Several years ago, 381 Main Bar & Grill had an existential crisis. It was a sleek martini bar with white leather couches, white barstools, and white walls, all accentuated with pink uplighting. It was a place people could go for a stiff drink, but it wanted to be something else—an edgy sports bar that fed people tasty food in addition to good drinks.
So the owner, Steve Baskinger, shuttered 381's doors and set to work on an intensive overhaul. He ripped out the old wood floor and polished the 100-year-old cement floors to a sheen. He created foot rails for the bar with 8,000 pounds of railroad track, and he added industrial-size ceiling fans, 17 LED TVs, and kitchen appliances, including a brick pizza oven.
According to Nightclub & Bar magazine, the new decor includes a 1970s-era Yankees scoreboard and custom-made Yankees and New York Giants surfboards and sharks. It even has a drumhead signed by Ringo Starr.
The bar opened after five months of construction and quickly became a hot spot—locals were drawn to the bar's neighborhood feel, classic American eats, and craft beers. They also enjoyed the freshly baked pizzas crisped in the brick oven, which uses flames made from a fire recipe that's been passed down for generations.
381 is now a sports bar, but if people are busy the night of the game, they can show up for Trivia Tuesdays, Acoustic Wednesdays, and monthly craft beer events. During the summer months, they can sip a chilled beer on the outdoor patio.
For true American comfort food, head to Town Tavern for a sandwich or side of fries.
Find the perfect vintage to complement your meal — this restaurant offers a fine selection of wines, beers, and beyond.
This restaurant welcomes kids, too, so you can feel good about bringing the whole family.
At Town Tavern, there's no need to confine your meal to a traditional dining room — outdoor seating is available when the weather is warm.
Town Tavern is a good restaurant to dine with a small or large group.
Avoid playing the waiting game and call ahead for a table.
Whether you're coming from work or a ballgame, the dress code at laid-back Town Tavern is come-as-you-are.
It's time to gather up the party people. Serve them great food from Town Tavern.
You can call it in, then carry it out.
Drivers will embrace the parking lot located next door to Town Tavern.
Town Tavern is a prime location for cyclists to park their bikes and enjoy a bite to eat.
Town Tavern may cost you a little bit more than some spots, but this deliciousness is fairly-priced (and well worth the few extra bucks).
At Town Tavern, you can pay with Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express or any other major credit card.
Lunch and dinner are easy as pie (and you might as well get a slice) at the delicious Town Tavern.
See what great American fare is cooking up next at Town Tavern.
If you're seeking a highly-rated American restaurant in the area, look no further than Town Tavern.
Sizzling steaks served hot off the grill are prepared just the way you like them at Rare, the Steak House — come see what all the five-star hype is about and see if this steakhouse is right for you.
Rare, the Steak House is serving up delicious dishes that are, as an added bonus, also healthy.
Be sure to complete your meal at this restaurant with a drink from the restaurant's full bar.
Take the kids along too — this restaurant is a great spot for families with food that even little ones will love.
At Rare, the Steak House, you can connect to wifi for a small surcharge.
You won't find a suit in here! Business casual dress is the norm at Rare, the Steak House.
Can't get enough of Rare, the Steak House's tasty dishes? They also offer a catering service for parties and events.
Self park in a lot or take advantage of a valet service near Rare, the Steak House.
Checks are bigger than average at the restaurant, so prepare your wallet.
Night owls will be happy to hear that the restaurant is best known for their evening menu, though breakfast and lunch are also served.
You don't have to be a meat-lover to enjoy this steakhouse (though it can't hurt). Come to Rare, the Steak House and see what the highly-rated menu is all about.
When you are in the mood for an exceptional steak, make your way over to the highly-rated Rare, the Steak House.
Relax with friends and enjoy homemade Tex-Mex at On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina.
Drinks all around! Pair your dinner with a beverage from this restaurant's full bar.
Go ahead and bring your rug rats with you — this restaurant has kid-friendly food and seating.
Skip long waits and head to On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina with your large group for easy seating.
Jeans are just right for a meal at On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina, which embraces a casual vibe.
For the tastes of On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina from the comfort of your next party, the restaurant also offers catering services.
No delivery needed. In and out for carryout.
On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina provides easy access to an adjacent lot.
Expect your bill at On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina to come in at around $30 per person.
For a meal that's equal parts hearty and satisfying, try the Tex-Mex at On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina today.
So treat yourself to a tasty Tex Mex meal from On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina and munch and crunch your way through endless flavors.
So head to On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina for some tasty Mexican fare.
So switch up your normal lunch or dinner routine and try one of On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina's tasty Mexican dishes.
Head on over to Toscania Trattoria for homemade Italian dishes, including pasta and desserts.
You won't need to get a sitter before heading to this restaurant — kids are more than welcome at this family-friendly establishment.
A great space for entertaining large parties, consider reserving the private room at Toscania Trattoria for your next big event.
Don't be the last one waiting! Reserve a seat so you can eat when you're ready.
Can't find your khakis? No problem! Throw on a pair of your most comfortable jeans and you'll blend right in at Toscania Trattoria.
Looking for something delicious to serve at your next party? Toscania Trattoria also offers catering.
For those in a hurry, the restaurant lets you take your meal or snack to go.
Drivers will embrace the number of street and lot parking choices close to Toscania Trattoria.
For those who travel by bike, Toscania Trattoria offers bike racks for diners.
For a decently-priced meal that s not too fancy, Toscania Trattoria hits the nail on the head.
If you're looking to give your dining routine the Italian boot, Toscania Trattoria is just the place to try.
Stroll over to The Fine Grind Coffee Bar for your daily cup of coffee, a joint adored by Singac residents.
With its kid-friendly vibe, this coffee shop is a great spot for families to chow down.
Whether you have a large or small group, The Fine Grind Coffee Bar can accommodate both.
You can tote your laptop here to take advantage of the free wifi.
Jeans are just right for a meal at The Fine Grind Coffee Bar, which embraces a casual vibe.
You can also grab your food to go.
That's right! The Fine Grind Coffee Bar will bring their delicious food to your house for any occasion.
Whether you prefer street or lot parking, The Fine Grind Coffee Bar is located near both options.
Super-savers will adore the low-prices at The Fine Grind Coffee Bar, too — meals there usually cost less than $15.
Stop by for three square meals a day — The Fine Grind Coffee Bar serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
No meal is complete without dessert, and The Fine Grind Coffee Bar has a delicious selection of sweet treats.
If you need a midday pick-me-up, you can count on the coffee from The Fine Grind Coffee Bar to do the trick.
Prospect Park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux famously preferred the airy lawns of this Brooklyn oasis to their earlier design of Manhattan’s Central Park. So if you're heading to the park for a show, it makes sense to make a day of it and spend some time on its sunny, open meadows. Before the doors open, cool off (and use real bathrooms!) while enjoying an affordable meal at any one of these restaurants, all within a 10-minute walk of the park.
For alfresco diners: Brooklyn Larder (228 Flatbush Ave.)
OK, this isn’t a restaurant, though there are a few tables for eating and a good lunch special: sandwich, chips, beer or soda, and a cookie for $15, available 11 a.m.–3 p.m. If you prefer dining alfresco, come here for a fantastic selection of cheeses, breads, salads, and any number of jams, jellies, and preserves in cute jars to eat in the park. Drinking alcohol in the park is, of course, prohibited and can lead to a ticket. On an unrelated note, Brooklyn Larder has a great selection of beers, starting with Dale’s Pale Ale cans for $2.50 each.
For cheap vegetarians: Dao Palate (329 Flatbush Ave.)
A mainstay of vegetarians, Dao Palate serves fresh vegetables and mock meats in typical Chinese sauces that are a few notches lighter and fresher-tasting than average. Great for larger groups, the big restaurant’s main dishes run around $12, and their filling lunch specials around $9. My favorite, black-pepper seitan on a bed of chinese broccoli, comes with a spring roll and a miso soup to boot.
For those with time to kill: Cubana Cafe (80 6th Ave., right off Flatbush Avenue)
The food here is less of a draw than the cocktails and the decor, but it’s still consistently good, with a menu that hews closely to the dishes I’ve seen served in Havana: black-bean soup, roast chicken with rice, plantains. Most plates are meat-heavy and generous with the portions—beware ordering an appetizer and a main dish unless you’re very hungry. As you wait for the show to begin, linger over a mojito or a cold beer in a breezy dining room painted turquoise, pink, and yellow, where the floor-to-ceiling windows are flung open all summer long.
For picky eaters: 67 Burger (234 Flatbush Ave.)
With a long and flexible list of food options, 67 Burger has something to please everyone. The menu has your cheeseburgers, your curly fries, and your Lagunitas on tap, but also real salads and two veggie-burger options, all of which can be customized with many extras like goat cheese, chipotle mayo, and olive tapenade. Burgers range from $6.75 to $10. There’s also a wine selection and something called a beer shake, which intrigued me but not enough to try it on a weekday alone.
Photos by Kasia Mychajlowycz.
The saying “less is more” has perhaps never been truer than it is at Porchetta (110 E. 7th St.) and Porsena (21 E. 7th St.). At both East Village hot spots, Chef Sara Jenkins has built a cult following by keeping her menus tightly focused rather than trying to do it all. Crowds gather at Porchetta to savor one specific thing: slow-roasted pork (served in varying ways yet always the central focus of each dish). At Porsena, they come for perfectly cooked artisanal pasta.
Jenkins’s straightforward approach reflects a distinctly Italian state of mind, which makes sense, considering her upbringing around Tuscany and Rome. Mario Batali summed it up succinctly when he called her “one of the few chefs in America who understands Italy and how Italians eat."
“I think Italians in Italy eat with a certain fairness that Americans and Italian-Americans don’t have,” Jenkins said, asked about what prompted Batali’s praise. “An Italian is perfectly happy with a perfectly cooked artisanal spaghetti with great olive oil and chilies, while an American would want to add three or four [more] ingredients.”
When Jenkins isn’t working in her own kitchens, she can often be found exploring other rich, delicious, and straightforward flavors around the city. Here are a few of her favorites.
For Italian (outside of Porsena): “I eat at Cesare Casella’s place on the West Side, Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto (283 Amsterdam Ave.). He’s a Tuscan chef who’s been working in New York for many more years than I have. He’s very authentic.”
For gelato: “Il laboratio del gelato (188 Ludlow St.). They have traditional and nontraditional flavors.”
For espresso: “Abraço Espresso (86 E. 7th St.) on 7th Street. They are maniacal about making it right.”
For wine or cocktails: “I like to drink wine at Bar Veloce (175 2nd Ave.) on 2nd Avenue. It’s an Italian wine bar that’s been there more than 10 years. It’s not over the top, not pretentious or precious. Just a great wine selection in a nice space.”
Check Groupon for deals on Italian restaurants in New York City.
The dim sum lunch, or yum cha (literally “drink tea”), is the Cantonese answer to Spanish tapas. It is as much a tradition in New York City's Chinatown as weekend brunch on The Lower East Side. The bustling scene is all too familiar: packed tables, servers pushing metal carts while hawking their selections, the din of impatient, hungry diners. They wait for shrimp dumplings, steamed pork spareribs, roast pork buns, pork and shrimp shu mai -- the seemingly endless variety goes on and on.
But for vegetarians, the choices can be few. When it comes to dim sum, seafood and meat dominate the menu. New York vegetarians need not despair, because there are two very appetizing dim sum havens for non-meat eaters, and they’re right in Chinatown.
Buddha Bodai on Mott Street serves a completely vegetarian and kosher menu of dim sum favorites, ranging from shrimp dumplings to beef rice rolls. The restaurant is usually packed on weekday lunch hours with City Hall municipal types, while the weekend clientele consists of tourists, locals and the environmentally conscientious. An all-day menu of vegetarian iterations of Chinese standards is also on offer, with creative takes on dishes like roast pork and sesame chicken. Using seitan, tofu and yam starch (among other vegetarian and kosher-friendly ingredients) as substitutes, many of these plates will fool even the committed carnivore in appearance and flavor.
The line outside the door on Sunday afternoons may be the best way to spot Vegetarian Dim Sum House on Pell Street. Crowds tend to gather on weekends, anxious for healthy vegetarian takes on traditional dim sum dishes. The array of vegetarian dumplings -- pan fried, watercress, snow pea leaf, monk dumplings -- draw in voracious vegetarians who want the variety of a full-scale dim sum restaurant without sacrificing their principles or lifestyle choices. The menu is comprehensive, full of inventive vegetarian fare using Eastern and Western-style vegetables, not to mention an exhaustive list of diced, sliced or sautéed mushroom dishes. At Vegetarian Dim Sum House, there’s no need to solely imitate meat dishes. Here, vegetables are allowed to take center stage.