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.
There’s a glossary at the front of Balade’s menu—not that the food is particularly difficult to understand, with its grilled meats, bright veggies, and verdant salads. But it serves as a mouthwatering preview of the flavors to come: there’s laban, the yogurt that serves as a dip for the labor-intensive meatballs known as kebbe; jebne, fresh white cheese; and sumac and zaatar, ground spices that dapple shawarma platters, char-grilled beef, and manakeesh, a lebanese pizza. There’s also an entry for the word “balade” itself: as it turns out, it’s used to describe fresh produce that’s of high quality and usually local. Two-thirds of the ample selection of mezze are vegetarian, including Beirut-style hummus with cumin and vegetables and celery- and mint-spiked spheres of falafel.
Whatever’s chosen from the enormous menu, housemade bread is generally on hand, from the toasty, dimpled manakeesh crusts to pita “pitzas” topped with thin-sliced marinated meats to sandwiches. Refreshing sips include wines and specialty drinks such as sparkling wine with rose water or fruit purée. Though there’s a spontaneous feel to the food and drink, the atmosphere is carefully composed to create what ViaMichelin calls “a welcoming and tasty Middle Eastern experience.” At tables, candlelight flickers across the surfaces of imported clay water pitchers painted with rustic designs. Brick walls and arches are inset with arabesque tiles, and the sawn ends of logs compose one wall, creating a mesmerizing mosaic that instantly soothes any angry lumberjacks who wander in.
For those looking to dress down, Big Daddy's Diner's low-key atmosphere is the perfect diner experience.
A night out deserves a drink to celebrate, and this restaurant has the perfect selection of beer and wine to go with your meal.
Children are more than welcome to dine at this restaurant, where there's something for everyone on the menu.
Take a great restaurant, add perfect party food and a fun group of people, and get a night for the ages at Big Daddy's Diner.
Not to be overlooked is Big Daddy's Diner's no-charge wifi.
Be sure to check out Big Daddy's Diner's outdoor seating when the climate is right.
Big Daddy's Diner welcomes laid-back diners, so there's no pressure to throw on heels or a tie.
If dining out is not on the agenda, this restaurant offers delivery and pickup, too.
Big Daddy's Diner is known for serving great food, and they are able to serve it at your next event with their excellent catering.
Big Daddy's Diner is surrounded by a number of street parking options for patrons.
Store your bike at one of the many racks outside of Big Daddy's Diner.
Big Daddy's Diner is serving up five-star food at a reasonable price.
The restaurant serves lunch and dinner, but it's the brunch menu that draws the most rave reviews from patrons.
Whether you're a party animal or an early riser, the restaurant will be open to serve you 24 hours a day.
Don't stress out over dining out! Enjoy all your favorite diner foods in a casual atmosphere when you stop by Big Daddy's Diner.
It's dinner time at the diner — head on over to Big Daddy's Diner.
“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
If Thai cuisine is your not-so-guilty pleasure, sample some (or all) of the delicious dishes diners can't stop raving about at Thai Elephant.
Complete your meal with the perfect glass of wine or beer from this restaurant's drink list.
You won't need to get a sitter before heading to this restaurant — kids are more than welcome at this family-friendly establishment.
Enjoy wifi here free of cost.
You'll find most people wearing their favorite T-shirt and pair of jeans, as casual dining is Thai Elephant's style.
This restaurant serves up innovative meals, so stop in, order takeout, or call for delivery. Whichever road you choose, happy eating!
Love the food so much you want to serve it at your next soiree? No problem — Thai Elephant offers catering.
Thai Elephant patrons can find street parking at the 31st St location.
Cyclists will also appreciate the plentiful space to lock up their bikes outside the restaurant.
Prices at Thai Elephant are moderate — most diners plunk down about $30 per meal.
Thai Elephant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so stop by whenever is most convenient for you.
So if curry and peanut sauce is what makes you happy, make sure to try the much-talked-about Thai fare at Thai Elephant.
Five-star food doesn't have to be fancy. For the very best in Thai cuisine, swing by Thai Elephant for a quick and easy meal.
So keep it casual this weekend with a fabulous Thai meal at Thai Elephant.
Treat yourself to a new lunch or dinner option today and enjoy a tasty Thai dish from Thai Elephant.
Sit back with a burger and fries at Harlem Tavern, a relaxed spot serving American cuisine.
The menu doesn't include any low-fat items, so set aside some extra calories for your visit.
Harlem Tavern also operates a bar, so a round of drinks with dinner is not out of the question.
The whole family can enjoy a meal at Harlem Tavern with its kid-friendly fare.
Unwind on a budget, and enjoy happy hour's low-cost beers and simple eats.
Find ample room to enjoy yourself at Harlem Tavern — this spot caters to large groups.
During the summer months, don't miss out on Harlem Tavern's outdoor patio seating.
Wifi here is on the house.
Noise levels at the restaurant can be ear-piercing, so save the t te- -t tes for another night.
Patrons pack the restaurant on weekends, so it's a good idea to make a reservation to ensure prompt seating.
Not a popular place for dress-up dining, most Harlem Tavern patrons come in casual attire.
Catering services are also available.
Always five minutes behind schedule? Pick up your food to go instead.
Brush up on your parallel parking skills — the restaurant's Frederick Douglass Blvd location offers nearby street parking.
If you feel like saving gas, opt for public transportation, with stops conveniently located at 116 St. (A, B, C), Cathedral Pkwy 110 St (A, B, C), and 116 St. (2, 3).
A visit to Harlem Tavern will set you back less than $30 per person, so you can make it a regular part of your schedule.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all available at Harlem Tavern.
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.