Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Winter Rundown

Sorry, sorry, sorry.. Instead of a dedicated blog entry for some of these restaurants, we're giving you another rundown of our restaurant experiences over the past month or so. What can we say? We're busy...

We came here for brunch with Jess' family and absolutely loved it. From the top notch bread basket to the Bloody Marys to our shared appetizers to each of our entrees, we thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Bobby Flay's southwest joint. For starters, we shared the Caramelized Gala Apple Salad and the Crispy Bacon & Hash Brown Quesadilla. Both had tons of flavor and were perfect to share. I had read great things about the Spicy Chicken & Sweet Potato Hash, so I got that as my entree. I wasn't disappointed in the slightest as the large portion did a wonderful job of balancing heat from the chicken & sweetness from the potatoes. Yum. Jess got the Ranch Style Eggs Tostada with Crispy Flour Tortilla, Ancho Chile Tomato Sauce, White Cheddar Cheese & Creme Fraiche. Again, top notch and the experience as a whole definitely will inspire a trip back in the near future.

After getting denied for brunch on the morning after Christmas (they were closed), we made it our mission to come here the following weekend. On 1/2/11 we enjoyed one of the better brunches we've had in recent memory. The vibe inside is rustic & cozy, but in a very upscale way. The main star of the show is the food, though...obviously. Each bite of the Poached Eggs was heavenly: ham that's grilled to perfection on a light, fluffy biscuit topped with an egg that's nice & runny and a tasty hollandaise sauce. Throw in a side of brussels sprouts homefries and you have one heck of a meal. Jess got the roasted vegetable "falalel" with tzatziki, feta, cucumber and chili oil and she enjoyed each bite as much as I did. The "falafel" ball was baked to crispy perfection and doused in a delicious sauce with a side salad - a light and delicious way to start the day. We're already excited to come back here to try the pancakes & burger, which both looked great as well.

With a happy hour until 8 PM, a wide range of unique cocktails on the menu, scrumptious sea-salted almonds, and a vibe straight out of the 1920's, The Dove Parlour has quickly become a neighborhood favorite of ours. Check it out.

Tomoe Sushi had been hyped as the best sushi in NYC and Jess was itching to come here ever since we moved in around the block. Tonight was her night. We waited in the cold for about 10 minutes, which apparently is nothing for Tomoe. Everyone we spoke to in line seemed to be a regular and upon hearing that we were popping our Tomoe cherry, they told us we were in for a special sushi experience. Well, what do ya know, Tomoe was out of this world. The fatty tuna & salmon sashimi were some of the best raw fish that either of us had ever eaten. The tuna avocado roll we got was also among the best we've ever had - simple yet terrific. We weren't crazy about the Spider Roll and would replace that with another roll or more sashimi the next time we're back. I have a feeling that will happen very soon...

After walking by Blue Ribbon Bar and Bakery just about every day, we knew we needed to get involved. We had heard positive things about their homemade bread so we came for lunch and each had ourselves a sandwich. Despite not coming out at the same time (don't you just hate when that happens?), we both gave our respective dishes high marks. The Blue Ruben was filled with Chorizo, Cole Slaw, and Cheddar on a Baguette. The Grilled Eggplant was filled with Cacio de Roma Cheese, Tomato, and Watercress on Ciabatta bread - kind of like a gourmet eggplant parm sub. I'll let you guess who got which one. Each sandwich comes with salad or potato (sweet potatoes, french fries, shoestring fries, etc). They weren't lying about the bread - it was crusty and fresh. We'll be back for brunch and lunch again soon.

A cute, dark and cozy Mexican spot on Bowery. We pretty much had no idea what anything on the menu was (yo hablo espanol?), so we asked our server for help. The freshly fried chips were crunchy & delicious and the guac was fresh & flavorful. Even better than the guac was the queso fundido de chorizo. I would recommend getting each dip for the table to start. Despite coming out 10 minutes later than the rest of the entrees, the Mole Coloradito de Pato (duck with mole sauce) was well cooked and placed on top of creamy rice & squash and surrounded by an ocean of mole sauce. I thought this mole sauce was particularly good so I had no problem with the generous amount placed on my plate. The server felt so bad about the dish coming out late that he comped the duck AND a dessert (chocolate lava cake that wasn't quite lava-y enough for us). Jess went with the Burritas de Champinones - basically a burrito with all different types of mushrooms stuffed inside. Everyone enjoyed their food - it tasted more authentically Mexican than many other spots out there. Hecho En Dumbo also has a nice drink list - we got the Michelada, which tasted like a Bloody Mary with beer. A bit too heavy on the worcestershire sauce though.

When you can't figure out where to go out to eat before a movie, what do you do? We decided to do drinks & delivery at our apt. This NYC "chain" had been on my list for a couple of years and I was finally able to cross it off after getting it delivered. I don't know when Vietnamese sandwiches became popular but between this spot & Num Pang (which, I love), it seems like they've blown up a bit. The Classic Banh Mi sandwich seemed like a logical choice for a first time order since it was reviewed positively on Yelp and is their signature sandwich. At roughly 9" this sandwich is more than enough for lunch or dinner. Generously stuffed with pate, pork, pickled daikon, carrots, cucumbers & cilantro, this sandwich is loaded with flavor in every bite. The bread they served it on was also quite good (not as good as Blue Ribbon, but damn close). Jess was a bit healthier and got the Veguette sandwich, which came with tofu and pickled veggies and was delicious. Since this place is pretty cheap our eyes were bigger than stomachs, we also got sticky rice & shrimp summer rolls to complement the sandwiches. Neither were necessary or particularly great, but hit this spot up for their super yummy and filling sandwiches. Their ramen is also supposed to be great and will be on our order list for next time.