Blenheim

 Blenheim Brings a Taste of The Catskills to the West Village

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Trout and its roe, buttermilk and borage $20 ♥♥♥ 

Blenheim opened on May 19th in the West Village. I came with food blogger Eat Like A Lady for dinner patrolling first week of their opening yet I forgot to post this review on my blog until now. Whoops! Blenheim has a famous upstate NY farm where the owners split their time along with running the restaurant. Since Blenheim is practicing the farm-to-table experience, their menu changes very often due to the seasons. They informed us that they are going to have a tasting menu in few weeks which is very exciting. (4-course tasting with amuse bouche $65, wine pairing $45 ) One highlight of the evening was the Trout and its roe, buttermilk and borage from the appetizer menu. Another was the custard with chamomile, almonds and honey and I’m so not a dessert girl! It was very, very interesting and delish! Also I saw the steak with asparagus and I would love to order that if they still have it next time. It looked better than our Lamb and Guinea Hen! The downside of dinner was that the plating was a little messy on some of the dishes. This is totally understandable since new restaurants are adjusting many things in the beginning. At the end of dinner, we all received their homemade maple syrup to take home. It was very thoughtful of them 🙂

NEWS:

Executive chef Justin Hilbert ( formerly of Gwynnett Street ) left Blenheim in June.

Current Executive chef Chef Ryan Tate ( formerly of Le Restaurant )

Blenheim    283 W. 12th St. , New York, NY 10014

OVERALL FOOD ATMOSPHERE PRICE
♥♥ ♥♥♥1/2 ♥1/2 $$$$

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Pork with turnips, fermented rice and mustard $15 ♥♥♥
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Artichokes and crab imperial $22 ♥♥♥1/2
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Lettuces with bitter herbs, honey and anchovy $13 ♥♥1/2
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Lamb with barley, spinach and menthol $35 ♥♥♥1/2
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DSC07271Guinea hen with steamed lettuce, foie gras and hazelnuts $32 ♥♥♥
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Custard with camomile, almonds and honey $12 ♥♥♥
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Sweet chervil and bitter chocolate $12 ♥♥♥1/2
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Amuse Bouche
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homemade maple syrup

 Patrolling with Eat Like A Lady at Blenheim 🙂

This is what we ordered and shared:
Appetize:
Fiddlehead ferns cooked in goats butter and roasted lemon $14 ♥♥1/2
Pork with turnips, fermented rice and mustard $15 ♥♥♥
Lettuces with bitter herbs, honey and anchovy $13 ♥♥1/2
Trout and its roe, buttermilk and borage $20 ♥♥♥ 
Artichokes and crab imperial $22 ♥♥♥1/2
Entree:
Guinea hen with steamed lettuce, foie gras and hazelnuts $32 ♥♥♥
Lamb with barley, spinach and menthol $35 ♥♥♥1/2
Dessert:
Sweet chervil and bitter chocolate $12 ♥♥♥1/2
Custard with camomile, almonds and honey $12 ♥♥♥

Blenheim

Grand Banks

Oyster & Cocktail on the boat ”Grand Banks”

Grand Banks
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Grand Bank    Hudson River Park’s Pier 25 in Tribeca. The closest cross streets are N. Moore St.  NYC   (212) 960-3390
OVERALL FOOD ATMOSPHERE PRICE
♥♥♥1/2 ♥♥ $$$$
 This is late post from last month. Grand Bank is seasonable oyster bar that locate on a boat at the end of Peir 25 along the Hudson River. The view of the Statue of Liberty and Freedom Tower are great from Grand Banks. Price point is higher side but you come here for their unique location and atmosphere in my opinion. I had 5 different kind of oysters and glass of wine at counter seat. Oyster is between $3-$4 each. Lobster roll is $25. I came here with group of friends on Sunday after brunch before dinner but this place is a fun afternoon places for drink and oyster with your date too (^_^) I’m not sure when they are closing for season so make sure you check their site. 

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I had five different kind of oysters – From East Coast (Washburn Island, Plymouth Rock, Hurricane Island, Black Point.) From West Coast (Royal Miyagi )

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IMG_0255.JPG From East Coast (Washburn Island, Plymouth Rock, Hurricane Island, Black Point.) From West Coast (Royal Miyagi )

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Gramercy Tavern

New York Classic “Gramercy Tavern”

Gramercy Tavern
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Gramercy Tavern       42 E 20th St  ( b/t Broadway & S Park Ave in Flatiron ) NYC.       (212) 477-0777

Overall Food Atmosphere Price
♥♥ ♥♥ 1/2  $$$1/2

I have been to so many great NY restaurants and yet somehow I had never gone to Gramercy Tavern. I am so busy going to new restaurants that I sometimes push some old restaurants to the back of my list. This place has been on my wish list for a while because I have heard so many good things about it. I was excited to take my BFF, Kim, here for an early birthday dinner. (We celebrated her group birthday at  Novita the next day.) Kim and I have been BFFs for 10 years and I knew this place was on her wish list, too. We decided at the last minute to meet up so I didn’t make a reservation. When we arrived we put our name down for The Tavern. (This is the more casual bar/seating area when you first walk in.) We enjoyed a cocktail at the bar before dinner. The place was super busy and fully seated so we noticed people dining at the bar counter. (My second visit I didn’t have to wait at all when I got there around 9:00pm.)

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Marinated Fluke, Citrus, Radish and Trout Roe $14 ♥♥♥♥

The restaurant has two different dining rooms. One is called The Tavern which is where Kim and I had dinner. They don’t take reservations in The Tavern and you can order a la carte. The other room is called The Dining Room where you can make a reservation and they serve a course menu. Your options are a three-course menu for $92 and a tasting menu for $102 or $120.

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Sweetbread ♥♥♥1/2

You can see what I ate along with my heart rating for each dish. My favorite was the Fuluku Crudo for sure. The place changes their menu quite often, but on my second visit this month I was still able to order the Duck Pate and Fuluku for appetizers. I didn’t take photos of all the food I had on my second visit, but I had Maitake Mushroom Lasagne and fish for my entree. Their sweetbread reminded me of fried chicken….hehe a fancy fried chicken. It was very tender and the way they plated it was cute, but I’ve had better fried sweetbread at Pearl & Ash!

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Duck Liver Mousse, Pickled Vegetables and Grilled Bread 14.00 ♥♥♥1/2

After my second visit I came up with a mini-description so you can get a clear idea of what it’s like. “New American Babbo.” Do you get it? If you have been to both places then you know what I mean! Classic New York style restaurant that lasts for a long time – A chef with a great reputation and the price is pricy, yet not too high. The atmosphere is casual elegant. Babbo is Italian  cuisine by chef Mario Batali Gramercy Tavern is New American cuisine by chef Michael Anthony. I recommend both restaurants for any classic occasion you’re planning to have. It’s also a great place to take the parents.

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Apple Salad – Chicory and Pistachios Ayinger Oktober Fest Märzen Lager, Germany ♥♥♥

Beef Tartare, Chestnuts and Brussels Sprouts 18 ♥♥♥1/2
Squid Ink Spaghetti, Kale, Mussels and Chorizo 18 ♥♥♥1/2
Ruby Red Shrimp, Daikon, Bok Choy and Beech Mushrooms 16 ♥♥♥
Black Bass, Mushrooms, Lobster and Candied Peanuts 25 ♥♥♥
Main dining room

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Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna, Nettles, Scallions and Pine Nuts $18 ♥♥♥

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♥♥♥
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 Island Creek Oysters $3 each ♥♥♥

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Marinated Fluke, Citrus, Radish and Trout Roe $14 ♥♥♥♥

Cherche Midi

Keith McNally’s Cherche Midi on Bowery

Cherche Midi

Cherche Midi       282 Bowery (corner of Houston St ) NYC 

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Overall Food Atmosphere Price
♥♥ ♥♥ 1/2  $$$1/2
Keith McNally’s Cherche Midi opened three days ago (June 12) in my neighborhood. The location is the former space of Pulino’s at the corner of Bowery & Houston. I made a last minute reservation for six at 8:30pm on Saturday night. As soon as I walked in I realized the place looked just like Pulino’s. Keith McNally owned an Italian restaurant called Pulino’s that closed in February this year. I guess they didn’t change the interior very much. The bar, dining area, and kitchen are all the same. Even the basement bathroom is the same with its cute mini-tile floors. The only differences I could find were that there was no outside seating and the lighting was much warmer making it feel like a French bistro. The bartender gave us a free shot to welcome us while we waited at the bar for our table. 🙂 Nice!

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Once we were seated, I started my dinner by ordering a cocktail made with egg white. It was yummy~
We ordered three appetizers to share and each of us ordered different entrees. My entree was Whole Grilled Daurade with crispy herba – $34. I have to say, the best choice from the entree menu!! The fish was simply grilled and came in a large portion. It was seasoned with whole thyme and rosemary, brushed with olive oil, and served with grilled lemon on the side. After I opened the fish in half, I brushed it with oil using the herb stems, then squeezed lemon all over it. Besides my Daurade, I had bites of the Skate Fish, Lobster Ravioli, Steak Frites, and Salmon. They are all good, but nothing special.
Ratings for the appetizers:

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The HAMACHI CRUDO w. yuzu, radish and shiso ($15) was light and tasty. I thought the portion size was very fair.

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The PAN-ROASTED FOIE GRAS w. toasted baguette and a watercress salad ($19) It turned out to be plain pieces of watercress other than “salad’. The fois gras was good, but the baguette was very dry. None of us ended up eating it. The portion size was very small for the price. Overall, I would not recommend it.

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The SAUTEED SARDINES over grilled country bread with saffron aioli and pickled shallots ($14) was just ok. Again, I would not recommend it.

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I saw a posting with the FROG LEG green garlic veloute, garlic chips, crisp parsley ($19) on Instagram and it looked very good. We didn’t order it, but maybe that would be a better choice of an appetizer if you visit. Although I think $19 is very pricey for frog, so that’s your call! (I don’t care for frog dishes, but I had one of the best frog dishes at Le Philosoph In Noho that I blogged about a few years ago.)
We definitely had a great time and we were glad to check out this new place, but none of us were impressed. Also, we ate here many times back when it was Pulino’s so it almost didn’t feel like a new place. Yes, I know it sounds like I’m a jaded foodie NYker, but it’s true!!! However, I would like to patrol again if they start serving breakfast since my neighborhood doesn’t have many breakfast spots.

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PS– My friend Dr Anthony had PAN-SEARED SALMON lentils, cumin-scented yogurt and greens.  #BAM Heathy choice!!! Omega 3 🙂
xoxo
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Gato

Chef Bobby Flay ”Gato”

Gato

 Gato            324 Lafayette St, b/t Houston St & Bleeker St, NYC

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chef Bobby Flay *\(^_^)/*

Overall Food Atmosphere Price
♥♥♥ ♥♥♥
♥♥
$$$$

Bobby Flay’s newest restaurant, Gato, opened a few months ago on Lafayette Street in NoHo. I’m sure you’ve probably been to one of Chef Flay’s restaurants before such as Mesa Grill (closed) or Bar Americain. Honestly, I wasn’t much of a fan of his restaurants, but I changed my mind after visiting Gato! I even went twice within one month which is unusual for me. Chef Flay has created a very impressive, new style of Mediterranean cuisine. On your first visit you must try the tapas listed at the top of their menu. You can choose three tapas for $17. I tried 6 dishes between the two times I visited. I forgot a camera my second time there, so I don’t have food photos of everything I ate. My favorite tapas was the Beef Crudo, Lamb Tenderloin, and Piquillo Filled With Raw Tuna. You can see my photos below.

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I enjoyed the rabbit with couscous so much that I ordered it again on my second visit. This time the dish came with vegetables instead of fava beans. If you read my blog regularly, you know that I’m a huge fan of fava beans! So, I wish it came like that all the time. It was still yummy, though. 😉
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RABBIT FREGULA SARDA, CHANTERELLES, PEAS, CARROT HOT SAUCE $30 ♥♥♥♥

I love that you can see the kitchen through a glass window because you can watch Chef Flay hard at work. It was wonderful to meet him on my first visit, too! 😉 I recommend Gato for any night of the week. I also suggest you go soon while Chef Flay is still cooking everything himself. I believe the first few months after an opening a famous chef will work in the kitchen to make sure operations run well. Don’t miss your chance for his personal touch to your meal 🙂
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BEEF CRUDO PICKLED FRESNO CHILES ♥♥♥♥

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LAMB TENDERLOIN SALSA VERDE ♥♥♥

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PIQUILLO FILLED WITH RAW TUNA SAFFRON SAUCE ♥♥♥

MUSSEL & RAZOR CLAM SALAD SAFFRON PICKLED SHALLOTS ♥♥♥

Gato

Tavern on the Green

Re-Opening of Tavern on the Green

Tavern on the Green

Tavern On The Green   67TH STREET & CENTRAL PARK WEST, NYC 

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After two years of renovations and $38 million the NY icon Tavern On The Green has now re-opened in Central Park.
Last month, I came here for a business meeting with Jenny (MeltingButter) and my teammate, Kenta (Lord of the Fork). I took a cab from Bowery and OMG! A $30 cab ride! This is why I don’t eat up here that often, but I was amazed as soon as I walked in the building. They did such a great job!! The place is so gorgeous!! You walk through the bar to the dining room which is an open kitchen. The whole room is surrounded by sunny glass windows. Once I got past the beautiful surroundings, the downside was that I couldn’t find anything I really wanted to order…
After our order came to the table, I immediately thought there was not enough food for us. Jenny had a salad and tuna tartar. I ordered Japanese eggplant and tuna tartar. Her salad was so sad looking. It almost looked like a bowl of different grasses. I’m not kidding. After I saw Kenta’s burger I thought I should have ordered a sandwich. I then ordered a turkey sandwich for us  girls to share. This $17 sandwich was nothing special. Plus, the sandwich came with potato chips that I already had as a side with my tuna tartar. I was starting to think that this lunch was a disaster!!! Hopefully they have a better dinner menu.
I don’t post places that I rate under 3 of 5 hearts which means this place still made the cut! It is a very  beautiful space and I still recommend you visit this NY regent place. Maybe for a daytime drink and enjoy the elegant atmosphere in the afternoon.
Overall Food Atmosphere Price
♥♥♥ ♥♥ ♥♥ $$$1/2

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Hinata Ramen

Chicken Broth Ramen

Hinata Ramen 159 E.55th St. b/t 3rd & Lexington Ave | 212-355-2974

I read on Twitter that Chef Michael Anthony from Gramercy Tavern visited Hinata Ramen a few months ago. I hadn’t heard of this ramen shop until then. So, I decided to come here for lunch. Hinata Ramen opened last November in Midtown East. I often eat ramen for lunch. There are many choices of ramen shops around my office in Midtown such as Hide-chan, Totto, Ippudo West, and a few more places. Today I found a new edition to add to my ramen lunch options. Chef Anthony mentioned this place’s noodle and that it was somehow related to Ippudo. So I was even more curious about this place!! I was also interested in tasting their broth. Most popular ramen shops often serve pork based broth, but Hinata specializes in chicken broth ramen.

Overall Food Atmosphere Price
♥♥♥1/2 ♥♥♥
♥♥1/2 $$  
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Original Hinata Paitan Ramen – Chicken broth $12.5 ♥♥♥1/2

I started my lunch with gyoza and pork bum to share. I didn’t much care for either appetizer, but it was good and decent enough. I sat at the front counter seat so that I could see the action in the kitchen behind the glass window. (It does not have an open kitchen.) I ordered the Original Hinata Paitan Ramen and my friend ordered the Aburi Niku Miso Ramen which is limited to 10 bowls per day. Both ramen were very good.

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Aburi Niku Miso Ramen – (Limited 10 bowls per day) ♥♥♥1/2

My favorite is Shoyu Tonkostuu (soy based and pork based mixed.) Compared to pork based this was much lighter and cleaner. Definitely refreshing.

It was also great to meet the owner, Chef Madoka Tamura. I was a little shocked to see a young Japanese lady. I guess I always imagine a ramen shop owner to be a man. Like I said, Hinata’s ramen is very clean and elegant. This made perfect sense once I met her. She was lovely. I asked her about her background. She said this is her first restaurant and she taught herself how to make ramen. I’m the owner of Cutie Room, but having a boutique and running a restaurant are two different things. I was very impressed. I love seeing Japanese women doing their thing in NYC!

Owner/ chef Madoka Tamura

I eat at most ramen shops more than twice before giving a rating. So, at this time I can’t give a proper rating yet. I am definitely going back for lunch again soon. Stay tuned for an update!

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Hinata Pork Bun ♥♥♥

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Kurobuta Gyoza ♥♥♥

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Sushi Nakazawa

            Believe The Hype!!  The Best Sushi Patrolling Ever

Sushi Nakazawa
Sushi Nakazawa 23 Commerce Street, NYC   (212)-924-2212 DSC02342 I finally made it to Sushi Nakazawa!! This patrolling was definitely the most exciting patrolling ever. Especially since it’s still hard to get a reservation at Sushi Nakazawa. Actually, it’s the most exciting patrolling ever since I started my Cutie Patroller blog!!!  You can believe the hype about Nakawaza. I am not over exaggerating. Sometimes you get disappointed when you have high expectations, but my experience at Nakazawa was so much more than I expected. Super friendly Chef Daisuke Nakazawa explained each nigiri to us in English and Japanese. Chef Nakazawa kindly answered any questions I had with smile. Also, how cute is it that he uses a mini iPad to show pictures of fish and explain each nigiri to the counter guests? This is definitely a new way of “OMOTENASHI” (the heart of Japanese hospitality) and I’m loving it!! We had 20 pieces of sushi Omakase. Plus one extra in the end. All of the sushi pieces were incredible. Traditional, yet each piece had a cute twist. When I had salmon it was full of wara-smoke flavor. The red snapper had Kinkan zest. One of my favorite nigiri was Akagai. Since I’m mini clam which Mirugai, Agarai, Aoyagi, and Awabi are my absolute favorite sushi so when the chef told me he had Akagai I was so excited!! It was the best Akagai I ever had between NY and Japan.

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Akagai ( Red calm ) 赤貝Akagai ( Red calm ) 赤貝 We didn’t mention to the chef that we were from Tabelog until after dinner and he said he always uses Tabelog when he is in Japan. We exchanged business cards, of course. I’m so excited to send him my blog post and my many thanks, too.

Overall Food Atmosphere Price
♥♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥1/2 $$$$

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Uni from Santa Barbara サンタバーバラの雲丹

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Bonito ハガツオ

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Hon-Maguro (tuna) 本マグロ

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Zuke Maguro (marinated tuna) 漬けマグロ

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Otoro (fatty tuna) 大トロ

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Hirawasa (yellowtail amberjack) 尾鷲産 ひらわさ

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Sushi Nakazawa

Sant Ambroeus in SOHO

Sant Ambroeus’ newest location on Lafayette St. in SOHO

Sant Ambroeus
Sant Ambroeus now has four locations throughout NY. Their original location in the West Village, one on the Upper East Side, another in East Hampton on Long Island, and now SoHo. I’ve eaten lunch at their East Hampton location several times during the Summer, but I’ve never made it to their West Village and UES locations. I came to their SoHo location for lunch with Tabelog blogger Jay BarTaste and a teammate of mine. I live only four blocks from the new spot, but I decided to take the $4 cab ride to get there. Not that I was late, I was wearing new, SuPa cute, open-toed heels. Who says you need to dress down for lunch just because you’re in your own neighborhood?! That is not how I enjoy a lovely lunch with wonderful company~ I always cute it up for lunch patrolling with heels.

Overall Food Atmosphere Price
♥♥♥1/2
♥♥♥1/2
♥♥♥1/2 $$$$

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First, we shared my “boo” with mozzarella balls. By “boo” I mean pig. Prosciutto with mozzarella was a perfect way to start our lunch. Yummy~

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The three of us shared our dishes, but my main entree was Bronzino! Light and healthy. Originally, Jay chose the same dish, but he was a gentleman and ordered the Veal Chop instead. Thanks Jay *\(^_^)/* It is always more fun to choose different dishes so that you can taste various entrees and, of course, take more beautiful photos! The Veal Chop Milanese’s portion was very large so it was perfect for sharing. We also ordered the Tagliatelle pasta, but I didn’t much care for it.

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At the end of lunch, I had to have chocolate mousse with a cappuccino.  The cappuccino came with a plate of cookies on the side. The moose was simple, smooth, and delicious. I highly recommend it!

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The lunch crowd was very “Gossip Girl”-esque, if you know what I mean. Definitely cute & fashionable with an UES style.  This place is great for my neighborhood even though the price point is on the higher side. This means it may not be good for your every day neighborhood spot, but everyone in Nolita will enjoy this special place. I’m sure I won’t come here as often as I do Freeman’s or Estela, but I know it’ll be top of my list for the times I’m willing to splurge a little.

If you are a fan of Sant Ambroeus, now you can come to their SOHO location, too!

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Thank you for lovely lunch Tabelog & BarTaste

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Au Za’atar

Arabian dinner at “Au Za’atar”

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Au Za’atar 188 Avenue A, Corner of Ave A & 12th Street, NYC

Famous Queens NY food blogger Joe suggested Au Za’atar for our dinner meeting. I was exciting to meet Joe for the first time. I never had Arabian food before so I didn’t know what to expect before coming here. This place opened a few months ago at the corner of Avenue A & 12th Street in the East Village. I’m kind of a #hotmess as a food blogger, but I didn’t really care what to order this time because Arabian food is a cuisine that is out of my area of expertise. That being said, Joe pretty much ordered dinner for us. Sometimes I can be very picky as a food lover, but once in a blue moon I can be less demanding about what to order, too. We first got there around 7pm and the place was quiet, but by the time we left at 10pm it was packed. I thought the Kibbe Naya lamb tartar with scallion and mint was spicy, good, and a little unusual. Joe was doing a tartar contest a the time so it was perfect for him! YAY *\(^_^)/*

Overall Food Atmosphere Price
♥♥♥ ♥♥1/2
♥♥1/2
$$$1/2

Although, I have to be honest that I didn’t care for any of the other dishes……BUT BUT please listen!! My girl Eva (a.k.a RockShic) invited me a week before my visit here for dinner, but I couldn’t join her. So I am going to read her blog about this place and decide if I should give it one more try or not. I’m also interested in seeing what her favorite dish was that night. If I return to Au Za’atar I will update my rating and food photos again. For right now I can only give 3 hearts (>_<)”

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Soujouk spicy beef sausage sauteed with fresh tomatoes and olive oil $8 ♥♥1/2

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Escargot Ail “Garlic” sauteed with fresh herbs and garlic butter $12 ♥♥1/2

Kibbe Naya lamb tartar with scallion and mint $10 ♥♥♥

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Fried Califlower ♥♥

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Au Za’atar