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New York City
Corporate Chef, Altamarea Group
Coming up as a cook in New York's kitchens working a difficult schedule, I don't think I would still be alive if it weren't for Sunny and Annie's. There was a time when picking up a breakfast bagel on the way to work and an East Side Ink or a P.H.O. Real coming back home from the bar was a normal activity. Get any sandwich you want and you will not be disappointed. Plus, it's a bodega, so pick up your toilet paper, toothpaste, and cereal. I envy anyone within their delivery radius.
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@pastryschiff Exec Pastry Chef @MaysvilleNYC & @Kentonsrestaurant New Orleans. Native New Yorker!
If I had to pick a last meal in NYC, this would be it. Lil' Frankie's has been around since before the artisanal pizza boom took the city by storm, and I still think they make some of the best wood fired pies around. It's no frills, open late, cash only and has the rock n' roll spirit of a gritty East Village from days gone by....with a crazy good wine list! I don't think there's a place in the city that holds more nostalgia for me. As a city kid trying to be cool, my high school friends and I would stop by at least once a week, plotting and scheming a way to meet the Strokes over the best margherita pie. I've celebrated my birthday here, first dates, reunions with friends, late night snacks......you name it. Lil' Frankie and his pies have always been there for me. One is perfect to share, but you'll probably just want your own!
Chef / Owner at Coppa and Toro Restaurants
Solid Italian food. The specials are always changing, and will range from house made duck prosciutto, to tripe toast or clams with Nduja. It's inexpensive and high-quality ingredient driven. The wine list is super affordable. It's stocked with classic Italian table wines, and has seasonal wines all the time. I crushed the ameztoi getariako txakolina rose all summer. The service is wicked friendly and chill.
Sous Chef at Marea
I must start this by saying that this is not the first time I have written about Cheeky's, nor will it probably be my last. The distinctive southern-vibe melds New Orleans Po Boys, Zapp's Chips, and Cafe du Monde coffee with other southern favorites such as the fried chicken on a biscuit, complete with pickled cabbage and gravy. While most of their offerings are meat and seafood based, they do have a vegetarian option for the more selective eaters. Open somewhat early to somewhat late, it's a great spot anytime of the day!
Executive Pastry Chef at Riverpark
This place is the definition of hole in the wall. If I wasn't looking for it I might have mistook it for an abandoned apartment building. But once you walk up some dilapidated stairs leading to the entrance, you are greeted by the owner. It's a tiny spot with only 4 counter spots and enough room to hold maybe 10-15 people (you will most likely take your food to go). The Korean owner, who also speaks Spanish, told me it used to be a bakery but business was poor. So he changed it to Mexican food to attract more business. I guess they haven't gotten around to changing their storefront sign! I had the fish tacos, which were delicious. Nice sized portions and spicy. The chilaquiles were delectable too. I have only scratched the surface of the menu, but I look forward to trying it all!
Pastry chef at Violet's Bake Shoppe
If you want a different take from the usual deli pastrami sandwich, check out the one at Harry & Ida's. They do their own unique spin on making pastrami that is very peppery and falls apart in your mouth (hand sliced -- the way I like my pastrami). The sandwich is loaded with dill and buttermilk cucumbers, and the dill may turn some people off. I think this sandwich is good enough that it deserves a chance with the dill-haters. The shop is pretty small but if you're lucky you can score a spot by the window and feel sorry for the people passing by staring at your delicious looking sandwich.
The only downside is that you're paying the same price for a Katz pastrami sandwich ($17) so it really comes down to your own personal preference for pastrami. It's really a "classic traditional" vs "new and original." They do offer a smaller version of the pastrami sandwich for $11, but I leave that decision up to you on what size you would rather commit to.
I also hear their smoked eel sandwich is pretty amazing. Please let me know what you think of it if you get it!
Executive Pastry Chef at Great Performances
While on a 15 mile run on a hot summer day, My girlfriend and I were about to pass out from idiocy (what's wrong with a ChefBod, I tell her) only to stumble onto the perfect Taco joint. Great flavors and generous portions. the kitchen is a converted horse stable attached to a small patio with an air-stream trailer for a "dining room". Its been my once a week go to for short rib tacos and grapefruit soda. Cool funky staff and fun atmosphere. Located in the South Street Seaport area, it get's crowded with the Financial and Tourists but definitely a good local spot for those of us how live in the area.
Moved to San Francisco, doing Istanbul-themed pop-ups every week with my wife at www.feastly.com/lauraandsayat
When I find something new and unique just randomly walking down the street, I get so excited I cannot contain myself. One of the tiny restaurants we walked by had a dilapidated tandoor oven with pastries hanging off the walls. We walked into the tiny restaurant and we started watching them work the oven.
Uzbek food is so obscure that Tandir Rokhat, a primarily to-go operation, is listed most places as 'Indian' probably because 'Tandir' is in the name. Tandir is the Turkic (also Turkish) word for Tandoor. Both are essentially concave ovens with a bottom heat source, often coal.
Uzbekistan is in Central Asia. This restaurant is in Brooklyn among a couple other Uzbek restaurants. We've been to Nargis and were really happy with the food and the value.
This is not a restaurant in the traditional sense. It feeds the working people of the Uzbek community but if you want something unique that you cannot eat anywhere, it's a good place to venture.
Founder of The Inherited Plate
This easy to miss cozy corner is a hidden gem on the UES. They opened a salumeria next door and a second larger sister spot farther downtown on 2nd which gets jam packed with the locals. There was a time when people told me the best way to know if a chinese restaurant was worth its salt was if Chinese families were actually eating there. If you believe this to be a tell tale sign of whats truly authentic, San Matteo's customers are typically 75% Italian. Hailing from salerno, the owners created a simple menu focused on naples style pizzas, salads and panuozzi. My favorite is the ricotta and soppressata calzone.
Pastry chef at Craft, Craftbar
They have friendly service, good cocktails, and a nice sour beer selection at Maiden Lane, but I really come here for the smoked whitefish salad. Served in a sandwich or on a platter you can't go wrong. They have an awesome tinned seafood selection, which they sometimes offer in a flight of three. They serve food until 2 am and usually have a more mellow crowd than their surrounding East Village bars. Definitely a great spot for a nice late snack.
Executive Sous Chef at Neuman's Kitchen
In my trek to always have a good ramen place within 20 blocks of wherever I am, I came across Meijin in the UES. Offering both chicken and beef broth based dishes, Meijin consistently puts out quality ramen with very good service. Normally I stick to pork broth only but I'm willing to make an exception in this case. The wait, if there even is one, will be considerably shorter than trying to eat at Ippudo, Minca, or Totto.
For the best tacos al pastor, hit up taco mix on 116th st between 2nd and 3rd avenues. This no frills, tiny counter spot has authentic tacos, quesadillas, and off the chart spicy condiments. If you're lucky, you can have your 2nd course outside where a woman makes gorditas with everything from cheese to zucchini blossoms.
Manager at Blue Ribbon Federal Grill
So I'm not a chef but this was my most trusted Chef friend's favorite hidden food spot for "legit Mexican in NYC" before he left town. It's a tiny, unremarkable deli on Avenue A between 13th and 14th street but in the middle of the deli is a fold out table with a few chairs and behind the counter is flat top grill where they (usually a little old woman) cook up different meats (the available meat changes daily) for a variety of Mexican classics (tamales, tacos, tortas) that you can take to go or eat in the middle of the deli. If you haven't already picked up on this, don't expect any frills but if you're looking for a great tamale in the East Village I've yet to find a place that compares.
When life gives you limes, just add tequila
I've lived in the east village for 5 years and never heard of this place. Very excited to go check it out!
11 months ago
I'm on a seefood diet. I see food, and I eat it.
Seriously aamzing. Would have never found this place...I will definitely be stoping by there this weekend!
Culinary Manager at The Brooklyn Kitchen
This spot is just a much fun as it is delicious. The vibe is a balanced mix of edgy energy and easy-going service. The chef is a total riot- he will keep you laughing while stuffing your belly with outrageously unique, umami-packed dishes. The staff makes you feel like you can sit there all night, taking your time while you blaze through the totally affordable menu.
What a find! Just tried this place a few weeks ago and was really blown away by the experience. There seemed to be a staff of just a few passionate employees behind the lines, but my friends and I felt as though we were thoroughly wined and dined like royalty. Only one chef appeared to be putting all of the dishes together, and every item we had (which was a huge portion of the menu) was really top notch with unique flavors and interesting textures. It's a very innovative menu. The wines were all selected by the sommelier and she could not have done a better job. My friends and I tend to enjoy some unusual wines, sometimes the weird ones, and they had a great balance to their menu of off the beaten path bottles. It was obvious that the other diners had a similar appreciation for the place, and it looked as though there were many regulars who came to eat alone at the bar. Always a great sign!
Pastry Chef, Entrepenuer, Positivity
My friend and I stumbled upon this place while we were wandering around. It was totally random! They had amazing noodles! They have I believe about 5 different types of hand pulled noodles. It is completely unbelievable how good it is! Im dying to go back again... Should try and then walk over to chinatown ice cream factory for some taro ice cream :)
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!
Chef de Cuisine at Empellon Taqueria
If the al pastor nachos at El Diablito don’t make you question your existence on this planet then I don’t know what else will.
After watching a million tacos roll off the pass night after night, you would think that I would prefer to eat anything other the Mexican. Sometimes I ask myself the same thing but I crave these nachos like how the Kardashians crave the spotlight.
Most of the time I order delivery on my days off but when I’m out with friends I lead them in like some insane nacho obsessed Piped Piper. The place is quaint and has a wall mural of Subcomandante Marcos holding the weight of the world on his shoulders. Everyone is always friendly and the food comes out fast, even with delivery.
If nachos aren’t your thing (because you’re a communist) then try the tortas or tacos, its all very addictive.
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