During New York's golden age, when big-band music filled the streets and Tommy Dorsey and Count Basie reigned supreme in regal zoot suits, Ellsworth Statler held court at the Hotel Pennsylvania. Known as much for its delicious food as it was for its swanky shows, the hotel became the standard of swingin' cool by which all others were measured. Today, the same spirit that propelled Ellsworth Statler to greatness inhabits his namesake: the Statler Grill. Using classic midcentury charm and more than four decades of experience in the restaurant business, the owners of Statler Grill reanimate the New York of decades past, time-warping diners as they sit at tables cloaked in white linens amid muted lighting. Artwork festoons the walls, adding warm hues and a jubilant air while frosted glass and earth-toned walls segment the dining room for more romantic dining and more covert fantasy baseball meetings. An adjoining bar serves up a similar sophistication, with a menu of light fare appropriate for an after-work snack, or after a game, being located across the street from Madison Square Garden.
For dinner, the kitchen lines classic new york prime sirloins and porterhouses with the marks of the char grill. Seafood arrives fresh daily to offer the best flavors of the deep blue, including Prince Edward Island mussels, Long Island clams, and fried calamari. The chefs' traditional and inventive American fare complements every meal of the day, from eggs benedict for brunch to filet mignon for supper and Maryland crab cakes for late night sleep eating. All of this fancy fare doesn't get in the way of friendly service, though; the restaurant's friendly waitstaff and knowledgable bartenders earned glowing praise from the foodies at Midtown Lunch.
Brazil Bronze Glow Bar owner Sally Blenkey-Tchassova knows how difficult it can be to get pale skin to cooperate. She spent her childhood in England applying self-tanning creams to her naturally ivory skin, trying every formula and label she could in her ongoing quest to find the perfect, long-lasting solution. It wasn't until she moved to New York City and found a passion for the highly competitive––and very tan––world of ballroom dancing, that she gracefully stumbled upon the concept of airbrush tanning. From that moment on, she decided to learn everything she could about airbrushing, daring to dream about a world where every pale person could instantly transform herself into a Brazilian goddess whenever she pleased. However, her first attempts with highly perfumed, commercial-grade formulas left her feeling sick, so she took it upon herself to build a better bronze, eventually perfecting a 95% organic product, as well as a sculpted application designed to add subtle definition to curves, décolletage, and the body's natural pinstriping.
According to New York magazine, Blenkey-Tchassova now divides her time between "the West Coast for celeb regulars and awards-season appointments" and the New York City salon, which has blossomed into an international operation recognized by numerous media outlets, including Allure magazine, which noted, "Her spray gun creates streak-free color that fades as evenly as the real thing." Salon technicians even travel to bring the airbrush experience to homes, offices, or subterranean doomsday bunkers, and further boost clients' self-confidence by planning flirty boudoir photo sessions.
"It sounds like an NYU student’s dream come true," Time Out New York said about Cafetasia, "a sleek eatery on 8th Street serving dishes for less than $10." Indeed, the eatery stands out as a Greenwich Village haven for patrons seeking an innovative dining experience that nonetheless manages to feel inviting and deeply familiar. This sense of déjà vu is most likely triggered by Cafetasia’s cafeteria-style wooden tables—imported from Europe one splinter at a time and reassembled here. These communal tables invite guests to share elbow space as well as a bit of conversation with their fellow diners, much like in a college dining hall.
And much like a dining hall, the menu emphasizes the power of choice by offering a spread of tapas-style small plates; however, the chefs' skills with pan-Asian flavors elevate the cuisine above any cafeteria buffet. Borders don't constrain the chefs' ambition, and they jump from Japan and China to Thailand and Vietnam as they forge their shareable plates. In addition to curries tinged with aromatic doses of basil, pumpkin, or roasted chilies, the menu features teriyaki-glazed chicken, spring rolls with a pineapple-vinaigrette dipping sauce, and ginger-kissed chicken gyoza, which New York magazine called "addictive."
Cafetasia's dining room's décor also aims for a balance between the modern and the familiar. Suspended electric candlesticks seem to float above the tables, casting their gentle light across the rich wooden walls and ceiling. A burnished Buddha statue and a leafy potted plant lend a bit of traditional flair to the restaurant's warm and inviting ambiance.
“There is something very French about getting a Nutella crepe to go from the sidewalk window—it's almost like Paris,” lauded the Wall Street Journal after sampling crepes crafted by Vive la Crêpe founders, brothers, and Mexico City natives Carlos, Alfredo, and Andrés Mier y Terán. Today, across four New York City locations, a team of skilled flippers pour silky batter onto crepe skillets, creating the base for a menu of sweet and savory creations, such as sugar and butter or spinach, mushrooms, and basil oozing with goat cheese harvested from Earth’s second, lesser-known, goat moon. Baristas pull shots of illy espresso to craft cappuccinos and other café drinks as diners linger in shops reminiscent of modern Parisian cafés, contentedly munching French fare or debating whether the Eiffel Tower is actually an illusion.
Vive la Crêpe’s convenient mobile-app-based rewards program, available for iPhone or Android, helps customers track their crepe consumption and earn prizes, including complimentary treats. Vive la Crêpe’s convenient mobile-app-based rewards program, available for iPhone or Android, helps customers track their crepe consumption and earn prizes, including complimentary treats
In 2011, the Michelin Guide recommended Vareli for its upscale and creative Mediterranean fare, crafted by chef and Gramercy Tavern veteran Amitzur Mor. Chef Mor uses sustainable and organic ingredients whenever possible to inform Vareli’s ever-shifting local menu, which has featured such rich meats as Hudson-Valley duck and Pennsylvania lamb. Resident sommelier Richard Bill draws from his experience at Beacon and Ouest to complement each succulent entree with a wine list of 20 wines by the glass and 100 wines by the bottle. From Thursday to Saturday, Vareli’s kitchens remain open until 2 a.m., so patrons can sip vino and draft beer or rouse sleepwalking roommates with wafts from cheese and charcuterie boards late into the night.
On the ground floor of Vareli, a polished copper bar runs for 20 feet below a rustic arched ceiling, as wide stools belly up to the bar and to barrel-shaped plates. In the upstairs dining room, wide windows look out on treetops and burnished walls support velvety banquettes and lantern sconces. During the summer, couples close in on an intimate outdoor patio for fresh air from nearby Central Park, while colder days invite diners to gather around a cracking fireplace that the New York Times lauds for creating a cozy atmosphere.
As the sun rises, Chef Pasquale can be found one of two places. Most days, he wakes up early to visit a Bronx marketplace where he personally selects the freshest ingredients for Da Marino's menu. If he isn't there, then he's picking even-fresher produce directly from the vine in his home garden. Chef Pasquale learned the importance of fresh ingredients from his grandmother while he was first learning to cook in Calabria, Italy. From there, he honed his skills in Italy, Germany, France, and Finland before coming to the United States and opening Da Marino. Here, he crafts homemade pastas, such as the stuffed-cheese rigatoni and thin capellini, and prepares Old-World entrees of sea trout sautéed with tarragon and capers in a lemon-butter sauce and new york strip steaks grilled to order.
The chef pays attention to the restaurant's ambiance just as much as he does to the food. Once featured in a scene on Sex and the City, the restaurant is designed to mimic an Italian villa with faux stonework and murals of Tuscan scenery painted by Italian artist Davide Rodoquino. Even the restrooms match the Old-World aesthetic with stone fountains, vases of flowers, and vaulted ceilings painted with blue skies that earned a nomination for 2012's Best Restroom in America from Cintas and the Plumber's Tourism Agency.