#afcoeats – LS Does the Big Apple
A couple months back, I took my annual long weekend in NYC. I tried a new spot for every meal and here are three that stood out – the quick and dirty, if you will.
Synopsis: Located within the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, this is an intimate speakeasy serving classically inspired food and drinks brought to you by the one and only Grant Achatz.
Highlights: Black truffle explosions (these flavorful raviolios are worth the hype), mussels (that broth! Soak it up with the bread), extremely skilled/professional bartenders and FOH team.
Take-away: The Office features a beautifully designed and super swanky interior with a clubby lounge feel. This is worth a stop for anyone seeking a Grant Achatz experience outside of Chicago. You can describe a season, color, movie, or feeling and the bar team will whip up a creative and one-of-a-kind drink like you’ve never tasted before. This was a nice finish to our day gallivanting across Central Park and visiting the Met. Keep in mind there is no standing room, it is by reservation only and as soon as they open “The Aviary” side (under construction when I visited), this place is going to be even harder to get a table at.
Synopsis: Located in Chelsea, this is David Chang’s latest NYC addition to the Momofuku group (besides his delivery only concept). Chef Joshua Pinsky creates Italian-inspired dishes with unexpected techniques and ingredients, largely of the Asian variety.
Highlights: Bucatini Cacio e Pepe, a green juice based mezcal cocktail that was out of this world (looks like it’s already off the menu due to seasonality)
Take-away: We actually stumbled upon this spot on our way to a movie theater around the corner and were able to grab a seat without a reservation, though perhaps that’s unusual given this was the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend when locals typically clear out of the city. The food was tasty and comforting and the bartender (we sat at the bar) was friendly and knowledgeable. A great neighborhood spot!
Synopsis: This is Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s latest ABC Kitchen spinoff – a bright and cheery vegetarian restaurant.
Highlights: fresh spinach spaghetti (broccoli, kale, preserved lemon, garlic, parmigiano, saffron, crumbs), fried wild rice (market vegetables, fermented tumeric and carrot, cilantro, fried egg), “brain” tonic (brahmi, gotu, kola, kale, ginger, spinach, lime).
Take-away: I ended my trip with this meal and it was the perfect finale – I love my gluttonous eating but I also love to balance everything out with a few bites of the nutritious meets delicious variety. This need not be only a work-day lunch spot; they offer an exceptional beverage menu including cocktails, cold–pressed juices, “vibrations” tonics, shakes, housemade sodas, teas, and kombuchas. Definitely worth a visit for those who have an appreciation for cuisine on the healthier end of the spectrum, without sacrificing flavor. I walked away feeling blissful, satisfied and wishing there was one in San Francisco. Hint hint, Jean-Georges!
Additional top tastes from the visit:
- Soy keema (quail egg, lime leaf butter pao), butter chicken kulcha, and crab claws (butter-pepper-garlic, cauliflower) from Indian Accent
- Miso wings (black sesame, scallions, house spicy miso sauce) – hands down the best chicken wings I’ve ever had, brought to you by Bar Goto