Thursday, November 1, 2007

New York Dining

After a one year excursion to the Fletcher school, Abby is officially in her "2L" year at Harvard Law. This means that she gets to spend a substantial portion of her fall semester being wooed by just about every top law firm in the country. After going to around 30 on campus interviews, she narrowed her choices down (but only slightly) and spent about a week and a half in DC and New York doing 1 to 2 interviews a day. While tiring, the nice thing about this process (besides having all of these firms make you feel really loved) is that they put you up in some pretty nice places. I spent last weekend in NYC since Abby had a gratis room at the midtown Hilton. Here's the view from her room by day (that's Cental Park in the distance):

and by night (that's a lot of energy being wasted in the foreground....some of these offices NEVER turn their lights off!!)

I was pretty famished by the time we got into town so we went out to a Korean bbq place, Won Jo, with Adam, who was also in New York for interviews, and Sarah. Most Korean bbq places I have been to use hot plates or a gas grill, but this place uses real charcoal. Before they serve you, someone comes by with a box of red hot coals that they put in the table grill.
After that we met Stefanie at a dive bar in the East Village and stopped by a really cool fry, or Pommes Frite, place before turning in for the night. This is the only place I've seen in this country where you can get fries with mayo, one of the best things ever to come out of Belgium, and I mean that in the best sense. I love fries and mayo. When Jack, Sam B and I went to the Netherlands, we ate nothing but fries and mayo for the whole weekend. One of the best things about this place is the way they make the tables. Perfect for holding fries.
The next night we were able to get a table at Lupa, one of Mario Batali's restaurants. It's run by Mark Laudner (he's the hip looking guy with glasses that is always one of Mario's seux chefs on Iron Chef) and specializes in casual Roman food.

I really really liked it. The place has a cozy front room with a bar and a more spacious back room. We sat at the bar since you have to make reservations pretty far ahead of time. Even to get a seat at the bar, we had to wait for about an hour and half, which was fine with me. Lupa is just south of Washington Square in Greenwich Village, and it was nice to have the opportunity to walk around the neighborhood. We got pretty hungry waiting though, so we stopped for a snack at a tapas place a couple blocks over. Of course, as soon as we were finishing up at the tapas place, the hostess at Lupa called us to tell us our seats were ready.
We started the meal with two antipasta plates: a salad of beats, micro greens and some sort of cheese (I can't remember exactly what it was) and shaved Brussels sprouts with Peccorino. For the pasta course we ordered the two specials they were offering that night. I had orrecchietti with sausage and rapini and Abby had tagliatelle with a roasted pork ragu. I make this orrechietti dish, so it was nice to see how they do it. Of course, Lupa's is better, but I really think the key difference is the homemade pasta. Italian food is pretty simple, so the key to making it well is getting really great ingredients and not messing them up. The final course was braised pork shoulder with prickly pear and braised escarole. I'll have to start making braised escarole. It has a great bitter flavor and is just coming into season.

The next morning we met Sam B, Jacob, and Rachel at Vynl. Jacob had just moved to New York that week and was getting used to his new job at a morning show that has him waking up at 3:30 every morning!
The brunch here is fine (I preferred the Eatery, which Sam took us to when Joe and I were in NYC over the summer), but the real standout feature was the decor, especially the bathrooms. The Elvis bathroom has a huge tile mosaic of Elvis taking up one wall, and Elvis songs are piped in to the room. I didn't get a chance to check out the Nelly bathroom cause it was occupied.

Later that evening, we capped off a weekend of food with the best meal yet. Alex and Jane (who probably know every restaurant in the city, if you ever need a recommendation) took us out to Nobu where we ordered just about the entire menu.
First, a couple things about this place:

I was pretty excited about going here. One of the best meals I have ever had was at Morimoto's in Philadelphia, and I had always wanted to go to the restaurant where he got his start in the states. Nobu's food isn't all traditional Japanese fare, so this may have been where Morimoto picked up some of the modern Japanese ideas that he is known for.

Also, the decor in this place is incredible. The most striking feature is the forest in the main dining room. I wish I had pictures. You might be able to see some on the webpage.

We ordered yellow tail sashimi with jalapeno, monkfish pate with caviar, scallop tiradito, sea urchin tempura, rock shrimp tempura, creamy spicy crab, black cod with miso, warm abalone and asparagus salad, and toro. For dessert, we had a coconut sorbet with jasmine tea icecream in the middle, an assortment of mochi, and a chocolate cake with shiso syrup. It would take too long to describe, so, suffice it to say, this was damn good. And, while the meal was great, the company was even better.

1 comment:

Gustavo said...

Wow, what a great New York trip. It turns out I was there the same weekend. I had a probably less glamorous, but no less delicious time in Brooklyn with some friends (pictures are on my blog). Sounds like Abby's having an exciting courting period too.