Our annual pilgrimage to New York occurred towards the end of last year and we documented our food travel after a fair bit of research and just good old general knowledge. New York is often regarded as one of the finest cities in the world for restaurants, take out and all-round cuisine. More often than not, New York is held in higher regard than our own fair city of London. After a trip last year, it is only fair that London’s food scene is compared in the right way.
The first stop on our food tour started down in Williamsburg (Brooklyn). It’s called Fette Sau and the last time we went to New York it was one of our favourite meals! Fette Sau specialises in BBQ’d meat and this is some of the best we have ever eaten. There are usually some specials on the menu as their meat deliveries change often so this time we went for the softest pork belly, a pork chop, brisket, beef ribs, burnt ends baked beans and potato salad. This is all charged by the weight and placed on one massive tray with bread rolls. You can then feast with your hands, make sandwiches or use cutlery if you’re feeling fancy. There’s plenty of sauces at the table and a very much needed roll of kitchen towel. New York is famed for its craft beer scene and there are a lot on show here, as well as an array of bourbon – make sure you visit this place!
Next up was Egg, again in Williamsburg. This is an all day breakfast place that can get very busy so we got here early to ensure no queuing (in the rain!). There’s also a lunch menu here but it’s called Egg for a reason. That means there’s a great brunch menu as well so be sure to see what it’s like on a weekend. The choices here were the Eggs Rothko – Easy-cooked egg in a slice of Amy’s brioche & topped with Grafton cheddar. Served with broiled tomatoes & a side of meat or seasonal vegetables. Along with this we had the Duck Hash – Braised duck leg seared with potatoes and green onions and served with 2 sunny side up eggs. The Eggs Rothko was something else! Quite a heavy breakfast but very tasty. The softest brioche with a well cooked egg and many sides: a meat was a sausage patty, some kale and bacon as well! The duck hash was very good. Something we’ve not had before and it’s something we would definitely try to make with leftovers. Succulent pieces of duck in a a large hashbrown with 2 expertly cooked eggs (over-easy). Drinks for the table were Earl Grey tea and a French press coffee.
Our next adventure took us to Manhattan and the lovely Nomo Hotel. Formerly The Mondrian, this hotel is based in Noho and is one of the best looking restaurants in the city. (See below). Here we had the Nomo Burger, Tempura Tacos and Tuna Tatare. All coupled with an excellent Chablis. The Nomo Burger was cooked medium, and came served with blue cheese, a slice of apple and lettuce. Not a combination we’re used to but it was cooked perfectly and tasted excellent. The Tacos were some of the best tacos we’ve had in a long time (we’re looking at you Nobu) and the Tuna Tatare was special. The attention to detail in the food here is exemplary and come nightfall, this space is full of dates and people coming for drinks. Definitely worth a stop off on your trip to Manhattan.
It was time to sample some pizza and keeping away from the cliché’d Little Italy, we ended up going to a place called Motorino on Broadway (The Brooklyn One). This pizza is the Naples variety so think of Pizza Pilgrims or Franco Manca and you’re nearly there. It is very similar but has bolder flavours such as meatballs, brussel sprouts and layers of parma ham. The meatballs weren’t as flavoursome as hoped but the pizzas themselves were just right. Don’t bother with the starters, order a pizza each and one to share!
The next stop on our journey was for some brunch and where else but one of the best in the city: Lafayette Grand Café and Bakery. This is an opulent space and reminded us of Balthazar but with red replaced with green. The service can be worked on but that can be said about the whole city of New York however the food masked over that somewhat. We started with the boulangerie basket and this had a selection of pastries and breads which are all baked on site. The almond croissant here is one of the best we’ve eaten! To follow we had the Smoked Salmon Benedict on brioche with sauce Choron and Omelette, brie, roasted cauliflower & onion fondue. The salmon benedict was not like you’d imagine it to look like (see below) and the Choron sauce was essentially a hollandaise. This was a very good attempt at Eggs Royale with spinach, something that we tend to order most of the time anyway. However the brioche bread helped take away the stodginess of the muffin traditionally used. Coffee was drunk again but this time a green juice called Jardin Vert was had to finish the meal.
These were the best things we ate in New York that were unique to the city. We did visit Nobu and Balthazar and we have to say the former has better food than the Piccadilly one but Balthazar in London is miles ahead. Again I think the service lets down these places and it’s shame when they’re demanding 18-22%.
Special mentions go out to Indikitch. A fast food Indian place that serves up some tasty lunchtime food for workers in manhattan. You choose your meat and if you want it with rice and naan, in a biriyani or with dosa (an indian taco in this place). Get a mango lassi and you’re $10 well spent.
Also to mention Olea for the Mediterranean breakfast we sampled. The Turkish eggs and Moroccan eggs with haloumi were great and if you want to sample some great food, we have to say make that 10 minute journey over to Brooklyn, it’s a must!