You don’t want to see my list of restaurants I still want to try. It’s neatly categorized according to city, cuisine, neighborhoods, food items, it’s quite organized, but it’s looooong. I’m thinking most foodies have a list of spots in mind, mine might just be more extensive than most. If you just wing it, and wait for recommendations, then I’m your girl. Here are some reviews of restaurants I absolutely adored, and must ultimately be given a shot in my opinion.
Is it Spanish? Is it New Amrican? Mediterranean? Does it matter? Not even a little bit. This place instantly jumped to the top of my list of favorites. Located on East Houston Street near the Bowery, it’s small and comfy, unpretentious. The food is served tapas style, which you should know by now, is my favorite way to eat. We were seated right under a little skylight, which made the already beautifully plated dishes even more stunning.
The first plate was immediately one of my favorite dishes of 2019: Mussels Escabeche served on little slices of crispy toast, was simply heavenly. The perfectly balanced flavors on little pieces of crunchy toast soaked in a delightful broth made my taste buds rejoice. Next was Burrata with Salsa Verde and charred bread, creamy and rich, delicious. If I see anything with yuzu on the menu, I’m ordering it, I love yuzu, so the Oysters with Yuzu Kosho Mignonette were a must, and they didn’t disappoint. The Ricotta Dumplings with Mushrooms and Pecorino were divine, the mushrooms sliced thinly and placed on top of the dumplings, which were soft and melted in your mouth. Last up were the Lamb Ribs with Chermoula and Honey, crispy and flavorful. The whole meal was a revelation. You must try.
For more info on Estela click here
Nope, I’m not going to talk about Contra, the award winning sister restaurant. Wildair can stand on its own two feet, and is awaiting their own awards, without a doubt. I don’t know why I waited so long to finally dine at this Lower Eastside spot. I love the new trend in the restaurant industry, where an amazing and award winning restaurant is low key and down to earth. The place is unassuming and simple, the staff friendly and caring.
The food? Oh mama. Amazing. Start with the bread and olive oil. It’s crispy and earthy on the outside, super soft and yummy on the inside. I followed with Top Neck Clams with XO sauce and almond milk, which was highly unusual, and oh so yummy, a nice combination. The Beef Tartare was next, and it was served with shredded smoked cheddar, horseradish and chopped Brazil nuts. Another unusual combination that not only worked, but was utterly delicious. The Pork Milanese was last, a huge piece of pork with the most amazing batter, served with gribiche and mustard greens. It was an outstanding meal. Please don’t wait as long as I did, you must try it.
For more info on Wildair click here
Ok. So. I went to dine here quite some time ago, and I just realized they closed for business. But I did love this place enough to still give you a review, hoping that Chef Brendan McHale and partner Jason Soloway will reopen in a different location at a better time.
This place had a touch of Eastern Europe, the vibe of a downtown hip restaurant, and the food of a dedicated chef. I went with my daughter Sasha of course, and we had a myriad of dishes that rocked our world. We had a Beef Tartare with Horseradish Aioli, Confit Egg Yolk with chips; Beef Carpaccio with Juniper Pickled Trumpet Mushrooms and Mustard Seeds; Lamb Ribs Crusted with Coriander with Labneh and Sour Cream Cherry Preserve; Fisherman’s Stew with Day Boat Scallops, Clams in a Parsley-Dill broth; Almond Honey Cake with Coriander; Rolled Bavarian Cream Crèpes with Meringue. All this was so deliciously different, I’m desperate to find a reopening of this awesome eatery. If you hear of it, please let me know! Because it’s a must.