A palapa is a palm-thatched sun haven found on beaches in Mexico. True to its namesake, La Palapa offers cuisine that is at once a haven from ordinary Mexican fare and an effective tool for blocking the sun. For lunch, start with a palate-pleasing appetizer such as plátanos con crema (sweet plantains with cream and house-made queso fresco, $6.95) before moving on to the famous Mexico City–style tacos ($5.95 each), which can be filled with eight delectable flavors, including al pastor (pineapple-chile rubbed pork). Later eaters can hang a fang on dinner entrees such as pato al mole negro oaxaqueño (grilled duck breast in rich black mole infused with 26 magical ingredients) or camarones al mojo de ajo (shrimp sautéed with garlic, red tomato rice, and slow-cooked black beans). Lubricate throat pipes and conversations and complement the meal with a tangy selection from the cocktail catalogue.
"I feel a little like a detective," reveals Luke Johnson, overseer of the cheese cave at Stinky Bklyn, to the New York Times. He continues, "I…try to steer people toward something new. If they say they don't like goat, I really push the goat because people don't realize there are so many varieties." And push they do. Staff members pass indulgent segments of their carefully aged cheeses, offering approachable wisdom to novices and a wide-ranging selection for aficionados. The charming Smith Street institution has opened a new location between Baltic and Butler, with fridges and pantries stocked with international morsels such as chocolates, oils, vinegars, and beer, as well as an impressive ham bar.
Visitors can request a peak at the temperature- and humidity-controlled cheese cave, where Luke and staff nurture each wheel through distinct aging processes. Cheeses dwell within the cavern for anywhere from a few days to a few years, undergoing washing, soaking in beer or brine, and the opportunity to view culturally enriching cave paintings. Owners Patrick Watson, Michele Pravda, and Chris Remy also added a green garden and patio behind the shop, providing an ideal place for tastings or a peaceful spot for enjoying one of the shop's artisan sandwiches.
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.
Each morning at 7 a.m., Justin Brandon and his mother, Joan, open the doors of Bertha's Diner—the cozy North Buffalo restaurant they took over from former owners Ken and Liz Kerr. The spot "oozes with charm and delicious food," according to one Buffalo News writer, who savored breakfast items including fresh blueberry banana bread, pancakes that were "cooked to perfection," and "heavenly hash, obviously made in the kitchen from real corned beef." When lunchtime rolls around, the kitchen crafts delicious eats such as tuna melts and meatloaf sandwiches smothered in gravy. Images of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and other 1950s icons decorate the walls alongside a giant 45 rpm record. Bertha's Diner is open until 3 p.m. except for Friday, when they are open until 8 p.m. for fish fries. They open at 8 a.m. on Sundays.
Lovin’ Cup’s owners had a dream of creating a place that celebrates life’s pleasures and offers the unique and personal experience each of their customers seeks. And to achieve that dream, it took the combined efforts of all five owners to truly fill Lovin' Cup to the brim, each one specializing in a different area of the culinary arts or entertainment. The crew started with a simple, delicious menu of familiar eats made right, such as Angus beef burgers, gourmet pizzas, and hearty sandwiches. They paired these, with an array of craft beers on tap – plus more than 50 varieties in bottles – and a carefully curated list of international wines.
To entertain the brain's higher functions, they host game nights every Monday, open mic performances every Tuesday, and live music of every genre on Thursdays. Performances rotate between jazz, alt-country, indie, and rock groups as often as they change out their drafts on tap and, presumably, their socks. And finally, the owners paid similarly close attention to the artistic décor of their space, from the polished wood of their wine racks and tables to the mutable collection of art that peppers the walls.
Star chef and restaurateur Peter Xaviar Kelly opened his first restaurant, Xaviar’s in Garrison, when he was 23. Since then he has battled Bobby Flay, cooked at the James Beard House, introduced Anthony Bourdain to the Hudson Valley's bounty, and opened more restaurants. At his latest, Xaviars X2O on the Hudson, the Zagat-rated menu mixes Asian embellishments with Italian and Spanish touches and traditional French techniques. Thai barbecue, for example, spices the grilled portuguese octopus appetizer, and a brown-sugar-cayenne crust plays off the béarnaise sauce that tops aged-and-grilled cowboy rib eye steaks. In the Dylan Lounge, chefs slice sushi rolls into edible artworks such as jalapeño hamachi with pumpkin-seed oil.
An active turn-of-the-century Victorian pier hosts Xaviars' dining room on the Hudson. Vaulted 25-foot ceilings take support from three walls of glass that grant sweeping views of the Tappan Zee and George Washington Bridges, pepper dinners with sunsets over the Palisades, and allow guests to keep eyes out for approaching giants. Inside, dark-wood furniture, mod lighting, and stark white tablecloths set an elegant stage for edible performances.