We live in an age where high end burgers are now the new normal, and nobody bats an eye at spending more than $15 for one. We’ve been sold by the clever marketing that justifies the price tag because the meat patty is extra special due to its high-grade, dry-aged, grass-fed nature and because it comes with foie gras or truffles on top. The market for premium patties in New York is pretty frothy, which explains why Au Cheval, a restaurant in Chicago long touted as being home to the best burger in America, is now bringing its $17.95 cheeseburger out East, in a somewhat seedy alley in Cortlandt Alley in Tribeca that is dark and smells like piss. It looks like they were going for that secret speakeasy vibe, normally frequented by the members of the city’s underbelly, but its burger is so good that regular people should be willing to risk their lives to try it.
When you are denied something delicious for nine months, it only makes sense that this deprivation will make you obsess about the forbidden food for days on end. My obsession in this case was sushi. It didn’t matter if it was a cheap supermarket tuna roll or a high end omakase, I always wanted it, and it pained me to have to turn it away. So of course, once my pregnancy was over, my goal was to reserve an excellent sushi meal asap. I wanted something extravagant at a relatively reasonable price, which is why I chose the lunch omakase at Sushi Ginza Onodera, a 2 Michelin star restaurant in Bryant Park. While the evening omakase will set you back $400, the lunch omakase is a relative bargain at just $150 a person.
I went to Bali for my honeymoon and have very fond memories of the food, which is why I was so excited to hear about the opening of Wayan, a new Indonesian restaurant in Nolita run by Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s son Cedric. Everyday for breakfast I would eat a soothing bowl of bubur ayam, an Indonesian chicken congee, and dinners would involve either seafood or tasty platters of grilled barbecued meats (I’m especially partial to those from the famous restaurant Naughty Nuri’s). Indonesian food in NYC, however, is quite a niche category, so unless you trek out to Elmhurst or somewhere, it’s hard to come by.
While Long Island City is one of those up-and-coming neighborhoods that has its fair share of hip destination spots like Moma PS1, The Noguchi Museum or Mu Ramen, it’s still pretty underdeveloped in certain parts. It’s not uncommon to walk down endless blocks of unmarked warehouses with no signs of life other than the rush of cars on the streets trying to get somewhere else. But on the corner of Queens Blvd, near Thompson Ave and Van Dam St, you’ll actually see people spilling out the doors of a particular location. No, they’re not those new Amazon employees, but guests trying to get a table at the highly popular new Indian restaurant Adda.
The older I get, the more I’ve come to appreciate bar dining. Bar dining has come a long way from uncomfortable stool seats and limited “bar only” menus. Many restaurants now offer their full menus at the bar, with coat and purse hooks included. And now that I no longer have the luxury or patience for long, drawn-out dinners, the efficiency and relative swiftness of bar dining hold even more appeal. One of the best places for bar dining in the city is at Momofuku Ko, David Chang’s two-Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant in the East Village. It’s better known for its seated tasting menu experience, but it also operates a small bar near the entrance that offers an interesting, a la carte menu that changes each day. You get to benefit from the talents of a highly skilled, fine dining kitchen without having to pay the sky high prices or having to sit through the whole experience.