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…

Eleven Madison Park

Eleven Madison Park New American | Flatiron

11 Madison Avenue (24th St)


Notes: We had savored some of the most extraordinary meals here in this stunning room before former owner Danny Meyer sold the restaurant to the longtime chef and general manager. Since then, they’ve transitioned the sophisticated, elegant food to gimmicky, experimental dishes that are largely flash over flavor and sensibility. We recount in detail our disappointing experience in our video dining review Date Night: Eleven Madison Park. 


Craft New American | Flatiron

43 E 19th St (bet B’way & Park)


Notes: Given that founder Tom Colicchio is the discerning, critical head judge on Top Chef, we and our dining companions expected a whole lot more from his flagship restaurant. Instead the unanimous consensus was that the food was decidedly uneven, combined with excruciatingly long delays between courses and less-than-helpful service. It’s possible we hit Craft on an off night, but with so many other stellar dining choices at this price point in the city, we haven’t yet been compelled to return. Read my full review at Restaurant Review: Craft.

Sushi of Gari 46

Sushi of Gari 46 Japanese – Sushi | Theatre District

347 W 46th St (bet 8th & 9th)


Notes: We’ve only been to the Theatre District outpost of this multi-location restaurant, but we found the fish to be less than fresh, and although we’re admittedly very picky about fish, we weren’t impressed with the quality like we are at our favorite sushi place in the city, Sushi Yasuda.


Fives American | Midtown West 

700 5th Avenue (55th St-Peninsula Hotel)


Notes: Very pretty room in the Peninsula Hotel, tastefully furnished. Beautiful views of Fifth Avenue. Excellent breakfast, brunch and lunch.