Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New York Restaurants- Where To Eat!

     Ah, the city of Manhattan! For me the city is a mere ten minute car ride away, but it's not until I'm out of the car, and strolling around that I find myself immersed in a world that feels miles from home. New York City is spectacular! There are high-rise buildings as far as the eye can see, and the streets are teaming with life. From museums and theater, to lounges and nightlife, Manhattan has a little bit for everyone. So what most intrigues me about Manhattan? Well Manhattan, if you didn't already know, has one or two good places to go eat!

     Coming from New Jersey most of my dining experience has been on the West Side of Manhattan, mainly because it's  more convenient. On a few occasions though, I have ventured east to see what tasty treasures lay on the other side of this bustling island, and have been delightfully impressed to say the least. One thing I have come to notice is, that each side of Manhattan has it's own unique feel to it. The scenery is different, the restaurants are different, and so are the people. There is a sub-culture within itself. I asked a client of mine who grew up on Manhattan's West Side if he would ever move over to the east side, his reply humored me as he said,  "no way, I can't understand those people!" Once you get your fair dose of the city you may understand what he meant. The east and west sides are really two different places. The east side with it's tall limestone buildings lining Fifth and Park avenues, to the west side, adorned with countless Brownstone buildings and home to the current Harlem Renaissance. These two sides breath urban sophistication at it's finest, and the food, it's some of the best around.

       To say Manhattan has a few good eats is an enormous understatement. Manhattan is home to some of the best restaurants in the country. I'm not just talking big name chefs, and fancy chain restaurants, I'm talking pastrami sandwiches at Katz's Deli, or some outstanding Italian food at John's of 12th Street. Manhattan is literally crawling with good places to chow down. So the question is where do you start? There are so many places to choose from. I have a list of some tried and true favorites from both sides of this culinary giant, as well as some gems I've discovered hidden among these busy streets. So lets go eat!
Chef Marcus Samuelsson
     Harlem is a great place to start your culinary tour. It's a quick ten minute drive from the bridge and it's loaded with new and exciting restaurants. If you didn't already know, Harlem is on the rise. Many say Harlem is undergoing a modern day renaissance. Both food and art coming together, creating a buzz. Walk down the streets and new restaurants are turning up on every corner. A must try is the Red Rooster Harlem, here renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson celebrates the diverse culinary traditions of the neighborhood, and serves up his take on comfort food. For those of you who like some good old fashioned smoked brisket, head over to Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. There you can indulge in all your BBQ favorites like pulled pork, ribs, and BBQ chicken   My advice is to make reservations far in advance. Like I said the buzz is out, and the Harlem streets are flooded with hungry foodies!
     The West Side is filled with great places to go eat. A must for authentic Latin fusion cuisine is Calle Ocho. This trendy restaurant has a great atmosphere, and the bar area is perfect for meeting with friends.Cocktails here are original and refreshing, and the food will not disappoint.
Calle Ocho's Famous Paella
     What's not to like about the West Side? Stroll down the streets and you can feel the energy pulsating. Head over to Times Square, and hit the Hard Rock Cafe for some good old American eats.Take in the scenery, or check out one of NY's famous Broadway Plays. Still hungry for a late night bite, head over to Ca Va. This Todd English owned French brasserie serves it up all night.
    How about a family style feast? Head over to Carmine's. With two West Side locations, Carmine's has been serving up classic Italian food for over 20 years. Since they opened not much has changed, the menu is still packed with the old time favorites, and the plates are sure to leave you and your family fully satisfied.

      Head into downtown Manhattan and you will run into the Meatpacking District. Home to the famous Hotel Gansevort, the Meatpacking District is filled with nightlife, and of course some good food.  The Old Homestead Steakhouse is a fabulous restaurant serving up some cave-man size steaks. This Meatpacking District Icon boasts the finest cuts of beef and the freshest seafood around.
     The East Side of Manhattan is equally appealing, definitely no lack of flair. Looking for a museum? Housed on Manhattan's East Side are the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Guggenheim. With a classy sophistication, the East Side maintains the fun vibe that people come to love about New York.The Upper East Side seems to have a very upscale feel to it. So if upscale is what you are looking for, head over to Daniel. To many, chef Daniel Boulud needs no introduction. He is an award winning contemporary French chef who's food is always fresh, and seasonal. The beauty of the decor is matched by beautifully presented dishes that look nothing less than masterpieces. If you are serious about food this restaurant is a must. Boulud is nothing short of an artist. His unrivaled attention to detail make him one of the most respected French chefs around. The food served at Daniel is highly refined, a true culinary delight.
    One of my first dining experiences on the East Side was Tao, which quickly became one of my favorites, mainly for the atmosphere, not to say the food wasn't good. It's a place you have to try at least once.Walk into the bar area and have a few cocktails, or head to the dining room where you can find an enormous Buddha statue gazing over the crowd. This place is what New York is all about. It has culture, class, and it's alive!
     I love the city, there are so many places to choose from. Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio opened up Craft in 2001, and has been plating pure genius ever since. San Marzano is another gem putting out some of the best pizza around, not to mention some killer pasta. The list goes on, if you have a flavor I guarantee you are covered!
     So who takes it in this culinary showdown between the East and West Sides? Well I guess that depends on what day of the week it is, they both have so much to offer. Perhaps I will have to indulge in some more research, and let you guys know what I come up with! Until then I hope you head out and try one of these remarkable places. From upscale dining at it's finest, to the many neighborhood hot-spots this city will have you taste buds singing for more!

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