NYC Restaurants

Minetta Tavern

Minetta Tavern Bistro | Greenwich Village

113 MacDougal Street (bet. Bleecker & W 3rd St)

(212) 475-3850

Notes: The Black Label Burger = the best burger anywhere. Period. Hands-down. And please, no cheese, no ketchup. You’ll spoil the ridiculously splendid dry-aged flavor. The caramelized onions are all you need. If you’re a fan of roasted bone marrow, don’t miss the hors d’oeuvre portion served with toasted baguette slices and shallot confit. Casual, fun atmosphere, tough reservation. The steaks are renowned, and don’t leave without digging your spoon into a chocolate soufflé. Ethereal, yet powerful depth of chocolate flavor, which are usually mutually exclusive.  


Neta Sushi | West Village

61 W 8th Street


Notes: Love at first bite! Cuddled into the two seats at the far end of the bar, and we were in for an amazing experience. The omakase includes knockout hot dishes like “Grilled Scallop with Uni, Garlic Soy Butter and Lime” and delicate, crispy tempura, as well as stellar sushi that featured melt-in-your-mouth Scottish salmon and the sweetest Spanish mackerel and we’ve ever savored. To gild the lily, we tried the phenomenal spicy lobster and couldn’t pass up the piece de resistance: a broiled whole tuna collar served with pickles and spicy mayo for dipping. The enormous presentation was far too much for us to eat by ourselves, so we shared…


Sasabune Sushi | Upper East Side

401 E 73rd St (bet York & 1st)


Notes: Small, completely unadorned space serving absurdly fresh, gorgeously-sliced delicacies from the sea. Omakase only, plus you can add some pieces at the end. The service is quick but friendly, and heed your server’s stern but well-intentioned guidance about which pieces to dip into soy sauce. 

Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery  Cupcakes | Various locations

Notes: Much hyped by word-of-mouth and further popularized by on-screen appearances including a feature on Sex and the City, these cupcakes seem like they can’t possibly live up to their legend. However, through a series of a sinfully delicious blind tastings, our family has deemed the yellow cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting the yummiest cupcake around. Some of the competitors included Butter Lane Cupcakes (frosted to order and #2 on our list), Buttercup Bake Shop (amazing red velvet cupcakes) and Crumbs (all-around BLECH!). Magnolia makes a moist cake, not too dense but not too light, with a sweet but not cloying buttery-vanilla flavor. The frosting has just the right texture (fluffy yet…

Benjamin Steak House

Benjamin Steak House Steak | Murray Hill

52 E 42st St (bet Madison & Park)


Notes: Benjamin Steak House is in the Dylan Hotel, a stone’s throw from Grand Central Terminal, and right now they are our first choice for a steak in the city. While I prefer the ambience and warmer service of the Westchester location, the expertly dry-aged prime steaks are top-notch at both places. The beef is cut and aged on site, and then cooked to perfection, seasoned only with kosher salt and served on sizzling hot plates. I can recommend both the porterhouse and the filet mignon, as well as the classic sides you’d expect at a steak house like steak fries, baked potatoes and broccoli….

Torrisi Italian Specialties

Torrisi Italian Specialties Italian | NoLiTa

250 Mulberry St (bet Prince & Spring)


Notes: Quaint, cozy space serving delectable Italian-inspired dishes with innovative, playful twists. The standard menu format is a 4-course prix fixe, but it you’re up for a feast, try to score a reservation for the 20-course tasting. We were flexible in our dates, so we were able to book the 20-course meal. The service was fun and knowledgeable, they had a great playlist going (a little Stevie Wonder, some Bill Withers, something by Slave and “Juicy Fruit” by Mtume, which instantly transported me back to my teenage summers at a roller skating rink) and we were tantalized by the variety and creativity of dish after…

Carnegie Deli

Carnegie Deli Deli | Midtown West

854 7th Ave (at 55th St)


Notes: Mouthwatering hot pastrami and corned beef piled ridiculously high on rye, perfect deli mustard, absurdly sour pickles (or half-sours if you prefer) and a Dr. Brown’s cream soda. Nothing better. Always entertaining. Cash only.

Brooklyn Fare

Brooklyn Fare French | Brooklyn

200 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn


Notes: There are only 18 seats at Chef César Ramirez’s tiny counter-only space, and if you’re not a serious foodie ready to appreciate a culinary adventure of 20 sublime seafood-heavy courses, skip it and let someone who’s dying to experience this meal have that coveted seat instead. It’s a thrill to watch the talented and focused staff assemble the dishes, and most intriguing is the fact that as you watch, there is no clanging of dishes or flatware against the stainless steel counter — there are liners and pads cleverly inserted below and between anything that might make a sound. Because seating is in a u-shape, you get to…

Il Mulino

Il Mulino Italian | Greenwich Village

86 W 3rd St


Notes: Scrumptious and copious complimentary snacks welcome you the moment you are seated, and it only gets better from there. Top-quality traditional pastas, meats and shellfish with lusty sauces that make you want to lick the plate. 


Masa Sushi | Columbus Circle

10 Columbus Circle (Time Warner Center)


Notes: Thoroughly breathtaking multi-course prix fixe experience with a legendary sushi chef/artist, fit for only the most special of occasions and the most eccentric budget.