If you’re wondering whether the soup at Mama Soup is any good, just ask Matt Damon. The celebrity’s driver introduced him to the shop and ever since, he has put in frequent delivery requests from his home in Manhattan. He even sends the staff notes lauding their pots of potato leek, broccoli cheese, and biscuit-topped chicken-pot-pie soup that owner Megan Kleven derived from her beloved grandma’s recipes. She now doles out the family favorites—as well as sandwiches, salads, and wraps—from a renovated shop that still bears many of the architectural elements of its past life as a metal factory.
Bagel Club's expansive menu ranges beyond its titular baked good, encompassing specialties such as pretzels and raisin-studded challah bread. Chefs also pile smoked fish—including sturgeon and lox—atop bagels, crack three eggs for each of their omelets, and fill sandwiches with deli meat or seafood salads. They can also add flavor to bagels or depleted scratch 'n' sniff stickers with more than a dozen specialty spreads, including chocolate-chip, spinach-and-garlic, and blueberry varieties of cream cheese.
For the bakers of Fay Da Bakery, slices of fruit are just as much decorations as they are ingredients. Their menu of more than 24 cakes features vanilla cakes with elaborate fruit tops, such as the fruit decor cake top with swirling patterns made from strawberries and kiwi. The bakers also customize cakes for a variety of occasions, with hand-piped designs and congratulatory messages. Patrons can pick up Fay Da's cakes at locations throughout NYC, and conveniently order cakes online and pick them up a few days later when their clown car is out of the shop.
On a Bronx street lined with Italian restaurants, one fa?ade stands out?the one with a streetside bar under a shady awning, and a dense gathering of exotic plants and excited diners. This fa?ade belongs to Havana Cafe, which the 2013 and 2014 Michelin Guide honored with a Bib Gourmand award recognizing the inspectors? favorites for good value. PIX-11 confirmed the restaurant's status as a neighborhood staple during a 2011 Bronx Restaurant Week profile, noting that it?s ?become famous fast for serving great food in a welcoming atmosphere.?
Smells of Cuban and Latin-American cooking spill out from an intimate dining room, and, in the kitchen, a custom brick oven burns through shovelfuls of bricks under the direction of Chef Alex Garcia. Chef Alex designs modern interpretations of classic dishes, resulting in cultural collisions such as brick-oven pizza topped with beef picadillo and piquillo peppers. Straightforward renditions of Latin flavors abound as well, in the form of adobo-rubbed shrimp, churrasco-style grilled steaks, and sides and sauces made with tropical produce such as plantains, mango, and yuca.
When cool weather forces the french doors closed, groups snuggle up with their mojitos in leather-cushioned chairs beneath brick pillars and exposed rafters. Behind plush red banquettes, murals commemorate a hazy Cuban past lined with shiny classic cars and balconies leaning convivially over narrow city streets.
With chef Joseph Cannella at the gustatory helm, Bourbon Street Cafe serves up tasty Cajun meals that have earned it an award for Best Brunch on a Budget from Page Six Magazine. Dishes such as blackened catfish and New Orleans po boys compete for attention with the house-specialty seafood gumbo and jambalaya, in which chicken and shrimp carouse with ground zydeco notes in a creole-sauce-slathered nest of spicy rice and andouille sausage. The large eatery further captures the essence of a New Orleans–style café with its colorful wall murals, fringed tabletop lamps, and plates accompanied by Mardi Gras beads, and its multiple flat-screen TVs light up with Sunday football action when the New York Scallywags play the New England Ne’er-do-wells.
Much like its name, Sugar & Spice combines two temptingly complementary culinary ventures: a gourmet restaurant focused on modern American takes on seafood and beef, and a full onsite bakeshop. Chefs rise early, preparing brunch dishes such as peppercorn-crusted tuna and shaved-black-truffle omelets. At dinner, they plate arrangements of new york strip steak, daily fish catches, and five-cheese mac 'n' cheese, and grind and blend their burgers in house to ensure none contain rare vintage baseball cards. Inside the bakery, cake-makers and designers build 50 flavors of cupcakes and more than 50 cake combinations, as well as custom wedding cakes, fruit and chocolate pies, and decadent cookies. Sugar & Spice also provides catering services and have supplied meals for special events such as backyard barbecues, film shoots, and other large gatherings.