Llama San in West Village

scallop ceviche, chirimoya, avocado, sesame

Our meal at Llama San initially felt like an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Little annoyances started to pile up and threaten our dinner. We sat down and the banquette wasn’t quite comfortable. We asked for a wine recommendation, and the sommelier picked something from Greece, which was not that exciting to us. The wine was then served in cups, as opposed to wine glasses. We all know that the wine glass makes a difference, right? That’s how Zalto makes its money. And when we looked at the neighboring table, somehow they were given wine glasses and we weren’t. So then we felt paranoid, that maybe our economical choice of Greek wine wasn’t worthy of a wine glass, so then we demanded that they switch our glasses, only to learn that these cups were how Peruvians traditionally drank their house wines.

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Babbo Pasta Tasting Menu

pasta tasting at babbo

The #MeToo movement has hit the culinary industry pretty hard, bringing down many celebrity chefs in its path, with Mario Batali probably being the most famous face among them. I was curious to see if any of his restaurants had been noticeably impacted since those sexual harassment allegations came to light, but it seems to have been minimal, as a recent visit to Babbo showed that it is just as popular as ever. While Babbo is still in demand, its clientele has changed noticeably. 10 years ago you were guaranteed a celebrity sighting, like when I saw Val Kilmer sitting at the table next to me or when I noticed the lead actor from My Name is Earl at another. Now you’re just rubbing elbows with out-of-towners or an old finance guy trying to impress a young, bored girl in the most stereotypical way (hint: involves talking about his money).Read More

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

Don Angie in West Village

Italian always seems like a safe choice when it comes to eating out, and lasagna in particular is the most basic of pasta dishes. It’s for the unadventurous person who never quite progressed beyond the comforts of eating from a Stouffer’s lasagna box. But at Don Angie, the new Italian restaurant in the West Village run by the team behind Quality Italian, the familiar lasagna has been given a fantastic face lift that would make it unrecognizable to many of its devotees. This lasagna’s also upgraded to fancier digs, trading in the checkered table cloth and humble wood tables of a red sauce joint for fancy blue banquettes, a chic marble bar and an overall upscale nautical bistro look and feel. Which means, like Anna Kournikova, you may not be able to afford it–expect to shell out $64 for the two of you.Read More