of the normal price. This year lunch costs $24.07 a head (24/7, as in the city that never sleeps), and dinner costs $35. After careful deliberation, we elect for a late lunch at Café Boulud, a French-inspired restaurant run by the celebrity chef Daniel Boulud, although Robert de Niro’s Nobu was also extremely tempting.
We’ve heard that some restaurants seat the prix fixe cheapskates in a separate area from the main clients, but the sleek and impeccable staff at Café Boulud welcome us warmly, and seat us in the main dining area with complimentary pre-appetisers and fresh-baked breads. The French waiter brings out the first course: chilled watercress soup with a poached quail egg and crispy prosciutto for Mariah, and romaine heart salad with charred corn, queso fresco and avocado for Monsieur. Slightly hungover from the night before, we forgo wine, which costs extra.
The appetisers are superbly executed and presented, and from there the meal only gets better: freshly-made goat cheese ravioli with shishito peppers, roasted pork loin with wild mushrooms and mustard spatzke, followed by two desserts so good that we both start laughing. Finally, the waiter presents us with a complimentary basket of miniature fresh-baked madeleines. With two litres of sparkling water, three espressos, tax and a 20 per cent tip, the bill works out to just under £30 a head.
A 20 per cent tip? That’s right. Fifteen per cent is considered stingy here, and you have to tip the bartender when you’re drinking in bars. yes, it’s his job to pour drinks, but waiters and bartenders get only a token wage in the United States, because they’re expected to live on their tips. a dollar a drink is the standard tip in a bar, and more for an expensive cocktail. And if you tip well on two or three drinks, the bartender will often give you the next one free — a “buy-back”.
Last night, we got into a deep conversation with a bartender on the Lower East side, and he just kept filling our glasses when we attempted to leave, and refusing to accept payment. when questioned about his August strategies, he told us about the Adirondack, an 1890s-style pilot schooner with teak decks and mahogany trim that sails away from Chelsea Piers at 6.30 on summer evenings. for $60, you get a two-hour sunset sail and unlimited beer, wine or champagne, although drunkenness is discouraged. “We like to keep it elegant,” says the captain as he welcomes us aboard.
He chugs out into the Hudson River and then the crew hauls aloft the four sails. The champagne is sparkling wine from upstate New York, surprisingly good. Even more intoxicating is the cool, fresh, ocean-scented air, which we gulp down in great draughts, realising how shallow our breathing has been in the city, as if we’ve been guarding ourselves against all the rank summer smells.
In 20 years of coming to New York, this is the first time I’ve seen the city from the water, and never has it looked more astonishing or improbable. I marvel at the density of the bedrock that can hold up the concentrated weight of so many skyscrapers, right down to the water’s edge. The sun sets over New Jersey, we sail right past the Statue of Liberty, and then turn around on a freshening breeze towards Manhattan as the world’s most photogenic city turns on its lights.
I have a love-hate relationship with New York, but I’m never bored here, and the thing I love most is the city’s capacity to generate random spontaneous occurrences that linger in the mind for years afterwards. Chance encounters, weird snapshots. a 6ft 5in transvestite coming out of a store with a case of baby formula and a lavatory plunger. a hand-scrawled sign on the counter of a newsagent: “no crying. no stories. Pay for porn in advance.” We’re sitting in a bar at one in the morning, and in walks T Berry, “World’s Greatest Storyteller.” he proves the point in rhyming couplets, and we’re delighted to tip him $10.
A few minutes later, in walks a midget with a trumpet who performs a beautiful rendition of an old Louis Armstrong song.
Columbus Circle, Manhattan (Alamy)
Three days later at Columbus Circle, on the southwestern corner of Central Park, we see a group of musicians unpacking a tuba, saxophones and tambourine. The dapper young man warming up his melodica is Jonathan Batiste, we discover, the latest prodigy from the Batiste clan of musicians in New Orleans. a crowd is gathering; there’s a sense of something about to happen.
We follow the musicians down into the subway station, which is hot and sticky, and already filled with music from three Latino buskers playing Oye Como Va by Santana. will there be a confrontation, a turf war? without missing a stride, Batiste and his world-class jazz musicians start improvising along to Oye Como Va, to the amazed delight of the buskers, and people on the platform who start clapping, cheering, dancing, smiling.
We follow the musicians on to the a train, where they play hot funky New Orleans jazz, delighting some passengers and not impressing others, and down to 2nd Avenue, where they emerge from the subway station and parade along Houston Street to their gig at Rockwood Music Lounge. Carried along on the momentum, we buy tickets to the show, and after many years of scepticism Mariah finally understands how and why people can get excited about jazz. a kind of spontaneous combustion has to take place, and it has to be witnessed live.
Up on stage is Batiste, a young black man from New Orleans, now performing extraordinary feats on the piano, a 15-year-old Asian saxophone phenomenon, a 72-year-old Scotsman on baritone, a young white hipster on drums, and other musicians dropping in and out. The music is so joyful, exuberant, uplifting, and the black woman next to us is yelling out encouragement and instruction — “Bring it, baby! say something!”— and standing there with my spine tingling in the crowd, I’m thinking, where else but New York? This is America at its best.
NYC Neighborhood: Midtown West
#1–Top of the Strand
Address: 33 W. 37th St., nr. Sixth Ave.
Number 1 in the New York Magazine best of New York Issue for best rooftop bar.
Top of the Strand is a small but well appointed space atop the Strand Hotel. The drinks are New York Reasonable at $8 a beer and $11 a cocktail. This is an excellent place to take a small group for a relaxing summer evening.
NYC Neighborhood: Midtown
Address: 45 East 45th St, New York, NY
Phone: (212) 885-6095
Located in the heart of Manhattan near Grand Central and atop the Roosevelt Hotel, mad 46 is now fully open. They have a beautiful space, complete with awnings (and a happy hour) for those tough drizzly/rainy days. Mad46 is a great after work spot for a Thursday Cocktail meetup.
NYC Neighborhood: Chelsea
#3–Glass Bar (at Hotel Indigo)
Address: 127 W 28th St (between Sixth and Seventh Ave)
Glass Bar is the rooftop bar atop the new Hotel Indigo in Chelsea. 20 Floors up with great views and interesting drinks. to top it off, every Monday Evening from 8pm to 10pm enjoy swing music and cocktails with The Michael Fredo Orchestra.
NYC Neighborhood: Meatpacking District
#4–The Plunge Rooftop Bar at Hotel Gansevoort
Address: 18 9th Avenue
Phone: (212) 206-6700
The Plunge at Hotel Gansevoort is one of the swankiest rooftop establishments in New York City. A quick search for @Meatpacking District #rooftop? reveals several others. The Plunge has an attached Pool which makes for excellent daytime pool parties the likes of which you’ve only seen in movies Check out the video below to have a glimpse of how it is at night.
NYC Neighborhood: LES
#5–Above Allen (Thompson Hotel Rooftop)
Address: 190 Allen St
Phone: (212) 460-5300
Above Allen is a swanky LES rooftop spot that often hosts exclusive events. Complete with funky designer couches, Above Allen is a must see at least once on a New York City Summer weekend, even if only as a stop on the nights journey.
NYC Neighborhood: Midtown
Address: 230 5th Avenue
Phone: (212) 725-4300
No list of rooftop bars would be complete without mention of the gorgeous 230 fifth rooftop garden. though insanely expensive and sorta old, 230 fifth still gets the job done for the Thursday-Saturday crowd. Check it out one night in the city for a good party but definitely bring a group, its not the most social bar per se. (P.S. The lines are long and if you are not wearing a collared shirt and dress shoes its curtains for you.)
When a movie buff first looks at movie organizer software, they think one of two things. One, it’s something that might be fun to use to catalog their extensive DVD collection, or two, it’s something that completely mocks the institution of filmmaking. No matter what you might think, this organizer software can help even the pickiest cinema buff. By helping you sort your movies, find your favorite directors, and to dispose of the movies you will never watch again, this is a program that will pay for itself – by giving you more time to watch movies instead of dealing with your DVDs or tapes.
Know Where Your Movies Are
If you have an extensive movie collection (what movie buff doesn’t?), you will need some backup as you try to corral your movies into one location. think about it this way: with thousands of movies, while you might remember your favorites, you can’t possibly remember them all at once. With movie organizer software, you will be able to see all of your movies, sorted by your own parameters, all at once. this way, whether you want to watch a movie or just find where they are, you can.
Sort By Favorite Director
Many movie buffs are interested in the works of certain directors, watching them as they progress in their careers in their writing and directing styles. you might want to set your movie organizer software to organize by directors so that you can have a night or a weekend of watching those particular films in order to see the progression of their work right in front of your eyes, allowing you to have heated discussions with your friends and other fellow movie lovers. But the directors are just a part of the picture. you might also want to sort by the screenplay writers, helping you to see whether their writing is getting more or less effective with each movie.
Get Rid of Bad Movies
Finally, once you have all of your movies in front of you in movie organizer software, you can begin to get rid of the ones you don’t like and the ones that you don’t need. Everyone has movies they keep just because they think they should, but if you’re not watching them, then they need to be tossed or given away. this way, you will have more room for other movies you will enjoy much more. Check your movie listings once a month to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself with movies in your collection that others might think are less than impressive.
Movie organizer software can and does help those who are or who want to be movie buffs. By allowing you to organize, to sort, and to purge your collection, this software will not only help you begin a better movie aficionado, but also a better movie collector. In the end, it’s about knowing what movies you like and which you do not, this software helps you in this lifelong appreciation.
It’s time to play where Am I Eating?, Fork in the Road’s weekly restaurant photo guessing game. Take a look at the photo below, name the spot that serves the pictured dish, and leave your guesses in the comment sections. (If there’s more than one location of the restaurant, be as specific as possible.) I’ll be dropping hints throughout the week if there aren’t any takers. please guess away!