Monday, June 4, 2012

Foodies Take Manhattan

Layne and I spent Memorial Day weekend in New York ( see previous posts 1, 2, and 3) and it was incredible! A huge part of what made it so incredible was all the delicious food we ate. If you are not the kind of person who takes pictures of your food before you eat it, then this post is not for you. But if you are, then we should go out to dinner sometime so I'm not the only loser who considers the lighting when I pick my table. This post is going to highlight just a few of our favorite stops.

The first day we got there, we were starving for some real New York style pizza, and we were not disappointed! We went across the Brooklyn Bridge and waited in line nearly an hour for what promised to be the best pizza in Brooklyn. Grimaldi's is a coal brick oven pizzeria nestled right under the Brooklyn Bridge. With fresh dough, salty fresh mozzarella, crushed tomatoes and just a sprinkling of basil, it's hard to say what the best part was. Layne and I added some pepperoni to ours, and that just made it even better. Easily the best pizza we've ever devoured (and devour we did!) the tastes linger in your mouth and make you never want to leave.

That night for dinner, we headed over to Keen's Steakhouse. Dark and cozy, the ceiling covered with churchwarden pipes coupled with the antique photographs and portraits give it the feeling of an old tavern or parlor. Keen's is well-known for their mutton chops, though Layne and I steered clear. They start you off with a relish plate with this heavenly blue cheese dipping sauce and a bread basket - #winning! We went with a spin on oysters rockefeller: oysters on the half shell with crab, asparagus, and hollandaise. Squeeze a little lemon over the plate and resist the urge to moan too loudly! It was possibly the best things we ate while in New York. Layne got a porterhouse with a roasted red pepper, and I went with a classic surf'n'turf of filet minion and lobster. The lobster was good, a little tough, and the steak was very high quality  but under seasoned. All of that said with the caveat that Mister Fletcher makes the best steak I've ever had on a routine basis. We also got a roasted vegetable plate, but it had an almost floral quality that neither of us took to. To top it off, we indulged in our joint favorite dessert of crème brûlée. Divine, as always.

Before our Broadway show, we went to Scarlatto for some Italian. They bring out the traditional bread basket, but they skip the usual olive oil and balsamic dipping plate in favor of an olive oil bowl that has had whole garlic cloves and olives marinating in it. You can definitely taste the garlic, so if that's not your thing I'd opt for the traditional oil and vinegar combo. And also, for not Italian. Our appetizers were incredible at Scarlatto. We went with the carpaccio with arugula and Parmesan shavings and a poached egg over prosciutto and asparagus. The carpaccio was earthy and subtle, while the asparagus dish was much brighter and tantalizing. I would get either of them again in a heartbeat. Scarlatto is famous for their pumpkin ravioli, which they serve with brown butter and asparagus. Layne ordered that, while I went with straight spaghetti and meatballs. The ravioli is famous for a reason, while the spaghetti and meatballs were unremarkable. Because we were at an Italian place, we had to get some tiramisu and oh-my-gosh am I glad we did! So light and creamy, the ladyfingers just brushed with coffee - it was one of the best tiramisus I've ever had, if not the best.

The next day we wanted to try authentic New York Jewish delicatessen so we hit up Carnegie Deli. We grabbed an open face reuben to split and headed over to Central Park for a picnic. The sandwich was pastrami on rye with a little bit of sauerkraut and Swiss cheese melted all over it. The pastrami itself was tender and juicy, so salty with just a hint of spice. It blew all pastrami I've ever had completely out of the water. Honestly. I don't know if I'll ever be able to eat any other pastrami again. It was also stacked about three inches high. We barely made a dent and it kept us powered for hours.

That night for dinner, we went to Luke's Lobster. Layne had seen it on Food Network and as lobster fanatics, we had to try it. It was pretty much just lobster on a buttered bun. It was heavenly. The tiniest bit of mayo, lemon, old bay, and celery salt. It really let the lobster shine! We also decided to try the shrimp and crab rolls, which had the same minimal seasoning with the same incredible favor. Only after the fact did we find out that there is a Luke's in D.C.! And only about a mile from where I work - can we say long lunch?

Our final day in New York, we went to Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill for lunch. Layne loves the jalapeño cornbread in the bread basket. We ordered a shrimp and roasted garlic corn tamale - my favorite dish of the day - for an appetizer. I went with the chile relleno, stuffed with eggplant and crusted in cornmeal. It was so smooth and rich and the cornmeal added the most phenomenal crunch, but my favorite part was the balsamic! Layne had the green chile cheeseburger, and the pickled red onions on top were so tart and cut through the greasy burger so nicely!

On a side note, we also popped by Junior's Bakery for a cheesecake, and we were not disappointed! So tangy, yet still sweet. It was perfect! I have to admit, I am usually the kind of girl who drowns my cheesecake in fruity goodness, but Junior's stands on its own, easily. 

In case you can't tell - we loved New York! And only four hours away means we can go back soon. So let me know - what's your favorite thing to do in NYC? Where do you always have to eat?


  1. Great post(s)Meghan. Makes me want to go back and JUST EAT the entire time!! Glad you had a fabulous experience.

  2. Oh yes, I love New York City based on the food.. I do not love New York City based on the pricing of their food..

    Oh man, I'm stalking your blog now.


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