Jeju Noodle Bar in West Village

For me, Korean ramen “ramyun” noodles are so closely tied to the fiery bowls of cheap Shin ramyun that I ate growing up, so when I heard that an elevated Korean ramyun restaurant called Jeju Noodle Bar had opened in the West Village, I rolled my eyes. Great, I guess that means I get to pay $20 for a dainty and soulless bowl of expensive, artisanal ingredients that will never satisfy me the way those Shin noodles did. And no offense to Pete Wells, but when the white critics started raving about Jeju, I was even more suspicious. It was probably best to stay far away.Read More

4 Charles Prime Rib in West Village

I didn’t think anyone could dethrone the Emmy burger as the best burger in town, but leave it to a player from meat-and-potatoes town Chicago to show the New York City burgers how it’s done. That title now belongs to the American Cheeseburger at 4 Charles Prime Rib, which is run by the restaurateur behind Chicago’s famous Au Cheval. I’ve never been to Au Cheval, but apparently the burger there is to die for, and if the burger at 4 Charles Prime Rib is any indication, I should be dead by now.Read More

Fancy Peking Duck at DaDong NYC

Everyone knows the Chinese have all the money, so now a bunch of fancy Chinese restaurants are opening up in New York to cater to this clientele. These places are big and swanky, having more in common with a slick and clubby Hakkasan than humble little Hop Kee on Mott St. The latest, and perhaps most anticipated, addition is DaDong (the restaurant has been booked solid on Opentable for months), a famous Beijing chain renowned for its roast duck. Its splashy U.S. debut in Bryant Park leaves no doubt that this is clearly a high end restaurant where no expense was spared in its design and construction. Guests walk into a sleek lobby and are greeted by an attractive host who shows you to the elevator, as if you are going to the rooftop of a nice bar for bottle service, except in this case you’re either going to the second floor for a la carte dining or the third floor for the fancier tasting menu experience.Read More

Dim Sum at Rice and Gold

rice and gold in chinatown

Asian fusion of the recent kind, not the crab rangoons of yesteryear, reflects the trend of second generation Asian chefs reinterpreting traditional dishes by incorporating them with a multitude of multi-cultural flavors. They were just as at ease eating sisig at home and burgers at a takeout joint, so why not somehow mix the two together? Dale Talde of Top Chef fame reimagines the dim sum experience in this manner at his new restaurant Rice and Gold, located on the ground floor of Hotel 50 Bowery in Chinatown. The items on the dim sum cart might look familiar at first glance, but peel back the rice rolls and you’ll find bacon alongside lobster, and bite into that sesame ball to be surprised by a pb&j filling.Read More

Cocktails as Theatre at The Aviary

the aviary nyc

The very serious-minded staff at The Aviary, the NYC branch of Grant Achatz’s famed Chicago bar, described their high-end cocktails as performance art. But I saw them more as a comedy. Because that’s what it is when you have your guests blow bubbles into a drink named How Does Snoop Dogg Use Lemongrass?. Nothing really happened other than the fizz going flat after the initial huff and the rest of us laughing. I would hope for more than just a fit of giggles after paying $24 a drink. Or maybe the joke’s on us for paying that much money.

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