Some may credit the buttery bun or the chive-speckled mayonnaise, but in an interview with Food and Wine, Ed McFarland insists the success of his lobster roll lies entirely in the meat. He simmers the ultra-fresh morsels of lobster until they’re tender and juicy before adorning them with a simple dressing made of mayo, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. He then piles the meat onto a warm Pepperidge Farm roll until it spills over onto the plate, then arranges it next to a nest of thick, hand-cut fries and slices of homemade pickles. When he isn’t whipping up the much-lauded rolls, Ed extends his culinary expertise to a variety of seafood specialties—from crispy calamari to a hearty lobster pot pie¬¬––crafted using fresh herbs and vegetables plucked directly from his own garden.
Out in the lively dining room, guests bite into warm lobster rolls and nibble on shellfish from the raw bar. On busy nights, guests gather outside to wait for a coveted seat inside the intimate space, since the restaurant staff does not accept reservations or promises to shovel the snow from their driveway for a week.
As one of the last Colonial buildings remaining in New York, Fraunces Tavern gives patrons a sense of what life was like nearly a century before America’s nationhood. Built in 1719 as a merchant’s residence, the building was purchased by tavern keeper Samuel Fraunces in 1762. It soon became a hotbed of pre- and post-Revolution activity. This includes a visit from George Washington in 1783, during which he stood in The Long Room and delivered a farewell address to officers of the Continental Army. Today, Fraunces Tavern functions as both a museum and a restaurant operated by Dublin-based The Porterhouse Brewing Co. Preserved to retain its original Colonial appearance, the dining room is defined by its plank floors, stalwart wood tables, and bench seating. At the bar, brass dispensers pour microbrews such as the Plain Porter, which has won multiple distinctions from The Brewing Industry International Awards. The Dingle Whiskey Bar, a secluded part of the tavern, invites whiskey aficionados to lay down their muskets, take off their tricorn hats, and relax in front of a crackling fire.
One of SoHo’s premier venues for world music, R & B, and hip-hop, Sounds of Brazil’s storied stage has seen all kinds of acts from Tito Puente to Kanye West since opening three decades ago. Owner and founder Larry Gold prides his combination restaurant-nightclub as being instrumental in bringing some now-renowned performers to a broader audience, hosting musicians such as Common, Drake, and John Legend early in their careers. While big names and rising stars attract music lovers, the flavor-heavy dinner menu excites all tongues more effectively than a bite of Pop Rocks mixed with dynamite.
This cocktail hotspot takes more than just its name from Frenchman Paul Verlaine, a 19th-century poet and notorious hedonist. The drink menu is carefully orchestrated to indulge almost any fancy—libations range from dozens of small-batch and single-barrel whiskeys to sake and cocktails that have a distinct South Asian flair. Lychee sweetens the popular Hanoi Martini and black raspberry sake adds subtle notes to the exotic Saigon Bellini. Vietnamese flavors also inspire the eclectic tapas menu, which features several vegetarian-friendly options. Lemongrass sauce sweetens a stack of pancakes, and chicken or shrimp bulks up coconut curry. At Verlaine, there’s no flashy décor to distract from the craft food and drink. Instead, the vibe is sophisticated and subdued, with dim candles set along the length of the bar and local artwork lining the walls. The artsy theme is alive and well at occasional poetry readings, which pay homage to the bar’s literary namesake.
The story of Sweet Revenge begins in the cramped kitchen of Marlo Scott’s West Village studio, where the part-time baker and full-time corporate employee spent her nights making cupcakes and dreaming of exacting revenge on her bosses. In what she now describes as “a stroke of utter luck,” Marlo was laid off in 2007 and granted the opportunity to finally live out her dreams. Happiness, she would soon find, is the sweetest revenge. Before long, Marlo had acquired a charming spot on Carmine Street, complete with peeling paint and two expansive bay windows. She renovated the place and transformed it into the aptly named Sweet Revenge. Internationally inspired cupcakes and savory cakes take center stage on the lunch and dinner menus, which incidentally reveal the bakery’s secret weapon: it’s also a wine bar. For something you likely won’t find anywhere else, take a look at the menu of cupcake, wine, and beer pairings. Marlo’s signature Sweet Revenge flavor—a peanut-butter cake with a ganache center—pairs with a Malbec from Spain, and her Crimson and Cream cupcake can be dipped in a raspberry Bellini or stuffed into a bottle of imported pear cider.
Pool balls clatter on felt-lined tables, darts fly into their cork boards, and 15 large-screen televisions broadcast premium sports channels—as strings of lights twinkle at the tops of exposed-brick walls, these sounds help to create a convivial atmosphere at The Recovery Room. The stool-lined bar remains open until 4 a.m. every night, doling out pints of domestic and imported beer and shots of masterfully mixed liquor.
To accompany drinks in the early evening, the kitchen churns out an extensive spread of traditional American and European comfort foods. In addition to baking chicken pot pies and stuffing philly cheese steak sandwiches, the cooks also whisk together Irish breakfasts with bangers, baked beans, and black-and-white pudding all day long.