Times Square has evolved so much over the past decades, I have lived and worked there forever, so I had a front seat to the witness the changes. At this point it has become a bit of a tourist Mecca, and most New Yorkers avoid the area. Disney Musicals, street performers and chain restaurants occupy the real estate for the most part. But don’t be fooled, there are some very amazing restaurants in the area that any self-respecting New Yorkers should be seeking out. Once you wiggle around the tourists, I promise you some awesome food.

Aureole

It’s Michelin Star cuisine you desire? Right on 42nd Street, in the middle of the hustle and bustle you’ll find Aureole, recipient of one Michelin Star. This classy, contemporary restaurant, serving New American cuisine, is owned by celebrity chef and James Beard Award winner Charlie Palmer. Obviously, this is the place to be. So I went. With a long lost friend right at the beginning of Restaurant Week, so we were lucky to enjoy a 3 course meal for a great price. Don’t fret, even though Restaurant Week has passed, you will still be able to enjoy a pre-theater dinner at a prix-fixe price. It’s a bargain nobody should miss.

Our first course consisted of a fresh Kale and Crab Salad with asian pear and buttermilk dressing, as well as a tasty Brown Butter Sweet Potato Soup with pickled Fresno and coconut crema. I opted for the Seared Salmon, cooked perfectly of course, with apple broth, celeriac mash and horseradish meringue. My friend’s main dish was 48 Hour Braised Veal Cheeks with polenta and roasted roots. Our amazing desserts were a Valrhona Chocolate and Peppermint Torte and a Winter Tangerine Cake with Cranberry Sorbet. My friend Lisa said that this was one of the best meals she ever had, and I can only second that.



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Becco

Becco is probably one of my favorite restaurants in New York. Located on Restaurant Row, this multi-room restaurant is owned by TV chef Lidia Bastianich and her famous son Joe, who, amongst other accolades, is a judge on TV’s Master Chef. Besides the amazing food, you will find bottles of wine for around 30 dollars each, which is an amazing price. I always get a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, somebody please send me a case. Just a couple of days ago a few friends of mine and I went to celebrate a birthday there, and we’re still talking about it.

Some of our appetizers were mussels in white wine sauce, delicious and plenty; pork belly over lima beans in tomato sauce, my favorite; Polpette Di Manzo, which are beef meatballs in “Sunday Sauce”, for which I am desperately trying to find the recipe. Just amazing. Some of our main dishes were the Veal Parmigiana, huge and yummy; Swordfish with spaghetti squash with stewed cherry tomatoes, an excellent dish; Seafood in lobster brodo over a bed of polenta, scrumptious. Every day you can get a pasta special consisting of three different pastas that change daily, and there will be unlimited refills. Everything was absolutely awesome, I already can’t wait to go back. Oh, and if you do go, please make sure to get the cheesecake, because it’s hands down the best I ever had….

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Danji

If it’s Korean food you’re craving, Times Square is the place to be. Yes it is. Danji on 52nd Street is small, unassuming and bustling. The communal tables and a small bar are snug and charming, the food is traditional with a good mix of modern twists. You guessed it, I did have dinner there during Restaurant Week, I am aware of my addiction. This meal turned out to be one of my favorites!

My appetizer were spicy “K.F.C” (Korean Fire Chicken Wings) with peanuts, cilantro and pickled daikon. They were super spicy and sticky, I loved them! My second course was a Kimchi Bacon Wet Fried Rice with bossam gravy and a soft scrambled egg on top. I never tried anything like it, and I couldn’t get enough of it. For dessert I had Black Sesame ice-cream, which, of course, was also amazing. I can’t say enough of this meal, and as it was the case with the above two restaurants, I can’t wait to go back!

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