Time to Kill … in NYC
I have just returned from four days in New York City and I am broke, bloated and hung over. But boy was it worth it. If you happen to be heading there and you happen to like food (if you don't we can't be friends), I encourage you to check out the following list. Some of these places have been around forever and continue to prove their worthiness. Others are new and fabulous and a couple are just new to me.
Buchon Bakery – If you happen to be staying uptown, stroll over to Buchon for your morning coffee and croissant. There is a reason this chain keeps expanding and it’s because the baked goods are worth every calorie and stomach twist (for those of you who rage against gluten). The guy standing in front of me was clad in a chef’s getup. I figured that was a good sign. And I was right.
Black Seed Bagels – Be prepared to wait in line with locals for what will probably be the best bagel you’ve ever had. A combination of traditional New York and Montreal styles, these babies strike a perfect flavour balance. Don’t leave this one off your list, even if you’re not a bagel person (which I usually am not).
Benoit Bistro – Serving up classic French fare, this Alain Ducasse institution will not disappoint. The room is old school so don’t expect the downtown cool kids to be hangin’ at the bar. Benoit is the perfect spot to have lunch after wandering around the nearby Moma or shops on 5th Ave. My simple mixed vegetable salad starter tasted fresher than fresh.
Bar at Nomad – Always hopping and always appearing full but somehow finding space for you, the bar at the Nomad hotel is the perfect spot for pre dinner cocktails. Not only for the vibe but also because the bartenders seriously know their stuff. It’s not easy to find a good margherita and here I tested several, just to be thorough!
Le Bernardin – If you have an occasion to celebrate, this three Michelin star hot spot is probably the top restaurant in New York right now. Reservations aren’t always easy to secure – just ask me. But never mind that. The lounge serves the full menu and seating is on a first come first serve basis. We sat at the bar and enjoyed every bite of the $135 tasting menu. The artichoke risotto is seriously to die for. This restaurant will satisfy the palette of even the most discerning foodie.
Il Buco – This casual East Village eatery embodies everything there is to love about Italian cooking. We enjoyed a plate of salami (made in house), a kale salad (best I’ve ever had. And I’ve had lots) and a bowl of simple pasta with asparagus, spring onions and bacon. burp. There is an extensive wine list with options for every budget and when ours took too long to arrive they opened a bottle of more expensive wine then we’d ordered and poured us each a full glass while we waited. That alone makes me a loyal customer.
Balthazar – One thing I love about New York is you can get a great meal at midnight. Balthazar in Soho is the place to do it. It’s always busy, it’s always the same and if there’s one thing I love in any restaurant it’s consistency. I recommend the Croque Monsieur (especially at midnight) or if you’re brunching it, the kitchen puts out the perfect French omelet.
Beauty & Essex – This bar and restaurant became wildly popular several years ago and despite the stagette crowd I saw doing rows of shots in the bar, B&E still promises a great time. Grilled cheese dumplings? You might need two orders of those bundles of goodness.
The Box – Only in New York. This exclusive live theatre and burlesque club is a must do at least once. But be prepared to be shocked – because that’s the whole idea. Expect a lot of female nudity, live music, cross dressing and in our case a trans-gendered strip tease dancer who peed on everyone in the front row. Thank god we weren’t sitting there as I’d have been none too pleased (especially considering I was sporting my fresh off the rack Balmain dress!) Shows don’t start until after 11pm and you won’t get through the door without a reservation. And don’t forget your credit card.
It seems the key to opening a successful establishment in New York is to give it a name that begins with the letter B. Although I do have one key addition to the list: Russ & His Daughters are the purveyors of fabulous smoked fish. It’s located in trendy Brooklyn, which starts with the letter B!