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Moved to San Francisco, doing Istanbul-themed pop-ups every week with my wife at www.feastly.com/lauraandsayat
Toro is one of the few restaurants I've been to more than once in NYC. This dish will stay with me forever. It's a pig ears terrine, king crab and an aioli with crispy garnishes. It's a statement that when odd parts are cooked properly they can be as delicate as crab. The terrine was incredibly tender, the pairing was jealousy-inducing, and the experience at Toro always inspiring. Chef Jamie and team hit the nail on the head with this one. Incredible dish.
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Executive Chef at Union Square Events
I know many people who've eaten and loved Alain Ducasse's Benoit (including myself) over the last few years. Exec Chef Philippe Bertineau is an outstanding chef whom I've admired for a very long time. His seasonal approach to upscale French Bistro cooking is exactly what I want when I'm looking for a soulful and refined cassoulet, quenelles, charcuterie and creme brûlée.
Chef de Cuisine at Empellon Taqueria
Corner Bistro has served me very well after long shifts on the line. Its really crazy it hasn’t been brought up yet, it’s an institution as far as I’m concerned. Shuffle to the back and find a booth with your buds. Order some Bistro Burgers, fries and McSorleys Ale and a McSorleys Ale and a McSorleys Ale and a… You get the point.
Its fun, delicious and exactly what you need after midnight.
Or head to Noodletown during soft shell crab season. Just saying…
Chef / Owner at Coppa and Toro Restaurants
The service, food, and wine list always deliver. It is comforting and creative and I crave it. April Bloomfield's team are always happy and wicked fun. It's a once a month stop for me. The Carte de Musica is my favorite bite in NYC, and I'd also highly recommend the chorizo stuffed squid and mushrooms and whelk toast.
Founder and Executive Chef at dineDK Private Dining
Butter restaurant has been going strong for the past 13 years with a dedicated following and a strong female presence in the kitchen. Owned and operated by Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli, with her persona on TV, Butter and Alex don't always get the respect they deserve. Before she opened Butter in 2002, she trained under some of the world's best chefs including Larry Forgione, Guy Savoy, and was a sous chef under Daniel Boulud at the original Daniel. She's is a powerhouse, cooking amazingly vibrant, simplistic food, completely focused on the seasons and greenmarket. She is a fixture of the NYC dining scene and if you're strolling through the USQ market, there's a good chance she's sitting on the back of a farmers truck, with her daughter running around, enjoying the morning.
Shawn Radar Burnette
Chef at Delaney Resaurant Group
Arguably the cities first Gastropub, genius April Bloomfield and Ken Freidman continue to open amazing place after amazing place but the original will always be one of my favorite spots. Devils on Horseback and of course the burger are not to be missed.
New York City
Executive Chef at Minetta Tavern
Bar Pitti, owned and run by Giovanni Tognozzi, a native Florentine and hands on patron of one of the few true Italian cafe restaurants in New York City, is head and shoulders above some of the most ambitious competition in the hood. Testament to this is the queue that forms in front of this bustling spot nightly. You normally only see this at the best cafes in Europe where all the locals know where to eat and are willing to wait.
The kitchen produces simple, unpretentious dishes that are on point and authentic. The staff has pride, the menu is on a chalkboard, and god forbid you piss someone off. Trust me it's not the place to push your way into getting seated quickly when they're busy. But that's why i love it. They don't take any shit here, they know the quality of their product and once you're in you're king or queen for the night. Pleasant outdoor seating is rare in nyc but they have it on a great and social terrace out front. Some of the best dishes around are listed on a chalkboard that usually has a quarter of the items erased by the time you get there.
I'll never forget a cook who asked me where i was going to eat after work one night as i was leaving Minetta. I told him "Bar Pitti", and with a puzzled look on his face said, " but, that's... just Italian?" As in, there's no twist? Yes, exactly. If you've ever decided in your life that less is more and the food you're paying for is becoming more miss than hit, Bar Pitti is an oasis of authenticity and value. Highly recommended.
Chef de Cuisine at Boilermaker
A place that seems to be full of diners all day and all night, Kunjip is my go-to late night eatery. Their extensive menu features well executed favorites like seafood pancakes and dumplings, korean bbq cooked at your table (items like brisket, short rib, pork loin or shrimp). I always gravitate towards their soup bowls- often spicy, yet amazing flavors and always a great value. Writing this now, I find myself craving the Budae Chigae, a bowl of spicy kimchee, noodles, sausage, and tofu. Try it sometime, thank me later.
Sous chef at Buddakan, NY
There are not too many place that serve good food after you get out of your shift at midnight or 1 am, but Oh! Taisho has always been my go-to spot. It's not fancy, it's not the cleanest place, but it never fails to leave a smile on my face. The whiff of charcoal grill as you walk in is very welcoming. Yakitori is the main attraction here, and I'd suggest you order a lot of it. The variety is big enough to satisfy everyone in your party. I always go for chicken gizzard and well-done chicken skin. Besides yakitori, they also serve other great dishes; Fried potatoes with Mentai sauce, which is to die for (combination of Japanese mayo and fish roe), Raw octopus marinaded in wasabi, which is a great side dish to enjoy with sake or sapporo, and Kumbocha Squash Tempura. Plus, after you're done, you can walk down the block to Bull McCabe's to drink while shooting pool or throwing darts (++)
Named after the poche, historical Istanbul district, Pera offers classical Istanbul mezes, primarily influenced by the Aegean but representing all regions of Turkey. Though I'm overall disappointed with Middle Eastern food in Manhattan (and therefore one day would love to fill the void), I find Pera coming close to meeting expectations when it comes to simple mezes and dishes from the infinitely diverse Istanbul cuisine. The restaurant's concept is not exclusive to Istanbul, which is where it gets confusing to me, especially when risottos and Moroccan spices, hericot verts pop up on the menu. Having said that, the mezes are always well balanced, well seasoned, and confident in their delicacy.
In some ways, the embrace of the entire Mediterranean makes sense, as the capital of an empire that once spanned three continents Istanbul has once offered flavors from the entire Mediterranean region.
Get the $25 meze sampler even if you're just passing by. It's worth a stop. Oh, disclaimer, the owner is a graduate of my high school, though we haven't met yet.
Executive Chef at Millesime at the Carlton Hotel
I'm sure August is a restaurant that a lot of people know, but it doesn't get a lot of attention from the press. I enjoyed August when it was in the West Village and now in its Upper East Side location. The food is always delicious, especially the mussels, and the atmosphere comforting.
Executive Chef, Freehold Brooklyn
When my wife and I lived in Murray Hill, Sagaponack was our go-to date spot. After a 10 year stint living in Boston, the simple clean flavors of New York/New England seafood in an unpretentious and relatively unknown spot were a welcome relief from the frenetic pace of Manhattan. After a couple bottles of local Long Island wine and a great meal, we always left Sagaponack feeling like we had a warm and salty sea breeze at our backs. The highlight for me was an incredibly rich and luxurious lobster pot pie, which is unfortunately no longer on the menu, but all of their seafood is super fresh and expertly prepared.
Halcyon / Egan & Sons
Simple amazing food by David Chang. HIs unique style and love of all types of food resonate in this restaurant, I believe his first. A small spot on the LES, you get a good glimpse into the mostly open kitchen and can just see how great it is. The bao buns are the best ever!
Hospitality Consultant - Cash Only NYC
Champagne Hangover meets Burnside Biscuits:
Nothing cures a Valentine's champagne hangover like southern style breakfast foods paired with jet fuel coffee, and I haven't found a place that executes this remedy better than Burnside Biscuits in Astoria, Queens.
With one eye open and after verbally abusing Siri for Burnside's number, I call to make a reservation. Josh assures us a table will be waiting for us at 11:45, perfect!
My darling and I show up 20 minutes late, so I prepared myself for smug looks and attitude due to our tardiness but none were present. Josh greeted and seated us right away and with a smile. After dodging an attempt to be sat next to a fussy toddler, we are seated and quickly served coffee that could bring Mia Wallace back from an overdose. I can think clearly now and starving after my candy heart dinner the night before.
The Brunch menu holds true to their name offering a variety of breakfast foods served on southern style biscuits, breakfast plates served in cast iron as well as fried chicken and waffles. This menu sings to my southern soul! We start of with biscuits, jam and butter, followed by The Moose and Huevos Rancheros.
The biscuits are fresh, perfectly executed with a crisp outside and warm, soft center. Jams and butter compliment the biscuits nicely! This held us over for the short wait on our main courses. The Moose was a pork bomb with Tasso ham, sausage, bacon topped with sharp cheddar, a fried egg and sausage gravy. The 10 napkins they bring out along with the plate do not go to waste. As I concurred Mt. Swine, my girlfriend was devouring the Huevos Rancheros served in a cast iron skillet. This common brunch item was nowhere near what one would see or eat when it comes to Huevos Rancheros. Fire roasted cherry tomatoes, andouille sausage, black eyed peas, pickled red onion, two poached eggs, freshly fried blue tortilla chips, and fresh avocado complimented with a chili-lime crema represents what this classic should have always been.
With no complaints from either side of the table, Burnside Biscuits has quickly become my go to brunch of the Queens Borough. I plan on going back to experience dinner and libations as I can safely assume their execution and presentation will be equally satisfying.
Corporate Executive Chef of Paige Hospitality
This hole in the wall is perfect for Chinese comfort food. They have the largest selection of clay pot rice dishes. Imagine pork ribs with black bean sauce over rice! Also if you just moved into a new apt and need dishes order this to go. Every Clay pot dish thats for takeaway comes in the actual clay pot itself!
Executive Chef at Junoon
Owner Devil's Larder Bitters
What can I say that hasn't already been said about April Bloomfield? Spotted Pig, Breslin, John Dory, Salvation Taco? You can't mess with Bloomfield. Everything she touches is thoughtful and well crafted. Clever and very approachable. Above all, it's delicious.
DINE WITH THE INSIDERS
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