The name of this restaurant comes from the founder Brian Shebairo trying to say the name of his friend and co-founder Chris, while eating a hotdog. An absolute must for those who love franks, Crif Dogs has upped the ante with its handmade, naturally smoked wieners. They also serve some amazing burgers and shakes, but most come for the dogs. Try the Spicy Redneck, a bacon wrapped masterpiece topped with cole slaw and jalapenos.
Since 1896, the Rao family has served traditional Neapolitan dishes to diners in the area of East Harlem. Its tucked cozily on the corner of Pleasant Avenue and 114th St., pegged right against the East River and Jefferson Park, but even if you made the trip up here, it wouldn't be worth it because once you arrive your chances of getting a table are miniscule to none. That's because Rao's has the reputation of being one of the most difficult places to get a table in the entire city. In fact, there are only about 8 to 10 tables here and you practically have to know somebody like Bill Clinton, Billy Crystal, Woody Allen or Anthony Salerno to eat here. Nonetheless, the fam has another location in Las Vegas, where it's much easier to get in. They sell homemade sauces, oils and vinegar here to go along with your recipes, for which they have also uploaded a page full of recipes that can be prepared at home just by using the ingredients from the store. Some of their prominent dishes are broccoli rabe, lemon chicken and baked clams.
Sushi has quite captured the imagination of the average American, hence the popularity of Japanese cuisine in the city. With a myriad of eclectic combinations, there have been lots of twists added to the original flavor of the cuisine, to suit the American palate, such that it is a rarity to find the traditional preparation. Tanoshi Sushi and Sake Bar, however, endeavors to fill in the void and provide the most delectable, authentically cooked Japanese fare consisting of sashimi, sushi and other exotic seafood. Chef Toshio is a master of his art and works up delightful flavors to challenge the palate. The service is impeccable and the staff is friendly.
Henry's End restaurant in Brooklyn Heights offers interesting dishes, outstanding service and a warm welcome. Jazz is piped in to relax patrons as they dine on the much-loved duckling with raspberry sauce. Try the West Indian barbecued shrimp or the barbecued ribs done "Ozark-style." Crab cakes, game in season, unusual salads, seafood dishes and a blackened shell steak coated with 15 spices and served with chutney are some other popular entrees. There is a health menu and the wine list features a good selection.
This little deli serves up some of the area's best prepared foods and sandwiches. This unassuming storefront hides within it a treasure trove of delicious flavors and quality ingredients. Brancaccio's even produces what has been called one of NYC's best sandwiches in "The Complex Mag" sandwich filled with eggplant caponata, ricotta cheese, broccoli rabe and eggs. This is just one example of the kinds of incredible sandwiches Brancaccio's makes, not to mention the selection of other foods like roast chicken or pasta bolognese.
If you're on the lookout for something a little more special and unique than the usual sweet treat, head to Patiserrie Tomoko. Here, you will find a perfectly balanced fusion of traditional French baking with the simplicity, ingredients and tasteful restraint of Japanese cuisine. It is divided into two sections, a more casual, take-out pastry and dessert counter and a sit-down section where diners can enjoy sophisticated dessert and drink and wine pairings from the full bar, both sections with their own respective offerings. Menu items known to have grace the kitchen at Tomoko include Mochi, green tea cheese tarts, and classic French macarons, as well as the special, daily changing offerings on the dine-in dessert menu.
The striking blue balustrade along with the blue carpet is a welcome break from the warm color tones and lightning at the Carnegie Club. It is a grand Gothic setting to one of the best jazz performances in New York. Carnegie Club, a short walk from the Theater District is an elegant place to lounge over wine, cigars, live music and leather bound publications arranged in hand carved bookcases. Relax beside the stone fireplace or climb to the mezzanine level for a quiet evening. This is also a coveted event location for up to 175 guests.
This pretty little tearoom serves the finest quality of loose leaf teas along with Chinese delicacies. Relax in the soothing ambiance and uplift the mood with a leisurely cup of classic Earl Grey or Moroccan Mint. The lunch and dinner are pre-set and consist of glazed salmon, Chilean sea bass and Asian shrimp roll. Books are available to glance over or to pore into, depending on the diner's mood. Private tea parties can be hosted too, with prior booking. It is believed that tea is a magic drink that soothes the senses, savor it here and allow this magic to unfold.
Though not advertised much, Bar Seki has garnered much hype since it is the venture of Chef Seki Shi. This ground floor establishment with an open kitchen, elegant light fixtures and sleek furniture is a lovely spot to enjoy contemporary Japanese fare. The kitchen helmed by chef Edward Wijaya features a menu that is full of creative techniques and inspired cooking styles from other cuisines. Their cocktail list is a delightful concoction with the American and Japanese whiskeys as its base. They also have a good selection of sakes, if you wish to try some. Reservations are highly recommended.
Meru Sikder started the Biryani Cart to bring the delectable food prepared with the perfect blend of spices from the Indian subcontinent to the streets of New York. The food is mixed well with spices and flavors but is not too pungent, making it perfect for the American palate. A regular will tell you that the chicken biryani is undoubtedly his favorite, making it worth a try. You also delve into their wraps made with pita bread but filled with Indian curries. If you are traveling in the midtown area the aromas of Sikder's biryani will draw you to the cart.
The Library is the perfect location to enjoy a cocktail and have an intimate meal. The Library has a historic charm as you dine amongst beautiful old bookshelves, plush seating, newspapers from around the world and old board games. The Library also has flat-screen televisions that don't retract from the wonderful decor. The menu boats of contemporary American entrees, including their well known chicken soup. This lounge and restaurant is located in the equally charming Loews Regency Hotel.
Etcetera Etcetera sits sandwiched between a lumber yard and a country saloon on a verdant stretch of 44th Street, waiting until passers by take note of the wonderful aromas creeping out from the kitchen. Authentic Italian fare is the specialty at this secretive gem, preferring generally unheard of combinations of regional ingredients to the Americanized Italian that can be found on every corner in New York. The menu is brief, but well thought out, most evident in the deliciously unique casoncelli alla bergamasca, a house-made ravioli stuffed with veal, raisins and amaretto liqueur and topped with sage butter. Modest yet delicious, Etcetera Etcetera certainly tops the list of must-try Italian spots.