Food + Drink / Insights

Wintry Treats at David Burke’s Treehouse

The SoHo watering hole serves up specialty cocktails and stick-to-your-bones small plates.

January 04, 2013

Enjoy a Winterberry Sangria at David Burke's Treehouse Bar through February.

The mostly glass interior at David Burke’s Treehouse Bar may evoke the feeling of being in a snowglobe come wintertime—if said snowglobe looked out onto the trendy streets of SoHo and was housed within the upscale James Hotel. Embrace the season further with the Winterberry Sangria, a refreshing mix of Pouilly Fuisse, Pisco 100, Cointreau Noir, St. Germain, and simple syrup, mixed with orange, grapefruit, and lemon juices. Or, if you’re looking to warm things up, sip The 3rd Date, a bold blend of tanteo jalapeno, mescal, agave, lime, and a DB bacon lollipop.

Complement your cocktails with satisfying small plates like the maple bacon dates, smoked salmon pastrami sticks, melt-in-your-mouth donuts, chili, or a rotating-daily selection of tacos. But the pièce de résistance on a cold winter’s night is the hearty kitchen burger—a juicy mini sandwich that’s best enjoyed with cheese, bacon, and a side order of the naked fries. 23 Grand St., SoHo, 212-201-9119

—Cait Rohan


Yunnan Delights at Lotus Blue

Spice up your night with lemongrass ribs, sweet and sour snapper, and fried durian.

December 31, 2012

Stir-fried lobster with green Sichuan peppercorn at Lotus Blue

Restaurants throughout the city promise fusion cuisine uniting cultures and culinary traditions of various disparate regions, often to somewhat mixed results. But when these fusions happens organically—like in the Yunnan cuisine on display at Tribeca eatery Lotus Blue—the natural syntheses of flavors and aesthetics built over thousands of years of interaction stand out in an authentic and tasty way.

The Yunnan province sits to the far south of China, sharing borders and, not coincidentally, flavors with Vietnam, Laos, Burma, and Tibet. The food is lighter than the typical Chinese fare, infused with lemongrass, mint, and other unexpectedly perfect additions. And while the base components of stereotypical Chinese foods are here, they come in atypical and delightful packages. The time-tested tastes of the region are wonderfully and distinctly unique.

Banana blossom and mango salad with a sweet and sour plum dressing packs a serious punch with chilies, cut by earthy rich ground peanuts. The grilled lemongrass baby back ribs—dry-rubbed with a flavorful cornucopia of spices—are a perfect example of the fusions of the region on display. For mains, the succulent house special lemongrass roast duck roasted with lemongrass and jasmine teas is one not to miss. A light fry doesn’t take away from the tasty red snapper, served with an equally sweet and sour chili sauce that complements the moist fish. 

For the brave, dessert offers fried puffs of durian—a pungent fruit native to the region that has a taste unlike perhaps any other food on this planet. Abhorrent to many outsiders, it is enjoyed throughout the Yunnan region. “I could eat it every day,” one waiter joked. “It’s my culture.” 110 Reade St., 212-267-3777 

—John Vilanova


Haven Rooftop Opens Ski Chalet

Tuck into cheese fondue and sip hot cocktails high atop Times Square.

December 13, 2012

If you just can’t get away to that ski vacation this winter, travel to Midtown’s Sanctuary Hotel for the full Ski Chalet experience. With lush, snow-topped greenery all around, the just-opened, fully tented outdoor lounge is a warm respite from the chilly temperatures. And what ski chalet would be complete without hot and spicy cocktails? Sip on a Bailey’s Peppermint Hot Cocoa , an Ultimate Irish Coffee, or a Spiker with hot apple cider and rum. In addition to cocktails, you’ll also find a full dinner menu of shareable plates, like Kobe beef sliders and flatbread cheese fondue. Main dishes include Cajun chicken and pan-seared salmon, but we prefer the sushi options, namely the tuna tartare tower. 132 W. 47th St., 212-466-9000 

—Jessica Ferri


5 New Restaurants for Winter

With the snowy weather, huddle into these new NYC restaurants.

December 10, 2012

Toy Oyster Bar serves up a seafood experience

Arlington Club
A 28-day dry-aged Porterhouse and Dover sole top the list of chef Laurent Tourondel’s savory creations. The UES steak-haven also has a full sushi menu. 1032 Lexington Ave., 212-249-5700;

Ristorante Morini
Chef Michael White will be expanding his empire with a new spot uptown. “The food represents the entirety of Italy,” he says. “From the handmade pastas of Northern Italy to the short semolina pastas of the south.” 1167 Madison Ave.

“We are fortunate to have the skilled hands of renowned master sushi chef Hiro Sawatari,” says owner Tora Matsuoka. Try Sen favorites such as kinuta eel as well as Tatsuta, Japanese-style chicken wings. 12 W. 21st St., 212-388-5736

Toy Oyster Bar
A “playful environment extends into the Oyster Bar,” says co-owner Derek Koch. Experience “Toyster Towers,” plates of oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp, jumbo lump crab, lobsters, and caviar. Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC Hotel, 18 Ninth Ave., 212-660-6766;

Willow Road
Designed by the same team behind ABC Kitchen, this gastrobar serves up classic American cuisine at the hand of executive chef Todd Macdonald and houses a significant selection of wine and beer. 85 10th Ave., 646-484-6566



Tocqueville Goes Wild for Game

Sit down to a hunter's supper at the Union Square eatery.

December 03, 2012

Roasted wild Scottish pheasant and house-made sausage

Tocqueville’s husband-and-wife team of chef Marco Moreira and Jo-Ann Makovitzky have been inspiring diners with unconventional meats for the hearty winter months. “Nose-to-tail cooking—it’s all part of a more sophisticated diner’s curiosity,” says Moreira. Create your own hunter’s menu with signature dishes such as wild boar ragout with fresh pasta, cured boar belly, and a sharp Pecorino di Fossa. Roasted wild Scottish red leg partridge relies on two cooking methods: sous vid for the lean breast meat while the leg is cooked in duck fat (confit). Beluga lentils, foie gras, and a natural jus reduced with huckleberries complete the dish. 1 E. 15th St., 212-647-1515

—matthew wexler


Tapas, Paella, and More at Barraca

Sample cheesy lamb sandwiches, six types of paella, and a sangria bar at this Greenwich Village newcomer.

November 19, 2012

Paella de Mariscos at Barraca 

It’s about time New York City got a little more Spanish flair. With the opening of Barraca on Greenwich Avenue, Manhattanites can indulge six types of paella and an assortment of tapas well into the early morning hours. “New Yorkers will now be able to eat like Spaniards!” said Barraca owner Hector Sanz of the country’s penchant for late-night meals.

With a kitchen led by chef Jesus Nunez, formerly of Gastroarte on the Upper West Side, expect beguiling dishes that are at once traditional and playful. One of our favorite bites, a truly outstanding pulled lamb sandwich with Manchego cheese and piquillo pepper aioli, was served on traditional Andalusian mollete bread (made in-house). As for the paella, each variation is made with super absorbent Bomba rice from Spain. Paella selections range from a meat-heavy chicken, rabbit, pork ribs, and pork belly version to a black paella with squid ink, monkfish, and shrimp. If you can’t choose just one, opt for the paella platter with either two or three types in one order.

To drink, you’ll find a bevy of options at the restaurant’s sangria bar, complete with custom-made barrels. Try the Sangria de la Mancha with saffron-infused passion fruit, clementine, and Don Q Limon rum, or the more effervescent Sangria Valencia with rosé, grapefruit juice, citrus oil, vodka, and ginger. And should you find yourself without Thanksgiving plans, Barraca is hosting a Spanish feast of turkey drumsticks, roasted leg of lamb, Brussels sprouts with fava beans, and more for $40 per person. 81 Greenwich Ave., 212-462-0080  

—Juliet Izon


The King of Cognac

With royal red packaging, Louis XIII de Remy Martin’s latest edition is a cut above the rest.

November 19, 2012

Known as the king of cognac, Louis XII de Remy Martin is aged for 40 to 100 years while three generations of cellar masters oversee each batch. The latest edition ($2,700) of the famed Cognac, which has been enjoyed by the likes of Coco Chanel and Pablo Picasso, features a new brilliant red faux leather box, perfect for display at a holiday dinner in New York City. A push-button opens up the red coffret and reveals a deco-inspired mirrored backdrop and handcrafted crystal Baccarat bottle. “The new coffret has a modern, contemporary design that is sleek but also functional,” says Pierre Bollet, a Louis XIII ambassador. “It is easy to carry, but also can be elegantly displayed in a private bar in the home.” Sherry Lehmann Wine & Spirits, 505 Park Ave., 212-838-7500


Restaurants Rally for Sandy Relief

Where to dine out and donate to help fund the relief effort.

November 13, 2012

Chef Scott Conant is serving two Sandy relief tasting menus at Scarpetta

The newly opened Pig and Khao is donating 20 percent of sales from its Clinton Street Cooler cocktail to the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund throughout the month of November. Part of the Fatty Crew Hospitality Group, Pig and Khao serves Southeast Asian shared plates like crispy pork leg with pickled green mango. 68 Clinton St., 212-920-4485

Over at Pig and Khao’s sister restaurants, Fatty Crab and Fatty ‘Cue, menu items will also benefit the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund throughout November. Fatty Crab will donate $5 for every chili crab order sold, and Fatty ‘Cue will donate 20 percent of all sales from its Dark and Stormy cocktail. Fatty Crab, 643 Hudson St., 212-352-3592; Fatty ‘Cue, 50 Carmine St., 212-929-5050

Chef Scott Conant has created two special tasting menus ($80–$115 per person) at his restaurants in New York, Beverly Hills, Toronto, and Las Vegas to benefit City Harvest and its mission to bring food to hungry New Yorkers, especially those affected by Sandy. Twenty dollars from the sale of each menu goes straight to the cause. On the Scarpetta menus, you’ll find ricotta raviolini with shaved white truffles, spiced duck with foie gras emulsion, and more. 355 W. 14th St., 212-691-0555

Between now and Thanksgiving, West Village restaurant Paradou will donate five percent of its gross income to The Red Cross. Paradou serves Provençal-style French food in a garden oasis atmosphere. 8 Little West 12th St., 212-463-8345

Brooklyn restaurant Buttermilk Channel will donate ten percent of its proceeds to St. John’s Bread & Life Program, which brings food to hungry New Yorkers. Located in Carroll Gardens, Buttermilk Channel serves seasonal and new American comfort food like duck meatloaf with creamed spinach and buttermilk fried chicken with cheddar waffles. 524 Court St., Brooklyn, 718-852-8490

On November 14, Tasting Table will host a dinner ($100 per person) that includes braised pig’s trotter stew and polenta, chicken parmesan sliders, and more from its test kitchen. An open bar with beer and custom cocktails is also included. Proceeds will benefit the Food Bank of New York, and Tasting Table will match any donation you make. Guests are also encouraged to bring food items, batteries, blankets, and winter coats to be donated to those in need. Tickets available here.

More Ways to Help:

Help make sure no child goes hungry as a result of the storm by donating to Share Our Strength, a non-profit aimed at ending childhood hunger. You can also opt to turn your next get-together or holiday party into a Share Our Strength fundraiser. 

In addition to donating critical funds to the Food Bank For New York City, you can also volunteer to help feed hungry New Yorkers. With every $1 donation, the Food Bank is able to provide five meals to those in need. 

You can help feed 20 children for a week by donating $36 to City Harvest. Likewise, $135 will help feed 17 New Yorkers for an entire month.

—Jessica Ferri


Award-Winning Meatballs at L’Apicio

Try out the new restaurant that took top honors at this year’s Meatball Madness.

November 13, 2012


If the long waits at West Village hotspot Dell’anima have frustrated you in the past, you’re in luck. The Dell’anima team has just opened a new, much larger restaurant in the East Village. Inside L’Apicio you’ll find a roomy lounge area, comfortable bar, and private dining room that seats 35.

The menu is structured similarly to Dell’anima’s with small plates, pastas, and main courses, but the cuisine itself is all-new. Choose from options like garganelli verde with lamb Bolognese; wild striped bass with black lentils and soffrito crudo; and a pork chop with sweet potatoes, pancetta, and cranberries. Do try the pork meatballs with tomato, bacon, and pecorino—they won top honors at the Food Network New York City Food & Wine Festival’s Meatball Madness competition.

American choices now appear on the wine list, and there will be a small courtyard for outdoor dining in the warmer months. Settle in and enjoy the extra space and delicious menu this weekend at L’Apicio. 13 E. 1st St., 212-533-7400

—Jessica Ferri
photography by Michael Morales


Give Thanks for Pork at Swine

The West Village’s new restaurant Swine plates charcuterie options for Thanksgiving.

November 12, 2012

“People come to Swine looking for items that aren’t on every menu in the city, like wild boar sausage and beef tongue pastrami,” says Phil Conlon, chef of Swine, the new eatery with a focus on housemade charcuterie. This month, the West Village restaurant debuts its specially made charcuterie tiers, which accommodate two to three boards of their savory meats and condiments. For inspired Thanksgiving season fare, Conlon recommends forgoing turkey in favor of Swine’s less conventional fowl options such as duck rillettes, duck prosciutto, or foie gras torchon, and combining them with cranberries, pumpkin, squash, and other warm tastes of fall. “There’s something about these kinds of flavors that always bring me home,” he says. 531 Hudson St., 212-255-7675

—margot kotler

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