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.
I was a big fan of the farm-to-table cooking at Olmsted, and while I always wanted to go back, getting a table was impossible. But now the restaurant is open for brunch service, and you can actually get a seating at normal hours. So off I went to see how Olmsted would approach the question of how do you like your eggs…
Dining at Henry, the restaurant inside the Life Hotel in Koreatown, is such an unexpected surprise. The hotel is hidden from view on a rather drab and quiet stretch of 31st St, but its doors lead to the easygoing vibes of a supper club of another era. If you’ve ever thought about how it was to live in the old days of New York, where people would go listen to jazz in the days of the Harlem Renaissance, then Henry might let you travel back in time for a moment.